Mr. COHEN. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 1284) supporting the goals and ideals of International Learn to Fly Day, and for other purposes, as amended.
The Clerk read the title of the resolution.
The text of the resolution is as follows:
H. Res. 1284
Whereas, since the birth of flight, aviation has had a tremendous impact on the imagination, innovation, and economy of the United States;
Whereas many of the Nation's heroes have been pilots, including the Wright brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Charles ``Chuck'' Yeager, the Nation's astronauts and military aviators, and the flight crew of U.S. Airways Flight 1549, among others;
Whereas every one of these individuals had to learn to fly before they could achieve their greatness;
Whereas there are approximately 600,000 pilots and approximately 230,000 commercial and general aviation airplanes in the United States;
Whereas flight brings joy, inspiration, and a sense of accomplishment to those who fly for recreation, pleasure, and work;
Whereas flight allows the movement of people and commodities across the Nation and around the world quickly and efficiently; and
Whereas the third Saturday in May is an appropriate day to observe International Learn to Fly Day: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) supports the goals and ideals of National Learn to Fly Day; and
(2) recognizes the contributions of flight instructors, flight schools, aviation groups, and industry in promoting and teaching the Nation's next generation of pilots.
Mr. GORDON of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill, H.R. 5116, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution, H. Res. 1284, as amended, introduced by the gentleman from Florida (Mr. BOYD), which supports the goals and ideals of International Learn to Fly Day, and recognizes the contributions of flight instructors, flight schools, aviation groups, and industry in promoting and teaching the nation's next generation of pilots.
As an effort to increase interest in flying, and to encourage the aviation community to get others involved in aviation, International Learn to Fly Day was established on May 15, 2009. Learn to Fly Day was announced at the Experimental Aviation Association's AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with the support of aviation groups, industry partners, flight schools, and flight instructors. The day was founded to cultivate a new generation of pilots to act as role models and to ensure that airlines
are able to meet future needs for airline travel.
On Learn to Fly Day, flight schools, airports, and independent flight instructors will offer free or discounted flight instruction courses and other educational aviation events. The aviation community will lend its time and expertise to increase public interest in flying.
Many of the nation's heroes have been pilots, including the Wright brothers, Amelia Earhart, and most recently, Captain Chesley ``Sully'' B. Sullenberger III and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles. Flight has always been a national and international source of fascination and inspiration. To continue the significant legacy of flight, the United States needs to ensure that it can attract the next generation of commercial and recreational pilots.
International Learn to Fly Day will be an important day to promote the experience of learning to fly. This year will be the first year that the day will be celebrated, with events taking place across the country, and some internationally. International Learn to Fly Day will be observed each year on the third Saturday of May.
I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H. Res. 1284.
Mr. GRAVES. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H. Res. 1284, which is a resolution obviously supporting the goals and ideals of International Learn to Fly Day. And I would like to thank Mr. Boyd and Mr. Ehlers for sponsoring this meaningful piece of legislation. Both of these individuals are great advocates of aviation, and they need to be commended for this bill.
Mr. Speaker, aviation plays an important role in America and throughout the world, and it expands business opportunities, creates very well-paying jobs, and it inspires innovation. Without flight instructors, flight schools, aviation groups, and industry promoting and teaching the next generation of pilots, many of these benefits are not going to be realized.
Unfortunately, in recent years the U.S. pilot population has declined. And as a pilot, actually a commercial pilot, myself, it was easy for me because I grew up across the road from the airport. I played in airplane wrecks as a kid. I pumped gas and washed windshields and washed airplanes, any way to mooch a ride and get a lesson. I grew up with it and grew up next to it, so I was able to learn to fly.
I find the news that the pilot population is declining extremely disappointing. In response, the International Learn to Fly Day was established, and it is the third Saturday in [Page: H3337]
May. This goal is to increase interest in flying and to encourage the aviation community and others to get involved in aviation.
There are a lot of groups out there, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. I know the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, which are all here this week, they are all coming up with programs and working on programs to encourage young people to fly and trying to either get them their first lesson or get them ground school, whatever the case may be. But this is a very worthy cause, and I am very proud to support it.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. TANNER. Mr. Speaker, I was in a conference committee and could not get to the floor when the Tennessee delegation was speaking about the unprecedented flooding. Sixteen of the 19 counties in the Eighth District have been declared a disaster, and we expect the other three.
