Mark Rosenker, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, spoke on April 14 at the Wichita Aero Club‘s monthly luncheon. In animated and upbeat fashion, Rosenker told the audience that the general aviation is a vital piece of the nation’s economic puzzle, according to a Wichita Journal report of the speech.
But in a dose of reality, Rosenker’s speech came only hours before Hawker Beechcraft announced a new round of layoffs in the coming weeks. Rosenker acknowledged that reality but implored those in the audience to fight through it.
“We are going through some very, very challenging times,” Rosenker said, stating that experience has taught him that challenging times must be met head on. “We saw recessions, economic downturns, cycles,” he said, “but it is an amazing tribute to America [that] when we come back, we come back stronger, and I believe that is going to happen in this industry.” He said the key is to begin changing the negative attention the industry has gotten in the past six months.
“I’m fully aware that your industry has been getting, and I’ll be polite here, beaten up,” Rosenker said. “Unfortunately the message is not getting out. You need to do something about those people who don’t get it.”
The economy and reputation were two of the subjects Rosenker focused on. The third was safety, a topic he has dealt with for much of his career. Rosenker is a retired U.S. Air Force general, with more than 37 years in active and reserve service. He was nominated in 2006 by President Bush to be chairman of the NTSB. He was Director of the White House Military Office and a Deputy Assistant to the President prior to that appointment.