General Aviation at a Crossroads

Four important possible changes in general aviation.

On Course Blog GA Part 23

On Course Blog GA Part 23

Ladies and gentlemen, we're about to make history. For better or worse, general aviation is on the precipice of transformative change unlike anything the industry has seen in its history. Maybe we don't comprehend the scope of the change that is coming, or perhaps we feel there's little as individuals we can do to affect change. But make no mistake, important transformations are about to occur and we need to be speaking with one voice so that we can be clearly heard.

What's changing? Four important things, with the possible outcomes of each of these changes still very much in doubt.

By the end of this year we will have clarity on the Pilots Bill of Rights 2, which would eliminate 3rd class medicals for most private pilots; the Part 23 Rewrite, which will herald entirely new certification standards for light airplanes; the potential privatization of air traffic control in the United States and the adoption of aviation user fees; and the results of testing of new unleaded fuels for piston airplanes, which will impact aircraft owners for decades to come if gas prices skyrocket as a result.

That's a lot of change for the industry, not to mention individual pilots, to absorb all at once, and I haven't even mentioned NextGen and all that will mean for you and me. If we get these changes wrong — by failing to pass the Pilots Bill of Rights 2; by not demanding that the FAA move forward with Part 23 certification reform in a smart way; by allowing user fees to have a suffocating effect on GA activity; and by letting the EPA and FAA run roughshod over us with aviation fuels that are far more expensive than 100LL is today — we face the very real possibility of further hamstringing GA at the expense of our future growth and vitality, something that matters to us all.

What can you do? For starters, contact your members of Congress and tell them to support the Pilots Bill of Rights 2, tell them user fees are bad for aviation, tell them fuel costs enough already, and while you're at it tell them the FAA has taken long enough to issue the Part 23 Rewrite notice of proposed rulemaking.

Together we can make a difference. GA's future depends on it.

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