OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ) - Hundreds of pilots flew into Oshkosh Sunday – and thousands more are expected Monday, as the week-long Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture Show begins.
Many pilots were angered by a fee to help pay for air traffic controllers that the Federal Aviation Administration used to provide for free. This year, the FAA charged the EAA almost a half-million dollars to provide 87 controllers for this week’s Oshkosh events.
It equals about $45 for each plane that goes in and out of Wittman Airport. The cost of the controllers is part of the federal fuel tax for general aviation – and the pilots say the EAA is being taxed twice. The organization says the controller fees will cut into the donations they’re able to make with the show’s proceeds.
The EAA has asked a federal appeals court in Chicago to overturn the fee. A decision is not expected until after the show.
The congressman who represents Oshkosh, Republican Tom Petri of Fond du Lac, has asked U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to overturn the EAA charge. Senate Republican Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma tells the Web site Politico that he spoke with Foxx after a committee meeting last week – and Foxx said he’s thinking about dropping the charge.
Petri says the FAA’s fee is, “misguided and short sighted.”
Over a half-million people are expected to attend the AirVenture Show, which features numerous forums, displays, air shows, and other performances.