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Thu, Apr 19, 2007

AOPA: Thousands Of Lakeland Attendees Have Signed Petitions Against User Fees

Ms. Blakey... Prepare To Receive A VERY Large Envelope

It's been but two days since the 2007 Lakeland Fly-In got underway... and within those 48 hours, thousands of pilots have rushed to sign the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s petition opposing the FAA’s funding proposal.

As Aero-News has reported, the FAA’s airline-supported funding proposal would substantially increase general aviation fuel taxes... and, for the first time in US history, impose a pay-to-fly user fee system.

“This overwhelming response is hard evidence from the pilot community of what AOPA and the other aviation associations have been saying for two years -- the vast silent majority of the aviation community does not and will not support the FAA scheme,” said AOPA President Phil Boyer. “We’ve had to order more of the petition forms because of the demand and the passion this issue has generated.

“Congress is already sitting up and taking notice,” he continued. “The FAA and Administrator Marion Blakey need to as well.”

Each petition is seven feet high and 15 feet wide... with spaces for nearly 5,000 signatures. There are three posted around the Sun ’n Fun grounds. AOPA says visitors are arriving at Lakeland-Linder aware of the petition drive, and are actively seeking AOPA staffers to ask where the petitions are located.

By the end of the first day, the petition posted next to AOPA’s big yellow tent was nearly three-quarters full. “We expect interest in the petition to grow as AOPA Day at Sun ’n Fun approaches,” said Boyer. That day is Friday, April 20.

Boyer will also explain in much greater detail the FAA funding scheme, and the threat it poses to general aviation, when he hosts a Pilot Town Meeting at Sun ’n Fun Thursday evening at 7:45 pm.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their Sharpees... and in case you forget, AOPA has plenty on hand, as well.



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