AOPA Action

March 1, 1996

San Jose Pilot Wins 'First New 172' in AOPA 1995 Sweepstakes

Sharon L. Hauser of San Jose, California, is the winner of the AOPA 1995 Sweepstakes and the first new Cessna 172 to be built since 1986. Her name was drawn at random by computer at the accounting firm of Ernst and Young from among more than a half-million entries. Hauser has been a pilot and AOPA member since 1979.

"It's an unbelievable coincidence that a San Jose resident has won," said AOPA President Phil Boyer, "since we hope to award the actual airplane at our AOPA Expo '96 convention and trade show in San Jose this October if production schedules permit."

Boyer surprised the lucky winner by flying to San Jose on January 27 to make the official announcement "Surprize Squad style" on Hauser's doorstep, trailed by photographers and a TV crew. Hauser received the ceremonial "keys" to her new 172 and a certificate for the delivery of the First New Cessna 172 later this year.

Hauser's airplane is yet to be built at Cessna's new factory in Independence, Kansas.

The daughter of an airline pilot father and a mother who instructed in Link Trainers during World War II, Hauser earned her private pilot certificate in 1979 at what is now San Jose International Airport.

Hauser's father, Lee G. Nelson (AOPA 1283604), originally discouraged his daughter from pilot training, suggesting that she instead become a flight attendant or perhaps a teacher. "There were few role models for women in aviation back then," Hauser recalled.

Hauser's decision to fly was influenced by more than just her father's long career in aviation, which ranged from pre-war flight instructing and wartime military transport service to 35 years with Pan Am, where he flew everything from flying boats to Boeing 747s. After a year-long illness in the late 1970s, the young woman decided to get out and do something exciting — like learning to fly herself.

"I wanted to do something I'd always wanted to do. I said to myself, 'I'm going to prove to Dad that I can do this.'" Her father's early cautions did not prevent him from encouraging and mentoring his daughter once her flight training began.

And the young pilot jumped into flight training with both feet, demanding spin training, even though spins were long gone from the private pilot syllabus. She also chose to train at San Jose International to experience high density traffic and big airport radio procedures.

With certificate in hand, she demonstrated that her enthusiasm hadn't ended by exercising her new-found freedom on cross-country flights around northern California. Learning of an offer for "guest copilots" by an airborne traffic reporter, Hauser drove to the other end of the Bay Area to fly aboard an early morning traffic watch. "It was one of the greatest days of my life," Hauser recalled. Later, she arranged to visit Oakland Approach Control to learn more about terminal operations from the controller's point of view.

Like a number of pilots, however, Hauser dropped out of flying during the 1980s. Such pilots now represent a potential ingredient in the industry's recovery during the 1990s.

"There are many pilots who have been away from flying due to the recession or product liability's effect on costs, or because today there's never enough time," commented Boyer.

"But with liability reform, Cessna's getting back to lightplanes, Piper Aircraft out of bankruptcy, and other new aircraft on the market, we believe many of the Sharon Hausers of our world will be returning to flying."

Despite stepping away from the cockpit, Hauser never let her AOPA membership lapse — not even for a day. Perhaps symbolic of other "lapsed pilots" who hope to return to flying, Hauser will attend dedication ceremonies for Cessna's new Independence factory on July 4 as AOPA's special guest.

Her love of flying continues. "I'm a general aviation afficionado. I still love it," said Hauser. "I want to see general aviation and small airports keep going." Boyer took her up on that promise with a free membership in Citizens for Responsible Airport Management and Policy (Cramp), the local airport support group organized to defend San Jose's Reid-Hillview Airport.

The 1995 winner is the first woman to win an AOPA sweepstakes airplane since Margaret Puckette of Corvallis, Oregon, won the AOPA Fiftieth Anniversary Piper Archer II in 1989.

Don't Worry, You Get Another Chance to Win This Year

This year, it's AOPA Sweeps '96, and the grand prize is the First New 182 off the rejuvenated Cessna production line. And for the first time, the AOPA sweepstakes will award additional prizes, including a first prize Bendix/King avionics suite worth more than $15,000 and four second prize GPS handheld receivers.

Each pilot or student pilot who joins AOPA, renews membership, or brings in a new AOPA member during 1996 is eligible to win.

The winner's name will be drawn in early January 1997 and announced shortly thereafter.

AOPA membership is at an all-time high of more than 335,000 — more than one-half of all FAA-certificated pilots in the United States.

