Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) is continuing his campaign to boost pilot rights and address issues affecting the U.S. general aviation (GA) community, jointly introducing new legislation, the Promoting the Launch of Aviation’s Next Era (Plane) Act of 2019, with Sen. Angus King (I-Maine). Announced yesterday, the Plane Act, S.2198, is designed to foster airport infrastructure, end the revenue diversion that has been ongoing with certain fuel taxes, strengthen pilot legal protections, and address a host of other issues.
“The Plane Act truly sets a positive path for the future of the aviation industry,” Inhofe said. “For rural Maine communities, general aviation is a vital lifeline—both literally and economically,” King added. “This legislation would make important investments in this pillar of our nation’s transportation system and would cut through bureaucratic burdens.”
The bill would increase the pilot’s ability to appeal cases in federal court and clarifies which party bears the burden of proof. It also would ensure the NTSB has the authority to review airmen medical certificate denials, call for additional transparency in FAA rulemaking, establish public-private partnerships for GA airports to attract private sector investment, designate qualified GA airports as “disaster relief airports” to ensure they have the proper infrastructure, provide civil liberty protections for designees, expand training options for air traffic control applicants, and ensure tax receipts from all aviation fuel sources are deposited in the aviation trust fund.
The bill has received a strong endorsement from a number of GA and other aviation groups, 13 of which wrote a letter saying the bill “sets the stage for the future of general aviation by empowering the voices of pilots, investing in airport infrastructure, and ensuring more opportunities for a trained aviation workforce."