AOPA on Sept. 24 presented Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) with the Joseph B. “Doc” Hartranft Jr. Award—one of the association's two highest honors—for his tireless work on behalf of general aviation in the U.S. Congress. Graves received the award at the conclusion of the U.S. Congress General Aviation Summit, which took place in the exhibit hall at AOPA Aviation Summit.
“Representative Graves stepped forward at the beginning of this session of Congress to co-chair the General Aviation Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives following last year's retirement of the Caucus co-founder Representative Vernon Ehlers,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “All of us who use general aviation appreciate his ardent support on Capitol Hill.”
As co-chair of the General Aviation Caucus, Graves spearheaded a GA Caucus letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting that the commission take all necessary steps to protect GPS from interference without imposing additional cost burdens on GPS users. The letter was signed by 36 members of the caucus.
He argued successfully to have several GA friendly-provisions included in the House FAA Reauthorization bill and has been an outspoken critic of user fees. And he has been a strong advocate against onerous security regulations on GA, and led the fight against the TSA's original Large Aircraft Security Program.
“As a pilot himself, Congressman Graves truly ‘gets' general aviation,” concluded Fuller. “His work on behalf of his fellow pilots epitomizes what defines a Hartranft Award winner.”
The Hartranft Award is presented annually to an elected or appointed government official, whether federal, state, local, or foreign, who has made significant contributions to the advancement of GA. The award is named for AOPA's first employee, longtime president, and former chairman of the board. Recipients of the award are outstanding advocates of GA. Their selection can be based on one action or a series of actions resulting in a benefit to GA in the areas of utilization, safety, facilities, operation, regulation, education, or information.