By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
Several of general aviation's big advocacy groups have seen change at the top in recent years as long-term leaders move on, and now the National Air Transportation Association is saying goodbye to James Coyne, who has been president since 1994. In a letter to NATA members posted on Monday, Coyne said he will continue to serve until January 1, while the board searches for its next leader. He said he and his wife, Holly, have decided it was time to "refuel, change our heading a bit, and perhaps even move to a different flight level." NATA works to represent the interests of small aviation businesses such as FBOs, flight schools, and charter operators.
Coyne served a year in the U.S. House of Representatives during the Reagan years, then worked in the Reagan White House for two years as a pro-business advocate. He then served in several other D.C.-based business advocacy groups before joining NATA. He and his wife are both pilots and fly often. Other GA groups that have recently lost long-time leaders were EAA, with the departure of Tom Poberezny last July after 49 years with the organization, and AOPA, where Craig Fuller took over for 18-year president Phil Boyer in 2009.
AVweb's editorial director Paul Bertorelli spoke with Coyne about GA security issues in February 2010; click here for that podcast.