Bipartisan Bill Aims To Tackle Pilot Shortage, Boost General Aviation

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 recently introduced bill. 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 key provision 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 National Transportation Safety Board review of Federal Aviation Administration airman certificate denials.

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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 the National Business Aviation Association,  which pledged to work with the cosponsors to encourage Senate passage.

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