June 22, 2006
As the world's largest and the most experienced GA association, AOPA-US has much to offer other groups. And perhaps the most important lesson is the power of numbers.
"No other GA association in the world has more than two thirds of its nation's pilots as members, and that often hampers their ability to be heard by their politicians and regulators," said Boyer. Not the case for AOPA. With more than 408,000 members, AOPA-US is known, respected, and listened to on Capitol Hill and in the offices of the bureaucracy. Because of the number and influence of AOPA members, politicians in the United States take notice when AOPA speaks.
AOPA has a lot to say about GA safety, too. The association created the nonprofit AOPA Air Safety Foundation in 1950 to conduct research and education to improve safety. AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg lead the international delegates in a 90-minute discussion on safety and introduced the wide range of online safety courses applicable and available to pilots everywhere in the world - for free!
AOPA's Senior Director of Advanced Technology Randy Kenagy spoke about the evolution of ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast) in the United States and the world.
ADS-B is the replacement for radar and transponders that gives controllers a much better view of traffic and can look into airspace where radar won't work or would be prohibitively expensive to install. But more important to U.S. pilots, ADS-B will put free weather and traffic information in the cockpit for an equipped cost of not much more than the first-generation GPS receivers.
"Thanks to AOPA, American GA pilots have really had an influence on modernization," said Kenagy. "In Europe, regulators mandated Mode S transponders, which added significant cost for aircraft owners but provided very little benefit for pilots.
"In the United States, we jumped past Mode S to ADS-B, with all the great information it provides to make flying easier and safer. And we successfully pushed for GPS-WAAS as the navigation system of the future, giving GA pilots 3-D guidance to just about every runway in the country," Kenagy said.
The head of ICAO's Air Navigation Unit, William Voss, also spoke on technology, specifically to the international agency's work on CNS-ATM (communications, navigation, surveillance-air traffic management), the basic framework and technologies of all air traffic control.
And he spoke to the influence of IAOPA, which successfully convinced ICAO to delay the deadline for the switchover to 406-MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) for aircraft flying internationally and removed a mandatory 406-MHz ELT requirement for older aircraft.
IAOPA also petitioned ICAO to not impose a mandatory English proficiency on all pilots, arguing that the standard was unnecessary for pilots flying VFR outside of busy controlled airspace. IAOPA said the standard would impose an unfair burden on VFR pilots flying in countries where English is not the primary language.
Next: World action.
June 22, 2006
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