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Aspen Avionics Testifies Before Congress on FAA's Impact on Small Business

Washington, DC--The U.S. House Small Business Committee, chaired by Congressman Sam Graves (R-MO), held a hearing today to examine how FAA policies affect small general aviation businesses. John Uczekaj, President and CEO of Aspen Avionics, Inc., testified on behalf of Aspen Avionics and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Uczekaj has led Aspen Avionics since 2007. Aspen Avionics was founded in 2004 by two aviation enthusiasts in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It now has 47 employees, and its systems have been installed in more than 6,000 general aviation aircraft worldwide. Despite this success, the company has faced challenges in working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to bring new, safety-enhancing products to market. Uczekaj noted that additional work required late in one program resulted in unplanned, increased costs to his company. "To be successful, businesses, and in particular small businesses, need to clearly understand the tasks and be able to expect the FAA to respond in a timely fashion," Uczekaj said. "The money saved by instituting clear procedures, consistent training, and detailed certification guidelines to FAA personnel would boost productivity, grow the industry, and secure jobs." Given the FAA's limited resources, Uczekaj called on the agency to make more consistent use of the Designated Engineering Representative (DER) program. This program allows the agency to leverage the expertise of companies such as Aspen on certification of tasks, which helps to improve safety, drive innovation, and improve certification efficiency. In addition, Uczekaj called on Congress to work in a bipartisan fashion--as it did in passing the Small Airplane Revitalization Act--to focus on helping small aviation-related businesses. Uczekaj's written comments are available online at http://www.gama.aero/node/12609.