FAA Chief Blakey Makes First Lakeland Visit

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Marion Blakey, administrator of the FAA, received a warm welcome at Sun 'n Fun on Friday afternoon, in her first appearance at the show. "Sun 'n Fun ... it sure sounds a lot better than most of the things I get invited to," she said. In the hour-long "Meet the FAA" session, she recounted the progress of the Sport Pilot movement. In the last year, the FAA has authorized 254 LSAs, 54 new sport pilot examiners, and 43 new designated airworthiness representatives for light-sport aircraft. "The build-up of the sport pilot infrastructure still has a ways to go, but we're clearly off to a good start," Blakey said. She also recounted the funding woes of the FAA and the need for a stable revenue stream. At a Pilot Town Meeting held at the show on Thursday night, AOPA President Phil Boyer told the crowd there is no FAA funding "crisis," just an effort by the FAA and airlines to justify imposing user fees on GA.