Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) President Mark Baker reinforced his message that medical and certification reform are critical to the future of general aviation during a U.S. House of Representatives Aviation Subcommittee roundtable held April 30.
Baker told the panel that GA needs support from Congress in order to grow — support in the form of passage of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2, which includes third-class medical reform — as well as regulatory changes that will make it easier and less expensive to produce smarter aircraft and install modern safety equipment in legacy aircraft.
He added that general aviation has made “great strides in terms of safety in recent decades, and that continued safety improvements will come from additional education and technological advances, not from government regulation or oversight.”
Baker also noted the educational efforts of the AOPA Air Safety Institute, which produces hundreds of free education and analysis products aimed at improving GA safety.
He also pointed to recent successful industry-government collaborations that have led to changes in the pilot certification process, efforts to reduce loss of control accidents, and regulations to help safety integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system.
Baker delivered similar testimony two days earlier at a U.S. Senate Aviation Subcommittee hearing on GA safety.
Both the roundtable and the hearing are part of the FAA reauthorization process, in which Congress will set long-term funding for the FAA.
In addition to Baker and subcommittee members, the roundtable included representatives of the NTSB, the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General’s office, the Regional Airline Association and of the Families of Continental Flight 3407.