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Deputy FAA Administrator Michael Huerta Sees 'Something Wonderful' In Wichita

Speaking To A Town Hall Meeting, Says GA Is 'Alive And Well'

In a keynote speech to a recent town hall meeting in Wichita, FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Huerta offered encouragement to workers at Cessna, calling Wichita "just the kind of place the President had in mind during the State of the Union address a few weeks ago."

Huerta had been invited to Wichita by Cessna CEO Jack Pelton, and he toured the Cessna plant as part of the visit. He stressed the value of aviation to the nation's economy, and said it wasn't all about airlines. "(W)hen I say aviation, there are a whole lot of people who think that’s only a wide-body with 400 passengers. We know that’s not exactly the case," Huerta said to Cessna employees following the tour. "The backbone of aviation is general aviation, and I am standing on home plate."

Huerta stressed the President's passage of tax incentives for the purchase of large capital items such as business aircraft as being one of the things that has helped boost the economy. "It’s an incentive for businesses to buy airplanes, which may be the most important business strategy you can have," he said. "It allows for investment in NextGen technologies, which are the gateway to the system of the future. The President said that it’s important to invest in things that fuel recovery. You are building many of those economic drivers right here."

He also talked about NextGen, and how the implementation of new avionics has already helped improve overall GA safety. " Fatal accidents involving certified aircraft not only are down, they’re down a lot. One particular cause bears mention: controlled flight into terrain is down by almost two-thirds over what it was in 2003. That’s because of the speed with which improved avionics have made their way into the GA fleet. Better cockpits really do help make better pilots. I’m pleased to say that’s a lot of hard work by your engineers and our aircraft certification experts that got it done."

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.cessna.com

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