...A Fresh Threat To Illinois Aviation

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Illinois aviators have another target for their angst and EAA is hoping they'll rally to the cause. Pilots and others in aviation are urged to contact Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Transportation Secretary Timothy Martin, and their local statesenator and representative with an original letter citing their concerns about the latest state budget. The budget will cut 35 of the 42 positions in the Aeronautics Department of the state Division of Aeronautics. The department looks after airport, airman and mechanic safety programs and EAA says the remaining seven staffers can't hope to maintain programs such as the Airport Hazard Zoning Program, Airport Safety Inspection Program and educational and refresher programs currently sponsored. Without the programs, EAA predicts more people could die in aircraft accidents. "With the current aviation safety programs in place, the Division of Aeronautics has been instrumental in reducing the number of fatal accidents in the state from nine in 2001 to seven in 2003," EAA said in a news release. "Only through significant grassroots support will this devastating reduction in state funding be prevented."