News & Information You’ll Want To Know In Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota & South Dakota
by Bryan Budds
Manager, AOPA Great Lakes Region
Campaign signs. Yes, I have seen them everywhere in my home state of Michigan, as well, and it signals a time some love and some love to hate – election time. While it is easy to dismiss the signs and to only ‘think’ about researching or even meeting your candidates, let me ask you a few questions. Do you enjoy aviation? Love hopping in your plane and flying yourself or with a friend?
Have you ever stopped in at a local airport for a cup of coffee and a doughnut? Are you proud of the collegiate aviation programs in your state? The list could go on and on, but I think you get the picture that your state government, and in particular, your legislators, can have a huge impact on all these examples and many more.
So, when election time comes around, it is incredibly important to reach out to both your incumbent legislators and their challengers to remind them both of how general aviation is important to you personally and how aviation is important to the local community within their particular district.
Does your airport host Young Eagles events to grow the pilot population? Do you have an aircraft maintenance shop on the field? Does your airport serve emergency medical, firefighting, or law enforcement operations? Every airport has its important roles that both incumbent legislators and candidates need to know about!
Why do they need to know aviation is important, you may ask? Well, the answer is fairly simple. In 2015, when each state legislature in the Great Lakes convene, hundreds of bills, amendments, and other pieces of policy will be offered – many of which will impact general aviation. AOPA carefully tracks every piece of legislation offered on both the state and federal level and advocates accordingly. But if your legislators are aware of your interest in general aviation and its importance to the district, they may reach out to you, as a constituent and aviation-minded individual for your input.
With AOPA advocating on behalf of all pilots in your state, and your local voice, general aviation can be very well-represented both with reelected incumbents and with newly elected freshmen legislators. And, if after you talk with your incumbent legislator or candidate and would like AOPA to make a follow up visit, please let me know – this is what AOPA is here for!
Now, I wanted to talk briefly about some of the great aviation events we have going on in the region during the remainder of summer and the fall flying season.
First, the Wisconsin Flying Hamburger Social! I had the privilege to meet with Jeff Gaier, one of the founding members of the Wisconsin Flying Hamburger Social, earlier this year to hear about the great event Jeff and the group is building. The one-evening events provide a great opportunity for pilots across the area to experience new airports and make new friends as the event moves to a new airport each week. To learn more about the Wisconsin Flying Hamburger Social, visit www.wiflysocial.com
Second, the Michigan Air Tour! The Air Tour, an event put on by the Michigan Aviation Association, travels this year to Southwest Michigan Regional Airport (BEH), Manistee County – Blacker Field (MBL), and then to West Branch Community Airport (Y31) with the goal of increasing aviation awareness amongst not only the pilot community in Michigan, but amongst the non-aviators and civic leaders at each stop. To learn more about the Air Tour, visit www.michiganairtour.com
Third, I encourage you to visit the Erie-Ottawa International Airport in Port Clinton, Ohio. The airport has several new additions to the field including the Tin Goose Diner, Liberty Aviation Museum, and several new hangar complexes. With such a strong aviation community on the field, there are several great events including a remote control World War II aircraft show, Blue Grass Jam, and several EAA Chapter 1247-sponsored events. For more information on events at PCW, visit http://www.portclintonairport.com/
I hope to see you all at these events and many more! In the meantime, please let me know how AOPA can better serve you at firstname.lastname@example.org