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GA Leaders Focus on Important Issues at Tarkio Fly-In

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Congressman Sam Graves addresses Rod Hightower, Craig Fuller, Ed Bolen, and the rest of the GA leaders panel Saturday at the Wingnuts Flying Circus Fly-In.

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Rod Hightower speaks at the town hall meeting about creating the next generation aviator.

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Hightower shows Congressman Graves his T-6.

July 11, 2011 – It was hot and humid last Saturday as more than 8,000 people attended EAA Chapter 1405’s annual Wingnuts Flying Circus Fly-In at Gould Peterson Memorial Airport (K57) in Tarkio, Missouri. Always known to feature plenty of magnificent airplanes – military aircraft from the 139th Airlift Wing of the Missouri Air National Guard, civilian TC and homebuilt aircraft, and top aerobatic performers like Sean Tucker, Greg Poe, and John Mohr - this year did not disappoint. But the grassroots event in Tarkio has also become a place where many of GA’s most influential leaders to meet and further cement their common goals to preserve, protect, and grow aviation, and never was that more apparent that this year.

“Tarkio really is the epicenter of the GA universe for the day,” said EAA President/CEO Rod Hightower, who flew in with his North American T-6 Texan. Rep.

Sam Graves (R-Mo.), a member of Chapter 1405, hosts GA leaders including Hightower, Craig Fuller, AOPA; Ed Bolen, NBAA; Pete Bunce, GAMA; Jim Coyne, NATA, and Ed DiCampli, HAI. Topics were familiar ones: the future replacement for leaded aviation fuel and the California lawsuit seeking to essentially halt GA in that state; the interference problems with GPS units caused by LightSquared’s proposed 4-G network; bonus depreciation for corporate aircraft, and the recent high-level demonization of aviation; the BARR law; and creating the next generation of aviators.

“Each leader is managing the key issues well for their memberships, but we’re also collaborating in a way we never have before with our collective resources to keep aviation strong,” Hightower said. “We’re all interdependent on each other being successful.”

Also attending from EAA HQ were Vice President of Industry and Regulatory Affairs Sean Elliott, Barry Elk, director of membership marketing, and David Oord, EAA government advocacy specialist.

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