The FAA delegation included John Allen, director of FAA Flight Standards Service; Dorenda Baker, director of Aircraft Certification; and Kim Smith, manager of FAA’s Small Airplane Directorate.
“Having these three top FAA officials in one place for nearly two days of discussions on important aviation issues is unheard of in Washington, or anywhere else for that matter,” said Earl Lawrence, EAA’s vice president of industry and regulatory affairs. “It speaks well of EAA’s ability to work with FAA to welcome these policymakers to Oshkosh for the annual winter summit and again each summer during AirVenture.”
EAA Founder Paul Poberezny attended both days of meetings at the EAA Aviation Center, lending his nearly 60 years of experience with federal aviation officials to the discussions, as well as during informal conversation over dinner on Monday evening. EAA staff from advocacy, vintage, warbirds, aerobatic and flight instruction communities also participated in the extensive sessions.
A “to-do” list of key issues was established, with action and progress update deadlines ranging from just a few weeks to EAA AirVenture 2010 in July. . Among some of leading topics were:
Joint education measures for amateur-built pilots and those building aircraft, in an effort to reduce the overall accident rate;
Further progress in the Vintage Designated Engineering Representative (VDER) program, which will allow greater flexibility to maintaining vintage aircraft types;
During the meeting, some solutions emerged that will benefit large segments of the general aviation community as well as specific policy areas that affect unique GA communities that are part of EAA. Some of that progress included:
• FAA directed action on updated log book endorsement language recommended by EAA’s affiliate, the National Instructors. After hearing that the proposal had been languishing for several months, FAA officials called back to Washington to get immediate action.
• Adding information on EAA safety programs in FAA Safety magazine, the re-launched publication formerly known as FAA Aviation News;
• Agreement to move forward publishing acceptance of the newer epoxy-based adhesives in type-certificated wooden aircraft structures without individual field approvals, instead of only the currently allowed casein and Resorcinal glues.
“The beauty of this summit is that EAA and FAA can work on specific, focused issues that are crucial to EAA members and find results,” Lawrence said. “It is an opportunity for direct contact with policymakers that simply is not possible at any other time of year.”
The FAA’s Allen said the EAA Summit is an essential gathering to identify issues and gather data and will become even more critical as federal resources are limited in future budgets. It is a direct way to create solutions and find better ways to communicate with aircraft owners, builders and pilots, as well as have solid data to take back to lawmakers in support of aviation.
“We talk to a lot of people (on Capitol Hill) who know nothing about general aviation,” Allen said in asking for good data from EAA and other aviation groups to make aviation’s case in Congress. “They are asking us how we are performing and what difference we are making.”This summit does already make a difference, according to Lawrence.
“The action items that are established here are the game plan for the next several months,” he said. “The Summit gives a clear picture of what needs to be done and where we need to go to reduce the barriers, so EAA members can enjoy aviation and introduce it to even more people.”
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