Dear Mr. Governor…

I’m insanely proud of myself.  Why would that be?  Because I finally sent Governor Spitzer a letter.  Alas, proceed.

Mr. Governor,
I’m writing to you regarding the bill that was passed requiring all potential flight students to undergo a background check in New York.  I’m a 15-year old flight student myself, and I’ve been flying out of Columbia County Airport for almost three years now.  When I read that this requirement was on the minds of state officials, I didn’t think that it would pose much of an inconvenience to prospective flight students.  However, as my knowledge of the bill and its requirements deepened, I came to realize that if this bill was passed, it would severely inconvenience both flight schools and flight students.  I quickly composed a letter to Mr. Pataki around the beginning of August, almost begging him not to sign Assembly Bill A02122, as it is very poorly written.  I also explained to him that in order to avoid having to go through the process of a background check, potential flight students could just make the trip across the border to surrounding states, which would severely damage New York’s flight schools.

When I received no reply from Mr. Pataki, I decided to email our Assemblyman, Patrick Manning.  I also explained in the note to him how asinine the proposition for this bill was and that he should vote against it.  I received a reply, but it was rather alarming.  He stated how he clearly understood the impact that the bill has on flight schools, but went on to say that the bill was vital to “national security”.  He referenced September 11th and the London terror plot as a reason for voting in favor of the bill.  It’s a shame that the London terror plot occurred so close to when Mr. Pataki was due to sign the bill, because apparently it influenced his decision to pass it even though he said that signing the bill was a tribute to the victims of September 11th.

Please understand, Mr. Spitzer, that I’m only 15.  I don’t wade in government waters very often, but my love for General Aviation has gotten the best of me and that’s why I’m writing to you.  I’ve been a member of AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) for a little over two years, and I’ve also been a member of EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) for over three years.  I love General Aviation more than anything, and I always have.  That’s why I’m putting up such a fight against this bill.  I feel that the members of the Assembly are not educated in the ways of Aviation to the extent of being able to write up a bill such as this.  I’ve only been flying for three years, but within that time frame I’ve seen many people try and destroy General Aviation.  The scary part is that my whole flying career lies ahead of me.  We’re constantly under attack for being potential terrorists, and now the whole state of New York has stepped up to the plate to bat against us.  And the worst part is that it’s all in the name of “National Security”.

There was an article published in the January issue of Flying Magazine that explains the situation of the bill, and it covers the facts better than I ever could.

I’m asking you on behalf of all New York pilots, both present and future, to rescind New York State Law 4493.  I’ve put so much effort into standing up for the future of General Aviation because I know you’ll listen with an open mind.

Sarah Hanlon

AOPA #05488037
EAA #724546

And that’s how the story goes.

Now we’ll just have to see if I get a reply.  Hopefully it’s convincing enough.


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