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The rise and fall of general aviation: product liability, market structure, and technological innovation.

In recent, well-publicized proceedings, the U.S. Congress moved towards approving product liability legislation that will set new federal limits on lawsuits against manufacturers and distributors of faulty products. Passage of tort reform legislation will represent a milestone for business interests, capping a 15-year lobbying effort by industry groups.

With much less fanfare Congress passed the General Aviation Revitalization Act (GARA) of 1994 to limit product liability exposure for manufacturers of general aviation aircraft.(1) Many industry observers hail the legislation as a long overdue measure that will save the general aviation industry from a commercial grave. The business community in general cites the legislation as a watershed victory over the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA), frequently mentioned as one of the most influential lobbying organizations in the U.S. Supporters of the legislation maintain that it marks a new beginning for the general aviation industry. Manufacturing firms can once again go about the business of building airplanes, instead of devoting resources to protect themselves from expensive and allegedly frivolous lawsuits. Consumer groups and other interested parties, including some members of the scientific and engineering communities, argue that the legitimate demand for safe and reliable products is being jettisoned in favor of job creation and the political expedience of attacking the trial lawyers.

Despite the political and economic significance of the issue for the general aviation industry and the U.S. economy as a whole, existing analyses of the decline in American general aviation and the potential impact of product liability reform are largely inadequate. Most published accounts of the reform effort center on either the need for liability relief or the eventual victory over the ATLA. These accounts tend to focus on product liability as the primary, if not exclusive, cause of the precipitous decline of the general aviation industry. The consensus in these studies is that product liability reform will return important high-wage jobs and restore America's position as the leader in general aviation. Even more sanguine accounts point to the devastating effect of lawsuits on the general aviation industry. These reports occasionally note that other political and economic issues played some role, but generally there is a wishful optimism in forecasts that claim product liability reform will create as many as 25,000 new jobs.(2) More realistic accounts of the decline of the general aviation industry point to a number of factors besides product liability that sent the industry into a tailspin fifteen years ago. Generally, these analysts recognize product liability as merely one aspect of a more general malaise in general aviation. They are, however, more pessimistic about the positive impact of product liability reform.

In this study, we sketch out the standard product liability reform argument in some detail. We then broaden the analysis to include a variety of other factors that affect the health of general aviation industry. Some of these factors combined with the product liability crisis to send the industry reeling, while other factors influence the prospects for a rejuvenation of general aviation. A careful examination of the big picture reveals that the general aviation industry did not collapse, but underwent a structural and technological transformation. The industry today is very different from the industry of the 1970s. We contend that politicians and industry leaders crafted product liability reform to help the industry and market of ten or fifteen years ago. Moreover, even if industry health returns, it is perilous to assume that tort reform is solely responsible since a variety of other political and economic forces are involved. Just as the liability crisis was only one of many variables that caused the industry to collapse in the 1980s, we make the case that any revitalization the industry enjoys will be the result of a combination of programs and initiatives aimed at stimulating the industry, not simply tort reform alone. The current technological and commercial realities suggest that while product liability reform will eventually provide some relief to the traditional manufacturers, its impact on the GA industry is often overstated.

We begin with an overview of the general aviation industry and the issue of product liability, followed by a closer examination of the various factors that influence the industry. We give special attention to demographic, economic, political, and technological factors that shaped the industry over time and influence the current environment. We conclude with a discussion on the sometimes conflicting results of government policies, whether these policies are explicitly or implicitly directed at the industry. Finally, we assess the prospects for general aviation in America. We conclude that the industry will indeed rebound from the difficult years in the 1980s, but the transformation described in this study will continue as economic and technological forces dictate.


General aviation (GA) is an important element of our socio-economic system, yet it is largely unrecognized and unappreciated by the general public. The term general aviation is itself difficult to define with precision because it encompasses such a diverse range of aviation activities. In fact, there is no legal definition for the term general aviation; it is commonly referred to in negative terms such as "all civil aviation except that carded out by the commercial airlines."(3) General aviation includes all aircraft that are not flown by scheduled airlines or the military. The GA industry comprises the light aircraft segment, the business aviation segment, and the regional/charter aircraft segment. The Utility Airplane Council, forerunner of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), invented the term "general aviation" to give light "utility" aircraft an identity and to differentiate the industry from large aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing, Lockheed, and McDonnell Douglas.

General aviation refers to all aircraft operated by private pilots for business and/or recreational purposes. The activities of general aviation include the training of new pilots, crop dusting, emergency medical evacuation, business executives traveling in corporate aircraft, and a host of other important missions.(4) General aviation includes single and multi-piston-engine-powered fixed-wing airplanes generally weighing less than 12,500 pounds (light aircraft) as well as turboprop and jet-powered aircraft (popularly known as business or executive aviation).(5) Historically approximately 75 percent of all of the world's light general aviation aircraft operate in the United States.(6) The U.S. has always dominated the market for general aviation aircraft.

It is difficult to overestimate the importance of general aviation, since it provides the base upon which all other segments of the aviation industry build.(7) General aviation forms an important component of both the national transportation system and our national economy by providing the services that commercial airlines cannot or will not provide.(8) For example, it is impossible to place a monetary value on the transportation of a vital organ needed for surgery. Moreover, the production and sale of general aviation aircraft, avionics, and other equipment, along with the provision of support services such as finance, insurance, flight instruction, maintenance, and a host of airport services, demonstrate the role of the general aviation industry as an important contributor to the nation's economy. General aviation contributes $40 billion to the national economy, provides more than 540,000 jobs with a payroll exceeding $10 billion,(9) and serves 120 million people annually.(10)

In the periods preceding and shortly after World War II there were few large manufacturers building small aircraft for general use. Like the founders of the auto industry, the pioneers who established the industry were individuals with great ideas and aspirations, but little capital. Although many entrepreneurs entered the business, only a few survived to become large, full-line manufacturers.(11) Companies such as Piper, Cessna, and Beech, known as the Big Three, emerged as major players in the 1950s. The major manufacturers, who numbered between seven and thirteen during the early post-war period, produced about 7,000 aircraft per year.

