Senator and general aviation advocate James Inhofe, R-Okla., has announced that he plans to retire from the U.S. Senate effective Jan. 3, 2023. A pilot with over 11,000 flight hours logged, his aviation-related efforts have included the support and introduction of legislation to reform the medical certification process for recreational pilots, raise the mandatory retirement age of commercial pilots from 60 to 65 and enhance legal protection for pilots. Inhofe also introduced legislation allowing FAA certificate holders to immediately appeal emergency certificate revocations to the National Transportation Safety Board following the FAA’s revocation of Bob Hoover’s medical certificate.
“As an accomplished aviator, Inhofe brought a deep appreciation and understanding of the general aviation industry to crucial policy debates on Capitol Hill,” the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) said. “Inhofe’s passion for aviation has forged significant gains for the sector, including the groundbreaking legislation that led to the direct passage of the General Aviation Revitalization Act, which was passed during his time in the House of Representatives.”
Inhofe, 87, is currently the longest-serving federal elected official in Oklahoma history. In addition to his time as senator, he has served in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Oklahoma House and Senate and as mayor of Tulsa. A special election will be held during the 2022 midterm elections to fill Inhofe’s seat for the remainder of the term.