NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen joined several aviation leaders on Tuesday at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., to show a united front against aviation user fees.
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
After promising that a new system for funding the FAA would be announced by late last spring, the White House admitted this summer that internal disagreements within the Bush Administration had pushed the project to a back burner.
When New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle, 34, and his flight instructor, Tyler Stranger, 26, crashed their Cirrus SR20 into an east side Manhattan high-rise on October 11, the resultant outcry predictably called for more restrictions against general aviation.
In response to an FAA proposal to eliminate 479 “redundant” NDB approaches as a cost-saving measure, AOPA has given the agency a list of 57 NDB approaches that it believes should remain active because they provide the lowest minimums or because they are important to AOPA members.
Business aviation interests have been victorious in their battles over the years to prevent the creation of general aviation user fees to replace the current fuel tax to pay for their share of ATC services. But at last month’s NBAA Convention business aviation trade group leaders warned that this time the battle is different and could be the toughest yet.
The National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) is urging Congress to resist all attempts to “raid” the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, including airline industry calls for new tax breaks, and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) reiterated its preference for having general aviation contribute to the fund through taxes on aviation fuels.
As the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) mounted a “national pilot alert” against the proposed permanent air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the Washington, D.C. area, general aviation received another black eye when a 22-year-old commercial-rated pilot allegedly stole a Citation VII and took it on a 350-mile joyride from St. Augustine Airport in Florida to Gwinnett County-Briscoe Field (LZU) in Lawrenceville, Ga.
Like the flu and other nasty bugs, the user-fee virus is making its periodic appearance as Congress considers FAA reauthorization, up for renewal in 2007. This cycle’s strain, however, appears to be particularly virulent.
It was 25 years ago last month that New York Yankees team captain Thurman Munson was killed in the crash of his Cessna Citation I. The accident remains one of the most significant in general aviation, especially among those who fly their own turbine-powered aircraft for business, pleasure or both.
As the presidential election heated up last month, the blood pressures of many general aviation pilots rose faster than the campaign rhetoric as they attempted to stay abreast of changing temporary flight restrictions (TFRs).