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Conference highlights efforts to secure aviation's futureConference highlights efforts to secure aviation's future

Aviation officials from around the country expressed support for AOPA initiatives and discussed their efforts to partner with industry stakeholders at a National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) convention Sept. 12 through 16.

State aviation directors from around the country voted to officially partner with AOPA to advance the GA Serves America campaign at the Seventy-Eighth NASAO Annual Convention and Trade Show, held in Tucson, Ariz. At the event, AOPA discussed the association’s work to promote GA and represent pilots, and officials talked about their efforts to seek input from industry groups.

Promoting GA in the states

AOPA Vice President of Airports and State Advocacy Greg Pecoraro addressed the conference about the GA Serves America campaign and how state officials can carry the message to their state leaders. Later in the conference, NASAO voted at its annual roundtable to partner with AOPA in moving the campaign forward.

“This is another chapter in our long-standing partnership with AOPA to foster and defend general aviation,” said Victor Bird, chair of NASAO and director of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission. “There is example after example across our country of GA and GA airports literally making the difference between a community that is thriving and one that is dying. In my own state, the businesses that provide the majority of jobs for my fellow Oklahomans use GA and GA airports to transact commerce. Company after company cites convenient access to a GA airport as one of the top reasons they locate, stay or expand in a community. General aviation transports commerce, make no mistake about it.”

Seeking input

NASAO members also heard from FAA and TSA officials about the agencies’ interest in getting input from AOPA and other industry groups about policies and proposals that affect pilots. FAA Acting Associate Administrator for Airports Kate Lang discussed the FAA’s policies on residential through-the-fence operations, a subject of concern for many pilots. TSA General Manager for General Aviation Brian Delauter spoke about another subject that draws a passionate response from pilots: GA security.

Lang noted that she recently met with AOPA on this issue and that the FAA is developing additional guidance on policies and requirements regarding through-the-fence operations. She added that her office is interested in getting input on this and other issues from AOPA, NASAO, and other associations.

Delauter highlighted his agency’s efforts to increase partnership and communication with stakeholders such as AOPA and NASAO in a panel discussion of aviation security. He said he plans to establish primary and secondary points of contacton his staff for each region of the United States so that stakeholders and airport operators can have their questions and concerns addressed directly and efficiently.

He explained that the TSA will release a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for the Large Aircraft Security Program later this year to allow the public to make additional comments about the program. AOPA Manager of GA Security and Borders Brittney Miculka also participated in the panel.

“It is great to see Mr. Delauter here at the NASAO meeting,” Miculka said. “His experience as a general aviation pilot will help provide valuable insight as the TSA prepares the Large Aircraft Security Program for a second round of public comments.”

Delauter also highlighted an ongoing project between the TSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to remove the redundant TSA International Waiver Program. Because CBP’s electronic Advanced Passenger Information System (eAPIS) collects the same information from a pilot, those who would currently need to apply for a TSA international waiver will see this requirement disappear from their workload in 2010, Delauter said.

Topics: Advocacy

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