EAA Government Advocacy
|Your Voice Counts! EAA, AOPA Urge Survey Participation for Medical Exemption|
EAA continues to work hard on these issues and others of importance to EAA members and other aviators. There is strength in numbers, not only in EAA member participation but also in joining with other aviation groups and important allies such as the general aviation caucuses in the House and Senate.
- AirVenture 2013 Productive, Successful
- FAA to Further Reduce Need for Special Issuance Medicals
- ICON Aircraft Safety Enhancement Gets FAA OK
- The Final Word: AirVenture 2013: Controllers Not the Problem
EAA'S advocacy and safety team had a very successful AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 thanks to the overwhelmingly strong support of EAA members and positive, productive meetings with visiting government officials.
Members of EAA's government host team - composed primarily of retired federal officials with strong ties to EAA - staffed a booth in the Welcome Center where visitors were encouraged to sign posters declaring "This Isn't Over: Stand Up for GA" in opposition to user fees being levied on GA events. Thousands signed to show support, and many stopped by to discuss advocacy efforts with the government hosts.
EAA also hosted many visiting elected officials, including Sen. James Inhofe, Rep. Sam Graves, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and a delegation from the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly. "We are always pleased to use AirVenture to showcase GA to our state and federal officials," said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. "Many visiting officials have never visited AirVenture, the greatest GA event in the world, and are pleasantly surprised by the strength of our community, the spirit of trust and shared responsibility, and how passionate everyday people can be about aviation. Seeing the size and scope of our event, they can also understand the enormous, positive financial impact AirVenture has on the local and state economy."
Advocacy staff devoted much of their week to meetings with visiting FAA officials. Meeting topics included E-AB initial flight-testing policy, the Living History Flight Exemption, non-aeronautical hangar use policy, and implementation of the Pilot's Bill of Rights. "We had a full roster of meetings, and we were able to address all of our major policy concerns and desires with the right people," Elliott said. "EAA works with the FAA in crafting policies that benefit our membership and GA in general, and this year's meetings were no exception to that spirit of cooperation."
NTSB member Dr. Earl Weener presented successful forums centered on improving GA safety, an item on the NTSB's 10 Most Wanted List. Dr. Weener also appeared with EAA Chairman Jack Pelton for the annual "Meet the NTSB" forum.
EAA's Legal Advisory Council (LAC) enjoyed a productive AirVenture, attending policy meetings and presenting several well-attended forums including a mock trial with NTSB Judge Stephen Woody and a forum on buying and selling aircraft. "Our council was happy to be engaged with both EAA membership and federal representatives," said Alan Farkas, chairman of the LAC. "Our mission includes supporting and educating EAA's membership as well as evaluating policy, and we were able to do both this year."
"In all, this was a remarkably successful week of meetings and engagements for our department," Elliott said. "We have already begun taking the ideas and agreements that came out of AirVenture and turning them into tomorrow's policies."
Federal air surgeon Dr. Fred Tilton recently announced an upcoming expansion of the program informally known as Conditions an AME Can Issue (CACI). The program began in April 2013 with 11 diagnoses: arthritis, asthma, hepatitis C, hypertension, hypothyroidism, pre-diabetes, migraine and chronic headaches, renal cancer, testicular cancer, and prostate cancer. Rather than apply for a special issuance, applicants with these conditions who meet the requirements of a simple worksheet can now receive their certification at the time of their exam from their AME.
The planned expansion covers an additional seven cases: kidney stones, carotid artery stenosis, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer, bladder cancer, leukemia, and Hodgkin lymphoma. The change in policy should be rolled out in the coming months.
In announcing this change, Dr. Tilton thanked two members of EAA's Aeromedical Advisory Council by name - Dr. John "Jack" Hastings and Dr. Stephen Leonard. "The entire council played a crucial role in making this change happen," said Tom Charpentier, EAA government advocacy specialist. "CACI will save countless airmen time and hassle in obtaining their medical certification, and we are confident there are further reforms to follow."
EAA is encouraged by the FAA's approval of an exemption for ICON Aircraft's A5 amphibious light-sport aircraft that allows a spin-resistant airframe be included as part of the aircraft's design. Official approval of the exemption was announced July 29 in Oshkosh.
"We are pleased that the FAA approved this exemption and allowed ICON to incorporate significant safety features into their design of their A5, along with both existing LSA requirements and several new limitations," said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. "Regulations should never stand in the way of safety, and we applaud the agency's flexibility in this case."
The ICON A5 was successfully tested last year and met the FAA's full Part 23 standard for spin resistance. The approved exemption allows it to become the first conventional production aircraft to meet that specific safety standard.
EAA supported the exemption request as a safety enhancement for light-sport aircraft. The approval allows ICON to manufacture its aircraft, which as a result of its spin-resistant design is heavier than the normal LSA weight limit, under the light-sport regulations and allows sport pilots to fly it. The first production aircraft is expected in spring 2014.
The Final Word - Sean Elliott, EAA Vice President of Advocacy and Safety
AirVenture 2013: Controllers Not the Problem
AirVenture 2013 is now in the books as another great reunion of the EAA community. For those who fl y into Oshkosh, a significant part of the experience is the arrival and working with ATC. AirVenture air traffic control is, without a doubt, one of the most efficient air traffic systems in the world with operations exceeding those of Atlanta and even O'Hare on their busiest days. Even with that volume of traffic we managed to have another accident-free year in 2013.
Many who attended AirVenture recognized that our disagreement with the FAA over fees for ATC services was completely unrelated to the actual controllers who worked the event.
These folks, in their pink shirts, are as proud to be a part of The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration as you and I are. I heard from several controllers that many members took the time to thank them for being here and for the essential safety services that they provide. That is the kind of spirit this organization can be very proud of, and garnered recognition of EAA and its members as a class act in the eyes of many policy setters who matter to the outcome of this issue. We all understand where the problem truly rests, and that the fine men and women who provide the actual ATC services are not to blame.
Many of you took the time to stop by the Welcome Center to sign our "This Isn't Over" wall and grab a button to wear around the grounds. Thank you for doing that! We filled nearly every one of our signature panels and distributed thousands of the "Stand Up for GA" buttons! We truly have a great community within EAA. Our message was noticed by visiting members of Congress, the Wisconsin governor's office, and senior FAA officials, thanks to you!
As we prepare for our day in court and continue to press the issue on the Hill and at the Department of Transportation, it is important to remember that with the completion of AirVenture 2013 this is truly not over! We are steadfast in our resolve that providing safety and air traffic services at general aviation events is very much within the FAA's charter and that Congress fully intended that FAA's budget - largely paid for by users of the system through fuel taxes - is intended to cover the costs of those services. We are anxious to see if the 7th Circuit Court agrees with us.
EAA's Government Relations department works to preserve the freedom of flight and reduce the regulatory barriers affecting affordability and access to EAA members’ participation in aviation. Protecting the freedom to fly is the foundation on which all of the organization’s advocacy initiatives are built. EAA fights to preserve this freedom by providing clear solutions and practical alternatives backed by hard work and dedication. EAA’s history of success is a testament to that philosophy.