By CJP Executive Director Andrew Broom
Among the reasons I was hired to be CJP’s Executive Director last August was to strengthen the position and influence of the world’s premier Citation owner-pilot organization. At the forefront of those efforts has been a concerted effort by your volunteer Board of Directors to step up CJP’s level of engagement not only with our membership, but also the larger general aviation (GA) community on matters that directly affect Citation operators.
While there’s certainly more work still to be done on both fronts, I’d like to share two significant developments that I believe demonstrate this continued commitment to be a responsive and influential organization. First and foremost are the efforts by CJP’s Board of Directors to make the 2017 CJP Convention the best to date.
I’m happy to say that this year’s gathering, taking place Oct. 4-7 in Phoenix, AZ, is shaping up to be an event for the ages. We’ve gained valuable feedback from you, our members, through surveys and direct conversations, and prioritized what you liked most from past conventions and, what needed improvement. I think you’ll agree that the 2017 CJP Convention will bring you more of what you expect from our premier event.
As you’ve seen in past issues of Flight Levels and CJP Right Seat, safety will be an important theme of this year’s convention. In addition to the CJP Safety Standdown containing in-depth accident/incident analyses and a discussion with the Citation trainers, featured speakers including CFII Neil Singer, former astronaut and CJP Safety Committee chairman Charlie Precourt, former NTSB investigator Greg Feith, and CJP Director David Miller will discuss ongoing safety efforts throughout the general aviation community. These speakers along with the roundtable and breakout sessions, will provide education and advice for Citation pilots to further enhance their operations.
While a few details are still being worked out, with some exciting surprises still to come, I’m pleased to share that our featured guest speaker at CJP 2017 will be retired U.S. Air Force Major and former SR-71 pilot Shul, whose books Sled Driver: Flying the World’s Fastest Jet and The Untouchables give the reader a firsthand account of being in the cockpit of the world’s fastest jet. Shul’s story is even more fascinating when you consider that, after flying 212 combat missions during the Vietnam War, he was shot down and so badly burned that he wasn’t expected to live, never mind return to flight status operating one the world’s most advanced and mysterious aircraft.
New to this year’s convention is “Speed Dating with CJP Partners and Vendors.” On Friday October 6, from 4:30pm – 5:30pm. members will have the opportunity to meet with the partner/vendors in smaller groups for 10 minutes at a time. This is a great way to get answers to any questions you may have for them.
Returning to CJP 2017 will be the popular Companion Ground School and Flight Training courses, designed to enable Companions to be more comfortable in the flying environment, and increase companion safety and knowledge of their aircraft; the well-received Operator Breakout Sessions and Maintenance Roundtables, where you may hear advice and guidance from CJP Partners, as well as share experiences with your fellow CJP members; and our Vendor Display area, featuring products and displays specific to your aircraft, all in one location.
This year’s venue, known as the “Jewel of the Desert” and set on 39 acres in the heart of Phoenix, is the stunning and luxurious Arizona Biltmore. This Waldorf Astoria resort has been a favorite vacation retreat of U.S. presidents and legendary film stars since 1929, boasting eight pools, two championship golf courses, a spa and event space overlooking lush gardens and surrounding mountains.
The Arizona Biltmore is one of the few hotels worldwide displaying architectural influence from Frank Lloyd Wright. I’m certain that CJP members will enjoy a truly world-class experience during their stay e, as well as from the CJP 2017 host FBO, Cutter Aviation at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX.)
Thanks to your feedback and efforts by our volunteer Board, the 2017 CJP Convention promises to be the most substantive convention ever held by CJP. This level of engagement will continue long after the last Citation departs the convention, however, with our organization taking a larger advocacy role on national matters affecting our members.
Earlier this year, CJP joined with 15 other GA associations to send letters to House and Senate transportation leaders underscoring concerns about a recent proposal to privatize oversight of the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) network. At that time, we were the only owner/pilot type group to take a public stand against privatization, a matter that carries significant implications for Citation pilots and the rest of general aviation.
Currently, the national ATC network functions as a monopoly overseen by Congress to ensure that decisions are made in the public interest. Under privatization, however, control of this system would be handed over to an unelected board, comprised of private entities that would likely make decisions based on their business interests. This board would be largely unaccountable to the system’s stakeholders, leaving disputes over access restrictions and user fees for the courts to decide.
As I’m sure you’ve heard, the House FAA reauthorization bill – H.R.2997 – recently passed review by the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, clearing the way for the bill to be considered soon by the full chamber. While H.R.2997 carries several important and necessary measures to modernize our national aviation system, the inclusion of privatization makes the House bill a non-starter for the GA community. (It’s worth noting that the Senate’s version of the FAA funding bill, S.1405, adopts a consensus-driven approach to addressing aviation system modernization without any language for privatizing ATC.)
Shortly after H.R.2997 passed the T&I committee on June 27, CJP joined with 45 other aviation advocacy groups in signing a second letter to Congress opposing the House bill, concluding that the plan to privatize ATC “will produce uncertainty and unintended consequences without achieving the desired outcomes. “[W]e believe efforts should focus on developing a long-term FAA Reauthorization that creates the stability and funding necessary and that can reach the President’s desk for signature,” the letter added.
In addition to CJP once again taking a stand on this important issue, I’m happy to note that, this time around, more than a dozen additional owner groups and aircraft organizations also joined in this effort to express their concerns about ATC privatization. This legislation is moving quickly, so I urge you to contact your representatives and voice your concerns.