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Senate Approves FAA Reauthorization

Provisions to release abandoned type certificate data included

March 23, 2010 — The United States Senate passed its $34.5 billion version of the three-year FAA Reauthorization Bill Monday and without user fees, maintaining the present system of (slightly higher) fuel excise taxes. The bill, passing on a unanimous (93-0) vote, would provide funding for development of the Next Generation Air Traffic Control (NextGen) system as well as $8.1 billion for the Airport Improvement Program with a general aviation fuel tax increase from 21.9 cents to 36 cents per gallon.

“This is a major milestone that puts our nation on a path to modernization of the air traffic control system,” said Tom Poberezny, EAA chairman/president. “We’re extremely pleased that user fees are not a part of this bill, but we also are vigilant and ready to act should user fees be proposed in this volatile economic climate.”

The house version passed last year with different language than the senate version, meaning it needs to be reconciled in a house-senate conference committee before being sent to the president.

Both bills, however, do contain identical language to allow the release of abandoned type certificate data, a provision EAA has been seeking for years in an effort to assist vintage aircraft owners in safely maintaining their aircraft. If that provision emerges in the final version, it represents a significant win for vintage aircraft owners.

“We’re pleased to see this language included in the FAA Reauthorization bill. It’s a great first step towards the release of data that is critical for the restoration and maintenance of these aeronautical national treasures,” notes H.G. Frautschy, Executive Director of EAA’s Vintage Aircraft Association. “While the number of abandoned type certificates is relatively low, and the actual amount of TC material maintained by the FAA is not complete, giving the FAA the legal authority to release abandoned type certificate data allows them to say ‘Yes,’ rather than being constrained by outdated rules.”

EAA is asking type club members and vintage aircraft owners who know of someone who might benefit from this provision to please let us know at vintageaircraft@eaa.org.

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