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NBAA Regional Forums Bring Education to the Airport
With a new year comes a new round of NBAA Regional Forums around the country, the first of which will be hosted by AirFlite at Daugherty Field in Long Beach, CA, on Feb. 28. Along with a static display of aircraft and the latest products and services from Exhibitors, NBAA Members will also have an opportunity to learn from the experts.
One of the most interesting education sessions that will be held at Long Beach will focus on the Internal Revenue Service's position on assessing federal excise tax (FET) on aircraft management services, said NBAA Senior Finance and Tax Policy Manager Scott O'Brien. The 7.5 percent tax is extremely burdensome to the industry, as management companies were not provided clear guidance from IRS as to their liability for the tax, he explained.
"Just because an aircraft owner elects to outsource management services for Part 91 flights on his or her own aircraft, that should not suddenly make the transportation subject to commercial FET," O'Brien maintained.
Even as NBAA works to educate policymakers in Washington, DC about the inequities of that tax policy, O'Brien said the education session in Long Beach will focus on how NBAA Members can best cope with the current tax environment. Included will be advice from experts on what questions owners should ask of their management companies and accountants, and what records should be made available in case of an audit.
Also at Long Beach, the NBAA Safety Committee will offer an education session on rethinking the relationship between Members and safety training vendors.
"The bottom line here is to improve the communication between vendors and Members," O'Brien said. "We need to improve the relationship to help Members make sure they get what they need from that relationship – to make Members and vendors more like partners."
The training relationship is by no means an off-the-shelf product, continued O'Brien. Members must do their homework up-front, deciding what they hope to gain from vendor-supplied safety training. At the same time, he said, it is incumbent on vendors to ensure they deliver what the aircraft operator needs to optimize safety, both on the ground and in the cockpit.
The NBAA Safety Committee recently conducted a survey of Members to ascertain the benefits and challenges of the safety training vendor relationship. The results of that survey have been incorporated into this new training session, O'Brien said.
Another topic that will be covered at the Long Beach Regional Forum is operational control. The "Operational Control: Staying Legal and Safe" session will focus on a new handbook created by the NBAA Domestic Operations Committee. The document is designed to help operators understand how operational control impacts a wide variety of business aircraft ownership and operating structures.
"Under Part 91, an owner can hire someone to fly the aircraft or even maintain it, but even in these Part 91 managed scenarios, the aircraft owner is likely still in operational control of the aircraft," O'Brien said. "Everybody needs to know their responsibilities."
The operational control seminar will look at the differences in responsibilities between Part 91 and Part 135 operators, looking at the regulatory, legal and safety ramifications of operational control.
In addition to the Long Beach event, other Regional Forums for 2013 include: June 6, White Plains, NY; July 11, Denver, CO; and Sept. 12, Chicago/Waukegan, IL.