Cessna CEO Jack Pelton: Fewer Pilots a Problem

Jack
Pelton, chairman, president and CEO of Cessna Aircraft Co., spoke Monday
to the Aero Club of Washington, D.C.

Among
the topics Pelton hit upon was a lack of new pilots.


Cessna

The U.S. FAA expects the number of student pilots to fall to a 10-year low next year.

“This
is a problem for all of us in aviation, and all of us should be part of the
solution,” Pelton said in his remarks, according to a news release from Cessna.
“Fewer pilots equate to less business for all of us, and it threatens the
strong, sustainable aviation system our nation counts on. Gone are the days
when the military was producing all the pilots the airlines could absorb, or
when a broader GI Bill funded expansive flight training for veterans returning
to civilian life. We need legislation that fosters and stimulates our
industry.”

Pelton
also told the gathering that he feels the negative rhetoric surrounding general
aviation has waned, thanks to what he said were the combined efforts of industry
leaders.

“This
cooperation we’ve experienced in general aviation must span all areas of
aviation,” he said, “and the Future of Aviation Advisory Committee launched by
DOT Secretary La Hood is an excellent start.”

Pelton
in May was chosen to represent general aviation on the committee.

Pelton
said cooperation also will help create gains in the environmental concerns
surrounding general aviation.

In
April, Pelton was named the winner of the Lindbergh Foundation’s 2010
Lindberg Award for his ongoing efforts to reduce the general aviation
industry’s environmental impact.

“The
market demands efficiency. And with greater fuel efficiency comes reduced
emissions,” he said. “Still, we recognize there is much more we must do. The
philosophy of the Lindbergh Foundation has it right — we must pursue policies
and practices that balance progress and technology with environmental
sensitivity.”

Pelton
told the gathering of aviation leaders Monday that cooperation also is key in
implementing the Next Generation Air Transportation System.

“It’s
encouraging to see this type of cooperation, and I hope it will continue as we
look to deploy components of the NextGen program,” Pelton said. “That is the
only way to truly ensure the safety, efficiency, and economic and environmental
benefits we are all counting on from NextGen.”