The General Aviation Restoration Act of 2018

It is a vital national interest, and a transportation infrastructure critical need, that this country restore a vibrant and growing, private and commercial, general aviation sector and community. In that regard I propose that the following shall be enacted:

1. Set up a grant program through the FAA for any high school; public, private, or home school; that wants to offer Private Pilot Ground School as a regular course, employing local flight instructors as teachers, not regular public/private/home school teachers unless they are CFI’s, or have acquired an Advanced Ground Instructor certificate. The instructors, including home school teachers, shall be paid by FAA grant at the same hourly/salary rate as a local first year teacher for first year instructors, and match the yearly increase for each year of flight instruction, to the yearly increase for each year of teaching, at the school offering the ground school; or for home school teachers, the prevailing wage at the nearest public high school.

2. Flight instruction used to be covered by the G.I. Bill once a veteran had the Private. We need it to start covering flying from the first lesson. Veterans and reserve military shall have a full tuition/instruction cost reimbursement upon flight employment at a commercial operator, after graduation from an academic flight program, for any flight expense beyond the G.I. Bill.

3. Starting at the child’s age of 15, parents, and flight students starting at age 18, shall have up to $6,000 in tax credits per year available for flight instruction at any level, certificate or rating, including solo training flights leading to certification. At $150 an hour that’s 40  hours of flight time per year covered by the tax credit.  That is the current FAA minimum flight time to achieve a Private Certificate.  Additional expenses per year should be borne by the flight students, and/or parents of minor age students.  Granted the average time for a Private is far higher that the minimum 40 hours, however, improvements in how we train pilots because of this act should greatly reduce that high average time.

4. Reimbursement of college tuition upon hiring by an airline or commercial flight operation. For students of Embry Riddle or the University of North Dakota for example, or any qualified college or university flight program, any student that completes the flight program, gets their ratings, hours, and a four year degree, upon being hired, the federal government will credit their first tax return with the cost of 4 years of tuition. Failure to complete the program, or be hired, shall subject the student to all loans and costs, except during times of documented pilot layoff or furlough, in which case tuition or loan payments will be deferred until such time as new pilots are being hired again.

A similar program should be developed for airframe and power plant mechanics, and aviation management professionals at general aviation airports.  This is where additional input from knowledgeable experts would be greatly appreciated.  Also, if I am duplicating programs already in existence, they should be removed from this bill as well.

5. In order to restore the vibrant general aviation community of non-commercial, private pilots, the same individual tax credit of $6,000 per year shall be available for fuel, maintenance, instruction, rental, equipment, charts, or any cost directly related to private flying, the furthering of flight training, private aircraft ownership and maintenance, any expense related to and in promotion of general aviation activities, or any other bona fide private aviation expense.  This includes but is not limited to all pleasure flying, checkouts, flight reviews, etc.. In order to promote current and new aircraft ownership, all privately owned aircraft shall be considered as business aircraft for tax purposes regardless of any business use of the aircraft, with business deductions and credits to be awarded by Congress to encourage private aircraft ownership.   Any entrepreneurial effort regarding the creation of flying schools or clubs shall be eligible for tax incentives, grants, and help and promotion by the FAA to encourage such efforts.

6. The air traffic control system shall never be privatized. It shall remain publicly funded, and the joint responsibility of the military and the FAA in perpetuity so that general aviation participants never have this additional expense, nor waste further time and effort in defending against this program.

7. Noise complaints, communities who wish to close down airports, or runways, shall be addressed based on who was there first. If the airport was there first and the community grew to the airport, then the airport has priority and supremacy. If the airport came later, and the community was there first, then the community has priority and supremacy. Previous airports which were there before the community grew to them and were subsequently closed, shall be restored and made operational again wherever possible, including purchasing land and property by fair market value, as the aviation infrastructure is a national transportation and national security priority.

8. New, efficient, green, and auto fuel technology aircraft shall have substantial research grants and tax incentives to provide general corporate and private aviation with the next generation of aircraft, for example aircraft developed by Burt Rutan at Scaled Composites. Existing private aircraft shall be examined for conversion to different engines and fuels, and the grants, subsidies, and tax reforms to enable it be provided.  Composite material, computer aided design, alternative fuel, new engine, micro turbo prop and jet engines for private aircraft shall be a priority. All aircraft should have angle of attack indicators that are clearly read and easy to use.  New designs and technology shall not be subject to excessive lawsuits, but shall be protected with limited liability, limited to the actual aircraft design and function of the technology, and not subject manufacturers and designers to civil or criminal lawsuits for pilot or maintenance failures or errors. 100LL avgas shall be subsidized to equal the price of Jet A, until such time as auto and alternative fuel technology including diesel and other fuels, and alternative power plants, shall be readily available.

