IAOPA President Phil Boyer (right) with Brazilian Air Force Brigadier General Teomar Fonseca Quirico at the 21st IAOPA World Assembly in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Radar unit at Porto Velho, Brazil, part of the massive SIVAM (System for the Vigilance of the Amazon) project.
The 21st World Assembly of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA) is now under way in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Delegates from some 36 countries have gathered to discuss general aviation/aerial work (GA/AW) issues ranging from security to aviation fuel to the very future of GA/AW in the world.
"As IAOPA celebrates its fortieth anniversary, it's important to recognize that today's freedom of mobility and full exchange of general aviation information across national boundaries is IAOPA's legacy," said Phil Boyer, IAOPA president. "To a large extent, general aviation/aerial work would have been left behind had IAOPA not been there to represent GA/AW interests in the international forums, particularly the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)."
The host of the 21st World Assembly, AOPA-Brazil (APPA), is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary; current APPA President Allan Lowy was one of the original founders.
"One thing that is truly brought home in an international conference like this is that the September 11 attacks have affected GA/AW around the world," said Boyer. "We often think just about the United States, but the other AOPA affiliates are also facing airspace closures, threats to their airports generated by 9/11 fears in their communities, and a similar lack of public understanding of GA/AW in other countries."
On the opening day of the assembly, delegates heard reports from each attending affiliate covering membership and key IAOPA activities since the previous world assembly two years ago.
Boyer cited AOPA-U.S.'s new record membership of 387,183, a growth of 6.5 percent in two years. He also spoke about the new two-agency paradigm (the FAA and Transportation Security Administration) now regulating GA/AW in the United States.
The second day focused on information sharing on airports and on the technology affecting GA/AW now and in the future. AOPA-U.S.'s Andrew Cebula, senior vice president of government and technical affairs, participated in both discussions, with formal presentations on AOPA's Airport Support Network and advanced technology work the association is doing in the United States.
The delegate from Sweden, Lars Hjelmberg, spoke to the future challenges regarding aviation fuel. Based on his expertise in this field as the head of an oil company, he addressed the development of unleaded aviation gasoline and Sweden's progress in this area. He cited the use of 91/96-octane fuel in most GA engines with good results (all Swedish airports now carry this fuel). He outlined the work of U.S. manufacturer GAMI to solve the detonation problem for higher performance engines using unleaded fuel through the use of an electronic ignition system. He said that 91/96 octane unleaded fuel is available right now and assumed to be 20 to 50 percent cheaper to produce than the "new" fuels promised in three to five years.
Other speakers during the first two days included Jack Howell, director of the ICAO Air Navigation Bureau; Maj. Brig. Normando Medeiros, Air Navigation Committee of the new Brazilian ATC; Steve Brown (by videotape), associate administrator Air Traffic Services for the FAA; Ozires Silva, founder of Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer and former head of Varig Airlines, who spoke of the need for new technology for GA aircraft and engines; Benno Kialka, manager of Embraer, who noted that Embraer is the largest economic exporter in the country.
Also addressing the assembly was Brigadeiro (General) do Ar Teomar Fonseca Quirico, who talked about Brazil's massive SIVAM project, which provides comprehensive electronic surveillance of Brazil's immense and relatively undeveloped Amazon region. The system uses a variety of sensors to monitor the surface of the region and the airspace above it.
"With all that has happened in the United States since Sept. 11 last year, this event demonstrates how very fortunate we are to enjoy general aviation as we know it in America," said Boyer. "I would not trade places with any of the other 55 IAOPA affiliates."