PIERRE, S.D. – (KELO-AM) Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed June as “General Aviation Appreciation” month in South Dakota.
“General aviation in South Dakota plays a critical role with its citizens, businesses, farms and ranches, and is important to the state’s economy,” says Secretary of Transportation Darin Bergquist.
According to the 2010-2030 South Dakota State Aviation System Plan, the aviation industry as a whole supports over 7,000 jobs, $800 million in business sales and provides more than $250 million in wages. With agriculture as the largest industry in the state, agricultural spraying supports more than 300 jobs, nearly $32 million in sales and provides more than $10 million in income.
The official proclamation cites the importance of general aviation to businesses and communities in the state. Given South Dakota’s geography, this service is also important for providing access to medical services, disaster relief and aerial forest fighting. Communities in the state depend on general aviation for the continued flow of visitors, tourism and commerce.
South Dakota has 70 public-use airports serving 2,262 certified pilots and 1,350 registered general aviation aircraft, including a Civil Air Patrol Squadron. Organizations such as the South Dakota Pilots Association, the South Dakota Aviation Association and many others recognize and promote the interests and importance of aviation in South Dakota and throughout the world.
Aviation in South Dakota includes the airline industry, education institutions, aviation organizations and Ellsworth Air Force Base. The Department of Transportation and the Aeronautics Commission work aggressively to enhance and promote aviation in the state.
Aeronautics Commission Chairman Richard Pearson says, “Aviation plays a critical role in South Dakota and having engaged in the farming business for many years, I understand the importance of not only a strong agricultural aviation program, but the important role aviation plays in our daily lives and am proud to be part of a Commission that supports and fosters aviation success in South Dakota”.