Bright skies ahead

Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, is an expert on Light Sport Aircraft.

Breath a sigh of relief — 2010 has ended and nearly everyone in the business of aviation is offering prayers for a better 2011.

As everyone on the planet knows, it has been an exceedingly tough couple of years. Any upward movement would be welcome and positive signs are easily unearthed in conversation with experts. Nonetheless, despite some hope stemming from the November elections, caution reigns supreme. As with flying airplanes, business caution may be prudent but it can stifle the risk-taking essential to growth.

Results tallied from the LSA community via new aircraft registrations shows business was down a tiny amount in 2010, with about 4% less registrations than 2009, a year that was off 42% from 2008. All wish for a return to the halcyon days of 2006 and 2007, but the 2009 and 2010 results were better than those sustained by members of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association…if that is any consolation. Truly, the pain is felt throughout the aviation spectrum.

While stormy clouds slowly subside, the optimistic nature of pilots is heard loud and clear. After all, pilots do take risk. Educators have taught us that risk is about management, not elimination. To fly we must accept some elements of risk. To succeed in the business of aircraft manufacturing, risk is also required. Managing that risk with good quality programs and appropriate certification standards powered by modest prices and global appeal, the LSA community appears poised to succeed swiftly when economic conditions improve. Clear and obvious statements to that effect recently heard from the very top leaders in aviation suggests bright skies ahead.

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  1. CMac says

    Dan, if auto gas prices go up to the expected $5 per gallon by this summer and av gas follows suit, I’m afraid 2011 could be another tough year for GA.

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