Mike Davis SFN Today
The Link Between General Aviation and Rural America
February 24, 2022
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  • General aviation is more than simply the rich jetting around the world. For some, it’s a way of life, and others, it’s a lifeline. Selena Shilad, Alliance for Aviation Across America Executive Director, says many rural communities benefit from general aviation.

    “General Aviation, which is all nonmilitary/commercial aviation, is critically important for our nation, for our economy. It supports local businesses, farms, and it’s very important for connecting rural communities to services as well including medical care, disaster relief, firefighting and many other services.” 

    National Grange President Betsy Huber recently joined the Alliance for Aviation Across America board of directors. Shilad says Huber is a welcome addition.

    “Our mission is really to raise awareness about the value and importance of general aviation and local airports and have been fortunate to work with Betsy in the past on that important message. She really seems to understand the importance of aviation in general aviation, to our national economy and to agriculture into rural communities.” 

    The National Grange is an agriculture organization that promotes the well-being of communities. And created in 2007, the Alliance for Aviation Across America represents a variety of members.

    “A lot of our members are pilots, airports, those within the aviation sector. But then we’ve also worked to establish partnerships and relationships with a lot of members outside of aviation, whether it be farms, businesses, local elected officials, and others who really recognize the importance and value of general aviation.” 

    Shilad says investing in general aviation infrastructure is crucial for the future of rural communities.

    “Whether it’s transporting goods or overseeing crops or being able to transport particular types of tools or equipment, fighting fires or transporting patients or our food production, all of these services are so critical for rural communities, which often have some limited access, so it’s critically important that we support our infrastructure in all forms of aviation, including general aviation.”