What others say: A state of aviation

  • Wednesday, September 7, 2016 5:08pm
  • Opinion

A great thing about Ketchikan is its involvement in aviation.

Our sky is alive with aircraft. We’re fascinated with the floatplanes taking off and landing in Tongass Narrows, and crane our necks to see what a helicopter might be lifting by cable. Ketchikan International Airport is visible from most of town, providing a daily display of passenger planes and other aircraft.

The volume and variety of aircraft in Ketchikan airspace reminds us how important aviation is to the community. It’s a vital part of how we live, work and play here. Without aviation, southern Southeast Alaska would feel — and be — a very long way from anywhere else.

In that sense, Kentuckian relationship with aviation is not unlike that relationship experienced in most of the other towns, cities and villages in this immense state of Alaska. Alaskans from Barrow to the First City depend on the economic, service and personal mobility benefits that aviation provides us every day.

It’s fitting then, that Gov. Bill Walker has proclaimed September as Aviation Appreciation Month in Alaska.

The proclamation signed Monday gives a sense of aviation’s place in Alaska.

We have more private planes per capita than any other state, according to the proclamation. We fly, on average, more than eight times as often as do residents of other states. Alaska now has 747 registered airports and seaplane bases; 9,346 registered aircraft; and 7,933 active pilots. We are an aviation state.

Walker’s proclamation also encourages adherence to the highest of aviation safety standards and practices. Wednesday’s news of a mid-air collision of two small planes near the western Alaska village of Russian Mission highlights that the focus on safety is vital for all Alaskans.

The history of aviation in Alaska — and Ketchikan in particular — has been a great story since the first airplane flight in the Last Frontier took place over a Fairbanks field on the evening of July 3, 1913.

Count us among those who truly do appreciate aviation in Alaska. We’re looking forward to seeing what the future of aviation brings.

— Ketchikan Daily News,

Sept. 2

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