Phil Boyer, president of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations, told a gathering of European aviation leaders in France February 2 that, while general aviation in most western countries is expanding, there are unresolved issues that demand improved international cooperation.
"To maintain the pace and volume of current growth," Boyer said, "it is imperative that all of us involved in general aviation continue to cooperate in resolving transnational issues of aircraft certification standards, operational requirements, and other questions that affect both producers and users."
Boyer was the featured speaker at Socata Aircraft's rollout of their new model TB20, the New Generation Trinidad. Present for the ceremony at the company's main factory in Tarbes, France, were principal figures of the European general aviation industry along with French civil authorities and a contingent of Socata employees.
Among issues urgently in need of internationally agreed solutions, Boyer said, "is the concern that advances in communications, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management systems may soon result in equipment and crew requirements that will be unaffordable for all but the upper corporate strata of general aviation operators.
"In addition, there is the fear that some of the proposed traffic management systems might severely limit airport access by general aviation operators. These are all matters that demand our attention, not in isolation, but in ever-closer collaboration across our fading national boundaries."
Boyer congratulated Socata on bringing forth a new model aircraft and greeted the European audience in the name of the 400,000 pilot members of the 51 national AOPAs that make up the International Council, known as IAOPA. He noted the revitalization of general aviation production in the United States in the past five years and the increasing value of GA aircraft imported into the United States, largely from European manufacturers.
"Among various indicators of general aviation's resurgence," Boyer added, "is a promising increase in the number of new pilots in several countries. Furthermore, among the 51 national Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations, several have reported substantial membership growth.
"The growing participation in pilot and owner advocacy organizations is a clear indication that the people who buy and fly general aviation aircraft are becoming more deeply involved in their flying. They are willing to devote time and personal resources to support general aviation.
"I consider it only right that our associations, united in IAOPA, should redouble our advocacy efforts on their behalf, and that industry, too, should respond by continuing to develop and market—at fair prices—technology suited to the needs of general aviation."
Concluding his remarks in French, Boyer declared, "All of us here today are key players in the second century of powered flight. We have the duty, and the honor, of continuing a heroic tradition and building the foundations of flight for the new millennium. It's an awe-inspiring prospect, but it's exciting and irresistible. I'm sure you share my feeling that it's wonderful to be a part of it."
IAOPA represents the interests of more than 400,000 pilots and operators engaged in general aviation and aerial work activities around the world. Its 51 affiliate national organizations generate the majority of worldwide GA/AW activity.
February 8, 2000