May 13, 2005
Volume 5, Issue 19 • May 13, 2005
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AIRSPACE VIOLATION HOLDS LESSON FOR ALL PILOTS Pilots must take responsibility for every part of their flight, including understanding local airspace, conducting proper flight planning, and managing navigation. That's the lesson all pilots can take from Wednesday's incursion into the flight-restricted airspace around Washington, D.C. "Every pilot is responsible for proper flight planning, and in today's security environment you just can't afford to make mistakes," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. The White House, Capitol, and Supreme Court were among the buildings evacuated when Hayden Sheaffer, a certificated pilot but not a flight instructor, as some media reported, and Troy Martin, a student pilot, strayed into the air defense identification zone (ADIZ) and within three miles of the Capitol in their Cessna 150. The two were flying from their home base at Pennsylvania's Smoketown Airport, to a fly-in in Lumberton, North Carolina, when they were intercepted by military aircraft and diverted to Maryland's Frederick Municipal Airport. See AOPA Online. SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT While there's no excuse for violating such highly publicized, sensitive airspace, there's also no excuse for getting the facts wrong. That's why, in the hours after the incident, AOPA President Phil Boyer and members of the AOPA media relations staff focused on correcting the many factual errors and misconceptions appearing in news reports. AOPA staff spoke with dozens of television networks, local television and radio stations, newspapers, and wire services in an effort to correct the sometimes-outrageous statements being made by so-called aviation experts with little or no understanding of general aviation. "A Cessna 150 is an extremely small two-seat airplane. Even fully loaded it weighs significantly less than a Honda Civic," Boyer explained. "It's simply incapable of doing much damage." In one case, law enforcement authorities indicated that the airplane had been stolen. In fact, both men on board were part owners of the airplane and had followed their flying club's scheduling procedures for the trip. See AOPA Online. AOPA OFFERS TOOLS TO ENHANCE YOUR FLIGHT PLANNING With temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) popping up across the country, pilots can't afford to take off on a cross-country without proper flight planning. Student pilots are taught from the outset to gain all information relevant to that flight before takeoff. AOPA offers several online tools in one location to ease and speed your flight planning. You'll find AOPA's Real-Time Flight Planner, which graphically depicts TFRs; AOPA's Airport Directory Online, complete with airport diagrams; a notam page of anticipated and live TFRs; and graphical and textual weather data. Free online safety courses and an ADIZ course utilize an interactive format to keep you actively engaged in learning about airspace, ATC communication, FARs, and more. AOPA also sends ePilot airspace bulletins, notifying you of TFRs in your area. HAVE YOU UPDATED YOUR AOPA MEMBER PROFILE? To make the most of your membership and allow us to serve you better, please visit AOPA Online and update your personal member profile.
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