Archive for June, 2010

IAOPA World Assembly gets under way

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Every two years delegates from AOPAs around the world get together to discuss important issues and set an agenda for our international efforts for the months and years ahead. We call this gathering the World Assembly of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations, and this year we are meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel.

IAOPA gets down to business on the first day of meetings in Tel Aviv.

IAOPA gets down to business on the first day of meetings in Tel Aviv.


As you might imagine, our agenda is full as we discuss the many common opportunities and threats facing general aviation around the globe.

Our Israeli hosts have organized a very robust program, which kicked off this morning with speakers from Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, both discussing the importance of GA.
After lunch, our speakers came from multilateral agencies—the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the European Union.

Bustling Tel Aviv from the air.

Bustling Tel Aviv from the air.

Whenever I am with colleagues who lead AOPA organizations from around the world, I am reminded of the uniqueness of our GA community in the United States. Nowhere else in the world are there so many pilots, so many private aircraft, and so many opportunities to enjoy and use aviation.

Oklahoma guarding the future of aviation

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

I am excited to be in Oklahoma City this morning at the Oklahoma Aerospace Summit and Expo. This is an event that brings together representatives of every aspect of the aerospace industry, and GA plays an important role.

I love to visit Oklahoma and often plan fuel stops in Ponca City, my mother’s hometown. I always get a warm welcome and make time to enjoy a bite at the airport’s great Mexican restaurant. But today I am in the state for more than a fuel stop and lunch.

I’m here as part of a panel on the challenges facing general aviation. It’s a great opportunity for me to talk to a new audience about General Aviation Serves America and how much value GA brings to the nation, to individual states, and even to specific communities. Also on the panel are Ed Bolen of NBAA, Pete Bunce of GAMA, Jim Coyne of NATA, and Henry Ogrodzinzki of NASAO—together we represent just about every segment of the GA community from pilots to FBO owners to manufacturers.

Also here are Congressman Tom Cole and Lindy Ritz, director of the FAA’s Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, home to the largest concentration of Department of Transportation personnel outside of Washington, D.C. Along with many other leaders in business and government, they’ve taken the time to participate because they recognize that aviation and aerospace are an important part of the future, for everyone.

Lots of people here in Oklahoma know that, and this is a state that takes aviation seriously. In fact, the state legislature has recently passed “The Aircraft Pilot and Passenger Protection Act” to help protect airports from obstructions. It was championed by Oklahoma Aeronautics Director Vic Bird, who has worked closely with AOPA and is a driving force behind this week’s conference. Vic and Mary Smith, executive director of the Oklahoma Aerospace Alliance that hosts this summit, are committed to supporting aviation and aerospace in their state, and it’s paying off for everyone—aerospace, including GA, accounts for about 10 percent of the state’s economy.