AOPA senior staff met with all of the FAA's regional administrators in Washington recently to discuss key AOPA member issues and provide the FAA's regional leaders with a national perspective on GA issues. AOPA highlighted concerns including threats of closure at general aviation airports around the country and stressed that AOPA is looking to the FAA to maintain its lead in protecting those assets.
"This meeting was good for AOPA and its members," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of government and technical affairs. We had all of the regional administrators in one room where we could tell them what concerns GA pilots. These are essentially the 'theater commanders' for the FAA, responsible for implementing and enforcing the agency's rules and regulations throughout the country."
During the meeting, Cebula, AOPA Vice President of Regulatory and Certification Policy Melissa Bailey, and Senior Director of Advanced Technology Randy Kenagy discussed a number of other issues with the administrators. The three expressed AOPA's strong opposition to privatizing air traffic control and separation services, AOPA's perspectives on flight service stations, presidential-movement TFRs, the Baltimore-Washington ADIZ, and emerging advanced technologies, including WAAS.
AOPA stressed the role the regional administrators should play in implementing new technologies at airports, such as WAAS, the Wide Area Augmentation System for GPS. "The regions are the point of delivery for new technologies. The administrators are the ones who will have to work most closely with airports and pilots to make the new technologies viable," said Cebula.
For their part, the regional administrators expressed their appreciation for AOPA, the association's support of the FAA reauthorization bill, and the Meigs Legacy language that AOPA worked hard to have included in the bill. Many of the administrators expressed consternation at the way Meigs Field was closed and appreciate AOPA's efforts to see it does not happen again. One administrator went so far as to call the association an important source of information for the aviation industry.