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ACMA hosts third transportation and defense policy fly-in

Forty ACMA members met with nearly 100 members of Congress and staff to advance legislation enabling composites usage in the aerospace and automotive sectors.
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On Nov. 12-13, the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA, Arlington, Va., U.S.) hosted the third annual Transportation and Defense Policy Fly-In at the Holiday Inn Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S. During the event, 40 ACMA members met with nearly 100 members of Congress and their staffs to advance the Aeronautics Innovation Act and the Vehicle Innovation Act, two pieces of legislation that contain provisions to better enable utilization of composite materials in the aerospace and automotive sectors. Attendees also pressed Congress for immediate passage of a robust National Defense Authorization Act, ACMA says.

The first day of the event featured educational content to help attendees better understand the political and policy landscape, as well as insights on federal government programs addressing composites and how they can participate. Attendees also learned new advocacy skills to effectively communicate their issues to Members of Congress.

In a panel discussion focused on composites and aerospace, leaders from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), NASA, and Spirit AeroSystems (Wichita, Kan., U.S.) provided insights on emerging opportunities in aerospace including urban air mobility (UAM) and drones, low-boom commercial supersonics and manufacturing technology needs. A second panel on vehicles included speakers from the U.S. Department of Defense on their use of composites in tanks and other military vehicles, as well as presentations from Argo AI (Pittsburgh, Pa., U.S.) on the deployment of autonomous vehicles and the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (Research Triangle Park, N.C.) on full supply chain collaboration in Department of Energy vehicle research programs.

According to Tom Dobbins, ACMA president, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted unanimously in favor of the NASA Reauthorization Act of 2019, which includes many aspects of the Aeronautics Innovation Act.

“ … ACMA and its members must work together to directly engage agency officials and policymakers on our industry's issues,” says Dobbins. “Although composites are readily used in many transportation and defense applications, key pieces of legislation like the Aeronautics Innovation Act and Vehicle Innovation Act will enable our industry to better collaborate with government researchers and customers to develop new manufacturing technologies and materials to serve 21st century needs in transportation and other markets.”

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