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Wed, May 12, 2004

Proposed Air Tour Rule Slammed Again

Tuesday Hearing Finds No Backers

Eighteen individuals spoke against the National Air Tour Safety Standards (FAA-1998-4521) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) at the FAA’s public hearing held Tuesday, May 11, in Washington (DC). Not one person who testified at the day-long public meeting spoke in favor of the rule.

Dave Humphreys, EAA member from Shephardstown (WV), represented the organization at the hearing. Appearing on behalf of the Vintage Aircraft Association (VAA) and National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) was H.G. Frautschy, VAA Executive Director.

Humphreys included comments on the inherent unfairness of the proposed rule as well as the FAA’s long tradition of partnering with EAA and others in aviation to address concerns.

"In EAA’s long tradition of working with the FAA, we did not just file comments in opposition to this proposed rule, but provided comprehensive alternatives to the proposal," Humphreys said. "Suggestions (were) based on the trust and knowledge of the US airman, the resources of the FAA field inspector force, and our knowledge of general aviation. We cannot help but ask: Why didn’t the FAA ask the industry for this information before introducing this proposed rule?"

EAA’s official comments on the rule, which were submitted on March 11, 2004, concluded that the proposed sweeping changes to commercial and noncommercial passenger-carrying operations are not justified by historic safety data, nor is there sufficient evidence that safety will be enhanced by these proposals. FAA also failed to adequately evaluate and address the dramatic negative cost-benefit impact these proposals would have on the general aviation industry. Therefore, the rule should be withdrawn.

Frautschy told the panel, "It (FAA) did not take into account the effect this NPRM would have, if enacted, on a major number of operators who choose to operate under Part 91 as a commercial operation."

Afterwards, Frautschy noted there were several small-time aircraft owner/operators who testified that the proposed rule would put them out of business and devalue their aircraft. "Nobody wanted that NPRM to stand," he said. "Everyone wanted the rule to be withdrawn."

The FAA has scheduled two additional public hearings on May 21 in Las Vegas (NV), at 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. local.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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