The historical trend of aircraft production measured in units is clearly positive. However, over the long run it exhibits strong cyclical tendencies, generally paralleling growth in the economy. During periods of economic expansion, the GA industry traditionally records strong growth in sales and production, followed almost inevitably by periods of declining sales during downturns in the national economy. For example, deliveries of aircraft declined after recessions in 1960, 1970, and 1975.(12) However, unit sales usually resumed shortly after the economy began to grow. As shown in Figure 1, aircraft manufacturers experienced two periods of major declines in aircraft production levels. After a period of explosive growth during the early and mid-1960s, general aviation aircraft sales plummeted in 1970, when only 7,242 units were shipped by U.S. manufacturers, compared to a high of 15,768 in 1966.(13)

The introduction of jet aircraft in the 1960s was a watershed event in the history of aviation. Jet technology allowed the commercial airline industry to increase efficiency and offer lower ticket prices to the public. This combination proved to be dynamite in the marketplace and commercial airlines emerged as the mode of choice for long-haul intercity transportation. In a remarkably short time, air travel became commonplace as millions of Americans flew the friendly skies. Initially, the enormous amount of publicity surrounding the advent of jets, coupled with the soaring increases in productivity during the 1960s, caused a euphoria among general aviationists and manufacturers, who increased their production schedules to meet the anticipated demand. In addition, the industry began to produce increasingly sophisticated and more expensive general aviation aircraft designed for business aviation. However, the introduction of jet technology into commercial air transport, while welcomed by the public, was not a positive step for general aviation manufacturers, fixed base operators (FBOs), and GA pilots. Commercial airlines attracted many potential customers away from general aviation. A similar defection from general aviation would occur in the next decade in the wake of airline deregulation.

Following the recession in the early 1970s, production rates began to increase very rapidly, from 7,466 units in 1971 to 17,000 in 1977 - an increase of more than 125 percent in six years.(14) Production in recent years is a trickle when compared to the heyday of general aviation. The numbers are compelling: Since reaching a peak of 17,811 shipments of light aircraft in 1979, U.S. production plummeted to 811 units in 1993, a decline of 95.5 percent.(15) Other measures of general aviation activity in the United States are equally dismal. The number of private pilots fell 32.1 percent, from a high of 357,500 in 1980 to 288,078 in 1993.(16) In 1980, there were twenty-nine U.S. manufacturers of piston aircraft and fifteen foreign producers. Today, there are sixteen U.S. and twenty-nine foreign manufacturers.(17)

American manufacturers historically supplied most of the world's general aviation aircraft and exported about 20 to 30 percent of the general aviation aircraft produced here.(18) However, the nation lost this important contribution to its trade balance. Imports of general aviation aircraft, which include commuter airliners, exceeded the value of general aviation exports for the first time in 1981.(19) By 1988, the trade deficit in general aviation aircraft soared to $700 million. The volume of exports plummeted from 3,395 units in 1979 to 440 in 1986.(20) American aircraft accounted for a full 100 percent of the single engine piston aircraft sold in the U.S. in 1980. Today, American aircraft account for less than 70 percent.(21) It is important to remember that this apparent surge in foreign competition is more an artifact of dramatically lower domestic production of single-engine aircraft, not a sign that the foreign firms were capturing sales that would otherwise go to American manufacturers hampered by product liability claims.(22)

Many large turboprop and regional airline aircraft used in the U.S. and around the world are manufactured by foreign firms such as British Aerospace, Canada's de Havilland, Fokker of the Netherlands, Dornier of Germany, Sweden's Saab, and Embraer of Brazil. America may be losing its traditional position of dominance in the manufacture of light aircraft. Indeed the industry used the specter of foreign competition to support its case for tort reform. It is unclear whether competition in multi-engine and regional carrier segments of the market is related in any significant manner to the product liability crisis and the health of the single-engine market.


As noted in the introduction, we believe many factors influence the changes, both positive and negative, in the general aviation industry. The conventional wisdom is that the decline detailed above is a direct result of product liability lawsuits against the industry. A brief review of the saga of product liability is essential to understanding both the conventional wisdom and our critique.

Liability Defined

The term liability refers to the question of who bears the risks associated with accidents. The definition generally accepted is the "liability of a manufacturer or seller of a chattel which is defective and/or unreasonably dangerous and causes injuries to persons."(23) There are at least four objectives of liability law: to compensate victims of accidents, to deter injurers, to spread risk equitably, and to foster innovation and safety. Deterrence and compensation are closely linked. One legal theory that provides the basis for the U.S. liability system is that injurers will be deterred from producing goods or services that may be unsafe because of the threat of liability lawsuits. If injurers must compensate victims for injuries associated with the use of their products, victims bear little risk and will themselves have less incentive to avoid accidents. On the other hand, an injurer that has liability insurance theoretically has a reduced incentive to deter accidents. Thus, the twin goals of accident prevention and risk spreading are often in unavoidable conflict. Furthermore, the massive costs associated with litigation make use of the liability system as a deterrent very expensive, prompting many observers of the U.S. liability system to argue that "first party" accident insurance is a better method of compensating victims than "third party" liability insurance.(24)

Nevertheless, in recent decades it has been widely accepted that liability rules promote safety. The logic is simple: Third party liability law that imposes costs on manufacturers will raise the price of design and/or process defects to unacceptable levels. In theory, in order to avoid these costs, manufacturers will be more vigilant in research and development and produce safer products. The fact that the vast majority of U.S.-produced light aircraft models has provided safe and reliable air transport for decades seems to lend credence to this argument.

Indeed, the scope of liability expanded substantially over the past thirty years based upon this logic.(25) The traditional Common Law doctrine of liability is that of negligence, whereby the injurer is liable only if he or she failed to take reasonable care. Under the negligence rule, for one party to be liable to another, the party had to be at fault. However, in a 1963 landmark case, Greenman v. Yuba Power Products, Inc.,(26) the Supreme Court in California embraced the rule of strict liability whereby the injurer is held liable for damages even if reasonable care was taken. Under strict liability standards, the fact that the injurer's behavior was reasonable and free of fault is not a defense. As a theoretical concept, strict liability standards "are actually a very special application of the negligence rule in which the reasonable care standard is set so high that no manufacturer can meet it."(27) Nevertheless, courts across the nation adopted the rule of strict liability in the 1960s and 1970s, shifting a greater burden toward manufacturers.

