AOPA President Phil Boyer will hold AOPA Pilot Town Meetings in Salt Lake City on February 29 and in San Jose and Concord, California, March 1 and 2. He will update pilots on current developments in national aviation legislation, policy, and regulations, and will solicit pilots' views of the general aviation situation in the Mountain West and Northern California areas.
A major national issue will be the current outlook for aviation funding, following the collapse of efforts to reconcile House and Senate versions of a long-term FAA reauthorization bill. Pennsylvania Representative Bud Shuster has declared his determination to revive his AIR-21 bill ( H.R.1000), passed by the House last June with strong backing from AOPA. It would take the Airport and Airway Trust Fund off budget, unlocking its $9 billion surplus for aviation projects.
Shuster's bill would also preserve the traditional general fund contribution to the national aviation system, which recognizes the public interest in maintaining safe and healthy air transportation. Opposition to these provisions by a number of key senators and the Clinton administration resulted in the conference committee deadlock.
At the Pilot Town Meetings, Boyer will also report on the progress of AOPA's Airport Support Network, which now has recruited more than 730 volunteers—including 11 in Utah and 82 in California—to help in AOPA's defense of beleaguered general aviation airports.
And as a principal element of the meetings, Boyer will invite discussion of local issues of concern to pilots and aircraft owners.
The first meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 29, in the Wyndham Salt Lake City, 215 West South Temple. The Wednesday meeting will take place in the Marriott Santa Clara, 2700 Mission College Boulevard, about three miles from SJC. And on Thursday, March 2, the meeting will be in the Sheraton Concord, 45 John Glenn Drive, right on Concord's Buchanan Field.
All three meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. and are open to all pilots without charge.
Phil Boyer, a 30-year veteran aviator and former network television senior executive, is the third full-time president in AOPA's 60-year history. Instrument and multiengine rated, he has logged more than 5,500 flight hours, including two transatlantic crossings. He has been president of AOPA since January 1991.
AOPA represents pilots and owners of three quarters of the 187,000 general aviation aircraft that constitute 96 percent of the U.S. civilian fleet.
February 3, 2000