June 9, 2011
AOPA ePublishing staff
Surrounded by warbirds and other aircraft, Connecticut pilots got an inside look at local advocacy and the upcoming AOPA Aviation Summit at a pilot town hall meeting June 2.
AOPA President Craig Fuller addressed the crowd of about 130 at the New England Air Museum about recent efforts to stop two potentially damaging budget proposals in Connecticut and the association’s September event in Hartford. Attendees at the Cirrus-sponsored event got a chance to check out the exhibits after hours, from a J-3 Cub to a range of heavy-duty Sikorsky creations.
The state’s aviation industry faced a grave threat this year when two budget proposals were introduced that would have imposed a hefty personal property tax on aircraft and eliminated a sales tax exemption on labor performed for aircraft maintenance. But after a concerted effort from AOPA and its partners in the aviation community and state legislature, the proposals were left out of the final budget package. Fuller explained the importance of pilots getting involved at the local level to protect their freedom to fly.
“Advocacy’s been at the heart of what we do, and really at the heart of any advocacy effort is local involvement,” Fuller said. “Tip O'Neill said all politics is local, and when it comes to Connecticut that is certainly the case.”
He acknowledged the efforts of pilots, the aviation community, and Connecticut lawmakers—particularly state Rep. Tim Larson, state Sen. L. Scott Frantz, and AOPA member and state Sen. Andrew M. Maynard—in speaking out against the costly proposals.
Now that aircraft owners are no longer faced with the prospect of shelling out 2 percent of the first 70 percent of the assessed value their aircraft every year, they can turn their attention to this year’s AOPA Aviation Summit, taking place in Hartford Sept. 22 through 24.
Summit’s closing night event will be at the New England Air Museum amidst the aircraft that pilots got to check out at the June 2 town hall meeting. Scott E. Ashton, president of the museum’s board of directors, welcomed AOPA to the site and expressed excitement for the association’s big event in September. Cirrus Aircraft Vice President of Marketing Todd Simmons also spoke during the meeting, discussing the anniversary edition of the company’s SR22.
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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