During this period aviation manufacturers became targets of attack under the new strict liability regime. Since aircraft must be designed and manufactured to very high standards, almost all aviation product liability cases involved claims of defective design. Initially, product liability for general aviation was seen as a California problem, because of its affluence and geography, and because almost 15 percent of all U.S. registered general aviation aircraft are based in that state.(28) However, by the mid-1970s, manufacturers of general aviation aircraft began to appreciate the enormous potential threat that strict liability posed. Annual liability premiums for the defense of an increasing number of liability cases quickly reached proportions of several million dollars each for the three large GA aircraft manufacturers. Thus, despite the GA industry's contention that the "liability crisis" began in 1979 or 1980, lawsuits against aircraft manufacturers actually began much earlier and expanded over many years.

However, aircraft manufacturers' liability insurance premiums increased dramatically throughout the 1980s as insurance underwriters adjusted to the increase in claims against the industry.(29) For example, industry-wide liability premiums went from about $24 million in 1978 to $210 million in 1985.(30) By the 1980s the world's insurance underwriters began to withdraw product liability insurance coverage from U.S. general aviation manufacturers. According to a prominent Lloyd's of London aviation underwriter, "We are quite prepared to insure the risks of aviation, but not the risks of the American legal system."(31) As a direct result, at least according to proponents of the product liability crisis thesis, Cessna withdrew entirely from the single engine aircraft market, Beech substantially reduced production levels, and the once venerable Piper Aircraft Corporation sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is currently self-insured. A 1987 study conducted by Beech at the request of the House Aviation Subcommittee concluded that the average cost to the manufacturer (the total of losses and defense expenses) for each accident was $530,000, while the average amount claimed per occurrence was approximately $10 million.(32) By 1987, the three largest GA manufacturers calculated their annual costs for product liability ranged from $70,000 to $100,000 per unit built and shipped during the year.(33) Industry-wide employment plummeted from 40,000 employees in 1980 to 21,580 in 1991.(34) If related industries, such as suppliers, avionics, and airport services are included, the figure swells to some 100,000 skilled, high-paying jobs.(35)


The general aviation industry effectively framed the issue by isolating product liability lawsuits as the dominant, if not exclusive, cause of the collapse of the U.S. general aviation industry. Its proposed solution was Congressional action to check a judicial system they described as out of control. Aggressive lobbying by the major GA trade associations such as the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) promoted the notion that the explosion of product liability litigation in the 1980s single-handedly decimated small aircraft manufacturing in the U.S. mass mail campaigns, and favorable press coverage disseminated industry-sponsored analyses of the liability crisis, which highlighted skyrocketing legal defense costs and outrageous jury awards.(36) The industry's message soon became widely accepted as gospel by most casual observers of general aviation.

In response to these lobbying efforts, in 1987 Representative Dan Glickman (D-Kansas) and Senator Nancy Kassebaum (R-Kansas) introduced virtually identical product liability reform bills directed explicitly at general aviation. In the 100th Congress, the Senate bill was killed by filibuster and the House bill failed to emerge from the House Judiciary Committee.(37) Congressional supporters of general aviation introduced amended versions of aviation liability legislation in every year following 1987, but each of these bills failed to overcome the strong opposition of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA), whose efforts were supported by labor leaders and consumer groups.(38) In 1994, after a long and bitter legislative battle involving the successful use of an arcane legislative role known as the discharge petition, reformers finally achieved victory when the General Aviation Revitalization Act was released from committee and voted into law over the objections of Jack Brooks, long-time chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.(39) The legislation, signed by President Clinton on August 17, 1994, limits the length of time (the tail) after the manufacture of the aircraft in which an injured person can bring suit. The law establishes an eighteen-year statute of repose for product liability lawsuits against the manufacturers of airframe, engine, and component for aircraft with twenty seats or fewer.(40)

The reduced "tail" limits a manufacturer's liability exposure by allowing claims only during the first eighteen years of an aircraft's life. This is important for two reasons. First, since today's fleet of light planes has an average life of twenty-eight years, the law eliminates the liability exposure for more than a third of the product's average life.(41) Second, the law was passed in 1994, which means the liability exposure for the general aviation fleet will shrink dramatically over the next few years as the peak production years of the late 1970s move beyond the "tail."

The GARA enjoyed considerable bipartisan support as a life-saving measure for Cessna, Beech, Mooney, and other American producers of small aircraft. Some commentators have gone as far as to say that the Act will not only rescue distressed American finns, but will create a substantial number of high-wage jobs over the next five years as production lines resume operations.

On the other hand, opponents of the legislation criticize the GARA on the basis that liability laws enhance safety and innovation. Opponents argue against limiting the fundamental right of citizens to be compensated for damages that result from manufacturing design or process defects. Such limits would unfairly penalize the consumer while removing the incentive for product safety. In fact, one technical expert argues the reduction in the tail might actually lead to cover-ups instead of product improvements as manufacturers hope to avoid discovery of design defects.(42)

The legislative battle over the General Aviation Revitalization Act had all the trappings of good political drama: populist politicians fighting the special interests, led by an organization representing lawyers, to preserve an American institution, its light aircraft industry. The industry's ability to influence public opinion as well the behavior of politicians was demonstrated by passage of the General Aviation Revitalization Act. The major trade associations succeeded in framing the issue as an industrial and competitive disaster of monumental proportions caused primarily by a failed legal doctrine and a liability system that benefited the trial lawyers at the expense of the public interest.


It is far too easy to accept the simple, single cause explanation offered in the rhetoric of the general aviation industry and the politicians and pundits who saw the battle over the GARA as an opportunity to strike a blow against the trial lawyers. A quick look at a few statistics used most frequently by the industry and its supporters shows a plausible, if not persuasive, story in which product liability smashed the otherwise healthy general aviation industry. In this section we take a critical look at the product liability thesis. We then demonstrate through a more careful examination of the broader picture that a number of other factors damaged general aviation and played a considerable role in transforming the industry. Finally, we discuss the likely impact of the GARA. Our main conclusion is that the product liability reform legislation is more relevant for the general aviation industry of the early 1980s, not the industry of the mid-1990s.

In the debate over product liability and general aviation, the industry's focus on frivolous lawsuits became the conventional wisdom and eventually, through the zealous efforts of some in Congress, a bully pulpit from which lobbyists could wage a populist attack against trial lawyers. The focus on product liability makes political sense in that it builds on a popular perception that trial lawyers are abusing the system.(43) The industry and its supporters narrowed the more complex troubles confronting the general aviation industry and bombarded the public and politicians with statistical analyses to prove their point. The statistics are factually correct; however, they are somewhat misleading. This is especially true when they are taken out of context and the other factors affecting the industry are ignored.

