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Sen. Jim Inhofe, Aviation Leaders Discuss Legislative Priorities

Sam Oleson

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), EAA 179992, and a panel of aviation leaders and legal experts discussed a number of the current legislative initiatives on the Hill impacting GA pilots and aircraft owners during the Congressional Update forum that took place Saturday morning during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022.

During the forum discussion, which along with Inhofe included EAA CEO and Chairman Jack J. Pelton, AOPA President Mark Baker, EAA Legal Advisory Council members Kathleen Yodice and Alan Farkas, and moderator/EAA Government Relations Vice President Doug Macnair, the group discussed many of the legislative wins accomplished over the years that have been spearheaded by Inhofe during his 35 years in Congress — including the Pilot’s Bill of Rights, BasicMed, emergency certificate revocations and fighting for Bob Hoover, aviation workforce development, and defeating ATC privatization, among other topics.

After years fighting for GA in Congress, Inhofe is retiring at the end of the 117th Congress on January 3, 2023, but he certainly isn’t riding off into the sunset without advocating for additional legislation to benefit the aviation industry in his final months, including the PLANE Act, HANGARS Act, and Certainty for General Aviation Pilots Act, which address aviation infrastructure funding and DPE/DAR liability, hangar funding, and pilot liability when engaged in flight training and testing, respectively. The transition to unleaded avgas and the EAGLE Initiative was also discussed by the panel. In addition, Inhofe spoke about the senator he feels will help carry on his legacy in Congress when it comes to advocating for general aviation, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota), who like Inhofe is an avid pilot.

As someone who’s attended AirVenture for 43 years, Inhofe plans on returning again and again, as well as advocating for general aviation as a private citizen. Pelton closed Saturday’s discussion by thanking Inhofe for his many contributions to GA during his time in Congress.

“Jim Inhofe is one of us. He’s an EAA member. He flies an RV, he flew a Cessna twin,” Pelton said. “What he’s done in his terms in the Senate and Congress, he’s been nothing short of our biggest and sometimes only advocate we have. I can tell you personally, I can call his office and he’ll always take the call. When I’m in Washington, he makes sure I come by in the afternoon and sit down with him. He’s always attentive and cares, but the thing that’s most important to me, he always gets everything across the finish line. It’s incredible. … Sen. Inhofe, on behalf of all of us at EAA, thank you very much.”

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