Debt Ceiling Negotiations Bring Back User Fee Talk

July 16, 2011 by Craig Fuller

You are not likely to have seen this in the weekend newspapers, but we recently confirmed that in the midst of the budget negotiations to avert the debt ceiling crisis, Administration officials placed on the table a private aircraft user fee proposal for discussion with Congressional leaders.  Details are very sketchy and most reports suggest that no decisions have been made.  However, on the heels of the hot rhetoric several days ago about the use of private aircraft and tax loopholes (that used to be job stimulus initiatives) there is much to worry about in this development.

 

The general aviation community has supported for years the use of added charges on our fuel purchases as a far superior way to raise additional revenue to help pay for modernizing our air traffic control system than user fees.  These charges are made at the pump without the need for a new federal bureaucracy to administer a user fee program that, reportedly, would be imposed on flight operations of GA aircraft.

 

Now, I know some in Congress do not like the fuel charge concept and call it a “tax.”  But, honestly, a fee is no better term if it comes with big bureaucracy that does not go to improving air safety.  What’s the point?  Let’s decide on what works not what sounds good.

 

And, today, the FAA Reauthorization Bill passed by the U.S. Senate contains an increase in the aviation fuel charges that we have supported and that would go right to the FAA.  If you need additional revenue, use this language not a user fee approach denounced by the key committees in Congress and the many members who focus on aviation policy.

 

Aviation User Fees and the big bureaucracy they bring need to COME OFF THE TABLE! 

 

We will be arguing this point forcefully as Congress returns to Washington this coming week telling our supporters that their opposition to user fees before was a good thing and it’s even more important now!  And, when needed, we will alert our hundreds of thousands of members to the return of a very bad idea!

41 Responses to “Debt Ceiling Negotiations Bring Back User Fee Talk”

  1. Kevin O'Brien Says:

    Craig,
    Who are these “Administration officials” and how is it they think that private pilots all make six figures, own their own aircraft, and impact the NAS so adversely that they have to be charged for every key of the mic? I barely make enough to afford to rent a 152 from my local FBO for an hour a month! I dearly want to build my own homebuilt to be able to fly where and when I want, and will gladly pay the extra cost per gallon to put fuel in my airplane for the pleasure of doing so. But to have to pay for every weather briefing, to file any flight plan, to talk to a controller AND the pleasure of filling my tanks at nearly $2.50 a gallon more than it costs to fill my car, I will have to find another way to enjoy flight – one that does not impact the NAS and all of the safety it provides. Unlike commercial GA, truly private pilots have no way but their own pockets to fund any additional costs that the Administration feels we must pay for our “freeloading” while corporations, charter operations, and other commercial GA ventures will simply pass these new fees on to those who pay for their services. Truly, private, grassroots aviation will falter, and if it does, then the only way for non-GA ventures to successfully replenish the class of pilots currently flying will be their own costly training institutions and the military. Welcome to Europe!
    Mr. Fuller, you have my full support! Pleae continue to let me know how I can lend support to my organization.

  2. Andy Foster Says:

    How is it that this Administration can spend billions of dollars to support the automotive industry but every time we turn around they are taking another shot at aerospace or aviation?

    The government continues to use hundreds of business class jets while railing against their use by the citizenry.

    I want to see the same user fees applied to driving and owning a car to help buoy up our aging Interstate infrastructure. Secondly, I want to see the studies addressing the possible safety and economic impacts of these proposals.

    I try not to be a “single-issue” voter, but if user fees for aviation go through, you can be I will vote against anyone who had anything to do with their proposal or passage. After all, if this Administration can throw me out of work (something that will happen this week) and put my airplane ownership and livelihood in jeopardy, I have no problem returning the favor.

  3. Paul Robbins Says:

    As long as the incompetent ignorant idiots in Washington continue to run the govt the country will remain in a downward spiral – - – SPEND _ SPEND _ SPEND is all they know even with no money in the coffers – -it doesn’t take a genius to know that you can’t spend more than you have coming in – - they are grabbing at everything they can at anybody’s expense and the rock bottom is getting close – - -

  4. Andrew Smolenski Says:

    At this rate, I’ll never be able to afford to return to aviation. I was hoping to be able to start flying this year after an 8 year absence, but that appers less likely as my finances are not where I thought they’d be. Add in user fees, and pretty soon, those of us general aviation pilots that don’t make 6 figure salaries may as well kiss the ability to fly goodbye. This is a sad state of affairs in this country. Keep giving big corps tax breaks left and right to appease them, but keep screwing over the little guy. I admit, I’m a democrat, but I vote on whichever politician makes the most sense for the people in the end. I’ve noticed lately, that very few politicians truly have their constituents interests at the forefront.

