April 4, 2011

What would bring organizations as disparate as the National Farmers Union, Management Association of Private Photogrammetric Surveyors and the West Virginia Coal Association together in common cause? Promoting the value of general aviation, of course.

That’s the goal of the Alliance for Aviation Across America, a “non-profit, non-partisan coalition of over 5,500 members, including individuals, businesses, agricultural groups, FBO’s, small airports, elected officials, charitable organizations, and leading business and aviation groups that support the interest of the general aviation community across various public policy issues.”

No matter what their core interest, all members of the Alliance recognize that general aviation is vital to the success of towns and communities across the country. The Alliance’s goal is to provide resources, messages and tools to help raise awareness about the industry’s value.

“We coordinate among all the general aviation groups and businesses, and we also bring in a lot of non-GA groups and individuals who have a shared interest in educating the public about the value of business and general aviation, or their local airport,” said Selena Shilad, executive director of the Alliance.

Promoting Aviation at the Local Level

Formed in 2007, the group operates very much at the grassroots level – for example, on the evening of March 29, Shilad was in Fort Lauderdale, FL speaking to a gathering of people for a meeting of the South Florida Business Aviation Association (SFBAA).

Shilad discussed not only the Alliance’s overall mission, but also how it could help SFBAA members reach out to everyone from local political leaders to the media in raising awareness about the positive difference aviation makes. One of her suggestions – encourage state and local government leaders to issue proclamations recognizing the value of general aviation.

She also offered advice on how to use these events to generate media coverage about the local community airport, as well as the businesses it serves. “These proclamations are great tools for generating media coverage,” she said, citing news reports from proclamations in New Hampshire, Ohio, North Dakota and other states.

Economic Impact Survey

The Alliance also has become a resource for information and studies on the value of general aviation. One of its more valuable online tools, according to Shilad, is an economic impact survey that provides an overview of aviation’s contribution to each state’s economy. The survey also provides information about local airports. “It has testimonials and profiles of local businesses, as well as all of the publicly available data on the importance of aviation in terms of number airports, pilots, jobs, wages and economic impact,” Shilad said.

NBAA is a member of the Alliance, as are a number of other general aviation groups. Learn more and join the Alliance by visiting the group’s web site.