Will Pay-Per-Service Spread?
Millin said he believes his fly-in is the thin edge of the wedge and that charging for these types of services could become the norm throughout the country if the practice isn't stopped immediately. In fact, he said FAA officials he's spoken with are predicting that major events, such as EAA AirVenture and Sun 'n Fun, will be asked to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to the FAA for ATC services starting in 2007. Messages left for FAA spokesmen in the Great Lakes Region weren't returned but EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski said his organization has heard nothing about being charged for the so-called "World's Busiest Tower" historically manned by volunteers at AirVenture. And he said EAA's position on such a notion is clear. "That would be a user fee and EAA's position is that it opposes user fees," he told AVweb. Knapinski also invited the West Michigan Fly-In officials to contact EAA regarding their circumstances and Millin said some adroitly applied pressure now might resolve the issue not only for his fly-in but for similar events all over the country. He said his sense is that FAA officials are tentative about charging the fees (they didn't know exactly who should receive the money) and are essentially seeing if they can get away with it. "My feeling is that they want to see if we accept the charge," Millin said. "If we do, then I think they will continue down this path."