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Guest rookie101

I found this topic interesting and was wondering what the forum thought this might mean for the helicopter industry. To me it sounds like a tax for using an aircraft but I may be taking this the wrong way




The link is from verticalmag (obviously).

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I'm not sure to what degree helicopter operations could be effected by the decision, but you can thank the efforts of Phil Boyer & AOPA that we're not there already. They, almost singlehandedly, have stopped the transition to user fees for access to the system. NBAA and the corporate ops would get smacked first, along with aircraft over a certain size/weight...supposedly, GA would not be hit (immediately). To top it off, the governing board would be mostly ruled by represenative from the airlines; nothing wrong with that, until you understand they are protecting theri interests first = charging the rest of the flying communities to make up for their ineeficiencies and lost revenue/profits. HMmmm, kinda sounds like Jask Ask (JA) from SSH should try to be looking to get elected there too. Anyways, here's a quick blurb from AOPA:


User fees, a discussion presented at AOPA Expo

AOPA members were on the edges of their seats Thursday morning when they were informed about the potential horrors of a user fee-based air traffic control system.


Four leaders of the general aviation community as well as a congressman conducted a roundtable discussion during AOPA Expo's first of three general sessions. At issue was the airlines' proposal to shift $2 billion in taxes onto GA and wrest control of the ATC system. AOPA President Phil Boyer moderated the panel, representing what he described as "one big combined set of voices."


Those voices have been on the road to keep pilots informed about next year's funding debate that will begin when President Bush presents his budget in February. The airline industry is poised to spend millions to further its argument for a "cost-based revenue system."


Boyer said the debate is heating up because the existing law establishing the taxes on aviation users will expire in October. Those taxes currently finance the bulk of the FAA's budget.


Not about us?

The last big go-around on user fees occurred in 1997 when the well-established airlines were trying to tilt the playing field against low-cost carriers. As Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association, pointed out, the airlines kept saying that it wasn't about GA.


Now, he said, it's very much about GA. The airlines might say they are targeting business jets, but from experience elsewhere in the world, it trickles down.


"Once we start, it never stops," said Tom Poberezny, president of the Experimental Aircraft Association. "They [airlines] want to control more and pay less."


The various associations vowed to stick together for the upcoming battle.


Big pot of money

The FAA has long talked about its next-generation ATC system, but the panelists pointed out that the agency hasn't specified what it would entail. So far, it's been purely hypothetical, yet the FAA wants the money up front. And the numbers keep changing.


According to Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), it goes something like this: "The estimates of 'we don't know what we want' may be cheaper than what we thought we wanted."


What would the equipage requirements be? When would the system be active? Many questions remain.


Because user fees would not be considered taxes, as Boyer pointed out, they would fall outside congressional control. That means a new, costly collection system would have to be set up.


All costs go up

A user fee system could go beyond charging pilots for flight plans and weather briefings. Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, talked about how certification fees would increase the cost of aircraft ownership.


GA is at time where it is doing "tremendously well," and it is "one of the most heavily regulated industries you can think of," Bunce said. Certification fees would raise the cost of new airplanes, engines, and avionics. Such fees already exist in Europe, and they are on the rise. European aviation officials are also looking at levying fees on operators for continued airworthiness.


What you can do

Rep. Graves said there isn't a lot of awareness at the congressional level about the detrimental effects of user fees. The best thing is to educate your representative by looking for opportunities to meet them in person. More information will be available when President Bush's budget comes out later this winter.


AOPA will continue to make its case that the FAA should be funded with taxes, not user fees, and that Congress remain as the board of directors for the nation's air transportation system.


"We will overcome this as we have three times in the last decade," Boyer said. — Nate Ferguson


All that I can say: it's a slippery slope if they decide to cross that threshold. If you think it will cost a lot to fly now, wait till you get the charge just to get a Wx breifing or to do a practice instrument approach in the system. If you haven't already, join AOPA ($39/yr). True, AOPA oeson't rep the helo crowd as much as I would like, but 410,000 member screaming does a lot to make deaf politicians hear pretty clearly.




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In Europe you pay a fee everytime you take off and land from an airfield / airport.

This is a "User Fee".

That is one reason why so many Europeans come to the States to train.

This is what our government is considering doing to us.

Imagine $10.00 or $20.00 a pop everytime you do a touch and go.

Vote for your politicians carefully and join AOPA immediately if you haven't already done so.

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In Oz as well, there are user fees for airport use and for using facilities like ILS under the IFR and some other air traffic control items.


Luckily, helicopters don't use most of the chargeable items, except for the twin IFR machines. But our agreeable weather also means that the majority of flights can be done VFR, outside controlled airspace, and free.


Landing fees are based on weight, so choppers are cheap - but there is usually a minimum charge applied until you reach a certain weight. But nothing like the fixed-wing charges, because choppers don't incur damage or wear and tear to the runways and taxiways, or leave big smears of rubber on the concrete.


For circuit training, there is only a charge for the first landing and the rest for that session are free.

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