The Washington Pilots Association presented AOPA President Mark Baker with a $1,000 contribution to go toward AOPA’s advocacy efforts on the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act. Washington Pilots Association President Les Smith and Director Jim Posner presented Baker with the check in Seattle on May 6.
Under the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act, pilots who make noncommercial VFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats would be exempt from the third class medical certification process. Pilots would be allowed to carry up to five passengers, fly at altitudes below 14,000 feet msl, and fly no faster than 250 knots. The FAA would be required to report on the safety consequences of the new rule after five years.
Posner and Washington Pilots Association Legislative Director Dr. Blake McKinley spearheaded their organization’s contribution, noting that many in their organization feel that third class medical reform is one of the most significant steps that could be taken to protect and expand GA. The Washington Pilots Association's contribution is a recognition of how important this initiative is to Washington state’s pilots, and how appreciative the association is of AOPA’s efforts to protect and grow GA.
State organizations like the Washington Pilots Association are smaller than national organizations, so it wanted to leverage national advocacy efforts like the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act and get the biggest bang for the buck, said Posner. “We want to make sure that this helps not only pilots in our state but for GA in general, which is a win-win for everyone,” he said. “The third class medical bill has the potential effect of getting a ton of people back in the air and it’s good for everyone, including flight schools, manufacturers, and airports.”
The Washington Pilots Association's donation is a great example of local pilots engaging on critical issues, and working with AOPA to support initiatives that are beneficial to general aviation, said AOPA Northwest Mountain Regional Manager David Ulane. “AOPA and the Washington Pilots Association have an excellent collaborative relationship on local, state, and federal GA issues, and all members should continue to reach out to their federal elected officials, and encourage them to support the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act.”