Czech Republic Ambassador Petr Gandalovič asked AOPA to organize the meeting, and their delegation consisted of more than 30 individuals including Gandalovič; Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Bělobrádek; and officials from the Czech Republic’s Economic Committee, the Czech Chamber of Commerce, the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, and other representatives of industry and academia.
Marke “Hoot” Gibson, the FAA’s senior advisor on UAS integration, and AOPA Senior Director of UAS Programs Kat Swain, each gave presentations and led discussions.
Jiri Marousek, AOPA senior vice president for marketing, was raised in the Czech Republic and took part in the discussions. “From light-sport to larger aircraft, the Czech Republic has a strong aviation heritage,” he said.
Gandalovič spoke about the potential for growth in the Czech Republic from both manned and unmanned aircraft.
“Like our American counterparts, we are looking forward to creating an environment that will ensure commercial growth, the exceptional innovation in the drone industry as well as the continued safety and growth in the existing manned aircraft operations globally,” said Gandalovič.
According to the Light Aircraft Association of the Czech Republic, the nation’s aviation industry declined following the collapse of the U.S.S.R., but growth in sport aviation has brought it back in recent years. Additionally, GE recently announced it will expand its existing turboprop manufacturing facilities in Prague into a “center of excellence” that will open in 2020.