AOPA Urges Chicago Mayor to Preserve Meigs Field

AOPA remains firmly opposed to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's expressed intention to close the Windy City's lakefront Merrill C. Meigs Field this fall, AOPA President Phil Boyer has told the mayor.

"Many of our members, including me, rely on access to Meigs Field in order to conduct business in the downtown Chicago area," Boyer stated in a letter to Daley. "Such a closing would certainly compromise safety as well as reduce the capacity of your Chicago metropolitan system of airports."

Closing Meigs would transfer more than 54,000 annual flight operations to other Chicago airports, causing an increase in already costly delays, noise, atmospheric pollution, and wasted fuel, particularly at the city's Midway Airport. O'Hare International Airport and Midway are virtually at full capacity, with delays annually exceeding 100,000 hours.

Mayor Daley has stated his intention to convert Meigs to a city park, possibly reneging on the city's obligation to operate Meigs as an airport after accepting four airport aid grants totaling more than $1.2 million since 1986.

"Please know that AOPA will pursue every remedy to prevent closure of Meigs Field," Boyer's letter stated. "The apparent priority you see for a city park at this location, in view of the enormous need for the airport — a need substantiated by your own planning studies — simply mystifies the aviation and business communities."

Boyer, a former Chicago resident, noted that the aviation industry has "come together" to deliver this crucial message to Chicago business leaders and citizens: "We know that the issues of delays, safety, and airport capacity are a major concern to communities surrounding O'Hare and Midway. I believe their concerns will escalate dramatically in the months ahead as they learn more about the impact of the proposed Meigs closure," Boyer said.

Boyer urged Daley to "consider a personal request to meet with you and your professional aviation staff soon to explore other options that would allow the retention of Meigs Field."

Canadian Request for Reclassified Washington Airspace Scaled Back

After hearing from AOPA, the Washington Pilots Association, and local pilots, the FAA has helped to scale back a Canadian request for airspace reclassification affecting the Puget Sound area of Washington State.

Transport Canada had requested a large area of new Class C airspace over U.S. territory in order to control aircraft within 40 nautical miles of border-area airports Vancouver International and Abbotsford.

"We're pleased that the FAA listened to the users and downsized this proposal," said Melissa Bailey, AOPA's director of airspace and system standards. "The original reclassification plan would have put a large chunk of airspace 'off limits' for no good reason."

Canada proposed a non-standard Class C area over the northwest corner of Washington State, including fast-growing Bellingham and the popular San Juan Islands.

The airspace, to be controlled by Canada, would have had an 18,000-foot ceiling, compared to the standard 4,000-foot Class C design. Airspace floors would have been as low as 1,200 feet msl.

AOPA representatives traveled to Washington state last May to voice strong opposition at two FAA informal airspace meetings attended by several hundred local pilots. The FAA also received more than 300 written comments, the majority of them opposing the proposal.

The FAA and Transport Canada are now proposing a Class C designation for U.S. airspace within a 16-nautical mile arc from the Vancouver VOR only. Altitude dimensions have been trimmed to cover only between 2,500 and 12,500 feet msl. Another small Class C area is proposed to protect the Abbotsford, British Columbia, NDB instrument approach procedure.

"The original Transport Canada proposal would have had an impact on dozens of U.S. airports and put the San Juan Islands virtually off limits to general aviation," said Bailey. "The new, more reasonable proposal satisfies safety concerns without unduly restricting pilots' ability to use the airspace. When the FAA works with the users, the solution usually meets everbody's needs."

The FAA will schedule another information meeting before issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking to reclassify the airspace.

Did You Know...

...that AOPA ONLINE has scheduled the following conferences for March? All conferences take place in Conference Room 1 of the AOPA Forum on CompuServe and run from 9 to 10 p.m. Eastern time.

  • March 5: Barry Schiff: "The Airline Life...and Why I Still Love General Aviation"
  • March 12: Bud Walker, NationsBank: "Aircraft Financing, and How To Get The Very Best Deal"
  • March 19: Woody Cahall: "You Say You Want To Open Your Own FBO? Are You Stark Raving Crazy?"
  • March 26: Greg Sterling, AOPA Insurance Agency: "Aircraft Insurance: Are You Sure You're Fully Covered?"
  • April 2: John and Martha King: "FAA Knowledge Exams...How to Score 100 percent the First Time"

GA Safety Improvement at Plateau; ASF Urges New Efforts to Resume Gains

A slight increase in the number of general aviation accidents last year indicates the historic improvement in general aviation safety has reached a plateau.

