Study Indicates Value of Airports like Easton’s
September 2, 2014
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  • EASTON — According to a study done by the Federal Aviation Administration, general aviation in Maryland has an economic impact of $550.7 million, and an impact over $22 million in Talbot County alone. General aviation airports are those that do not have regularly scheduled air services, like Easton Airport.

    Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has proclaimed September General Aviation Appreciation Month, and the Easton Airport/Newnam Field has just the way to celebrate.

    Saturday, Sept. 27, the Easton Airport will be hosting its sixth annual Easton Airport Day complete with an air show, jet pulling, tour of vintage planes, rides in aircraft, rubber chicken target practice, and even a 5k to benefit Talbot Mentors.

    “There has been a national recognition of general aviation lately,” Easton Airport Manager Mike Henry said. “(The governor’s proclamation) looks at what general aviation contributes to the economy in Maryland and identifies the jobs and the activities that are involved in that.”

    Built as an Army auxiliary field in 1946, with the help of German prisoners of war, the Easton airport was turned over to the Town of Easton and Talbot County after the war, Henry said. Easton Airport is now owned by Talbot County and does not take tax dollars from the county. It employs about 140 people directly and creates about 290 additional jobs both indirect and “induced,” Henry said.

    “Indirect jobs are like the people that we buy fuel from,” Henry said. “I like to explain induced jobs like those that are created when my wife calls and tells me to stop at Acme on the way home and get a loaf of bread.”

    It is estimated that the 36 general aviation airports in Maryland support more than 6,000 jobs and serve more than 7,700 pilots. Henry said the governor’s proclamation adds to recognition of the impact institutions like the Easton Airport have on communities.

    Airport Day has been held for the last five years. It started when two local pilots and members of the Redstar Pilots Association, a group that flies 1950s-era Czechoslovakian military planes, needed to practice for an air show.

    “I got so many calls asking, ‘Why didn’t you tell me you were having an air show?’” Henry said. “Well, because I wasn’t. We were just doing some training. So many people came out that day just to watch.”

    From that, Henry got the idea to make it an official event to benefit the community. He estimated 3,000 people came to watch the Redstar Pilots air show at last year’s event.

    The Sept. 27 event has free admission and parking. For more information call 410-770-8055.{p dir=”ltr”}{span} {/span}