are almost as many reasons for coming to EAA AirVenture as there are
attendees. Getting up close and personal with many different aircraft
types is one reason; establishing new relationships with like-minded
people and renewing old ones is another. Then there’s shopping, tire
kicking, the daily air show, how-to seminars and many, many more
opportunities to learn about and share this “thing” called aviation.
AirVenture is also an excellent place for
general aviation organizations to meet and discuss their mutual
interests and concerns in a much more relaxed and informal setting than
is often possible. And that opportunity means some real progress might
be made this week on several of the government-related issues EAA and
others are working. Meeting behind the scenes in various venues
throughout the week will be numerous
officials with EAA, the FAA, TSA, Customs
and Border Protection, and other federal agencies, plus representatives
from throughout general aviation’s alphabet soup of organizations, who
are here to help shape current and future industry policies and
The quest for alternatives to 100LL avgas serves as one example.
When the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) earlier this year reminded us it was looking at whether
100LL should be banned due to its lead content, EAA and others began
earnestly pursuing solutions.
While most observers have known for years
100LL’s days were numbered, the EPA’s recent public statement—including
a request for additional information on both the fuel’s environmental
impact and workable alternatives—signaled to staff at EAA and other
general aviation organizations the need to redouble their efforts to
find the right solution from among efforts already underway.
Those efforts continue this week, with
one focus ensuring the FAA plays a major role in developing
Security & GA’s freedom to fly
Another area in which government policy toward general aviation will
be the discussion topic is airport security.
On Monday, for example, the U.S.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) plans to make a major
announcement at AirVenture regarding a new airport security awareness
effort. Additional details on the TSA’s new program are expected at
that time and will be discussed in greater detail during the week as EAA
staff and agency personnel meet informally.
Similarly, a TSA sister agency—U.S.
Customs and Border Protection—is again attending AirVenture to help
EAA and its membership better understand border-crossing procedures.
Ensuring GA flying’s tomorrows
Of course, aviation safety is always a topic of keen interest to EAA
and the FAA. In addition to updating each other on their latest
safety-related concerns, the two organizations will continue their
ongoing discussions regarding the light-sport aircraft industry’s
impact, plus how to ensure the continued safe operations of experimental
and amateur-built aircraft of all shapes and sizes.
As part of that effort, FAA Administrator
Randy Babbitt and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood also will
attend, with both planning to be on the grounds for extended visits.
With these and many other issues serving
as topics for discussion among EAA, its members, other aviation
organizations, and various federal agencies during the coming week,
AirVenture promises to be both informative and productive.
Just as the week will inform, educate,
stimulate, and reinvigorate attendees on general aviation’s latest and
greatest, those involved with improving the safety, security, and
flexibility of experimental and general aviation will have plenty to
keep them busy.
It promises to be a productive week.