  5. Pete O'Rourke Says:

    The Obama Administration is seeking to destroy the aviation industry. While China is busy buying Cirrus Aircraft Corp. and building airports as fast as they can (although they cannot yet freely fly their airspace) Obama is limiting our American freedom in yet one more way.

    Obama wants your money and will reach into your pocket whether you like it or not. He speaks with disdain of Jet-set Ccorporate Big Wigs but he’s the one flying off to India, spending billions, and not getting an international treaty or agreement while on the trip!

    Remember all this when you vote. Obama is anti-freedom, anti-aviation and anti-American.

  6. Chris Thrasher Says:

    All attaching user fees to things like weather briefings, flight plans etc is going to accomplish is a reduction in the use of those tools at the expense of safety.
    Private GA VFR pilots especially should be utilizing wx briefings all the time, but who here honestly believes that folks will do so if they have to pay a fee everytime the obtain an abbreviated or standard duats?

    GA provides an infrastructure of aviation transportation that would be far too costly to fill otherwise. We are not talking about just folks renting a 152 for a weekend fun trip to a 100 dollar burger but rather we are talking about guys who do all sorts of real world work with an aircraft. Some are cargo, some are tourism and such. If they drive our costs up too high, it will just force many to close up shop and lower the supply of available safe aviators. If you decrease supply, you increase price. Take a look at the oil situation if you doubt that.

    User fees for GA are nothing more than a TAX. Call it what you want but its a tax. Screw that.

  7. Alberto Silva Says:

    If we can not convince “the adiminstration” that the gas taxes proportionally tax all segments of aviation, it may be time to split General Aviation in two segments: a commercial segment and a recreational owner-flown segment. I own a C-172 and think that our needs and wants from the system are much different from those who own the King Airs and the Citations. In addition, the guys with the big airplanes need to stop taking the trips to exotic destinations with their families and limit the use of their companies’ aircrafts to business or pay for the use with their own money.

  8. Tom Says:

    If this administration has their way, we will all be selling our aircraft (not sure to who) and giving the proceeds to the government for their ‘redistribution of wealth’ program. Send the jobs overseas, send our wealth overseas, lay down your arms, get out of the sky, let the government think for you. Remember, it was individuals that were the first to fly, not the government.

    The seeds have been planted and are now growing. Too bad, so sad!

  9. M.L. Says:

    We all know what to do next term…Vote the BUMS OUT and put pro-bus. conservative repubs in place!

  10. R Figliola Says:

    Lets not confuse two very different issues here: user fees and closing tax loopholes . General aviation user fees serve only to disproportionally transfer ATC system costs to the small aircraft from the commercial traffic/hub system that relies on a system that is complicated and expensive by design. Added costs when landing/TO at hubs can handle it already and so supplement them accordingly. Fuel taxes (another name for user fees) take care of small airport general aviation America quite nicely.
    Comments that I read were about corporate aircraft accelerated depreciation tax benefits – in effect- tax loopholes that artificailly inflate a perceived need. I favor banning them just like all the other tax loopholes and shelters that should be eliminated. If a company cannot justify a more expensive aircraft based on its own merits, then it needs a smaller aircraft. All the loopholes do it shift tax burdens to others, artificially establish a market that is otherwise economically unsustainable, and stifle the production of smaller, business aircraft.
    Ironically, keeping these tax loopholes is the very definition of big government intrusion into free market. So lets not speak out of both ends. Fair taxes will lead to fewer taxes. User fees – no! Tax loopholes – no!

  11. Dan Pimentel Says:

    Craig and AOPA, you have my full support. This is why every pilot needs to be an AOPA member, now more than ever.

    Nobody in Washington, the Obama administration, the left, the right, the democrats or GOP can be trusted to have our back, it is all on AOPA and NBAA to save us from a pathetic, broken system that is in an inverted spin headed straight for rocky terrain.

    If anyone reading this is not an AOPA member, you need to join today and support this extremely vital organization.

  12. Brian Neiman Says:

    How much $ does the Gov’t need ? When will the Gov’t stop spending frivolously ?

