Recently, I was invited by NATA to attend the NATA Business Aviation Roundtable (BAR) in Oklahoma City. It was insightful to hear from the leading national aviation trade association discussing the latest tools and resources. Information there showed how to develop and create awareness of organizational safety management, lead a safe transition to unleaded aviation fuels and open pathways into business aviation careers from local NATA members.

NATA’s Shannon Chambers, Vice President of Communications, and Senior Advisor Ken Thompson opened the round table by asking each guest to introduce themselves and to share info and memories about their first car. This great ice breaker engaged everyone on a more personal level.

Oklahoma City Expands MRO Support

Jeff Mulder, Airports Director Oklahoma City, shared the news that AAR broke ground on the $20M project to add 80,000+ square feet hangar and warehouse space and to accommodate all Boeing 737 variants, including the 737-10. AAR’s growth in Oklahoma City supports a recently expanded maintenance commitment from Alaska Airlines, a valued customer of AAR for more than 20 years. The new airframe MRO facility is expected to be operational in January 2026. 

D Smith, with the U.S. Department of Transportation and International Society of Safety Professionals (ISSP), shared the evolution of Safety Management Systems (SMS) since he ran the first federal course back in 2005. He communicated the importance of all pilots having an SMS in place. It’s particularly important with new rulings coming out for Part 135 and Part 145 operators to ensure continuous safe operations for passengers. Incorporating a safety culture in these organizations and encouraging employee reporting is critical to safety intelligence.

The FAA released its final SMS rule shortly after the BAR, mandating SMS into flight operations. It provides tapping into more resources and tools to make more prudent safety decisions (i.e., not just one pilot or one mechanic making decisions). This rule will improve aviation safety by requiring organizations to implement a proactive approach to managing safety.  READ MORE

Eliminating Lead from Aviation Fuels

Ryan Manor, previously of ConocoPhillips, represented Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions (EAGLE), in sharing the latest initiatives of finally eliminating lead from aviation fuels. This is great news for our piston owners and operators.  LEARN MORE 

The Oklahoma Department of Aerospace and Aeronautics had two representatives who shared their advocacy efforts of aviation throughout the State. The Department’s aerospace and aviation education funding supports the Oklahoma Works initiative that aims to address the skills gap and connect students to programs that will help build Oklahoma’s aerospace and aviation workforce.

Other key issues voiced by this local group of members included a discussion on FET and that the 2005 Fuel Tax Fraud is still a problem today, as well as illegal charter and the growing concern among the air charter industry and the public.

It’s great to connect face-to-face with the aviation community and represent Greteman Group in Oklahoma City with our client, NATA. It was enlightening to hear current issues and initiatives they’re leading directly from local NATA members. Most of all, I was really proud to hear all the positive feedback about NATA’s new branding that we launched last year!