The most popular statistics presented by the industry and its supporters show the dramatic decline in the production of single engine aircraft. The graphs typically showed the disastrous downturn in production after 1979, the year the industry claims the product liability crisis began. Figure 2 depicts a standard representation of these data. Two other statistics typically accompanied the production figures. Employment data showed just how many jobs disappeared as a result of the product liability crisis. The graphs in this case presented a simple comparison between the number of jobs in 1978 and the number in 1993.(44) A sample of this graph appears in Figure 3. Statistics on the number of American and foreign firms offered support for the product liability crisis thesis and the argument that frivolous lawsuits helped foreign interests at the expense of American firms. Figure 4 presents the firm data used to support the industry case. Finally, crash and fatality statistics reveal the industry was actually becoming increasingly safe over the years. Figure 5 shows how fatal crashes declined over time for general aviation aircraft.

The statistics presented above seemingly offer strong support for product liability reform. Here was an industry going about its business of providing good products, paying high wages, and maintaining America's dominance in this important international market, when all of a sudden, product liability claims decimated the industry. If one is critical of trial lawyers anyway, these statistics confirm beliefs already in place. If one is skeptical of industry in these matters, these statistics are still compelling and not easily discounted.

What the industry and its supporters present in their account of the demise of general aviation in America are the results of a rough quasi-experimental research design. In its most simple form, a quasi-experimental design is used to show how an experimental treatment affects or influences another factor or variable. In this case, the product liability crisis, which the GA industry traces to 1979, is the treatment; production and employment are the variables affected. These figures provide clear and compelling evidence to support the case that the general aviation industry was indeed strong, with soaring production rates and healthy levels of employment. Once the product liability crisis hit, production and employment declined. The story, backed up by the statistics and graphics presented above, is persuasive.

Unfortunately, the product liability thesis suffers from a number of the research design errors that typically plague quasi-experimental designs. In their classic critique of quasi-experimental research designs, Campbell and Ross offer six possible sources of bias or error.(45) We examine three of these sources of error in the case of the general aviation industry. These are history, maturation, and regression. We also investigate two additional issues ignored in the industry account. These are changes in the structure of the general aviation market and changes in firm strategy. It is necessary to examine the three problems associated with the quasi-experimental design presented above before discussing changes in market structure and management strategy.

History deals with other explanations or events that might account for the behavior attributed to the experimental treatment. In this case, we argue that other factors, including the oil crisis, the high inflation rates of the late 1970s, the high interest rates of the early 1980s, the proposed elimination of the GI Bill benefits for entry-level private pilot certification, and the deep recession in the early 1980s all combined to inflict significant damage on the general aviation industry. Maturation deals with other explanations or trends which might account for the behavior attributed to the experimental treatment. We argue that trends, such as demographic changes in the pilot community, increased longevity of existing aircraft, increasing aircraft prices, and general economic conditions, combined to wreak havoc on the industry. Regression deals with the possibility the treatment was given after an extreme upswing or downswing. In effect, what may appear to be the result of the treatment is simply regression to the mean or more normal level.

Using these three issues as a guide for our analysis we intend to show that the demise or transformation of the American general aviation industry is best understood when the three research design issues are considered. We find that a comparison between the general aviation industry of the 1970s and the industry of the 1990s is a dubious proposition without careful inspection of the structure of the industry in both timeframes.(46) We contend that the GA aircraft industry followed the classic product life cycle pattern: vigorous growth followed by shakeout.

Let us begin with the most basic criticism of the product liability crisis thesis. The industry's story is that general aviation was chugging along in good health through the end of the 1970s until the advent of the liability crisis. Figure 2 portrays this argument graphically. The problem here is that the data are taken out of context. The industry limited the time series to show only the peak years just before the crisis and the ensuing decline. To understand the possible effect of the liability crisis and to account for regression effects, it is necessary to extend the time-series backward. Figure 1 illustrates long-term production figures. What appears to be a serious decline from business as usual after the onset of the crisis in Figure 2 appears to be just another downturn after a significant upswing in the 1970s in Figure 1. Furthermore, one notices the industry weathered similar downturns in the past.(47)

Proponents of the product liability crisis argument will quickly point out that this doesn't damage their thesis. They do not argue that the general aviation industry has always been healthy or that it has not suffered from downturns in the past. Moreover, they might argue, if the downturn in the early 1980s was merely a regression to the mean, then there should be a subsequent upturn after 1983, which ushered in the longest period of growth in the post-war economy. The permanence of the downturn, they argue, is a result of the product liability crisis that effectively wiped out the industry. We concede there is some merit in this line of reasoning, but only if we ignore the possibility that other trends or events might also account for the permanence of the downturn in general aviation production.

An examination of other events that might account for the downturn in GA aircraft production reveals the product liability crisis was not the sole factor that damaged the industry. Two oil crises brought dramatic fuel cost increases in the 1970s and combined with other maintenance and operation costs to drive many pilots from the market. Figure 6 presents the rising costs of owning and operating an aircraft during this period. Surveys of owners and operators of small aircraft reveal that increased costs are the primary reason cited for reducing flying hours and/or for dropping out of flying altogether.(48) The elimination of the investment tax credit also served to increase the real cost of purchasing an aircraft. If the very high interest rates of the late 1970s and the recession of the early 1980s are taken together with other negative forces, the environment in which general aviation production peaked and then plummeted becomes much more complex. A simple product liability argument is insufficient. Figure 7 highlights four critical events on the time-series of general aviation production levels.

The government played an important role in the general aviation industry beyond the broader economic policies that seemingly made life very difficult for the industry. The GI Bill, which provided government funds for education and vocational training for veterans, previously covered all flight training programs. In an effort to reign in what critics believed was a wasteful and abused program, Congress moved to eliminate entry-level pilot training from GI Bill coverage.(49) Critics of the flight training benefits argued that many veterans used government funds to learn to fly with no intention or possibility of using the acquired skills for vocational purposes. The prospect of the program being canceled effectively swelled the roles of flight training schools as veterans with dreams of being pilots moved quickly to collect their benefits. The result for the industry was a quick and dramatic increase in the short-term demand for single engine aircraft to support the influx of student pilots. Additionally, overly optimistic projections about the demand for new pilots in the wake of airline deregulation further inflated forecasts for the demand for training aircraft.

