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NBAA and AOPA: The Battle Over the BARR Heads to Court
June 24, 2011
In an effort to stop the Department of Transportation (DOT) from dismantling the Blocked Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program, the National Business Aviation Association and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association together filed a federal appeal on June 22, asking a Washington, DC court to stop the DOT action until the matter can be properly sorted out.
Without an injunction, most elements of BARR will disappear no later than August 5.
“We’re concerned and we’re confounded,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “This is an initiative from the Department of Transportation which solves no known problem.”
“More than 700 comments were filed in the docket” for the DOT proposal to break down BARR, said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. Almost all of them were in favor of maintaining BARR in its current form, he said. “Unfortunately, the Department of Transportation chose to largely ignore those comments.”
The BARR program allows aircraft owners and operators to opt out of having information about their flights published by flight-tracking firms that generally use the internet to disseminate information. That information includes tail number, flight plan, estimated time of arrival, speed and altitude.
Business aviators argue the release of that information to anyone who wants it can lead to competiveness issues and wide-ranging security concerns for both crews and passengers.
“We have joined forces because we just don’t see the reason for taking the actions being contemplated by the Department of Transportation,” said Fuller.
The appeal is also strongly supported by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), he said.
“We can work collectively with strong coordination and strong communication,” Bolen pointed out. “I think that has been to the benefit of the entire general aviation community.”
To help both NBAA and AOPA defray the cost of the federal court appeal, the two organizations have set up a legal defense fund. “There’s a sense of urgency about this because the clock is running,” Fuller said. “We’re in this to win. We’re not sure how long it’s going to go or how much it’s going to take, but we do want to protect people’s right to privacy.”
Donations to the fund can be made by anyone. To contribute to the legal effort to stop dismantlement of BARR, you can send a check to:
BARR Legal Defense Fund
c/o NBAA and AOPA
P.O. Box 33788
Washington, DC 20033-3788
For more information on the fund, contact: