FAA wants $500,000 or no AirVenture?

FAA officials have “demanded” $500,000 from the Experimental Aircraft Association for air traffic control expenses during its AirVenture convention next month or threatened to pull support for the event, EAA officials said Tuesday. In a report in the Fond du Lac Reporter, EAA Chairman Jack Pelton said the FAA’s demand for a contract and advance payment is akin to holding the organization hostage in exchange for air traffic services necessary to keep the event safe.


  1. says

    What would happen if the FAA wasn’t there? What if the bill was not payed? what if someone said AirVenture is to big to fail. What would happen if they closed the strip and pulled the lic. of any pilot that landed. What if they came anyway, would the FAA park tanks on the runway. Sounds like someone is looking for a new job.

  2. The other Richard. says

    Thank you for clearing this up.

    They don’t just open the tower at OSH for a week so that “rich people” can fly in.

    Hardly any of those people are rich. This is just Obama’s attempt to “make this painful” just like he said he would.
    The sequestration plan came straight from the white house.
    It was intended to be such a disaster that no one would allow it, supposedly.
    he underestimated the stupidity of a few congressman.
    Or maybe he didn’t. Maybe he planned to destroy the economy all along by doubling the National Debt.
    He hates rich people to begin with and he, like a lot of others commenting on here, are stupid enough to think aviation types are part of the rich. Of course he is too stupid to know the “rich” are paying all the bills so the rest of the whiners on here that pay no federal taxes can go to the government hog trough for their free stuff.
    And then some nitwit explains to us that it’s the fault of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

    That comment is so stupid it doesn’t even deserve a reply.
    It does need to be repeated to demonstrate the pure ignorance of anyone that would make it so :
    “Hilarious how in an acknowledged time of necessary sequestration to remedy the Bush deficit abyss and deal with Hannity/Limbaugh/RNC-inspired congressional obfuscation and inaction,”

    This is laughable. except to say that at least this guy admits that is was deemed “necessary” and planned from the beginning by Obama.

    • Fritz Katz says

      “So stupid”? “Laughable”? Clearly you believe your own self-serving simple-minded bullshit. Eat a few facts, Dick. You are hoist on your own petard, freeloading retard.

      1. FAA DOES bring in a paid-with-fringes army of extra controllers just for Air Venture ….and special airshow events elsewhere in the USA which PAY for the help from the revenue the event generates… for organizers and economies in the area (see SunNFun). Ass, grass, gas or cash. Pay your dollar extra and get the EXTRA services YOU demand above and beyond what gallonage pays or. And yes… the electric company DOES bill the circus extra for those SPECIAL hookups and EXTRA services when it comes to town.

      3. Do you also deny Limbaugh ON AIR said — and Hannity endorsed — this?
      “Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: ‘I hope he fails.’ (interruption) What are you laughing at?” As even Jesse Ventura points out, without the Bush abyss OBama would not have had to increase the debt. Without repub obfuscation we would not have sequestration. Yeah. Our President is “stupid” and “wants to destroy the economy.” Big Dick says so.

      4. “FAA goons.” You and your lying sack pal Fuller make great bedfellows in discrediting GA.

      Get a grip, people.






      Not part of the GA I once knew.

        • Fritz Katz says

          Why don’t you try and stop me, John? You made your 1% status and insurrectionist/anarchist Faux News worldview clear earlier at 1131 June 7. I am a patriot, decorated veteran, and lifelong independent voter.

          Big Dick insults and blames EVERYTHING on Our President and calls me a nitwit, stupid, and laughable for suggesting he pay an extra dollar in these budget crunch times to park his Baron at AV. I responded with 3 (or 4, dropped #2) FACTS. Can you dispute ANY of those?

          I’m not the hyperbolic hysteric who needs to calm down just because you consider outright lies and self-serving palaver (rather than unbiased/objective truth) the “new GA” as do Big Dick and Fakir Fuller. Those tactics and your challenge should outrage every pilot and American.

          Oops…I forgot. You’re not an American… or at least not one who honors the Constitution and Bill of Rights… Freedom of Speech and Association to be specific. From the southwest and southeast, I have been driving or flying in to SNF and AV almost without interruption for forty years — sweating, freezing, or soaked while there — and now control freak YOU tell me to stop. Why? Because I am among two or three on here to challenge the bleating and whining from election losers? Go Fokker yourself.

