Idaho Gov. C. L. Butch Otter used two aviation events—National Aviation Day on Aug. 19 and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Idaho Aviation Association—to proclaim of Aug. 17 through 23 “Aviation Week” in the state.
In his proclamation, Otter noted the economic and community importance of aviation in Idaho, which includes a total economic impact of more than $2.1 billion.
Otter has consistently recognized the importance of aviation in the state, most recently in March by signing into law legislation requiring local land-use planning agencies to consider airports in their comprehensive planning efforts, greatly improving land use around airports in the state.
Idaho is an aviator’s paradise, with pristine lakes, rivers, and mountains that are second to none said Kerry Requa, president of the Idaho Aviation Association. “The access to our backcountry airstrips is truly a treasure. Flying in Idaho should be at the top of anyone's to-do list,” he said. “Idaho's elected officials have shown tremendous support and recognition of general aviation’s contributions to the economy. In addition to the governor’s declaration, Twin Falls Mayor Don Hall presented the Idaho Aviation Association and Reeder Flying Service a Proclamation on the fourth of June declaring [it] General Aviation Appreciation month.”
The support from the governor, Idaho Division of Aeronautics, the state legislature and mayors of several cities demonstrates their understanding of GA in Idaho, said Requa. “Idaho has many locations that depend on access by small planes to provide supplies, mail, medical support and recreational activities,” he said. “We have business aviation, backcountry commercial operators, recreational flyers, aircraft manufacturing, agricultural operations, search and rescue, and a host of others. They all have a common thread that is well supported by Idaho's governor and local officials. When I read about problems other states are having and lack of support for airports and GA in many areas I feel lucky to be in Idaho.”
Idaho Aviation Association member Bill Ables brought the governor’s signed original proclamation to the AOPA Northwest Mountain Regional Fly-In in Spokane, Washington, on Aug. 16. Ables and AOPA Northwest Regional Manager David Ulane displayed the proclamation to several hundred AOPA members at an afternoon Pilot Town Hall meeting with AOPA President Mark Baker.
AOPA collaborates with the Idaho Aviation Association and organizations like the Idaho Airport Management Association and the National Business Aviation Association on many aviation issues in Idaho affecting mutual members. The recently passed land-use planning legislation and efforts to protect backcountry airstrip access and protection are two examples of those joint initiatives.