General aviation: Business tool and community lifeline
March 20, 2015
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  • Time is an expense that few business owners can afford. In today’s highly competitive economy it has become essential to maximize efficiency and productivity. As a pilot for nearly 30 years, I have seen many of the ways that personal aircraft can help organizations and companies accomplish just that.

    I am the owner of Avalon RV Center; we are one of the largest RV dealerships in the state of Ohio, we offer a variety of recreational vehicles and also provide parts and service support to our customers. My personal plane has been essential for the company’s operation over the years. The plane allows my staff and I to fly to vehicle auctions outside of Ohio with ease and in a timely manner. We use these auctions to help fill our inventory with new products and vehicles that are in high demand. We can also sell excess products at auction, ensuring that our showroom inventory can cater to a wide demographic of customers. My plane is a tremendous time-saver; it lets us conduct our business trips in a few hours and avoid many overnight trips.

    Not only is my aircraft an important tool for my business, but I am also a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic. Angel Flight is an organization that provides air transportation to patients in need of specialized medical care. In my years as a volunteer pilot, I have transported patients from New York State, North and South Carolina, Illinois and Indiana to the Cleveland Clinic to receive specialized care. And, general aviation aircraft help support emergency care, blood and platelet transport, disaster relief, law enforcement and a host of other important critical services.

    Unfortunately, many are not aware of the value of general aviation to local communities in Ohio and across the country – for example, while the President’s most recent FY 2016 budget did not include an onerous and extremely harmful per-flight “user fee” on general aviation aircraft, it unfortunately singled out general aviation through a proposed change to the bonus depreciation schedule for the purchase of a business aviation aircraft. We need to make sure to oppose these types of proposals, which would damage this vital industry and jeopardize jobs and economic growth. All told, this industry accounts for over a million jobs and $219 billion in economic impact.

    Luckily, many of our local elected officials realize the value of general aviation. Governor John Kasich declared December 2014 “General Aviation Appreciation Month,” and many of our Members of Congress belong to the General Aviation Caucus. All of this is so important in helping to raise awareness about this important and often under-appreciated form of transportation. Let’s build on these efforts to protect this important economic driver and lifeline for communities across Ohio and the nation.

    Lou Luttrell is the owner of Avalon RV Center and a member of the Alliance for Aviation Across America.