What is General Aviation
General aviation and aerial work operations are all those not considered to be operated by airlines, charter operators or the military. More than 370,000 general aviation aircraft and a million pilots worldwide flew an estimated 29 million flight hours in 2008.
These operations consist of business, sightseeing, search and rescue, training, recreational, survey, aerial ambulance and a variety of other purposes used to complete the world’s transportation system. Ranging in size from a small two-seat trainer to a large airline-size aircraft, these operations contribute significantly to the economies of the nations in which they fly.
It would be difficult to imagine a world transportation system without general aviation aircraft. But, competition for fair and equal access to the air transportation system’s limited resources is an acknowledged fact. For this reason, IAOPA was formed in 1962.
Now representing pilots and aircraft operators in 72 countries, IAOPA and its affiliates work to promote and protect general aviation and aerial work interests in the following areas:
- Pilot Licensing
- Operational regulations
- Facilitation (Customs)
- User fees/taxation
- Aircraft certification
- Equipment requirements
Throughout its existence IAOPA has had a significant impact on world aviation. Among its accomplishments IAOPA worked with international organizations to:
- Mandate requirements for improved general aviation facilities at international airports.
- Validate private pilot licenses by foreign countries.
- Remove general aviation from airline requirements and develop international operational guidelines specifically for general aviation.
- Revise the world airspace classification system to provide for general aviation operations.
- Restructure and improve the ICAO pilot licensing requirements.
- Permit VFR and mixed VFR-IFR operations within controlled airspace.
- Reduce the impact of avionics and other equipment requirements for general aviation aircraft to operate within controlled airspace.
- Help plan the Future Air Navigation System to the advantage of general aviation.
- Educate world aviation bodies about general aviation and aerial work activities.
- Eliminate restrictions to the use of airports
In 1945 the nations of the world signed the Chicago Convention that established the International Civil Aviation Organization, “…in order that international civil aviation may be developed in a safe and orderly manner.”
After ICAO had been in existence for only a few years, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association leaders in Australia, Canada, the Philippines, South Africa and the United States soon realized that general aviation interests were not given sufficient attention within this international organization. In 1962 those five AOPAs founded the International Council of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations (IAOPA) “To facilitate the movement of general aviation aircraft internationally….”
In 1964 IAOPA was accepted as the sole general aviation observer to ICAO proceedings, a distinction the organization maintains to this day.
In addition to regular participation at ICAO headquarters and regional meetings, IAOPA represents the interests of general aviation in the European Union, Eurocontrol, European Civil Aviation Conference and Joint Aviation Authorities.
Representing 470,000 general aviation and aerial work pilots and owners in 70 nations. AOPAs are established in the following countries: