Alexandria, VA, April 28, 2010 -The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) participated in a General Aviation Caucus event at the U.S. Capitol yesterday featuring academy award-winning actor Harrison Ford along with industry groups including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the National Business Aviation Association and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).
Before more than 250 congressional staff and industry representatives, including at least twenty Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and five U.S. Senators, Ford spoke of his passion for aviation and especially for programs to help young people get involved in aviation. He particularly enjoys working to highlight the sectors of general aviation not frequently discussed, such as EMS flights, the civil air patrol, and public safety flights. In addition, Ford praised all segments of the industry; public-use airports, charter operators, FBOs and pilots, for being instrumental in the relief efforts in Haiti and continuing to be major contributors of goods and supplies into the area.
"Approximately 231,000 general aviation aircraft fly throughout this country each day. That's a lot more than people realize," Ford said. "The economic impact of the industry is another factor that many people aren't aware of - that it employs over 1.3 million jobs and contributes over $150 billion to our nation's economy." More importantly, Ford stated he would like to see increased job growth in the aircraft manufacturing sector, which will improve the overall outlook for the industry.
Ford, a private pilot of both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, is one of general aviation's biggest allies. He is currently the spokesman for AOPA's General Aviation Serves America campaign and the Honorary Board Member of the humanitarian aviation organization Wings of Hope. Previously, he served as the chairman of EAA's Young Eagles program.
The General Aviation Caucus is present in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.