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EAA Files Supporting Brief in BARR Case

33 U.S House members also asking DOT to shelve plan

July 14, 2011 – EAA has filed an amicus curiae (“Friend of the Court”) brief in the legal challenge mounted by AOPA and NBAA over the U.S Department of Transportation’s plan to dismantle the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program that allows aircraft operators to withhold flight information from public flight-tracking websites.

The brief, written by EAA Legal Advisory Council member Alan Farkas, was filed at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. EAA’s supporting arguments are based on three categories: EAA members value the BARR program, DOT’s proposed dismantling will deprive pilots of significant privacy interests, and the program modifications will create safety concerns.

 “NBAA and AOPA have succinctly addressed the legal flaws in FAA’s adoption of the pending revisions to the BARR program,” states the EAA brief, which is submitted from the distinct perspective of recreational aviators.

It continues, “… Perhaps the greatest harm done by the FAA’s revocation of the BARR program is the loss of freedom. Particularly with the recreational pilots that form the lifeblood of EAA, flying represents more of an individual, personal experience then a means of transportation. As much as anything else, pilots explain that one of the greatest joys of flying is the feeling of freedom they experience.”

In a related development, a bipartisan group consisting of 33 U.S. House members has sent a letter to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood expressing “serious concerns” with the agency’s proposal on BARR. The letter is co-authored by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), a longtime pilot and EAA member, along with Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) and Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA).

 “First and foremost, all Americans have the right to privacy and the Federal government should not broadcast the movements of individuals utilizing private aircraft against their will,” the letter reads.

Along with aviation groups, such diverse organizations as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Civil Liberties Union have expressed concern with the DOT’s BARR proposal.

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