Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President Phil Boyer, responding to a second set of questions from Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain, has asked for a "timely disposition" of the status of his nomination to the FAA Management Advisory Council.
"Although it is obvious from these questions that there are issues on which we substantively disagree," Boyer wrote Sen. McCain, "I believe that we both share the same ambition—to see the FAA evolve into a more efficient operation.
"I appreciate this additional opportunity to demonstrate my broad background from 'outside the Beltway' and I hope my responses provide the final information you need to decide the fate of my nomination before the upcoming congressional recess."
Boyer suggested to Sen. McCain that a firm decision on his nomination would "end the press speculation, rumor-mill misinformation, and unsolicited AOPA member reaction to this situation."
In his just-completed response to Sen. McCain's written questions, Boyer emphasized that his broad general aviation and private sector experience would complement and counterpoint the Washington, D.C. "insiders" and airline representatives appointed to the MAC.
"The balance of aviation viewpoints provided by President Clinton's MAC nominees would serve us well," Boyer said.
In his response to a question from Sen. McCain on contracting out some FAA operations, Boyer noted how such diverse aviation expertise on the MAC would benefit FAA.
"The expertise of [MAC nominee] Bob Baker of American Airlines on contracting out oceanic [air traffic control] services would be invaluable," Boyer said, while citing AOPA's specific experience with the FAA's contracting out of level one control towers—insight an airline representative might not have.
Boyer also clarified again AOPA's opposition to all aviation user fees, even if they were to be applied only to "corporate" aircraft, as Sen. McCain has proposed.
President Clinton nominated Boyer to serve on the Management Advisory Council April 11. The MAC will advise the FAA administrator on modernizing the air traffic control system and ways to make the agency more efficient and "businesslike."
On June 15, the Commerce Committee forwarded the names of six other MAC nominees to the full Senate for approval but did not forward Boyer's name or that of Dallas attorney Debbie Branson. Less than 18 hours before, Committee Chairman McCain sent Boyer a second set of follow-up questions. Those actions caused some observers to question if Boyer's nomination would ever be acted on.
The 360,000-member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is the world's largest civil aviation organization. More than 50 percent of U.S. pilots, 70 percent of the nation's flight instructors, and 75 percent of general aviation aircraft owners are AOPA members.
(To see some of Sen. McCain's follow-up questions and Phil Boyer's responses, see AOPA Online.)
July 18, 2000