  13. Thomas Boyle Says:

    This issue is not going to go away. I’ve been saying for ages that what the letter-groups should have been doing, instead of holding a Maginot Line, was laying some mines – specifically, paving the way with a requirement that if the FAA wants to charge for any service, then use of that service MUST be optional, and/or MUST be open to being provided competitively. If a regulation requires the use of a particular resource (ATC, for example, or flight planning services), then FAA must either offer it free, or make the resource available through competitive sources. Do that, and FAA will fight tooth and nail to prevent anything being classified as a fee-based service – and even if FAA loses that battle, we would have options to go to other suppliers. But, as it stands, the FAA stands to gain from fee-based services, with no downside. For the aviation community, “just say no” will fail sooner or later, and we’ll be faced with a legal requirement to use a monopoly service at whatever price balances the national budget (or, more importantly, eliminates private travel as a competitor to the airlines).
    Let’s all remember: monopolies are evil. Government-mandated must-use monopolies are worse.

  14. SPP Says:

    These so-called “Administration Officials” don’t think private pilots’ salaries are six figures as a prior poster suggested, but rather, they think it’s seven figures. In the eyes of the un-informed general public, aviation is an activity reserved for the elite. They can’t often distinguish between a 172 and a CJ1. The public sees a business jet on TV and thinks the 172 pilot they know at their office goes out and flies that jet on the weekends. The non-flying public doesn’t know or understand the difference.

    The Administration is making the same mistake as the general public by not acknowledging the widely varied world of general aviation. Whose fault is this? I’m sorry to say that it’s all of us, including AOPA. While adminstration officials are making press statements to the general public, our AOPA is making statements to pilots — in essense, preaching to the choir.

    We need a voice that reaches the general public, because that’s who these lawmakers are appealing to when they make disparaging remarks about GA. The general public includes a lot of hard working people who work 12+ hours a day, plus weekends, yet take home a menial salary — only to see their upper management taking multi-million dollar bonuses. These are the people who hear the Administration’s comments, and the message resonates with them. We need to fix this at the level where the problem is actually happening.

  15. Dan Pimentel Says:

    I have a newsflash for “M.L.” above and anyone who agrees with him. The financial crisis in this country has grown far beyond party lines. We need to band together not as DEM or GOP pilots, but as Pilots without ellegiance to any one party, and do our homework to elect only those pols who go on record as supporting our causes. To say we need to elect only “pro-business repubs” is partisan rhetoric that misses the entire point of this discussion. It was “pro-business repubs” that started these endless expensive and useless wars that have nearly bankrupted the USA, and “pro-business repubs” who looked the other way with lax oversight when Wall Street was stealing us blind with their risky credit default swaps that almost killed our economy. If you think electing more “pro-business repubs” is going to fix our problems with the Feds’ perception of GA, you are wrong. We need to stop thinking “pro-business repubs” have our backs, they do not, unless you are a big BIG oil company or campaign contributor.

    We need to move past DEM and GOP to the root of the problems in Washington. AOPA does a great job of sorting out who to vote for, and as pilots we need to listen to them. Vote ALL the bums out, including the “pro-business repubs” who want more tax loopholes and zero tax hikes for their ultra-rich pals. Their hard line on this issue is causing others to have discuss user fees. Everyone currently serving in Washington, DEM and GOP, is culpable in this situation in some way.

  16. John Eliel Says:

    While we are feeing everyone, how about nailing these rich boat owners. You know. The cost of maintaining docks and piers, dredging harbors and waterways, maintaining bouys and lighthouses, the cost of the Coast Guard oversight of the industry. etc etc. Won’t work to collect at the gas pump because the sailboat and canoe and rowboat owners would get away scot free. I guess the answer is to fee everyone one with a boat under 20 feet a couple or three hundred bucks a year and those with “yachts” over 20 feet – well you could really hammer them. —— No I guess all this wouldn’t work. There are just too many constituents ( read votes ) out there who would get really torqued with their congressperson. And people who fish from their boats – you could gouge them twice. Add in the cost of funding Fish and Wildlife Service and gov’t fisheries. I believe with all this I’ve uncovered a real goldmine for the Feds.

  17. Thomas Boyle Says:

    John,

    Right on! And let’s not forget all those road users: they don’t pay fees for the infrastructure they use, either! Oh, sure, they pay fuel taxes, but as we’re seeing, that’s quickly forgotten.

