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Federal Leaders Land at AirVenture 2008

The Future of General Aviation Public Policy Lives Here

August 7, 2008 — Leaders from the FAA and from both houses of Congress flocked to AirVenture once again to meet face to face with EAA members and to get a firsthand look at how their decisions will affect pilots and aviation enthusiasts from around the country.

In addition to spending time in discussions with members at forums and as they roved the grounds, these policy leaders also spoke to reporters for your EAA publications. Here are some of the top-line thoughts that they shared:

FAA Acting Administrator Bobby Sturgell, on safety in general aviation:

“This is the safest period in aviation history, due in large part to the cooperative effort between EAA and FAA to protect innovation without sacrificing safety.”

House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Costello on FAA reauthorization:

“We were pleased to pass an FAA reauthorization bill with historic levels of funding that will support general aviation, and that contains no user fees. If we can just get the Senate bill done and both versions into conference committee, we can keep fighting for you on Capitol Hill.”

Congressman Tom Petri, on modernizing airports and air traffic control systems:

“When it comes to airport upgrades, we need more than just new equipment; we need a new mandate and an improved framework to create a workable system for the future.”

Senator James Inhofe, on the 51 percent rule:

“Some pilots and engineers are still making aircraft from scratch. Some of the most creative ideas and best technological advances in aviation come from the garages of these visionaries. We need to find a way to protect the freedom to dream while keeping amateur-built aircraft in the skies in the decades to come.”

FAA Associate Administrator for Safety Nick Sabatini on the success of the Young Eagles program:

“I met a young woman today who went from flying with Young Eagles to working for a manufacturer building light-sport aircraft, and is working on her A & P. She is the future of aviation, and EAA gave us that.”

Congressman Vernon Ehlers on alternative fuel sources for aviation:

“While we’re not there yet, alternative fuels and electric engines are out there on the horizon for us. All we need is to find the right fuels in the right mix, with the right aircraft at the right time.”

Congressman Sam Graves on fuel availability for general aviation:

“The small airfield where I keep my airplanes is having a harder and harder time getting fuel that we can use; I find that I’m planning my trips around the places I know I can get gas. We need to make sure ethanol blended fuel is clearly marked and that we keep the low-lead and ethanol-free fuel we need as widely available as possible.”

FAA Director of Aircraft Certification John Hickey on homebuilding rules:

“Some manufacturers are treating the kit building process like a full-service car wash: they take the equipment from the owners and do the work while the amateur stands by the window. At that point, the owner shouldn’t be able to say they built an airplane. To protect the spirit behind the homebuilding rules, we need to make sure it’s a hands-on process for the amateur and that professional support and advising is limited to just that.”

Congressman Robin Hayes on the big picture in fuels availability:

“Unbalanced energy policy has skewed the entire big picture when it comes to fuel, and aviation is certainly no exception. There are innovative options out there, whether it’s domestic oil production and refining or alternative fuel sources. The only way to get back on track is to demand accountability from your leaders and make your voice heard.”

Look for more information on EAA government relations and opportunities to make your voice heard throughout the year at www.eaa.org/govt/.

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