AOPA is hard at work in Iowa where the association is trying to pass legislation to exempt flight schools and independent flight instructors from paying for costly bonds, preserve zoning laws to protect airports, and offer educational opportunities for pilots and their flying companions.
On April 30, the Iowa House passed House File 658, an education appropriations measure that included an AOPA-backed amendment to exempt flight training providers from a costly anti-fraud law. That law requires entities involved in education to obtain a $50,000 bond and submit related documentation to the Iowa College Student Aid Commission. The law was designed to protect students who pay large sums of money to educational institutions up front, ensuring all their money won’t be lost in the event the school closes. But most flight training is done on a pay-as-you-go basis, making the bonds unnecessary.
On May 6, the Iowa Senate passed the original version of HF 658, without the flight training exemption, but the House refused to concur with the Senate’s version. A conference committee will be formed and AOPA will push, once again, for the inclusion of the flight training exemption that would allow some 816 flight instructors and 60 flight schools to continue operating without obtaining bonds, potentially saving them hundreds or thousands of dollars each year.
Meanwhile a new AOPA-backed measure, House File 655, that would continue to prevent development around airports from interfering with aviation operations, is making its way through the state legislature. The measure was introduced to replace earlier legislation that AOPA and the Iowa Public Airports Association warned could allow incompatible development around airports, posing a safety hazard to pilots, passengers, and those on the ground. HF 655 has passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
AOPA members are encouraged to contact their legislators to express support for their association’s efforts. Rather than providing specific opinions on the bills, members are asked to express support for AOPA’s positions on these two issues. Members can find contact information for their lawmakers on the state legislative website.
While in the state advocating for GA-friendly legislation, AOPA Central Southwest Regional Manager Yasmina Platt also made time to provide educational opportunities for nonpilot flying companions. On April 21, Platt hosted a Pinch Hitter course in West Des Moines as part of the Iowa Aviation Conference. Twenty-three flying companions took part in the two-hour ground school class where they learned about everything from basic aerodynamics to how to deal with emergencies.