  3. Joseph N. Greulich says

    It would be nice to see an itemized statement of the actual charges for services , 500,000 dollars sounds more like a ransome payment !

  4. Richard says

    I just read this from the Fond du Lac news:
    Congress questions $500,000 controller bill issued to EAA by FAA
    Members of Congress questioned whether the Federal Aviation Administration had the authority to issue a $500,000 bill to the Experimental Aircraft Association for air traffic controllers at AirVenture. “Making a change of this sort, to begin charging fees, after 60 years of not doing it, I think they don’t have the authority to do it without congressional action,” said Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis

  5. Fritz Katz says

    Ass, grass, gas or cash…

    nobody flies for free.

    Hilarious how in an acknowledged time of necessary sequestration to remedy the Bush deficit abyss and deal with Hannity/Limbaugh/RNC-inspired congressional obfuscation and inaction, so many millionaires bleat they should not pay their own way for a “members only” special event (not everyday air commerce and safety which is what the gallonage tax funds).

    And then there is lying sack (and former RNC titan) Craig Fuller who spent the past year demeaning and attacking Our President to please offshoring bizjet owners while forcing AOPA staff and marketing releases to echo his total, deliberate lie that every Cub would be charged $100 per weekend rural VFR leg underOur President’s necessarily tight (but not THAT tight) budget proposal.. For a personal vendetta, he singlehandedly, pisst away whatever goodwill remained between GA and FAA.

      • Fritz Katz says

        I commend whoever at GAN edited out the interior inferior parenthetical portion of my comment but left the meat. Thanx.

    • Tom says

      It probably wouldn’t immediately tack on that $100 per flight to a VFR piper cub, but it has happened that way in every country that’s tried it. First they have to put in some kind of system that tracks usage, then figure out who’s flying it at that time, another system to collect it, some way to punish those who don’t pay up..you think that the new traffic control system was hard to implement? Gee, that cost a lot of money to set up, so after the system is in place, it isn’t hard to spread the joy to recreational flyers. Odd, there isn’t as much fuel selling, so our tax revenue went down. We need to expand it to cover every aircraft in class E airspace as well. Tax that Piper Cub! He’s probably using auto fuel anyway, so he’s not paying his fair share!

      If this passes at some point, the next step is to do the same for automobiles. Need to access that interstate? Pay a toll on every one of them. But you pay fuel taxes every time you fill up your car, don’t you?

      • Fritz Katz says

        Transparent unethical amorality in an industry (and Nation) once reliant on personal responsibility, honesty and tradition fine with you? Defend that blatantly lying sack Fuller if you must, but what part of “All piston aircraft, military aircraft, public aircraft, air ambulances, aircraft operating outside of controlled airspace, and Canada-to-Canada flight would be exempted. ” could you not comprehend?

        Small recip GA should be saying “Thank You, Mr President” instead of “Fokker You, ya dopehead socialist Kenyan Muslim” as Fuller and his 1% buddies exhort us to.

        Your hysteria mirrors classic “sky is falling” “Rapture imminent” “conspiracy theorist” “sector persecution” “happened elsewhere/before” approaches of ludicrously discredited AND RELENTLESSLY TAX-DODGING religious fundamentalists. Wrong on everything for 10,000 years.

        Drop the “Gee” “Odd” “Why won’t they… why can’t they…” conjecture crappyola substituted for fact/logic, take a breath, consider the sheer landmass size and diversity of this Nation and its GA fleet vs others, reread the ACTUAL proposal, and get a grip.

        PS Chicken Little:
        small, noncommercial, piston GA aircraft and pilots pay less than half their 6% operational/regulatory/administrative/accident investigation burden on the FAA/NTSB/USA via current fuel taxes and fees. Stop whining, count your blessings, and try to conserve what little will remain of our credibility after Fuller-of-the-RNC and the NBAA finish playing you.

