WASHINGTON, D.C. — Each year representatives from the FAA and other nations gather for an international aviation safety conference. This year the meeting will be held in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of the nation’s capital.
The importance of the meetings is expressed by the FAA in its statement on this year’s meeting: “In a rapidly changing aviation industry, we can never be complacent.”
To ensure global aviation safety, the agency says it is important for nations to work “collaboratively and tirelessly” to improve ways to share safety-related data within and across governments, agencies, and industry.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta will lead the conference as keynote speaker.
The two-and-a-half-day conference — June 17 to 19 — will have talks and panels addressing a variety of themes, such as new aviation technologies, training, and the impact of a global aviation industry on safety regulation.
One of the most pressing subject at the moment is that of unmanned aircraft systems. Drones are forecast to rapidly increase in number. The panel will delve into the challenges of designing a regulatory system to ensure the airworthiness of a wide range of unmanned vehicles and how to protect public safety.
Another area to be explored is the implementation and integration of the Next Generation Air Transportation System, known as NextGen. FAA officials will moderate that session, which will focus on the airworthiness of new technologies and associated procedures. Panelists include officials from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), manufacturing and airlines.
Another significant session will deal with a change from the one-fits-all concept of rulemaking and regulations to a more balanced approach to the approval of aircraft based on the aircraft’s use in the spectrum of flight operations. It will also discuss what this might mean in risk management to the end user.
With the increase in international flying — particularly in business aircraft — a more standard approach to rulemaking and operations is considered by many to be important for ease of flying from one nation to another, as well as safety.
As this is written, representatives from the aviation industry or civil aviation authorities from 22 nations have signed up to participate, including Australia, the Russian Federation and Brazil.
In addition to government representatives, the conference welcomes participants from the general aviation industry. Officials from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) have said they will participate in the meetings. GAMA, which recently welcomed members from nations outside the United States, now has a European office.