|IAOPA President Phil Boyer (left) with Michel Vachenheim, DGAC France, at the 22nd World Assembly of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations, in Toulouse, France|
Apr. 26, 2004 - The International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations has just concluded its 22nd biennial World Assembly in Toulouse, France, determined to protect general aviation (GA) from overzealous security precautions and excessive costs.
"The issues pilots face are universal," said IAOPA President Phil Boyer. "IAOPA was formed to give us all a more forceful voice in addressing those issues, through its official status with ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization)."
The 22nd World Assembly got underway Tuesday evening with a reception for Boyer and the delegates hosted by the Mayor of Toulouse at the city hall, known as "le Capitole."
The hard work began on Wednesday. Delegates heard from Patrick Goudou of the European Aviation Safety Agency, George Firican, Regional Air Traffic Manager for the International Civil Aviation Organization; later in the week from Michel Vachenheim, the head of France's Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (FAA Administrator Marion Blakey's French counterpart).
Panel discussions covered a wide range of topics of worldwide interest. In one entitled "Improving the Image of General Aviation," Boyer, in his role as president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association in the United States, presented the GA Serving America program, which uses a world-class Web site and other materials to explain to policy makers and the non-flying public about the many facets and benefits of general aviation. In a session on "Attracting and Keeping Members," He also explained AOPA's role in Be A Pilot, the industry-wide effort to interest more people in learning to fly. During another discussion, Boyer addressed the single most important issue to U.S. members - "Saving and Preserving Airports." He gave a step-by-step explanation of how AOPA and local pilots' organizations were able to save Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg, Florida. And he answered questions about the demise of Chicago's lakefront airport, Merrill C. Meigs Field. Delegates rightly viewed the overnight destruction of Meigs as a worldwide "wake-up call" about what can happen to a valuable landing facility.
Other panel discussions addressed airspace issues - primarily in Europe but providing a warning of what may be in store for U.S. airspace; new technology, in which U.S. AOPA Sr. Director of Advanced Technology Randy Kenagy discussed the use of automatic dependent surveillance - broadcast (ADS-B), a technology that, among other things, provides pilots with air traffic information in the cockpit; controlling the cost of flying; and general aviation security.
The IAOPA World Assembly brings together the leadership and delegates from many of the 60 Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations around the world. This year's gathering was hosted by AOPA-France in Toulouse, home of Airbus. European AOPAs were heavily represented, but delegates from as far away as Russia, Brazil, Japan, and the Philippines also attended, as did representatives from two AOPAs that have joined the international council within the past six months - AOPA-Korea and AOPA-Lebanon.
For the first time in its history, IAOPA deliberately concluded its business early so that AOPA-France could host a fly-in at Toulouse Blagnac Airport. IAOPA participants had the opportunity to visit the Airbus production line, see a mock-up of the Airbus 380, and fly an Airbus full-motion simulator. During the fly-in, Boyer hosted a seminar on "General Aviation in the United States," while AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg led a safety seminar on the hazards involved in "Maneuvering Flight." John and Martha King, leaders in aviation education in the United States, held a seminar on "Practical Risk Management for Pilots," and other speakers representing manufacturers and the French government's aviation weather service, METEO FRANCE, addressed visitors.
IAOPA represents the interests of more than 470,000 pilots and aircraft owners in 60 countries. Formed in 1962, IAOPA is dedicated to promoting the peaceful uses of general aviation and aerial work worldwide. The organization gives AOPA members in the United States very important official recognition at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the governing body for global aviation.