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Sen. Inhofe to Talk GA Legislation at AirVenture
Initiatives include growing pilot, DPE population, protecting volunteer pilots
By Megan Esau, EAA Assistant Editor
July 27, 2018 - Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), EAA 179992, will speak to AirVenture attendees at his Congressional Forum on Saturday, July 28, about his multiple pieces of current legislation that benefit and protect the general aviation community.
Just this week Inhofe introduced the bipartisan Securing and Revitalizing Aviation (SARA) Act of 2018, S.3270, which would protect volunteer pilots from liability, grow the availability of designated pilot examiners (DPEs), and encourage the development of an aviation curriculum for high school students.
“It will reach thousands of kids that will want to have a career in aviation — it could be mechanics, it could be flying — but nonetheless it will give them the opportunity to get into aviation at that time of career decision-making,” he said.
The SARA Act would also address expensive tower fees for air traffic control services at aviation events, which can be burdensome to gatherings such as AirVenture and the SUN ’n FUN International Fly-In & Expo.
“In this bill we have language that will preclude that from happening in the future,” Inhofe said. “It’s a big deal.”
All of Inhofe’s GA legislation is attached to the FAA reauthorization bill, which he said will pass before the FAA’s funding deadline on September 30.
“With the support of the general aviation community, I am optimistic that we can see these reforms enacted into law when Congress passes a long-term FAA reauthorization later this year,” he said.
EAA members and other AirVenture attendees are encouraged to attend the Congressional Forum, where Inhofe said hearing directly from the GA community helps set the agenda for the accomplishments he’d like to win for GA in the next year.
He is also celebrating the defeat of ATC privatization earlier this year and the success of BasicMed, a reformed pathway for aeromedical certification, which since it took effect in May 2017 has signed up more than 36,000 pilots.
Inhofe, who is an 11,000-hour pilot and owner of an RV-8, Cessna 340, and Grumman Tiger, is proud to be attending his 40th consecutive year at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh with his son. He said what keeps him returning every year is being able to see innovations in the experimental community and visit with his close aviation friends.
“I have a tough job, and I deal with a lot of things I don’t enjoy,” Inhofe said. “But I enjoy this.”