The General Aviation Coalition (GAC), chaired by AOPA President Phil Boyer, called on the FAA last week to fix problems with pilot certification and do a better job protecting airports. GAC, composed of 16 aviation associations ranging from AOPA and EAA to the National Association of Aircraft Resellers, met with FAA Administrator Jane Garvey and senior FAA officials September 6. "The challenge with such a diverse group is to find common ground," said Boyer. "That's why this year we have focused on two broad issues, certification and airport protection, that affect all general aviation." The coalition challenged the FAA to eliminate the delays in pilot medical certification. The group said the FAA could do that by granting aviation medical examiners (AMEs) greater authority to issue medical certificates for certain conditions that are now deferred to the FAA's backlogged Oklahoma City office. In order to get more flight instructors certified, GAC said that designated examiners should be allowed to conduct initial CFI checkrides. In some areas, new applicants for a CFI ticket say they have to wait months to schedule an FAA inspector for a checkride. GAC also pinged the FAA about protecting airports, noting that the agency still is not doing enough to ensure airport sponsors comply with their grant agreements, which ensure the airport remains open to all users for the life of the grant.
September 13, 2000