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Mon, Jul 08, 2013

EAA v FAA Details Emerge… Yeah, The FAA Really Screwed Oshkosh (And Still Is)

FAA's Numerous Demands, Little Room For Discussion, Drastic Ultimatum Threatened Future Of EAA

News/Analysis/Opinion By Jim Campbell, ANN CEO/Editor-In-Chief

As the author of ‘Air Of Injustice’ – the book that detailed the FAA’s crimes against Bob Hoover some time back, I can hardly be counted upon to be surprised that the FAA can be a real problem to the world of general aviation here and there… but the details that are emerging in the burgeoning legal battle between the EAA and the FAA are kind of a shocker. Even for me.

In looking over the actual legal pleadings filed with the Seventh District Court, ANN has also had the opportunity to look over the actual contract that EAA was forced to sign with the FAA as well as some of the correspondence that was exchanged between the two. While ANN filed a Freedom of Information Act request for much of this data (and more) well over a month ago, we have had no response… an illegal act in and of itself… and further indication (reinforced by extensive testimony by various sources within the FAA) that the FAA realizes it is on shaky ground, but intends to stand pat.

But… there are some encouraging signs some three weeks before the debut of Oshkosh 2013. The legal filing in support of EAA’s defense against what is perceived as the illegal demands, actions and behavior of the FAA has been filed by Atty Alan L Farkas… a well-known aviation advocate and, by all reports and appearances, an outstanding legal practitioner… and as further evidenced by the brutally thorough and legally damaging document he submitted July 3rd, 2013. I’ve read it through a few times now and submitted it for review to some legal experts that have been helpful to ANN in the past, and without exception, all seem quite impressed with the filing.

 

30 Pieces of Silver... The FAA Contract

But first, let’s look at the demands/contract that EAA was forced to sign.

 

The contract is carefully worded but does define what the Administration believes it is authorized to do in pursuance of this contract, thusly:

WHEREAS, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) believes that it can furnish, directly or by contract, material, supplies, equipment, and services which the Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. (EAA) (Sponsor) requires, has funds available for, and has determined should be obtained from the FAA;

WHEREAS, the FAA has determined that competition with the private sector for provision of such material, supplies, equipment, and services is minimal; that the proposed activity will advance the FAA's mission; and that the FAA has a unique capability that will be of benefit to the Sponsor while helping to advance the FAA's mission;

WHEREAS, the FAA believes that the authority for the FAA to furnish material, supplies, equipment, and services to the Sponsor upon a reimbursable payment basis is found in 49 U.S.C. § 106(1)(6) on such terms and conditions as the Administration may consider necessary;

ANN E-I-C Note: Note the terminology, note the set-up, and note that it even admits that the FAA derives a benefit from participation in the event.

Under ‘Article 3. Scope’ of the contract, the FAA sets forth…

A. The purpose of this Agreement between the FAA and the Sponsor is to allow the EAA to obtain air traffic control services from the FAA EAA will be hosting the 2013 EAA Air Venture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The FAA will provide air traffic services and required support as necessary from July 23, 2013 to August 6, 2013 to include travel, setup and take down before and after the actual event dates from July 29, 2013 to August 4, 2013. This agreement provides funding for the FAA to establish these services. With this in mind, this project is titled:

"Provide Air Traffic Support for the 2013 EAA AirVenture, Oshkosh, Wisconsin"

A. The FAA will perform the following activities to support the 2013 EAA AirVenture for the following dates: July 23, 2013 to August 6, 2013;

1. Provide air traffic control services;
2. Provide technical operational support;

B. The Sponsor will perform the following activities:

1. Reimburse the FAA for the personnel transportation, per-diem, lodging, actual overtime, and supplies to test, staff, and support the 2013 EAA AirVenture, in accordance with the terms of this Agreement.

The document outlines the estimated costs for the event with a minimal breakdown that includes Estimated Costs: “The estimated FAA costs associated with this Agreement are as follows:

COST ESTIMATE - OSHKOSH, WI - EAA AIRVENTURE

Travel

$340,104.00

Overtime

$90,000.00

Supplies

$17,820.00

GRAND TOTAL

$447,924.00


Under ARTICLE 8. Reimbursement and Accounting Arrangements,

The FAA demands, “A. The Sponsor will prepay the estimated cost of the Agreement in two installments; The total cost of this agreement will not exceed $447,924.00. The first installment will be due in advance in the amount of $223,962.00, and the second installment of $223,962.00 will be due 30 days after the completion of the event. The Sponsor will send a copy of the executed Agreement arid the first installment payment of . $223,962.00 to the Accounting Division listed in Section C of this Article. The advance payment will be held as' a non-interest- bearing deposit. Such advance payment by the Sponsor must be received before the FAA incurs any obligation to implement this Agreement."

