Tiahrt Wants FAA to Promote Aviation

U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt said he will introduce legislation today that will make promotion of the aviation industry part of the Federal Aviation Administration's duties again.

The FAA used to promote aviation, but in 1996 that job was eliminated from its charter, a move that Tiahrt called a mistake.

"I think we've lost ground. We certainly have been over-burdened with regulations," he said Monday at a news conference at the Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita.

"We can continue to hold companies down, or we can work together with companies to make sure they promote aviation."

The potential conflict between promoting an industry and also regulating it was one reason the task was stripped from the FAA in 1996. But Tiahrt said the departments of commerce and agriculture regulate and promote their industries. He said Congress has been holding back industry from creating and keeping jobs for a generation.

"It's time we change that trend," he said. "By promoting aviation, the FAA can help maintain and create jobs."

For example, Tiarht said the FAA could simplify airplane certification. Currently the agency certifies each part of an airplane. Tiarht says the FAA could certify the process.

The FAA also could increase funding for research and development, said Chuck Knapp, Tiarht's spokesman.

The heads of three of Wichita's general aviation companies appeared with Tiahrt at the news conference to support the legislation.

They included Jim Schuster, president and chief executive of Raytheon Aircraft Co.; Jack Pelton, president, chairman and chief executive of Cessna Aircraft Co.; and Peter Edwards, president for business aircraft at Bombardier Aerospace.

Neither Boeing nor Onex Corp., which is negotiating to buy Boeing Wichita's commercial aircraft operation, was represented at the conference. But Tiahrt said those companies support his effort as well.