Avionics News August 2013 - 14

In this monthly column, Ric Peri of the AEA’s Washington, D.C., office, informs members of the latest regulatory updates.

B Y

R I C

P E R I
A EA V I C E P R ES I D E N T O F G OV E R N M E N T & I N D U ST RY A F FA I RS

Part 1

The Renaissance of General Aviation

T

he Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “renaissance”
as a rebirth, but it may be a bit bold to title this article
the rebirth of general aviation; first, because it is far from
dead, and second, because rebirth seems to be a pretty profound
action. But when you consider that the Renaissance era lasted
for more than two centuries as a progressive rebirth of culture
and a transition in architecture, perhaps now is the turning point
and just possibly is the right time for a renaissance of general
aviation.
There are several activities occurring (many supported by the
Aircraft Electronics Association) that promote general aviation
to the government, politicians and the public. I don’t mean to
tarnish any of them, but I think some historical events support
the idea that general aviation is positioned for a slow and steady
rebirth; perhaps not at the levels of 1978, but a rebirth, nonetheless. With that idea in mind, this is the first of a two-part series
discussing this topic.
The golden years of general aviation sales were 1965 to 1980.
In all but three of those 16 years, general aviation aircraft annual
sales exceeded 10,000 airplanes with the peak year of 17,811
in 1978, according to a 2010 General Aviation Manufacturers
Association report. During this 16-year period, more than
212,000 general aviation airplanes were manufactured, or an
average of 13,000 per year. So how did we go from an average
of 13,000 to slightly more than 1,300 in 2010? There are many
theories, such as the cost of the airplane, insurance, fuel, hangar, etc. But I have an alternate theory, a theory that, if correct,
should see the beginning of a rebirth in general aviation.
First, what is general aviation? The answer to this question could be discussed for decades, but for the purposes of
14

avionics news

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august

2013

this article, I will place general aviation into four categories:
corporate business; private business; recreational; and EAB, or
experimental amateur-built. I’m also including light sport aircraft with the EAB because, when the statistics are reported, the
growth in recreational GA is in LSA and EAB. General aviation
seems to have taken the biggest hit and, therefore, is primed for
a rebound in the private business and recreational flyer areas.
Corporate flying took a big hit recently because of unfounded
political statements and undefended use of a business asset – or
tool -- by senior corporate executives. But in defense of the corporate executives, they probably couldn’t defend the need for a
milling machine, either.
So what was happening during the golden years of general
aviation, and what has happened since? I think two major events
– one in support of general aviation, the other a direct competitor – made an impact.
First, the supporting event was the Vietnam War, which ended
in 1975. During the 1960s and early 1970s, more than 3 million
Americans served in Vietnam. In 1968, the U.S. Air Force had
more than 54,000 people in the country supporting 737 aircraft.
While not minimizing the role of advisors in the 1950s, U.S.
involvement escalated in the early 1960s and began to withdraw
in the early 1970s. Just as the barnstormers followed World War
I, the Vietnam War produced thousands of aviators interested
in flying and supported by government-supported educational
benefits.
Throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, a vast majority of
aviators got their initial experience in one of the military branches. But by the late 1980s and early 1990s, we started to see
significant drawdown in the overall number of aviators within



Avionics News August 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News August 2013

Point of Communication
AEA Now
The View From Washington
International News and Regulatory Updates
Equipped Like New
Member Profile
Measured Growth and AEA Membership
Avionics News Through the Years
Should an iPad be in Your Toolbox?
AEAviators
A Conversation With...
Member Profile
Before & After
Meet the AEA Board of Directors
Seven Habits of Effective Avionics Dealers
Business Basics
Higher Education Leads to Rewarding Career in Avionics
NextGen Plan Highlights General Aviation Role
Legal Ease
AEA Announces Scholarship Winners for 2013-14
AEA Educational Foundation Scholarship List for 2014-15 Academic Year
What's New
Marketplace Classifieds
Avionics News August 2013 - Intro
Avionics News August 2013 - Cover1
Avionics News August 2013 - Cover2
Avionics News August 2013 - 1
Avionics News August 2013 - 2
Avionics News August 2013 - 3
Avionics News August 2013 - Point of Communication
Avionics News August 2013 - 5
Avionics News August 2013 - AEA Now
Avionics News August 2013 - 7
Avionics News August 2013 - 8
Avionics News August 2013 - 9
Avionics News August 2013 - 10
Avionics News August 2013 - 11
Avionics News August 2013 - 12
Avionics News August 2013 - 13
Avionics News August 2013 - The View From Washington
Avionics News August 2013 - 15
Avionics News August 2013 - International News and Regulatory Updates
Avionics News August 2013 - 17
Avionics News August 2013 - 18
Avionics News August 2013 - 19
Avionics News August 2013 - Equipped Like New
Avionics News August 2013 - 21
Avionics News August 2013 - 22
Avionics News August 2013 - 23
Avionics News August 2013 - Member Profile
Avionics News August 2013 - 25
Avionics News August 2013 - 26
Avionics News August 2013 - 27
Avionics News August 2013 - Measured Growth and AEA Membership
Avionics News August 2013 - 29
Avionics News August 2013 - 30
Avionics News August 2013 - 31
Avionics News August 2013 - 32
Avionics News August 2013 - 33
Avionics News August 2013 - Avionics News Through the Years
Avionics News August 2013 - 35
Avionics News August 2013 - Should an iPad be in Your Toolbox?
Avionics News August 2013 - 37
Avionics News August 2013 - 38
Avionics News August 2013 - 39
Avionics News August 2013 - AEAviators
Avionics News August 2013 - 41
Avionics News August 2013 - A Conversation With...
Avionics News August 2013 - 43
Avionics News August 2013 - Member Profile
Avionics News August 2013 - 45
Avionics News August 2013 - 46
Avionics News August 2013 - Before & After
Avionics News August 2013 - Meet the AEA Board of Directors
Avionics News August 2013 - 49
Avionics News August 2013 - 50
Avionics News August 2013 - 51
Avionics News August 2013 - Seven Habits of Effective Avionics Dealers
Avionics News August 2013 - 53
Avionics News August 2013 - 54
Avionics News August 2013 - 55
Avionics News August 2013 - Business Basics
Avionics News August 2013 - 57
Avionics News August 2013 - 58
Avionics News August 2013 - 59
Avionics News August 2013 - Legal Ease
Avionics News August 2013 - 61
Avionics News August 2013 - NextGen Plan Highlights General Aviation Role
Avionics News August 2013 - 63
Avionics News August 2013 - 64
Avionics News August 2013 - 65
Avionics News August 2013 - 66
Avionics News August 2013 - 67
Avionics News August 2013 - AEA Announces Scholarship Winners for 2013-14
Avionics News August 2013 - 69
Avionics News August 2013 - 70
Avionics News August 2013 - 71
Avionics News August 2013 - AEA Educational Foundation Scholarship List for 2014-15 Academic Year
Avionics News August 2013 - 73
Avionics News August 2013 - What's New
Avionics News August 2013 - 75
Avionics News August 2013 - 76
Avionics News August 2013 - 77
Avionics News August 2013 - Marketplace Classifieds
Avionics News August 2013 - 79
Avionics News August 2013 - 80
Avionics News August 2013 - Cover3
Avionics News August 2013 - Cover4
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