Civil Aviation Council

House Aerospace Caucus Briefing on Importance of Earth Observation

AIA 2016 Strategic Plan

U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council Dinner

DoD Corral tours at 2015 Dubai Airshow

Jason Timm

Flying Displays at Dubai 2015

Current and Potential Member meetings at Dubai

Meetings at Dubai Airshow 2015

AIA at the 2015 Dubai Airshow

Guy Norris Recognized with 2015 Lyman Award

Norris Recognized with 2015 Lyman Award

AIA: House Passage of Budget Deal Good for America

AIA Welcomes House Vote to Reauthorize ExIm Bank

2015 Executive Report Third Quarter

AIA: Defense Related Associations Join to Overturn Budget Caps


AIA urges House to pass ExIm Reauthorization


Research & Defense Groups: Budget Caps Risk National Security and Medical Research Priorities

AIA: ExIm Discharge Petition Most Welcome; Time to Vote!

Q&A With Michael Huerta, FAA Administrator

Global Sustainable Aviation Summit 2015

Melcher Speaks at U.S. DOD-Industry Partnership Forum on Defense Exports

Melcher Speaks at U.S. DOD-Industry Partnership Forum on Defense Exports

Melcher Speaks at U.S. DOD-Industry Partnership Forum on Defense Exports

AIA: The U.S. aerospace industrial base is running out of time

AIA: Consolidation is Market-Driven and Enhances Efficiency

CODSIA urges DARC to withdraw commercial items rule

Wings of Liberty 2015

Who’s Missing The Mark On Emissions?


Ex-Im Bank:  A Key Component for Maintaining America’s Global Influence

National Aerospace Week Highlights-AIA Honors Senators Murray and Moran with Wings of Liberty Award

AIA Presents 2015 Wings of Liberty Award to Senators Patty Murray and Jerry Moran

Why America Needs NextGen

National Aerospace Week highlights – Melcher Opens Aviation, Aerospace & Defense Workforce Summit

Associations Send Congress Letter on Extended CR Impacts

Associations Send Congress Letter on Extended CR Impacts

National Aerospace Week highlights - Melcher Speaks at the AFA Air and Space Conference

Ex-Im Bank foes hurt Ohio jobs, help China


Secretary Pritzker Congratulates Aerospace Industry on National Aerospace Week

Dan Olmes

Bridge Littleton

Leonardo Bodmer

Student Rocketeers Wanted for World’s Largest Rocket Competition 2015-2016

Ambrie Jones

Fall 2015 Supplier Management Council Meeting


NASA and the Spirit of Inspiration

AIA as Aggregator

2015 Executive Report Second Quarter

Ex-Im Bank Round-up.  And The Next Step

AIA: Senate Passage of Ex-Im Bank Amendment a Good First Step

TARC Star Spotlight: Jordan Stine

AIA’s Ex-Im Advocacy Reaching a Crescendo

Busy week for Ex-Im supporters

A Busy Week for Ex-Im Supporters

Paul M. Paolozzi

John Luddy

William “Doc” Syers

AIA Brings Aboard Three Division Leaders

TARC Star Spotlight: Preston Due


AIA: Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization: A Missed Opportunity

TARC Star Spotlight: Amanda Steckel

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Myth vs. Reality

Congress Passes TPA Legislation


The Hill Publishes AIA, Huntington Ingalls EX-IM Bank OpEd

TARC at the Paris Air Show - Day Two


U.S. Team Wins International Rocketry Competition

AIA at the Paris Air Show 2015

AIA at the Paris Air Show 2015

Alabama Rocketry Team Blasts Off to Paris

TARC Star Spotlight: Casey Densmore

Kristie Primmer

Robert E. Durbin

Get the Results of the 2015 A&D Survey Report

Eileen Drake

David J. Castagnola

Robert Murphy

Marion C. Blakey

David F. Melcher Named President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association

David F. Melcher Named President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association

TARC Star Spotlight: Victor Murphy

The New American Space Age

Global Positioning System Modernization

Over the DC Sky – A Reminder of the Need for Air Supremacy

Actualizing S1000D - Making it real


Ex-Im Bank – When Did Supporting U.S. Industry and American Jobs Become a Bad Thing?

TARC Star Spotlight: Lt. Kenneth Johnson

TARC Star Spotlight: Samuel Pullen

Hubble – 25 Years and the Astronomy Continues

Amanda Jaeger


Alabama students take home the gold at the Team America Rocketry Challenge National Finals

Responsible for improving the capability for designing, developing, producing, and operating aviation products in a safer, more secure, and efficient aviation system; promoting robust federal aeronautics,  R&D funding at the FAA and NASA; ensuring  aviation security  and safety; modernizing the air traffic management system; and monitoring federal and international aviation regulations and international aircraft noise and emissions standards. AIA contact: Ali Bahrami, Vice President, Civil Aviation.

Read AIA's newly approved Strategic Plan for 2016 at the link below.

Jason Timm joined AIA as Director of Defense Policy in 2015, after a career in program management and test and evaluation for the United States Air Force and the Department of Defense. 

Prior to joining AIA, Jason served for 22 years as an Air Force acquisition officer.  He has extensive experience in conventional and rapid acquisition, engineering, and flight test functions on a range of important programs, from cruise missiles and reconnaissance systems to space systems and special projects aircraft.  He served on the Air Staff from 2004 to 2008, where he had responsibilities for budgeting and acquisition program reporting.  From 2008 to 2011, he supported the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program as the Low Rate Initial Production Program Manager.  His last active duty assignment was teaching Level II and III Program Management courses at the Defense Acquisition University, from 2011 to 2015.

After his retirement in 2015, Jason provided contractor support to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition in the Office of Transformational Innovation, where he was responsible for soliciting, advocating, and executing innovative concepts with the potential for broad ranging and rapid improvements to Air Force acquisition processes and systems.

Jason has Level III certifications from the Defense Acquisition University in Program Management and Test & Evaluation, and Level I certification in Acquisition Logistics.  He holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Colorado State University, where he graduated in 1992 as a member of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 090, and he earned an MBA from Oklahoma City University in 1996.

Guy Norris, a well-respected and award-winning aerospace and defense journalist and author, has been selected to receive the 2015 Lauren D. Lyman Award for outstanding achievement in aerospace communications.

Norris Recognized with 2015 Lyman Award

             Arlington, Va. — Guy Norris, a well-respected and award-winning aerospace and defense journalist and author, has been selected to receive the 2015 Lauren D. Lyman Award for outstanding achievement in aerospace communications.

            “We’re delighted to recognize Guy Norris with this year’s Lyman Award,” said AIA President and CEO Dave Melcher. “His distinguished record of accurate reporting and dedicated focus on our industry exemplifies many of the qualities that Deac Lyman brought to both his reporting and public relations careers.”

             Guy is a Senior Editor for Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine, based in Los Angeles. Before joining Aviation Week in 2007, Guy was first a technical editor based in the U.K. and most recently was U.S. West Coast editor for Flight International. Before joining Flight, he was London correspondent for Interavia, part of Jane's Information Group.

            Guy was awarded the 2013 Jesse H. Neal award for Best Technical Content with fellow Aviation Week journalist Graham Warwick for their Advanced Propulsion feature.  He is a multiple winner of the Royal Aeronautical Society Aerospace Journalist of the Year Award in the Air Transport, Propulsion and Systems/Technology categories, and in 2006 he received the Royal Aeronautical Society Decade of Excellence Award for sustained achievement in aerospace journalism. Guy has also authored more than a dozen books on the air transport industry.
“I am thrilled and deeply honored to be receiving the prestigious AIA Deac Lyman award,” Norris said. “To be counted among the ranks of those previously granted with this accolade is both extremely humbling and unexpected.”

            Norris will receive the award at a special dinner held in his honor Monday, December 14 and will be recognized at AIA's 51st Annual Year-End Luncheon December 15. The award is named after Lauren “Deac” Lyman, a Pulitzer-prize winning aviation reporter with the New York Times who later had a distinguished career as a public relations executive with United Aircraft, a predecessor to United Technologies Corporation. First awarded in 1972, the prize goes to a journalist or public relations professional in aviation who exhibits Lyman’s high standard of excellence. UTC is the longtime sponsor of the award.

# # #

Statement by Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO David F. Melcher on the two-year budget deal passing in the House.

Arlington, Va. — AIA is relieved and thankful that the House has passed legislation lifting the Budget Control Act (BCA) caps for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.  The deal provides an additional $50 billion for base defense spending over the next two years and substantial increases in Overseas Contingency Operations funding.  These are significant increases providing badly-needed funds and some measure of stability to the Department of Defense for the next two years. 

Military leaders have been sounding the alarm this year about the increasingly chaotic situation in the Middle East and emboldened military actions by Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.  We owe them a debt of gratitude for their candor, expertise and judgment, and also to Congressional leaders who made this increase in funding possible against tall odds.  Without that leadership, fiscal year 2016 would have represented the fifth consecutive year of cuts for a military asked to do more in an increasingly unstable world geopolitical situation.

