Angel Flight Applauds Amendment To Extend Liability
Even though further
debate on the Senate's plan for FAA reauthorization is stalled temporarily, that
doesn't mean everyone is standing still. At a news
conference Thursday, the leaders of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots
Association (AOPA) and National Business Aviation Association
(NBAA) joined with Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley
(R-IA) to appeal for the swift passage of S.1300, and thank the
senators for their efforts.
"On behalf of the almost 415,000 members of the Aircraft Owners
and Pilots Association (AOPA), let me congratulate and thank
Chairman Baucus and Senator Grassley for their leadership in
crafting an FAA reauthorization bill that ensures modernization of
the air traffic control system, provides needed funds for airport
improvement, and enhances safety," said AOPA President Phil Boyer.
"But of most importance to all our members, their bill does this
through the current system of aviation taxes that have generated a
stable and reliable funding stream for 40 years.
"General aviation, which includes all flying except the airlines
and the military, is an integral part of the US economy, supporting
1.3 million jobs and more than $150 billion of total economic
activity," Boyer added.
"We commend Senators Baucus and Grassley for bringing a
collaborative approach to working with other members of the Senate
to produce a bill that is clearly in the best interests of the
United States and everyone who depends on aviation, including
general aviation," NBAA President Ed Bolen (below) told the
assembly gathered in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. "We're
grateful for their hard work and leadership on this issue."
As for critics of the plan -- including the White House Office of
Management and Budget -- who say the bill doesn't
place enough financial burden on the general aviation
community, Boyer notes the compromise bill includes steep new taxes
on turbine-powered aircraft.
"More than 110,000 members either fly or are on a career track
to fly turbine-powered aircraft," Boyer said. "A 65 percent
increase in tax on this aviation segment, in light of skyrocketing
fuel prices, indicates our financial contribution for the
betterment of air travel for all Americans."
Not ALL Amendments To S.1300 Are Pork
ANN also received word from supporters of Grace Flight and Angel
Flight pilots, noting Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) introduced an
amendment (S.A.4606) to the FAA Reauthorization bill to extend
liability protection to volunteer pilots, volunteer pilot
organizations (VPO) such as Grace Flight of America, and the
various regional Angel Flight organizations.
"We would like to ask all of our pilots to call their two
Senators in Washington as soon as possible to voice support for
this amendment," the groups write. "PLEASE, make your voice heard
by calling today! This legislation has been in the works for 8
years and this is the closest we have come to success."
If you don't know who your senators are, a list is provided by
state at the first FMI link below.