MOREHEAD When most people hear the word aerospace it brings to mind enormous rockets firing upward from launch pads in places such as Florida or California.
Aerospace brings to mind astronauts and space shuttles, moon landings, and amazing photographs that could never be captured within the confines of the Earth’s atmosphere.
It is that, but it is also much more.
Stewart Ditto, the Executive Director of the Kentucky Aerospace Industry Consortium, spoke Wednesday at the IF Aerospace Event at Morehead State University and stressed the need for educating the public on the many ways that the Aerospace Industry has impacted the country and the state.
“Even when I talk to people in Kentucky, there is this look of wonderment and surprise that we have this (aerospace industry) going on in the state.”
Ditto added over the last five years aerospace exports have increased over 145 percent. And Kentucky is now the No. 2 aerospace state in the nation.
The impact of aerospace and related industries has been enormous. This led to House Joint Resolution 100, put together by State Rep. Rocky Adkins, which mandated the study of the Aerospace, Aviation, and Defense Industry, of which Ditto was the project manager.
The challenge now, Ditto says, is to “map out” the “who, where, when, and why” of the current industry and determine the best direction to proceed. The goal is to determine those businesses involved in aerospace and create a website that will allow for integration — and availability — of information.
“It’s about promoting awareness and understanding,” Ditto said. “If we don’t understand what we have in our own state, then how can we expect to promote that externally and help it grow?”
Ditto said the result should bring all of the different pieces together and