Over 100 workers, state and local officials and aviation enthusiasts gathered today in Pierre, S.D., for a general aviation rally.
The event, held at Mustang Aviation, was organized by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) with support from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), National Air Transport Association (NATA) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
Rally attendees included aviation enthusiasts and individuals who use GA to conduct business in South Dakota. State and local public officials were also on hand to interact with the many users who rely on GA to conduct business, access specialized healthcare services, treat crops, and travel across the state. A wide variety of general aviation aircraft were on display.
Senator John Thune and Governor Dennis Daugaard recognized GA’s tremendous impact as a provider of vital services to the rural and agricultural areas of the state as each spoke to the crowd.
“General aviation is extremely important in South Dakota,” said Thune. “Our tourism, health care and agriculture industries, among many others, all rely on aviation to help deliver their goods and services. As the ranking member of the Aviation Operations, Safety and Security Subcommittee, I will continue to push for policies that foster safe, affordable and efficient air service.”
“General aviation provides essential services in South Dakota, supporting a multitude of businesses and industries,” Gov. Dennis Daugaard said. “It’s estimated that the state’s general aviation sector accounts for more than $300 million annually in economic activity, including such things as aerial spraying of crops, emergency medical flights, and convenient passenger and freight services in communities across South Dakota, including many communities without commercial airlines.”
GAMA’s President and CEO Pete Bunce said, “General aviation is woven into the fabric of this state and we are fortunate to have strong leadership in Senator Thune and Governor Daugaard who recognize general aviation’s importance as a critical stimulus for the economy and for jobs in South Dakota. At a time when general aviation is under intense political and economic pressure, it is also important that the major associations joined us here today to speak with a united voice on the challenges before our industry.”
GAMA is an international trade association representing 70 of the world’s leading manufacturers of general aviation aircraft, engines, avionics and related equipment.