On Tuesday, Oct. 15, the heads of four of general aviation’s biggest associations called on President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to quickly restore critical FAA safety programs whose shutdown is threatening substantial economic harm to the entire industry.
In a letter to the three leaders, Helicopter Association International (HAI) President Matt Zuccaro, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) President Mark Baker, Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chairman Jack Pelton, and National Air Transportation Association (NATA) President Tom Hendricks wrote that the general aviation (GA) industry “is grinding to a halt, and the ability to maintain a safe, operationally efficient and economically viable general aviation industry is in serious peril.”
“Each day that this political gridlock in our nation’s capitol continues is another day closer to the shutdown of General Aviation as we know it,” Zuccaro said. “It is imperative that HAI members contact your elected officials via e-mail or phone and express the very real issues you are facing.”
The industry leaders noted that the absence of principal operations inspectors and principal maintenance inspectors means that few, if any, safety checks or oversight surveillance visits are currently being conducted. Aircraft operators are unable to process changes to their operations manuals. Pilots and maintenance technicians are unable to take written or practical tests. And aircraft awaiting field approvals (Form 337) or supplemental type certificates (STC) sit idle and unable to return to service because of the inability to obtain FAA inspections and approvals.
“We hope that you will strongly consider the aviation safety, operational and economic implications should the furloughing of FAA personnel continue,” they concluded. “Please take whatever steps are necessary to resolve this situation and prevent further calamity within the general aviation sector.”