Leaders of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations’ (IAOPA) 73 worldwide affiliates—representing more than 400,000 general aviation aircraft owners and pilots—convened in Beijing in September for their twenty-seventh biennial World Assembly to discuss challenges confronting the world’s general aviation community.
“We are here to ensure that the voice of general aviation is heard in each of our 73 home countries, in vital international forums, and around the world,” IAOPA President Mark Baker told the delegates. “The challenges facing general aviation today are both local and global in nature, including the rising cost of flying, a looming pilot shortage, access to airspace and protecting our airports. As we address each of these challenges, we must remember that one size does not fit all.”
The assembly also served to highlight China’s burgeoning general aviation community, while sharing experiences and guidance with Chinese officials on how to accelerate the growth of GA.
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Secretary General Raymond Benjamin greeted assembly delegates via video-link, and recognized the importance of IAOPA in representing GA on the world stage.
In his address, Benjamin stressed that while there have been many accomplishments in GA, many challenges remain. Those include improved pilot training and determining the proportionate level of regulation.
The twenty-seventh World Assembly was also held in conjunction with the 2014 AOPA China Low Altitude Summit, which addressed items of importance to GA development in China. Those topics included the global trend of GA development, development of community airports, urbanization of China and around the globe, flight training and aviation safety, and the impact of regulation on GA.
The World Assembly itself produced a series of 15 resolutions to guide IAOPA and its affiliates in the future, including efforts to urge regulators to eliminate charges for touch-and-go operations and also to explore medical reform efforts similar to those proposed in the United States. A further resolution urged communities, states, and regional and administrative authorities to ensure that communities have access to GA aerodromes and promoting the development of GA in China.
“We have addressed issues and passed resolutions that will affect the way we fly for years to come,” Baker said during his closing remarks at the World Assembly. “But most important, we have exemplified the spirit of community and collaboration that has served general aviation so well for the past century and will continue to serve us as we address the challenges of the future.”
The full text of all IAOPA World Assembly resolutions may be found at www.iaopa.org