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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2011 Virginia Aviation Photo Contest

It’s that time of year again. Enter your amazing pictures in the Virginia Department of Aviation’s 2011 Photo Contest.

Winners will be featured in the 2012 Virginia Aviation Calendar!

Contest rules:

• Photos must have been taken at an aviation event held at a local airport in the Commonwealth of Virginia within the last three years -- events can include air shows, fly-ins, open houses, etc. --and not previously published.

• A person may submit a maximum of 12 photos for the contest. Entry forms and releases must be fully completed for the photo to be considered.

• All entries must be received by December 21, 2011.


• All entries will be judged by an impartial panel. Winners will be featured in the 2012 Virginia Aviation Calendar, as well as the DOAV Newsletter, Virginia Aviation, the DOAV Web site, the Virginia Aviation News blog and through DOAV social media.

Reproduction Rights:

• Photos submitted to the contest may be used by the Virginia Department of Aviation to promote aviation in Virginia. All entries become and remain the property of the Virginia Department of Aviation and may be used without permission or credit. CDs will not be returned.

How to submit entries:

• Only digital entries will be accepted. Photos should be taken at the highest resolution possible (minimum 1200x1600 pixels). Preferred format is .jpg or .gif. Do not retouch photos using photo editing software. A completed entry form and model release (if needed) should be submitted with each photo. E-mail entries and forms to OR mail a CD to:

Virginia Department of Aviation
Attn: Jessica Cowardin
5702 Gulfstream Road
Richmond, VA 23250

Feel free to pass this on! The contest is open to everyone.

If you have any questions or need a release form, e-mail me at, or call 804-236-3631.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Virginia Completes Study of Commercial Space Flight Facility

Governor Bob McDonnell today released a study on the economic competitiveness of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA). The study, commissioned in response to the 2011 Virginia Appropriation Act, reviewed the governance, organization and competitive landscape for the VCSFA in order to identify the necessary steps to make the Mid Atlantic Spaceport (MARS), located on Wallops Island, the best commercial space launch facility in the country. The study was conducted by KPMG Corporate Finance.

Speaking about the report, Governor McDonnell said "As home to one of only four facilities licensed by the FAA to send rockets into orbit, the Wallops Flight Facility at MARS has the potential to become the leading commercial space flight facility in the United State, all while creating much needed jobs and economic development in all corners of the Commonwealth. With our tremendous educational institutions, manufacturing capabilities, workforce, and ranking as the number one state in the nation in which to do business, the recommendations contained in this report will help Virginia seize a growing portion of this critical sector. Opportunities abound for Virginia in today's commercial space flight industry. "

The report identifies a number of findings related to the VCSFA and makes seven key recommendations designed to enhance the economic competitiveness of Virginia's commercial space flight industry.
  • Make the capital investment necessary to turn MARS into a multi-use facility and attract new customers.
  • The VCSFA should develop market-based usage cost rates that reflect the infrastructure, site, facilities, and range equipment at MARS.
  • The VCSFA must focus on a long range strategy for MARS.
  • The Board of Directors should be restructured to reflect the mission, purpose and size of the VCSFA.
  • The VCSFA should reevaluate and refresh agreements with other entities.
  • The VCSFA staff and organizational structure should reflect the strategic direction.
"Virginia's space industry currently contributes $7.6 billion in annual direct economic output and supports over 28,000 jobs," Governor McDonnell continued. "Given the job creation and economic development potential surrounding MARS, I will be submitting a promotion bill this session of the General Assembly to implement the report's recommendations. The VCSFA has the potential to become a major economic force in the Commonwealth. We must take the steps to ensure that this occurs."

The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority was created in 1995 by the General Assembly to oversee the development of the commercial space flight industry in the Commonwealth. In 1997, The Federal Aviation Administration granted the VCSFA one of only four licenses to launch rockets into Earth orbit. In the years following its creation, the VCSFA has worked closely with the General Assembly to enact a number of policies that lead the FAA to recognize Virginia as "the most progressive state in the nation when it comes to supporting commercial space."

"Since the VCSFA's creation, Virginia has become a leader in commercial space flight," said Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton. "We look forward to working with the General Assembly this session to implement the initiatives recommended in KPMG's report and take the steps necessary to ensure the continued success of the commercial space industry in Virginia."

Copies of the report can be found at:


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Virginia Aviation Board allocates funds to airports

The Virginia Aviation Board met on February 17, 2011 in Richmond to review funding recommendations for Commonwealth Airport Fund projects. Moneys allocated include $1,522,468 in air carrier entitlement funds, $1,139,449 in air carrier/reliever discretionary funds and $114,908 in general aviation discretionary funds.

Nine projects were funded including $2,568,728 ($1,522,468 entitlement; $1,046,260 discretionary) for Concourse A Apron Expansion (Non-AIP) (Construction) at Richmond International Airport - this matches $10.5 million in FAA funding - and $69,251 for Jet A Fueling System (Design/Construction) at Luray Caverns Airport.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Journey of a Virginia Aviation Ambassador

It’s been a busy fall for Virginia Aviation Ambassadors. We’ve just distributed 11 leather jackets for our gold level recipients and ordered 9 more jackets for our newest ambassadors.

I always enjoy hearing the adventures that are guaranteed in the journey of becoming a Virginia Aviation Ambassador and this one in particular.

Kathryn Hitchcock began the program in 2005 and got her first stamp at her “home” airport Virginia Tech/Montgomery Executive Airport (BCB).

“I honestly don’t think I ever dreamed I would complete the program,” she said. It was just something that was kind of fun to do, as long as the airports were fairly close.”

Eventually, Kathryn made it a personal challenge to reach the silver level. She made her way to the Virginia Department of Aviation in May 2010 to claim her bronze and silver-level prizes and then decided to rest awhile to decide whether or not to complete the program.

The last six airports are what she considers the most challenging of her journey, because “each would take a special (and long) trip with no purpose other than to get the stamps,” she said.

But as they say, with the greatest challenge comes the greatest reward, and Kathryn finished the program in August and received her leather jacket soon after. She says her only regret is not taking more pictures along the way.

Congratulations again Kathryn Hitchcock, ambassador #272.

For more information about the Virginia Aviation Ambassadors program visit our website.