AOPA President Phil Boyer and senior staff this week told the National Transportation Safety Board members that the association can be a real asset to the NTSB when it has general aviation concerns.
"Only one of the board members has any significant GA experience," said Boyer. "We wanted the other members to understand that there are often non-regulatory ways to improve safety, and that AOPA can help with pilot education."
Boyer and AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula began by introducing the board members to AOPA members. They explained that AOPA is the world's largest civil aviation organization and that AOPA members account for some two thirds of the entire U.S. pilot population.
Cebula told the members that AOPA sees its role in the FAA's safety regulation process as introducing industry safety initiatives and analyzing FAA proposals. "When the FAA makes a new safety proposal, we ask ourselves, "Does it work?'" said Cebula. "If the answer is yes, then we make sure the new regulation will be as effective as possible while causing the least possible negative impact on pilots.
"If the answer is no, then we try to see how the proposal can be changed and made workable."
Boyer then spotlighted the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. "The missions of the NTSB and the Air Safety Foundation are virtually identical—at least when it comes to aviation—to make flying safer," he said.
"The whole purpose of the meeting was to drive home one point to the NTSB," said Boyer, "that AOPA and ASF can respond to GA safety issues with programs that are effective at reducing the accident rate. And we can do it quickly without the need for additional regulation."