November 7, 2007

Russian aviation delegates at AOPA

AOPA talks safety, security with Russian aviation delegates

As the world's leading general aviation organization, AOPA was the natural stop for a group of Russian aviation delegates visiting the United States through the International Visitors Program.

"It was a good opportunity to explain the importance of general aviation," said Woody Cahall, AOPA vice president of aviation services, who hosted the delegates, "and what AOPA does to keep flying safe, fun, and affordable for our members."

The seven delegates discussed aircraft insurance, GA safety, and airport security with some of AOPA's top officials on July 10.

Aircraft insurance

A topic of particular interest to the delegates: aircraft insurance.

AOPA Vice President of Regional Affairs Greg Pecoraro explained that many aircraft owners and pilots voluntarily buy insurance even though it is not required by federal law. However, he pointed out, that a handful of states require aircraft insurance and that airplanes that are financed must be insured.

GA safety

Regarding GA safety, the delegates asked about accident statistics and initial and recurrent pilot training.

AOPA Air Safety Foundation Vice President of Operations David Wright explained that there is just over one fatal GA accident per 100,000 flight hours (aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds). He also explained how the foundation provides  free safety education and materials in person through safety seminars and online through interactive courses.

So far this year, the foundation has had more than 112,000 online safety course completions.

Airport security

Pilots and airport employees voluntarily take steps to secure their home airport so that mandatory regulations won't be developed, the delegates learned.

AOPA Director of Media Relations Chris Dancy and AOPA Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs Rob Hackman discussed airport security and AOPA's Airport Watch Program.