The events of the late 1970s and early 1980s had the disastrous effect of encouraging a substantial surge in general aviation production and then effectively pulling the rug out from under the market. The combination of events points to disaster, with or without the product liability crisis. Inflation and the proposed elimination of some GI Bill flight benefits encouraged the surge in production. Inflation increased demand by speculating brokers and retailers who believed they could profit through the resale of new aircraft. The manufacturers got caught up in a surge of production that was not sustainable. In fact, the surge created a stockpile of new aircraft that dealers could not sell, especially in the face of the other events described above.

The surge in production created an environment in which brokers and dealers in new aircraft required help from the manufacturers to move the aircraft to the consumer. In the best of times this means the manufacturers and their finance operations would incur the costs of attractive financing schemes and other incentive programs designed to attract reluctant buyers.(50) In the early 1980s, this meant the manufacturers faced the difficult task of offering incentive programs and attractive financing in the face of skyrocketing interest rates and a recession. Even if the manufacturers were able to attract customers they did so at substantial costs.

As noted earlier, another criticism of the product liability thesis is that it fails to address the issue of maturation. In addition to the specific events noted above, several important trends might have affected the general aviation industry. These trends are important because while it could be argued that the events described above had only temporary effects, the demographic, economic, and technological trends cannot be discounted. Although interest rates declined, other trends reinforced the damage incurred in the period described above. As with the other factors examined here, it is unlikely that any single trend caused the demise of the general aviation industry, rather that these trends combined with the surge in production to create an increasingly soft market for new airplanes. The trends examined here provide plausible explanations for the enduring difficulty facing the American general aviation industry.

Demographic trends have an important influence on many industries. Firms and industries must adapt to the ever-changing composition of their target market. A failure to recognize demographic changes can leave an industry producing products for which there are no buyers. Likewise, a failure to understand the consumer population may lead an industry to miss important marketing opportunities. Both of these issues are relevant in the general aviation industry. The industry seemingly failed to recognize the graying of their traditional customers and also failed, until recently, to recognize the need to cultivate a new pool of consumers.

As the population changes, so does the pool of existing pilots and the cohort group from which new pilots are likely to emerge. Important trends in two demographic variables are worth noting. First, the American pilot population dramatically expanded after World War II, and to some extent after the Korean War. A similar surge occurred in the pilot population after Vietnam, but the character of the increase distinguishes it from the earlier post-war surges. In World War II, and to a lesser degree the Korean War, many civilians were taken into the armed services and received flight training at no cost to themselves. Following their release from the service, many of these government-trained pilots used their new skills as employees for various U.S. commercial airlines and other aviation enterprises. In addition to their work, many of these pilots purchased private aircraft. Others took positions outside of aviation, but continued recreational and/or business flying. The post-war general aviation production levels surged to meet this strong demand.

An important demographic trend is the graying of this initial pool of general aviation consumers. By the 1980s the WWII cohort was reaching retirement age. There has been no other sustainable surge in the number of pilots in the postwar period. The increase in pilots, and especially student pilots, after the Vietnam War was different in character. The considerable surge in the number of student pilots after the war reflects the change in government veterans' benefits policy noted above. Therefore, the rapid increase in the student pilot population in the mid-'70s did not translate into the sustainable surge in the number of active general aviation pilots that followed the previous wars.

These demographic changes do not necessarily point to the collapse of the general aviation industry. The industry apparently did not anticipate these changes or have an effective plan to respond to the changing market. Until very recently, the industry seemed to be caught up in its own rhetoric regarding the product liability crisis and ignored the changes in the market for its aircraft. Belatedly, the industry, government, and a variety of other groups are introducing programs to educate businesses and individuals about the benefits of flying and encourage them to see flying as an accessible opportunity.(51) These programs appear to ignore other important trends that shape the future of the industry of the mid-1990s.

The first of these trends is the decline in disposable income among consumers who might wish to fly. A variety of factors combine to make owning an aircraft a pleasure that many consumers decide they can forego. Less discretionary income, changing consumer tastes, the high costs of flight instruction and aircraft operation compared to the costs of other recreational activities, and a general uncertainty about the future of the economy all combine to reduce the demand for flying lessons and new aircraft.(52)


The trends described above could shift in ways that make flying more attractive again, but certain trends in the industry itself seem more permanent and serious. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s while general aviation lobbying organizations waged a relentless effort to convince lawmakers to shorten the liability tail to protect America's general aviation industry, the manufacturers adapted their firm strategies to the realities of the transformed market. At the same time, the kitplane market took off. New technologies and a broader acceptance of self-built aircraft helped existing kitplane firms and entrepreneurs capture an increasing portion of the GA market. Finally, government policies suggest both a willingness to assist the kitplane segment and a desire to bring some form of traditional manufactured aircraft to the low end of the market.


To effectively understand the future of America's general aviation manufacturers it is necessary to examine their strategies in response to the product liability crisis and the transformation of their own interests. As noted earlier, the product liability crisis was especially important for the major manufacturers because of the large number of aircraft produced by these firms over the long run. The sheer size of the fleets of Cessnas, Pipers, and Beechcrafts made them the most likely targets for product liability attacks. Their relative financial success in the 1960s and 1970s also made them deep pocket targets for the trial lawyers.

The responses of these firms to the product liability crisis set in motion changes that transformed the industry in ways that will be difficult to restructure. The product liability crisis hit with the fullest force at the lower end of the market where private or personal aircraft were involved in a number of accidents, mostly related to pilot error.(53) The firms, despite winning more than 80 percent of the cases reaching trial,(54) were increasingly unable or unwilling to deal with the enormous legal costs associated with these lower end aircraft, especially since the profit margins on such aircraft were relatively small and offered little opportunity for increases. Traditional manufacturers slowly left the single engine piston market to smaller foreign competitors, kitplane manufacturers, and fixed base operators (FBOs) who maintain the fleet of older used aircraft. At the same time, the manufacturers moved to strengthen their position in the higher end of the general aviation market by focusing on the upscale business segment. This focus provided a market with fewer product liability concerns and higher profit margins. The strategy proved successful for Cessna and Beech, whose profits soared.(55) The success in recent years hinges on the sale of high end turbo prop and jet aircraft - since only 5 percent of all general aviation sales were for piston powered aircraft.(56) These types of planes provide much higher profit margins for manufacturers. For example, GAMA member manufacturers achieved billings of over $2.007 billion in 1990 on sales of 1,144 units. In 1993, billings rose to $2.144 billion on sales of only 964 units.(57)

In recent years Beech became a subsidiary of Raytheon Company and Cessna was acquired by Textron, Inc., both large, diversified corporations. The strategies of these integrated aerospace firms directed their efforts towards the corporate market and contracts for military aircraft. These decisions effectively left the market for single engine aircraft to the few remaining small traditional manufacturers and entrepreneurs who saw a window of opportunity to exploit the underserved market. This is not to say these firms abandoned the low end market willingly or that the product liability crisis was not a real and serious problem. Rather, these firms reacted rationally to the political and commercial environment in which they found themselves. The important point is that these decisions altered the market in ways that will not easily be reversed.


