HAI at Work Wednesday

Paul Smith HAI at Work

A weekly update illustrating some of the ways Helicopter Association International (HAI) is “keeping the rotors turning” for our members.

Cade Clark, Vice President, Government Affairs, and John Shea, Director, Government Affairs

Last week, HAI led an effort along with five other general aviation associations to draft letters to the US House and Senate opposing three bills: H.R. 4880, the Improving Helicopter Safety Act; H.R. 4547, the Safe and Quiet Skies Act; and S. 2607, the Drone Integration and Zoning Act.

The House letter expressed opposition to H.R. 4880, which would prohibit operation of nonessential civil rotorcraft in covered airspace, defined as airspace directly over any city with a population exceeding 8 million people and with a population density exceeding 25,000 people per square mile, including the airspace over any waterways considered within the limits of such city. H.R. 4547 would introduce restrictions on air tour operators by prohibiting specific flight routes, altitudes, and common procedures and would mandate a noise signature standard that no currently certificated helicopter can meet.

The Senate letter stated the groups’ opposition to S. 2607 as a threat to federal preemption and the drone industry. At the HAI Firefighting Safety Conference in Boise, Idaho, this week, John Shea (at right) provided an update on the congressional activity.

Back in Washington, HAI supports a new bill recently introduced by Reps. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), Don Young (R-Alaska), and Angie Craig (D-Minn.). H.R. 5118, Promoting Service in Transportation Act, would authorize the US Department of Transportation to develop a series of broadcast, digital, and print media campaigns to promote job opportunities and increase diversity in the transportation industry.

In other activity, lawmakers face a Thursday deadline to send a financial stopgap to the president’s desk. House and Senate leaders secured a deal Monday afternoon that would extend government funding for four more weeks, until Dec. 20, preventing another government shutdown.

Elected officials are still working toward an agreement to establish spending numbers for the 12 fiscal 2020 appropriations bills this week. House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) told reporters last week she was “cautiously optimistic” that she and other negotiators can reach an agreement on top-line spending allocations by Wednesday.

For an inside perspective on politics, be sure to check out the members-only Legislative Action Center on HAI’s website. The Legislative Action Center is the source for congressional insight and legislative resources for HAI members. Content such as Washington Update, 2020 election analyses, and news on the appropriations process is frequently being refreshed, so be sure to check back often.

Matt Callan, Director, Regulations and International Affairs

Matt attended the Helicopter Association of Canada’s (HAC’s) 24th Annual Convention & Helicopter Safety Forum in Vancouver, BC, last week. While there, Matt connected with Canadian and US helicopter operators, manufacturers, suppliers, pilots, and engineers, all engaged in a heathy and thriving North American industry.

Matt also had an opportunity to meet and talk with three aspiring helicopter flight students (left to right: Travis Nelson, Spencer Terris, and Lisa Zumkeller) who are presently enrolled in helicopter pilot training courses at Chinook Helicopters, located in Abbotsford, BC. Much like the US, Canada is also experiencing a critical shortage of helicopter pilots and engineers.

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