    Speaking of fuel taxes, I assume that if we have to pay user fees, the airlines will be paying fuel taxes, right? I mean, why would the taxpayers have to pay both, while wealthy corporations don’t?

  18. Thomas Boyle Says:

    I do have to say, though, that the reason we canoe owners are being lumped in with the owners of giant motor yachts is that our association lumps us all together so it can protect the owners of giant motor yachts from having to pay for the piers.

    It’s hardly a wonder that Congress can’t tell us apart, when our own association can’t either.

  19. Ray DeForge Says:

    I own a Quad City Challenger II. Basically, it’s a “fat ultralight”; licensed as an E-AB and light sport eligible. I’m retired and on a fixed income – Social Security and Retired Military (enlisted). Both of these sources are “on the table” for drastic cuts. The airplane has yet to be flown since I swapped it out for my Cessna 150 last year. The reason – the unavailability of transition training, and the operational and maintenance costs. I am therefore on the bottom of the aviation affordability “food chain”.

    I fly only for the enjoyment of being in the air. The only government service I use is the airport from which I fly. User fees are supposed to be based on the total cost incurred by the user being charged to the user. This is what it would be for me:
    The Feds grant the airport $180K / year for operating expenses. My hangar rent is $183. / month (“cheap”, since I used to pay over $500. / mo. in SOCAL).
    There are approximately 83 aircraft based at my airport.
    Dividing out the cost per aircraft, this is what I would wind up paying – $179 per month for operational expenses, or $2143 per year;
    $2196 per year for hangar storage; for a grand total of $4,338 per year for the privilege of owning an airplane – never mind registering it with the Feds and the State, or the “unsecured property tax”, or the insurance, or the fuel to fly her, or the required inspections and maintenance.

    You would have to convince me, as well as the John Q. 12+ hour-a-day “hard working” public that flying is an affordable activity for the middle class. The reality – it isn’t. Not in 2011. John Q. Public has it right .

  20. Mark Ormsby Says:

    Thank you for your vigilance President Fullmer!
    Do your very best to prevent this ridiculous proposal.

    I have to completely agree with “Kevin O’Brien’s” comments.
    I have recently become a US Citizen, and the reason I strove to become one is that this IS the greatest country on earth.
    The privileges and the rights afforded to everyone here in this country are without parallel.
    Let’s not allow incorrect principles to creep into one of the USA’s true patriotic endeavors, that of ultimate freedom to travel through our airways with as little impedance as possible.
    I’m absolutely behind paying a few more bucks at the pump, but to have our money,which has been set aside specifically for aviation improvement, go to other expenses, is totally unacceptable.
    All the best!

  21. W. Goodwin Says:

    The reality behind user fees is they force an unsafe flying environment. I work abroad and have flying friends in several countries where user fees are mandated. Whenever possible pilots in those countries choose to turn off their transponder and fly in order to reduce their flying expense. Imagine the consequence if user fees are mandated in the USA.
    Rather than forcing criminal behavior on the citizenry, how about the FAA and “Public Servants” get real and consider all the ramifications of their actions before imposing an unsafe and potentially dangerous environment on aviators disguised as improvements.

  22. Dean S. Engelhardt Says:

    In 2005, I gave a lecture in England to the national glider club. Afterward, several members talked about the horrendous user fees that they have to put up with. One gentleman with a Baron told of an IFR international trip to Germany, little more than 400 miles one-way. His IFR flight plan: $395 American. A missed approach at his destination was another $1000 American. Use of control towers and en-route services added a little over $3000 American. And this was one way!

    I saw several airports – with nothing flying. One big hanger was jammed with aircraft – all covered with dust! And the glider club field I visited has since been plowed up. We must not let user fees in this country or we will see general aviation vanish.

  23. Dave Tate Says:

    Why can’t president OBAMA make up his mind one day user fee’s are out of the question and the next it is back on the table. This is only one of many issues that he is fickle on. Come up Mr. President make up your mind!!!!!

    Dave Tate

  24. Anthony B Says:

    I own and operate a trucking company. I am charged every year $ 550.00 per truck for (on top of the the $ 1600.00 for registration) use of the nation’s highways. The only problem that I have with that is the IRS cannot tell me what that money is used for. My point being that private vehicles (not for commercial use) are not charged this fee. Why aren’t the airlines charged this fee plus a registration fee every year. After all they use the ATC system more than the weekend pilot.

