EAA Adds Critique To FAA's Latest "Flight Plan"

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EAA last week chimed in with its views on the FAA's Flight Plan 2006-2010, an annually revised blueprint that charts the agency's strategy. In a letter to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, EAA President Tom Poberezny stressed that any hint of switching to a user-fee-based funding mechanism was unwelcome. "We are patently opposed to a replacement of the successful, simple and, to some degree, transparent fuel tax with user fees," Poberezny wrote. User fees would be "onerous to the pilot community and could discourage pilots from using the safety enhancements offered by the national airspace system." EAA also urged the FAA to stop using the Airway Trust Fund for FAA operations and use it only for capital improvements, as originally intended. Poberezny also noted that the Flight Plan ignores the economic consequences of temporary flight restrictions, the Washington ADIZ and other restraints placed on the GA community. "EAA fully understands that the FAA is not the primary arbiter of security matters in this country; nonetheless, we strongly believe that the agency should acknowledge and account for the significant adverse effects that these restrictions have on the aviation community as well as the FAA's own resources," Poberezny said. He also noted that the FAA had pretty much ignored the whole Sport Pilot community in its plans. "Significant continued efforts are needed by both the Agency and industry to make sure the new opportunities created by this set of rulemaking are fully supported," Poberezny said.

AOPA also responded to the Flight Plan, back in August, decrying any hint of user fees to come, among other comments. NBAA also raised concerns about user-fee discussions in the Flight Plan. "We do not believe this Flight Plan is the proper vehicle for a discussion on the Trust Fund or future funding issues," NBAA said. "There are other interactive forums addressing these issues and where various perspectives can be presented on a policy issue. A balanced presentation on these issues is not evident in the draft plan."