Business Aviation Insider

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President's Perspective

Preserving BARR a Top Priority

By Ed Bolen

NBAA President and CEO Ed BolenIn Washington, DC, it is not uncommon to see solutions looking for a problem. But the government's plan to dramatically restrict the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program is more than a solution in search of a problem; it's a serious threat to privacy, security and competitiveness.

Since the early 1990s, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has made data about the flights tracked by the agency available to subscribers through several vendors. This enables virtually anyone with an Internet connection to also track the aviation movements of citizens and companies.

Those with concerns about having their movements tracked have always been able to "opt out" from having the data broadcast by the FAA through the use of the BARR. But now, the FAA wants to deny the availability of the program to all but a few operators.

NBAA has forcefully opposed the government's plan because the Association, along with other aviation and business groups, believes the restrictions represent an invasion of the privacy of aircraft owners and operators, a threat to the competitiveness of U.S. companies and a potential security risk to persons onboard.

The owner-operators in NBAA's Membership have echoed NBAA's concerns. One illustrative account comes from Brad Pierce, who flies a Cirrus SR22 in support of his business. He relies on the BARR, and says of the FAA's plan to dismantle it: "My company's competitive edge is at stake. Having a blocked tail number keeps competitors from knowing where I'm going, and what major customer I am visiting when I land at a convenient airport near their corporate offices."

"The restrictions represent an invasion of the privacy of aircraft owners and operators"

NBAA recently joined other associations in announcing plans to mount a legal challenge to the government's move to curtail the BARR. The Association will continue to champion this and the interests of all Members, including light business airplane (LBA) operators. NBAA has long understood the challenges of aviator-entrepreneurs, and offers a number of resources to this segment of the Membership.

For example, the LBA Buyer's Guide is a valuable tool for Members thinking about upgrading to a high-performance piston-powered airplane, turboprop or small jet, or to entrepreneurs considering use of a general aviation airplane for business.

NBAA also offers events to keep LBA operators informed about best practices. The most prominent of these is the Light Business Airplane Conference, which will be held this year during both NBAA's Annual Meeting & Convention (October 10–12 in Las Vegas) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association's annual Aviation Summit (September 22-24 in Hartford, CT).

This edition of Business Aviation Insider is another example of how NBAA meets the needs of owner-operators. For example, this issue has an article on how single pilots can qualify and select a copilot for long or especially challenging missions. This Insider also features tips for negotiating prices for hangar space, fuel and other aviation support services.

As always, NBAA stands ready to protect the interests of anyone who flies an airplane for a business purpose. Thanks for your Membership, which helps support that mission.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Learn about BARR program news or the BARR Legal Defense Fund, and how you can get involved, at www.nbaa.org/barr.

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