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Fri, Dec 06, 2013

Aero-News Update: The Other Shoe Drops -- EAA Files Brief in EAA v FAA Fee War

Other Parties Expected to Weigh In Momentarily

EAA Counsel Alan Farkas has filed a 48 page Petition for Review of FAA Action and Other Relief with United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in support of EAA's attempt to overturn last spring's surprise FAA decision to bill the organization for the annual AirVenture Fly-In.

The Farkas brief, again, seems very well-constructed and takes the FAA to task on several key points.

EAA's response, through its Petition for Review, seeks return of all money paid for ATC services and a declaration that the FAA may not seek payment from EAA for these services in the future. More specifically and according to the brief, EAA posits that these charges are unlawful because Congress has not authorized the FAA to impose fees for these services. To the contrary, ATC services are funded through excise taxes, and Congress has explicitly prohibited the FAA from imposing user fees. Even if the FAA could legally demand payment from EAA for ATC services, it failed to honor proper administrative procedures and the agreement reached with EAA was the product of duress.

EAA's Legal Position:

  • The FAA's Decision to Demand Payment from EAA for ATC Services at AirVenture Is Arbitrary, Capricious, an Abuse of Discretion, and Otherwise Not in Accordance with Law.
  • The FAA Lacks Statutory Authority to Impose Fees on EAA for ATC Services.
  • The FAA's Charge for ATC Services Is an Unlawful User Fee
  • The FAA's Imposition of Fees on EAA for ATe Services Violates the Separation of Powers Doctrine
  • The Purported Agreement Is Invalid Due to Duress

Other interested parties are expected to weigh in on this issue in the next few days and ANN stands ready to detail those responses, as well as the FAA's, when they are filed/disclosed.

Regardless; make no mistake about it... a decidedly and increasingly unkind and unfriendly FAA has now learned in no uncertain terms that a once compliant General and Sport Aviation community is starting to wake up to the realities of a federal government that is more interested in politics and serving itself than doing the job is has done for decades -- and is still expected to do.

If the FAA thought the entire industry was going to roll over and let them run roughshod over our rights and their responsibilities (to us), then it seems that the time has come to disabuse them of that notion. And we MUST offer serious kudos to EAA for having the Cojones to step up and meet the FAA on the legal field of battle... we were worried that they didn't have it in them... and now we know they do.

From here on out, it looks to be a dogfight, folks, and we'll keep you updated.

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

 


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