The U.S. economy would be devastated if general aviation were to stop flying for agricultural purposes, medical evacuation, and other missions essential to the country's safety and well-being.
If the FAA adopts a user fee pay-for-service funding system, that's exactly what might happen.
So AOPA is making sure the general public understands what's at stake for them in the FAA funding debate.
Once again, your association is turning to television to tell GA's story over the holiday season. Beginning December 22 and continuing for several weeks, AOPA will be running advertisements on The Weather Channel to educate the public about how the issue impacts them.
"The aviation system has been funded efficiently for nearly 40 years," said AOPA President Phil Boyer.
"The purpose of the ads on The Weather Channel is to educate the public about the current system and the ongoing debate about changing it. The current system is not broken, so there's no need to fix it."
Excise taxes on GA fuel, airline passenger tickets, and cargo have been deposited into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund for nearly four decades to fund airport improvements, air traffic control modernization, and other essential aviation projects.
The FAA claims that it now has a funding crisis, and it, along with the airlines, have argued that the FAA should be funded through user fees for ATC services and other FAA regulatory and certification requirements, rather than taxes on aviation users.
This effectively eliminates Congress's role in allocating the funds for FAA programs and providing management guidance and oversight.
AOPA opposes a user fee system and supports the excise tax system as the best way to continue to fund the system.
General aviation includes disaster relief, agricultural flying, weather reporting, business travel, and many other functions that are an integral part of our nation.
Developing a fee-based system will hinder GA and therefore be detrimental to the services relied upon by all of the nation's citizens.
In past years, AOPA has run ads on The Weather Channel for two weeks. This year the two commercials will run four weeks because of the importance of this issue.
AOPA wants the public, as well as the airlines and the FAA, to understand that the fight is just beginning.
The ads urge viewers to visit www.GAservingAmerica.org, which contains a section about FAA funding to educate the public.
The ads were written by Jeff Myers, AOPA executive vice president of communications, produced by Steve Kahn, owner of Edit on Hudson in Charlotte, North Carolina, and feature narration by Boyer.
December 21, 2006