Interview: Greg Bowles - GAMA director of European regulatory affairs

London
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This story is sourced from Flight International
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Where did your career begin?

I began my career as a young ­design engineer at Cessna Aircraft, in Wichita, Kansas, working on the design of new business jets. I remember driving from the East Coast, USA, across to Kansas and feeling apprehension over the flat, barren landscape. As soon as I saw the aircraft on the flight line, I knew I had found an extraordinary place to begin my career.

When did you start with GAMA?

I began working for GAMA in January 2005 based at the association’s headquarters in Washington, DC. Over the last year, I assumed the role of the director of European regulatory affairs and engineering based in GAMA’s Brussels office. In my role, I am responsible for working with international members of government and industry on technical and regulatory issues to create an environment which fosters general aviation. My focus is in the area of legislation, regulation and policy affecting airframe design, systems and avionics.

How is it going?

We have been working very closely with the aviation regulators, legislators, and the key European aviation associations to lay a new foundation for GA in Europe. Since its creation 10 years ago, EASA has focused primarily on regulating the scheduled commercial airlines and the rules for GA to more closely match the needs of the airline world. Recently, there has been a concerted effort to improve the regulatory environment in ­Europe in the areas of operations, licensing, design and airworthiness. GAMA is working hard to ensure that the European aviation community speaks with a strong and common voice to ensure that these changes bring about a healthier and more vibrant future. With so many ­cultures and individual needs within the European GA community, it is important that changes don’t segment GA but rather produce a more inclusive system in which it is easier for the industry to participate.

Sounds like a challenge.

As a young engineer, it was ­frustrating to find areas where the regulations governing design would prevent the best solutions. As we work to create a new ­generation of these design ­regulations, I am fortunate to help in creating a future where we can attain new levels of safety in shorter timeframes and at lower costs. As a true aviation enthusiast, I find the most exciting aspect of this work is imagining a future where aviation becomes more attainable to people. I certainly don’t have any ­delusions that this work will bring about aviation nirvana, but it is a substantial move in the right direction.

What about Avgas availability?

There is great pressure on the ­European GA community simply due to the cost of Avgas and, as a result, all factors have influenced designs to be as efficient as possible. There are tremendous efforts to develop and implement sustainable fuels for the existing GA fleet and we see many exciting new technologies to keep GA engines as efficient as possible, and even electric propulsion, that hold the potential for changing the face of GA in the future.

What is the most difficult part of your job?

There are many issues that could be taken on to improve aviation and there is simply not enough time to accomplish everything. I find myself wishing for more hours in the day or a button to pause the world. The most frustrating and difficult part of this job is not having the bandwidth to tackle every issue at the same time. Every day at GAMA we are all challenged to win the biggest issues and that often means we can’t work on all of them.