The agreement should also grant substantial relief for non-defense agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, NOAA, and the U. S. Coast Guard.  These agencies are important for our nation's public safety, economy, and global stature in science, exploration and aerospace technology.  The FAA needs funds to upgrade its obsolete air traffic control system and respond to the challenge of integrating unmanned aircraft systems into our skies.  NOAA needs funding to improve our prediction of hazardous weather events and help Americans move out of harm’s way with greater notice.

In addition, the agreement paves the way for an omnibus appropriations bill in early December that would avoid the specter of a year-long continuing resolution.  Equally important, in agreeing on new discretionary caps for fiscal year 2017, the compromise package raises prospects for a smoother appropriations process next year, when the nation turns its focus to Presidential and Congressional elections.

We strongly support this legislation and urge the Senate immediately to take up and pass the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 and send it to the President for his signature.

Statement by Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO David F. Melcher on the passage in the House of a bill reauthorizing the Export Import Bank of the United States.

Arlington, Va. — Today’s passage of Rep. Fincher’s (R-Tenn.) bill in the House marks an important step in reauthorizing the Export Import Bank of the United States.  The ExIm Bank is a valuable tool supporting exports in the aerospace and defense industry – the leading export industry in the U.S. manufacturing sector with a trade surplus of nearly $62 billion.  We are relieved that common sense has prevailed and the majority has found a way – even using the unconventional “discharge” process – to express its will.

But the work is not yet done.  So far, American companies have lost three space payload orders, billions of dollars in commercial airplane sales are at risk, and several companies are talking about moving operations overseas – all because ExIm Bank financing has not been available since July 1.  Enough is enough – identical language has now passed in both the House and Senate.  Both chambers have expressed their will.  We strongly urge House and Senate leadership to join in a cooperative, bipartisan spirit and do the right thing to restore our country's global competitiveness: take the necessary steps to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.

The Executive Report is an AIA quarterly publication which provides news and information about our association membership, AIA initiatives and events, and other information from around the industry.

Featured this quarter in the Executive Report:

President's Message: Achieving AIA's Goals Through Bold Strategic Planning, Sound Governance
Q & A With Michael Huerta, FAA Administrator
Supplier Manangement Council Fall Meeting
Technology Innovation Focus
Highlights fron National Aerospace Week

Statement by Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO David F. Melcher on Defense Related Associations joining to urge Congress to pass a two-year budget deal.

Arlington, Va. — Today, in a spirit of cooperation, the heads of twelve Defense Related Associations joined to send a letter urging Congress to pass a two-year budget deal offsetting budget caps under the Budget Control Act of 2011.  Such a deal would avoid the disruptions inherent in a full-year continuing resolution and provide adequate resources for our military to conduct today’s missions and prepare for the next crisis.

The letter stated, “Chaos in the Middle East and aggressive military activity by Russia, China, Iran and North Korea all pose serious national security threats to our nation, threats that require a well-trained military force with state-of-the-art equipment … We urge you in the strongest possible terms to ensure that those responsible for securing our nation are provided adequate, balanced and stable funding.”

To read the full text of the letter, please visit our website at:

The signatories include:

David F. Melcher,
Lieutenant General, USA (Ret.)
President & CEO
Aerospace Industries Association

Craig R. McKinley
General, USAF (Ret.)
President & CEO
National Defense Industrial Association

Elliot Holokauahi Pulham
Chief Executive Officer
Space Foundation

Larry O. Spencer
General, USAF (Ret.)
Air Force Association

Brian Wynne
President & CEO
Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems

Dr. Sandra Magnus
Executive Director
American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics

Al Runnels
Executive Director
American Society of Military Comptrollers

John Totushek
Vice Admiral, USN (Ret.)
President & CEO
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation

William Erickson
Executive Director
Surface Navy Association

Guy C. Swan
Lieutenant General, USA (Ret.)
Vice President
Association of the U.S. Army

Garry E. Hall
Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.)
President & CEO
Association of the U.S. Navy

Bruce Butler
National Executive Director
Navy League of the United States

With a series of important votes on Ex-Im Bank reauthorization coming during the evening of Monday, Oct. 26, AIA put on a big push to convince representatives to vote for reauthorization.

The Aerospace Industries Association, the National Defense Industrial Association, Research!America and United for Medical Research joined October 21 to send Congress a letter urging America’s elected representatives to work together on responsible funding of our national security and medical research priorities.

Joint Statement by the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Defense Industrial Association, Research!America and United for Medical Research urging Congress to raise budget caps restraining vital investments in national security and medical research.

Arlington, Va. — Today the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Defense Industrial Association, Research!America and United for Medical Research joined to send Congress a letter urging all of America’s elected representatives in the House and Senate to work together to move forward with responsible funding of our national security and medical research priorities.  The letter states “We must base spending priorities on current and future threats and opportunities, or American security, prosperity, and global leadership will be compromised.  Among these priorities are preserving global stability, defending our homeland and fighting diseases that rob Americans of life, health, independence and time.”

“The aerospace and defense industry provides the equipment that keeps our economy moving and protects our warfighters in harm’s way,” said AIA President and CEO LTG David F. Melcher, U.S. Army (Ret.). “That is why the Federal Reserve’s recent revision downward of U.S. annual industrial production, based on a deeper than previously reported downturn in the output of defense and space equipment, is both relevant and alarming.  Our industry is feeling the bite of budget caps imposed under the Budget Control Act.”

“Medical research is vital to the health of our citizens and our economy,” said American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network President Chris Hansen on behalf of United for Medical Research.  “To truly gain control over federal health spending, we must prevent and stop the diseases that engender it.  We need more medical research.”

“At a time when global threats are advancing, not receding, and the United States has more than 200,000 young men and women serving in more than 130 countries, in nearly 60 named operations, we must remain industrially strong  and able to deter malicious and destabilizing adversaries,” said National Defense Industrial Association President and CEO Gen. Craig R. McKinley, USAF (Ret.). “The irony of cuts to the discretionary budget is that they will have no meaningful impact on the U.S. debt and deficit, which are driven by imbalances between the revenues we collect and our spending on entitlements. So we will materially harm our national security strength without getting our fiscal house in order. That outcome is the worst of all worlds.”

“The NIH has nearly 25 percent less purchasing power today than in 2003, representing lost opportunities for advancing research to combat our most vexing diseases and threatening America’s global leadership in the life sciences,” said Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley. “Before we lose any more ground, Congress must take steps to ensure that the NIH budget catches up from the past decade of neglect.”

To read the full text of the letter, please visit:

# # #


Aerospace Industries Association
Dan Stohr
(703) 358-1078 office
(703) 517-8173 mobile

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)
Alissa Crispino
(202) 661-5772 office
(240) 498-7233 mobile

United for Medical Research
Jim Manley
(202) 255-3736

National Defense Industrial Association
Rene Bardorf
(703) 247-9473

Anna Briseno
(571) 482-2737

Founded in 1919 shortly after the birth of flight, the Aerospace Industries Association is the most authoritative and influential trade association representing the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military and business aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems, space systems, aircraft engines, homeland and cybersecurity systems, materiel and related components, equipment services and information technology.

United for Medical Research is a coalition of leading research institutions, patient advocates, medical professional organizations, and biomedical companies united in support of robust funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Learn more at


The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is America’s leading Defense Industry association promoting national security. NDIA provides a legal and ethical forum for the exchange of information between industry and government on national security issues. NDIA members foster the development of the most innovative and superior equipment, training and support for warfighters and first responders through its divisions, local chapters, affiliated associations and events.

Research!America is the nation’s largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations representing 125 million Americans. Visit


Statement by Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO David F. Melcher on the passage of a discharge petition allowing Congress to hold a vote to reauthorize the Export Import Bank of the United States.

Arlington, Va. — We are delighted with today’s passage of a discharge petition on Rep. Fincher’s (R-Tenn.) bill reauthorizing the Export Import Bank of the United States.  The ExIm Bank is a valuable tool supporting exports in the aerospace and defense industry – the leading export industry in the U.S. manufacturing sector with a trade surplus of nearly $62 billion.

So far, American companies have lost three space payload orders, billions of dollars in American commercial airplane sales are at risk, and several companies are talking about moving operations overseas – all because ExIm Bank financing has not been available since July 1.  Enough is enough – Congress must hold the vote and reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.

Remarks by David F. Melcher

Good morning and thank you Michael for that very kind introduction.  In making up my schedule, I had the choice of staying in Washington and trying on our industry’s behalf to convince members of our United States Congress to break the current budget impasse.  Or, I could fly to Geneva, meet some of the world’s most dynamic aviation leaders, and participate in a vibrant dialogue about meaningful issues. And no, this was not a difficult choice.

So on behalf of the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations, or ICCAIA, I appreciate the opportunity to highlight the critical technology improvements aerospace manufacturers are spurring to help guide us towards our sustainability goals.

But first, I want to talk to you about values.  This industry is very proud to help make robust global commerce possible, and to enable for the first time in history people-to-people exchanges between all nations on a massive scale.  We believe we’re a vital force for good in modern society.  In carrying forth our work, we’re alert to our responsibility to make air travel the safest form of mass transportation, and to set the pace in environmental stewardship.

