NBAA Announces FileSmart at HPN Forum

 - June 6, 2013, 3:30 PM
Jim McClay, NBAA air traffic management specialist, developed FileSmart to help aircraft operators learn that filing flight plans in a timely manner and accurately can help them operate more efficiently. (Photo: R. Randall Padfield)

NBAA chose its White Plains Regional Forum at New York’s Westchester County Airport today to announce a new, free educational program that has the promise of saving corporate, business, charter and general aviation flights both time and money. The “brain child” of Jim McClay, NBAA air traffic management specialist, who works at the FAA ATC Control System Command Center in Warrenton, Va., FileSmart seeks to increase awareness among aircraft operators of the value of filing timely and accurate flight plans.

McClay told AIN he got the idea two years ago to create a program along the lines of NBAA’s “No Plane, No Gain” initiative. The initiative’s goal is to help pilots better understand how they can avoid delays caused by such things as the airspace flow program, miles-in-trail, reroutes and ground delays, and thus operate more efficiently. Most delays are weather-related, but they can also stem from other causes, said McClay.

He has grouped FileSmart actions into three steps: file early (so that your flight is a “known demand” by FAA); file accurately (use the ICAO flight plan form and choose “appropriate routes”); and check national airspace information. How to do each of these is available on

Partnering with NBAA in the FileSmart program are the FAA, AOPA and NATA.

Also during the White Plains forum, Rob Astorino, Westchester County Executive, emphasized the importance of HPN and business aviation to the county and state, noting, “The fact that we have a viable airport in Westchester makes it attractive to business.” Last year, he said, HPN recorded 78,000 business aviation operations and 32,000 commercial flights. “The airport took a $2 million hit when AirTran moved out” last year, he said. He added, “Business aviation has support at the highest levels of Westchester County government.”

Ed Bolen, NBAA president and CEO, highlighted the association’s successful efforts in the campaigns to reinstate Barr, get FAA reauthorization passed without user fees, postpone EU ETS outside Europe and extend accelerated depreciation for business aircraft, among other things. But he warned that “as resources get constrained [by the continued effects of sequestration], look for more effects. The challenges of the future will be more significant and tougher.”