NBAA, AOPA, EAA Fight Barr Changes in Courts

 - June 7, 2011, 10:25 AM

Following publication Friday in the Federal Register of a final rule that essentially dismantles the Block Aircraft Registration Request (Barr) program, NBAA, AOPA and EAA announced yesterday they are collaborating on a legal challenge to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) decision. The three associations are seeking an injunction to prevent the final rule from taking effect on July 26 and will also ask the courts to invalidate the new policy altogether. “The DOT’s inexplicable decision last week to abandon a widely supported, congressionally enabled policy permitting private citizens to opt out of publicly available flight tracking applications leaves us no choice but to challenge the move in court,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “The agency appears to have simply ignored the thousands of individuals and companies that voiced their strong and principled opposition to this change.” Bolen called the Barr changes “an alarming development, with implications that extend well beyond private aviation.” Noting that the government “necessarily collects” a lot of information about private activities as part of legitimate governmental functions, he said, “This is the first time an agency has claimed the public’s interest in ‘open government’ requires public dissemination to anyone with an Internet connection of wholly personal and private information simply because it happens to be in the government’s possession.” AOPA president and CEO Craig Fuller and EAA president and CEO Rod Hightower also railed against the DOT for “removing our privacy rights as aviators and as American citizens.”