At the Aerospace Industries Association, where I represent manufacturers from the United States, we embrace the core values of credibility, integrity and responsibility.  I can assure you all of ICCAIA’s members share this approach in providing aviation solutions for environmental challenges.

The time is certainly ripe for our entire aviation community to continue pushing for greater environmental performance.  As fuel costs are the single largest operating cost today, from a competitive standpoint, manufacturers are battling to gain further fuel efficiency and outshine one another on environmental performance metrics.  And this is a game where everyone wins.

But we don’t just compete with one another.  We also cooperate within the manufacturing community and with our fellow aviation colleagues.  Our industry has set ambitious CO2 reduction goals that we’re working hard to accomplish, even in the face of increasing passenger numbers.   As you can see in ATAG’s recent publication, “Aviation Climate Solutions,” the combination of new composite structures, improved aerodynamics, alternative jet fuels, breakthrough propulsion concepts, and more efficient operations are making leapfrogging advancements possible.

Our industry’s $15 billion a year annual research investment is helping meet the 1.5 percent per year improved fuel efficiency goal, and will help us cross the goal line of carbon neutral growth by 2020.  For those of you keeping score, that $15 billion in investment is five times the estimated value of Manchester United, so we’re talking real money here.

Let me give you some examples of the innovation occurring due to this investment.  Winglets, sharklets—whatever we would like to call these small efficiency boosters—reduce lift induced drag and save between 380,000 and 570,000 liters of fuel per year.

On the ground, taxiing aircraft that utilize new electric taxiing systems reduce the use of main engines, saving up to 85 percent of fuel normally emitted before they take flight.

And on the shop floor, we’re witnessing a revolution in the use of 3D printing for the design and production of aircraft and engine parts.  Next year, one company [GE Aviation] will introduce the first 3D-printed parts in an aircraft engine platform.  Parts produced with this method are already beginning to appear on the latest generation of aircraft, resulting in components that weight 30 to 55 percent less than traditional metal parts.
Our industry is also finding common ground with government air transportation agencies, the airlines and airports to promote more efficient operations and improved infrastructure, resulting in significant environmental benefits.

Indeed, the Single European Air Traffic Management Research Program, SESAR, combined with the U.S. NextGen national airspace system modernization program is making aviation safer, more efficient, and environmentally friendly.

In the U.S. the industry-government NextGen partnership has led to the introduction of several satellite-based flight guidance technologies and new flight procedures that are appreciated by the flying public.  For example, at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, due to more efficient take offs and landings, flight times have been reduced on average by nine minutes, and CO2 emissions have been reduced by over 14,000 tons per year.

Similarly, I commend the organizers of the SESAR public private partnership for making air traffic modernization a strategic priority for Europe.  They’re making significant progress in harmonizing air operations between multiple national authorities and ATM centers.  Achieving the goal of a “Single European Sky” will certainly be a big deal.  In addition, I applaud SESAR’s ambition to promote environmentally optimized Trans-Atlantic flights which hold the promise of saving up to a half ton of fuel or the equivalent to 1.6 tons of CO2.  Let me add that to register further gains it is incumbent upon the aviation community to ensure that there is greater interoperability between NextGen and SESAR systems.

Now in addition to furthering our objectives through technological innovation, it’s also clear that our community must work with other industry groups, governments and NGOs to help shape the best and most effective global environmental policy for aviation.

As such, ICCAIA endorses the role of the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, as being the proper venue for international discussions of aviation-specific environmental issues including the issue of CO2 emission standard setting.  ICAO has the right bandwidth for thoughtful discussions and decision making about technical feasibility, economic viability, environmental benefits and interdependency considerations. In addition, when ICAO sets aviation environmental standards, we have faith they will be adopted by the widest possible group of governments across the globe in a way that keeps our industry operable, and most importantly recognizes the non-negotiable element of safety.

In this light, we’re confident that in 2016 ICAO member states will agree on a practical global framework for market-based measures, and endorse a CO2 aircraft certification standard to further reduce aircraft emissions in the most effective, safe and environmentally-friendly way.  Such an agreement, along with our commitment to continue efforts to innovate will provide, in our judgment, the best way forward.

I trust that if this group meets up again in five years we will have met or even exceeded these significant industry goals.  And if that is the case, we should all lift our glasses and toast this great industry for a wonderful, impactful achievement.

In closing, I wish to thank all the members of the aviation community for participating in this important summit and for the opportunity to speak today.  I look forward to working with you as we continue to make progressive achievements that are emblematic of an industry that always lifts—literally and in spirit—the people of this planet.

AIA President and CEO Dave Melcher helped launch the U.S. DOD-Industry Partnership Forum in Washington D.C. today.

Arlington, Va. — With the news today that a $1.1 billion order for Boeing jetliners by a South African airline is at risk of cancellation, and the recent announcements of three lost U.S. commercial satellite sales, it is clear that the failure of Congress to re-authorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank is causing the American aerospace industry to lose ground against its foreign competitors, and potentially thousands of workers to lose their jobs.

U.S. companies large and small have been telling members of Congress for months now that overseas customers are going to buy from foreign competitors in the absence of ExIm Bank financing. This is because our industry faces direct competition from other countries that also offer credit financing. By having our own credit financing, we had a level playing field to compete - and when the playing field is level, no competitor stands against the quality of a U.S. made aerospace product. It is incredibly frustrating that all of our warnings have been ignored, and that an ideologically extreme minority can force delay and inaction.

The purchase and payment lead times in our industry are long, and the clock is ticking.  The price for delay of the vote to re-authorize the ExIm Bank is going up every second, and our nation will ultimately bear the cost. Hold the vote and reauthorize the Export-Import Bank!

Statement by AIA President and CEO Dave Melcher on recent DOD comments regarding mergers and consolidation

Arlington, Va. — TheWhile we understand Undersecretary Kendall’s broad concern regarding the impact of defense industry consolidation on competition, we feel consolidation is occurring as a natural result of decades-long trends in defense acquisition.  Consolidation is market-driven and enhances the efficiency with which we deliver the world’s best equipment to the American warfighter.

We’re seeing fewer and fewer new programs which start farther and farther apart.  With fewer programs for which to compete, the stakes for individual companies grow ever higher – loss of a contract competition could mean the end of a company’s ability to compete for defense work.  In this environment, it’s no surprise that industry is looking to become leaner and more efficient.  We’ve seen how this works in the past – sweeping defense industry consolidation happened during the last downturn in defense spending in the 1990s.  Many of the same conditions are apparent now.  Companies should be judged based on their performance.  The size of the prime contractor shouldn’t matter in any case, as most of the work flows into the supply chain through subcontracts.

Budget Control Act caps combined with frequent use of continuing resolutions are causing significant uncertainty in defense budgets.  To encourage competition and a healthy and strong industrial base, we need stable, predictable and sufficient budgets to support our national security strategies. We urge Congress to overturn the Budget Control Act caps, enact a budget deal that supports investment in American capability and return to a budgeting process that promotes stability and predictability in contract awards.

Remarks by David F. Melcher

Good afternoon.  And welcome to a highlight of National Aerospace Week, AIA’s tribute to our 2015 Wings of Liberty Awardees.   For those of you new to this event, Wings of Liberty is our industry’s highest award given to a member or members of Congress who have made significant contributions to the strength of our industry.   Starting off, I’d like to thank Honeywell’s Vice President for Global Government Relations Rick Graber and the entire Honeywell team for graciously hosting us.

Today, we’re delighted to honor two true champions of our nation’s leadership in aerospace and defense, Senator Patty Murray of Washington, and Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas.

Today is special for this and a related reason steeped in our nation’s history.  We’re gathered at Honeywell, fittingly located on Constitution Avenue, on our nation’s Constitution Day, recalling how 228 years ago, 39 founding fathers including Franklin, Hamilton, Madison, and Washington signed the historic document that declares the supreme law of the United States. 

Some folks often overlook that providing for the common defense and promoting the general welfare are the bedrock purposes of government.  And we can’t meet the founders’ intentions without leaders the caliber of these two senators to translate these purposes into action.

A prime example of that leadership was The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 which Senator Murray and Representative Paul Ryan successfully negotiated. This was significant for two important reasons. 
First, it gave meaningful, two year budget relief for the people who work day and night providing for our common defense, and for the other functions of government like NASA, NOAA, and the FAA, that contribute to our well being and public safety. 

The second reason to laud Senator Murray is this agreement was the product of genuine bipartisan give-and-take.  Seventy years ago, Michigan’s Senator Arthur Vandenberg, the Republican Foreign Relations Committee leader, famously stated, “We must stop partisan politics at the water’s edge.” Today, you could build a dam as big as the Grand Coulee and the partisanship that poisons our political discourse would flood over its spillways. To her credit Senator Murray is helping to bridge that divide.

Let me turn to Senator Moran.  While this is just his first term in the Senate, he’s already demonstrated that the citizens of Kansas chose wisely in selecting the person who would fill the seat once held by Bob Dole.  While a member of Congress he’s traveled to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan to visit deployed American forces and meet with foreign leaders.  He currently serves on the Air Force Academy’s Board of Visitors.  And in taking over the co-chairmanship of the Senate Aerospace Caucus, he rightly noted, “Safeguarding our nation for future generations means both a strong national defense and a strong economy.  The aerospace industry is where these two priorities converge.” 

