AOPA President Phil Boyer will hold AOPA Pilot Town Meetings in New Bedford, Mass., Burlington, Vt., and the Hudson River Valley March 28, 29, and 30. 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 New York and New England.
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 efficient 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 14 in Massachusetts, 15 in New York, and two in Vermont—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 Pilot Town Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 28, will take place in the Sandpiper Air hangar, 1529 Airport Road, at New Bedford Regional Airport (EWB).
The Wednesday, March 29, meeting will take place in the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center, 870 Williston Road in South Burlington, about a mile from BTV, near the intersection of I-89 and US-2. Take Exit 14W off I-89.
On Thursday, March 30, the meeting will be in the Sheraton Civic Center Hotel, 40 Civic Center Plaza, in downtown Poughkeepsie. That's about four miles from POU, Dutchess County Airport.
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. Of the approximately 45,000 pilots in New York and the New England region, more than 31,800 (over 70 percent) are AOPA members.
February 11, 2000