While the FAA has agreed to carry any costs above and beyond the estimated cost of covering AirVenture, the contract does allow that, “The cost estimates contained in Article 6 are not to exceed $447,924. If during the course of this Agreement actual costs are lower than the estimated costs, the FAA will notify the Sponsor immediately.“

Two other interesting aspects of the agreement reveal themselves in the FAA’s statement promising a full accounting of this matter (which should be fascinating) and a rather cheesy demand for free golf carts.

  • Upon completion of the FAA's services hereunder, the FAA will submit to Sponsor its formal invoice showing in detail the costs actually incurred in accordance with this Agreement. If the Sponsor prepaid more than the actual costs incurred by the FAA, then the FAA will promptly reimburse the Sponsor for the overcharges.
  • The Sponsor agrees to furnish two (2) golf carts at no cost to the FAA for the use of FAA technical operations personnel to facilitate access to and maintenance of the airspace systems in support of2013 EAA AirVenture for the period beginning July 23, 2013 through August 6, 2013.

THEN… the FAA reveals its supposed authority for its demands and conduct in the matter… “It is the FAA's position that this Agreement is entered into under the authority of 49 U.S.C. § 106(1)(6), which the FAA believes authorizes the Administrator of the FAA to enter into and perform such contracts, leases, cooperative agreements and other transactions as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the Administrator and the Administration on such terms and conditions as the Administrator may consider appropriate. Nothing in this Agreement will be construed as incorporating by reference or implication any provision of Federal acquisition law or regulation.”

The contract proceeds with a number of stipulations in which the FAA warrants nothing, demands that EAA insure itself against any claims, and requires EAA to indemnify the FAA…

“To the extent permitted by law, the Sponsor agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the FAA, its officers, agents and employees from all causes of action, suits or claims arising out of the work performed under this Agreement. However, to the extent that such claim is determined to have arisen from the act or omission by an officer, agent, employee, or contractor of the FAA acting within the scope of his or her employment or contract, this hold harmless obligation will not apply and the provisions of the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2671, et seq., will control. The FAA assumes no liability for any losses arising out of any action or inaction by the Sponsor, its employees, or contractors, or any third party acting on its behalf. In no event will the FAA be liable for claims for consequential, punitive, special and incidental damages, claims for lost profits, or other indirect damages.”

In other words, the FAA warrants nothing, requires EAA to cover its own butt under the agreement and can’t hold the FAA responsible for any issues that may result (within certain legal limits… but good luck with that…).

 

FAA Demands, “Could Be Fatal To The Organization”

As noted by previous ANN breaking news coverage of the matter, the EAA’s back was put to the wall on this matter and a letter sent along with the contract to the FAA’s henchperson, Irene Medina, of AAQ-520. The gutsy, in-your-face, June 12th letter was authored by EAA’s Sean Elliott (pictured below), VP, Advocacy & Safety… and is one of the few “real world/real words/real attitude letters we’ve seen exchanged between an alphabet association and the Feds… and the kind of note I wish we’d see more of… it is respectful, but frank… and it lays out the matter rather succinctly…

“EAA delivers the Agreement and payment under protest. Further, EAA has objected to and resisted the FAA decision to seek additional payment for Air Traffic Control ("ATC) services at every possible occasion. Aside from the discussions between our executives and your agency on this subject, where our objections have been clearly stated, we attempted to insert our objections into the Agreement and to explicitly reserve our rights to challenge the Agreement in a court of law; however, our modifications were firmly rejected and we were compelled to execute the Agreement in its present form.

On May 8, 2013, EAA was emphatically and finally advised by the IFAA's Chief Operating Officer – Air Traffic Organization, J. David Grizzle, that the FAA would not provide Air Traffic Controllers for EAA AirVenture without this Agreement and the accompanying payment. EAA could not survive in anything like its present form if that were to happen.

