Conference highlights GA challenges, opportunities

June 28, 2012

From land-use planning at airports to an effort to grow the pilot population, national issues have local implications. AOPA staff presented the challenges and opportunities facing the general aviation community at the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) General Aviation Issues and Security Conference June 24 through 26 in Reno, Nev.

AOPA Vice President of Airport Advocacy Bill Dunn and Western Pacific Regional Manager John Pfeifer participated in the conference, giving AOPA’s perspective on national issues facing GA. Dunn discussed such subjects as a recent FAA report that quantifies the value of GA airports to the United States, the challenges of funding the FAA when the country faces a serious deficit, and the ongoing issue of ensuring municipalities protect their airports with sound land-use planning. Pfeifer participated in a discussion of the dwindling pilot population and AOPA’s efforts to reverse the trend. Representatives from the National Association of State Aviation Officials, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, National Business Aviation Association, AAAE, and Aviation Management Consulting Group also spoke.

Local pilots had a chance to take their questions to AOPA staff, and mingle with fellow aviators, June 25 during a Pilot Mix and Mingle at Reno International Airport for pilots in the Reno, Truckee, and Lake Tahoe area. Dunn, Pfeifer, and AOPA Manager of Aviation Security Tom Zecha fielded questions at the informal event, which drew about 40 pilots from the area.