Mr. COHEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I rise in support of the resolution, H. Res. 1284, as amended, introduced by the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Boyd) which supports the goals and ideals of International Learn to Fly Day and recognizes the contributions of flight instructors, flight schools, aviation groups, and industry in promoting and teaching the Nation's next generation of pilots.
International Learn to Fly Day was established on May 15, 2009, to increase interest in flying and to encourage the aviation community to get others involved in aviation. The event was announced at the Experimental Aviation Association's AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Aviation groups, industry partners, flight schools, and flight instructors have come together to create a day dedicated to inspiring national interest in flight.
On International Learn to Fly Day, flight schools, airports, and independent flight instructors will offer free or discounted flight instruction and other educational aviation events. The aviation community will lend its time and expertise to introduce people to the thrill of flying and the opportunity to reflect back on Orville Wright. Airlines must be able to attract the next generation of commercial pilots. International Learn to Fly Day will be an important day to promote the experience of
learning to fly, and to attract people to the pilot profession, of which my home city is the home to Federal Express, which employs many fine pilots and will, indeed, many more in the years to come as they continue to deliver cargo to the world.
International Learn to Fly Day will be observed each year on the third Saturday of May. I look forward to this first celebration on May 15, 2010, and urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H. Res. 1284.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. BOYD. I thank my friend, Mr. Cohen, for yielding me time.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today as cochairman of the General Aviation Caucus, with my friend, VERN EHLERS, my fellow cochair, in support of this resolution honoring International Learn to Fly Day. I want to thank Chairman Oberstar and Ranking Member JOHN MICA for their work on this bill to get it out of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. I also want to thank the original cosponsor of the bill, Representative Graves, for his work.
International Learn to Fly Day will be celebrated this Saturday, May 15, with opportunities throughout the country to learn more about the wonders of flying, how to get your pilots license, what to expect during flight training, and career options for you once you achieve that goal.
As many of you may surmise, I am a pilot myself, and I would encourage anyone I know to pursue their desire to learn to fly. You will not be disappointed. It's never too late to learn. Unlike Mr. Graves, I didn't grow up around flying, but in the service I became very interested in flying when I got an opportunity to spend a lot of time in a plane. When I came home and went into my profession, I continued to do that from time to time, and then, only less than 4 years ago, I achieved
a lifelong goal of getting my private pilots license. I'm telling you, it has not been a disappointing experience.
I think it's very clear to us that when you travel around the country from time to time and go to these airports, particularly some of the smaller municipal airports, and see the general aviation activity, we learn how dependent we are in this country upon flying, and particularly the general aviation business. We have seen a good example in the recent volcano activity in Europe that our economies and our lives are limited without the ability to fly.
Mr. Speaker, Congress will surely earn its wings today if we pass this resolution. I urge support of H.R. 1284, and your local International Learn to Fly Day activities.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
I am so pleased to rise in enthusiastic support of this important resolution, authored by my Florida colleague, the gentleman, Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart. This resolution recognizes the unsurpassed friendship and abiding special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.
Throughout the history of our alliance and our friendship, we have stood by each other with a level of military, economic and diplomatic commitment and coordination of such an unparalleled extent that it has even been referred to as the ``special relationship.'' The United Kingdom has been a true friend of the United States even to the extraordinary measures of sharing and even jointly operating military bases overseas and being one of the few NATO allies in Afghanistan without restrictions on
its troops' ability to engage in combat operations.
The United Kingdom has also been a significant partner in efforts to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapons capability and has led efforts to convince the EU to adopt strong sanctions against the Iranian regime. Further, our economic bilateral relationship is without comparison as our nations' common sense of entrepreneurship and strong belief in free market principles has fostered extraordinary levels of trade and resulted in each country being the largest investor in the other's economy.
In recent years, there has been some debate about the state of this special relationship and whether it is as solid today as it was in the days of President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill or in the days of President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. I am, indeed, concerned that some members in each of the three major British political parties have asserted a need to reevaluate our special relationship, siting their perception that the United States has
already begun to back away from its close relationship toward the United Kingdom.
I believe, however, Mr. Speaker, that the special nature of our relationship is not solely dependent upon the level of camaraderie between our political leaders at any given time. It is, instead, based on the bedrock ideals of democracy, of economic liberty, and respect for the rule of law that we both share.