Indeed, we appreciate both Senator Moran’s and Murray’s enthusiastic support of the Senate Aerospace Caucus.  Through the Caucus we’ve been able to engage your fellow Senators and Senate staff about our workforce development efforts and exciting technological developments.  For example, through their leadership and the hands-on activism of their key staffers Caroline Prosch and Adam Goodwin, this summer we held a standing room only event on Unmanned Aerial Systems.  At the event, Amazon detailed their package delivery dreams and the Atlas All-Terrain Land and Air Sphere flew inside a packed Senate caucus room.  

It’s also worth mentioning that both of these distinguished Senators have voted to support the continued operations of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, a key priority of our industry. 
It’s now my pleasure to ask AIA Board Vice Chairman Marillyn Hewson, the CEO, President and Board Chairman of Lockheed Martin to give brief remarks and join me for the award presentation.

Remarks by Marillyn Hewson

Thank you, David and good afternoon everyone. AIA Chairman David Joyce was disappointed that he was not able to be here… however he asked that I extend his best wishes with all of you and his congratulations to our honorees.

I’m delighted to be here with you today, particularly during National Aerospace Week.  This is a wonderful opportunity for our industry—and its supporters—to recognize the enormous contribution that aerospace makes to America’s economy, competitiveness and national security.  

And speaking of supporters, Senator Murray and Senator Moran, let me add my sincere appreciation for all that you do on behalf of the aerospace community.  Your willingness to tackle the most complex issues and advocate on our behalf in Congress is all the more crucial today—particularly as we head into another challenging budget cycle.

Your efforts on the Senate Aerospace Caucus have been of vital importance in making sure that the American aerospace industry remains strong, secure, and globally competitive.

As long as we have leaders like you… leaders who are committed to the security of our country and to the strength of our industry … we have every reason to be optimistic about the future of both. Senator Murray… Senator Moran… Congratulations on your well-deserved Wings of Liberty Awards.  We look forward to your continued leadership… and thank you for all that you do for our nation. Congratulations!

Four industry groups wrote this collective statement on fuel efficiency and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations (ICCAIA) is the global organization of aerospace industry associations. The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) 250 member airlines account for 83% of the world’s air traffic. The International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) represents and promotes business aviation industry. And the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) is a group of 80 of the world’s leading manufacturers of general aviation aircraft, engines, avionics, components and related services.

AIA Director for Environmental Policy Leslie Riegle played an active role in drafting and editing the piece and coordinating among the four signatory organizations.

The world aviation sector is well on its way to meeting the planned fuel-efficiency targets set for 2020. Despite the Aviation Week Leading Edge column to the contrary (AW&ST Sept. 14-27, p. 19), ICCAIA, IATA, IBAC and GAMA agree that the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) fuel-efficiency goals are within reach and supported by the aviation industry’s strong record to date and commitments going forward.

While we recognize the acknowledgment in the column of the significant achievements in aircraft technology, we would like to clarify that the ICAO goals involve participation by the whole aviation sector using a broad array of measures, not just aircraft technology. The ICAO CO2 emissions goal states that: “States and relevant organizations will work through ICAO to achieve a global annual average fuel-efficiency improvement of 2% until 2020 and an aspirational global fuel-efficiency improvement rate of 2% per annum from 2021 to 2050, calculated on the basis of volume of fuel used per revenue tonne kilometer performed.”

Despite already having a strong fuel-efficiency and emissions-savings record, our industry was the first global transport sector to adopt concrete CO2 emission reduction goals. The industry is working to meet these through a basket of measures consisting of improved aircraft fuel efficiency—through the introduction of new aircraft models and propulsion systems and operational efficiencies; air traffic management (ATM) system modernization and improvements; and greater use of sustainable aviation biofuels. Since making these commitments in 2009, the aviation industry has improved its fuel efficiency by an average of more than 2% per year up to 2014.

An International Council on Clean Transportation report—and the Leading Edge column based on it—create an impression that the goals agreed by the ICAO Assembly are for new technology alone. This is a mischaracterization. They are actually for overall efficiency, taking into account the range of measures described above.

Today’s commercial aircraft consume 70% less fuel per passenger mile than aircraft did 50 years ago. Even as it has grown, the aviation industry continues to invest billions of dollars every year in the development and deployment of new technologies to further fuel efficiency gains and lower emissions. New aircraft bring this technology to the world with greater fuel efficiency; for example, the Boeing 787 is 20% more fuel efficient than its predecessor, and the Airbus A320neo improvements result in 20% fuel savings per seat compared with the A320 current engine option. These aircraft are not just improving their fuel efficiency but are designed to address other key, and frequently interdependent, environmental issues such as local air quality and noise, alongside the paramount safety requirement. And airlines are keenly focused on operating their aircraft as fuel efficiently as possible.

The global CO2 standard and market-based measure both under development at ICAO represent major steps for the aviation industry toward carbon-neutral growth. Governments, industry and civil society are all working together under this organization to achieve global agreement. This is founded upon four key ICAO principles: to establish global standards that are environmentally beneficial, technically feasible, economically viable and take account of interdependencies with other environmental standards. We are confident that together we can meet these principles and reach the goals on top of an already impressive fuel-efficiency and CO2-savings record.

Defense News published an opinion piece co-signed by AIA's Dave Melcher and former Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre discussing the importance of ExIm Bank to the defense industrial base.  They also made the point that ExIm is an effective use of soft power -- enhancing America's security interests and global influence through trade.

Appeared in the Sept. 14, 2015 edition of  Defense News, on page 37.

By John J. Hamre and David F. Melcher

America’s robust export growth has been crucial in helping our nation recover from the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.  Three major factors have contributed to the United States’ improved balance of trade performance. 

First, the U.S. is undergoing a high-tech manufacturing renaissance.  Our  superior products are highly valued in the global market.  Second, recent reforms of restrictive export controls have enabled American manufacturers of commercial satellites and commercially-available parts in military systems to begin recovering lost market share. And thirdly, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im) has played an indispensable role in providing loan guarantees and financial assistance to U.S. companies of all sizes competing for foreign sales, especially when the private sector is unable or unwilling to assume credit risk.

Indeed, Ex-Im’s significance in spurring our economic recovery was tangible during the 2007-2010 credit crisis when a paralyzed banking system lacked the capacity to underwrite even low-risk loans.  

In any international competition, unilateral disarmament is never a good idea.  Yet the renewal of Ex-Im’s authority to operate has become a victim of an ideological minority on Capitol Hill whose purist vision of keeping government out of the marketplace doesn’t recognize that competing nations – including China, Russia, Japan and the major European states – offer substantially greater export credit financing assistance then the U.S.   In any international competition, unilateral disarmament is never a good idea. 

Since July 1st congressional inaction has prevented Ex-Im from processing new loans, leaving American firms at a substantial disadvantage in competing for foreign sales.  And after a flurry of activity in Congress in late July, attempts to move forward on the Bank’s reauthorization fell one vote short in the House Rules Committee following Senate passage of a favorable Ex-Im  amendment.

The failure to keep Ex-Im open for business is already having a substantial ripple effect throughout our economy. U.S. satellite sales are being threatened or even lost and American exporters are having to scramble to find private financing to replace Ex-Im programs.  If those sources were readily available, the exporters wouldn’t have had to go to Ex-Im in the first place.  And small and medium-sized companies in the supply chain that depend on large-scale projects financed by Ex-Im are rightfully concerned about what will happen next in a post-Ex-Im marketplace. 

Shutting down Ex-Im would also threaten American national security interests. American aerospace and defense companies have relied on overseas markets, particularly commercial markets serviced by Ex-Im loans, to keep the defense industrial base healthy as U.S. defense spending has declined.  Without Ex-Im, U.S. industrial production will decline, with fewer revenue and jobs throughout the aerospace and defense supply chain, leading to higher unit costs for the military systems our armed forces buy. The same dynamic occurred in the shipbuilding sector in the 1980s with devastating results that continue to be felt today.

A final often overlooked point in this debate is that Ex-Im allows our companies to bolster America’s presence abroad and draw developing countries closer to our values through its financing of projects such as water filtration, solar power and transportation infrastructure development.  Do we really want to undermine the usefulness of U.S. manufactured exports in helping us build long-term strategic relationships when countries like China use their support of overseas trade to bolster their political and diplomatic interests abroad?   

The Senate and House of Representatives now need to refocus on this pressing issue.  Ex-Im financing has helped America boost its economic prosperity and strategic influence at a critical time in our history.  We must keep Ex-Im’s doors open and use this important tool to advance our national interests.

Dr. John J. Hamre is the former Deputy Secretary of Defense

David F. Melcher (LTG U.S. Army-Ret.) is the President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association.

Arlington, Va. — The Aerospace Industries Association presented Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) with its prestigious Wings of Liberty Award September 17.  The Senators were recognized for their leadership of the Senate Aerospace Caucus, which enables Senate members and staff to engage with industry and government leaders on a number of subjects related to maintaining U.S. leadership in national security technology, civil aviation and space research and exploration.  They were also honored for their individual contributions to the health of America’s aerospace and defense industry.