  25. J. Hodge Says:

    It is comical to read the anti-Obama vitriol and vomit from so many airsick members. Yes we oppose user fees, but if it wasn’t for the extreme right’s attempt to extort budget cuts and “close loopholes,” the Administration wouldn’t have to make a 180 turn like a VFR pilot and revisited this issue. No new taxes does not mean “no new user fees.” Most probably, the Administration is acting in response to the demands brought by the inflexible ultra-right. So members, you need to play both sides of the aisle, but it appears that at least one side is incapable, so they say, of even the appearance of compromise. We have met the enemy and it is us. A cynic might note that AOPA’s president (and a good president, I might add) was a Republican staffer. Does that mean that there is also bias in the article or a subtle motive? In any case, it is time to circle the wagons, and make the case again against user fees. We need bipartisan support to keep such fees off the table, and keep us all flying. This is not a time for partisanship, but a call to use our “clout.” Either party (tea baggers included) has the potential to adversely affect our right to fly, and the minute that we think one is more hallowed than the other, we’ve lost the battle.

  26. Joseph Okon Says:

    All I am reading is about how the Obama administration has decided to do a 180 on proposing the user fees to produce much needed revenues. While I don’t like the idea at all. I do not think that the Obama Admin hasn’t used illogical thinking to get the attention of the GOP. The major industries within general aviation have not been faithful to the USA and it’s people… They are doing capitalism in those so called new markets, which is ok, as they try to make profits. But they are not helping the economy by using other peoples cheap labor and limiting the growth of our workforce. The last time we saw that boom was World War 2. Bottom line go nationalism… Don’t be a sell out now that you think Mexico is too expensive to make components and parts. Otherwise we may all become expartriates to make a living. Then who will pay for the ATC upgrades?

  27. Hal Gates Says:

    This isn’t the first short sighted attack on GA- anybody remember the LASP that TSA tried to sneak through? Or right now in California, the lawsuit over 100LL? Aviation is a big, fat, juicy target for the nastiest of nasty political animals, and with the latest round of crises many of them are feeling cornered. So what do they do? They lash out at us. We’re lucky to have AOPA, NBAA, and EAA looking out for us, but given the low and declining number of pilots our defenses are already taxed.

    So what can we do? We could behave in turn and lash out at them and their salaries, or their own use of jets, or any of a number of things that float appealingly in range of our anger… or we can get the the heart of the matter. Here’s a fact: it would be ludicrously expensive to start up a bureaucracy even remotely capable of inefficiently doing this sort of a job, meaning we would either be taking a giant step backward at a time when we literally are almost broke, or we the pilot community would be paying the government (against our will) to make us pay the government (against our will). Here’s another fact: there are already taxes on Avgas, and many of us are willing to pay a few cents more at the pump to avoid hundreds of dollars of increased operating costs per year. It would not require the creation of new offices and middle management- it would be an adjustment of an existing system that could easily be reversed when the budget is in better shape. Or, the point I’m trying to make in the first place, here’s a third fact: getting a pilot’s license and never flying once after your checkride is (making some reasonable assumptions) more expensive than maintaining your driver’s license for the entirety of your life. There are MILLIONS of drivers out there. Want income? Up the driver’s license fee by a dollar. Make it two dollars if you’re really strapped. Or heck, make it five- it’s going to wind up being pocket change for individuals and a bunch of revenue for the public.

    Craig, I’m with you all the way. Save our skies!

  28. James Carlson Says:

    The simple point here is that “user fees” cost more to collect than do sales taxes, because they require a monitoring and accounting system that simply doesn’t exist today, and that will need to be built at substantial expense. Thus, there are really two separate discussions that are being lumped together here. One discussion is the amount that aviation itself should contribute to maintaining the infrastructure required — is it 100% of the cost, or perhaps something less if the non-aviating public believes they get some benefit from having aviation around? In other words, does flying deserve a public subsidy? The other is the method of gathering the amount that aviation owes. For that latter, we should support the method that’s most equitable and requires the least wasteful overhead. Right now, that seems to be sales taxes on fuel and other items where taxes are already collected.

    Conflating those two distinct issues — by saying that there should be no taxes at all, or by arguing that flying is too expensive today — is to miss the point. Sure, costs are too high. But moving the costs from sales taxes to user fees won’t actually make a difference in the long run. It’ll just increase waste.

    The real argument should be over the cost of the infrastructure and the amount we collectively owe for it versus the amount that’s taken from public funds. Debating the mechanism of payment, though, is deeply silly.

