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User fees? 'It's a bad, bad idea' members say

User fees? 'It's a bad, bad idea' members say

Member signs petition
Michael Schaal of Severn, Maryland, adds his signature to AOPA's petition against user fees.

Pilots at AOPA's Fly-In and Open House are making a point to do their part to protect general aviation by signing the petition against user fees. And they're not shy about sharing their opinions of the funding proposal.

"I think it's a bad, bad idea," says student pilot Shawn Stephens of Severn, Maryland, explaining that new pilot starts would decline.

"I can see a lot of people not getting into a dream," says Michael Schaal, who owns a Cirrus SR20. "I'm a brand-new pilot, and it was very expensive to get where I am today."

His fear, like many pilots, is that now that he can afford to own an airplane, he won't be able to afford to operate it.

John Albrecht, who traveled from Detroit to visit family and attend Fly-In, says he fears that the horror stories of user fees in Europe would come true here under the FAA's plan.

After another aviation enthusiast adds his signature to the petition, he points out that the airlines are pushing a plan - user fees - that will hurt them in the long run: "Where are they going to get their pilots?"

[ See the complete coverage of AOPA's Fly-In and Open House.]

June 2, 2007

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