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EAA's Pelton Addresses Funding Fight, Other Topics
EAA Chairman and de facto president Jack Pelton addressed reporters at a regularly scheduled press conference and discussed a variety of topics. Included was the FAA’s charging for services for air traffic controllers, which EAA is fighting in court and on Capitol Hill. Pelton explained that for the week of AirVenture, the FAA essentially owns the airspace, and therefore the EAA’s options in how to staff the controllers necessary to put on the show are very limited. Pelton did, however, promise that EAA would continue the fight and said the charges were equivalent to the Department of Transportation coming up short on its budget and deciding to install toll booths, without public comment, on a formerly free public highway.
Pelton also stressed that EAA has changed its attitude toward its volunteers this year after having temporarily “lost its way” last year. In addition to reaching out to volunteers throughout the year, EAA is reinstituting a number of small but much appreciated volunteer perks that were inexplicably discontinued last year.
Also, Pelton, in response to a question from Flying on how the search for a new EAA president was progressing, said half-jokingly that “There is no search.” Pelton went on to explain that he envisions an organization which isn’t led by a highly paid professional but by a volunteer or team of volunteers from the EAA Board. Pelton ended that conversation by saying that he would “be here for the next three years.”