In the United States, general aviation (GA) employs over 1.1 million people and generates over two-hundred billion dollars in economic activity. Florida is a GA powerhouse, with the industry supporting nearly eight-thousand jobs with a total economic output of $12.3 billion dollars. These statistics have a resounding effect on our legislators in Tallahassee and Washington, DC, and FABA members are some of the best voices to advocate for business aviation. FABA and NBAA have developed a strong partnership that allows both organizations’ members to advocate for all Floridian general aviators at the state level. There are a variety of actions you can take to get engaged and advocate on behalf of the industry. Here are a few steps to consider:
1.Contact Congress through NBAA’s website
NBAA has developed a quick and easy tool that puts the GA community in touch with elected officials in Washington, DC. Visit https://www.nbaa.org/advocacy/ contact/ to access the Contact Congress resource. Letter templates are available there that can be sent to your members of Congress on specific issues such as FAA reauthorization. There are also templates to use for more general statements such as the importance of general aviation to the U.S. economy. With over two hundred members, the Congressional GA caucus is among the largest in the House of Representatives, so make sure your representatives are members.
2.Request a meeting with your local US House and Senate Offices
Members of Congress and their staff are available to meet in their local offices which are likely located convenient to your home or office. Even if the meeting is a simple introduction to your business and general aviation in the community, making a personal connection is very helpful. While NBAA advocates for business aviation in Washington, DC these local connections are critical to our success. Websites such as https://www. govtrack.us/congress/members easily allow you to locate contact information for your members of Congress to request a meeting in your district.
3.Watch for calls to action from NBAA and FABA
Over the past few years, NBAA has worked directly with FABA on legislative issues, including efforts to seek a sales and use tax exemption for aircraft in Florida, and creation of a general aviation caucus in the legislature. With state legislators being in session for a short period of time, personal outreach from constituents is very important. When you receive a call to action from either association, a simple call or email on your behalf to your elected officials in Tallahassee has a major impact.
The NBAA Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) is returning to Orlando on November 1st through November 3rd, representing another opportunity to connect with industry leaders and regional groups. The event will feature over twenty-seven thousand attendees, eleven-hundred exhibitors, dozens of aircraft static displays and several educational sessions. Regional and local groups will also hold a networking session, coinciding with the even offering the opportunity for FABA members to learn best practices from similar groups around the country.
With NBAA-BACE occurring just prior to the 2016 presidential election, the opening sessions will feature a variety of speakers who will discuss the potential impacts of the election on business aviation. Full details are available at: https:// www.nbaa.org/events/bace/2016/
Scott O’Brien, Senior Manager, Finance and Tax Policy, NBAA, manages the organization’s interactions with regulatory agencies, including the IRS, Treasury Dept., and SEC. The staff liaison to NBAA’s Tax Committee, he is a licensed pilot.