Proposed Caps on Vets Training Benefits Draws Fire

 - December 4, 2017, 10:48 AM

Eight aviation associations appealed to the leadership of the U.S. House Veterans' Affairs Committee to scrap a measure that would cap flight-training benefits to veterans. The measure is included in H.R.4149, a bill introduced by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) in late October to improve veterans’ assistance for flight training. 

In a November 28 letter, the associations praised provisions in the bill designed to improve access to and delivery of the benefits. These measures include accelerated payments, coverage for a private pilot license when incorporated in a professional flight-training program and flexibility for public schools to contract for flight training.

But while the bill would help with the efficiency of the program, the associations protested another measure to put limits on payments. “The proposed capping of program payments undermines the important goal of helping our nation’s veterans enter a field where they are desperately needed,” the associations said. Noting the in-depth, complex training required to become a civilian commercial pilot, the associations added, “Capping funds available for flight-training degree programs virtually guarantees that veterans seeking to use their GI Bill benefits to enter the aviation industry will have insufficient funds to achieve their goals.”

The associations call the measure “unfair and discriminatory” for singling out aviation in the funding caps.

The letter was signed by leaders of the Air Medical Operators Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, National Air Transportation Association, National Business Aviation Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association and National Association of State Aviation Officials.