While there is growing concern and evidence that the general aviation industry is falling off a cliff, there is also evidence of a significant opportunity. According to the New York Times, more and more small cities are losing airline travel. You can read the article here. The result? That small towns supported by tourists are feeling a harsh economic downtown.
So, here's where GA can step in. The states, such as New Mexico and Washington, need to help support both personal and charter flying in order to keep people coming. And GA needs to demonstrate how it can help in a cost-effective, safe way.
GA has long been a thorn for politicians--- complaints from residents living near airports, media hysteria over accidents, the idea that only 'rich boys' fly. Some of those complaints we bring unto ourselves.
Here is an opportunity to show that GA can explicitly support communities. This will require a public relations effort and a real demonstration of how GA can be a realistic travel solution within the budgets of travelers in a down economy.
Easy? No. But such a move can go a long way in showing that GA is a valuable member of small communities.