AOPA President Mark Baker recently thanked the aviation-minded members of a House subcommittee for their bipartisan support of general aviation, and encouraged lawmakers to continue building on legislative successes.
Baker took advantage of his invitation to testify on Sept. 26 to thank members of the House Subcommittee on Aviation for their contributions to the five-year FAA reauthorization enacted in 2018. The legislation has provided much-needed infrastructure investment, stability, and job creation opportunities, Baker noted, while excluding disruptive measures such as air traffic control privatization.
Baker gave particular thanks to Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, for his leadership in getting many provisions into the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 that will benefit GA. Baker noted that AOPA has long advocated for clarification of rules regarding hangar use that reflect the realities of building, maintaining, and flying GA aircraft, while extending aircraft registration duration from three years to seven would reduce federal workload and the cost of ownership.
AOPA has been working to secure appropriations needed to fund the association’s top priority from the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, when Congress authorized $10 million per year through 2023 to help train a new generation of pilots and aviation mechanics.
“AOPA has taken a leadership role in developing our future aviation workforce through programs such as the AOPA High School Initiative” Baker told the subcommittee. “By providing high-quality STEM-based aviation education to high school students nationwide, AOPA is opening the door to aviation careers for thousands of teens.”
Baker also encouraged committee members to work with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a stalwart GA proponent in the Senate, and others to establish a National Center for the Advancement of Aviation. Standing up such a center will facilitate cooperation, collaboration, and coordination across civil, commercial, and military aviation sectors and government agencies to help advance workforce issues, safety and economic data analysis, and other efforts to help ensure our nation maintains its leadership in aviation.
Baker also noted that the 2016 third class medical reform law that led to BasicMed has enabled more than 50,000 pilots to safely fly under the new program, which includes a medical education component and remains “one of the most significant reforms for general aviation in decades.”