In Congress, nothing is ever final until the President signs the bill. But it appears that efforts by AOPA and others to protect warbird owners have paid off.
AOPA Legislative Affairs staff have learned that the Department of Defense funding request for fiscal year 2003 will not contain any language harmful to vintage military aircraft. AOPA has worked closely with Representative Gary Miller (R-Calif.) to make sure language requiring demilitarization of significant military equipment, including aircraft formerly owned by the Pentagon, is not included in this year's proposal.
The language, known as the "warbirds provision," could have resulted in the destruction of vintage military aircraft, now flying in civilian hands. Although Congress could still introduce the provision, Rep. Miller's persistent lobbying of Secretary Rumsfeld, including a letter [ text or PDF] sent on March 25, means the Bush administration will not put forth the proposal this year.
Last year, AOPA worked with House/Senate conferees on the National Defense Authorization Act (S.1438), in particular Chairman Bob Stump (R-Ariz.) of the House Armed Services Committee, Senator Max Cleland (D-Ga.), and AOPA member Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), to remove the "warbird provision" in the final version of the legislation.