FAA, Sun ‘n Fun award Boyer for advocacy

April 11, 2008 by Steven W. Ells, Associate Editor

Phil\'s awardJohn Burton, president and convention chairman of the Sun ‘n Fun fly-in, and Doug Murphy, regional administrator of the FAA’s southern region, took the stage at the Sun ‘n Fun museum amphitheater to present AOPA President Phil Boyer with an plaque for being, “a champion and advocate for general aviation” minutes after Boyer was introduced to a packed crowd at the fly-in.

Burton cited Boyer’s, “unending commitment to aviation,” during his term as AOPA president as reason enough for the tribute, then added that AOPA’s recent request for a clarification of Florida state’s use tax laws as they apply to general aviation pilots as being an important step in keeping pilots free to fly their airplanes to Florida and to Sun ‘n Fun.

Boyer thanked both Burton and Murphy before taking a few minutes to present a Sporty’s pilot watch and a 60-year membership pin to Bill McMurray ( AOPA # 427180) who joined the association in 1948.

Boyer, aided by AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg, and Executive Vice President of Communications Karen Gebhart, gave an informative and instructional hour-long presentation using Boyer’s trademark Pilot Town Meeting ( PTM) format.

The crowd acknowleged Boyer’s leadership during the year-long fight against the airline-led debate over user fees, and cheered when Boyer said that there is little chance that user fees would be enacted.

Gebhart asked the student pilots in the audience to stand. Seven rose out of a crowd of approximately 200. She pointed out that the pilot population is continuing to drop and that although Project Pilot, a mentor program to help mentor student pilots, had averaged around 5,000 sign ups each year since the program was started, it still wasn’t enough. Gebhart urged members to take friends for rides, and to speak up in support of general aviation in their communities.

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