GAMA Runs The New Show
Members of the General Aviation Coalition (GAC) met with FAA
Administrator Marion Blakey and her senior management team last
Wednesday, the final coalition gathering with FAA to be chaired by
EAA and EAA President Tom Poberezny. That brings to a close EAA's
nearly two years at the helm of the GAC.
"It's been a challenging two years in the post-9/11
environment," Poberezny said. "Much of our tenure as chair was
spent dealing with security and security-related issues, which is a
significant departure from the traditional work of the coalition.
We doubled our efforts by developing relationships with the
Transportation Security Administration, establishing periodic
meetings with TSA as well as continuing our relationship with FAA.
We're pleased to be able to provide input to the people making
security-related decisions that directly affect general
EAA will chair a final Coalition meeting under its watch with
the Transportation Security Administration later this month.
A number of topics were on the table Wednesday. They included
airport access and restrictions; pilot certificate actions and
violations for restricted airspace incursions; recently released
general aviation accident rate statistics; and several other
ADIZ And TFR Certificate Actions And Violations
Poberezny led a discussion about pilots who have made TFR and
ADIZ incursions and what happens to them from a penalty standpoint.
The coalition advocates a uniform policy with flexibility in the
enforcement process to allow for remedial action, counseling, or
amnesty in cases of inadvertent incursions.
FAA figures show nearly 2,800 violations of various restricted
airspace areas since 9/11, half of which occurred in the Washington
area alone (ADIZ, Camp David). Other high-frequency violation areas
include Crawford (TX), Kennebunkport (ME), and TFRs issued for
Even though increased certificate action required for TFR
incursions strains FAA resources, other agencies weigh heavily into
decision making regarding security enforcement policy. The security
agencies (Secret Service, Department of Defense, Department of
Homeland Security) are not keen on flexibility. Early on, in fact,
the Secret Service took the position that airspace incursions
should be criminal violations that could carry prison
FAA indicated they would explore the potential for a revised
GA Accident Rate
While the total number of general
aviation accidents continues a general downward trend, the number
of fatal accidents and consequent fatalities increased over the
last year, especially in the areas of personal and instructional
flight. One area-amateur-built aircraft-experienced a significant
drop in fatalities, which drew praise from the FAA.
The amateur-built aircraft operational safety record continued
to improve dramatically with a more than 30 percent decrease in the
number of fatal accidents compared to the year before. Nick
Sabatini said he was concerned in the uptick in GA fatalities and
pointed to EAA's Flight Advisor and Technical Counselor programs as
having a significant positive impact on the safety record of
amateur built aircraft operations. Given EAA and its successful
safety and education programs in the homebuilt arena, Sabatini
challenged the other coalition members to come up with programs of
their own to reduce the incidence of fatal accidents.
Airport Access And Restrictions
Several coalition members gave
presentations on airport access and the ever-increasing tendency of
local governments to impose unreasonable requirements and
restrictions on general aviation operations. The Coalition praised
the work of the FAA in upholding airport grant assurances and
assisting the GA community in preserving airports and their full
use. The success rate to ensure access and reduce restrictions runs
the gamut from Chicago's Meigs Field on the low end to, more
recently, successful defense of St. Petersburg, Florida's Albert
FAA views protecting airports as a high priority moving forward,
and language is currently included in the FAA reauthorization bill
that will give the FAA additional teeth to better help preserve GA
airports in the future.
NPRM For Air Tour Operators
Coalition members were briefed on the recently issued NPRM
regulating Air Tour owners and operators, but no discussion could
be legally held on the subject since the rule is in the comments
stage and all input must made to the docket. EAA and a large number
of the Coalition members have strong reservations about the rule,
which will likely be reflected in their individual comments to the
Steve Wallace, Director of the FAA's
Accident Investigative Branch, was named FAA co-chair of the
General Aviation Joint Safety Committee to replace Mike Gallagher
who is retiring. Bruce Landsberg, Executive Director of the AOPA
Air Safety Foundation, was nominated to replace Jack Olcott in the
industry co-chair position.
The GA Coalition chairmanship will transfer to the General
Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) at the end of this year.
GAMA President Ed Bolen will be the new coalition chairman.