"General aviation has earned its remarkably improved safety record, chalking up fewer accidents than the much smaller fleet experienced four or five decades ago," said Bruce Landsberg, executive director of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. "But that improvement has slowed during the 1990s and reversed slightly in 1995. This is a signal to push forward to new efforts, especially in recurrent training and pilot decision making."

On January 25 the National Transportation Safety Board announced a 1995 total of 408 fatal accidents in general aviation, compared to 402 in 1994. GA accidents of all kinds totaled 2,066 in 1995, compared to 1,990 in 1994.

"Weather and maneuvering (low-altitude) flight continue to lead fatal accident causes," said Landsberg, "while takeoff and landing accidents are the largest components of the total accident record."

The increase in total and fatal accidents began to develop during the 1995 summer flying season from June to August.

The FAA again lowered its estimate of annual hours flown, thereby causing a large jump in calculated general aviation accident rates — the number of accidents per 100,000 flying hours.

The flight hour estimate was reduced 8.6 percent to 20 million hours for 1995, translating what had been a 1.5-percent increase in fatal accidents to an 11.5-percent increase in the fatal accident rate.

The reduction in the flight hour estimate meant a 3.8-percent increase in total accidents, which raised the total accident rate by 13.6 percent.

General aviation's official fatal accident rate for 1995 is 2.04 per 100,000 flying hours, compared to 1.83 in 1994. The total accident rate was 10.33, compared to 9.09 in 1994.

"Putting aside the imprecision of the flight hour estimate and its effect on accident rates, the slight increase in the number of accidents means progress has reached a plateau," said Landsberg. "That's a wake-up call for new efforts to continue the progress we've earned to this point."

Safety has improved dramatically during general aviation's modern era since World War II, and significantly since the 1970s. Compared to 408 last year, fatal accidents numbered 729 a year as recently as 1974. Last year's 2,066 total accidents compare with 6,115 in 1967 and 9,253 in 1947 during the dawn of general aviation's post-War boom.

ASF Launches Silent Auction on AOPA Online

The AOPA Silent Auction Online officially opened for bids on February 1. A wide array of aviation equipment, services, vacations, and aviation safety courses, with a total retail value of more than $20,000, is initially up for auction. Bidding on several items will be open until the end of March, and on other items for a longer period. As new items are donated to the ASF, they will be added to the silent auction online, so members will want to check into the auction area on AOPA Online regularly to place bids and to see what's new.

The ASF Silent Auction Online has been created as a new and different way for the ASF to raise funds for its aviation safety programs through donated auction items, while providing fun and excitement for participants. To access the ASF Silent Auction on CompuServe, type GO AOPA, click on the ASF icon, the Silent Auction icon, then the Messages icon in the AOPA Forum. Select "ASF Silent Auction" from the list of message topics. Items up for auction will be listed as individual messages under this topic. The current highest bid will be the last posted message in the thread.

Members without access to AOPA Online may obtain the current list of auction items and the auction rules by sending a mail request to: ASF Silent Auction, AOPA Air Safety Foundation, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701.

AOPA Offers Guidance to Pilots Who Will Speak Out for General Aviation

AOPA has published a catalog of resources for pilots willing to speak out in defense of general aviation.

"As we begin 1996, every pilot should commit him- or herself to being 'on the team' to revitalize general aviation," said AOPA President Phil Boyer.

AOPA has made this easier with AOPA Communications Resources for You, its new catalog of free materials to help pilots acquaint the public with flying and respond to public officials or the press.

AOPA's Fly-A Programs — When politicians, reporters, or other influential community members need to understand general aviation better, nothing replaces a positive firsthand experience with flying. Available free is guidance on how best to: Fly-A-Friend, Fly-A- Reporter, Fly-A-Teacher, Fly-A-Leader, and Fly-A-Controller.

Facts, Statistics, and Glossaries — Authoritative facts and statistics, plus real-English explanations of aviation technical terms, are available in: Aviation Fact Sheets, AOPA's Aviation Fact Card, and AOPA's ABC's of Aviation, an aviation-to-English dictionary.

Write a Letter, Defend GA — To be heard, follow the time- tested guidance in Writing a Letter to the Editor and How to Communicate with Elected Officials.

