Spring and aviation were in the air at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City in early April as AOPA participated in a number of events to educate lawmakers, promote legislation, and welcome a gubernatorial proclamation of appreciation for the aviation community.
AOPA took on a new role as a sponsor of the April 5 “Aviation Day at the Capitol” event, which was organized by Carolyn and Jim Morris of the Missouri Pilots Association. The association, founded in 1953, is the event’s lead sponsor.
AOPA Central Southwest Regional Manager Yasmina Platt participated in the session to educate legislators and their staff on the role general aviation plays in Missouri.
While at the Capitol, Platt met with state Reps. Glen Kolkmeyer (R-District 053), the chairman of the House Transportation Committee; and Patricia Pike (R-District 126), sponsor of a bill that would increase the number of hours an “antique aircraft” can fly a year from “less than 50 hours” to “less than 250 hours.”
An antique aircraft is now defined as any aircraft at least 25 years old that is solely used for noncommercial purposes and is operated less than 50 hours per year. These aircraft are assessed and valued at five percent of the aircraft’s true monetary value for personal property tax purposes. House Bill 2784 would increase the number of hours an antique aircraft can fly each year to “less than 250 hours,” Platt said, describing the proposal as “a very positive move.”
Platt testified at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the measure April 12.
In a proclamation, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared April as General Aviation Appreciation Month. General aviation’s 124 airports, 9,284 pilots, and 3,847 state-based aircraft generate $857 million in annual economic activity and support 7,449 industry jobs, it said. The proclamation called for the continued vitality of the aviation industry and aviation education, and recognized AOPA and other organizations that “promote the interests and importance of aviation in Missouri and throughout the world.”
During her visit, Platt also attended and presented at conferences of the Missouri State Aviation Council and the Missouri Airport Managers Association at the Lake of the Ozarks, where she gave a well-received presentation on “Airport Marketing from a Pilot’s Perspective.”
“The subject sparked quite a bit of conversation among airport managers across the state,” she said.
Platt also took opportunities to meet with numerous AOPA members, pilots, and Airport Support Network volunteers across northwest Arkansas and Missouri to discuss different topics and further various initiatives.