GA groups are applauding the introduction of the PLANE Act of 2019 by U.S. Senators James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and Angus King (I-Maine).
The Promoting the Launch of Aviation’s Next Era (PLANE) Act deals with a number of issues important to general aviation pilots, including:
- Ensures that tax receipts from all aviation fuel sources are deposited in the airport and airways trust fund
- Explicitly states that pilots facing an investigation by the FAA can appeal to a federal district court for a de novo trial and clarifies which party bears the burden of proof.
- Enhances legal protections for the aviation community by ensuring the NTSB has the authority to review the denial of an airmen medical certificate and require the FAA to find reasonable grounds to require the reexamination of a pilot certificate.
- Requires additional transparency in any FAA rulemaking, and full consideration of the impact any rulemaking may have on any certificate holders.
- Establishes a public-private partnership for general aviation airports to attract private sector investment.
- Designates qualified GA airports as “Disaster Relief Airports,” so that when a disaster occurs, they have the infrastructure to better support community response efforts.
- Empowers trained private citizens who want to certify pilots and aircraft (DPE/DAR) by giving them necessary civil liability protection.
- Allows Air Traffic Control applicants to include classroom and simulation training within an FAA-approved formal training process.
“The PLANE Act truly sets a positive path for the future of the aviation industry,” Inhofe said. “This legislation enhances legal protections for pilots that must contend with the federal bureaucracy, requires additional transparency when FAA makes decisions impacting aviation stakeholders and promotes investment at general aviation airports — the backbone of our national aviation system.”
King spoke of the bill’s importance to local economies, such as his home state of Maine.
“For rural Maine communities, general aviation is a vital lifeline — both literally and economically,” he said. “This legislation would make important investments in this pillar of our nation’s transportation system and would cut through bureaucratic burdens, so these airports, the men and women who operate them, and the pilots who travel to and from them can continue providing vital services to rural Maine people.”
The proposed legislation sets the stage for positive growth and future development for the aviation industry, added Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association.
“The general aviation industry is poised for a critical phase of innovation and progress — an era of advancement not witnessed in decades,” he said. “This legislation would help ensure that general aviation, which is an essential contributor to the nation’s economy, can continue its advancement in a safe and efficient manner for the benefit of all citizens.”