Perhaps the biggest change in the general aviation industry in response to the product liability crisis, besides the deep cuts in production levels by the major manufacturers, was the significant growth of the kitplane industry. This industry expanded at the same time traditional manufacturers were downsizing and exiting the low end single engine market. The development of a commercially viable kitplane industry was aided by the improvement of kitplane technologies and the formation of associations for kitplane enthusiasts which effectively transformed the kitplane from the garages of eccentrics to the mainstream of America's general aviation population. At the same time, kitplanes became easier to build because of improved production techniques and marketing programs, and the aircraft themselves became more attractive as cost-effective alternatives to manufactured aircraft. Potential purchasers were no longer forced to choose between a bare-bones kitplane or a sophisticated manufactured aircraft. Kitplanes offered the desired product and performance at prices that even used manufactured aircraft could not beat.

Innovations in the kitplane segment of the general aviation market should not be discounted. Increased technological sophistication and the success of various organizations such as the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and the Small Aircraft Manufacturers Association (SAMA) helped remove the stigma associated with kitplane assembly and ownership. This sector of the industry is now firmly established and has effectively replaced the traditional manufacturers even if they should actually choose to return to this segment of the market in the wake of GARA. Most industry observers believe the market is fundamentally different today and question claims that traditional manufacturers will be able to compete in the lower end of the market. It is unlikely that a prospective owner would choose one of the promised manufactured aircraft when these aircraft will likely cost as much as twice the price of a first quality, and in some cases, better equipped kitplane.


Recent policy changes will likely reinforce the changes in market structure. The FAA is certificating more kitplanes. These efforts indicate two important trends in the general aviation market. The government recognizes the technical advances in the production, assembly, and operation of kit aircraft. Furthermore, the kitplane industry is sufficiently large and organized to play a role in general aviation policy making. Policy changes affecting general aviation will increasingly have to address the demands of the kitplane manufacturers and the consumers who recognize kit aircraft as an attractive alternative to more costly manufactured aircraft.

Kitplane manufacturers and consumers are gaining political strength along with the tremendous commercial progress made over the last few years. The FAA has recognized both the technical sophistication and the market potential for aircraft in this market and is taking an increasingly favorable view in the certification process. David Hinson, administrator of the FAA, recently discussed the new certificates for three "relatively low cost aircraft that ranged from $45,000 to $80,000."(58) Hinson noted the potential for certificating more of these types of aircraft in the coming years. The FAA recognizes the commercial potential for this market as a way for America to retain a place in the low end of the aircraft market. There are hints the FAA believes, as we suggest in this article, that the low end of the market is now the domain of the kit manufacturers.

Government recognition of this market transformation can only serve to reinforce the position of the kitplane manufacturers and consumers. These manufacturers provide an increasing proportion of the jobs in this segment of the market. This position will likely increase the seriousness with which the government views this segment of the market. Furthermore, as more consumers accept kitplanes as an attractive alternative, not merely a second best solution to the high costs of manufactured aircraft, the manufacturers and operators of these aircraft will likely wield additional influence in the aviation community in general.


In the wake of GARA several government and industry groups launched marketing and technology programs in response to the new environment and market structure of the 1990s. NASA, the FAA, universities, and industry groups have established a unique public-private research and development consortium called the Advanced General Aviation Transport Experiments (AGATE) to develop and deploy "space" technologies to support enhanced general aviation system capabilities.(59) AGATE is focused on developing technologies for fixed-wing light aircraft. Under the leadership of NASA, the consortium hopes to serve as a catalyst for the introduction of new technologies, composite materials, and manufacturing processes into general aviation products.

The FAA developed its first comprehensive, agency-wide plan to address the needs of the general aviation industry. It pledged "to foster and promote general aviation, while continuing to improve its safety ... [by] methods designed to reduce the regulatory burden."(60) The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) announced Project Pilot, with a goal of enlisting 10,000 new student pilots. By March 1995, AOPA had signed up 9,252 pilots and 8,754 mentors, of which 86 percent had logged five or more hours and 44 percent had been in the cockpit twenty or more hours.(61) Other aviation groups have introduced similar programs to promote general aviation. For example, the National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA) sponsors the "No Plane No Gain" program. These and other aviation industry groups established the General Aviation Action Plan Coalition to lobby the FAA and to implement their agenda. According to GAMA president Edward Stimson, "Passage of the General Aviation Revitalization of Act of 1994 was an important step.... Implementation of FAA's Policy Statement and Action Plan is equally important."(62) The mood of the general aviation industry is more positive than it has been in years and a rebound from the dismal decade of the 1980s appears likely.

During the lobbying effort to enact GARA, Cessna and Piper officials repeatedly promised to resume production of single engine piston aircraft if Congress would enact tort reform. Cessna kept its promise by initiating a search in Kansas for a plant location. Of course, the prospect of about 1,000 high paying jobs stimulated a wave of proposals from state and municipal politicians and economic development officials hopeful of luring Cessna to their community. After narrowing the competition to a dozen cities, Cessna selected a site in Independence, Kansas at the Independence Municipal Airport. The state of Kansas and local units of government put together an incentive package that included cash, tax abatements, and property valued at $35 million. Cessna is investing $30 million to construct a new assembly facility and to refurbish another one to restart production of its 172, 182, and 206 models.(63) The company believes that pent-up demand will allow it to sell up to 2,000 of these planes annually by 1998. The aircraft maker expects to sell up to 70 percent of the Skyhawk 172 and Skylane 182 models domestically and as many as one-half of the 206 models overseas.

