Sens. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) are hoping to tackle pilot shortage, training, and protections, as well as a range of other aviation issues, through a bill they introduced last week. The bill, the Securing and Revitalizing Aviation (SARA) Act of 2018 (S.3270), includes provisions that Inhofe had included in previous legislation, such as his Pilots Bill of Rights 2 and Forward-Looking Investment in General Aviation, Hangars, and Tarmacs (FLIGHT) Act of 2017.
One of the key provisions would create an Airline Pilot Education Program, authorizing up to $5 million a year in grants through 2023 for projects that would enable high school students to take aviation-related courses for credit. Other measures would reform regulations to help boost availability of designated pilot examiners, strengthen due process protections for pilots, and authorize NTSB review of FAA airman certificate denials.
It would also extend limited-liability coverage for FAA designees, modify tower marking requirements, and ensure availability of air traffic control services at major aviation events without additional fees being assessed.
The bill drew praise from NBAA, which pledged to work with the co-sponsors to encourage Senate passage. “We commend Senators Inhofe and Duckworth for sponsoring this important legislation, which will greatly benefit the general aviation community, and help preserve America’s world-leading position in all sectors of the industry,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.