From a battle victory in the war against user fees to the quest to keep flying affordable, AOPA President Craig Fuller and Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) discussed the implications of public policy for pilots at a General Aviation Serves America community event in Athens, Ga., Aug. 18.
Fuller and Broun addressed an audience of about 75 at the Athens Turboprop hangar at Ben Epps Airport, explaining the importance of having officials in Washington, D.C., who understand and support GA, and discussing issues that face pilots today.
“It was clear from the enthusiasm of those who turned out at Athens Turboprop just how important general aviation is to local pilots and their community,” said Fuller. “Getting involved with your elected officials is a great way to get engaged in protecting general aviation.”
Fuller discussed the formation of the House GA Caucus in 2009 and how it has grown to more than 120 members who want to learn more about GA. Having officials in Congress who understand the importance of GA has paid off—after initially calling for aviation user fees starting in 2011 in last year’s budget, the Obama administration was met with strong opposition from the aviation community and Congress alike. The White House opted not to propose the user fees in this year’s budget.
Some members of the caucus, like Broun, have personal experience of the importance of GA. Broun, a pilot, discussed his own experience with flying and the importance of GA to the nation. The most important thing everyone in the room could do to ensure a future for GA was to become a member of AOPA and support its efforts, and to encourage everyone they know to do the same. It’s also important for people to get involved politically by voting in November, he added.
Fuller presented Broun with the Friends of Aviation award and an AOPA 2010 challenge coin to recognize his involvement in GA issues.