The FAA needs to reform its regulatory and certification processes, including allowing more pilots to fly without going through the third class medical process and making it easier to bring safety technology into the cockpit, AOPA told a House Aviation Subcommittee roundtable on Feb. 25.
In remarks to the roundtable, AOPA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Jim Coon pointed out that the general aviation industry has been under stress as the number of pilots has declined and the fleet has aged. But, he said, that trend can be reversed by creating an environment that supports growth and modernization.
“The general aviation community needs a regulatory and certification environment that can keep pace with rapidly changing technology,” Coon said, adding that the current processes are too prescriptive and cumbersome.
Coon also told the group that the general aviation community needs third class medical reform, which seeks to build on the sport pilot standard that has been used successfully for more than a decade.
He emphasized that the FAA needs long-term reauthorization to ensure it has the stable funding to make necessary changes to the way the agency does business. That funding should continue to come from excise taxes on aviation fuel, as it does today, rather than from user fees, Coon said.
During discussions, Coon also addressed the high cost of equipping to meet the FAA’s 2020 Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out mandate. Coon noted that the mandate requires aircraft owners to spend thousands of dollars simply to be allowed to continue flying in the same airspace they use today.
In addition to AOPA, the roundtable included representatives from the Department of Transportation Inspector General’s office, Airlines for America, Honeywell, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, and the Reason Foundation.