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General Aviation’s Impact on Iowa (with Video)

Posted by on August 12, 2009 4 Comments Category : Flight Instructor Blog

I have usually made a point not to report on aviation news on this site.  There are many other great places to get that kind of information but there was a headline that made it into my inbox today and I just couldn’t resist to share it with you.  We all know how badly general aviation has been hurt by our current economic situation and we also know how badly general aviation has been attacked by not only politicians but by other aviation industries as well.  That is why this headline and report was so interesting to me. The headline? “DOT issues report on aviation impact” which came to me via AOPA’s eBrief news service and RadioIowa.com

The Iowa Department of Transportation and the Office of Aviation  just released their “2009 Economic Impact Report”.  In this report they detail how the aviation industry has a 5.4 Billion dollar impact on that state. Even more interesting is that general aviation accounts for nearly 88% of the aviation activity…88%! That’s incredible!

I was able to obtain a official copy of the report from the IOWA’s DOT website and it made for some very interesting reading. Here are some of the highlights:

The magnitude of economic impact Iowa receives from aviation activity is significant. From analysis completed as part of this study, it is estimated these groups are contributing, on an annual basis, approximately $5.4 billion to Iowa’s economy while supporting an estimated 47,223 jobs in Iowa with an annual payroll of $2.7 billion.

Throughout Iowa, there are hundreds of businesses whose efficiency is improved and whose productivity is increased through their use of aviation. Aviation also helps to support Iowa’s multibillion dollar agricultural industry. This study estimates the annual productivity of Iowa’s agricultural industry is increased by $214 million as a result of agricultural aviation. The efficiency of many private sector businesses is improved as a result of their use of air cargo, commercial aviation, and general aviation. This study estimates that the productivity of private sector employers in Iowa is increased on an annual basis by over $12.8 billion as result of their use of air transportation.

Another interesting section of this report is where they listed some of the uses of airports in Iowa.  Such activities as:

  • Many of the airports support business and corporate aviation on a regular basis. Businesses in Iowa increase their productivity by using both general and commercial aviation. In addition, customers and suppliers of Iowa-based businesses also use aviation when visiting Iowa.
  • Airports make it possible to charter or rent general aviation aircraft to support personal and business travel. Some airports also facilitate aircraft sales.
  • All airports support various types of personal and recreational flying.
  • Flight training is supported by many airports. In some instances, airports are used to support visiting students and instructors conducting flight training. Some civilian airports also support military flight training.
  • Airports support a variety of maintenance services for aircraft. Maintenance activities support both aircraft based at airports as well as aircraft visiting Iowa.
  • Aviation education is supported by airports. Airports support not only flight training, but also training for aircraft maintenance and aviation management. Many airports also support youth aviation camps and aviation related educational activities such as the Young Eagles.
  • Airports facilitate the shipment and receipt of various types of air cargo and freight.
  • The vast majority of all study airports support both based and transient aerial applicators that improve the productivity of Iowa’s multi-billion dollar agricultural industry.
  • Airports enable doctors to reach smaller towns in Iowa, and they facilitate the transfer of patients to larger medical centers.
  • Airports increase accessibility to better health care throughout the state.
  • Airports support activities such as aerial photography, aerial patrols for agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources, and aerial inspections for power and pipelines.
  • Airports support law enforcement activities, the activities of the Civil Air Patrol, and prisoner transport.
  • Airports are used to support aerial real estate tours, sightseeing, aerial advertising, and news reporting.
  • Airports included in this study often host events, such as fly-ins or air shows, which attract the nonflying public.

As I read the rest of this report, I was reminded of a video that was developed by the FAA in 1990 entitled “General Aviation: Fact or Fiction?”.  This classic FAA video is definitely older but I think it is still highly relevant.  It isn’t as flashy as some may like, but I enjoyed watching it and hopefully you do too.  (If you would like a copy on a DVD for distribution please contact me)

Here is Iowa’s Department of Aviation website where you can read the full report and thanks to Radio Iowa for alerting me to this report.




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  1. Vincent, from Flying Across America on Aug 13, 2009

    Thank you Paul, that’s really inspiring. We’ll certainly make this a part of the pro-GA arguments set we’re building. I’m sure you don’t mind.

  2. Genera Aviation’s impact on Iowa, via Paul from askacfi.com | Flying Across America on Aug 13, 2009

    […] Tocknell, from http://www.askacfi.com has a fascinating post today about General Aviation’s Impact on Iowa. We won’t reveal all details here – you can read them from Paul’s post – but we have to […]

  3. Air Taxi on Aug 16, 2009

    Very useful information.

  4. Storm Williams on Aug 18, 2009

    I do appreciate you publishing this. If you didn’t I probably would not have seen it at all. Many thanks.

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