Paula Raeburn, executive director of the Florida Aviation Trades Association, will be a featured speaker at next year’s Women in Aviation International conference in Nashville, showcasing her association’s general aviation advocacy program, “Beyond the Runway – Why General Aviation Means Business.”
The Beyond the Runway GA advocacy program was conceived in 2010 as a way to get information about GA into the community. “There’s a gap in information – generally – about how GA affects everyone in a community and more specifically, there are so many misconceptions about GA – what it is and what it does for a community,” Raeburn said. “While some aviation companies already reach out to the community and invite leaders, school children, and civic groups to visit facilities and observe operations, we can do more. This program provides tools that anyone can use to give a presentation on GA.”
In Nashville, Raeburn intends to show a video as part of her presentation. Attendees at the conference, slated for March 14-16, will be able to take a DVD with them or download tools from FATA’s website and present the program in their own communities.
Based on her experience, Raeburn said she has found that many non-aviation business and government entities have little understanding of GA. “Unfortunately, too often, many people think that GA is only for the rich and famous who fly into/out of private airports,” she said. “As advocates for the industry, we need to get the message out. A program that shows the many facets of GA including law enforcement, medical transport and rescue, humanitarian flights, just to name a few, puts a face on GA that everyone recognizes.”
FATA is looking to secure sponsors for the program so the association can develop a product that accurately describes GA and the value and benefit of GA to a community, she added.
“It is imperative that we share this vital information with our non-aviation friends in the community and government entities that might not recognize the importance and value of an airport as an economic engine that facilitates vital transportation and emergency services and serves as a gateway to the community,” she said. “FATA is committed to developing a program that will do exactly that.
All sponsors will receive recognition in the DVD and related materials. The organization is hoping to raise $25,000 by Dec. 31, 2012.