Phil Boyer...AOPA Pilot Town Meeting


Does It Really Matter....?
Staff member
Last night I attended a meeting with Phil Boyer and just wanted to share a couple of things that were brought up.
- As far as privatization of ATC there are currently 209 GA contract towers. There are 69 under consideration. Many of those under consideration are VFR towers. I got the idea that Phil Boyer/AOPA is not against the privatization. It seems their take is some tower is better than no tower (if the FAA choses to close it).

- There is currentely a bill working its way through Congress. 'Vision 100' Reauthorization Bill. Every 3 or 4 years the funding needs to get reauthorized for the various airport uses.

- Starting next week, the AOPA website is going to begin rolling out a new online flight planner that was developed with our friends from Jeppessen. They previewed last night and it is a very slick setup. They will be randomly selecting 30,000 AOPA members to start using it. They want to test the bandwidth that it will use and they plan to make it available to all AOPA members by the end of the month.

- The WAAS system should be providing vertical guidance by the end of the year.
I think AOPA and Boyer are very against the privatization of ATC. Here is an article that appeared in the mag.

AOPA-backed bill to ban privatized ATC introduced in U.S. House

Apr. 22 — Following an intense Capitol Hill campaign, bipartisan legislation to keep air traffic control (ATC) in government hands is now pending in Congress. AOPA has spoken in favor of this legislation.

The White House Office of Management and Budget had declared ATC a "commercial activity," opening the possibility that ATC operations could be turned over to private contractors. Such a move could ultimately lead to a private corporation running the nation's air traffic control and charging user fees.

During Capitol Hill testimony earlier this month, AOPA President Phil Boyer called for legislation declaring ATC an "inherently governmental" function. "According to the OMB itself," Boyer noted, "inherently governmental functions are those 'so intimately related to the public interest as to mandate performance by federal employees.' We believe that air traffic control meets the definition of 'inherently governmental.'"

Republican representatives Jack Quinn (R-N.Y.), and Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) have joined James Oberstar (D-Minn.), the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), senior Democrat on the aviation subcommittee, to introduce a bill declaring that air traffic control (ATC) is an inherently government function.

Citing poor results in countries that have tried privatized ATC, Rep. DeFazio said, "We can't afford to contract out the safety of the flying public to the lowest bidder."

Fellow sponsor Rep. Quinn added, "It is imperative that our air traffic controllers continue to serve as a federal government entity."

The Air Traffic Control System Integrity Act of 2003 (H.R. 1711) is a companion piece to legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). <font color="red"> Damn Democrats, -my addition </font>

"I am encouraged to see a commitment by key leaders in both chambers of Congress to prevent any movement toward that end," said Boyer.
In the meeting last night Phil Boyer gave the follwoing reasoning for the privatization.....

When I say privatization, he was not speaking of the entire system. There are some towers that are VFR only and right now that is what the FAA is looking to privatize. There are times when you have to choose your battles.

As he stated last night, "Some tower is better than no tower at all".