December 30, 2011
Noting that aviation in Iowa supports more than 47,000 jobs and accounts for $18 billion of the state’s economy, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad on December 19 issued a proclamation declaring December General Aviation (GA) Appreciation Month.
“GA activity in Iowa involves business aviation, air medical transport, air cargo, aerial application, law enforcement, search and rescue, specialty aerial services, air charter, personal aviation and recreational opportunities,” said the governor in his declaration. “[And] GA plays a vital role in the state’s response to emergencies and natural disasters.”
“Iowa is a perfect example of how businesses that use GA can reach smaller communities in remote locales,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “Governor Branstad’s declaration calls Iowa’s 108 public-use airports ‘the on-ramp to the national air transportation system and the front door to communities they serve.’ I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
Of Iowa’s 108 public-use airports, only Des Moines and Cedar Rapids have significant airline service. Six other Iowa airports have limited scheduled commuter airline service.
The Hawkeye State actively promotes business flying, listing it first on the state’s Department of Transportation Aviation web site under GA, and including a full-color graphic showing U.S. destinations within a three-hour flight time of Des Moines. On the same site, it notes that early aviation pioneers who lived in Iowa include Wilbur and Orville Wright, Amelia Earhart and Clyde Cessna.
Also in Governor Branstad’s declaration, is the aviation industry’s support for the STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Math) program for schoolchildren. Educators in Iowa have been using STEM for several years to make those subjects relevant for students.
Iowa’s rich aviation history includes one of the first uses of a business aircraft, by the Des Moines Register and Tribune. The newspaper bought a five-seat Fairchild cabin monoplane in 1928 to provide readers the first regular news photos from the air.
Governor Branstad’s proclamation makes Iowa the 35th state to officially recognize the value of business flying and GA airports. Previous states have been Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
All of the proclamations incorporate key themes from the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign jointly sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.