Jack Pelton, chairman, president and CEO of Cessna Aircraft Co., spoke Monday to the Aero Club of Washington, D.C.
Among the topics Pelton hit upon was a lack of new pilots.
The U.S. FAA expects the number of student pilots to fall to a 10-year low next year.
“This is a problem for all of us in aviation, and all of us should be part of the solution,” Pelton said in his remarks, according to a news release from Cessna. “Fewer pilots equate to less business for all of us, and it threatens the strong, sustainable aviation system our nation counts on. Gone are the days when the military was producing all the pilots the airlines could absorb, or when a broader GI Bill funded expansive flight training for veterans returning to civilian life. We need legislation that fosters and stimulates our industry.”
Pelton also told the gathering that he feels the negative rhetoric surrounding general aviation has waned, thanks to what he said were the combined efforts of industry leaders.
“This cooperation we’ve experienced in general aviation must span all areas of aviation,” he said, “and the Future of Aviation Advisory Committee launched by DOT Secretary La Hood is an excellent start.”
Pelton in May was chosen to represent general aviation on the committee.
Pelton said cooperation also will help create gains in the environmental concerns surrounding general aviation.
In April, Pelton was named the winner of the Lindbergh Foundation’s 2010 Lindberg Award for his ongoing efforts to reduce the general aviation industry’s environmental impact.
“The market demands efficiency. And with greater fuel efficiency comes reduced emissions,” he said. “Still, we recognize there is much more we must do. The philosophy of the Lindbergh Foundation has it right — we must pursue policies and practices that balance progress and technology with environmental sensitivity.”
Pelton told the gathering of aviation leaders Monday that cooperation also is key in implementing the Next Generation Air Transportation System.
“It’s encouraging to see this type of cooperation, and I hope it will continue as we look to deploy components of the NextGen program,” Pelton said. “That is the only way to truly ensure the safety, efficiency, and economic and environmental benefits we are all counting on from NextGen.”