“Senator Murray, the Senate Democratic Conference Secretary, is a key member of the Senate Appropriations, Budget and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, and throughout her four terms has been a stalwart supporter of our industry,” said AIA President and CEO David F. Melcher.  “It is an honor to present this award to Senator Murray, who demonstrated in this era of excessive partisanship that Congress can get things done in the national interest, when she negotiated with Rep. Paul Ryan the agreement to provide relief for the people who work day and night providing for our common defense, and for the other functions of government like NASA, NOAA, and the FAA, that contribute to our well-being and public safety.”

Melcher added, “Senator Moran, now serving in his first term, and holding important positions on the Senate Appropriations, Commerce, Science and Transportation and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, is a respected voice in the Senate Chamber.  He’s proven worthy of this award through his staunch advocacy for the aerospace industry, which he’s stated is vital for ensuring that we safeguard our nation for future generations through a strong defense and a strong economy.

In response to receiving the Wings of Liberty Award, Sen. Murray said, “This caucus has done great work to further this critical industry, and I believe Congress needs to provide the certainty and investment to make sure our businesses continue to lead the world in the 21st century economy. I look forward to working to keep Washington State and our country at the forefront of the global aerospace industry.”  Sen. Moran said the following: “Although Kansas and Washington have immense contributions in aviation, every state is touched and impacted by the aerospace industry – it is important that Members of Congress support innovation and help the aerospace industry thrive.”

The Wings of Liberty award is presented annually to a member or members of Congress who have made significant contributions to help bolster aerospace and national defense.  The award, which embodies the spirit of America and the drive to achieve any dream, was made at an event hosted by Honeywell Corporation as part of National Aerospace Week (September 13-20).  Past honorees include Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) and Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.).

Dave Melcher, President and CEO, AIA

In 1919 a young Army lieutenant colonel took part in the “Cross-Country Motor Transport Train,” a convoy of military vehicles from New York City to San Francisco.  This was no joy ride as the procession took 62 days, with trucks, tanks and other vehicles constantly slipping off America’s unpaved roads into ditches, getting flat tires or damaged axles.

Thirty-seven years later, US President Dwight Eisenhower drew on the lessons he learned from that trip—plus the Allied forces’ use of the advanced German autobahn network to speed World War II’s conclusion—to propose the Interstate Highway System.

Today, when we look at a US national air transportation system that in many ways is still dependent upon mid-20th century era radars and other technologies, the same message applies: the system needs to modernize.

That’s the vision of an ongoing effort to upgrade the US national air transportation system called NextGen. NextGen is improving aviation safety, security, efficiency, quality and affordability using new ground- and satellite-based communications, navigation and surveillance technologies to accommodate and encourage growth in air transportation.

When NextGen is fully implemented—hopefully by 2025—airline passengers will notice significant changes in the way they fly.  With new tools aiding our pilots and air traffic controllers, those frustrating delays while taxiing to the runway will diminish, flights will be smoothly diverted around rough weather and routes will be more precise—saving time, fuel and money. 

Many of these benefits are already being seen with NextGen systems such as Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, Required Navigation Performance and DataComm advanced flight controller and crew communications having a positive impact around some of the US’ busiest air traffic corridors. For example in Atlanta, GPS-enhanced wake turbulence categories and separation standards have reduced average taxi time by 2.5 minutes.  In Memphis, a new airplane routing system that allows for shorter gaps between takeoffs of similar types of aircraft has resulted in a 17% increase in traffic.  And at Sea-Tac Airport, use of NextGen-related precision routes by Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines have reduced flight times by four to eight minutes. 

The potential long-term benefits of NextGen are considerable. A Deloitte study predicts that its full implementation will provide more than $281 billion in net benefits to the economy by 2035; in 10 years, it will save 27 million hours in flight delays and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 216 metric tons.  FAA studies project that NextGen will reduce flight delays by 35%, even as the number of passengers in the US rises from nearly 850 million to a billion.

Despite the progress that has been made so far, there remains considerable frustration about technical issues—such as the recent glitch that snarled East Coast traffic over an August weekend—and over the time it is taking to implement the system.  But it is important to note that with any major infrastructure development system, problems will occur and will be solved.  To the end of smoother implementation, last year the FAA and industry reached agreement on specific near-term priorities (i.e., Performance Based Navigation, Surface Operations, Multiple Runway Operations and the Controller Pilot Data Link Communications aspect of the Data Comm program), and are focused on continuing progress while increasing transparency and accountability.

Funding is also an issue as under the rigid strictures of the Budget Control Act of 2011, FAA’s long-range Capital Investment Plan is being underfunded by almost a billion dollars a year.  Congress can play an important role in moving the program forward by lifting the budget caps on FAA and by passing the FAA’s Reauthorization Bill, thus providing clear guidance and support for the next stages of the program. 

NextGen, and those it will serve, deserve our support.  The US has a well-deserved reputation as having the safest air transportation system in the world.  But just as Ike saw from his experience with the US highway system, it can be made even better.

The heads of the Air Force Association, the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Guard Association of the United States, the National Defense Industrial Association and the Navy League sent a joint letter to congressional leadership September 14, urging them to avoid putting America's national security in a "CR trap" by passing a bipartisan multi-year budget deal.

July 15, 2015 at 5:59 AM


Dave Melcher, President and CEO, AIA

Last year, 124 Ohio companies did $427 million worth of business selling transportation equipment, motor vehicle parts, manufactured chemicals, wood products and other goods to foreign purchasers with the help of financial assistance from the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

Over an eight-year period, Ex-Im has led to more than $3 billion in Ohio company export sales. And for 81 years, Ex-Im, supported by both political parties, has enabled U.S. businesses — small, medium and large — to compete for overseas sales against foreign companies that enjoy aggressive support from their countries' export credit agencies.

Unfortunately, some lobbyists with a rigid ideological agenda want to kill off the bank without regard for the good Ohio jobs that will be lost in the process. They might just get their way.

Sadly, these anti-bank lobbyists work for the same organizations that have been pouring thousands of dollars into ad buys meant to influence members of Congress. They've succeeded so far in blocking a congressional vote to continue the bank's operations, causing American firms to compete for foreign sales with one hand tied behind their backs since July 1.

This deed was accomplished despite the fact that majorities in the House and Senate are ready to vote in favor of the bank. In fact, 65 members of the Senate just voted in support of the bank's operations. They know that America can't declare unilateral economic disarmament in the increasingly competitive international marketplace. Last year alone, the bank:

  • Supported $27.5 billion in U.S. manufacturing exports, including $10.7 billion of exports from U.S. small businesses.
  • Returned $675 million dollars to the U.S. Treasury.
  • Helped level the playing field for U.S. companies competing abroad against 60 foreign export credit agencies.
  • Supported 164,000 private sector jobs, while indirectly supporting thousands more in the supply chains of the Bank's customers – generating economic growth in local communities in the form of jobs for restaurants, pharmacies, gas stations etc.

The bank's opponents use clever slogans to claim they are economic purists. But capital markets don't operate with textbook perfection. Sometimes the private sector is unable or unwilling to assume credit risks, and the bank is needed to step in to fill gaps in the trade financing picture. Just ask those workers who benefited from Ex-Im financing during the 2007-2010 credit crunch, when even low-risk loans could not get financing from a paralyzed banking system.

The aerospace industry is greatly dependent upon Ex-Im financing to allow American manufacturers of commercial, general aviation and business airplanes, helicopters, satellites, spacecraft and launch vehicles to sell our goods abroad and help maintain and expand the largest positive trade balance of any sector in the U.S. economy. And for every major aerospace product sold abroad, thousands of medium and small supply-chain companies throughout the country also benefit.

Without the bank, many U.S. exporters will not be able to compete in the global marketplace, and good U.S. jobs will be the next critical item we export.

To illustrate the competition we are up against, in 2013, the Export-Import Bank of China provided more than $430 billion in loan guarantees for Chinese goods sold worldwide. Our Ex-Im Bank provided $36 billion that year.

Failure to allow a vote in Congress on the future of the bank will have only one result — losing business to China, Russia and other economically aggressive nations. Indeed, a senior Chinese official recently said Ex-Im going away would be "a good thing" for China.

Ex-Im financing has helped Ohio boost jobs in difficult economic times when every new job is important. Contact your congressional representatives and tell them it's time they stopped playing D.C. politics and listening to ideologues. Ask them to support the bank, and make the statement that we are proud to build products for the global market in Ohio.

David F. Melcher, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, is president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association based in Arlington, Virginia.

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker issued a statement this week congratulating the U.S. aerospace industry on the occasion of National Aerospace Week.  She also thanked AIA and its member companies for our partnership with the Commerce Department in our shared mission of promoting U.S. interests around the globe.

Dan Olmes came to AIA in August of 2015 and is the Director of the Supplier Management Council and Membership Services. He is responsible for advising and assisting the SMC on a broad range of issues affecting the Aerospace & Defense (A&D) supply chain industry. The SMC is a non-attributional forum within AIA where senior supply chain representatives from system integrators and manufacturers work together to address issues impacting the A&D supply chain. The SMC also delivers value to the AIA membership through a combination of international initiatives, legislative and policy analyses and coordinated regional meetings and industry working groups.