Pork has always been a staple of state and local developmental policies. However, in recent years economic development has been the major force in local politics. Governmental subsidies obviously distort the market and make analysis of the impact of liability reform problematic. Changes in policy and the introduction of promotional programs in the wake of GARA make measuring the impact of the liability legislation on the industry even more difficult. We do not suggest that tort reform was not an important event in general aviation history. Rather, we suggest that drawing conclusions about cause-and-effect relationships between industry health and the enactment of GARA is impossible without some way of controlling for other important variables.


In this study, we ask whether product liability killed American general aviation and if so, whether the General Aviation Revitalization Act will rescue the industry. The answer to the first question is a qualified no. Product liability damaged general aviation, but was only one factor in a series of political and economic issues that harmed the industry. The answer to the second question is less clear. We believe that GARA is no silver bullet for the industry. Many of the problems described in this study remain even in the wake of liability reform.

Flying remains an expensive hobby. Even as manufacturers such as Cessna prepare to resume production as they promised in the process of lobbying for the GARA, they still face stiff competition from used and kit aircraft markets. To the extent that product liability claims raised the price of new aircraft, time will soon tell whether the traditional manufacturers can really compete. The eighteen-year statute of repose effectively eliminates the bulk of the manufacturers' exposure as the planes produced during the peak years of 1977-78 move beyond the tail in the next two years. However, the tail might be extended with the installation of factory parts. Moreover, the statute of repose does nothing to protect other parts suppliers and related industries from replacing the manufacturers as the "deep pocket" for general aviation product liability suits.

Government is doing more to help the industry, but it is not clear whether these efforts will translate into the jobs promised during the lobbying effort. Industry and government are working together to address technological, marketing, and education and training challenges facing the industry. Potential new engine and composite material technologies offer the industry a way to improve a product line that is virtually unchanged, with the exception of avionics, since the 1960s. The effect these developments have on the industry depends on whether the traditional manufacturers are able to integrate the improvements more efficiently than their competition in the kitplane market. Already there are grumblings from pilots that the new Cessna 172 Skyhawk models are expected to be priced around $90,000 to $100,000.(64)

Government and industry are also attempting to brighten the future of general aviation by restoring veterans' flight training benefits. Educators are encouraging school children to look to flying as an obtainable goal. Many universities offer comprehensive aviation programs, including flight and maintenance training, aviation management, and even specialized master's degrees with aviation concentrations. Finally, the new Republican Congress is contemplating giving businesses the incentive to purchase and operate aircraft through the reinstatement of the investment tax credit. The combination of these efforts is likely to affect general aviation more than the reform of product liability. The fact remains, however, that the industry is very different now than it was when thousands of aircraft were rolling off the Cessna, Beech, and Piper assembly lines.

In short, the product liability crisis did not cause the collapse of American general aviation, it led to a transformation of the industry. While the transformation was not without pain, the industry was not entirely destroyed as other U.S. industries were in the 1970s and 1980s. The kitplane sector promises continued technological improvement and affordable entry-level and performance aircraft; the traditional manufacturers are in a good position to exploit their international dominance of the high end general aviation market. Most observers agree that aside from the short-term psychological boost stimulated by the passage of GARA, the important structural impact will not be fully understood for many years to come.


1 Public Law 103-298, 103rd Congress, S. 1458. Highlighting the political sensitivity of tort reform, the actual bill signing ceremony at the White House was not a celebrated occasion despite President Clinton's earlier claims that "General Aviation is critical to the health and growth of our economy.... Success in rebuilding our economy depends on giving workers and businesses the tools, such as those associated with general aviation, to compete in a fast paced world economy." Quoted in Federal Aviation Administration, Third Annual FAA General Aviation Forecast Conference Proceedings, FAA-APO 93-3, March 1993, p. 45.

2 R. W. Meyer, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Cessna Aircraft Company, Annual Industry Review: 1994 Outlook & Agenda, February 9, 1994, p. 3. This figure was subsequently cited in mainstream publications such as D. R. Levine, "How the Trial Lawyers Finally Met Defeat," Reader's Digest, November 1994, pp. 127-131.

3 A. T. Wells, Air Transportation: A Management Perspective, (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company), 1984.

4 K. G. Palinkas, "Caught in the Vortex: General Aviation Airports, Light Aircraft Manufacturers, Product Liability and Aviation Policy," master's thesis, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, January 14, 1994.

5 The Act defines general aviation aircraft as "any aircraft for which a type certificate or an airworthiness certificate has been issued by the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, which, at the time such certificate was originally issued, had a maximum capacity of fewer than twenty passengers, and which was not, at the time of the accident, engaged in scheduled passenger-carrying operations as defined under regulations in effect under the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (49 U.S.C App. 1301 et. seq.) at the time of the accident."

6 R. L Swanda, "Light General Aviation," Future Aviation Activities, Proceedings of the Sixth International Workshop of the Transportation Research Board, Number 352, February, 1990.

7 A. T. Wells, op. cit.

8 Federal Aviation Administration, FAA Forecasts: Fiscal Years 1991-2002, FAA-APO 91-1, (Washington DC: US Government Printing Office), February, 1991.

9 Federal Aviation Administration, Proceedings of the Second Annual FAA General Aviation Forecast Conference, (Washington DC: US Government Printing Office), March, 1992.

10 "Industry, NASA, the FAA, and Universities Join Forces to Revitalize the General Aviation Industry," The AGATE Flier, August 1994.

11 A. T. Wells, op. cit.

12 Federal Aviation Administration, FAA Aviation Forecasts: Fiscal Years 1994-2005, FAA-APO-94-1, March, 1994, p. V-5.

13 General Aviation Manufacturers Association, General Aviation: Statistical Handbook 1994, p. 4.

14 ibid., p. 4.

15 Federal Aviation Administration, FAA Aviation Forecasts: Fiscal Years 1994-2005, FAA-APO-94-1, (Washington DC: US Government Printing Office), March, 1994.

16 ibid., p. V-5.

17 FAA Forecasts 1994-2005, op. cit., p. V-5.

18 R. Martin, "General Aviation Manufacturing: An Industry Under Siege," in P. W. Huber and R. E. Litan (eds.), The Liability Maze: The Impact of Liability Law on Safety and Innovation, (Washington DC: The Brookings Institution), 1991, p. 484.

19 ibid., p. 484.

20 G. P. Wells, "General Aviation Accident Liability Standards, Why The Fuss?" Journal of Air, Law, and Commerce, Vol. 56, No 3, 1991.

