Eight general aviation advocacy groups signed onto a letter this week protesting a bill now in the House that would put a cap on payments to veterans in flight-training programs. Other education tracks are not subject to caps, the advocates said. “Capping funds available for flight-training degree programs virtually guarantees that veterans seeking to use their GI Bill benefits to enter the aviation industry will have insufficient funds to achieve their goals,” says the letter. “They will either abandon their pursuit or be burdened with significant personal debt through either expenditure of personal funds or taking on student loans. This will harm veterans and limit the employment opportunities in the aviation industry.”
The GA groups noted there are several areas of the bill that do benefit veterans seeking flight training education. Those include better payment programs, coverage for private pilot training (as part of a professional flight training program) and flexibility for public schools to contract for flight training. “While the current bill contains numerous provisions to improve the program’s efficiency, the proposed capping of program payments undermines the important goal of helping our nation’s veterans enter a field where they are desperately needed,” the letter states. Groups signing on to the protest are EAA, AOPA, GAMA, NATA, NBAA, Helicopter Association International, the Air Medical Operators Association and the National Association of State Aviation Officials.