As with all close allies, it is incumbent upon both parties to continually work to improve and to strengthen the relationship, but I think that there is something of substance in our two countries' relationship, something based on those shared principles and cultural connections that endures.
With passage of this resolution, Mr. Speaker, the House of Representatives will send a strong message of our commitment to that special relationship with our closest ally across the Atlantic, the United Kingdom. I, therefore, urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this important resolution.
Mr. Speaker, I am now very pleased to yield such time as he may consume to my good friend, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Lincoln Diaz-Balart), the ranking member on the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process and the author of the resolution before us.
Mr. EHLERS. I thank the gentleman for yielding and I also want to recognize that Mr. Graves has been a real stalwart on the Transportation Committee, particularly the Aviation Subcommittee, with his wealth of experience in flying. The knowledge that he brings to it has just been invaluable. I really appreciate all that Mr. Graves has done for aviation in the Congress. That's very important because last year the Congress developed a negative impression of flying. You all recall,
I suspect, that some corporate leaders came in asking for government funds, and they flew here in their private jets. That made headlines across the country. Unfortunately, the news media didn't leave it there, but continued to pursue the entire issue of flying and presented the portrait of the average flyer as being
very wealthy and having an airplane as a toy to play with. That is far from the truth. Most pilots do not have a lot of money. Very few of them own their own airplanes. This negative impression that was formed here by the Congress and in the Congress really troubled those of us who know something about flying.
I am not a professional pilot. I would love to be, but I've never had either the time or the money to do it. But I recognize injustice when it takes place. It took place right here in the Congress of the United States. And that led to a lot of activity on our part to try to educate the public about flying, about who the pilots are, what they accomplish for the economy as a whole, and in particular, what good works they do. A good example of that is the tremendous amount of effort the private
pilots of the United States exerted in helping the island of Haiti.
Just last week, we had Harrison Ford here to describe what he had done. He owns several airplanes and did a number of flights into Haiti transporting doctors, medicines, and so forth. He is an example of what I'm talking about. Not everyone who took part is a movie star, as Harrison Ford is, but he was representing a lot of people who expended a lot of their own money to aid the people in Haiti through the use of airplanes flying goods in and out, flying patients out to the United States for
medical treatment when they were in serious trouble, etc. And this is just one example of the many things that pilots and aviation in general do to help the public at large.
So I'm very proud to stand here and say we have to help aviation and private pilots in every way that we can. And one good way is to encourage them to learn to fly. Many individuals normally would not think of flying, but when they see that they can accomplish so much good with aviation, we hope that they will take the time to learn how to fly and to at least join a flying club or perhaps eventually own their own airplane so that they can really go forth and help a lot of people.
It's amazing how many people do this sort of thing in various fields. For years, I was interested in ham radio. Again, a tremendous help to the economy and to the people at large is done during emergencies by ham radio operators. It's very similar with pilots. When the need is there, they will rise to the occasion and they will provide the transportation that's necessary.
In my area, we have an Angels of Mercy program, which has done tremendous good work flying people to hospitals. The patients cannot afford to take a commercial plane to get distant medical treatment. They're not in good enough shape to travel by car. And so the Angels of Mercy fly individuals at essentially no cost or very low cost so that the patients can get medical treatment in the right place at the right time. [Page: H3338]
It is high time that we recognize the good service that these pilots provide and that we do everything we can to help them in that effort. This resolution is part of that--simply encouraging people to learn to fly. I know there's a local group in my district that has taken advantage of this to publicize flight lessons in my area. They have a number of people signed up already who are willing to learn to fly so that they can accomplish good for other people.
So I strongly urge that we adopt this resolution and recognize the good work that aviation does for the general welfare of our Nation.
Mr. GRAVES. Mr. Speaker, I have no further requests for time. I would just, again, like to express my strong support for this resolution. There's a lot of groups out there, again, that are encouraging flight. The Experimental Aircraft Association's Young Eagles program will give that young person their very first flight for free. I'd encourage anybody that would like to take advantage of that for a young person and to learn the joys of flying, to do that at their local airport.
Mr. COHEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Boyd and Mr. Ehlers for bringing this resolution, and ask that all Members unanimously support H. Res. 1284, as amended.
With that, I yield back the balance of my time.