On AeroShell Square on Friday afternoon (July 31), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) hosted a press conference to tell business aviation’s story. Instead of GAMA president Pete Bunce defending the business use of aircraft, he invited several business operators to share their stories first hand.
Of the six operators to take the stage, Shye Gilad, president and CEO of ProJet Aviation was, in my opinion, the most eloquent and most forceful of the lot. I asked Shye to send his speech so I could share it with all of you. It is pasted in below. Please consider forwarding this to your local media outlets and your elected members of Congress.
The American government has spent a lot of time and money trying to stimulate the economy and create jobs. In fact, as American taxpayers we have spent more than a trillion dollars to try to save our economy, with a goal of creating 3.5 million jobs over the next two years.
So you have to wonder – what was Representative [Gary] Ackerman (N.Y.) thinking when he chastised auto executives for flying the company’s private jet to Washington? Why did Brad Sherman, a Representative from California – a state that will need to borrow 8-10 billion dollars to get through this year alone, feel compelled to join him? The truly delicious irony here is that these two congressmen thought nothing of demonizing an industry that generates over 1.2 million high-paying American jobs, when in fact their irresponsible actions led to immediate job losses at the very companies they were supposedly trying to save.
an employer, taxpayer, and aviator, I find the lack of leadership displayed by these two representatives as appalling as it is astonishing. Their self-indulgent whimsy kicked-off a shameless, misguided attack on an industry that contributes over 150 billion dollars to the US economy each year. That is why I came here today from DC to Oshkosh in this Piaggio Avanti II – to set the record straight.
I could have flown on the airlines – although that would have required almost a full day of travel, since Oshkosh is one of the more than 5,000 airports in this country without scheduled air service. I suppose I could have driven here, so as not to offend any other elected officials who might be paying attention. But instead I traveled on this quick and efficient Piaggio Avanti II – an aircraft that is a viable business solution for many American companies.
This aircraft is owned by an incredible businesswoman; an entrepreneur who employs hundreds of US workers, gives millions of dollars and countless hours of service to philanthropic pursuits around the globe.
My company, ProJet Aviation is a US Air Carrier and Aircraft Management firm, and we charter this Avanti II and other aircraft worldwide. By making the aircraft available for charter – the owner maximizes the utilization of the aircraft and makes it available to the general public for business travel, medical missions, and other valuable uses.
The Avanti II is an excellent example of the value of business aviation. Truly a green machine – the Piaggio combines the speed and serenity of a jet with the low operating costs and efficiencies of a turboprop. The cabin is significantly larger and quieter than any aircraft in its class – which makes for an ideal workspace and high productivity in flight.
The majority of transportation in business aircraft is conduct by mid-level managers and sales teams who leverage the efficiency, safety, and security of private aviation to keep their companies running, their shareholders profitable, and their employees employed. Besides the businesses that use aircraft as a mobile office and boardroom, air charter missions include: direct support of the US military and intelligence efforts in protecting our nation, including troop transport, transportation of doctors, patients, and organs for time-critical missions, transportation of relief workers and humanitarian aid, and many other missions that would be difficult or impossible to otherwise conduct.
Business Aircraft are not simply a luxurious means of replacing an airline flight, train-ride, or other means of travel. They are time machines; capable of helping ordinary people accomplish extraordinary things because of how they transform the way we use time. The efficiencies enabled by the use of private aircraft give the American companies who use them a critical competitive edge in the global marketplace – and the technologies developed through aviation and aerospace have improved the quality of life for the thousands of Americans that benefit from aviation jobs and innovations.
ProJet Aviation exists for a simple purpose: to find new ways to add value to life through the wonder of flight. Perhaps nothing captures the wonder of flight more than Experimental Aircraft Association and its incredibly rich history that is chronicled in the beautiful EAA museum. As a second-generation pilot who is married to a pilot, it has been an honor to play a small part in this gathering of aviators, young eagles, and aviation advocates. On behalf of ProJet Aviation, I would like to thank GAMA, Piaggio America, and our fellow aviation enthusiasts for allowing us to contribute to what is truly an American legend – AirVenture at Oshkosh.