Previously Olmes spent 8 years with Exelis as a Finance Manager for DOD and FAA programs and most recently as a Category Manager, managing the operation and procurement strategy of engineering and technical services across the enterprise. This role identified and implemented operational improvement initiatives and sourcing strategies across the company to drive cost reductions and increase value to Exelis’ customers. He was directly responsible for delivering approximately $35M in cost reductions across Exelis’ direct programs and proposals.

Prior to Exelis, Olmes' experience includes Freddie Mac as a Senior Financial Analyst for their retained investment portfolio, the Logistics Management Institute as a Research Fellow for DOD transportation logistics analysis and PricewaterhouseCoopers, as a Senior Consultant for DOD transportation reform and redesign.

Olmes received his B.S. in Biology from Virginia Tech in 2000. He is a certified Value Based Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and a 2014 recipient of the Exelis Gold Ring of Quality, the company's highest award for individual achievement.

Bridge Littleton is the Vice President for Membership & Business Development for AIA and is responsible for overseeing all membership activities, business development into new markets and lead the Supplier Management Council for the Association.

Previously he served as the Chief Contracts Officer, Contracts & Subcontract for Exelis Inc., located in McLean, Va. While there he was responsible for the overall operations of the Contract, Subcontracts/Supply Chain function across all divisions of Exelis. This encompassed more than 400 staff professionals in 31 different locations throughout the United States and overseas with $4 billion in contracts and $1.6 billion of supply chain activities. His primary responsibilities included corporate-wide contracts & subcontract leadership, compliance, standard training, process improvement, implementation, customer support and issue resolution. Bridge joined Exelis in 2003 supporting the intelligence community program area. In 2005 he left Exelis and spent 3 years with General Dynamics as a contracts manager to support their SETA business area to the NRO. He returned to Information Systems Division of Exelis in January of 2008 and became its Vice President of Contract in 2012.

Bridge received his B.S. in History and Political Science at Radford University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Richmond School Of Law, with one term of his law school career attending Kings College School of Law in Aberdeen, Scotland, studying comparative legal systems. Bridge is also a certified Value Based Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and two-time recipient of the Exelis Gold Ring of Quality Award for outstanding performance, the company's highest service award.

Team America Rocketry Challenge Registration Open to 7-12th Graders

Arlington, Va. — Although the end of summer indicates the beginning of classes for students across the country, it also signals the kickoff of the world's largest annual student rocketry contest. Registration for the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) is now open for teams of 7-12th grade students through December 4.

TARC is the U.S. aerospace and defense industry’s flagship program designed to encourage students to pursue study and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Structured to emulate the aerospace industry's design, fabrication and testing process, TARC requires teams to build and fly a model rocket that meets challenging design requirements and precise targets for altitude and flight duration.

Each year, TARC's rules and scoring parameters change to challenge the students' ingenuity and encourage a fresh approach to rocket design. This year's rules require teams to build and launch a rocket carrying two raw eggs to 850 feet and return them to Earth unbroken within a flight duration of 44 to 46 seconds. A new requirement this year calls for the eggs to be placed perpendicularly to each other, thus complicating how teams protect the eggs in flight. Damaged eggs disqualify the flight.

The 100 top-scoring teams from across the country will be invited to compete in the National Finals in Washington D.C. next spring. The winners will then represent America in the International Rocketry Challenge, competing against student teams from the United Kingdom and France at the Farnborough International Airshow near London next July.

The Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) sponsor the annual competition in partnership with NASA, the Department of Defense, the American Association of Physics Teachers and a number of AIA member companies. For additional information on TARC and complete competition results, please visit

Fall 2015 Supplier Management Council Meeting - Atlanta, GA
Hosted by UPS  September 29 - October 1, 2015


Business-to-Business Meetings with key division representatives from UPS on Tuesday, September 29th (AIA members only)
Panel Discussions and Guest Speakers featuring industry leaders and government experts on Wednesday, September 30th
UPS Georgia Distribution Center Tour, a state-of-the-art aerospace logistics facility, provides critical order fulfillment for Pratt & Whitney  
Networking Opportunities to develop new business connections and strengthen existing relationships
Much more!

Register here:

One key role AIA plays is as an aggregator -- bringing together stakeholders to dicuss topics of importance to the aerospace and defense industry.  Last week was a busy one for AIA in that role -- we hosted meetings and participated on a panel that demonstrated AIA's value contributing to policy debates on the major issues of the day.

The Executive Report is an AIA quarterly publication which provides news and information about our association membership, AIA initiatives and events, and other information from around the industry.

Featured this quarter in the Executive Report:

President's Message: Up and Running
Q & A With Jaiwon Shin, NASA Associate Administrator for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD)
AIA Goes All Out for Ex-Im Bank
Making History at Pluto
TARC Winners from Alabama Triumph in Paris
2015 Paris Air Show Highlights

Statement by Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO David F. Melcher on the Senate passage of the Transportation Bill with Ex-Im Bank Amendment.

Arlington, Va. — The Aerospace Industries Association is very pleased that the Senate has attached an amendment reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank of the United States to the Transportation bill that passed the Senate today. Ex-Im Bank supports roughly 164,000 American jobs across the United States and is an important tool in enabling U.S. exporters to remain competitive in the global marketplace. The aerospace and defense industry is the single largest net exporter among American manufacturers, but we compete against foreign companies receiving much greater support from their home governments, including direct subsidies. Ex-Im Bank helps offset that foreign advantage.

The vote for the Ex-Im Bank amendment demonstrates the majority support reauthorization enjoys in the Senate; that strong support is mirrored in the House of Representatives. We strongly urge the House to include the Senate Ex-Im language and put an end to the acrimonious and unnecessary debate over reauthorization of an institution that House Republicans voted overwhelmingly to reauthorize only two years ago. Enough damage has been done to American businesses at the behest of a small but vocal minority in the House.

The week of July 13-17 was very busy for supporters of the Ex-Im Bank of the United States.

Paul M. Paolozzi is the Vice President for Communications at the Aerospace Industries Association. He is responsible for overseeing the communications function at AIA, including all internal and external communications, media relations and community outreach.

Paolozzi joins AIA following a 28-year career in the U.S. Army, where he most recently served as Chief of the Under Secretary of the Army’s Initiatives Group in the Pentagon.  He managed a hand-selected team of strategists and policy experts to address research topics and was responsible for presenting analysis of key strategic issues, decisions, projects and studies impacting the 1.1 million member Army. In 2012, he was named the Army’s Senior Fellow to the Brookings Institution, where he authored the published monograph “Closing the Candor Chasm: The Missing Element of Army Professionalism,” later used in senior leadership courses.

His Army service included command of the 18th Engineer Brigade based in Schwetzingen, Germany which was sent to Afghanistan on a yearlong combat deployment. .  There, his communications expertise was instrumental in working with members of the 49 nation coalition supporting the Afghan government and with Afghan Army leaders.   From 2005-2006 he commanded at the battalion level in Afghanistan helping to create roads and airfields, while clearing roads of explosives.  His notable staff assignments include serving as the military assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Reserve Affairs), the aide-de-camp to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, and later a congressional fellow for a US Senator, to whom he routinely provided analysis, advice, and Senate Armed Services Committee notes during the period of U.S. combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Paolozzi holds Masters Degrees from Long Island University in Counseling and Leader Development and the National Defense University in National Security Strategy.  His Bachelor’s Degree is in Construction Management from Utica College of Syracuse University.

John Luddy is Vice President for National Security Policy at the Aerospace Industries Association.  He is responsible for developing AIA’s national security agenda, and for planning and executing advocacy efforts to support it.

Most recently, Luddy directed Aerojet Rocketdyne’s government relations efforts as Vice President of Washington Operations. In addition to coordinating government-related aspects of Aerojet’s successful acquisition of Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne, he established and executed advocacy efforts that successfully increased awareness of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s programs, interests and capabilities throughout the federal government. Prior to joining Aerojet, Luddy ran his own consulting practice for nine years, providing business development, market analysis, and legislative advocacy services to clients ranging from America’s  largest aerospace companies to technology startups.
During 2001 and 2002, Luddy served the Secretary of Defense as a special assistant for legislative affairs, spearheading Department of Defense efforts within Congress on missile defense, strategic weapons, and international security policies and programs.  Prior to his Presidential appointment to DOD, he supported Chairman Donald Rumsfeld as a staff member on the Commission to Assess U.S. National Security Space Management and Organization.

Luddy served for six years in the United States Senate, as a senior defense aide to two subcommittee chairmen on the Armed Services Committee, and as Senior Policy Advisor to a member of Senate leadership.  In these positions, he advised on a wide range of defense, foreign policy, and intelligence matters, and served as the senators’ principal liaison with senior U.S. government and military officials. He has extensive experience drafting significant legislation on a range of national security issues, working with Congressional staff of both parties, and navigating the legislative and policy processes. He began his Washington career in 1992 as a defense analyst with the Heritage Foundation, specializing in power projection, readiness, and personnel issues. 

