Many of us who have been in aviation for a long time are concerned that - indeed - general aviation really is in peril today. Whether we are talking about the future of AvGas and the impact that will have, or the Pilots Bill of Rights, or - gasp - user fees, general aviation is in danger of extinction. I took my first flying lesson back in 1960, and before that I was intrigued when I went to the county fair where general aviation aircraft were on display and touted as the transportation of the future. Throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s and even the 90s general aviation was robust with busy small airports and lots of folks learning to fly. Not today! One of the airports I used to go to for my flying students is like a ghost town with empty hangars, vacant ramps, self-serve fuel and no FBO (fixed base operator). Many people used to come to the airport on weekends and watch general aviation pilots doing touch and goes - hoping to snag a ride with some kindly pilot. Not today! There are people and organizations like the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) and the EAA (experimental aircraft association) who are trying to make the case for general aviation, but are faced with declining membership and rising costs. Recently the U.S. Senate General Aviation Caucus met and had as one of its guest Harrison Ford, a great promoter of general aviation. You can see a short AOPA video about the meeting here:In one comment from the caucus you see the danger to general aviation:
“General aviation is in peril at times,” Begich said, naming threats like the proposed $100-per-flight user fee, a proposal that would hurt business jet depreciation schedules, a lack of privacy causing flight information to be publicly available in real-time status, and a four-year lack of long-term FAA funding.
Among those attending this roundtable were Senators Begich, Johanns, Robers, Moran, Manchin, Inhofe, Nelson, Thune, Boozman, Pryor, Hoeven and Representative Sam Graves, co-chairman of the House General Aviation Caucus. I would urge all of us to get involved and support efforts to resist user fees, achieve stable funding for the FAA and help resuscitate general aviation. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7+
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