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Graves Comments on Air Race Tragedies

Tom Petri
Congressman Sam Graves in his Super Stearman at AirVenture Oshkosh

September 21, 2011 – U.S. Representative Sam Graves (R-MO), a longtime EAA member and pilot who co-chairs the House General Aviation Caucus, issued the following statement today in response to calls to examine whether more regulations are needed for air shows.
 
“Within the past month, the aviation community has seen several accidents that have led to the deaths of veteran pilots and spectators. Every loss of life is a tragedy, and we grieve for those who have lost their lives or have been injured.
 
“However, just as surely as night follows day, there will be claims that more regulations are needed for air shows. Simply put, they are not.
 
“As a licensed pilot and aviation enthusiast who flies vintage aircraft in air shows, I can tell you that every pilot knows the risks every time they slide into a cockpit. Flying a vintage airplane, or any airplane, comes with the same risks as simply driving to work. In fact, air shows, which are different than air races, are among the safest of any event you can attend. There hasn’t been a spectator fatality at an air show in more than 60 years.
 
“We all support common sense regulations. However, I urge my colleagues to avoid the typical knee-jerk, federal government stampede to regulate general aviation simply because they are in the news this week.”
 
Rep. Graves, EAA 619761/Warbirds of America 554648, is also an annual attendee at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, the world’s largest fly-in aviation gathering.

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