    • Erik says

      I think people are really missing something here and may be somewhat misinformed.
      First and foremost, the cost of the airshow does not cost the FAA a dime because it is staffed by FAA volunteers that have volunteered to work for free. The air traffic controllers consider it huge bragging rights to say they worked Oshkosh, and they do it 100% on an unpaid all volunteer basis. FAA incurred cost for Air Venture = $0. A $500,000 bill would need to substantiated through Congress as a supplemental fund and then accounted for into the fourth quarter FY13 budget. To date, the FAA has not presented a need for such funding to the Democrat lead Congressional Transportation Committee, Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn. Which puts this well outside of the President Bush’s Jr. legacy given that he left office five and a half years ago. To push an anti-aviation political agenda without the facts is not the way to win a positional debate.
      Second, I made $42,937 which puts me well outside the millionaire range and I purchased a used F-150 because it’s great for hauling stuff. Air Venture is about a love of aviation that crosses all social, political, and economic bounds. The cost is the same to everyone, member and non members. The event is open to everyone for all over the world, members and non members. And the opportunity to share our fondness and global support for the lure of aviation is never more prevalent than at the worlds largest airshow.

  6. John Drago says

    Richard Nichols, you took the words out of my mouth as I am all for a cut in the Government Social Programs, as a matter of fact we need to cut down on the Government at the same time. Less Government is good for growth not responsible for it. Rick, thanks for reminding us we have 3 .5 more years of this “CRAP” we could have gone all day without that reminder. Kai Hansen our political system is not broken, it is only in a state of disrepair and will come out of the cave in 3.5 years.

    • says

      Does you cut include all corporate welfare? Less government,we saw the result of that with the financial collapse brought about by the Bush administration.Hank Palson remember him a Bush appointee. Emeron Bushes pals that colluded to cause rolling black outs in California,The gulf oil spill ,and on and on. Joe lunch box cant write off his auto even though it is a neccessity,we write off and get accelerated depreciation for our automobiles F150″S and “corporate aircraft.

  7. Doug McDowall says

    Don’t throw a hissy fit and get the president pissed off, he’s liable to set up a golf outing to Fon Du Lac on Air Force One and throw up a 30 mile no-fly zone during the week of AirVenture! Now wouldn’t that be special !

  8. says

    Does ANYONE here get it? The REAL problem is, in all do respect to the legal profession, UNTIL you have business experienced and educationed people in government who know someting about how a “free (HELLO!) market” fuctions, this county may is doomed!
    The old saying; “nothing happens until SOMETHING is sold” IS how it works!

  9. says

    If you could give liability coverage to the controllers, and provide housing, I would think that we would have controllers, both active and retired, that could be gotten to help out. It is pretty obvious that it can not be done w/o some level of tower control.

  10. Greg says

    Don’t cancel event. Don’t pay the extortionists! The law requires them to provide some sevices. We will adapt to the sevices available as we do every day.

  11. Richard says

    We are being governed by UNELECTED BUREAUCRATS. Its high time that the majority of those in congress, especially the senate, get flushed down the drain and replaced with people who have the will to rein in these power hungry idiots. The mid term elections can’t get here soon enough for me though by then, it may be too late. I still think voters should have to b e able to pass a simple test before being allowed to cast their ballot.

    • says

      Why should the tax payer be stuck with the bill?
      The EAA is makes enough on the event to pay their own way?
      Do we believe in less government or just less government when it isn’t serving us?

      • Richard says

        Read Kenneth’s comment below. We pay taxes on fuel. Those taxes are supposed to fund the FAA along with some taxes from other sources. Essentially what is happening here is a form of “double” taxation. The FAA, like other Federal Bureaucracies, is bloated and is sucking the working taxpayers dry. I pay plenty of taxes as I’m sure the majority of the commenters here do, The ordinary taxpayer must also help foot the bill for the operation of the FAA as one of the their duties is PUBLIC SAFETY.

  12. Kenneth Hetge says

    Sorry Uncle Sam, we make our donation to your cause every time we buy a gallon of gas. I cant wait to see the YouTube video of the J3 “mixing it up” with the inbound A320!! I sure hope everyone has their Mode S transponder and TCAS up and running. This type of nonsense is endemic to what is happening in our Country today and as taxpayers and those who participate in society, we should demand a little more from our leaders.

  13. Jim Pantas says

    As a special events promoter I am intimately familiar with all of the costs associated with putting on an event. We routinely have to pay for extra coverage by local authorities for our events, why would anyone think that EAA should get special consideration? I say that EAA should either pay up or staff it themselves with certified ATC personnel. This has nothing to do with the current government administration but all to do with the added burden on the government that a special event such as AV puts on the existing system.

