May 6, 2005
Volume 5, Issue 18 • May 6, 2005
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NO USER FEES, AOPA PRESIDENT POINTEDLY TELLS CONGRESS House aviation subcommittee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) called it the "kickoff of a very significant debate." But there's no debate about where AOPA and its members stand on user fees. During a hearing running more than three hours Wednesday, AOPA President Phil Boyer used graphics and videotape to make sure Congress understands how general aviation pilots feel about funding the FAA. "Mr. Chairman, we do a lot of research, and more than 96 percent of our members oppose the use of user fees in any form to fund the system," Boyer testified. "And don't forget, these are people who are your constituents." He said that the more than 400,000 AOPA members who own and fly personal aircraft "pay any fees out of their own pockets. They can't pass them on to paying passengers or a business." Boyer used a ringing cash register in the video and as an analogy while he testified. To further drive home the point, Boyer showed committee members letters from AOPA members in their districts, proving how pilot voters feel about general aviation user fees. For complete coverage, including videos, see AOPA Online. CONGRESS SHOWS SCANT SUPPORT FOR USER FEES There was little support for user fees among the representatives attending Wednesday's House aviation subcommittee hearing. While Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) said, "We probably should take some time to review the possibility of converting to a user fee system in the United States," ranking member Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) said, "Switching to a user fee system raises more questions than answers." Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) added, "Every time an airliner cranks up, it uses the system, while there are thousands of GA aircraft flying using nothing but the air-which I hope is still free." Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) called user fees "unwise and harmful." Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said that everybody keeps looking at "GA as this great pot we're going to pull money from to pay for the system...but the vast majority of GA aircraft aren't using the system." The aviation subcommittee will be writing the legislation to fund the FAA when the current authorization expires in 2007. ANNUAL AOPA FLY-IN SET FOR JUNE 4 AOPA will open its doors on Saturday, June 4, to host its Fifteenth Annual Fly-In and Open House at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland. Thousands of people are expected to attend the free event, which has become the nation's largest one-day fly-in. "Fly-In is our chance to meet face-to-face with the members we serve throughout the year," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. New to this year's fly-in, AOPA will host special activities for anyone interested in learning to fly. Nonpilots can enter to win one of 10 free introductory first flights, among other prizes. Every pilot who brings a prospective student will receive a free AOPA mini MagLite and is eligible to win one of two new headsets from either Lightspeed or Pilot USA. See AOPA Online for complete information on the event. HAVE YOU UPDATED YOUR AOPA MEMBER PROFILE? To make the most of your membership and allow us to serve you better, please visit AOPA Online and update your personal member profile.
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