Could The FAA Get ANY Stranger? Worse Yet... Will They?
ANN RealTime News Update, 1324ET, 05.23.13: Well... the statement we were promised YESTERDAY showed up today... and it doesn't say much... but here it is, as promised.
FAA Statement: In light of sequestration, the FAA and EAA are having discussions about EAA reimbursement of the FAA's incremental costs for supporting AirVenture in Oshkosh, similar to the approach used earlier this year at the other major airshow the FAA supports in Lakeland, FL.
ANN RealTime News Update, 0001ET, 05.23.13: The FAA has twice promised ANN a statement this day in order to understand some of their rationale for this sudden AirVenture cost recovery/User Fee scheme. If and when they provide this promised statement, we will make sure you see it right away. In the meantime, we have talked with EAA Boss Jack Pelton about the matter and have come to the understanding that EAA WILL apparently wind up having to pay the FAA something for their services... the same ones that we all thought were paid for by our income, fuel, and numerous other taxes. The primary question is just how much will EAA pay for all this and what effect might it have on AirVenture 2013? EAA has apparently NOT had a lot of warning about this and the manner and timing with which the FAA has extortionately demanded these fees positively begs for an aggressive Congressional investigation. ANN is currently researching additional details about this matter and will
present more info as it becomes available.
Original Report, 1502 ET, 052213: Despite a clear mandate in opposition to user fees and similar funding mechanisms oft discussed by the FAA, the FAA has decided to start enacting some user fees of its own. And... they've made a pretty aggressive demand for EAA to pay them to staff the event.
The EAA, via published statements, has noted that, "General aviation is wearing the target as the FAA looks for revenue, with the agency appearing to be readying a plan to add burdens on recreational aviators with increased costs for a variety of activities. This is occurring even after the Congress enacted legislation that enabled the FAA to fully fund air traffic services. The agency is moving more aggressively toward assessing costs on duties that have always been covered under the FAA budget, including some essential air traffic operations and functions."
EAA's Dick Knapinski has confirmed that the FAA has its hand out... and to the tune of well into six figures. EAA says that, "the agency is asking EAA to cover certain costs for its AirVenture operations, including air traffic controllers' travel, per diems, and overtime, which had traditionally been covered by the FAA. This may be an early indication of further efforts by the FAA to charge GA operators for functions in ways that could add unforeseen costs for the average pilot who simply wants to enjoy flying.
"This issue is significantly bigger than AirVenture," said EAA Chairman Jack J. Pelton. "We'll have full air traffic staffing and operations at Oshkosh and are well-prepared for our event. Unfortunately this is coming at a great cost to EAA. The larger issue, however, is about the unknown and alarming new direction the FAA is taking in charging for an equivalent level of safety that has previously been provided. If the FAA asks for reimbursement on certain AirVenture operations for which it has always budgeted, where else could the agency unilaterally impose assessments, fees, and other costs on GA? It's a frightening thought."
EAA adds that, "GA should continue to contribute its fair share to FAA and national airspace operations through the current aviation fuel tax. EAA will, however, vigorously oppose efforts to burden aviators with costs for which the FAA already receives funding and has budgeted as part of its stated mission of providing a safe, efficient national airspace system."