For further reading on the previous General Aviation Revitalization Act, see this link:

https://www.wilsonelser.com/files/repository/GARA_April2006.pdf

9. We need to remove the distinction and separation of experimental aircraft and regular production aircraft, and consider any viable design on its capabilities regardless of previous distinction.  Multiple use, light sport aircraft such as the amphibious Icon A5 for example, shall be of particular interest and advancement as viable, general aviation training and recreational aircraft.  Continued research and development of light sport aircraft, and for sport and recreational aircraft in general, should continue, but the limitations of seat, engine, fuel, altitude, and other limitations, restrictions, and classifications should be removed.  Every design should be considered on it’s own merit and not force aircraft designers and manufacturers into designing for a category or arbitrary limiting criteria.  Each design should be allowed to maximize its design capability without restriction, except those set by the designers, engineers and manufacturers.  The categories and limitations should be designated to describe the aircraft, and not the aircraft designed to the categories and limitations.  All tax subsidies, incentives and infrastructure type aid currently available for electric vehicles, shall be at a minimum, duplicated identically in proportion, value, and scope, and equally granted to all general aviation aircraft, pilots, and infrastructure.

10. Tax credits and deductions shall be offered to academic institutions, private companies, and individuals, for the purpose of developing aviation competitive sports between colleges and universities, flight schools, military and civilian pilots, air show acts, private flying clubs and organizations, commercial sports teams similar to any sport such as Major League Baseball for example, or any recognized group, or any combination of the above mentioned groups, for the purpose of advancing the science and practice of flight, through competition. Rallies, races, and distance flying; three aircraft competitions such as glider, helicopter and airplane; coast to coast, simulated air combat, or any flying sport yet to be developed; shall all be eligible for the credits and deductions.  All costs of aircraft purchase, maintenance, and instruction, for the purpose of competitive aviation sports, shall also be eligible for research and implementation grants, and tax credits, incentives, and deductions.

11. Flight instructors, a critical yet traditionally abused sector of the aviation community, shall have a personal tax exemption of $35,000 per year on all income, and they shall declare all income related to flying and instruction, every year.  Instructors shall at least maintain all deductions related to employee or independent contractor costs of flight instruction employment, materials, equipment, training, certification, flight review, medical, and any other related expense.  Employers at flight schools who use this provision to exploit their instructors paying substantially below the regional wage for instructors shall be subject to removal of all credits and deductions, and shall be subject to fines and penalties yet to be determined.

12. Innovation, resourcefulness, and creativity at all levels of aviation instruction and flight operations, both private and commercial, shall be encouraged. Flight academies, universities, schools, and individuals, actively engaged in the process and research of creating and experimenting with new and better ways to fly, shall have eligible grants based on the scope and potential of their research.  New fields of human learning techniques, analysis of mental and physical coordination and integration; philosophy, physiology and psychology; shall wherever possible go beyond the theoretical and into actual practice.  Backing and funding such research shall be a priority to insure progress in aviation and the means to learn to fly better, not just safer.

13.  Best practices, innovative ideas, creative and better procedures, individual discoveries, shall be documented and submitted to the FAA for inclusion in official procedures, instruction materials, practical test standards, air traffic control procedures, and all other operations subject to the FAA. The FAA shall publish monthly a compilation of such ideas and innovations submitted to the FAA, where such submissions will be divided into instruction, private aviation, corporate aviation, instrument flying, maintenance, new aircraft design ideas, new technology ideas, new flight procedures, new emergency procedures, and other categories yet to be determined. The FAA shall develop rewards or prizes to be awarded each month to the best idea in each category equal to at least one hour of flight time in a high-performance piston aircraft.  Congressional oversight of the FAA shall insure this becomes a priority of the FAA, and that the best ideas and practices become fully integrated into the rules and procedures of the FAA, and throughout the aviation community.

14.  It is time to make general aviation, commercial and especially private aviation, as successful, well funded, and as well advanced, as airline and military aviation.  Congress shall appropriate the funds, enact the tax credits and deductions, and write the enabling legislation, for this act to be successful.

 

Huge savings to pay for this Act can be easily acquired by passing other WriteYourLaws bills, particularly concerning removal and defunding of illegal aliens, and welfare elimination in time.  This plus the growing economy from the recent tax cuts make for the perfect time to revitalize general aviation, and provide the pilots for all other aviation requirements, both civilian and military.  Maybe young kids will dream about flying airplanes again, and maybe if they have the will to succeed, we will have provided the means.

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