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Aviation in spotlight at Massachusetts StatehouseAviation in spotlight at Massachusetts Statehouse

Aviation took the spotlight recently at the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston for an “On The Hill” Advocacy Day hosted by the Massachusetts Airport Management Association, and AOPA was on hand.

The May 16 event that included the celebration of a Massachusetts school winning an international design competition, and an address by the regional president of an unmanned aeronautical systems organization, drew a record number of state lawmakers, said AOPA Eastern Regional Manager Sean Collins, who attended the session.

“AOPA supports state advocacy days across the country to promote and protect airports and local aviation industries,” he said. “The annual event serves as a regular opportunity to connect with legislators, state Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack, and the MassDOT aeronautics staff—the people who put aviation on the map in their states.”

The Massachusetts Airport Management Association presented awards to supporters of aviation in Massachusetts, and honored the Andover Blueprints, a design team from the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, for being named the international champions of the Real World Design Challenge 2017.

The annual competition provides students from grades nine through 12 the opportunity to work on real-world engineering challenges facing leading industries, devising their solutions in a team environment, and presenting their findings.

With world population growth expected to generate demand to produce 70 percent more food by the year 2050, the Andover team addressed the challenge of designing “an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and associated unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that is a multipurpose tool for the farmer.” The challenge included developing a theory for operation and a business plan for commercial operation of the system.

Also from the unmanned-aircraft sector was the event’s luncheon speaker, Waseem Naqvi, president of the New England Chapter of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

The New England chapter was named AUVSI’s chapter of the year at the UAS industry Xponential 2017 trade show in Dallas, Texas.

Collins also testified at a Joint Revenue Committee hearing for S.1560, a bill that proposes to shift from sales tax to a carbon-offset surcharge/transportation fuel tax.

“Massachusetts allocates all revenues from taxes on aviation fuels back to the state Aeronautics Division for airports and aviation programs," he said. "AOPA believes that process should remain intact.”

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: State Legislation

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