    It cracks me up the folks who demand the FAA spend $500k to fund AV towers and complain that the fuel tax is going up – where do YOU think they get the $500k for freebie ATC for AV?!?!? You and I – so let the folks who attend AV pay for the ATC needed.

    FWIW – I am an EAA member but have no desire to attend AV.

    • Richard says

      Its not just the controllers, Jim. EAA has to get waivers from the FAA to be able to land on taxiways and other stuff. Then, of course, there’s just the ones that come to “spy” on us that have to be paid too. I wonder what would happen if they just said to hell with it, the show is cancelled this year. Maybe thats what it will take to wake some people up. Of course, that isn’t going to happen. EAA needs the revenue generated by AV (I hate that name) to help paying operating expenses for the year.

      • Richard says

        By the way, the tower is already in operation at Oshkosh except for the Feds wishing to spread a little pain because congress didn’t give them all the money they wanted by shutting down some towers. All they need is extra controllers to handle all the traffic. Does the FAA require an airline to “pony” up some money because they add a bunch of flights to an airport?

    • Michael Dean says

      Then why has this “added burden” never been charged in the past?

      This is ALL about the current administration… and their “make the people suffer”, when things dont go their way, mentality.

      I might also remind people that this squestration nonsense has NOTHING to do with budget cuts. It is merely a cut in the amount of INCREASE to federal spending. POTUS wanted to up his spending even more (AGAIN!!!). We, the people, said, “No.” And so he’s having a hissy fit about it. “Oh yea. Well I’ll show you.”

      • says

        “Make the people suffer?”
        Just what percentage of the population will suffer if this event is required to pay their own way?
        I bet you are all for a cut in government spending on social programs.

        • Tom says

          Richard, this event does pay it’s own way. Think about the fuel taxes all of those airplanes pay to get there. The FAA gets hundreds of thousands of dollars from all of that fuel.

  14. Jim Barnett says

    Taxation without representation! Robbery! demand of money for services already paid for in taxes and required by law. Revolutions have been instigated by lesser Monarchial demands. The next thing will be to sentence dissodents to the prison mines of Northern Alaska like Stalin handled his challenges?
    Mr. Congressmenand Madame Congrsswoman; GET OFF YOUR FAT ASS and put king Obama back into the Executive Branch and do YOUR JOBs of representing the people. When you fail, the country fails.

  15. Kent Misegades says

    The EAA has huge nest egg of investments and can surely afford this. Many other shows pay for temporary towers , for instance the Sebring Expo. Perhaps the EAA should stop paying for fancy chalets that took away traditional parking for home builds (the hard core loyal members) and focus instead on what’s important. Haven’t Controllers in the past volunteered their time for AirVenture ?

    • Michael Dean says

      Whether or not EAA has the funds, and whether or not other shows succumb to this kind of extortion, is beside the point. this is nothign more than the Obama administration trying to inflict “sequestration” pain on the American public in order to facilitate support for his economy trashing spending.

      Not to mention that if the feds are allowed to get away with this, it is the foot-in-the-door to general aviation user fees.

    • The other Richard. says

      “The controller take their vacation time and come to OSH and work for free”

      I have been hearing that for 30 years.
      I guess that myth is exploded.

      Or else they do it for free and the 500 K is needed to pay FAA goons and big wigs to show up and make a PITA out of themselves.
      I would easily believe the latter.

  16. Chuck Miller says

    Unfortunately this is the direction the current administration is going. If you are not seen as a supporter of the the administration and its policies, you are not going go get support from the agencies it controls,and as a previous comment-er noted, the folks who attend AV are NOT the voting block they are interested in. Hay, we should invite the IRS to have a get together there! They spend millions on such things. They wouldn’t even notice an extra half million……

  17. Rick says

    EAA, why don’t you just contact some of the contract (maybe retired) controllers and pay for their services…maybe $250/day all expenses paid – bring their spouse too. It’s only for a week and I guarantee the costs will be nowhere near the half million dollars the FAA is holding you hostage for. If Air Force One was going to be there, I guarantee there would be controllers in that tower. This is typical Obama administration trying to get more money out of us…we have three more years of this crap.

