MEMBER ALERT: AOPA will be closing at 1:45 p.m. Eastern on Dec. 6 and will reopen at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on Dec. 9.
June 5, 2005
What a difference a decade makes. One of the most out-spoken user fee advocates - the Reason Foundation's Robert Poole - has now decided that VFR general aviation shouldn't be charged user fees for FSS services. In a conversation with AOPA President Phil Boyer, Poole said he doesn't want AOPA battling him this time.
In his latest report, released May 4, Poole recommends that piston-powered GA aircraft pay only an aviation fuel tax. Because the FAA's flight service program is a safety function, "in no cases should there be user fees for those services," he said. Turbine-powered aircraft and commercial airlines would pay user fees for air traffic control services.
Poole's first report, released in 1993, suggested charging GA fees like $9.27 for a weather briefing, $4.65 for contacting a tower, and $9.27 for an IFR flight plan. AOPA soundly criticized that.
So a 1996 report dropped charges for FSS services and proposed user fees for air traffic control services based on aircraft weight and distance flown. AOPA still objected, and Poole notes in his latest report that general aviation is "too large and politically popular" for it to be charged for air traffic control services, regardless of how much of the system GA uses.
"We think he still misses the point," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "GA shouldn't be charged for a system we don't need and for the most part don't use. More than 90 percent of piston-powered aircraft flights are VFR, yet every one of those flights helps pay for the system through the fuel tax. If it weren't for the huge demands the airlines place on the system with their rush-hour scheduling, the air traffic control system would be much smaller."
"While it is great that piston aircraft are not targeted for FSS fees in this report, divide and conquer is a common political strategy," said Boyer. "The threat of GA user fees - and AOPA's willingness to do whatever it takes to stop them - is still very real."
May 6, 2005
FAA Financial and Regulatory,
FAA Procedures and Services,
Aircraft Power and Fuel
A House bill that would force FAA to go through the rulemaking process before imposing new policies for sleep disorders has passed a key committee.
Shell announced Dec. 3 the development of an unleaded aviation fuel that will be submitted for certification as a "performance drop-in" avgas replacement.
In an unusual move the NTSB tells the FAA it supports a more conservative approach to addressing problems with thousands of ECi cylinders.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.