Harrison Ford boosts GA on Capitol Hill

Star power met political power Tuesday, April 27, when actor Harrison Ford came to Capitol Hill to talk with members of Congress and staff members. The popular star, who is an avid general aviation supporter, drew an estimated 160 persons who heard him tell how he uses his several aircraft and what general aviation means to communities, the economy, and special services, as well personal and business travel.

AOPA President Craig Fuller and Harrison Ford. AOPA Photo

Ford pointed out that general aviation’s impact produces 1.3 million jobs and contributes $150 billion annually to the economy. He added that most persons also overlook the services, such as medical flights and police work, that general aviation performs. He told the gathering that general aviation pilots fly 118,000 hours of volunteer work on free medical missions, Civil Air Patrol, and other public service flights. This prompted one member of Congress to ask Ford to describe general aviation’s contributions to the Haiti people after the earthquake.

Craig Fuller, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, who introduced Ford and shared in the discussions, said that AOPA realized the need to get a better understanding for general aviation and welcomed Ford’s contributions.

Ford said it is vital that the country continue to move general aviation ahead and to attract more persons into the activity because so much comes out of it. Attracting more young people into general aviation is needed, he said, pointing to the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program that has resulted in 1.5 million youngsters getting their first flights in general aviation aircraft.

The actor thanked members of Congress for resisting user fees, saying that this was appreciated by all pilots and helped to maintain general aviation’s contributions to the nation. He asked the audience to make sure general aviation maintains its freedom.

Commenting that “show business has been good to me,” Ford said he has several aircraft with each one serving a different purpose. He said he was grateful that he has been able to contribute in a small way to the advancement general aviation, which was his reason for coming to talk with members and their staffs.

Comments

  1. says

    i agree that something must be done to reduce the cost. even with an
    adequate income, it is hard to justify learning to fly. then, to
    maintain proficiency, the cost of a trip can destroy the budget.

    a two hour one way or 4 hour round trip to have lunch is now up to
    600.00 for a new glass cockpit aircraft. this will destroy the
    budget.

    can we not put our heads together and solve this problem. lsa’s do
    not seem to be the answer.

    james l. hibbert
    aviation test prep specialist

  2. W3BC says

    As a private pilot for the past 30 years, I am happy for Mr. Ford and the other multi-millionaires who can afford to fly “several aircraft with each one serving a different purpose.”

    For my part, I am left wishing I could afford to fly “one aircraft for a single purpose,” but alas, that is no longer possible for anyone with less than a six-figure income. When I started flying in 1979, my training aircraft was a $19,000 Piper Warrior II which rented for $25.00/hour, wet. Today, the same airplane sells for well over a QUARTER-MILLION DOLLARS, and rents for $135/per hour!

    The following illustrates why we will soon see ABSOLUTELY NO NEW GA PILOTS…
    Minimum wage @ 40 hours per week… $7.25 x 40 = $290.00
    Less Taxes (25%)… $290.00 – 72.50 = $217.50 per week
    Annual take-home pay (52 x $217.50) = $11,310 per year
    40 hours of flight instruction (40 x ($135.00 + $40.00)) = $7,000
    Net income left to eat and have a roof = $4,310 per year ($360.00 per month)
    Number of kids earning this much… most.
    Number of kids earning their wings… NONE. It’s IMPOSSIBLE in this economy!

    I know I’ve flown my last, and I don’t see even the most dedicated kids learning to fly—unless they come from wealthy families. GA is ALREADY DEAD.

  3. DW says

    My hats off to Harrison Ford and other “high profile” people who want to promote GA. However, if the powers at be don’t start reigning in the TSA, they alone will kill this industry and not care one bit what impact it has on our economy. They are slowly becoming an out of control agency of government that is eager to regulate every facet of GA operations in the name of “preventing” terrorism.

  4. Arcade Itoua-Ibara says

    Very thank you to Actor-Pilot Harrison Ford and Mr Craig fuller AOPA director, for their venue to capitol hill by giving their hands to promote the good informations about GA. Thank you again…

    Arcade I. Ibara

  5. Rudy H. says

    In the GA sector co-ownership is about all that puts the C172 class aircraft within the reach of Gen Av users, which has been a method in use for decades. Insurance companies have to be ‘collared’ on their freedom to run exhorbitant rates on GA users. Fleet rental aircraft (akin to AVIS,Hertz auto) is a long overdue concept that should have come into use by now. Constant operational flight ‘checkouts’ in same type of (make/model) aircraft whether a renter chooses local FBO in Santa Monica,CA or Teterboro, H.J. is archaic and a ripoff in essence. Airfield ops and local area familiarization CAN be done without ‘check flights’. The list can go on….Fly intensively as professionals, and pilots do have the tools to do that, and GA will live on….rhh

  6. Jack Coughlin says

    Thank you Harrison Ford, and AOPA for illustrating to our government the important economic, cultural and philanthropic contributions GA makes to not only America, but to the whole world.

