July 27, 2012
By Ian J. Twombly
The annual National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) breakfast at EAA AirVenture was supposed to be about announcing achievements from the past year, and to talk about the year moving forward. But Mel Cintron, head of the FAA’s general aviation and commercial division of flight standards, stole the show.
Although his remarks were brief, Cintron left no question as to what he considers to be the flight instructor’s role in the larger aviation community. “There is no other group that has the power to influence safety,” he said. “To me, GA is the base of all aviation in America.” Cintron is a helicopter pilot who has surrounded himself with passionate and active GA pilots and flight instructors.
Although the FAA’s charter no longer includes the requirement to promote aviation, Cintron and his division understand their role in helping to nurture and strengthen the community. “How do I get the accident rate down without stifling [aviation],” he said.
NAFI Executive Director Jason Blair spoke about many of the group’s achievements over the past year, including its part in recommendations to improve the FAA knowledge test. AOPA also participated on the advisory committee that sent guidance to the FAA.
Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.
The AOPA National Aviation Community Center hosted Paws and Planes, an event that showed kids flying for others – including our four-footed friends – can be rewarding and fun.
J. Reid Garrison, an airshow performer and formation pilot who has been part of the story line at the major aviation events, including Sun 'n Fun and EAA AirVenture, across the years, was recently inducted into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame.
AOPA connected with hundreds of pilots, aircraft owners, and aviation enthusiasts during the thirty-second Northwest Aviation Conference held in Puyallup, Washington, Feb. 21 and 22.
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