AirVenture has been EAA's annual convention since its founding in 1953, and currently attracts more than 500,000 visitors and approximately 10,000 aircraft each year. FAA has provided Air Traffic Controllers for AirVenture, without additional compensation from IEAA, at least since AirVenture moved to Oshkosh, WI, in 1976.

After a thorough investigation, EAA has determined that there is no viable alternative source of Air Traffic Controllers this close to AirVenture, which starts on July 29,2013 and runs through August 4, 2013. AirVenture could not be held safely without a full complement of Air Traffic Controllers, because during the event and the arrival and departure periods our local airport, Wittman Regional Airport, is the world's busiest airport. It would be an irresponsible and unacceptable risk to attempt to hold AirVenture without full appropriate Air Traffic Controller support. FAA is the sole available source for Air Traffic Controllers, and has threatened to withhold the supply if EAA does not accept the Agreement and pay the amounts demanded.

AirVenture provides approximately 49% of EAA's annual gross revenue. EAA has contracted with more than 700 Exhibitors, more than 60 Sponsors and 15 food and beverage concessionaires, and numerous other contractors and vendors, for AirVenture 2013 goods, services and support. We have sold approximately $550,000 of advance admission tickets. The financial impact of dealing with all of these parties because of broken contracts would be ruinous to EAA, and would shatter our credibility and relationship with all of these vital constituent parties, making it virtually impossible to continue the event in future years.”

Elliott continues by noting that, “AirVenture is the core event of EAA's year and is of critical importance to our membership and to the general aviation community. It is central to our community of 176,000 members, many thousands of whom attend the event annually, travelling from all 50 states and approximately 71 foreign countries. Cancelling the event would take the heart out of EAA's relationship with our most active members, and could be fatal to the organization.

AirVenture is also an essential forum and marketing event for the entire general aviation manufacturing and services industry, one which participants in the industry believe they cannot afford to miss.

Cancelling AirVenture would deal a serious blow to this industry, which annually accounts for more than $8 Billion in sales, including more than $3.8 Billion in exports. It would also remove an estimated $110 Million in directly related revenue from the local economy.

The cost of the Agreement, $447,924, is extremely burdensome to EAA and, of course, was completely unexpected and unbudgeted. It represents approximately one-third of EAA's anticipated annual surplus. We understand that FAA's intention is to increase this fee by double or more for 2014 and subsequent years, which obviously would greatly increase the damage. EAA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, and payment of these fees is simply untenable. If we are unable to obtain relief from these FAA fees, EAA will be forced to re-examine the programs that have been so valuable to the aviation community, and likely increase dues and ticket prices, all of which very well could lead to a significant decline in membership and participation, and truly jeopardize our ability to survive.”

With all that said, there is little wonder as to EAA’s rationale for seeking a legal decision as to the legality of the FAA’s anti-aviation, anti-EAA, anti-safety decision-making… and we must note that while the defensive measures certainly seek protection for EAA, the pleading is written in such a way as to provide strong legal precedent against further such foolishness, should EAA’s arguments prevail… and in this political climate, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether they can win… even if they should.

 

Fighting Back

The July 3rd “Petition for Review and Other Relief” with the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, as filed by Alan Farkas of Smith Amundsen Aerospace, is none-the-less, a thing of beauty after watching years and years of the alphabet associations (the ever-solicitous AOPA, in particular) mouthing platitudes to the Feds.

Farkas (pictured) intro’s his arguments by noting that, “Every summer, more than 500,000 people and approximately 10,000 aircraft travel to central Wisconsin to attend EAA’s annual convention and member meeting known as 'AirVenture.' In addition to the Federal taxes paid by all citizens, to support the operation of Federal agencies, including the FAA, each of these aircraft operators pays specially earmarked aviation fuel taxes throughout their journey. As envisioned by Congress, these aviation fuel taxes fund the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) in a manner that automatically distributes the cost of Air Traffic Control (“ATC”) in proportion to their use of the national airspace system. Thus, while this large influx of air traffic into Oshkosh, Wisconsin places greater demands on ATC than the service level typically required for this region, the aircraft that use more ATC services also pay for the services they receive as they pay their aviation fuel taxes. This funding method has allowed the FAA to support AirVenture for 60 years without imposing any additional costs on EAA.

