May 2, 2008
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WHITE HOUSE: NO USER FEES, NO SIGNATURE AOPA President Phil Boyer joined Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) at a press conference in Washington, D.C., on May 1 to stress the need for key tax provisions in the pending FAA funding bill. But while the Senate began debate on the FAA funding bill in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation, that same spirit apparently didn't extend to the White House. The president's top advisors made it very clear April 29 that if Congress sends him a bill that does not include user fees, and does not give the airlines greater control over the air traffic control system, they want him to veto FAA funding. Read more on AOPA Online.
AOPA DEFENDS GA AT NTSB FORUM ON UNMANNED AIRCRAFT During a forum on unmanned aerial vehicles this week, AOPA told the NTSB that remotely piloted aircraft need to work within the existing National Airspace System, without imposing new airspace restrictions. AOPA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Melissa Rudinger presented general aviation concerns on a panel that also included airline representatives. "Safety is our first concern when it comes to sharing the skies with unmanned aircraft," said Rudinger. Read more on AOPA Online.
ETHANOL THREATENS AUTO FUEL SUPPLY FOR SOME PILOTS If you purchase auto fuel for your aircraft off the airport, make sure you test it for ethanol before you put it in your airplane. With the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandating petroleum companies to produce 9 billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2008 (nearly double that required in 2007), ethanol-blended automobile gasoline is becoming more prevalent around the country. And because pumps serving the blended fuel may not be labeled, you won't know if the fuel has ethanol unless you test it. Read more on AOPA Online.
FLYING SELLS ITSELF TO MEDIA Adventure. Excitement. Freedom. Sound like flying? Media professionals throughout the country are using these words to describe the wonders of general aviation as part of a promotional campaign. They're experiencing it just like most pilots do, through introductory flight lessons. Read clips from newspapers and magazines from around the country, and watch a video from KTVX-TV on AOPA Online.
COST OF FLYING A HINDRANCE TO NEW PILOTS, MEMBERS SAY When AOPA recently asked members for ideas about boosting the pilot population, many responded that rising costs in aviation are a significant barrier. "We recognize that rising costs are a factor in the declining pilot population," said Greg Romano, AOPA vice president of public relations. "That's why AOPA is working to reduce the cost of flying on several fronts: on Capitol Hill, through discounted pilot products and services, and by offering flight training scholarships." Cost has always been a factor, but it's not the only one. AOPA wants to know your creative ideas for getting more people interested in flying. In the 5,000-plus responses we've received so far, we've heard clever ideas ranging from new ways to develop communities among local pilots to opportunities to enhance the flight training experience. Share your ideas now!
FLORIDA LEGISLATURE AIMS TO CORRECT AIRCRAFT TAX LAW The Florida legislature is moving one step closer to correcting a tax law that has left some aircraft owners with big tax bills. The state Department of Revenue has recently been charging Florida use tax on any airplane that is brought to the state within six months of being bought if the owner did not pay at least 6-percent sales tax at the time of purchase. The House on April 30 passed AOPA-backed legislation (H.B.1379) that would exempt aircraft owned by nonresidents from the use tax. But there is a stipulation. Read more on AOPA Online.
JUDGE GRANTS RESTRAINING ORDER ON SANTA MONICA JET BAN Category C and D jets will be able to continue flying in and out of Santa Monica Municipal Airport, at least for now. Federal District Court Judge George Wu issued a temporary restraining order on April 28, preventing the city of Santa Monica, Calif., from enforcing a law that would ban the jets. The ruling comes less than a week after the FAA issued a cease and desist order to Santa Monica after the city tried to enforce the new law. "This isn't the end of the issue, but the court and the FAA are sending a very clear message to Santa Monica and other airports that arbitrary restrictions to federally funded airports will not be tolerated," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of local airport advocacy. Read more on AOPA Online.
