May 13, 2004 - The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has gone on record against the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) proposed charity/sightseeing rule in a recent letter to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) has been a strong advocate for general aviation because of its importance as a primary means of transportation in his home state, and he used AOPA data to help make his point.
"It is great to have Chairman Young's support on this issue. His years of service in Congress and on the transportation committee make him someone the FAA cannot ignore," said AOPA President Phil Boyer.
"His letter makes it clear to the FAA administrator that the FAA needs to substantially change its approach to its proposed rule affecting charity/sightseeing and air tour flights."
Responding to concerns raised by AOPA in meetings with his staff and contacts by aviation businesses and other organizations, Chairman Young wrote Federal Aviation Administrator Marion Blakey, raising concerns about the effects of the FAA's proposed rule. Citing AOPA-provided data, Young took FAA to task for grossly underestimating the economic impact on operators and highlighting the damaging effects the rule would have on local charity and sightseeing flights.
The letter includes narratives from six small general aviation operators, providing a snapshot of the real-world impact this ill-conceived proposal would have on the industry. "At the very least, I believe that the NPRM [notice of proposed rulemaking] should be significantly revised to ensure that it would have the desired improvement in aviation safety while not causing dire impacts on the ability of small aviation operators to stay in business," Young wrote.