Wed, Apr 25, 2012
Grass-Roots Efforts Make Help Affect Change In Proposed Legislation
Swift action by members of EAA and Warbirds of America, plus other aviation enthusiasts, made a difference in reversing a threat to warbird aircraft posed by a possible amendment to the House National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310). Thousands of EAA members and aviators contacted their congressional representatives after EAA and other warbird organizations reported last week that a proposed amendment to the House bill would bar the Department of Defense from loaning or gifting any U.S. military aircraft or parts to any entity except those that would put the aircraft on static display, such as in a museum.
EAA has learned that the amendment will no longer be offered to the bill. It would have precluded military aircraft from being loaned to private individuals, associations, or museums where there was any intent of flying the historic vintage warbirds, even at air shows or demonstrations of support for veterans.
While EAA members were expressing their views to their elected officials, Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), a longtime EAA and Warbirds of America member, reached out to House colleagues - including the proposal's sponsor, Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) - regarding the devastating effect the amendment could have on U.S. warbird operations. The House General Aviation Caucus and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee were also valuable in conveying key information regarding warbirds and the proposed amendment in support of public response.
"We thank EAA and Warbirds of America members for acting quickly in support of warbird operations and for Rep. Graves' strong leadership efforts. This is an excellent example of how establishing good relationships in Congress and building an effective caucus can address these issues in a unified manner," said Doug Macnair, EAA's vice president of government relations. "We also thank Rep. Turner and his staff for listening and considering the input of constituents, aviators, veterans, and aviation and military history enthusiasts."
EAA worked in conjunction with its Warbirds of America division, the Commemorative Air Force, Collings Foundation, and other warbird groups on the issue. This unified effort again proved the value of aviation groups being stronger together to preserve and promote GA. (Image courtesy The Collings Foundation)
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