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 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.
In his proclamation, 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 Perry has proclaimed a Texas National Aviation Month, according to officials with the National Business Aviation Association.