User (as in you pay) Fees (as in you pay more)

By Robert Mark on July 24th, 2011

The Friday before AirVenture is supposed to be a really exciting time with friends gathering from all around the world to come hang out for good times and a week of spouse-numbing airplane speak. We’re actually hosting the Plane Crazy Down Under guys at our home in Chicago and it’s been great to connect with people we’ve known only as voices from another hemisphere. Luckily David Vanderhoof from the Airplane Geeks arrived to keep the US contingent in balance. But a discussion we had just this morning over breakfast about how the crushing user fee structure has annihilated general aviation industry in Australia was eye-opening. The Airplane Geeks are planning an entire show soon to talk about it, because it’s THAT critical to keep flying as we know it.

This year, AirVenture has a massive stormcloud hovering nearby … just close enough to realize it’s there, but not yet upon us (and no, I’m not talking about those Wisconsin thunderstorms). The topic is user fees – yes, again – for all aspects of business and general aviation. When I wrote about this a few months back as an idea hiding in the wings, I actually was hoping I was wrong. I guess I wasn’t.

And this time, user fees are not simply an agenda being shoved at us by another piece of our own industry the way the airlines came at us a few years ago. This time it’s coming from the folks we sent to Washington to represent us.The reason’s clear. The nation’s in debt up to it’s ass and politicians are looking to pounce on someone group that can ante up some cash … and most likely not fight back too hard. And this time, general aviation is squarely in their sights.

To add insult to injury, we have a president who clearly has no idea what this industry does or how many hundreds of millions of dollars of machines aircraft builders like Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft and Gulfstream send overseas. Actually to be fair, they may not know OR they may simply not care. Our DOT Secretary Ray LaHood is going to be pretty useless as well in case you’re wondering if there might be any support there. The fact that FAA had to furlough thousands of employees the other day simply adds insult to injury proving yet again that the folks in Washington are clueless.

Nope, this time it’s up to us and I really do mean each and every one of you reading this post. The NBAA, GAAC, EAA, AOPA, GAMA and NATA have all risen up with a single voice to condemn this goofy idea. If we’re going to stop air traffic controllers from being turned into “tax collectors” you need to help or face the prospects of what the folks in Australia say passes for general and business aviation there. And it’s not pretty.

Now it’s our turn. Drop what you’re doing after you read this story and follow the guidelines provided by NBAA. First, dial this number. 877-727-5074

“Once you dial the number, you’ll receive confirmation that you have reached NBAA’s Legislative Action hotline. You’ll then be asked to enter your postal zip code, so that you can be matched with your Representative and two Senators.”

Tell them you’re going to make it simple. “No user fees … period.” Tell them we’re willing to listen to other ideas, but user fees will kill an industry that’s one of the few still solidly exporting goods.

Enough said. Please start dialing. Then report back with anything you hear form your legislators. Thanks.

Rob Mark, publisher

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5 Responses to “User (as in you pay) Fees (as in you pay more)”

  1. John Kosak Says:

    Rob – Done. Living in the DC area I have been exposed to more advertising and rhetoric over the last four years of my life than ever before. It amazes me that our politicians ever get anything done. I hope all of your readers will follow your advice and use the NBAA and any other resource they have available to contact their representatives in Washington to let them know that enough is enough. How bad is it that these same politicians have let one set of taxes expire [putting over 4000 FAA employee’s lives on hold] while trying to dream up new taxes? Is it time to reach outside our comfort zone? We spend a lot of time preaching to the choir, we may have to start telling our friends and neighbors why this is important to everyone. Just my humble opinion.

  2. User (as in you pay) Fees (as in you pay more) – Jetwhine … | Share My Aircraft News Says:

    […] Read Full Article This entry was posted in INTERESTING ARTICLES FROM THE WEB. Bookmark the permalink. ← Training to Make General Aviation Safer « NTSB Safety Compass … […]

  3. Further Down the Rabbit Hole | Martinlady's View Through the Looking Glass Says:

    […] Smaller government does not equate to better service and efficiency, it just means greater frustration and longer delays for the users (whether it is the person on Medicare who needs questions answered or the newly bereaved spouse applying for Social Security benefits) and ultimately higher costs for services.  On the aviation side, can you say user fees? […]

  4. Rodney Hall Says:

    Essentially all our congressmen and senators are idiots caring only about how to bamboozle the citizens into reelecting them instead of what is best for the country. User fees are a bad idea but so are many of the things congress does. I would have liked to have seen them adopt the bill last week that required a balanced budget amendment but of course the senate defeated it after the house passed it. I am afraid all our calls fall on deaf ears.

  5. Travel News for July 22nd 2011 through July 25th 2011 Says:

    […] User (as in you pay) Fees (as in you pay more) – Jetwhine: Aviation Buzz and Bold Opinion – jetwhine.com – Robert Mark The Friday before AirVenture is supposed to be a really exciting time with friends gathering from all around the world to come hang out for good times and a week of spouse-numbing airplane speak. We’re actually hosting the Plane Crazy Down Under guys at our home in Chicago and it’s been great to connect with people we’ve known only as voices from another hemisphere. Luckily David Vanderhoof from the Airplane Geeks arrived to keep the US contingent in balance. But a discussion we had just this m…  show all text […]

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