  7. jean Odige says

    I would like to say thank you to GA, for helping my people in Haiti during the time of crisisand special thans to Harrison Ford>This always be my dreams to open a pilot school in Haiti under the GA Administration. I would like to meet Mr Ford and Mr Fuller. thanks again to be Heroes for Haiti.

    Jean Robert Odige,
    Member of AOPA

  8. Carlo Felicione says

    I’m glad Mr Fuller and Mr Ford got a chance to make their pitch for GA. I must however say that if their interest is in attracting young people to general aviation there needs to be a seroius effort to reduce the costs of flying and make it more affordable to the general public. As it stands flying is literally prohibitive to the average guy on the the street and is largely being relegated to the wealthiest people. The sports stars, actors and billionaire tycoons listed above by Mr Ashenfelter have the luxury of spending $5-$10 million on a high performance aircraft and several hundred thousand annually to operate it. But owning so much as a Cessna 172 is almost out of the question for your average middle class guy or gal making $62,000 annually, before taxes and a family to support. And it’s even harder for a kid fresh out of high school looking to get a private pilots license or build hours all while making minimum wage with the average aircraft rental rates being $125-150 per hour. LSAs and experimental homebuilts may go a long way to remedy this problem, but the GA industry really needs to think long and hard about these costs, because, combined with increased regulations, accidents sensationalized by the media, and a general public disinterest and apprehension about flying, we may well witness the death of GA within the next 15 years. As a pilot who loves his craft and his hobby I urge people to address these issues with practical solutions.

    Thanks,

    Carlo Felicione
    Private Pilot

  9. Lee Travis Olson says

    I am a college freshman currently working my best to become part of the aviation industry. I love and Aviation and would like to thank Harrison Ford for his ongoing support.

  10. says

    In gratefull recognition for services rendered, I give thanks to Harry and William Fucik along with his brother the pilot who were humble and are aware of average peoples needs.
    Not just the Rich and Powerfull who feel they are only entitled to the skies and heavens. Sometimes, those that are in power have a tendancy to overlook the obvious and selfishly enact laws or impose excessive fees to hinder the less fortunate. Thanks again to Harrison Ford and the Fuciks for their contributions to help insure that the the average human being can accomplish above average feats. Roger W. Holmes

  11. Lord Bowdon says

    As a 10 year member of AOPA, I am constantly shocked at how few members of the general public realize how much we pilots pay in avgas taxes, and think that FAA grants to our local GA airports come out of “their” taxes. Perhaps publicity concerning our contributions through the avgas tax might alleviate those perceptions, just a little!

    I am also disappointed that the “politics of envy” is often played by opponents of GA, even though we can take our families on 4 hour flights in our planes for as little (or as much) as it costs to take a family to see a pro football team. Yet I would be pilloried if I claimed that attending sports was a “rich man’s hobby”.

  12. says

    I’ve been in the GA business as an FBO owner for over 27 years. I was extremely pleased and grateful for Harrison Ford’s stepping up in Congress for General Aviation. This is exactly the kind of PR we need in this industry. I’d like to see more of this kind of support from well known people that use GA all the time.

    John Travolta
    Warren Buffet
    Jimmy Buffet
    Morgan Freeman
    Arnold Palmer
    NASCAR race Drivers
    Veterans Airlift command

    There are lots more ideas than these few. Keep up the pressure on Congress to support General Aviation.

    Tim Ashenfelter ,President
    ASI Jet Center
    Special Olympics Airlift
    Haiti GA contributions

  13. Manuel R. DeReyes says

    I would appreciate the opportunity to speak with Mr. Fuller concerning current threats to the NAS, and the agency’s attack on GA by recent and seemingly minor changes to regulations.

    Lack of controversy and turbulence wins friends, but does not allow substantive, constructive changes to take place.

    These years are the most important, because if AOPA does nothing or very little to stem many of these changes, General Aviation and AOPA will be damaged beyond repair.

  14. John Koser says

    Cheers to Harrison Ford and Craig Fuller! We need more of this kind of exposure.

    Our chapter (Ch 25) of EAA tries to fly at least 300 Young Eagles every year. The Young Eagle program is one of the main reasons we exist as a chapter – to offer young people the opportunity to experience leaving the ground and fly in small airplanes. It’s our passion, and we love sharing it.

    John Koser
    President: EAA Chapter 25

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