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Category: News - Features (Archived) Created: 10/24/2001 02:21 AM
Updated: 03/23/2002 12:29 PM
URGENT: Pending Defense Bill REQUIRES DESTRUCTION of Historic Warbird Aircraft!!
Contacting Reps CRITICAL to keeping warbirds from doom
By Mike Whaley
Warbirds to be destroyed, coming soon to a museum near you(?)
Don't want to see warbirds such as the O-1, O-2, OV-10, OV-1, T-28, F-86 or A-4 get chopped up? Then you better get active and do it NOW - the feds are just one vote away from signing their death warrant!

The Warbird de-militarization effort is back, and this time, it's closer than ever to passing. The 2002 Defense Authorization Bill currently going through Congress contains a section requiring the de-militarization (i.e., destruction) of most ANY property that ever came from the Dept. of Defense, including aircraft, weapons (even inert dummy bombs displayed on aircraft in museums), personal sidearms, jeeps, ambulances, start carts, etc. What this means is that unless the offending language is removed, then all U.S. military aircraft will be required to be made permanently inoperable by having the spars cut into multiple pieces, and the fuselages sawed in two. The whole bill isn't rotten, only provision 1062, but it carries the force of law. In other words, if this provision isn't stopped, the law will require that warbird owners DESTROY flying historic aircraft!

There is a good, concise explanation on the EAA website. While we have much to celebrate here at OBA right now, if this bill isn't stopped, we will have NOTHING to celebrate about. It would also potentially require the destruction of much of the memorabilia that's been donated to us, along with any aircraft we may someday acquire! The seriousness of this threat to the entire warbird aviation movement cannot be understated. Please, take the time to read the EAA article and CONTACT THE APPROPRIATE CONGRESSMEN.

To aid you in understanding the ramifications, we have here reprinted EAA's article, current as of 10/23/01. PLEASE, if you are reading this, take action!

(From the EAA Website, used w/out permission.)


EAA is asking its members as well as Warbirds of America members to contact the newly named (Oct. 17) members of the Senate-House Conference Committee that will decide whether or not demilitarization language remains in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2002.

EAA has learned that since the House-passed version of the bill did not contain the demilitarization language contained in Section 1062, it will be up to House conferees to request its deletion from the final bill. Many of you may have already written to your congressional representatives to ask for their action in removing Section 1062, and we thank you for that help.

We cannot give up, however. Even though we have spoken with many senator's and representative's offices from both Armed Services Committees, it appears that our views are not being forwarded to the Senators and Representatives themselves, but rather are stopping at the staff level. We need to ensure that the senators and representatives, both Republican and Democrat Senators and Representatives are aware of the ramifications this section would have on their constituents and the aviation community at large.

Because of the urgency of the situation, we ask that you fax or e-mail a letter to the congressional representatives in your state asking them to delete Section 1062 from the final bill. (If your representative or Senator is not on the conference committee, send the fax or e-mail to the Committee Chairmen.)

Link to the Senate Armed Services Committee

Link to the House Armed Services Committee

Points to make to Senators and Representatives

  • Even though the committee language specifically mentions WW II aircraft, after a few years go by, understanding and intent of committee language will be "lost." The scope of aircraft ownership goes beyond the WW II period--there are many pre-WW II and post-WW II aircraft. The Committee language will not protect these aircraft at all. Emphasize to congress representatives that all warbirds may be affected by the demilitarization language.

  • The proposed law puts the burden of proof on the aircraft owner, not the government. Owners must show why they are not a threat and be "specifically authorized by law or regulation," or in the alternative, by the Attorney General, to keep their aircraft.

  • The terms "Significant Military Equipment" and "Demilitarization," as used in this section, are broad and ambiguous.

  • The term "demilitarization" is interpreted by the Department of Defense to mean destruction when applied to aircraft.

  • All functioning armament systems have been removed from each aircraft prior to receiving its airworthiness certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Furthermore, the FAA mandates an annual inspection to ensure on-going compliance with this and other safety requirements.

Also see the letter co-signed by EAA and AOPA to each Senate Armed Services Committee member for more background.

U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Conferees



Carl Levin (MI), Chairman 

John Warner (VA), Ranking Member

Edward M. Kennedy (MA) 

Strom Thurmond (SC)

Robert C. Byrd (WV) 

John McCain (AZ)

Joseph I. Lieberman (CT) 

Bob Smith (NH)

Max Cleland (GA) 

James M. Inhofe (OK)

Mary L. Landrieu (LA) 

Rick Santorum (PA)

Jack Reed (RI) 

Pat Roberts (KS)

Daniel K. Akaka (HI) 

Wayne Allard (CO)

Bill Nelson (FL) 

Tim Hutchinson (AR)

E. Benjamin Nelson (NE)

Jeff Sessions (AL)

Jean Carnahan (MO) 

Susan M. Collins (ME)

Mark Dayton (MN) 

Jim Bunning (KY)

Jeff Bingaman (NM)


U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee Conferees



Bob Stump (AZ), Chairman 

Ike Skelton (MO), Ranking Member

Duncan Hunter (CA) 

John M. Spratt, Jr. (SC)

James V. Hansen (UT) 

Solomon P. Ortiz (TX)

Curt Weldon (PA) 

Lane Evans (IL)

Joel Hefley (CO) 

Gene Taylor (MS)

Jim Saxton (NJ) 

Neil Abercrombie (HI)

John M. McHugh (NY) 

Martin T. Meehan (MA)

Terry Everett (AL) 

Robert A. Underwood (Guam)

Roscoe G. Bartlett (MD) 

Tom Allen (ME)

Howard "Buck" McKeon (CA) 

Victor F. Snyder (AR)

J.C. Watts, Jr. (OK)


Mac Thornberry (TX)


John N. Hostettler (IN)


Saxby Chambliss (GA)


Update from AOPA's Website (10/29/01):

Armed Services chairman vows to save warbirds
Oct. 29 -- House Armed Services Chairman and Defense Authorization Conferee Bob Stump (R-Ariz.) vows to save warbirds. The chairman wrote to AOPA President Phil Boyer in response to his letter regarding a provision (Section 1062) in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2001 (S. 1438) that may well result in the destruction of vintage military aircraft, an important part of U.S. military history. Section 1062 authorizes the Secretary of Defense to require demilitarization of significant military equipment, including aircraft formerly owned by the Department of Defense. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Bob Stump (R-AZ) assured that "[he] will do everything [he] can to have it stripped out again." Stump called the provision included in this year's bill "even worse than last year's, with language so broad as to jeopardize the private ownership of literally any and all military surplus equipment." In Boyer's letter to the conferees of the bill, he wrote of AOPA's willingness to work in drafting alternate language to address the root of the issue behind the provision -- accidental sale of militarily sensitive equipment.

If you have any additions or corrections to this item, please let us know!

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