By Bill Shea
Over the years I have had the good fortune to work with most state aviation offices
around the country. State aviation personnel are very dedicated to the well-being of all
facets of aviation. One thing is certain, and that is their love and passion for aviation.
Here are just a few of their activities: work with FAA, airports, pilot groups, safety and
education seminars, attend public hearings, develop airport noise-contours, assist
governors and legislatures, airlines, planning, land-use, FBO’s, state-wide aviation
system development, environmental issues, search-and-rescue, state-block grant
programs, promoting aviation, supporting and expanding the economy, supporting
air shows and they make the effort to keep decision-makers informed about the importance
of aviation. Safety, of course is uppermost in all their work. (Shea pictured right)
The National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) office located in Hanger 7 at Washington National Airport just outside the nation’s capital, does a fine job in monitoring aviation activity in Washington, DC. and their highly qualified professionals keep state aviation directors informed of
Congressional and legislative activity that may impact state or national aviation activity. NASAO representatives meet with the many aviation organizations in Washington D.C., including Congressional Committees, FAA, TSA, they participate in technical groups, education groups, monitor navaid technology and NextGen.
During my years as director of the University of Nebraska Aviation Institute I always found the folks at the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics outstanding in their support and assistance to our staff and students in the development of that program. They would
provide guest lectures on various technical aeronautic activities, promote the institute state-wide, as well as contacting other state-wide representatives from flight schools, FBO’s, transportation experts, legislators, Nebraska Air National Guard personnel to speak to our classes.
Nebraska Governor Kay Orr appointed me as ex-officio of the Nebraska Airline Advisory Committee and the state aviation office was always there to help me on state-wide aviation issues.
In those days I use to fly my Cessna-120 down to Weeping Water Airport every other Saturday just to be around folks who loved aviation – chatting about every thing interesting to those who love airplanes. Now and then a state rep from aviation would fly in and join the group. One day I was asked now Bill, "Are you sure an Aeronca C-3 could do a loop from straight and level with a 37 hp Aeronca engine?" And I would reply, "Not sure about the 37 hp, but for sure I could with an old 65 Continental strapped to the nose and my secret trim … and even out run a J-3 in straight-and-level flight!’"
And so we birds of a feather are fortunate that our state aviation organizations are in place and doing a good job!
Thanks for reading and …May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty!
Read more about Mr. Shea in the New York focus on aviation in the next issue of State Aviation Journal.
Bill Shea currently resides in Woodland, CA. His former positions include : Founding director University of NE/Omaha Aviation Institute; FAA Associate Administrator for Airports; Chief, California Division of Aeronautics; director of aviation, Port of Portland, OR; Commissioner of Transportation, Broome County, Binghamton, NY; Airport Manager, Burlington, VT. Former board member: CA Transportation Foundation and Aerospace Museum of CA. NAA Speed Record, (Class C-4b Grp 1) Globe Swift, 11/12/82. Washington, DC to Lawrence MA.