Aviation associations are mourning the loss of former Rep. Jim Oberstar, a staunch advocate for general aviation (GA) who represented Minnesota’s 8th district for a quarter century. His district included Cirrus Aircraft. Oberstar died on Friday at the age of 79.
“Jim Oberstar was a champion for GA, serving as a voice of reason in Congress, fighting for aviation trust fund dollars to make their way to community airports across the country and opposing user fees,” said AOPA president Mark Baker. “Oberstar and I not only shared the same home state, but also a passion for protecting general aviation. He will be truly missed in the aviation community and beyond.”
During Oberstar’s time in Congress, he held a key position of influence over aviation as the ranking member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and was a member of the House General Aviation Caucus. His leadership led to the passing of the General Aviation Product Liability Reform bill and several aviation funding bills, including AIR-21 and Vision-100, which boosted federal funding for airport protections and improvements. Oberstar also opposed making the Washington, D.C. Air Defense Identification Zone, now a special flight rules area, permanent.
“Congressman Oberstar was a true champion for general aviation, understanding and promoting its value to our economy and transportation system,” noted NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.