Tributes Pour In For Stevens

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Reaction to the death of former Republican Sen. Ted Stevens in a plane crash Monday in Alaska poured in from aviation groups Tuesday. Stevens was well-known for his vigorous defense of general aviation in Alaska, to the point where the state has many exemptions from and special applications of FAA regulations that reflect the unique operating conditions (not to mention Stevens' political clout) in the state. "Senator Stevens demonstrated a profound understanding of the value of general aviation to Alaska and to the nation," said AOPA President Craig Fuller. "He was quick to point out GA's unique ability to connect isolated communities across Alaska's vast distances, deliver vital resources and services, and generate economic value for businesses of all sizes." NBAA President Ed Bolen said Stevens will be remembered for his major impact on the business of aviation.

"He understood, and made sure others understood, the critical role aviation plays in our nation's economy and transportation system," Bolen said. "He fought constantly to keep the United States the world leader in all aspects of aviation, including general aviation." National Air Transportation Association President Jim Coyne called Stevens a "great American" who made a difference. "Stevens was a remarkable member of the U.S. Senate as well as a steadfast supporter of the general aviation community, especially in the state of Alaska," Coyne said.