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EAA AirVenture Today is published by the Experimental Aircraft Association for EAA AirVenture from July 27 - August 3. It is distributed free on the convention grounds as well as other locations in Oshkosh and surrounding communities. Stories and photos are copyrighted 2008 by EAA AirVenture Today and EAA. Reproduction by any means is prohibited without written consent.


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The official daily newspaper of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Volume 9, Number 3 July 29, 2008     

House aviation panel here to listen
By Randy Dufault

House Aviation 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.

According 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.

"It 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."

Costello 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 from Missouri.

Several 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.

The 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.

In his opening remarks Costello expressed his pleasure that the House had passed the FAA reauthorization bill.

"It 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."

"The most important thing about the House reauthorization bill is that it has no user fees," Costello added, to which the audience replied with loud applause.

Each of 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.

The committee then took a few questions from the audience.

One 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.

Ehlers 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.

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