Congressman questions FAA authority to impose fees on AirVenture

In an editorial in the Oshkosh Northwestern newspaper, Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) says the FAA’s demand that the Experimental Aircraft Association pay $500,000 to cover some of the costs of air traffic controllers at the show is “nothing less than another attempt to impose user fees on general aviation — something Congress has rejected numerous times. I question the authority the FAA has to impose these fees.”

He also notes that pilots flying to and from Oshkosh will “dramatically enhance the coffers of the (Aviation) Trust Fund by hundreds of thousands of dollars — revenues that would otherwise not be there if not for AirVenture. The FAA should consider these revenues in its decision as opposed to just the costs.” Read the full editorial here.


  1. Henry says

    How many controllers are we getting for this price. I figure 1400 hours should do it even if you figure 2000 hours of labor that still is $250 per hour. We are being ripped off.

    • Rich says

      That’s only $5747.12 per employee which I am sure includes travel and hotel and meals.

      Not a bad gig for a weeks work!!!!
      I am gonna enjoy watching the FAA get a snoot full at OSH over this.
      I wonder if there is a “Meet the Administrator” session planned?
      It should be very interesting.
      Of course they can always punish the “complainers” by denying the request to use a drivers license in lieu of a third class medical, which I expect them to do just to get “even” with anyone that voices any discontent.

      These people have forgotten who they work for!

  2. Fritz Katz says

    Pure bullshit for simple minds, maybe.

    If there was no “R Wis” after “Petri” you’d hear nary a peep on the subject from this insular waffler who can’t decide which party he’s in, just panders for any votes..

    He voted to raise the debt ceiling, paved the way for the sequestration which compels this fee, and voted to fund Palin’s Bridge to Nowhere for chrissake. He let a major campaign contributor dump coal ash directly and untreated into Lake Michigan.

    THIS is your spokesperson for right or wrong and the best interests of the entire Nation?

    And try to comprehend, the gallonage taxes do not pay the extreme and unique costs of a predominantly “members only”, immense revenue-generating special event… especially in economic crunch times where necessities like defense are cut back, not just prior largesse.

    And Dick, oh ye of simple mind. This is NOT” just like” a fee to put out a fire when (unlike the steepled tax-dodging multimillion dollar megachurches in the community which represent the greatest fire risk and suppression challenge) you’ve already paid your taxes.

    This is like the Fire Department charging a fee to bring trucks and personnel out of town to your special admission-charged gala fireworks show, stand by all evening to meet the requirements of your commercial event insurance policy, and pay overtime for the crews brought in to man the stations in their absence.

    Ass, grass, gas, or cash. Nobody flies for free.

    • Tom says

      So you are saying that people don’t fly to airventure, buying more fuel than they otherwise would? This is more like a percentage of the gasoline purchase of everyone going to your theoretical fireworks show being taken as a donation for the fire department. In this case, the fire department is saying that they want more.

      • Fritz Katz says

        Don’t try to tell me what I am saying, Tom.

        I said it already.

        And so did you.

        People FLY to AV. Those flights during their enroute phases incur incremental costs which are paid for by gallonage taxes, as usual. Weather services, flight following, flight plans, and in several “Destination OSH” cases EVERY year emergency handling and search/crash coordination. Ass, grass, gas, cash… nobody flies for free..

        What is NOT paid for by gallonage taxes are a half million dollars in COSTS — Attention Corporate Rethuglicans! NOT profit !! — for a members only, admission-charged, special event with extraordinary ATC needs.

        COSTS the OTHER 99% of the USA can not presently afford and likely never SHOULD have covered… but we’re all learning painful lessons and this needs to be one o’them. What makes YOU so special as to dodge that? More special than hard-working, important civilian DoD employees for example who will be starting their unpaid furloughs while you are rubbing your pitot… if that is what YOU do to your pitot while camping there.

        I repeat:

        Get a grip, people.






        Not part of the GA I once knew.

        Brought to us courtesy of Craig Fuller, Jack “Offshore US Jobs” Pelton, and the RNC turbine crowd.

        Get ready for a one dollar surcharge at the gate or as you tie down
        If you can’t handle it, do what “Fokker John” Drago told me to do: stay home.
        Hell even Pelton, EAA’s chairman, is facing reality (but not Fakir Fuller). He says the organization will pay the fee if it has to in order to guarantee the show is fully staffed with air traffic controllers.
        The fee is being charged as part of the FAA’s ongoing efforts to cut its budget.

        • Tom says

          I’m reflecting what you seem to be saying. Reflection is a good way to help someone realize how they sound. I think that you still don’t understand that people pay taxes on the way. Are there more off-field landings per flight hour on the way to Airventure than there are during non-Airventure flights? Off-field landings should cost us more in July for some reason? If I fly to Florida instead, that should be subsidized by charging more to people flying to Wisconsin? You’re preaching the same kind of stuff that’s killed aviation in other countries. What you’re advocating leads to user fees.

          Let’s decrease the exemption that the airlines get on kerosene. After all, they use ATC a whole lot more than I do. It sounds like you favor the corporate fat cats by pushing these user fees that hurt us little guys. It’s typical corporate tactics – they don’t mind paying a little extra, if it pushes out competition or gets rid of an annoyance.

          Perhaps those furloughed people can work for the IRS instead. I hear that they’re hiring 16,000 new workers to handle Obamacare. There’s a resource drain. At 50,000 a year, hire 10 less and save 500,000. You’ll still have bloated the government by 15,990 unneeded employees, and spent $799,500,000 that we can’t afford. Airventure is a profit center compared to that. Greed, irresponsibility, and lies? Look to your politicians!

    • The other Richard. says

      And try to comprehend, the gallonage taxes do not pay the extreme and unique costs of a predominantly “members only”, immense revenue-generating special event…

      So you have all those people that buy all that gas and pay taxes on it but some how none of those taxes that are collected, don’t end up paying for controllers?
      I wonder where that money goes, then?

      Keep in mind if there was no such event none of that fuel would get bought and none of these taxes would be collected.
      Then extending that logic Disney World should pay for all the cops that patrol I-75 and pay for cleaning up all the wrecks of the people driving in.
      And let’s not forget all the people that FLY in on silver tubes from all over the country and the rest of the world.
      Seems only fair that DW should have to foot the bill for all those controllers.
      After all they are creating the need for all that traffic and they make a hell of a lot more money than EAA does. And cause all that traffic all year long.
      That must cost the FAA a gabillion dollars.
      Sorry but you’re all wet on this one.

    • Michael Dean says

      One more time, people…

      In spite of what many in Washington wuld like you to believe…. there is no “economic crunch”. The sequester is not a CUT. It is merely a reduction in the amount of growth. And even at that it is less than 3%.

      After the obscene increase in spending, by our federal government, over the last few years can we not even tolerate this?

  3. Rich says

    This is extortion.
    This would be just like the fire dept. showing up when your house is on fire and demanding a 50 thousand dollar fee to put out the fire you are already paying them to put out.
    Pure and simple.

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