“It is an exciting time for general aviation and as the industry continues to move toward implementing and embracing these new technologies, they will most certainly bring advancements to both aircraft performance and our environment,” said AOPA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Murray Huling. “Clearly, balancing the needs of the current fleet will be very important as new materials, designs, and fuel come online. The hundreds of thousands of aircraft in today’s general aviation fleet provide valuable services to communities across the country, and we must ensure that is not interrupted. We will continue to help the industry make the most of new technologies, and showcase the ways in which manufacturers are moving concepts to reality.”
The report cited several benefits that GA brings to society.
“Gasoline-powered, piston-engine aircraft perform critical societal functions, including medical airlifts, aerial firefighting, business transport, crop dusting, pilot training, and search and rescue,” according to the report. “They are also commonly used for personal and recreational flying, and are critical for meeting transportation needs in rural and remote regions.”
AOPA has long been a strong backer of emerging technologies and alternative fuels to help make aviation greener. Our efforts have centered on several key initiatives, which have resulted in significant accomplishments for aviation and the environment.
- Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative. AOPA continues to serve as a member of the PAFI Steering Group, an industry-government collaboration that is evaluating options for an unleaded avgas that can achieve fleet-wide approval. Congress has provided over $30 million to the PAFI program where testing and evaluation is taking place at private and public testing facilities across the country, including the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in New Jersey.
- Real-time special-use airspace notification. AOPA championed legislation to have real-time status of military operations areas and other types of special-use airspace pushed into the cockpits of aviators included in the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act. According to a MITRE Corp. report, this move could bring annual savings of $100 million in fuel costs and 90,000 hours in flight time, and a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions of 300 million kg.
- Urban air mobility/eVTOL. AOPA strongly supports efforts to develop a new generation of electric aircraft with short-field or vertical-takeoff-and-landing capability. AOPA has been immersed in several aspects of this development, including a push to use the nation’s existing 5,000 public-use airports as an ideal base for many of these aircraft, already having the needed infrastructure.
- New aircraft technology and design. AOPA is among the stakeholders working with the FAA on the Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certificates project to encourage the development of new aircraft designs that are more compatible with emerging propulsion systems. AOPA Pilot recently featured a broad look at emerging electric aircraft, as well as supersonic concepts and other designs that will dramatically change the fleet. AOPA will continue to spotlight advances in aircraft design and efficiency.