Kansas has a rich, colorful aviation history — from being home to pioneer aviatrix Amelia Earhart to Wichita’s well deserved designation as “Air Capital of the World.”

Knowing as much, it’s always good to recognize the many ways aviation makes a difference throughout the Sunflower State.

One opportunity for as much will arrive as the annual Fly Kansas Air Tour makes a stop Wednesday morning at Garden City Regional Airport.

The tour — a five-day, 12-community barnstorming of the state — is billed as a way to promote aviation in Kansas. It’s the second year for the tour, and first visit to Garden City.

The tour begins Tuesday in Wellington and is scheduled to end Saturday in Newton. Stops in between include Pratt, Dodge City, Liberal, Garden City, Colby, Hays, Concordia, Junction City, Emporia and Beaumont.

When it comes to air travel in Kansas, much attention always focuses on big facilities, such as Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.

Smaller airports located throughout the state also deserve recognition for filling many roles.

Community airports that dot the Kansas landscape accommodate transient traffic, charter flights, medical flights, crop dusters, military aircraft, corporate aircraft, flight instruction and more.

As the main street to a community, a good airport also helps maintain economic viability for towns of all sizes.

Garden City has excelled in that regard, from recently bringing in commercial airline jet service to various airport improvements.

Those who attend the free Fly Kansas Air Tour event featuring up to two dozen planes set to start arriving shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday in Garden City will be able to get a close look at the aircraft and check out various airport features.

Students will learn about topics ranging from basic flight principles to aviation-related job opportunities.

“We hope to connect with both students and members of the community to demonstrate the important role their airport plays in their community,” Kansas Department of Transportation Aviation Director Tiffany Brown said.

As fun as Wednesday’s event promises to be, it’s also a great way to spotlight aviation’s far-reaching impact — and, hopefully, build still more public support for a local transportation facility that cannot be taken for granted.