Luddy holds a Master’s degree in international relations from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, a Bachelor’s degree in history from Bates College, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Ranger and Airborne Schools.  He served on active duty as a Marine Corps infantry officer, and in Reserve policy, operations, and public affairs assignments.

Doc Syers is the Vice President for Legislative Relations at the Aerospace Industries Association. He and his team are responsible for leading the Association’s legislative policy advocacy work including the effective and timely communication of industry priorities to Members of Congress and key congressional staffers. 

Prior to joining AIA, Syers was Vice President for Congressional Relations for ITT/Exelis for 13 years. Before joining ITT/Exelis, he lobbied defense and environmental issues for six years at Hughes Electronics and Newport News Shipbuilding. He served for 11 years as a staffer on Capitol Hill. 

Syers came to Washington just after President Reagan’s reelection in 1984 as an American Political Science Association fellow and promptly went to work for Congressman Dick Cheney (R-Wyoming) who also came to Capitol Hill through the APSA’s competitively awarded congressional fellowship program. Syers worked with Cong. Cheney as a domestic policy analyst on the House Republican leadership staff for two and one half years. From 1988-1995, he worked as an Appropriations Associate on the House VA-HUD and Defense subcommittees for ranking member and then-Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-California).

Syers holds masters’ degrees from both the University of Denver in International Studies (1980) and the University of Oklahoma in Congressional Studies (1985). He did his undergraduate work at Bradley University (1976).

Arlington, Va. —The Aerospace Industries Association is pleased to announce that three leaders with extensive government and industry experience will be joining the AIA team.  John Luddy has been named Vice President for National Security and Acquisition Policy (NS&AP), William ‘Doc’ Syers joins AIA as Vice President for Legislative Affairs and Paul Paolozzi will lead the Communications team as Vice President of Communications.

“I’m delighted to welcome John, Doc and Paul to the AIA team,” said AIA President and CEO Dave Melcher. “Collectively they bring outstanding leadership capabilities to AIA and will serve our members well in their new capacities.”

Luddy comes to AIA with extensive experience as president of his own consulting practice, Vector Solutions, representing several of our major member companies including Raytheon Missile Systems, Northrop Grumman, as well as the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.  He was previously Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Vice President for Washington Operations.

Syers joins AIA from ITT/Exelis, where for thirteen years he served as Vice President for Congressional Relations. Previously he served as Director of Congressional Relations for Northrop Grumman’s Newport News Shipbuilding operation and Hughes Electronics/Raytheon.   He also served for seven years as Legislative Director for Congressman Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.).

Paolozzi currently serves as Initiatives Group Chief for the Under Secretary of the Army, where he helps inform senior Army leaders’ decision making on key strategic issues, decisions, projects and studies. He has extensive military and government experience, including positions as Commander of the Army’s 18th Engineer Brigade in Germany and Afghanistan, Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense and Military Legislative Fellow to a U.S. Senator.

Statement by Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO David F. Melcher on Congress allowing the authorization of the Export-Import Bank to lapse.

Statement by Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO David F. Melcher on Congress allowing the authorization of the Export-Import Bank to lapse

Arlington, Va. —Today Congress missed an opportunity to support thousands of American jobs at firms across the nation that are striving to compete in a global marketplace tilted against them by foreign governments and subsidized competition.  Despite the Export-Import Bank of the United States having the support of broad bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress, a small minority has prevented a vote reauthorizing this important export financing tool for U.S. exporters. 

The Bank is able to continue operating for now, but is unable to support any new projects until it is reauthorized.  As Zhao Changhui, the Export-Import Bank of China’s chief country risk analyst, said last week, “With respect to competition in strategy and policies between the U.S. and China, this is a good thing.”  The Chinese export credit agency and agencies like it around the world will be eager to step in on behalf of America’s competitors and snatch the trade opportunities that would otherwise support jobs at American firms.  Every day that goes by sends the message to potential overseas customers that they are better served buying products from countries other than ours.

AIA has been a strong advocate for Ex-Im Bank reauthorization.  For more information on our efforts, please visit our website at:  Just last week The Hill published a piece I co-authored with Huntington Ingalls President and CEO Mike Petters, “Re-authorize Ex-Im Bank to keep a level playing field."  The op-ed draws parallels to the collapse of commercial shipbuilding in the United States in the 1980s after the U.S. government terminated a program offsetting foreign subsidies without considering the unintended consequences.  We’ve seen the damage done before – we must not let it happen again.

Thousands of businesses from small mom-and-pop shops to large corporations benefit both directly and indirectly from the Bank’s loan guarantees.  Failure to restore the Bank will strike a blow at companies across the American economy, putting their employees at risk while handing our foreign competitors a huge advantage.  We strongly urge Congress to act now to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank’s charter and restore the level playing field for American exporters. 

# # #

CONTACT:  Keith Mordoff

(703) 358-1075 office
(240) 338-1255 mobile

Dan Stohr
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The emergence of unmanned or remotely piloted aircraft systems for civil and commercial applications is among the most significant aviation advancements in decades. On almost a daily basis, new beneficial applications of this evolving technology are being demonstrated. While public perception of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) has been mixed, the public debate is changing as more system uses emerge that create personal and economic benefits for the general population.

As the June 30 deadline for reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank approaches, AIA placed an OpEd “Re-authorize Ex-Im Bank to keep a level playing field,” co-authored by Mike Petters, president and CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries and AIA president and CEO Dave Melcher in The Hill newspaper.  

Seven students from the Russellville City Schools of Russellville, Ala., won first place in the International Rocketry Challenge at the 2015 Paris Air Show on June 19. The U.S. team, sponsored by Raytheon, beat teams from the United Kingdom, who came in second place, and France, who took home third.

Students from Russellville, Ala. best teams from the United Kingdom and France to claim international title.

PARIS, June 19, 2015 –Seven students from the Russellville City Schools of Russellville, Ala., won first place in the International Rocketry Challenge at the 2015 Paris Air Show on June 19. The U.S. team, sponsored by Raytheon (NYSE: RTN), beat teams from the United Kingdom, who came in second place, and France, who took home third.

“It was a great experience representing the United States and winning the international rocketry competition,” said Andrew Heath, captain of the RCS Engineers. “It has been an honor to be part of the team and this year’s program.”

Competing teams designed, built and launched rockets with a goal of reaching an altitude of exactly 800 feet within a 46- to 48-second flight window. This year’s contest required rockets to separate into at least two sections during flight. The main section, containing a payload of one raw hen’s egg and an altimeter, had to return to the ground safely with a single parachute as its sole recovery device. Scores were determined by how close the rockets approached the required height and time; cracked eggs would disqualify the flight.

The U.S. team consists of Cristian Ruiz, 16; Niles Butts, 17; Andrew Heath, 17; Katie Burns, 13; Evan Swinney, 18; Cady Studdard, 14; and Chelsea Suddith, 15. The team achieved a winning flight score of 49.53 and logged an altitude of 824 feet.

The students also gave a presentation on their rocket design to a panel of international judges at Raytheon’s air show headquarters. The judges’ score counted for 40 percent of their total competition score. The U.S. took first place in this portion of the challenge as well.

“This was a wonderful competition, and after seeing our U.S. representatives and the teams from France and the U.K., I am truly impressed by the young talent that is here today,” said AIA President and CEO Dave Melcher. “As they leave here with vivid memories of how exciting it was to compete at this level, I urge our outstanding rocket teams to use this experience as a springboard for their futures.”

The International Rocketry Challenge is the culmination of three separate competitions held annually around the globe: the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the National Association of Rocketry (NAR); the United Kingdom Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge (UKAYRoC) sponsored by ADS, the UK Aerospace, Defense, Security and Space association; and the French Rocketry Challenge sponsored by Groupement des Industries Francaises Aeronautiques et Spatiales (GIFAS), the French aerospace industries association. Each contest brings together teams of middle and high school students to design, build and launch model rockets with the goal of inspiring young minds to become engaged in science, technology, engineering and math.

"Rocketry requires a strong command of math, a solid foundation of physics and a tremendous amount of patience and determination," said Raytheon Chairman and CEO Thomas A. Kennedy. "The achievement of these competitors deserves a global stage, and we hope to show other students around the world that hard work and a love for science can lead them to great things.”

This is the tenth year that Raytheon has supported the U.S. team's trip to the international air show. The program is part of the company’s broad-based MathMovesU® initiative to encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

AIA’s President and CEO Dave Melcher and COO Bob Durbin have been having an active week here in Paris, advocating for the products and services only the U.S. aerospace and defense industry can provide. Keep up with us on AIA's AeroBlog! 

Lieutenant Gen. (Ret.) Bob Durbin is Chief Operating Officer of the Aerospace Industries Association. AIA, founded in 1919 shortly after the birth of flight, is the most authoritative and influential trade association representing the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military and business aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems, space systems, aircraft engines, homeland and cybersecurity systems, materiel and related components, equipment services and information technology.

Durbin joined AIA from Exelis Inc., where he served as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development.  In this role, Durbin was responsible for leading the company-wide strategic planning process and driving the development of the corporate value creation strategies.