  29. Pete O'Rourke Says:

    To the few Obama supporters who are STILL trashing the prior administration on this site:

    Get used to the idea of paying tons of money to the government if you wish to continue flying. This administration, not the prior one, is spending $1,600,000,000,000.00 more annually than we can afford. THAT is what is causing the problem. And they want another $2,000,000,000,000.00 band-aid. They will want more next time too. And to raise the taxes on the guy making $250K a year is to deny him him the reasonable risk to start a business and actually hire somebody (other than a laid-off Census worker).

    Sit on your cash, Vote against these socialists and wait for a change in administration in 2012, or get some nice pictures of yourself standing by your C172 now, because those pictures will be great memoirs, as will be the days of “middle class” aviator.

    -Peter O’Rourke

  30. Dick Boykin Says:

    It now costs me $6 per gallon to feed my old 172 which has certainly affected the amount of hours I can justify putting in the air.
    When will the big guys in Washington realize that most of the “services” offered by the government do little or nothing to increase the safety or help the average general aviation pilot who goes out on the weekend to fly for fun for an hour or so.
    We all know the government “services” are primarily designed for the airline industry and the price of the airline ticket reflects the charges the airline collects for the ticket.
    As so many have said recently, the present administration continues to threaten our freedoms in our great country.
    We need a clean sweep in the BIG HOUSE!

  31. Thomas Boyle Says:

    We need to be able to opt out of those “services” – medical certification, aircraft certification (commercial forces appear pretty adequate – there’s been no consumer demand for independent verification of LSA airworthiness, for example), certification of parts and avionics, flight briefings, separation services (the airlines can see us, courtesy of our xpdrs), routing services (we can all go direct with GPS), all of it. Those services are designed for the airlines, not for us, and many of them (aircraft certification, medical certification) appear to address non-problems (I wonder how many people realize that the feds don’t certificate the millions of passenger vehicles on our roads?). Let the airlines pay for the services: for them, eliminating even the slightest risk of an accident is worthwhile; let the rest of us opt out. The airlines don’t much care about anything but Class A and Class B, so there’s some argument for charging for ATC around Class C and Class D – but also an argument that much of that ATC is just FAA featherbedding. I do find flight following pretty useful in crowded GA airspace around major cities, and frankly wouldn’t have much argument with paying something reasonable for it – why should it be paid for by pilots who never use it? – but “reasonable” is key, and in my opinion technology will make it unnecessary within 10 years (either ADS-B or an update to FLARM).

  32. Mase Taylor Says:

    The font used in this article is almost illegible and very difficult for me to read. Light gray on a white background? Come on! How about just black on white. Thanks.

  33. Hazmat Says:

    I am getting tired of waking up to a corrupt govt every morning and then being tormented by it 24/7.
    The constitution tells us what to do when this happens, so that we do not have to wake up to it every day. It is past time to do this.

  34. Bruan Says:

    I am saddened by the freedom robbers in government coming up with an endless supply of methods for stealing American Freedom. I am further saddened by a general public being duped with class warfare arguments and social justice diatribes. Truly sad. God Bless the once great USA…A pox on the house of all freedom robbing statists in our country squeezing the life out of this economy, one fee and tax at a time.

  35. Thomas Boyle Says:

    Here’s another “service” we don’t need.

    http://www.aopa.org/advocacy/articles/2011/110718limiting-electronic-flight-bags.html

    See? There’s all kinds of ways to help cut costs at the FAA!

  36. Erik Bollt Says:

    Discouraging ANY pilots from getting flight following, from filing flight plans, from participating in the system is a danger for everyone. Everyone, including the airlines. We are not just encouraged to participate in VFR flight following as small airplanes for our own safety and benefit although it is definitely a benefit to us, but the airlines then know that the controllers are talking to us too. The more targets on their scopes that they are actually in contact with the better. I fear for the time after user fees when even if I am rich enough or luxurious enough to file my flight plan – and I am not sure I am – then maybe most of the other planes will not be talking to controllers. Bummer. I predict more mid-airs. Including with airlines. Currently I file IFR wherever I go, even in severe VMC since it is good for my currency and I consider it safer. Now what?! The whole system will fall apart.

