The Administrator comes to Frederick

July 17, 2014 by Mark Baker
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta meets with AOPA President Mark Baker during a visit to AOPA headquarters.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta meets with AOPA President Mark Baker during a visit to AOPA headquarters.

Today, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta spent several hours visiting AOPA headquarters in Maryland. It was the first time in many years that an FAA administrator has paid us a visit in Frederick, and I think it’s a great sign of Administrator Huerta’s interest in the GA community.

The visit was a chance for the Administrator to get an up-close look at AOPA’s initiatives, learn more about the general aviation perspective, and even answer a few questions. Meetings like this, outside the highly politicized environment of downtown D.C., are an important way to exchange ideas, and I really have to give Administrator Huerta credit for his willingness to hold candid and meaningful conversations about the issues that matter to our members.

Top of the list right now is third-class medical reform—an issue he takes very seriously. And while he wouldn’t say exactly when we can expect to see changes, he did say that the promised rulemaking is being reviewed at the executive level and we can expect action very soon.

He also took the time to talk to our staff about efforts to improve GA safety and the value of collaboration between government and industry when it comes to getting the message out. (You can see part of our conversation on AOPA Live .)

While he was in Frederick, the Administrator did some work on the FAA’s “Got Weather?” campaign, which is being produced with support from the AOPA Foundation and other aviation organizations. Several of the pilots on AOPA’s staff were interviewed for a future installment of the monthly program designed to help decrease the number and severity of weather related GA accidents.

I’ve met with Administrator Huerta many times since I took the left seat at AOPA, and I’m pleased to say that he understands not only the role general aviation plays in our national economic and transportation systems, but also the passion our members feel for flying. As he told our staff today, “What you bring to aviation is a completely different dimension, and that’s what makes flying fun.”