What is the definition of general aviation? General Aviation (GA) is defined as all aviation other than military and scheduled commercial airlines.
How much does GA contribute to our economy?
- GA contributes more than $150 billion to the US economy annually and provides employment to more than 1.2 million people
- GA flies to more than 5,000 public airports but scheduled airlines serve less than 500
- GA is the primary training ground for most commercial airline pilots
- GA flies almost 25 million flight hours in the US, of which, two-thirds are flown for business purposes.
- Small business, the engine of the US economy, relies on GA to get work done.
But in 2013, general aviation piston-engine aircraft sales only grew 2.8% to 933 shipments. Still less than half the sales from 5 years ago. Where’s the recovery?
And, the US active pilot population continues to shrink. Since the early 1980’s, the private pilot population has declined. The past several years have seen a loss of 5,000-10,000 active pilots each year.
Federal and State policies and practices need to strengthen not hinder general aviation. We need more pro-GA legislation, such as, GAMA’s 2013 Small Airplane Revitalization Act, that was signed into law November 2013; we need approval of initiatives that increase and sustain GA pilots, like AOPA’s 3rd Class Medical Exemption; and we need legislative advocacy against GA user fees.
General Aviation is vital to the United States and our global economy. What GA initiative and/or groups will you support this year?
Reference: General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and Aircraft Owner’s and Pilot’s Association (AOPA) Advocacy.
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