Unfortunately, this year, the FAA demanded significant payment from EAA to provide the ATC staffing necessary to ensure safe arrival and departure from AirVenture. Curiously, the FAA’s demand for payment from EAA comes on the heels of recent legislation specifically outlawing user fees and granting the FAA unique flexibility to guarantee uninterrupted ATC service. The FAA’s determination to augment the funding mechanism established by Congress through user fees was adopted without standard notice and comment or any other form of formal administrative rulemaking. Accordingly, the FAA’s demand for payment from EAA is procedurally improper and substantively unlawful.

EAA turns to this Court to review the FAA’s actions. This Petition seeks to reverse the FAA’s decision to seek payment from EAA for ATC services. EAA further seeks return of the fees paid and for recovery of the attorney fees and costs incurred in this matter.”

Several paragraphs in his “Jurisdiction and Venue” narrative raise eyebrows early on…

“2. On May 8, 2013, the FAA issued a final Order to EAA when the Administrator and/or his representatives told EAA’s Chairman that the FAA would not provide the necessary and customary ATC services at the 2013 AirVenture, unless EAA would execute a contract and agree to “reimburse” the FAA for certain costs and expenses. The terms of the subject Order were subsequently memorialized in the “Non-Federal Reimbursable Agreement Between Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration and Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc., Oshkosh, Wisconsin. (Exhibit A, “Reimbursable Contract.”).

3. The ATC services subject to the FAA Order will be provided at the 2013 AirVenture. This year, EAA’s annual convention, membership meeting, educational forum, trade-show, and fly-in are scheduled to be held from July 29, 2013 through August 4, 2013, at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. To support incoming and outbound air travel, the required ATC services will extend a few days before and after AirVenture.

4. The FAA has further indicated it will demand similar contracts for ATC services at even greater levels of reimbursement for future EAA AirVentures."

Please note what was put forth in paragraph 4… ANN has heard from numerous sources that this year’s fees are but the tip of the iceberg, and as supported with these documents, it seems to be the FAA’s intention to shake down the EAA for much more next year and in ensuing years. If you think that those costs, if imposed, won’t make Oshkosh a much more expensive experience for the rank and file, you have another thing coming. ANN has credible sources INSIDE THE FAA suggesting that next year’s ‘hit’ could be North of a million bucks…

And in paragraph 6, Farkas also notes the threat to EAA’s existence by the action of the FAA…” 6. EAA has a substantial interest in the Order in that the FAA demands payment from EAA at the threat of diminished or cancelled ATC services, threatening the safety of approximately 20,000 take-offs and landings, including flights by EAA members, and the threat of insufficient ATC support further threatens EAA’s finances, programs, membership level, and EAA’s continued existence.”

Farkas posits a number of legal arguments undermining the FAA’s ability and/or authority to demand or bill for services in number of ensuing paragraphs and provides extensive legal validation for this arguments. An entire section, under the heading, “THE FAA LACKS AUTHORITY TO DEMAND PAYMENT FROM EAA” outlines the nature of how the FAA is funded, what authority it has to take-in/expend funds, and why the FAA has gone off the reservation in undertaking this new “User Fee” funding mechanism… one explicitly forbade by Congress…

“Congress has made it clear that it views itself as the sole authority on the establishment and sources of FAA funding. Through the Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 Congress provided the Department of Transportation “with the flexibility to transfer certain funds to prevent reduced operations and staffing of the Federal Aviation Administration . . . .” Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013, Pub. L. No. 113-9, 127 Stat. 443 (2013). This legislation was passed in the wake of the recent sequester to “restore reliable and safe service in the commercial air traffic system by reducing or eliminating employee [FAA air traffic controller] furlough days. 159 Cong. Rec. H2364-02 (2013) (statement of Rep. Tom Latham). Yet, in the most recent appropriations, Congress has also set boundaries on FAA funding: “None of these funds in this Act shall be available for the Federal Aviation Administration to finalize or implement any regulation that would promulgate new aviation user fees not specifically authorized by law after the date of the enactment of this Act.” Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-55, 125 Stat. 552 (2011), amended by Pub. L. No. 112-175, 126 Stat. 1313 (2012), Pub. L. No. 113-6, 127 Stat. 198 (2013) (appropriation provided through Sept. 30, 2013). “Notably, this legislation does not include language imposing disproportionate and onerous user fees on the general aviation industry . . . . Rather, this legislation preserves the current fuel tax levels, an efficient and effective funding mechanism that accurately reflects general aviation’s use of the system.” 158 Cong. Rec. S333-02 (2012) (statement of Sen. Pat Roberts).”