  18. Jerry Trachtman says

    Billing EAA for ATC, pushing user fees, closing towers, detaining general aviation pilots, are all examples of what happens when the leadership of Federal agencies, all political appointees, has no meaningful job background/experience.

  19. Ray Winslow says

    This is the government we have today.
    This activity is not required for the benefit of minorities or the less fortunate.
    FAA ATC is union.
    The only people cancellation will hurt are probably are not supporters of more big government.
    Recreational general aviation may not be looked at as a desirable business for the priorities important to this country.
    Maybe if people could use EBT cards at the food booths it would help.

    • says

      Ray Wilson “The only people cancellation will hurt are probably are not supporters of more big government.”
      Now you have a chance to put your money where your mouth is get the government out or make the EAA pay their own way.
      “This activity is not required for the benefit of minorities or the less fortunate” Is the word “Hippocratic” in your lexicon?
      from the constitution read
      To Promote the General Welfare: A broad purpose of the government that is constantly open to adaptation and growth, is the role of the government to provide the Americna people with services and regulations that are for the public good. Such regulations may include health and food standards, public education, and consumer protection. However, in order to allow capitalism to flourish, the government leaves certain services available to private businesses (such as railroads and airline transportation), this allows market competition to thrive so that the consumer can receive the best services and prices possible.

    • says

      Ray Wilson “The only people cancellation will hurt are probably are not supporters of more big government.”
      Now you have a chance to put your money where your mouth is get the government out or make the EAA pay their own way.
      “This activity is not required for the benefit of minorities or the less fortunate” Is the word “Hippocratic” in your lexicon?

      To Promote the General Welfare: A broad purpose of the government that is constantly open to adaptation and growth, is the role of the government to provide the Americna people with services and regulations that are for the public good. Such regulations may include health and food standards, public education, and consumer protection. However, in order to allow capitalism to flourish, the government leaves certain services available to private businesses (such as railroads and airline transportation), this allows market competition to thrive so that the consumer can receive the best services and prices possible.

  20. John Wesley says

    If I were EAA, given the lack of any military aircraft this year, I would cancel AV, then put on a concerted effort to stage it next year and in subsequent years totally without the benefit of FAA oversight and interference.

    • The other Richard. says

      The FAA will demand that they be there and then want to bill you 500 K…

      I say the whole damn bunch of FAA can stay home.

  21. Tom says

    The FAA already makes half of that as a bare minimum, probably much more, based on fuel taxes for people that fly to the event. Do they realize that they will LOSE money if they hurt AirVenture?

  22. Marvin Mathes says

    It’s important to start questioning why the taxpayer is funding the FAA on an annual basis if their goal is to be paid more when they actually have to do the job they are already being paid to do. Forget the fact the FAA is only targeting GA and not the airlines. GA directly pays for each and every mile that is flown through fuel taxes. The large percentage of flights by GA are VFR requiring virtually no FAA air traffic assistance, yet the FAA gets paid either way. That means that those fuel taxes are being redirected for other uses. I personally believe that the FAA is extorting EAA and GA. Unless EAA and GA take a stand now, we will only be abused further.

  23. Kai Hansen says

    I am very happy that I do not live in the USA. I am very sad to see your political system broken and it all smells of “Banana Republic”.

    Why does EAA not resort to “Crowdsourcing” they should be able to raise $ 500000 in a couple of days.

    • The other Richard. says

      You are probably right Kai.
      The American public, at least the republicans, are the most generous people on earth,
      But we already pay the FAA to do that job.
      I wouldn’t pay the electric company to come fix their broken lines and then take up a donation to pay them again.
      On top of it our democratic led administration has no grasp of basic economics and is too stupid to understand that even if one per cent of people stay away…
      There goes the 500K in lost federal tax revenue on fuel sales, lost sales tax to the state, lost hotel taxes to Winnebago county and so on and so forth.
      Then there is the lost income tax on the salaries of the people that will hired temporarily for this event.

      They are just short sighted and ignorant of how business runs and from where the tax money comes

  24. Vincenzo Billisi says

    The DOT should stop taking money out of the FAA’s revenue and use it for Aviation instead of Highways and other projects. They are biting the hand that feeds them.

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