EAA petitions federal court on ATC charges

The Experimental Aircraft Association(EAA) filed a petition July 3 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, asking the court to review and provide relief from payments demanded by the FAA in relation to air traffic control services at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

In its petition, EAA asks the court to stop the FAA from “augmenting its congressionally approved appropriation through unilaterally imposed fees on aviation events such as AirVenture.”

EAA officials maintain the fees were imposed without standard notice and comment procedure from the FAA, making it procedurally improper and unlawful.

“While we understand the FAA’s position and the temptation to augment its congressional appropriation, we naturally don’t agree since we believe this approach unlawfully circumvents congressional approval and standard due process,” said EAA Chairman Jack J. Pelton. “This affects AirVenture and numerous other aviation events throughout the nation in an unauthorized and unjustified manner. That is why we are seeking review, relief, and clarification from the court.”

Despite the FAA receiving exclusive authority from Congress in April to internally move funds within the agency’s budget specifically for air traffic control services, the FAA told EAA in early May that it would demand a signed contract and payments for air traffic and safety services that had been annually budgeted in the past. Those fees eventually totaled $447,000. Other aviation events throughout the nation were also assessed fees without warning or the standard notice and comment procedure.

As part of the petition, EAA is asking the court to reverse the FAA’s decision to seek these payments, as well as the return of fees already paid and other costs incurred.

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Comments

  1. Derek Lawless says:

    I am a pilot. I love flying airplanes. I think AirVenture is an awesome event. I hate paying taxes. I am an EAA, AOPA, and CPA member. I’m not a huge supporter of the current administration.

    Now that I’ve said all that, I’d like to point out that all the folks who complain about the government (FAA) asking the EAA (private organization) to pay for services in one breath, and then in the next about how the government is wasting tax payers’ dollars isn’t being realistic, completely logical, or fair.

    We were all deeply bothered by the proposed tower closing, and yet we don’t want to pay our fair share. Was the way the FAA handled the AirVenture fees a little underhanded? Yes. Does it seem like sometimes the FAA isn’t our ally in GA? Yes. Is it realistic to expect a private organization that runs an event the size and scope of AirVenture to pay its own way rather than spending taxpayers’ dollars? Yes.

    Rather than complaining we should be proud that we’re setting a good example by paying our own way, and demonstrating that GA is strong and vibrant enough to do so.

  2. And everyone is wondering why general aviation is in decline. It is becoming clear that our nation is passing the ‘point of no return’ to common sense due to the momentum of our juggernaut government.

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