April 2, 2014

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen and other industry leaders talked how to promote all aviation, including general aviation (GA) during a panel discussion titled “Building Interest in the Future of Aviation,” held on April 1 at the annual Sun ‘n Fun event in Lakeland, FL.

In celebration of 100 years of commercial aviation, Sun ‘n Fun President and CEO John R. “Lites” Leenhouts hosted the panel at the Aerospace Pavilion at the Florida Air Museum. Joining Bolen were: Jack Pelton, chairman of the board of the Experimental Aircraft Association; Mark Baker, president, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and Matthew Zuccaro, president, Helicopter Association International.

Bolen said for GA to thrive, it’s essential to “project a positive image” of the industry, according to a write up on the session by AvWeb, an industry news website. “People need to understand the inherent goodness of GA,” Bolen added. ”They should see it as an industry that creates jobs, promotes economic development, and provides humanitarian assistance – something to be promoted.”

The comments from Bolen echoed themes promoted through the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, which is jointly sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Now in its fifth year, the campaign educates policymakers and opinion leaders about the value of business aviation to citizens, companies and communities across the country.

“Clearly, business aviation is an essential industry in America today,” Bolen said at a separate recent forum. “From creating growth opportunities and global connectivity for America’s small towns and rural areas, to supporting the nation’s productivity, to providing lift for humanitarian initiatives, business aviation plays a critical role in the nation’s aviation system, and the country’s broader transportation network.”

Sun ‘n Fun, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, is an annual fly-in and air show. It runs through April 6.