Farkas also argues that, “The payments demanded from EAA are indeed user fees, prohibited by the above cited appropriations. The United States General Accounting Office (“GAO”) defines user fees as: “A fee assessed to users for goods or services provided by the federal government. User fees generally apply to federal programs or activities that provide special benefits to identifiable recipients above and beyond what is normally available to the public. User fees are normally related to the cost of the goods or services provided....” U.S. Gov't Accountability Office, GAO-05-734SP, A Glossary of Terms Used in the Federal Budget Process (2005). As the intent of the FAA Order is to obtain payment from EAA for the expenses directly related to providing services to EAA’s members and invited guests at AirVenture, the “reimbursement” fits squarely within the definition of user fees. Of course, if the demanded payment is not a user fee, then it must be a tax, and taxes can only be levied by Congress, not Executive Agencies. See, Thomas v. Network Solutions, Inc., 176 F.3d 500, 505 (D.C.Cir. 1998)."

Attorney Farkas finishes that section, noting that, “Finally, regardless of the proper characterization of the sums demanded by the FAA, there should be no doubt that the FAA is seeking to augment the appropriations intended by Congress to fund ATC services (as discussed above). Yet, as recognized by the GAO, Executive
Agencies are prohibited from augmenting their appropriations. See FCC-Acceptance of Rent-Free Space and Services at Expositions and Trade Shows, 63 Comp. Gen. 459 (June 28, 1984) (“[T]he theory, propounded by the accounting officers of the Government since the earliest days of our nation, is designed to implement the constitutional prerogative of the Congress to exercise the power of the purse; that is, to restrict executive spending to the amounts appropriated by the Congress.”). “The general theory of ‘augmentation’ is a corollary to the constitutional requirement that ‘[n]o money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law....’U.S. Const., Art. I, sec. 9. The theory seeks to assure that the executive branch limits its expenditures to appropriations it receives. The control over executive action inherent in passing limited appropriations would be severely eroded if agencies could ‘augment’ the funds they are appropriated.” Carrier-Provided Computers for Electronically Filing Tariffs with the ICC, 70 Comp. Gen. 597 (June 28, 1991)."

 

A Compelling Argument

In arguments that the “The FAA Order Should Be Set Aside,” the EAA petition concludes that:

18. For the reasons described above, the FAA never had the authority to demand payment from EAA to provide ATC services at AirVenture.

19. The FAA’s decision to seek payment from EAA and to present the Reimbursable Contract to EAA was made without any notice to the public, distribution of proposed rules, or any authorized procedure, and is thereby unlawful under 5 USC § 706(2)(D).

20. The FAA’s Order is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and otherwise not in accord with the law, and is thereby unlawful under 5 USC § 706(2)(A).

21. The FAA’s Order is contrary to EAA’s constitutional rights and privileges, and is thereby unlawful under 5 USC § 706(2)(B).

22. The FAA’s Order is in excess of the FAA’s statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations, or short of statutory right, and is thereby unlawful under 5 USC § 706(2)(C).

23. The FAA’s Order is unsupported by substantial evidence, and is thereby unlawful under 5 USC § 706(2)(E).

24. The FAA’s Order is unwarranted by relevant facts, and is thereby unlawful under 5 USC § 706(2)(E).

25. The FAA demanded payment from EAA for services that the FAA was already obligated to provide.

26. The funds unlawfully taken from EAA should be returned by the FAA and/or the United States of America.

27. EAA is entitled to recover its costs and attorney fees in pursuit of this matter from the FAA pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) 5 USC § 504.

28. The FAA provided EAA with no meaningful opportunity for review or objection to its demand for payment. The Reimbursable Contract was presented to EAA with the express threat that the FAA would not provide adequate ATC services if EAA failed to capitulate and execute the “agreement.” EAA executed the Reimbursable Contract under protest and under duress, knowing that thousands of members would likely travel to the event area even if the event would be officially cancelled, at great threat of physical harm, and because cancellation of its annual meeting or holding a curtailed event would threaten the very existence of EAA, as further set out in EAA’s notice of its objections (Exhibit B).

