AOPA President Craig Fuller joined aviation leaders for a panel discussion, “Threats to General and Business Aviation,” June 3 at the Oklahoma Aerospace Summit and Expo, where about 500 representatives from aerospace companies large and small gathered.
Fuller, along with National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen, General Aviation Manufacturers Association President Pete Bunce, National Air Transportation Association President Jim Coyne, and National Association of State Aviation Officials President Henry Ogrodzinski, discussed FAA reauthorization, protecting community airports, and the negative perception of GA in the media and public, among other topics.
Fuller also used the opportunity to talk about the General Aviation Serves America campaign. Through the campaign, AOPA is working to tell the stories of this industry that would not only improve the public’s perception of GA but also help protect airports and encourage new pilots. GA plays a vital role at the national level, driving more than 1 million jobs. It’s just as important at the state level too. For example, in Oklahoma, aviation and aerospace accounts for more than 115,000 jobs and contributes $1.2 billion to the state’s economy.
While AOPA is working to protect GA at the national level, Fuller also noted what the association is doing at the state level. AOPA worked with Oklahoma officials to help pass “ The Aircraft Pilot and Passenger Protection,” which would provide greater protection to public-use airports from height obstructions and incompatible land use by giving the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission authority to regulate certain construction in designated approach areas. The act, passed by the Oklahoma state legislature on May 27, is awaiting the governor’s signature.
“Just about every segment of the aviation community is represented at this aerospace summit, and that’s important because we must work together if we are going to continue to thrive in the face of the challenges facing GA,” said Fuller. “We’ve had great success in bringing the aviation community together at the national level, and we are striving to do the same in states and communities across the country.”