NATA chief operating officer and general counsel Timothy Obitts, vice president of regulatory affairs John McGraw and chairman of the board Curt Castagna were in attendance at the latest FAA General Aviation Safety Roundtable, where general aviation associations periodically review the major safety issues of the day and what the next steps are towards ameliorating those problems. Also present were Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, and National Business Aviation Association.
Particularly important to NATA is the issue of illegal operations that represent themselves as legitimate Part 135 carriers. It is working proactively to educate industry stakeholders and the travelling public regarding the dangers and exposure associated with illicit operations. Simultaneously, it is striving to elevate standards of professionalism in the air charter industry. This year it redoubled efforts surrounding its illegal charter hotline, leading to an increase in reporting. The reports from the business aviation community repeatedly describe blatant illegal activities that have yet to be addressed. These operations not only endanger the travelling public, but undermine legitimate businesses adhering to FAA regulations.
Obitts said: “With the assistance of its Illegal Charter Task Force, NATA continues to work with the FAA to quantify the scope of illegal operations and further enhance channels to collect actionable data, including the launch of an industry website containing an online reporting form and other informational resources on the dangers of these illicit operations. We thank the FAA for working with us on this important safety issue. Together, we are a force for protecting the lives and livelihoods of those who rely on Part 135.”
At the end of the meeting he added: “The discussions today were an important part of making sure the general aviation industry is doing all it can to address the safety issues it is facing. Camaraderie between associations and the FAA is the best way to ensure that we find holistic and effective solutions that make our industry safe and successful.”