More than 50 people attended, and the speakers discussed safety as well as general aviation's many contributions to the community. The local paper, Newsday, also reported on the event.
“Folks here are the choir and we need you to engage with your local community,” said Perry.
Michael F. Canders, the Farmingdale State College Aviation Center director, introduced Perry and discussed their shared past in naval aviation.
Perry spoke about GA safety trends, the recent local accidents, what is being done to make GA even safer, and GA’s many social and economic contributions. He also discussed how AOPA is working with the FAA on Part 23 reform and other efforts to allow pilots to install proven safety equipment in their aircraft.
“The FAA realizes that and they’re trying to work with manufacturers, with the associations, to come up with ways that we can bring modern, safety-enhancing equipment into the cockpits of general aviation airplanes,” said Perry.
Perry also talked about how GA is an “economic engine” for Long Island and cited studies showing that GA contributes 37,800 jobs to New York’s economy and that the local Republic Airport (KFRG) is responsible for 1,384 jobs.
Eileen Minogue, the executive director of Patient Airlift Services, which is based on Long Island, spoke about how GA helps those in need.
Minogue said Patient Airlift Services is focused on connecting pilots with patients in need. Most missions are medical flights, but they also serve the community, especially veterans, in a variety of other ways. That evening Patient Airlift Services flew a group of veterans from Westchester County White Plains Airport (KHPN) to a Chicago Cubs game as part of a morale-boosting trip. Perry has also flown a number of Patient Airlift Services missions helping veterans and their families.
“We really try to be there for the veterans and have an impact,” said Minogue. “I see the impact every day of what general aviation does.”