Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Jerry Costello wins a round of
applause for his comments regarding user fees in the FAA
reauthorization bill during a field hearing on the opening day
of EAA AirVenture 2008.
to Jerry Costello, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on
Aviation chairman, being at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008 is key for
members of his committee.
is important for us to hear from the people here and, in particular, the
members of EAA," Costello, who represents a district in Southern
Illinois and is making his second visit to EAA AirVenture, said.
"It is also important for them to know that we are interested in
general aviation. So I think [being here] is beneficial both for the
committee members and for EAA members."
is here along with other committee members Thomas Petri from the
Wisconsin district that includes the Oshkosh area, ranking member Vernon
Ehlers from Michigan, Robin Hayes from North Carolina, and Sam Graves
of the congressmen have strong ties to general aviation. Petri, of
course, has a connection through representing the area that is home to
EAA. Ehlers is currently learning to fly, and Hayes is a longtime pilot.
Graves is a pilot and is in the process of building a Van’s RV kit.
committee appeared before a forum crowd of about 200 Monday morning. EAA
President and AirVenture Chairman Tom Poberezny started off the session
by introducing Costello.
opening remarks Costello expressed his pleasure that the House had
passed the FAA reauthorization bill.
has historic levels of funding in order to bring about new things like
next-gen," Costello said. "Unfortunately, as you all know the
bill has stalled in the Senate. We’ve had to take action to extend the
authority of the FAA. Every day we hope that the Senate will pass a bill
so we can get into conference committee."
most important thing about the House reauthorization bill is that it has
no user fees," Costello added, to which the audience replied with
the other congressmen offered opening remarks. Topics included helping
the FAA get the next-gen air traffic control system implemented without
placing undue burden on general aviation, the high cost and limited
availability of aviation fuels, and for Graves, a good technique for
installing aileron counterweights on his RV. Hayes encouraged everyone
to take a kid flying.
committee then took a few questions from the audience.
question asked what the committee could do about the security
requirements general aviation is now required to meet. Costello
responded by saying that the committee recently had a confidential
briefing from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and he
wasn’t aware of any new requirements that may be on the horizon.
responded to the question by sharing that the airport he flies out of is
required to install a fence. The municipality simply cannot afford to
build one and was concerned that the requirement might affect the
long-term viability of the airport. He encouraged the TSA to use common
sense on any regulation that affects general aviation.
Costello closed the
session by encouraging everyone to call their senator and encourage them
to pass the FAA reauthorization bill and let the conference committee
begin its work.