21 FAA Forecasts 1994-2005, op. cit, p. V-5.

22 Industry supporters argue that foreign manufacturers escaped the liability crisis because their smaller fleets of existing aircraft meant that their liability exposure was less, hence insurance costs were significantly lower.

23 W. L. Prosser, Law of Torts, 4th ed. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co., 1971.

24 See, for example, P. W. Huber, Liability: The Revolution and Its Consequences, (New York: Basic Books, 1988), or R. E. Litan and C. Winston (eds.), Liability: Perspectives and Policy, (Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution), 1988.

25 C. Shapiro, "Symposium on the Economics of Liability," Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 5, No. 3, (Summer, 1991).

26 59 Cal. 2nd 57, 377P. 2d 1153, 104 Cal. Rptr. 433 (1972).

27 Shapiro, op. cit., p. 6.

28 Martin, op. cit., p. 481.

29 W. K. Viscusi, "Product and Occupational Liability," The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 5, No. 3, (Summer 1991).

30 G. Wells, op. cit., p. 895.

31 Martin, op. cit., p. 484.

32 General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Liability Reform for General Aviation: A Need at the Point of Crisis, p. 4.

33 Martin, op. cit., p. 484.

34 Federal Aviation Administration, Third Annual FAA General Aviation Forecast Conference Proceedings, (Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office), FAA-APO 93-3, March 1993.

35 National Commission to Ensure a Strong Competitive Airline Industry, Change, Challenge and Competition, Report to the President and Congress, August, 1993, p. 26, also cited in "Senatorts," editorial, Wall Street Journal, March 3, 1994, p. A14.

36 Typical of such mailings is one sent by Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Political Action Committee to the Association's members. This mailing provided a prepared letter to the member's Congressional representative. The letter noted that "aviation liability lawsuits are ravaging the wallets of pilots like me to the tune of $210 million a year. It's got to stop NOW" (emphasis in original). The mailing also requested urgent donations to the AOPA PAC.

37 G. Wells, op. cit., p. 897.

38 Labor eventually defected from the alliance fighting the reform effort. The General Aviation Revitalization Act placed no limits on the ability of employees to sue employers. The removal of this sticking point and the ability of the Act's proponents to cast it in part as a jobs bill secured labor's support.

39 A discharge petition must be signed by 218 House members to be approved and reach the floor for a vote. The process was rarely successful until recent changes which made signatories' names public.

40 American Association of Airport Executives, "General Aviation Revitalization Act Clears Congress," Airport Report, August 15, 1994.

41 According to GAMA, the average single engine aircraft in the U.S. is twenty-eight years old.

42 Statement of R.O. Stearman, Bettie Margaret Smith professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics, The University of Texas at Austin, before the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Economic and Commercial Law, Thursday, May 12, 1994. Stearman details alleged design flaws of the infamous Beechcraft V-Tail Bonanza. He asserts the V-Tail Bonanza flaw was covered up by Beech for thirty years despite almost 250 crashes and 500 fatalities.

43 "How Lawyers Abuse the Law," U.S. News and World Report, January 30, 1995, pp. 50-56.

44 Federal Aviation Administration, 4th Annual FAA General Aviation Forecast Conference Proceedings, FAA-APO 94-3, p. 23. The choice of 1978 and 1993 is important since the former represents a dramatic peak in GA employment. By 1993 Cessna was no longer producing single engine aircraft and Beech was shipping very few single engine aircraft.

45 D. T. Campbell and H. L. Ross, "The Connecticut Crackdown on Speeding: Time Series Data in Quasi-Experimental Analysis," Law & Society 3 (August 1968), pp. 33-53.

46 Regression analysis of the aggregate data on the general aviation industry might be preferred over the kind of graphical and descriptive analysis conducted here, but we find that problems with data and a limited number of cases make regression an inappropriate tool. Other efforts to do aggregate statistical analysis on this subject failed. In D. Rubin and R. VanDuzee, The Demand for Single Engine Piston Aircraft, FAA-APO-87-18, the researchers opted to estimate correlation statistics between demand and the many variables they believed affected the general aviation industry. Limitations in the data made the conclusions of this approach less appealing.

47 For masterful discussion of how graphics can sometimes mislead, see E. R. Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, (Chelshire, CT: Graphics Press), 1983.

48 "NASA General Aviation/Commuter Program Technologies & Market Impacts," AGATE Consortium. Paper presented at the FAA General Aviation Forecasting Conference, Phoenix, AZ, March 16-17, 1995.

49 B. Worthington, "New GI Bill Will Spark Flight Training Business," Airport Services, July/August 1990, p. 39.

50 Information concerning financing packages was obtained in interviews with industry sources.

51 A number of cooperative programs to promote flying are under way. The "No Plane. No Gain." advocacy program seeks to spread the "good news of aviation." The program cites recent research that concludes businesses that own and operate aircraft are more successful. Another example, "Learn to Fly," is an independent nonprofit effort to increase the number of general aviation pilots.

52 S. Hoerter, "Personal Flying May Never Rebound," Airport Services, January/February 1991, p. 46.

53 H. W. Lewis, Technological Risk, (New York: W. W. Norton), 1990, p. 202-4.

54 R. Martin, op. cit., p. 483.

55 See individual company annual reports.

56 Statement by R. B. Creamer of Citizen Action before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, September 19, 1991.

57 GAMA, Statistical Handbook 1994, p. 5.

58 Interview in Airport Magazine, September/October 1994, p. 52-6.

59 "NASA General Aviation/Commuter ...," op. cit.

60 U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Promoting General Aviation's Future, March, 1994, p. 1.

61 "Surveys Show the Program is Working," AOPA PILOT, March, 1995, p. 19.

62 "GAMA Sees FAA as Crucial Partner in Industry Revitalization," GAMA Press Release, March 16, 1995.

63 B. Carton, "Cessna Says it Will Make More Small Airplanes," Wall Street Journal, March 14, 1995.

64 See "Pilot Briefing: Effect of New Cessna Aircraft Production Analyzed," Pilot, December, 1994; and correspondence regarding these price estimates for new Cessnas in Pilot, February, 1995.

Mr. Truitt is assistant professor of political science, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois 62901-4501; Mr. Tarry is assistant professor of political science, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
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Author:Truitt, Lawrence J.; Tarry, Scott E.
Publication:Transportation Journal
Date:Jun 22, 1995
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