The word aeronautics is defined as “the science or practice of travel through the air,” and when Craig City Council member Ray Beck found out he was appointed to the state aeronautical board, he shot through the roof like a rocket exiting the Earth’s atmosphere.
“I have a passion for aviation,” Beck said.
Beck will join six members on the Colorado Aeronautic Board, an appointment that was made final at the state Capitol on Thursday.
Pride washed over his face as Beck spoke about the various roles he’s held at Northwest Colorado airports.
“I’ve had experience working with aviation budgets, bylaws, hangar development, capital improvement projects, terminal construction and tarmac and runway maintenance,” Beck said.
Beck has served as chairman on the Craig/Moffat Airport Advisory Board as well as on the Yampa Valley Regional Airport Commission since 2007. He’s currently chair of the commission and has helped the airport complete a long list of projects throughout the years.
“I think he has some great airport experience working with the Steamboat, Moffat and Hayden airports,” said David Gordon, director of the Colorado Department of Transportation Division of Aeronautics. “He knows the economic value of aviation in Colorado.”
Aviation fuels billions of dollars into the state’s economy each year, according to the 2013 Economic Impact Study for Colorado Airports compiled by Colorado Aeronautics Division.
In 2013, Colorado’s airports pumped $36.7 billion of economic activity into the state — $299.3 million of which came from YVRA, $8.8 million from Steamboat Springs Airport and $1.1 million from Craig/Moffat Airport, according to the study.
Additionally, Colorado’s aviation industry provides more than 266,000 jobs, the study states.
Beck has been to Washington, D.C., four times as a board member of Club 20 and has met with the Federal Aviation Commission twice during those visits. He’s had intricate discussions with the FAA about the future funding of airports and the reauthorization bill for the nation’s aviation industry.
He’s also knowledgeable about the Wide Area Multilateration project — a program that helps general and commercial aviation airports in mountainous areas acquire better radar systems for detecting planes from the air to ground level, which is an important safety measure for navigation.
“Colorado is the poster child for aviation,” Beck said, highlighting that eight of the state’s mountain airports — including Steamboat, Hayden and Moffat — were included in the Wide Area Multilateration study.
Last spring, Gordon approached Beck to apply for the state’s aeronautical board, and he did. Beck is thrilled that it all came together.
The board funds infrastructure, capital improvement projects and maintenance to Colorado’s airports, among many other attributes, he said.
“This is exciting,” Beck said. “It’s another opportunity to further my role in aviation.”
Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com.