WASHINGTON, DC, JUNE 22, 2011 – Leading organizations representing general aviation (GA) operators today moved ahead with a court challenge to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) decision to dismantle the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program, and announced the establishment of a fund to support the legal fight.
On behalf of GA operators, a formal notice of appeal has been filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; that notice will be followed by a motion to prevent the DOT from making any changes in current practice pending the court’s consideration of the appeal. Government officials put forth their plan for severely curtailing the BARR in a June 3 filing in the Federal Register.
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) said the legal filing is needed to preserve the BARR program, which was enabled by congress so that GA aircraft owners and operators could "opt out" of having their aviation movements broadcast over the internet. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), recognizing the threat to personal privacy, plans to support the legal challenge being mounted by NBAA and AOPA.
“As we have said, the DOT has chosen to look past the overwhelming number of principled objections to its plans for eliminating a program that has reliably served the general aviation community for more than a decade,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “The government’s plan sets the stage for anyone with an internet connection – terrorists, cyber-stalkers, paparazzi, criminals, business competitors – to follow the movements of citizens and companies in real time. The situation represents an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of aircraft owners and operators, a threat to the competitiveness of U.S. companies and a potential security risk to the persons aboard the aircraft, and we are confident the court will agree with this assessment.”
“The government’s position is akin to saying anyone with an internet connection has more of a right to know when you go through a toll booth using a Fast Pass-type device than you do to privacy,” added AOPA President and CEO Craig Fuller. “This is not about whether or not we pilots can hide our aircrafts’ whereabouts from the government. We can’t, nor do we wish to. Aviation and security officials have always had real-time access to aircraft movements. Rather, it’s about whether a privately owned vehicle can move freely about a transportation system held in public trust without broadcasting its exact location to the entire world against the will of the owner and operator.”
EAA President and CEO Rod Hightower agreed, adding: "Many EAA members fly primarily recreationally, and they also have made clear to us that they view the government's action as an unwarranted intrusion and a dangerous precedent. Therefore, we fully support the legal efforts of our fellow aviators and associations."
Bolen and Fuller also announced that in response to requests from NBAA and AOPA Members, a fund has been established for the industry to demonstrate its support to the legal challenge.
“A large number of people from the GA community have asked for ways they can support this effort, and the creation of this fund provides another means for them to do so,” Bolen said.
DOT's Move to Dismantle BARR Contested
The three associations will seek an injunction to prevent the decision from taking effect and will ask the courts to invalidate the new policy altogether.
Associations argue that the FAA's revisions to the BARR program are unlawful and should be invalidated.
Washington, DC, November 2, 2011 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today applauded Senate passage of an appropriations bill with language reinstating the Block Aircraft...