UPDATE: EAA Takes FAA to Court over AirVenture Fees

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

UPDATED: Fri 10:03 AM, Jul 5, 2013

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) -- The Experimental Aircraft Association is asking a federal appeals court to review payments to the Federal Aviation Administration for air traffic control services during its annual convention.

EAA filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago on Wednesday.

In May, the FAA told EAA officials the cost for 87 air traffic controllers and supervisors to come to Oshkosh for AirVenture would be $447,000.
Last month, AirVenture made a partial payment with the remaining sum to be paid after the FAA completes its duties at the convention.

EAA is asking the appeals court to reverse the FAA's decision to demand the payment and return the money already paid.

FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said in an email Friday he couldn't comment on pending legal actions.

UPDATED: Fri 10:08 AM, Jun 14, 2013

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) -- The Experimental Aircraft Association has agreed to pay the Federal Aviation Administration $450,000 for air traffic control services during the upcoming AirVenture fly-in -- but under protest.

EAA Chairman Jack Pelton says the FAA held his organization hostage by demanding the fee or causing it to cancel the popular air show. Pelton says EAA agreed to pay the money because there was no other realistic choice to preserve aviation's largest annual gathering.

The FAA said it would bill the EAA for 87 air traffic controllers in order to meet mandatory federal budget cuts.

Oshkosh Northwestern Media reports Pelton says AirVenture is a pawn in the larger sequestration political standoff.

ORIGINAL STORY: 6/5 at 3:03 p.m.

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) -- Experimental Aircraft Association officials are objecting to a $500,000 bill for air traffic control for the association's annual convention in Wisconsin.

The AirVenture convention draws tens of thousands of pilots and aviation enthusiasts to Oshkosh each summer.

The Federal Aviation Administration usually has its controllers staff the tower at Wittman Regional Airport during the show. The influx of planes makes the air traffic control tower the busiest in the world during the duration of the show.

EAA Chairman Jack Pelton tells Oshkosh Northwestern Media that this year, the FAA has demanded $500,000 from the EAA to cover air traffic costs or it won't staff the event. Pelton says EAA can pay the fee but he worries that other air shows hit with similar demands won't be able to.

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