What’s wrong with user fees?

The Oct. 7 issue of General Aviation News included several articles warning against the dire consequences of user fees being proposed by our federal government. In a letter to the editor, Kevin Mossey even made the astounding claim that we “all need to sacrifice” by accepting higher fuel taxes. One can only imagine that he works for the government, the only sector of our economy that has not experienced Great Depression-era unemployment the past three years.

In this same issue of GAN, LSA expert Dan Johnson reported that 122 new S-LSA models have been certified in the past six-and-a- half years. Congratulations Dan! Most of these aircraft come from European nations that have funded their aviation infrastructure through user fees for decades, hardly consistent with the gloom-and-doom predictions from our aviation alphabets.

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50 years of safe flying


Ohio’s Tom Root was awarded the Wright Brothers “Master Pilot” Award in September. He applied for the award “based on a lifetime of single pilot/photographer with over 5,000 hours doing aerial photography.”

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Beijing’s first GA firm

China Daily reported that the Beijing General Aviation Group (BGAG) has been co-founded by Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC) and Beihang University, in terms of capital ($15.7 million) and technologies, respectively. According to Wikipedia, BAIC is a state-owned automaker that manufactures Hyundai and Mercedes-branded autos for sale on the Chinese market.

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Congress is listening… at least one member is

Congressman Todd Rokita (Indiana) is a commercially-rated pilot who shares my concern with regulatory bloat and responded to my editorial “Have you put on some weight?

I recently read your editorial in General Aviation News titled “Have you put on a few pounds?” As both a commercially rated private pilot and as a member of Congress I share your concern with the regulatory bloat of the federal government. [Read more...]

Meet Larry Cruz, Reno Air Races crash survivor

Larry Cruz

Meet Larry Cruz. Larry was at the Reno’s National Championship Air Races last month when The Galloping Ghost crashed. Actually, Larry was under The Galloping Ghost when it crashed.

When the dust and debris settled following the horrific crash of September 16, Larry was barely conscious. Injuries included: a severed right hand, crushed right leg and foot, fractured skull, torn tendons and ligaments in the left arm and hand and extensive shrapnel wounds. His spirit, and desire to live, remained firmly intact.

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‘Congress must now act responsibly’

By Ben Sclair

The U.S. Senate passed legislation today (Thursday, September 15) that extends funding for the FAA four months and avoids a second partial FAA shutdown. The following quote on the topic blows me away. “It is a positive step for the country that the Congress has passed this historic combination of extensions, which is important for job creation and our nation’s infrastructure,” Rep. John L. Mica (R-FL) said.  “With the FAA bill delayed four and half years and a two year delay on the highway measure, Congress must now act responsibly to enact long-term reauthorizations that will put Americans back to work and build our nation’s infrastructure.”

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10-hour flight for EnergyOr UAV

MONTREAL — EnergyOr Technologies, a fuel cell energy developer, announced its fuel cell powered Faucon H2 UAV completed a 10-hour, 4-minute flight. From the press release, the Faucon H2 has a 3-meter (9.84 foot) wingspan, a 1.2-meter (3.93 foot) length and 9-kg (19.84 pound) mass and cruises at 65-100 km/h (40.38-62.13 mph).

After reading the release, I contacted EnergyOr President and CEO Michel Bitton. My question was simple: Can you elaborate on a potential road map for the fuel cell power technology and if you see it scaling up to serve light aircraft? Michel responded as follows: [Read more...]