Feb. 25, 2015
Contact: Steve Hedges
FREDERICK, MD – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) needs to reform its regulatory and certification processes, including allowing more pilots to fly without obtaining a third-class medical and making it easier to bring safety technology into the cockpit, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) told a U.S. House of Representatives Aviation Subcommittee roundtable on Feb. 25.
“The general aviation community needs a regulatory and certification environment that can keep pace with rapidly changing technology,” said Jim Coon, AOPA senior vice president of government affairs.
In remarks to the roundtable, Coon pointed out that the general aviation industry has been under stress as the number of pilots has declined and the fleet has aged. But, he said, that trend can be reversed by creating an environment that supports growth and modernization. He added that the FAA’s current regulatory and certification processes are too prescriptive and cumbersome.
Coon also told the group that the general aviation community needs third-class medical reform, which seeks to build on the sport pilot standard that has been used successfully for more than a decade. That standard allows some pilots to fly recreationally without going through the costly and time consuming process of obtaining a third-class medical certificate.
The FAA needs long-term reauthorization to ensure it has the stable funding to make necessary changes to the way the agency does business. That funding should continue to come from excise taxes on aviation fuel, as it does today, rather than from user fees, Coon said.
During discussions, Coon also addressed the high cost of equipping to meet the FAA’s 2020 ADS-B Out mandate. Coon noted that the mandate requires aircraft owners to spend thousands of dollars simply to be allowed to continue flying in the same airspace they use today.
In addition to AOPA, the roundtable included representatives from the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General’s office, Airlines for America, Honeywell, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and the Reason Foundation.
Since 1939, AOPA has protected the freedom to fly for thousands of pilots, aircraft owners and aviation enthusiasts. AOPA is the world’s largest aviation member association, with representatives based in Frederick, Md., Washington, D.C., Wichita, Kans., and seven regions across the United States. AOPA provides member services that range from advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, flight planning products, safety programs and award-winning media. To learn more, visit www.aopa.org.
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