President George W. Bush won his hard-fought battle for a second term in the White House. Bush, who flew F-102 fighters in the Texas Air National Guard, will be returning to the Oval Office, ensuring that many familiar faces will remain in place at the FAA and other regulatory agencies.
So what do the presidential and congressional elections mean for general aviation?
"Who controls the executive branch is important, of course, but over the long term, it is Congress that sets the course for aviation through legislation and control of the purse strings," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "AOPA's friends and contacts remain in the top positions on the four congressional committees key to general aviation - in the Senate, the Commerce and Appropriations committees, and in the House, the Appropriations Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
"With AOPA's more than 400,000 members representing votes in nearly every congressional district, we are an organization that can't be easily ignored."
And AOPA has very good relationships with Congress. Fourteen pilots and AOPA members won reelection to Congress Tuesday. That means there will be 18 AOPA members serving in the House and Senate.
"We expect that general aviation policy and funding will continue on essentially the same course," said Boyer, "but there is likely to be a change in emphasis in some areas.
"With this election, we kept our strong allies in the battles against user fees and air traffic control privatization and continued support for general aviation airports."
(Continuing coverage and analysis of what the reelection of President Bush means to general aviation will be posted shortly.)
Update: November 3, 2004, 1:54:26 p.m.