Mar. 26, 2004 - The FAA continues to draw fire from Capitol Hill, from AOPA, and from pilots over its proposed charity/sightseeing rule, which would drive hundreds of Part 91 sightseeing operators out of business and make thousands of pilots ineligible to help charities raise funds by offering flights for donations.
"This rule hurts pilots, cripples charity fundraising efforts, and exterminates hundreds of small businesses," said AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula. "It's taking a concerted effort by Congress, by AOPA and other aviation groups, and by pilots to make the FAA understand that this is a bad and unnecessary rule."
Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kansas) questioned FAA Administrator Marion Blakey about the proposed rule's implications on small businesses, during a recent hearing on the agency's FY 2005 budget request. And Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.), himself a pilot and AOPA member, echoed concerns about the proposed rule's impact, saying that it does not succeed in its intent of improving safety. "I understand and applaud efforts to make our skies safer," he said in a letter to Blakey. "However, I do not believe that this [notice of proposed rulemaking] accomplishes this goal."
At the same time, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is evaluating the issue, and the House Small Business subcommittee, chaired by another pilot and AOPA member, Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), has committed to holding a hearing on the business impact of the proposed rule if the FAA doesn't address the aviation community concerns.