October 3, 2018 — Working under a one-week extension, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed a bipartisan FAA reauthorization bill, sending the measure to the White House for the president’s expected signature. The legislation authorizes the FAA programs and revenue collection for the next five years, providing stability for the agency and activities important to general aviation.
The House of Representatives passed the measure as House Resolution 1082 late last week after a House-Senate conference committee agreed on a long list of specifics within the legislation. The one-week extension was also passed to allow the Senate to schedule floor time for the vote.
EAA and other general aviation organizations had worked to ensure that provisions that supported and encouraged GA were included in the bill. One of the most important specifics was keeping any ATC privatization or user fee language out of the bill, which EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board Jack J. Pelton noted last week was because of a “strong coalition of all of the GA stakeholders” and EAA members who made their voices heard and “got the facts on the table with regards to privatization and its impact on general aviation.”
The bill is large — more than 500 separate sections — but included notable positives for general and recreational aviation. Some of those address such areas as aircraft certification reform, Part 91 review, GA airport funding, designated pilot examiner reform, and more. It also included provisions that had been previously offered in separate bills, such as improving pilot access to NOTAMs and expansion of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights.
“The major victory is that the FAA will now be able to plan for five years and we will not have the difficult uncertainty of continuing resolutions and extensions,” Pelton said. “We appreciate the leadership of lawmakers who saw the importance of this measure and worked against a difficult deadline to get it done in a bipartisan manner.”