Ross Perot Jr., Senator West to speak at Texas Aviation Summit

There is a rich, century-old history of aviation in North Texas, and the future appears to be bright as a new strategic vision is expected to be finalized in early 2012 to advance general aviation and heliport resources in and around the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

In addition to the draft vision and recommendations outlined in the Regional General Aviation and Heliport System Plan, general aviation’s economic impact to the region will be discussed at the fifth annual Aviation Summit on Feb. 16 at the Irving Convention Center.

Ross Perot Jr. will be the keynote speaker at the summit. Perot is chairman of Hillwood which is ranked among the top 10 real estate developers in the United States, and it is recognized for its high-profile projects and public-private ventures. Alliance Airport, the world’s first industrial airport, is the anchor of AllianceTexas, the Hillwood development in north Fort Worth. Fort Worth Alliance Airport is one of several resulting efforts from past general aviation plans. In addition to business success, in 1982 Perot completed the first helicopter flight around the world. The 26,000 mile trip was completed in less than 30 days and crossed 26 countries and 17 seas and oceans.

Texas Senator Royce West will also speak at the summit hosted by the North Central Texas Council of Governments Transportation Department in coordination with the FAA. West is chairman of the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations and a member of Senate committees on Education, Finance, Health and Human Services and Higher Education.

Also at the summit, results of a new study sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation regarding the economic impact of general aviation will be discussed. A comprehensive study completed in 2005 by the Texas Department of Transportation showed general aviation accounted for $8 billion in output in the state, 60,000 jobs and $2.5 billion in payroll.

The new data and system plan will provide an updated picture of the importance of general aviation in the region and the necessity of sustaining a qualified aviation workforce. Other speakers will share more project-specific information.

Bob LaBelle from AgustaWestland will highlight expansion efforts and job creation in the region as a result of the AW609 Tiltrotor program at Arlington Municipal Airport.

Looking to the future, Wes Jurey, President of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, will summarize regional coordination to lead the way in development of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. The Arlington Police Department will have unmanned equipment on display. Staff from the FAA Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) outreach office in Washington D.C. will be at the summit to highlight new airport technology implementation.

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