Inhofe’s 38th annual trip to Oshkosh was delayed due a late vote that required him to remain in Washington, but he eventually joined his son at their regular North 40 camping spot at this year’s show.
Although Inhofe has President Trump’s ear and supports him on many issues, he shares the concerns expressed by the general aviation community regarding the ATC privatization effort that Trump favors.
Due to the efforts of general aviation pilots, he believes the issue is “dead” in the Senate and losing support in the House of Representatives.
Signage and T-shirts seen throughout the AirVenture grounds repeated the message to Congress that ATC is not for sale and “modernize, don’t privatize.”
“It’s because of you that we had the success we’ve had so far,” Inhofe said during a Saturday morning public forum with AirVenture attendees.He also emphasized that “it’s not over yet” because the House version of the FAA reauthorization bill still includes ATC privatization, although he does not think there are enough votes to move it forward.
When thanked for pushing the Pilots Bill of Rights legislation through Congress last year, Inhofe, 82, confirmed that he is one of the thousands of pilots who have already taken advantage of the new BasicMed option that became available in May.
Inhofe cited further successes expected from new legislation he introduced in the Senate as part of the current FAA Reauthorization Bill. Included are expanded legal options when pilots are faced with an FAA enforcement action and improved funding for infrastructure improvements at GA airports.
In addition, the FAA will be required to publish all NOTAMS in a central, easy to find location.
Inhofe, who has over 11,000 flight hours, is the only active pilot in the Senate. He flies a Cessna 340 twin and an RV-8 (pictured above).