EAA CEO/Chairman Jack Pelton testified that the nation’s general aviation system must be able to rely on an effective, efficient, timely and consistent regulatory structure from the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure a robust and successful future. Pelton was among a group of general aviation officials who spoke on Thursday before the Aviation Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in Washington, D.C.
Joining Pelton in Thursday’s testimony was Mark Baker, AOPA President/CEO; Rick Crider, Executive Vice President of Airport/Railport & Military Relations of Port San Antonio, on behalf of the American Association of Airport Executives; and Curt Castagna, President and Chief Executive Officer of National Air Transportation Association.
“General aviation is stymied by delays for processing certificates for pilots, mechanics, and aircraft, and the current shortage of designated pilot examiners is a growing crisis that has been addressed by a recent DPE working group that recommended reforms,” Pelton said. “We also ask for congressional support of critical rulemaking, including the current MOSAIC (Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certificates) initiative to ensure it can be completed in a timely manner.”
Pelton also expressed EAA’s strong support for the EAGLE initiative to safely transition to unleaded fuel by the year 2030, but also called for Congress to assist in the safe development and introduction of unleaded fuel for GA as well as protections for 100 low-lead to ensure the safety of all aircraft operating in the National Airspace System.
He also replied to a question on reaching youth from Rep. Rudy Yakym (R-Indiana) by highlighting the concern for new regulation burdens on traditional model aviation and pointed to the EAA RC model Build And Fly program in EAA chapters, where young people can build a radio-control model and fly them as an introduction to flying before flight training is possible. Among other issues, Pelton responded to subcommittee questions on aviation cybersecurity, amateur-built aircraft safety, and timelines of FAA rulemaking.
Rep. Sam Graves (R-Missouri), Chairman of the full Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, spoke at the start of the hearing and noted that he would include a general aviation section in the FAA reauthorization bill for the first time. He called GA the cornerstone of aviation, as every professional begins as a GA pilot and it is important to reduce barriers to encourage young to pursue careers in aviation. Chairman Graves added that one of the worst things that happened when it comes to FAA was when aviation advocacy was removed from mission statement, as more aviation advocates are needed within FAA and throughout the nation.