While pilots assembled in Oshkosh, Wis., for the world’s largest general aviation gathering, members of Congress came together and honored GA by passing a resolution to recognize the contributions of the industry to the United States.
H.Res.508 cites the many services GA provides, including life-saving medical transportation, providing access to communities and businesses, and aiding law enforcement. It also encourages GA activities. During debate of the resolution, members of Congress cited the contributions of GA to the nation’s economy and addressed misconceptions about the value of GA.
“The resolution we are considering today celebrates the many areas in which general aviation plays an important role in the lives of everyday Americans,” said Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), who introduced the resolution. “But, unfortunately, many of these contributions are often overlooked. Well beyond the services it provides for businesses of all sizes, the general aviation industry has a significant impact on our society.”
Reps. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.), Vernon J. Ehlers (R-Mich.), Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), and Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) cosponsored the resolution, which passed July 29 by voice vote.
“Recently, general aviation has come under attack by the media and those that view general aviation as a corporate indulgence or an expensive toy used exclusively by the wealthy,” Ehlers said. “Actually, airplanes are a productive tool, and companies that utilize general aviation are generally more competitive. More often than not, these airplanes pay for themselves.” Ehlers and Boyd are co-chairs of the House General Aviation Caucus.
The resolution acknowledges the GA industry’s $150 billion contribution to the U.S. economy, the 1.3 million jobs created by GA, and the vital services GA provides to people across the nation.
“The United States has the most robust GA industry in the world,” said Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “GA transports 170 million passengers annually, on over 230,000 aircraft.” He said many of the jobs supported by GA “are high-skill jobs in manufacturing, avionics and technology development as well as flight training, maintenance, modification, and technical support.”
Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) said that the GA industry’s impact on the economy is even greater than the value of the products it produces.
“Especially for businesses located in rural communities that do not have access to commercial aviation, general aviation aircraft help American businesses stay connected with customers and allow companies in small towns to compete across the country. Like most all industries, general aviation has not been spared by the recession. During difficult times like these, it is especially important for Congress to support general aviation.”
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) also spoke in support of the resolution, citing GA’s contributions to his home state. He noted that GA “generated nearly $400 million in direct, indirect and induced consumption expenditures and personal income in my state” in 2005.
In addition to medical transport and law enforcement, H.Res.508 emphasizes several areas in which GA plays an important role: contributing to economic development by facilitating meetings and other activities for businesses of all sizes; protecting the environment by assisting with wildlife surveys, wetland mapping, and the patrolling of parklands; and aiding in agricultural activities such as crop planting and protection.
“A healthy and productive general aviation industry is important to both our nation’s economy and to the American way of life, and I urge all of my colleagues to support this resolution,” said Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.).