FAA Commentary on Savvy Aviator #32: 2006 Aging GA Aircraft Summit


[Editor’s Note: AVweb’s Mike Busch received the following letter from the FAA regarding his column, The Savvy Aviator #32: 2006 Aging GA Aircraft Summit, published June 7, 2006.]

Dear Mr. Busch,First of all, we thank you for attending the FAA’s Small Airplane Directorate “GA Summit,” held earlier this year in Kansas City. We appreciate your reporting of the event. The sharing of information, especially to those people who could not attend, is in the full spirit of what we wanted to do. We see a safety issue, we have a concern, and we feel that together, we can jointly find a solution.At the same time, we wish to further clarify the facts of the event to your readership. We realize the purpose of a column is often to express opinion. However, we found some of the statements in your June 7 column (The Savvy Aviator #32: 2006 Aging GA Aircraft Summit) need correction. For the FAA and the aviation community to effectively work together in solving aging aircraft issues, it is important that the FAA’s actions and intentions be accurately represented.An examination of the meeting transcript shows the word “threat” was indeed uttered fifteen times during the meeting, as you state, but none of them by the FAA’s Marv Nuss. The word “threat” was used by a variety of people, some FAA and by some in industry, in discussing the topic at hand. In several of the fifteen instances, speakers used the word “threat” in a joking context. As for Mr. Nuss, it was printed – not stated – on two of his presentation slides.Your column also states, “Nuss also expressed his view ‘that there are some GA aircraft out there that shouldn’t operate much longer,'” a statement which you noted “didn’t exactly endear him to the owner association and type club representatives whose major goal is to ‘keep ’em flying.'”According to the transcript of the event, Nuss actually said, “The big question is, how do we improve general aviation safety records with an increasingly aging fleet? I believe that most of the GA fleet can operate safely for quite a while. I also believe that there are airplanes out there that shouldn’t operate much longer. The tough question is which ones and when. I think we can all agree that we need to be more proactive, and the sooner we start figuring out how to do that, the safer the aging GA fleet will be.”We held this meeting so we could bring the interested parties together and work together to find a solution. We welcomed those who were able to attend, but we also feel it is imperative that those who could not attend receive accurate information so they can fully participate in the process. This is the reason we hired court reporters to record all of the presentations and plenary discussion from this very important summit. The meeting slides and a transcript order form are available online.We share a concern about aging aircraft. We need to work together to find a solution. If you like, I would be happy to discuss this issue in further detail.Sincerely,/signed/
Kim Smith
Manager, Small Airplane Directorate