Shipments rose in 2017
GAMA’s Bunce moving an aggressive agenda
Legislative and Regulatory Gains
Once a “subsidiary” of AIA, the General Aviation Manufacturers grew to become a formal association, it assumed the quiet, but effective style of its 1971 leader, Ed Stimpson. When he retired in
1976 (soon to become the US Ambassador to ICAO), his successor, Ed Bolen, followed in his footsteps and emulated his mentor’s approach to running GAMA. That period was notable for the passage of the historic General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994 and initiating the “Be a Pilot” program.
In April 2005, Pete Bunce assumed the job of leading this group. He maintained and expanded the technical competence of his organization, but true to his fighter pilot training, he took his team into more of an attack mode.
Proof of this more aggressive approach is found in the history of the Part 23 Revitalization. It is fair to say that the GAMA staff created the distinction between prescription and performance; moreover, it is clear that this association’s press releases, Hill pressure and technical support were THE REASONS for its eventual promulgation.
The 2018 State of the Industry Press Conference was further evidence of the new GAMA aura. First and symbolism matters, this event was held at the Knight Studio at the Newseum on Pennsylvania Ave. near the Capitol. The presentation included an impressive video featuring the workforce of the GA manufacturers (see collage shown on the cover of this post.
Second, good news about US jobs matter greatly in Washington. Phil Straub, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Garmin Aviation, announced that airplane shipments globally increased 2.5 percent from 2,268 units in 2016 to 2,324 units in 2017 from the same reporting companies. Conversely, airplane billings declined 4.2 percent, from $21.1 billion to $20.2 billion. Worldwide rotorcraft shipments rose 7.5 percent from 861 units in 2016 to 926 units in 2017. Rotorcraft billings increased by 1.4 percent, from 3.6 billion in 2016 to 3.7 billion in 2017. Bunce underlined the message, “The news is good this year. I am very bullish on where the industry is going right now.”
The GAMA President then led a wide ranging discussion of the numbers and the dialogue, as aptly captured by Kerry Lynch in AinOnline:
- “Bunce sees a different dynamic playing into this improving training market for both fixed-wing aircraft and rotorcraft. ‘We know that pilot wages are coming up because there is a very strong demand for pilots, and no one sees that abating any time soon,’ he said. With a rapid improvement in wages, the training market now has a need to build up fleets…”
- “…the GAMA chief also cautioned that pitfalls still may lie ahead for the industry. Chief among them, he said, is the continued push to carve the S. air traffic control organization out the FAA and create an independent, user-funded organization controlled by an appointed board. ‘We absolutely have got to beat that back. [This] would be very debilitating not only for our industry, but overall would be terrible for all of aviation,’ he said.”
- “Another concern is the ‘bandwidth within the FAA’ to keep up with an increasing list of responsibilities, including the regulation of unmanned and urban mobility vehicles. The FAA will need to address how to fold them into the airspace and develop operational rules. ‘It’s going to happen,’ he said of these markets, but added the FAA will need the resources to facilitate these initiatives. Bunce suggested that the aviation community, working with government, should develop means for new users to contribute to the system to provide the necessary resources. This would pave the way for such additions to the airspace, he said, expressing concern that otherwise, the technologies will be ready long before the operational rules.”
- “On the certification side, Bunce is more optimistic, saying the new Part 23 is providing a means for certification of such new technologies. And he added that he is ‘absolutely convinced we are already seeing benefits’ of the rewrite with new safety technologies coming on the market.”
- “However, Congress still needs to push through with certification reforms to help on the Part 25 side, he said. This includes increased access to organization designation authorization (ODA). Companies invested heavily to transition to the ODA system, but the benefits have yet to be fully realized, he said.”
- “ADS-B equipage remains a concern for GAMA, and Bunce said he believes aircraft will be left grounded when the 2020 deadline rolls around because owners don’t book their slots early enough. The capacity is still there, but it is slowing down, he said.”
and one comment on ADS-B in the second AinOnline article
- “More than 50,000 of the anticipated 100,000 aircraft in the U.S. that will need to comply with the 2020 ADS-B equipage mandate have now installed systems, but shop availability has already begun to tighten for the remaining aircraft, manufacturer executives agreed. Of those equipping in the business and general aviation segment, smaller aircraft—pistons and turboprops—are leading the way with nearly half already equipped, while business jets are still only in the 20 percent range, Wipaire president Chuck Wiplinger reported during the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s State of the Industry event yesterday. The rotorcraft segment, meanwhile, is lagging even further behind, with only 10 to 15 percent equipped.”
CONGRATULATIONS to GAMA on an exceptional year and to the new position of GAMA within the Washington Aviation Associations’ firmament.
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