LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Dec. 4, 2013) — It’s not often mentioned, but aviation is one of Kentucky’s biggest industries – so big that we hardly notice it. There is an aviation underpinning to many other businesses around the state, most prominently the air freight hubs operated by UPS at Louisville International Airport (SDF) and by DHL at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) in Hebron.
Aviation means more than $10 billion annually to the commonwealth’s economy and includes 100,000 jobs, according to Robert Riggs, board member of the Aviation Museum of Kentucky in Lexington and for the Institute for Aerospace Education (formerly Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education).
The museum is calling attention to the fact that more than 5,000 state students have now passed through its education programs. In fact, Kentucky is a leader in aviation education: 23 high schools around the state have aviation science programs. Eastern Kentucky University’s aviation program offers three a bachelor’s degree in three concentration areas and has been named the best in the nation.
The programs are important to Kentucky’s efforts to upgrade science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational achievement, which are considered keys to providing uplift to the state’s economy.
Students aiming even higher can shoot for a spot in the Kentucky Space program (the subject of a Lane Report article in December 2012) at Morehead State University and the University of Kentucky. Kentucky Space conducts cutting edge work in nanosatellites and has regular access to the International Space Station. It was part of two successful launches last month.
There’s a lot more online at aviationky.org or better yet in person at the museum in Lexington adjoining Blue Grass Airport at 4029 Airport Road; it’s packed with interesting aircraft and information.