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All We Want Is To Be Left Alone – But Congress Won’t Give Us That Choice

Most operators of general aviation airplanes use their planes for business, and the flexibility and freedom our airplane gives us is an important part of our business—and our lives.

Even so, most of us never give any thought to supporting business aviation politically. We rely on organizations like NBAA to carry our water for us. That’s what they do. And I might add that they do it very well and very professionally. Most of us just want to run our businesses and leave the government to NBAA. All we want from the government is to be left alone. We are a self-reliant group.

“If we want to keep things the same,
we’re going to have to make some changes.”

The problem is that government isn’t going to leave us alone. Business aviation is taking it on the chin in Congress and in the sphere of public opinion. If we want to keep things the same, we’re going to have to make some changes.

As good as NBAA is, and they are the best there is—we couldn’t have better representation than them—they can’t do it without us.

The problem is that they are professionals, and they are seen that way by members of Congress and their staff. When a member of the aviation community speaks up, they have much more authenticity.

NBAA-LogoOK, so what do I want you to do? Well first of all, if you use your airplane for business, and you haven’t already done so, you should join NBAA. You may think NBAA is just for the big operators with multiple big jet airplanes. That’s exactly what those in Congress who oppose business aviation would like you to think. They want to divide and conquer. NBAA strongly supports all business aviation, and they need our support.

Then I think you should go to the NBAA Convention in Orlando October 20th through 22nd, to learn more about the issues. They have a track for business operators with only one or two aircraft, from pistons up through light jets.


They’ll have all these airplanes on display.

They’ll have seminars on subjects like:

  • Contract jet fuel programs that can save us up to 50 cents per gallon on nearly every purchase
  • How to save money and hassles through good tax planning for your airplane
  • How using the internet and mobile technology can make it much easier to plan our trips, file our flight plans, and know in advance the clearance ATC plans to give us


Plus, Martha and I will do a seminar on stepping up to jets. We’ll tell folks the things that we wish we had been told before we made that big step—including the big-time and expensive maintenance surprises that were in store for us.

Finally, when you are needed, step up to the plate and tell your Congressman, Senators, and local politicians the reality about issues involving business aviation.

Folks, please join us in Orlando October 20th through 22nd. You’ll be glad you did.

We’ll see you there.

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  1. Mike Torma

    I’m one of the many “Joe Pilots” out there. And I have to side with Jim on the numbers data question, though I believe it would actually be better for GA if “Joes” are not in the majority.

    I do belong to AOPA, and I fly with the Civil Air Patrol some times, but I don’t use a plane for business. In fact, woefully, I’m one of the increasing number of GA pilots who don’t even own one. Considering both the economy and my current age, I’m unlikely to, either.

    I find myself just as disenfranchised on the GA issues as on health care. Well meaning and as active on our behalf as they are, I don’t think AOPA, NBAA, et al, make a serious difference once the politicians and the bureaucrats get very far down a particular path— for reasons far too lengthy for a blog.

    The organizations can help if they watch dog every aviation bill in both houses of Congress, e-mail all their members for write -ins on specific bills, and do likewise for FAA proposals as they are unveiled. Then it does take a committed populous, the rest of us, to write, call and hold to account the elected officials, both for their decisions, and for what they allow the administration of the FAA to carry forward. Jefferson had it right when he said, “No more good should be attempted than the people can bear.”

  2. Ha (Vietnamese name, meaning: River), nickname: Angus

    I have the invitation from John and Martha King/ Mr and Mrs King
    thank you for the invitation.

    Aviation = our future; travel, tourism, aviation are our freedom

  3. Bill Bingham

    Amen to Mark Smith’s comment. How about the 747 that serves as Air Force One when the president is aboard flying low over Manhattan for a “photo-op” terrorizing the citizens in the process? Buildings were evacuated and businesses shut down. What if that had been Joe the GA pilot in his C-172? Joe would probably serving prison time.

  4. jim

    John & Martha,
    Do you have a reference to support the opening phrase of your essay, “Most operators of general aviation airplanes use their planes for business…” ? It may be true that most of the flight hours are business-related, but I am willing to bet that most *operators* are flying for personal interest or on occasional personal missions (family to the beach, daughter to college, ski trip, etc). Joe Pilot may have a Cherokee that sits in the tie-down for three weeks while you log fifty hours; but I believe there are ten of Joe for every John King. I am afraid the NBAA has little to offer Joe.
    More significantly, Joe is not tuned in to all the news feeds from AOPA, NBAA, EAA and so forth; Joe (or Jane) may not learn about the 12.5 rule or the manifest requirement until that Cherokee or Bonanza gets on the way to Florida from Lower Somewhere. Rather than preach to the choir, and tell the members of NBAA, especially the faithful who attend conventions, that they need to write to Congress, more importantly we need to find a means of reaching all the thousands who belong to no alphabet organization, and get THEM to write.

    How can the word get out to – not just the business operator – but the personal operator, the pilot who flies 40-50 hours a year, on hamburger runs or trips to visit grandma? What will energize these pilots to storm the halls of congress and demand that we be treated like full citizens, with as much right to travel as the folks who rent Ryder trucks or Avis SUV’s? Not NBAA, I venture; but who? How?

  5. joe grimes

    Regarding Mark Smith’s comment: You sound surprized that the politicians are hypocritical. This administrration and the democrats in general are elitist. No one by them, and maybe hollywood, is worthy of such assets as airplanes.

  6. Steve Crowley

    As an active pilot since 1986 (I soloed in 1970) using aviation in my smaller business allowed me to grow and create jobs.
    Small business has always been the nation’s jobmaker, and business aviation contributes to higher employment mightily.

    By the way, I have been a major fan and customer of John and Martha King for 25 years. They helped me to secure my higher ratings, and to stay current, sharp and to stay alive. Keep up the great work NBAA and King Schools too!

  7. Mark W. Smith

    I suggest you might want to make a comparison between business aviation and the use that the Administration is using of their aviation assets. It seems as though the President can’t get through a single week without using AF-1, Marine One and all of the aircraft that support his movements. Ms. Pelosi can’t get by a week without using the assets of the 89th MAW at Andrews, and numerous Congressional junkets use transportation provided by the Air Force. Sort of hypocritical of our lawmakers to criticize free enterprise for using the same type of assets that the government uses daily. Whats more is that we pay for our government officials travel whereas companys and private individuals who use general aviation pay for it themselves. If they want to ground us, they need to look at themselves first.

  8. ed

    they see us as having luxuries that they can’t have. so they want us to pay. put some effort into the idea that this is just another job like everybody elses. much less dangerous than a car!!!!! even though our mistakes make headlines!!! perhaps 911 has given us a bad association.

  9. Bob Reid

    Where was the NBAA when we asked them to stop the International registry? now if you want to buy or sell a turboprop or helicopter you have to spend an extra couple thousand dollars in Ireland. It’s a load of crap..but it was a first step recognized by many in the GA community. It all fell on deaf we are in more trouble and they are waking up? Don’t worry, they will make some kind of a deal with Washington that involves airplane owners and pilots paying some kind of a tax or fee approved by the NBAA .

    Bob Reid

  10. Warren Oliver

    Right ON! I just got back from picketing downtown the way Congress and the President are trying to hogtie our freedoms!

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