29. The FAA’s actions violate EAA’s rights of Substantive and Procedural Due Process, and Equal Protection, as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

30. These various Constitutional violations arise from the FAA’s demand for payment from EAA as a condition precedent for the FAA’s provision of ATC services substantially similar to the services the FAA provides to other persons and events without demanding additional fees, and from the FAA’s doing so without employing any sort of formal policy or rule making process, and without any legitimate or rational government interest. Many events across the country cause air travel to a particular city or region to spike for a limited period of time. The FAA necessarily provides additional ATC personnel and equipment to these areas to insure that all travelers are able to enter and exit the event safely, and it does so without additional charge. Of course, all increased travel involves increased fuel consumption and increased payment of the fuel taxes that support ATC services.

31. Pursuant to 42 USC §1988, EAA is entitled to recover the reasonable costs and attorney fees expended in the vindication of its rights from respondents.

32. Pursuant to 28 USC § 2201, the Declaratory Judgment Act, the Reimbursable Contract should be deemed void, unenforceable, and unlawful for the reasons expressed above and further for being against public policy and for lacking consideration in so much as it requires the FAA to provide no more than the ATC services it was already obligated to provide.

33. EAA is entitled to rescission of the Reimbursable Contract.

WHEREFORE, the FAA order demanding payment from EAA should be reversed, the Reimbursable Contract should be declared void ab initio (ANN E-I-C Note: [Latin, From the beginning; from the first act; from the inception.] An agreement is said to be "void ab initio" if it has at no time had any legal validity. A party may be said to be a trespasser, an estate said to be good, an agreement or deed said to be void, or a marriage or act said to be unlawful, ab initio. Contrasted in this sense with EX POST FACTO, or with postea.), all funds paid by EAA should be returned, and EAA should be granted recovery of all fees and costs expended in this matter, together with any further relief determined to be just and proper.

A speedy response is hoped for, but not expected and ANN will keep you up to date as soon as there is any action in this matter.

In The Meantime…

ANN E-I-C Commentary: Sources within the FAA indicate that much of their Senior management is NOT thrilled with this legal filing… while a number of middle managers who counseled against this effort, are staying mum while apparently avoiding the “I Told You So” response that they are entitled to. The big question, at this point, is whether or not the FAA will take out any displeasure with EAA’s legal defense on EAA itself, and again threaten the safety and well-being of the aviation community as they did before. Still… there is a contract now, and informed persons indicate that the FAA would have a tough time violating its provisions no matter how PO’ed they may be.

Still; it behooves those of us at ANN that have been FAA-watching for a number of decades and from whom the FAA’s dirty little secrets (and even dirtier laundry) is no surprise, to note that this matter signals a drastic and fundamental shift in the FAA’s relationship and conduct with civil aviation.

There was no real discussion… just a demand and a self-aggrandizing set of validations based on flimsy (if any) legal accuracy, followed by perilous threats and a brutal, costly, fate accompli.

Former platitudes (By FAA) about being a partner to GA are now looked at, openly, as the ‘B.S.’ so many of us thought it to be… and it seems as if “business as usual” between the FAA and GA has taken a sudden and negative turn for the worst (not that it was all that great to begin with) – and it seems most unlikely to take a positive direction under this administration -- if at all. A more aggressive and realistic approach to FAA failings and falsehoods should be undertaken by the alphabet associations as soon as possible and the aviation community should make it clear that the FAA’s actions do not meet with our approval. After all, the FAA was instituted to serve the best interests of aviation a long time ago… an undertaking at which they now have proven themselves to have failed miserably (IMO).

ANN has long advocated a more realistic (and controversial), aggressive, honest and occasionally “in-your-face” approach (as legitimately necessary) to dealing with those that supposedly work to serve OUR interests… and this may be a great time to undertake that profile… but in light of the absolute cowardice we’ve seen from too many of our so-called alphabet associations, we’re not sure how of them have the intestinal fortitude to take the Feds on. EAA is finally showing some guts, AEA always has, ICAS has also, and even NBAA has their moments of courage… but too many others (AOPA, in particular) are so committed to not rocking the boat that we fear that they simply are not up to the task of defending an industry already under attack… and most assuredly one that will be attacked again and again.

We’re at a point where we believe that the survival of the industry is at risk… and from other foes just as perilous and abusive as the FAA… We feel that it is time for the entire community to band together to speak with a louder, more aggressive voice to counter what appears to be dire straits if our near-silence continues. More, on this issue, and others, to come…

FMI: www.eaa.org, www.justice.gov, www.faa.gov

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