A central Iowa mayor is joining about 70 other mayors nationwide in calling for President Obama to back general aviation — the use of small private airplanes. Some fear the administration will enact new rules that would greatly restrict non-commercial aircraft.
Ankeny Mayor Steve Van Oort has signed a letter asking Obama to recognize the importance of general aviation to America’s small town economies. “I want him to respond in a positive way when remarks are made about general aviation and I want him to visibly show support for general aviation to keep it strong,” Mayor Van Oort says.
The Ankeny Regional Airport, north of Des Moines, is 15 years old but is the third-busiest airport in Iowa, behind those in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. He says 120 planes are hangared at Ankeny. Van Oort says small aircraft are key to a community’s economic development.
Van Oort says, “An infrastructure of the 21st century includes transportation, it includes general aviation and that’s why it’s so vitally important that we continue to reinforce to the president and anyone that will listen to us the importance of continuing to strengthen general aviation.”
Aviation industry supporters say more than five-thousand communities nationwide have little or no commercial air service and depend on general aviation for economic development.
One new rule reportedly being discussed by the Obama administration would require all general aviation pilots to undergo F.B.I. background checks and to get new I-D cards though the federal government along with other restrictions on pilots and their planes.