More than just a place to park a plane, general aviation airports play a vital role in business, agriculture and emergency response.
To honor the state’s 76 airports and the $2.1 billion they contribute the Colorado economy, Gov. John Hickenlooper had proclaimed June as General Aviation Appreciation month.
Centennial Airport, along with the Colorado Aviation Business Association will showcase the gubernatorial nod with a weeklong celebration that kicks off with the arrival of the “Aluminum Overcast” B-17, luncheon, charity golf tournament, and a 1940s-era hangar dance.
According to the proclamation, general aviation in Colorado sustains 22,650 jobs and a payroll of nearly $750 million, with those figures increasing dramatically when factoring in general aviation jobs at commercial service airport.
The Aviation Week Luncheon will feature former U.S. Thunderbird leader and author, Brig. Gen. Dan Cherry, whose famous aerial dogfight with North Vietnamese pilot Nguyen Hong Me was the subject of a History Channel documentary. Cherry shot down Hong My’s MiG-21 on April 16, 1972.
Cherry will recount the story of that fateful day in the skies southwest of Hanoi, and how he would meet his former enemy decades later, and become friends.
Tickets for the June 19 luncheon are $75 for a single seat, $600 for a table of eight. Proceeds from the week’s activities benefit the CABA Foundation Scholarship Fund and the Centennial Airport Foundation.
Other aviation week activities include the Signature/CABA Charity Golf Tournament at the Lone Tree Golf Course on the morning of June 20. The tournament is open to the public, but registration is required.
Wings Over the Rockies Museum will wrap up the week June 21 with a WWII-era Hangar Dance. Guests will enjoy live music from the 1940s, including the swinging sounds of The Andrews Sisters and the big band inspiration of Cab Calloway. Tickets are $50 for museum members and $65 for nonmembers and include two drink tickets and food from some of Denver’s top caterers and a visit aboard the B-17 aircraft for an exclusive ground tour.
Period dress or flight attire is encouraged.
A recent economic impact study conducted by the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics revealed more than $33 million in annual tax revenue can be traced back to Centennial Airport, based in Arapahoe County.
Centennial Airport Executive Director Robert Olislagers points out that the airport is “surrounded by 23 business parks and more than 6,000 local businesses that generate more than 27 percent of the state’s GDP.”
Centennial Airport is self-sustaining and receives no local tax support.
Founded in 1994, the mission of the Colorado Aviation Business Association is to promote the value of business and general aviation across the state of Colorado.
For more information about any of the aviation week events, or to purchase tickets, visit www.mycaba.org.