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Sat, May 02, 2009

Former FAA Admin Says Innovation Will Cure Global Aviation Ills

'Innovation Will Lead the Way Out of Economic Doldrums'

The global aviation industry must rely on technological advances to address three of its most pressing challenges -- the worldwide economy, the environment and global air transportation system modernization, so says former FAA Administrator and current AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey, speaking to an audience at the Royal Aeronautical Society's Lindbergh Lecture, last Tuesday.

The industry should 'tap into the innovative strength shown by early pioneers to address the trials we face today and will face tomorrow,' Blakey said.

"When you mix the spirit of challenge with the spirit of innovation, you get the Spirit of St. Louis," Blakey said. "That same formula has worked over the years, and it will work today."

Blakey delivered the 18th installment of the prestigious lecture series, which dates back to 1990 and was previously known as the Guinness Peat Aviation Lectures. The series, which honors Charles Lindbergh and his first-ever transatlantic flight, showcases luminaries from the international aviation community addressing important issues of the day.

Aviation has been an economic workhorse that helped lead world economies out of lean times in the past, Blakey said. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the U.S. aviation industry actually grew as manufacturers rolled out the first practical passenger aircraft that allowed airlines to turn profits. Military aircraft also made great strides during this time.

"Technological innovations drove this strong economic performance back then, and they do the same today," Blakey said. "This is a fact governments all over the world should keep in mind when coming up with plans to get their economies back on their feet."

The lecture also detailed aviation manufacturers' strong record of environmental improvement, and the entire international aviation industry's commitment to make further environmental gains. Another point was the importance of the development and implementation of air transportation systems based on Automatic Dependant Surveillance-Broadcast technology. In the U.S. the technology is the backbone of the NextGen system, and in Europe it is the key to SESAR's success. Blakey said these two systems must be seamlessly interoperable to set the standard for the rest of the world.

FMI: www.aia-aerospace.org

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