Encourages Members To Set The Record Straight With Local
The Aircraft Owners and
Pilots Association reports many AOPA members have already sent off
tersely-worded responses to an Associated Press story that ran
earlier this week, which cast GA in a decidely dim light by tying
airline ticket taxes to funding for local airports used by private
aircraft pilots, and business jets.
In essence, the national story stated small airports are getting
billions of dollars from taxes paid by airline passengers, and
using the funds with little oversight "at the expense of an
increasingly beleaguered air transportation system."
Interestingly, the AP story also mirrored many statements
made by FAA Administrator Marion Blakey and other officials in
promoting the agency's proposed funding reauthorization scheme,
that AOPA and other aviation groups have said would strip
such funds from small airports.
Of course, the funding system the report refers to has been
in place for years, as a portion of such taxes on airline ticket
sales contribute to the general fund... which in turn provides
funding for improvements at smaller airports (and, thus,
allowing those airports to be utilized by smaller GA planes...
instead of having a Cessna 172 holding up the 747 flying into LAX
AOPA says the AP story contained "oversimplifications" and
"inaccuracies," however, that fail to tell the whole story of why
such funds are necessary.
"Maybe you are unaware that Fort Worth is surrounded by these
small airports, and that far from being the playground of the
'globe-trotting executives' who are 'making out like bandits,'
these airfields are used by average working stiffs like me," pilot
Dave Morris told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I'm 51 years old,
married, and have four dogs, student loans for my child, car loans,
and a mortgage like everyone else. I'd like to show you a different
side of the general aviation that is being maligned in this
"Last year when my 76-year-old father in Albuquerque needed to
have carpal tunnel surgery and shoulder bypass surgery, it was only
possible because I could fly myself and my brother out there in
alternating shifts every week to take care of him. The bill from
the airlines would have been astronomical," Morris continued.
AOPA President Phil Boyer says such responses from members --
combined with local news outlets, that decided to look into the
matter a bit more closely -- has helped combat the negative, and
inaccurate, tone of the AP report.
"It's amazing what facts will do for a story," said Boyer, who
is a former ABC executive. "When you put more on the table, the
flaws in this radical FAA funding scheme become readily apparent.
We encourage our members to write their local media and let them
know how you feel."
We're checking on thesaruses for synonyms of "rising bile"
as we speak...