By Sarah Brown
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) gave a pilot and lawmaker’s perspective on general aviation issues as diverse as user fees, airspace modernization, fuel development, and aircraft certification Oct. 12 in a wide-ranging discussion at AOPA Aviation Summit.
Issa and AOPA President Craig Fuller discussed issues critical to GA during a session in the Learning Pavilion in the Palm Springs Convention Center exhibit hall. Issa assured attendees that opposition to aviation user fees is strong in Congress, regardless of the White House position, and remarked that the search for new GA fuels must take into account aircraft in the existing fleet.
“These aircraft have many, many years left in them, and they’re part of our society, and often they’re trainer aircraft,” Issa said.
The California lawmaker also touched upon the long-term effort to modernize the air traffic control system, expressing frustration at the pace of progress in realizing benefits such as point-to-point travel, and voiced support for the simplification of certification of new aviation products.
Pilots can help their legislators understand GA by telling their personal story, Issa said.
“Every one of you needs to take a picture of your airplane, include it in a correspondence with your member of Congress, and make it clear to them that general aviation runs from a Stearman to a Citation Ten,” he said.
Issa was one of a number of lawmakers who spent some time at Summit this year. Fuller recognized him along with Reps. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) and Sam Graves (R-Mo.) during the morning keynote session.