  37. Steve Sutton Says:

    I like to read through the comments of the very learned fellow pilots and aviation savvy people who understand that General Aviation is a good and strong part of our economy. This has brought me to two conclusions that I don’t have a solid opinion on the subject, “Where did that come from” and I can’t understand how anyone would be so ignorant to think that user fees would work. The die was cast in Europe and the conclusion noted by all was a ruined General Aviation system. There is every reason to fear that user fees might be allowed and we as intelligent individuals need to stand together to oppose these attempts tax, Fee, Tax us.
    I am a pilot, I want to be able to continue to fly yet at this time I don’t earn enough to drive my car to work let alone fly an airplane. I used aircraft for my business as a tool and flew all over the eight western states I worked in. Architecture, Engineering and Construction are only as good as the job you are currently on. These are industries you try to work yourself out of work faster than the other guy for less money and if there is no work, well you get the point. When the economy does not support the growth it is like a fire and burns it’s self out and all is left in rune unless you keep a vigilant eye out. Let’s not let the fire spread to the aircraft industry or our freedom to fly in any way that doesn’t make since. No user fees! We have a tax system that is currently in place and that is where the money that is truly needed should come from even if we pay more at the pump. We cannot jeopardize pilot safety because of the ignorance of a few politicians, we need to keep showing them by information or voting them out and let it show where we really stand.
    The idea of a name such as fee not recognized as a tax is ludicrous. So don’t let any political group play with your heads about this subject; I hope they know that would backfire on them in the end.

  38. William Says:

    I hope user fees don’t come to the United States. There so expencive. Just look what happend to Europe. Just to fly a cross country over there is very expencive. It will happen over here too! Obama does not care. All he wants is YOUR money.
    My self and thousands of other pilots will have no choice but to hang up our wings if user fees go into effect. As it is now, I don’t fly near the hours that I use to. It’s just getting to be too expencive.

    Just remember, in the next election. DO NOT VOTE FOR OBAMA!!

  39. Jake Says:

    I find it toitally irritating that the government is coming after the citizens, all of us, not just pilots, with any excuse to take money from us. The government, federal, state and local, is in the financial hole. Who put them there? It wasn’t the average citizen, it was the collection of fools in the govenment. They overspent in everyway possible. They did nothing about protectng decent jobs in the US. We the citizens had nothing to do with the irresponsible things that they have done. I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but I didn’t get a dime from all the money they have been blowing. Their stupid decisions are never on a ballot for us to vote on, we just vote for one lying idiot or another every few years. NO Senator or Congressman ever calls me up and asks what I think he should do or vote for. I feel absolutely NO responsibility or liability to fund their continued stupidity and disregard for the health of this nation.
    They figure that the citizenry will moan and they’ll groan but they will still obey. Well don’t. Enough is enough.
    Taxation is just legalized theft. The government now has become no different than a mugger in an alley. If you encountered a mugger in an alley demanding your money, what would you do? The governmental situation now isn’t a whole lot different.

  40. Franklin Says:

    OK, I just called my state rep. and kindly asked that he not support GA fees. They were polite but I think we have to start writing the letter as the written word carries more weight with the folks in DC.

  41. Bryan Bowlsbey Says:

    I will not be renewing my AOPA membership.

    I am tired of funding an organization that has become nothing more than a mouthpiece for the GOP. AOPA is supposed to advocate for Genal Aviation, but instead takes every opportunity to tell us it is the democrats who proposed user fees. In fact it was the Office for the Management of the Budget under George W. that began advocating for them. “My” association had no bad words to say about that administration. Hmmmm.

    AOPA leaps at every opportunity to report on Republican Congressman advocating for the privatization of ATC; an agenda which is of questionable benefit to GA. To hear AOPA to report it this is the best thing that could happen, but bringing the “lowest bidder” mentality to our airspace system will certaintly not be a boon to to air safety. It does, however fit nicely with GOP agendas. Hmmm.

    95 percent of us could be flying on 91 UL at slightly more than auto fuel right now, but “our” association doesn’t want to advocate for that. Instead we pay, (those who can still afford it), $5.50 or more per gallon. European countries have already done it, but the US petroleum industry doesn’t see much profit in it. AOPA doesn’t speak up about anything that would not be beneficial for the oil companies. The GOP seems to have a lot of interest in the oil companies welfare as well. Hmmm.

    I guess this isn’t surprising given “our” president’s long previous history of working on the GOP payroll. It is unfortunate that AOPA has lost sight of advocating for GA.

    Bryan Bowlsbey
    N6056P

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