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Babbitt to give FAA's take on GA, look to future at SummitBabbitt to give FAA's take on GA, look to future at Summit

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt will discuss his agency’s plans for general aviation as the keynote speaker during the opening session of AOPA Aviation Summit on Sept. 23 in Hartford, Conn.

A longtime pilot and the sixteenth administrator in the FAA’s 53-year history, Babbitt will give an update on the state of GA from the FAA’s perspective, a recap of its accomplishments related to GA, and the agency’s focus for 2012 and beyond.

The FAA coordinates more than 30,000 commercial flights per day. It employs more than 49,000 people, including 15,000 air traffic controllers and 6,000 flight safety inspectors. The agency has undertaken an overhaul of the ground-based navigation and surveillance system to a satellite-based system in the Next Generation (NextGen) air transportation system.

Babbitt was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009. He was a pilot for Eastern Air Lines for 25 years and was president of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the largest airline pilot union in the United States. He told the Senate Commerce Committee shortly after his confirmation in 2009 that safety was his top priority: “This is a business where one mistake is one too many.”

Like many pilots, Babbitt got his start in GA. He told AOPA President Craig Fuller on AOPA Live at Sun ’n Fun 2011 that staying proficient helps him be an advocate for the industry and GA. “It’s one thing to read about it. It’s another thing to do it.”

He remains a down-to-earth pilot. Babbitt told PBS’ Frontline that when he started at the FAA, he joked, “When I started my career as a professional pilot, there were two people I really had little interest in meeting: my chief pilot, and I certainly never wanted to meet the FAA administrator. Now I have the job.”

Don’t miss your opportunity to meet the FAA administrator at the Connecticut Convention Center.

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