Durbin, who joined Exelis after 35 years of distinguished service in the U.S. Army, was also responsible for customer relations with the U.S. Department of Defense, military service staffs, the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, the Intelligence community, and customers in non-government markets such as commercial aerospace. He also led the Exelis international business development group, working with Exelis divisions to identify and pursue targeted growth opportunities outside the U.S.

In addition to these roles in corporate strategy and customer relations, Durbin also was accountable for building productive and effective relationships with U.S. members of Congress and Congressional committees and their staffs in order to provide guidance on proposed legislation and regulatory issues impacting Exelis programs.

Durbin’s military career was highlighted by troop assignments in infantry and armored divisions including battalion, brigade and division command. Most recently, he served as director of the Army Office of Business Transformation (OBT) and special assistant to the chief of staff of the Army for enterprise management, responsible for Army’s investment strategy. During previous assignments, Durbin served as commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan, and commanding general for the Combined Security Transition Command and Combined Forces Command for Afghanistan.  Durbin served as the director of the Office of the Army Quadrennial Defense Review at the Pentagon and earlier as the deputy director for program analysis and evaluation.  Previously, he was the deputy commanding general at Fort Hood, Texas. Durbin was also the deputy chief of staff, United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command of the United States Forces Korea.

Durbin holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Penn., and a bachelor’s of science degree from the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. He also completed the Senior Service College through a fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.

Download bio here.

Get the results of the 2015 A&D Survey, sponsored by CSC and the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) at an online Town Hall at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 9. The survey includes the perspectives of A&D executives and senior managers on business, technology and regulatory trends. Panelists from CSC and AIA will host the Town Hall to share insights on product innovation, R&D, cost control, modernization, cybersecurity, sequestration, and acquisition of government contracts.

Register to attend the Town Hall.
Sign up for a copy of the report.

Bill Koss, Assistant Vice President, Contracts & Finance, National Security & Acquisition Policy, AIA
Tim Ellis, Industry General Manager, Global Aerospace & Defense, CSC
Joel Moss, Principal, Big Data Strategy & Execution in Manufacturing, CSC

The Aerospace Industries Association announced today that David F. Melcher will become its President and Chief Executive Officer, effective June 8, 2015. “Our nation currently faces a number of critical global challenges and we must have a strong, vibrant aerospace and defense industry,” Melcher said. "This is an exciting time and I am proud to lead AIA in its advocacy efforts.”

Arlington, Va. — The Aerospace Industries Association announced today that David F. Melcher will become its President and Chief Executive Officer, effective June 8, 2015.

“Dave is an exceptional leader who, with his balance of corporate and military experience, brings an outstanding record of executive achievement to AIA,” said AIA Chairman and President and Chief Executive Officer of GE Aviation, David L. Joyce. “With Dave’s guidance, AIA will continue to champion the aerospace and defense industry and its ability to advance innovation in civil aviation, space and defense.”

Melcher is well known in Washington and to AIA member companies. Most recently Melcher was Chief Executive Officer and President of Exelis Inc., a leading global aerospace, defense and information solutions company. In this role, he served four years as a member of AIA’s Executive and Finance Committees.

Following a 32-year career in the U.S. Army, Lieutenant General (Ret.) Melcher joined ITT Corporation first as Vice President, Strategy and Business Development and then as President, ITT Defense and Information Solutions, before becoming the inaugural chief executive at Exelis following its spinoff from ITT in Oct. 2011.  Melcher also led Exelis through its recent successful merger with Harris Corporation in May 2015. 

Melcher has extensive program management, strategy development and finance experience, and worked closely with key leadership within the Army, Department of Defense, White House, and Congress.  His Army career highlights include battalion and brigade command in Infantry and Armored divisions, and high-level military leadership and staff positions.  As a general officer, he served in the Pentagon as the Army’s Military Deputy for Budget, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs (G8).  He also served as Commanding General of the Corps of Engineers – Southwest Division in Dallas.

“Our nation currently faces a number of critical global challenges and we must have a strong, vibrant aerospace and defense industry to keep our men and women in uniform safe and successful on the battlefield, ensure that more than two million airline passengers travel safely and efficiently every day, and enable humankind to explore the frontiers of space,” Melcher said.

“Our industry represents more than one million skilled workers in all 50 states, is the nation’s largest net exporter and is one of the biggest contributors to the annual U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). To maintain this leadership, we must invest in the research and development necessary to discover innovative, lifesaving and cutting-edge technologies that equip our military and benefit all of society.  This is an exciting time and I am proud to lead AIA in its advocacy efforts.”

According to a 2011 economic study, 3.3 million U.S. jobs and $96 billion in annual direct economic benefits are attributable to the Global Positioning System (GPS).  Truly, GPS has become an integral part of the fabric of our civil, commercial, and military daily operations and its current and future sustainability is essential to our nation.

The 2015 S1000D User Forum, held at the Omni San Diego Hotel, is hosted by the Aerospace Industries Association and supported by the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe and the ATA e-Business Program.  This event  is focused on putting S1000D into practice, whether it’s deciding how to contract to it, converting legacy data, implementing a technical solution, or achieving your role as a supplier.  The objective of this User Forum is to bring real-world experience in contracting, alternate approaches to affordable and sensible conversion of legacy data, and optimizing project scope for supplier use. Attendees of the Forum will hear real use-cases and examples of successful strategies to pave the way for S1000D adoption.

"Actualizing S1000D - Making it real!."

The 2015 User Forum will feature:
• Tutorials and training
• Technical and management tracks
• Vendor demonstrations and presentations
• Updates on the latest developments of the S1000D Specification
• Integrated Logistics Support Specifications Day (September 24, 2015)

Monday, September 21, 2015 - Thursday, September 24, 2015,  8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Pacific Standard Time at:

Omni San Diego Hotel
675 L St
San Diego, California 92101

A link to the room block is available on the registration site

To register for the event go to:

The battle of hearts and minds over the Export-Import Bank of the United States reauthorization continued its serious path this week in Washington DC.  Tell Congress you support American industries and American jobs!  It's a good thing.

Amanda Jaeger works as AIA's Communications Intern. She is responsible for managing AIA's social media platforms, editing internal and external communications, and crafting articles for AIA's Aerospace Blog. Amanda has also assisted with trade show and association-event planning, association and program communications, as well as Web site and Blog management.

She is currently studying at the University of Miami through the College of Arts and Sciences.

The RCS Engineers Rocketry Team from Russellville, Ala., beat out 100 competitors to claim first place at the National Finals of the 2015 Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC). In addition to their winnings, the students will travel to Paris this June courtesy of Raytheon Company to represent the United States in an international fly-off at the Paris Air Show against teams from the UK and France.

Russellville City School team declared National Champions, will compete in International Rocketry Challenge in June


The Plains, Va. – The RCS Engineers Rocketry Team from Russellville, Ala., beat out 100 competitors to claim first place at the National Finals of the 2015 Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC). After months of rocketry design, test flights and qualification launches, hundreds of students from across the country traveled to Great Meadow in the Plains, Va., to vie for the title of champion of the largest rocketry competition in the world.

The Russellville City School students bested nearly 700 teams that participated in this year’s competition from 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The winning team, comprised of Christian Ruiz (16), Niles Butts (16), Andrew Heath (17), Katie Burns (12), Evan Swinney (17), Cady Studdard (14), and Chelsea Suddith (15), was awarded more than $20,000 in prizes and funds for their school.

Structured to emulate the aerospace industry's engineering design process, TARC challenged teams to design and build a model rocket that could travel to a height of 800 feet and back within 46 to 48 seconds. This year’s rules required each rocket to carry one raw egg that had to be safely returned to the ground uncracked. Scores were determined by how close the rockets came to the required height and time; damaged eggs disqualified flights.

“We had high aspirations coming into the finals and it’s incredibly exciting that we performed as well as we did,” said Team Captain Andrew Heath. “It just goes to show that anybody can accomplish their goals with enough hard work.”

This year’s competition had a twist to the scoring that challenged students’ ingenuity and rocket adaptability. The top 42 teams that advanced to the second round at the finals were required to meet new scoring parameters, launching their rockets to 775 feet and coming back to earth within 45 to 47 seconds.

"The innovation and technical know-how demonstrated by today's competitors shows us the future of rocket science is very bright," said Pamela Erickson, vice president of Corporate Affairs for Raytheon. "Creating supportive environments for students to work together to expand their horizons serves everyone's future."

Teams were competing for a total of $100,000 in prizes and scholarships and as in golf, the lowest score wins. TARC teams were aiming for a perfect score of zero, and the RCS Engineers achieved an impressive combined score of 16.16 – less than half of the second place team’s total score. In addition to their winnings, the students will travel to Paris this June courtesy of Raytheon Company to represent the United States in an international fly-off at the Paris Air Show against teams from the UK and France.

Since its inception in 2002, TARC has inspired more than 60,000 middle and high school students to further explore the possibilities of a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. TARC is made possible by the generous support of The Raytheon Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Thales USA, Microsemi Corporation and 23 other industry sponsors. For more information about the Team America Rocketry Challenge, please visit To see photos of the event please visit our Flickr page at: