November 12, 2003
Pressure from key members of Congress and AOPA's Washington, D.C., staff has forced the U.S. Forest Service back to the table to discuss the future of backcountry airstrips in central Idaho.
The Forest Service had wanted to close four airstrips, Dewy Moore, Mile-Hi, Simonds, and Vines, located in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness but is required by law to obtain the approval of Idaho's Division of Aeronautics before any such closure. The state denied approval. So instead, the Forest Service planned to restrict access at the four strips to "emergency use only."
The Idaho Division of Aeronautics contacted AOPA for assistance. In written comments to Wilderness coordinators, AOPA told the Forest Service that restricting access to the airstrips violated the intent of Congress when it passed the Central Idaho Wilderness Act (public law 96-312).
AOPA then learned that, despite having received several hundred written comments that favored by nearly 4-1 keeping the airstrips open, the Forest Service was still planning on closing the airstrips for all but emergency use.
At that point, AOPA turned to Idaho's members of Congress including Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho), Senator Michael Crapo (R-Idaho), and Congressman C.L. "Butch" Otter (R-Idaho) to help convince the Forest Service of the need to preserve the backcountry airstrips.
As a result of this pressure, the regional Forest Service Office has approached the Idaho Division of Aeronautics to discuss possible alternatives for the airstrips.
"Without AOPA's assistance to take this issue to the highest levels in Washington, D.C., I doubt we would have made it this far," said Idaho Aeronautics Director Bob Martin. "AOPA's commitment to backcountry airstrips really came through for us."
A state-of-the art medical facility on remote Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay serves as a lasting memorial to the late Dr. David B. Nichols’ dedication to providing medical care to the community for 30 years. Now, Nichols’ aviation legacy—flying a Cessna 182 or Robinson R44 to the island every Thursday to provide that care—is set in stone.
Daher-Socata announced that it had installed the first Garmin G600 and GTN 750 avionics in one of its 2004 TBM 700C2 airplanes.
Even brief flight under actual conditions can expose how well your basic instrument flying is serving.
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