How should General Aviation work in Thailand ?

We asked the Secretary General of IAOPA in USA for his comments about General Aviation development in other parts of the world. Here are some of his comments:

"How should General Aviation work in Thailand - my answer would be, "as simply and easily as possible."

I tell national authorities that the collective wisdom of ICAO has stood the test of time, so follow it. Specifically, the very basic ICAO Annex 1, Flight Crew Licensing; Annex 2, Rules of the Air; and Annex 6, Part II, Operation of Aircraft, International General Aviation Aeroplanes, provide sufficient structure to govern GA activities. Aerial work may require just a bit more structure, but not much. Bottom line: keep it simple.

Beyond that don't make the airspace structure so tightly controlled that flying VFR is onerous and difficult because there are too few ways to get to where you want to go. That is, don't cover the earth with Class A through D airspace when Class E and G will do just fine. Most important, don't leave airspace design to air traffic controllers because they never saw an aircraft they didn't want to control, whether needed or not.

Perhaps the question that authorities should ask themselves is, what is the worst thing that can happen to either the population as a whole or to passengers if GA/AW receives minimal regulation and surveillance? Their answer should be based on empirical fact and statistics, not suspicions on their part.

But, the best means of making a case for laissez faire oversight of GA/AW is to invite Thai authorities to visit Southern California on an average weekend to see how well an incredible volume of GA traffic handles itself with scant oversight and control of the FAA. Seriously, if you can get them to visit, we can get the FAA and AOPA US regional rep to show them around.

Before I go any further, am I answering your questions dequately? That is, am I going in the right direction? If not, I'll respond to your direction. If so, ask me for more detail. This is a good topic for a country with little GA culture and background to focus on.

Also, take a look at the IAOPA policy manual at; this is a compilation of issues/ideas we have addressed over time that affect GA/AW.

John Sheehan
Secretary General
Internationa Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
31 January 2001