The work of major aviation advocacy organizations — the so-called “alphabet groups,” including the NBAA, NATA, AOPA and others — is well understood by the public and the aviation community. What is too often overlooked, however, is the underlying role that local aviation associations play in countering a variety of more local threats and challenges, from keeping airports open to organizing opposition to restrictive issues like user fees and oppressive taxation.
Living through the fear, distrust, and implicit threats of the Cold War, aviation professionals on either side of the Iron Curtain likely could never, in their wildest imaginings, have conjured a time when Boeing Aircraft would operate a design office in Moscow. Or, along with arch-rival Airbus, would market jetliners to new private-sector Russian airlines. Or – even more implausible – that Western corporate executives and employees would travel freely within “Mother Russia” in business jets built in the United States, Canada, Europe and South America.
“If we knew what we were doing, we wouldn’t call it research, would we?” — Albert Einstein
Vicki Cox, senior vice president and supervisor of the FAA’s NextGen program, likes to cite the iconic physicist’s famous quote when discussing the challenges implicit in bringing her agency’s ambitious ATC automation plan to reality.
A “perfect storm” of challenges to business aircraft ownership — whether whole or fractional — is brewing in Washington, D.C., and beyond with potential far-reaching impact not only on aircraft ownership but the managed-aircraft charter business model.
The December 2008 release of the Brazilian accident investigation report for the 2006 inflight collision of a Gol Linhas Aéreas Boeing 737-800 and an Embraer Legacy 600 business jet over the Amazon sent a disquieting tsunami across the international aviation community.
It was no coincidence that the keynote address at the G-20 meeting of representatives of the world’s largest economies in Washington, D.C., last November was delivered by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.