Plant the Seed Early — AOPA can arm pilots with the procedures and materials to conduct school programs and field trips on aviation. And pilots can introduce teachers to aviation-related applications of science and math that make everyday subjects come alive. Here's how: APPLE: America's Pilots Participating in Local Education, APPLE's Student Guide to Aviation, and A Teacher's Guide to Aviation.

Save Our Airports — Key to general aviation's future are organizing airport support groups and creating public relations and political action programs for airports. Get started with Airports: Resources for Obtaining Community Support. Following this introduction to AOPA's Airport Support Program, qualified pilot and airport groups may want to obtain and implement AOPA's full 223- page airport advocacy program.

Best of all, it's free. Every pilot wants general aviation to survive and to see a new era of growth and prosperity. AOPA makes it easy to get on board. For your free copy, write to AOPA's Communications Division, AOPA Communications Resources for You, Department 3, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701.

Alamo Joins AOPA Certified Rental Car Discount Program

Alamo Rent A Car has joined the AOPA Certified rental car discount program, which also includes Avis and Hertz. Alamo will offer AOPA members discounts from retail rates at U.S. and international locations, plus special upgrades and promotional offers that can provide additional savings.

"AOPA is delighted to welcome Alamo to the family of AOPA Certified services," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Not only can AOPA members expect an excellent value for their rental car dollar, but AOPA and general aviation will benefit as well. Every time you rent a car from Alamo, Avis, or Hertz, revenue is returned to AOPA to support our important work on behalf of general aviation and to help us keep membership dues low."

At Alamo's U.S. locations, AOPA members receive a discount of up to 20 percent off retail daily and weekly rates, 10 percent off weekend rates on economy through full-size cars, and 5 percent off daily and weekly rates for minivans. At international locations, members receive a 10-percent discount on daily and weekly rentals of economy through full-size cars. Alamo's fleet of 160,000 General Motors cars, from the Geo Metro to the Cadillac Sedan DeVille, makes it one of the three largest rental car companies. The majority of Alamo locations are on airports in virtually every major U.S. city and key locations in Europe. The company provides 24-hour roadside assistance with each rental, and Alamo Express service for frequent renters.

To reserve an Alamo Rent A Car and receive your AOPA discount, call 800/354-2322, request Rate Code JE, and give AOPA association identification number 434861.

Chairman of AOPA-UK Dies

Ronald D. Campbell, long-time executive chairman of AOPA of the United Kingdom and technical coordinator for the European Region of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations, died on January 7.

Campbell learned to fly in 1938. He served in the Royal Air Force, where he flew many missions in Handley Page Halifax bombers during World War II. He later spent many years as flight director of Bedfordshire Air Centre at Cranfield Airfield. He published numerous training books and safety articles and served until recently as a flight instructor examiner for Britain's Civil Aviation Authority.

According to David Ogilvy, executive vice chairman of AOPA- UK, Campbell was forced to give up active flying for medical reasons early in 1995. "He doggedly fought against steadily deteriorating health, continuing his work for both AOPA-UK and IAOPA until a few days before he died," Ogilvy said.

"Ron's most valuable service was the energy, commitment, and leadership he provided to international general aviation," said Steven Brown, IAOPA general secretary and AOPA senior vice president of government and technical affairs. "Ron provided IAOPA much of its substance, credibility, and visibility as a worldwide force. We have lost a remarkably talented professional colleague and a close personal friend. I will always remember Ron for the strength of his character, deep integrity, quick smile, and sage advice."

Campbell is survived by his wife, Pamela, a flight instructor and former air traffic controller. Mrs. Campbell worked closely with her husband and has agreed to continue in an active support role with IAOPA and AOPA-UK.

On March 22 a public service to recognize Campbell's aviation achievements will be held at St. Clemant Danes, Central Church of The Royal Air Force, in central London.

Deadline Set for 1996 Journalism Awards

The deadline for the 1996 AOPA Max Karant Journalism Awards is April 15. Entries must have been published or broadcast for public consumption between January 1 and December 31, 1995. Entries in print, radio, and television categories will be judged by an independent panel of respected journalists.

Awards are $1,000 in each category, and winners will be AOPA's guests at AOPA Expo '96 in San Jose, California. Individuals who have previously won a monetary award in this competition are not eligible to participate. Individuals who have been awarded honorable mentions are not bound by this restriction.