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Sun, Nov 06, 2005

Sharples And Hartranft Awards Presented At AOPA Expo 2005

MN Congressman And DET Advocate Honored For Their Work In GA

At a banquet on the last night of AOPA Expo 2005, the Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Association recognized two individuals who each have made great contributions to both local and national general aviation causes.

Euel Kinsey, AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer at Coleman A. Young/Detroit City Airport (DET) in Detroit, MI was recognized Saturday night for his work in helping to preserve the airport by awarding him the 2005 Laurence P. Sharples Perpetual Award, the most prestigious award given by AOPA to a private citizen.

AOPA told Aero-News the award recognizes great and selfless commitment to GA by a private individual.

"Euel is a great example of an Airport Support Network volunteer," said AOPA President Phil Boyer.  "His efforts resulted in greater awareness of Detroit City Airport's importance in the community, and the importance of general aviation nationwide."

In Detroit, Kinsey (below)  faced down the mayor of the nation's 6th largest city who proposed a citywide budget that cut about 18 of the 23 jobs on the airport and provided no future monetary support for it.  Kinsey mounted a full-fledged political and media campaign, educating the city council about the airport's importance to Detroit and particularly its financial benefits in light of the recent All Star Game and upcoming Super Bowl -- even in the face of budget and staff cuts.

Throughout his fight, Kinsey -- an attorney and aircraft owner -- became a local fixture on radio and newspaper in the Detroit area. In the end, Kinsey was successful in persuading the Detroit City Council to veto the mayor's planned budget -- a nearly unprecedented occurrence.

Also recognized at the AOPA event was 15-term US Congressman James L. Oberstar (D-MN), winner of the J.B. "Doc" Hartranft Award for his work in the 109th congress helping to preserve airports. The award is AOPA's highest honor for a government official.

"Jim has been a friend of AOPA's for many years and is recognized by his peers and by the aviation community as an aviation expert," said AOPA President Phil Boyer.  "As the Ranking Member of the US House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Jim has an influential role and has served the aviation community well."

According to AOPA, Oberstar's leadership in passing landmark legislation over the years has included the General Aviation Product Liability Reform bill, numerous multi-year aviation funding bills such as the historic AIR-21 and VISION-100 measures that dramatically increased federal funding available for important improvements and protections of GA airports.  Oberstar (above) has been tenacious in acting to ensure that much-needed resources paid into the aviation trust fund reach GA airports across the country.

Oberstar -- previously recognized by the AOPA ASF for his advocacy of aviation safety -- has also been "a voice of reason" in the fury of opinion and emotion throughout the Washington D.C. ADIZ-incursion debate.

FMI: www.aopa.org

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