General Aviation is Vital

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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