On a recent trip to Texas for the American Association of Airport Executives General Aviation Issues Conference, AOPA took stock of the GA industry, presented members’ concerns to other industry professionals, and planned for the future with officials at a thriving local airport.
The conference brought industry groups to Addison, Texas, to discuss issues affecting GA today and the challenges facing the industry in the future. Representatives from AOPA spoke about GA security, protecting airports, and the GA Serves America initiative. The association’s airport advocacy team also used the trip to check in on airports and touch base with Airport Support Network volunteers.
AOPA Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Andy Cebula discussed top concerns for AOPA members and the association’s efforts to address them, particularly the GA Serves America initiative, in comments during a roundtable on the state of GA.
In a panel discussion titled “General Aviation Security: Regulating an Unregulated Industry,” AOPA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Craig Spence took exception to the panel’s name, pointing out that the aviation industry, including GA, is one of the most regulated industries out there. He emphasized that AOPA continues to work and collaborate with the Transportation Security Administration on recent security initiatives such as the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), Security Directive 8F (SD-08F), and the Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) to mitigate their impact on GA operations.
Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of local airport advocacy, moderated a panel called “What does it take to keep an airport operational?” AOPA Senior Director of Airports Heidi Williams and Manager of Airport Policy John Collins demonstrated the association’s commitment to the subject by traveling to Sherman Municipal, an airport where efforts to promote GA’s value to the community have paid off, to meet with the ASN volunteer and local officials about plans for the future. Sherman Municipal Airport is self-sustaining, with revenue coming in from competitively priced self-serve fuel and an oil well on airport property. A few years ago, the runway at the small GA airport underwent a full rehabilitation; the AOPA team discussed future development plans, among them a commitment by the city to build new hangars.