April 28, 2011
Experts and leaders from the aviation industry gathered for the tenth annual Aviation Summit at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., April 27. AOPA President Craig Fuller moderated a panel, “The state of airports: What is needed and how it can be achieved,” and demonstrated general aviation in action with a flight simulator.
“This event is a wonderful opportunity to bring a cross section of business and aviation leaders together,” Fuller said of the summit. “It’s a chance to talk to a broad audience about the issues affecting all segments of aviation, and having a simulator on hand gives participants a taste of the fun of flying as well.”
AOPA helped sponsor the event, which was designed to “explore the pressing need to improve our aging aviation infrastructure, the need to invest in innovative technologies, and the debilitating impact of burdensome and expensive government regulations,” according to the National Chamber Foundation website. The summit included sessions on improving the U.S. aviation infrastructure, the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), the challenges and possibilities of commercial air travel, aviation’s impact on alternative fuels, and security.
During the panel discussion about airports, Fuller noted that the more than 19,000 airports, including 5,000-plus public-use facilities, are critical pieces of the U.S. transportation infrastructure.
In addition to Fuller, National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen and Cessna Aircraft Co. President Jack Pelton represented GA and spoke at the event. Pelton joined airline CEOs in calling for greater leadership from President Barack Obama in the aviation industry on a panel discussing commercial air travel, according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce writer Sheryll Poe. Bolen moderated a talk with FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt on the next steps for NextGen. NextGen has been a key issue of FAA reauthorization, and Fuller testified before Congress on the subject in February.
“General aviation is an important segment of our national transportation network, and no aviation summit would be complete without the GA perspective,” said Fuller. “By bringing the concerns of the general aviation community to a forum like this one, we are able to further understanding of the issues that affect how we fly now and far into the future.”