By Harve Allen
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry has appointed Dr. David Conway of Durant, Okla., to the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission.
Conway replaces former District 2 Commissioner Mel Stubbings of McAlester who resigned earlier this year due to health reasons. Conway will finish the remainder of Stubbings’ term, which is set to expire Dec. 31, 2010.
“We are extremely pleased to have Dr. Conway as our newest commissioner,” Aeronautics Commission Director Victor Bird said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table and will serve the citizens in District 2 well. I am looking forward to working alongside Dr. Conway as the Commission continues its mission of promoting aviation in the state.”
Conway is employed by Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant where he serves as director of the school’s Aviation Sciences Institute. Previously, he served as chair of the Aerospace Department and has been a member of the SOSU faculty since 1998. In 2003 he received SOSU’s Faculty Senate Award for Excellence in Service.
An avid pilot who holds commercial, instrument, CFI and multiengine ratings, Conway retired as a command pilot from the United States Air Force where he served as an instructor pilot and evaluator pilot in the Cessna T-37 and Boeing KC-135. He is also one of a handful of flight-rated aerospace physiologists.
“I am deeply honored to have been appointed by Governor Henry to serve Oklahoma as an Aeronautics Commissioner,” Conway said. “I pledge to be diligent in my pursuit of promoting aerospace and the aviation industry in the state.”
“Aviation is no longer a luxury – it is a necessity. Aviation is at the heart of our global community that impacts people, cultures and economies; Oklahoma aviation is an integral part of the global community,” he added.
Conway earned his Bachelor of Science at Texas A&M - Commerce, Master of Science at the University of Southern California and Doctorate of Education from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater and has completed coursework in human factors and physiology at specialized schools across the country, including OSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. He has had numerous articles published in various journals and magazines focusing on human factors in aviation.
Conway belongs to several aviation- and aerospace-related organizations, including the Aerospace Medical Association, Aerospace Physiology Association, Oklahoma City Aviation Education Alliance, Durant Airport Advisory Committee and the University Aviation Association for which he currently serves as president.
Besides flying, Conway’s other interests outside of work include motorcycles and antiques. He is married to Cathy Ann Conway and has one son, Christopher.
Oklahoma’s aviation and aerospace industry is one of the state’s largest employers, resulting in approximately 150,000 jobs statewide. The industry yields an annual industrial output of $12.5 billion and generates an annual payroll of $5 billion. One in 10 Oklahomans derive their income from the aviation and aerospace industry with an average salary of nearly $55,000 compared to about $30,000 for the average Oklahoman.
Oklahoma is also one of seven centers in the world for the modification, maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft, boasting the world’s largest military aircraft repair facility, Tinker Air Force Base, and the world’s largest commercial aircraft repair facility, the American Airlines Engineering Maintenance and Engineering Center in Tulsa.
In addition, Oklahoma has 114 publicly owned airports, placing it fourth nationally for the number of public airports per capita. A total of 41 of those airports are jet capable, meaning their runways are at least 5,000 feet long, the minimum distance needed by most jet aircraft to safely land or take off. Approximately 93 percent of the state’s population lives within 25 miles of an airport with a jet-capable runway.