In Klapmeier's Crystal Ball...

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GA Needs To Be More Friendly

General aviation needs to be less intimidating, more accessible and stop shooting itself in the foot to help fuel the growth needed to return it to strength according to the CEO of a company that's defied convention on the way to becoming the second largest builder of single-engine piston aircraft (all in less than a decade). Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier again defied convention at Sun 'n Fun on Tuesday when, instead of using his news conference slot to promote new products or changes to the Cirrus line, he lectured the assembled reporters on the need to get GA's message "to the outside world" and chastened those within the industry for creating illogical barriers to those who might want to learn to fly. And while Klapmeier has never lacked the confidence to speak his mind, the undeniable success of the upstart start-up that's arguably pushed more change in the shape, form and function of GA aircraft in the last five years than had occurred in the previous 50, may have given him the clout to pontificate a little. And it's time, he says, for a little enlightened self interest in the way GA perceives, and most importantly, presents itself.