November 11, 2011
Calling the aviation industry in Texas “a critical component of our economy and our way of life,” Texas Governor Rick Perry has issued a proclamation declaring November as “Aviation Appreciation Month” in the State of Texas.
“Today, there are nearly 400 general aviation (GA) airports in the Lone Star State and more than 31,000 GA aircraft are registered here,” said Perry. “From pilots to mechanics to service industry workers in our airports, thousands of Texans rely on the aviation industry for employment.” A recent study counted 61,000 Texas aviation jobs with a payroll of $2.5 billion.
According to Governor Perry’s proclamation, GA in Texas generates a total of $14.6 billion in direct, indirect and induced economic activity, or about $580 for every man, woman and child in the state.
“There are hundreds of NBAA Member companies in Texas, and business aviation helps those companies generate jobs and economic investment,” observed NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “I welcome the governor’s proclamation recognizing the important role the industry plays in the Lone Star State.”
Business flying has long been essential in Texas, with its thinly-populated areas outside major cities. The state measures 773 miles by 790 miles, and has a gross state product of more than $1.2 trillion, comparable to the country of Canada. It has been ranked the most business-friendly state in the nation by several publications, including Forbes magazine, in part because of the state’s well-developed network of nearly 400 community airports.
In his proclamation, Governor Perry noted that general aviation performs a variety of missions for the state’s citizens, including transportation of essential cargo and controlling agricultural pests. Modern agricultural aviation was born in Texas in 1951, when Galveston native Leland Snow constructed the first airplane made for the purpose. Descendants of his original product, now called Air Tractor airplanes, were instrumental last year in minimizing damage from the undersea oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.
Among Texas aviation luminaries are astronauts Alan Bean and Gene Cernan, Bessie Coleman, Howard Hughes and Herb Kelleher. Also long-remembered is Galveston native Douglas Corrigan, aka “Wrong Way” Corrigan, who tried for years to get government permission to fly from New York to Dublin, Ireland. Finally, in 1938, Corrigan took off from New York with an announced destination of California, but arrived 28 hours later in Dublin, citing “navigational errors.” The stunt made him a national folk hero.
This month’s proclamation marks the second time Governor Perry has noted Texas National Aviation Month, and both proclamations have echoed the themes promoted by the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, a joint effort by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.