HAI’s Government Affairs team covers the new North Dakota Rotor Pathway Program rollout and the Senate nomination hearing for the FAA’s next administrator.


HAI Applauds North Dakota Rotor Pathway Program Rollout
HAI applauds the leadership of the University of North Dakota (UND) in rolling out the North Dakota Rotor Pathway Program.

The program provides high school students aviation classes that incorporate vertical aviation by teaming up with industry members, high schools, postsecondary schools, and other stakeholders. The students earn college credits while still in high school and are offered mentoring, internships, and job interviews upon completing the college-level aviation program.

The rollout of the North Dakota Rotor Pathway Program is a testament to the dedication, professionalism, and love of aviation found among aviation leaders in North Dakota. UND has consistently brought innovative solutions forward and is again tackling workforce development. UND is well known for the caliber of pilots it produces. HAI is excited to see the pathway program introduced in North Dakota with such great partners.

The North Dakota Rotor Pathway Program builds on the success of the inaugural Rotor Pathway Program established in Utah, which serves as a national model for education and training programs that prepare students for STEM careers. This type of program creates a win for everyone involved: students get the education they need for in-demand careers and industry creates a workforce development pipeline that enables it to grow. HAI applauds all stakeholders involved for being willing to step up and be part of a solution.

Read our full press release.

Call to Action – ONE WEEK Left for YOU to Help Us Save the Indianapolis Downtown Heliport (8A4)!

The Problem
The Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) has proposed permanently closing the Indianapolis Downtown Heliport (8A4) to use the land for non-aeronautical uses. On Feb. 7, the FAA issued a proposal to close the Indianapolis Heliport, and we need YOU to submit comments to keep the heliport open.

Our industry strongly urges the FAA to immediately reject the IAA’s request for the release of federal obligations that is a necessary predicate to closing 8A4. The vertical aviation industry strongly supports keeping 8A4 in operation for the following reasons:

  • Aviation infrastructure is the backbone to our nation’s economy
  • The Indianapolis Downtown Heliport serves as an important connector for daily helicopter operations
  • The heliport supports public-use, emergency medical services (including organ transplants for local area hospitals) and law enforcement
  • The facility provides ready access to major sporting complexes and other business travel because of its convenient downtown location
  • The heliport serves as a strategic staging point during natural disasters or other emergencies, enabling transportation of critical supplies and responders as well as evacuations
  • Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) promises to revolutionize the way people and goods move in, around, and between urban and rural locations. Now is not the time to remove infrastructure or hinder progress for AAM.

How You Can Help
We need your help submitting public comments on the FAA’s proposal to close the heliport. Comments to the Federal Register are due by Mar. 9. We need you to act now! Submitting an HAI-endorsed prepared comment directly to the FAA involves only three simple steps:

  • View and customize your comments to the FAA in the right column of the template. Personalizing your comments will have a greater impact than submitting a prepared statement. Before sending the email, we encourage you to write your own message or edit the template language. This ensures unique comments are submitted to the Federal Register.
  • Enter your contact information.
  • Submit by clicking the Send Email button.

We need your voice to show support for vertical aviation! Please click here now to submit your comments. Make sure to share this with your friends and colleagues.

HAI Attends NASAO Conference
This week, the HAI government affairs team attended the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) Washington Legislative Conference. This three-day conference provided a forum for state officials, industry leaders, legislators, and regulators to discuss pressing aviation policy issues that will be addressed in Washington this year.

During the conference, industry leaders and public officials shared their thoughts regarding advanced air mobility (AAM), uncrewed aircraft systems (UASs), airport infrastructure and planning, and implementation of recently passed legislation. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.-02), ranking member of the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, also discussed the future of general aviation and Congress’s role in it.

HAI would like to thank NASAO for putting together a great and insightful conference. Such events are essential to maintaining and expanding aviation growth across the nation.

Phil Washington’s Nomination Hearing
This past Wednesday, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, convened a full committee nomination hearing to consider Phil Washington as the next administrator of the FAA. The FAA has not had a permanent leader since a year ago, and the leadership void has received increasing attention after the nation’s air travel system failed at the start of 2023. President Joe Biden nominated Washington, CEO of Denver International Airport (KDEN), last year and renominated him in January, after the 117th Congress did not hold a nomination hearing.

Throughout the hearing, Republicans criticized Washington for his lack of aviation experience and ties to an ongoing political corruption investigation in Los Angeles, California. Washington addressed these concerns by referencing his previous leadership roles and how his diverse background would allow him to bring a fresh perspective to the FAA while maintaining aviation safety as his top priority.

Certain members of Congress also raised concerns over the federal law that requires the FAA administrator to be a civilian. Because Washington has a military background, many senators have stated that he would need a waiver to assume the role. The Biden administration and Sen. Cantwell stated that Washington does not require a waiver because he has been retired from the US Army for more than two decades.

The Senate committee has yet to vote on the nominee. HAI will keep our members informed of all major developments. If interested, please view the hearing.

Implementation and Oversight of the Aircraft, Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a full committee hearing next Wednesday, Mar. 8, 2023, to examine the implementation of aviation safety and oversight reforms mandated by the Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act of 2020 (ACSAA). At the hearing, the committee will also review any additional reforms necessary to enhance the FAA’s aviation safety and oversight of certification and manufacturing processes. Billy Nolen, FAA acting administrator, will provide testimony on aviation safety before the committee. Watch the hearing here.


  • Cade Clark

    HAI’s VP of government affairs, Cade Clark has directed association advocacy programs for over 20 years. Growing up, he worked at an FBO where Cade learned to fly, washed planes, got in the mechanics’ way, idolized the old-timers and their stories, and deepened his love for all things general aviation.

  • John Shea

    John Shea joined HAI as director of government affairs in 2019. He came to HAI from the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), where he was interim president in 2018 and lead government affairs representative since 2017. Previously, as a legislative staffer, John advised multiple members of Congress on transportation policy.

  • Katia Veraza

    Katia Veraza is HAI’s manager of government affairs and regional relations. Prior to joining the association, Katia was a managing consultant for government affairs. She earned her master’s degree in political science from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

Cade Clark

Cade Clark

HAI’s VP of government affairs, Cade Clark has directed association advocacy programs for over 20 years. Growing up, he worked at an FBO where Cade learned to fly, washed planes, got in the mechanics’ way, idolized the old-timers and their stories, and deepened his love for all things general aviation.