Spotlight: Alaska Airmen's Association
Like many of the working groups we profile, the Alaska Airmen's Association (AAA) works on behalf of the aviation industry to support everyone involved in it.
But the AAA is also a little bit different.
Alaska is home to more pilots per capita than any other US state. It also has 6.5 times the number of paying passengers and is home to 10,000 aircraft owners.
Suffice to say, Alaska is full of aviation enthusiasts.
Established in 1951 out of Anchorage, Alaska, the AAA is a non-profit, membership-based organisation on a mission to promote general aviation, enhance safety, and support initiatives that benefit pilots and the entire aviation community. AAA does this by maintaining liaisons with agencies and departments across the US, Alaska, and Alaska’s local governments.
Whether decisions have to do with aerospace, state leasing regulations, aircraft taxing, or airstrip closures, the AAA works with the entities who hold the responsibility to regulate general aviation to ensure they have the industry’s best interest in mind.
At 2,000 members, the AAA is the largest general aviation community in Alaska and one of the largest in the country. Members are a mix of pilots, students, airline employees, mechanics, aviation enthusiasts, and individuals or businesses interested in flying. Because membership is open to non-residents, members are spread out all over the globe, in five countries, 46 states, and 50 Alaskan towns and villages.
AAA members have access to pilot safety meetings, fly-ins, banquets, and special events. AAA’s quarterly publication shares the latest in general aviation, and AAA members enjoy discounts on fuel, aviation parts, labour, and survival equipment.
Last May, the AAA held their 23rd annual Great Alaska Aviation Gathering at the Alaska State Fairgrounds in Palmer, just 45 minutes outside Anchorage in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley.
The Matanuska-Susitna Valley is Alaska’s fastest-growing region and home to over 250 public and private runways.
With over 200 exhibitors from around the world, the Great Alaskan Aviation gathering is one of America’s largest free-entry trade shows.
“This year’s event, at the new Venue in Palmer, attracted an estimated 20,000 attendees over the weekend with opportunities for new attractions like free discovery flights for kids, an aircraft show and shine competition, and a skydiver demonstration.” – Abby Austin, ExecutiveDirector AAA
Every year, attendees at the trade show can enter to win a range of prizes with their annual Airplane Raffle. With over$350,000 in prizes, such as a PA-18-160 Super Cub or a Float Plane Rating at a local aviation school, the Airplane Raffle remains one of AAA’s main fundraising activities.
To support general aviation into the future, the AAA has NextGen – a group of young enthusiasts from the general aviation industry on a mission to connect and grow the next generation ofAlaskan aviators.
NextGen is a team of pilots, mechanics, government workers, and air traffic controllers who share their passion for aviation by passing down the knowledge passed down to them.
To increase youth interest in general aviation in Alaska, NextGen shows young people all the different avenues a person can take in aviation. NextGen fosters an environment that supports open communication and creates networking opportunities for the industry’s up-and-coming professionals.
“This year our NextGen scholarship program seen record numbers. With over 100 applicants, we awarded $59,000.00 in scholarships to support aviation careers.” – Abby Austin, Executive Director AAA
With a place as unique and untouched as Alaska, there is no better way to experience it than in a plane. AAA members unite under their love for this last great frontier.
It’s no wonder then why the people behind this working group intend to keep the industry going well into the future.
To learn more about the Alaska Airmen's Association, you can visit their website here.