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PLANE Act Receives Widespread Support

July 27, 2019 - The PLANE, or Promoting the Launch of Aviation's Next Era, Act introduced by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and Angus King (I-Maine) on Monday has received widespread support from EAA and other aviation organizations. The bill, which is officially titled S. 2198, contains important language that expands the enforcement protections of the Pilot's Bill of Rights, improves funding for GA airports, and extends liability protection to FAA designees.

"Sen. Inhofe's consistent work in submitting GA-focused legislation has resulted in vital changes for the better for all pilots," said EAA Vice President of Advocacy and Safety Sean Elliott. "EAA appreciates all of the hard work done by the senator, and wholeheartedly supports the PLANE Act."

Other items within the bill include limitations on reexamination of certificate holders, due process enhancements for aviation rulemaking and exemption petitions, timely resolution of investigations, a public-private partnership program at GA airports to attract private sector funding, and funding and development at designated disaster relief airports.

"Adding liability protection to FAA designees is of the utmost importance, as our current system relies on designees for everything from issuing airworthiness certificates to certifying pilots," Elliott said. "Additionally, improvements in the due process for pilots and other airmen in the enforcement process would result in a fairer system for all parties."

This is the latest of many general aviation-friendly bills introduced by Inhofe, who introduced the Pilot's Bill of Rights and the Securing and Revitalizing Aviation Act, both of which contained numerous protections for pilots. The PLANE Act was officially supported by EAA and 12 other aviation-focused organizations in a joint letter sent on Monday.

"The bipartisan PLANE Act sets the stage for the future of general aviation by empowering the voices of pilots, investing in airport infrastructure, and ensuring more opportunities for a trained aviation workforce," the letter stated. "General aviation is an important American industry that generates $219 billion in total economic output in the United States and creates 1.1 million jobs, and the network of some 2,950 nonprimary airports are economic engines that provide vital access to many communities and help support local economies."

"This is very significant and is something I will be talking about [during the discussion on general aviation policy]. We just introduced it two days ago, and Sen. King from Maine just two days ago agreed to be a co-sponsor," Inhofe said. The discussion on GA policy will take place at 10 a.m. today in Forum Pavilion 1.

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