November 19, 1999
UPDATE ON RICHARDS-GEBAUR AIRPORT
On Capitol Hill
Coming in Pilot
Picture of the day
HIGH-ALTITUDE UNMANNED VEHICLE SHARES THE SKIES No sooner had ePILOT warned pilots that they might one day share airspace with unmanned aerial vehicles, than an e-mail arrived announcing that this is already happening. The U.S. Air Force flew a Northrop/Grumman Global Hawk UAV from Edwards Air Force Base, California, to Alaska and back in late October. It flew well above GA and airline traffic, reaching 66,000 feet at one point, merrily snapping reconnaissance photos all the way. In the photo, the Global Hawk banks to land at Edwards following a 24-hour mission that occurred on October 19 and 20. ROTAX IS BACK IN KATANA Diamond Aircraft, which dropped the DA20 Katana’s original 80-horsepower Rotax engine for a 125-hp Continental on its current DA20-C1, plans to offer the new 100-hp Rotax 912S as an option on the C1 Katana. PIPER’S JET IS ON HOLD Don't expect to be flying a Piper jet anytime soon. The New Piper Aircraft Company will defer development of a light jet until after the Meridian single-engine turboprop is fully certified and in production, and the company has gone public. Certification of the Meridian is scheduled for mid-2000. The company has 137 orders for the $1.375 million turboprop; 82 of them are already sold to retail customers. Piper is exploring plans to make an initial public offering. However, no specific timetable for the project has been established. TEXAS AIRPORT REOPENS The Jasper County/Bell Field Airport (JAS) at Jasper, Texas, has reopened following a $3.1 million project to lengthen Runway 18/36 from 4,000 to 5,500 feet.
UPDATE ON RICHARDS-GEBAUR AIRPORT Although Kansas City, Missouri, officials have issued notice that the airport will close officially at midnight on December 31, the FAA has not yet approved a new Memorandum of Agreement between the federal government and Kansas City to allow conversion of the airport to an intermodal freight transfer facility. The latest proposal from the city includes the construction of a new runway on the airport property.
TROUBLE BREWING AT GEORGETOWN, TEXAS When Robert Mueller Municipal Airport in Austin, Texas, closed, based aircraft were forced to go elsewhere —and many went to Georgetown Municipal, 20 miles up the road. Now, Georgetown residents are shocked to learn that airports attract airplanes, and have mounted local opposition to Georgetown Municipal operations. AOPA is actively working with Georgetown supporters to mitigate neighborhood concerns.
PHELPS MOA PROPOSAL OPENS FOR PUBLIC COMMENT Last week ePILOT told you that the FAA had proposed the Phelps MOA in the Dare County area of North Carolina last July without providing an opportunity for public comment. The same day you read that, AOPA staff met with the FAA and reached an agreement to recirculate the Phelps MOA proposal for additional public comment. It might be a week or two before it is published. Users of the airspace should provide specific examples of how the MOA will affect their operations, and send their comments to the address in the proposal when it is available. The FAA is asserting that the MOA lies above a restricted area that many pilots circumnavigate anyway, so FAA officials need to be told of specific operational impacts. The Department of Defense has agreed to make this MOA "joint use," with IFR traffic being given priority. AOPA AWAITING FAA RESPONSE ON 121.5 MHz ELTs Satellite monitoring of 121.5 MHz distress signals will be terminated in the United States in 2009. Pilots wanting the benefits of satellite surveillance of search and rescue (SAR) frequencies will be required to "upgrade" to more expensive 406 MHz ELT equipment. A recent Coast Guard press release has stirred AOPA concerns about this dilemma. AOPA has voiced serious opposition to mandatory usage of 406 MHz ELTs for many years. In a recent letter to FAA Administrator Jane Garvey, AOPA pointed out that, "FAA support of mandatory 406 MHz ELT carriage requirements and the termination of 121.5 mHz satellite surveillance is a direct contradiction of the viewpoint of the majority of aviation system users in the United States." The FAA failed to respond or address AOPA’s concerns, and in October recommended 406 MHz ELTs to ICAO despite unanimous industry opposition. At press time, AOPA has yet to receive a response from the FAA.
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AOPA, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, MD 21701 E-mail: [email protected] On the Web: http://www.aopa.org Telephone: 800/USA-AOPA or 301/695-2000 Copyright ï¿½ 1999. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Thomas A. Horne flies the ultimate personal turboprop. Video by Mike Fizer.
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