South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has become the latest to promote the benefits of general aviation by proclaiming June “General Aviation Appreciation” month. Aviation in the state supports more than 7,000 jobs, generates $800 million in business sales, and provides more than $250 million in wages, according to the 2010-2030 South Dakota State Aviation System Plan.
As a state with a strong agriculture business and its leading industry, agricultural spraying supports more than 300 jobs, nearly $32 million in sales, and provides more than $10 million in income. As a rural state, general aviation in South Dakota provides access to medical services, disaster relief, and aerial forest fighting. Local communities also rely on GA for visitors, tourism, and commerce.
South Dakota has 70 public-use airports serving 2,262 certificated pilots and 1,350 registered GA aircraft, including a Civil Air Patrol squadron. Organizations including the South Dakota Pilots Association and the South Dakota Aviation Association recognize and promote the interests and importance of aviation in the state and throughout the world. Aviation in South Dakota includes the airline industry, education institutions, aviation organizations, and Ellsworth Air Force Base.
“Aviation plays a critical role in South Dakota and having engaged in the farming business for many years, I understand the importance of not only a strong agricultural aviation program, but the important role aviation plays in our daily lives and am proud to be part of a Commission that supports and fosters aviation success in South Dakota,” said Aeronautics Commission Chairman Richard Pearson in a press release.
“AOPA thanks Governor Daugaard for recognizing general aviation as a critical component of the state’s transportation system,” said AOPA Great Lakes Regional Manager Bryan Budds. “Working with the South Dakota Pilots Association and South Dakota Aeronautics Commission, AOPA hopes to continue telling the important story of GA in South Dakota.”