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February 27, 2012
Contact: Benét Wilson 301-695-2159 Benet.firstname.lastname@example.org
Frederick, MD – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President Craig Fuller said that despite some tough challenges for general aviation -- a severe economic recession, a dwindling pilot population, and numerous legislative threats – the best way to keep GA healthy is to get in the air and fly, in remarks earlier today before the Northwest Aviation Conference and Trade Show in Puyallup, Wash.
“We want to keep pilots flying in the face of some significant challenges,” said Fuller. “We are taking numerous steps in 2012 to protect GA and help keep pilots in the air.”
For the first time since 2007, the Federal Aviation Administration now has stable, long-term funding. But, AOPA has many other battles on its hands, including preventing the $100-per-flight user fee for turbine general aviation and commercial operations. “Our friends in Congress have repeatedly said that user fees are ‘dead on arrival’ and we will work closely with them again to try to put a stop to this latest user fee plan,” Fuller said.
AOPA recently unveiled the Flight Training Excellence Awards, a new program that recognizes flight schools and instructors that “do it right,” and the MyFlightTraining website designed specifically to help student pilots through the training process. Students can use the site to log milestones, receive customized information for their point in training, and ask questions to the experienced flight instructors in AOPA’s Pilot Information Center.
AOPA, in conjunction with the Experimental Aircraft Association, is working to extend to all pilots the ability to fly 180-horsepower or less single-engine four-seat aircraft without a third-class medical certificate. An estimated 56,000 aircraft would be eligible to be flown under the request.
“Our proposal would give pilots who fly recreationally in certain types of aircraft the option of getting a third-class medical or participating in recurrent online training that will teach pilots how to self-certify their fitness to fly,” Fuller said.
While AOPA continues to fight for pilots, Fuller challenged the audience to get involved and help GA through this rough period. The industry has weathered worse days, for example, when people wanted to ground GA during World War II. “The Army Air Corps was struggling to recruit pilots,” he explained. “They came up with a great slogan that eventually turned into a hit song and even the title of a hit movie: Keep ‘em Flying. The idea is still relevant today.”
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