The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association tonight paid tribute to U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) for a lifelong dedication to general aviation, awarding him the J.B. "Doc" Hartranft Award for 2004.
Watch a video of the Hartranft Award presentation [broadband connection recommended].
"Throughout his career on Capitol Hill, Rep. Young has shown a deep understanding of general aviation and has worked to ensure that GA remains a vital and integral part of the nation's aviation system," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We're honored that he looks to AOPA as an important source of information and input from the GA pilot community."
Rep. Young is chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. He was a driving force to see that several pro-GA measures were included in the FAA reauthorization bill, known as the Vision 100 - Century of Aviation Act. That bill lays out congressionally mandated priorities for the FAA through 2008.
One of those measures guarantees pilots due process if their certificates are suspended or revoked for national security reasons by the Transportation Security Administration. Young also helped ensure that the Meigs Legacy provision was included in the Vision 100 Act, imposing heavy fines on any airport sponsor that fails to give adequate notice of an airport's closure. He was also a forceful advocate for funding for hangar development and construction, and for a pilot program that protects private airports by allowing the federal government to buy the development rights at those airports.
Rep. Young addressed AOPA member concerns about privatization of U.S. air traffic control. He obtained a commitment from FAA Administrator Marion Blakey to not advance ATC privatization efforts after the government declared air traffic control to be a commercial, rather than inherently governmental, function.
Rep. Young has also gone on record raising questions about the FAA's proposed charity/commercial sightseeing rule, which would increase the regulatory burden on local sightseeing operations and eliminate charity flights, all without any documented increase in safety. When necessary, he has been willing to step in at a much more nuts-and-bolts level. Early this summer, he urged Administrator Blakey to prevent the closure of Buchanan Field in Concord, Calif.
The J.B. "Doc" Hartranft Award, one of aviation's most prestigious awards, is named for AOPA's first employee and president of the association for 38 years. It is awarded annually to the federal, state, or local government official who has done the greatest good on behalf of general aviation.
With more than 400,000 members, representing nearly two thirds of all pilots in the United States, AOPA is the largest, most influential aviation association in the world. AOPA has achieved its prominent position through effective advocacy, enlightened leadership, technical competence, and hard work. Providing member services that range from representation at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, advice, and other assistance, AOPA has built a service organization that is without peer to any other in the aviation community.
October 23, 2004