Cessna CEO Preaches To The Choir ... The Aero Club Of D.C.
Jack J. Pelton, chairman, president and CEO of Cessna Aircraft
Company, said Monday all aviation stakeholders must work together
to ensure the health of the industry. Pelton made the remarks at
the monthly luncheon meeting of the Aero Club of Washington
He said the negative rhetoric around the general aviation
industry has died down thanks to the combined efforts of the GA
stakeholders. "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 represents general aviation on the
In his remarks, Pelton sited three key issues that will most
impact the aviation industry: the pilot population, environmental
concerns and the Next Generation Air Transportation System.
The FAA expects the number of student pilots nationwide to fall
to a 10-year low of about 69,000 next year. That will equate to a
nearly 30 percent decrease during the first decade of the 21st
century. "This is a problem for all of us in aviation, and all of
us should be part of the solution," Pelton told the group of
aviation industry leaders. "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,"
he said. "We need legislation that fosters and stimulates our
industry," he added.
On the environment, Pelton said aviation has established an
outstanding track record in reducing its environmental impact. "The
market demands efficiency. And with greater fuel efficiency comes
reduced emissions. Still, we recognize there is much more we must
do," he said. "The philosophy of the Lindbergh Foundation has it
right - we must pursue policies and practices that balance progress
and technology with environmental sensitivity," he said.
Pelton said the same considerations need to be made as the
government revamps the national airspace and develops the next
generation air traffic management system, commonly called NextGen,
although he is encouraged by the level of cooperation between
industry and government in early stages.
"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," said Pelton. "That is the only way to truly ensure the
safety, efficiency, and economic and environmental benefits we are
all counting on from NextGen."