The president of the Minnesota Aviation Trades Association (MATA), Greg Reigel, recently spent time meeting with staff members from the offices of all Minnesota Congressional delegates to thank them for their support of general aviation and to seek additional support on critical issues that will impact general aviation, both nationally and in Minnesota. Representatives from the Minnesota Council of Airports and Minnesota Business Aviation Association joined Reigel in this special initiative.
In each of his meetings, Reigel discussed the shortage of pilots and mechanics and how these shortages are already impacting general aviation. To that end, he also emphasized the importance of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 and its third-class medical reform that will allow more pilots to fly without a third-class medical certificate, saving both pilots and the federal government millions of dollars each year without decreasing safety. The bill also provides a range of other protections for anyone holding a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificate when dealing with the agency, in particular when facing FAA enforcement actions. Reigel urged those delegates who had not already done so to sign on as cosponsors of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2.
Reigel also discussed FAA’s Reauthorization in funding, and the need for a multi-year reauthorization that will sustain funding for multi-year projects. He also expressed the industry’s frustration with the last reauthorization and the adverse impact on the industry resulting from the multiple continuing resolutions that were required before final reauthorization was passed.
Other issues raised with the delegates included the continuation of Essential Air Service for rural communities that need assistance to retain commercial air service, maintaining the current 5-year depreciation schedule for aircraft, and extension of radar coverage in central Minnesota to fill an existing gap before the implementation NextGen.
Reigel thanked those delegates who are already members of the General Aviation Caucus for their participation and encouraged those who are not to consider joining. The conversations were productive and the delegates’ staffs all recognized the importance of general aviation to both the economy and the National Air Transportation System. Reigel, as do the representatives of MBAA and MCOA, looks forward to working with members of Congress in the future to support and grow general aviation.