General Aviation Groups Air Concerns at HeliExpo

 - March 4, 2015, 4:36 PM

Key leaders from seven general aviation associations met during Heli-Expo 2015 to debate critical issues that are effecting their members. The panel, moderated by Helicopter Association International president Matt Zuccaro included: Melissa Rudinger, senior vice president, government affairs, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; Jack Pelton, CEO, Experimental Aircraft Association; Peter Bunce, President, General Aviation Manufacturers Association; Greg Principato, president, National Association of State Aviation Officials; Thomas Hendricks, president and CEO National Air Transportation Association; and Ed Bolen, president, National Business Aviation Association.

The diverse group was united onstage in each leader’s concern for how the FAA reauthorization will shake down this year.

“Privacy has been a big issue with NBAA and within the community for a long time,” said Bolen. “Historically the BARR [block aircraft registration request] program preserved privacy. We fought to keep it, and ultimately Congress stepped in and recognized the right to privacy in the air. We are moving to ADS-B now, and NBAA has been supportive, but we've consistently registered concern about protecting privacy under ADS-B,” he continued.

On the same tack, Principato of NASAO reflected his concern that fuel taxes are not being used for airport improvements. “We know there is political pressure up the food chain from people who might want that money spent elsewhere. We want to prevent that from happening.”

Meanwhile, GAMA’s Bunce reflected on how changes to Part 27 and 29–regarding rotorcraft certification–could open the way for new production. “Just as recently as Monday we had a meeting with manufacturers, and the FAA representatives told us we have a unique opportunity to apply the Part 23 [rewrite] process to Part 27 and Part 29. My concern is that the rotorcraft manufacturers have not traditionally worked together. We need to break down those barriers so that they see and seize this opportunity and make change,” he said.