DON'T USE BROAD-BRUSH ADs ON AGING AIRCRAFT, AOPA SAYS When it comes to addressing corrosion or other maintenance issues in aging aircraft, AOPA wants to make sure the corrective measures are based on maintenance and usage, not solely on age. That's why the association is opposing a proposed airworthiness directive (AD) for Twin Otters (DHC-6-1, DHC-6-100, DHC-6-200, and DHC-6-300). Even though the FAA hasn't presented any evidence of an existing problem in the fleet, the proposed AD says, "Service experience indicates that as aircraft become older, they are more likely to exhibit indications of corrosion." That's too broad for AOPA. Read more on AOPA Online.
GA, AIRLINES AGREE ON CHICAGO CLASS B REDESIGN Because of the increase in commercial air traffic over the past decade, traffic is actually spilling outside of Class B airspace in several areas across the country, including Chicago. The FAA has requested that the airspace be redesigned so that approaches to the runways are contained within the airspace. As part of the user group ad hoc committee, AOPA worked to redesign the Chicago Class B airspace without hindering general aviation. Representatives for the airlines, corporate operators, and airports also participated. The committee unanimously requested that the least amount of airspace needed to contain the approaches be classified as Class B. Once the FAA reviews the group's recommendations, the agency will host public meetings for airspace users to provide input.
PIPER STAYING IN VERO BEACH, COUNTY OFFICIAL SAYS The Indian River County Board of County Commissioners on April 28 approved a $12 million incentive package, to be added to $20 million from the state of Florida, to keep Piper Aircraft in Vero Beach. Specifically, the deal requires Piper to build its PiperJet "or a comparable project" in the county, if not at the Vero Beach Airport. Read more on AOPA Online.
PILOT SHARES STORY OF VACUUM FAILURE IN IMC Imagine being in the clouds and threading the needle between thunderstorms when you lose your attitude indicator. Pilot Donna Wilt doesn't have to imagine because that's exactly what happened to her. In the newest Real Pilot Story from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, "Vacuum Failure in IMC," Wilt tells her harrowing story. The 10-minute presentation also includes useful graphics, ATC audio recordings, and a handy review of lessons learned from this real-life emergency. For more true accounts of good flights gone bad, visit the foundation's Real Pilot Stories Web page.
CESSNA PUTS DIESEL AIRPLANE LINE ON ICE Cessna Aircraft Company has decided not to deliver any Cessna 172TD aircraft powered by the German-built Thielert diesel engine, following the bankruptcy of Thielert Aircraft Engines. Read more on AOPA Online.
FAA CONCERNED ABOUT UNAPPROVED PIPER PARTS The FAA has issued an unapproved parts notification that affects some owners of Piper Comanche and Twin Comanche airplanes. Specifically, it refers to aircraft parts that were sold, repaired, or overhauled by Robert A. Weber and Johnathan F. Regier of Webco Aircraft Company in Newton, Kan. In the notification, the FAA cites a list of discrepancies from failing to use proper testing equipment to using parts with no traceability in the repairs. Owners should check their aircraft for the affected parts and take appropriate action.
EUROPE MAY ACCEPT U.S. LIGHT-SPORT STANDARDS An attempt to streamline certification standards by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) could open markets for manufacturers in the United States. Part of the new proposal calls for adopting U.S. standards for light sport aircraft, said Tom Gunnarson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA). The weak dollar means buyers in Europe see American aircraft as bargains, said Dan Johnson, chairman of the LAMA board. For buyers in Europe, an $85,000 airplane in the United States is $30,000 less if they buy it with euros. Yet the American manufacturer receives the full price of $85,000.
METLIFE BLIMP SPECIAL TO AIR ON CBS SATURDAY One of general aviation's most recognized aircraft, the MetLife blimp, will be featured on a CBS Sports special from 2 to 3 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, May 3. Titled The Best Shot in Golf, the one-hour broadcast will chronicle the travels of the blimp and its crew and showcase its state-of-the-art high-definition TV coverage of the PGA Tour. Bob Mikkelson, an AOPA President's Council member, will talk about his role in covering sports from blimps and airplanes for the past 20 years. Mikkelson is president of Winged Vision Inc. of Gaithersburg, Md., the company that provides the cameras and operators for the MetLife blimps.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
COLLISION WITH TOWER SEVERS WING, KILLS TWO On Dec. 19, 2004, a Cessna 182P collided with a radio transmission tower while on approach to Fullerton Municipal Airport in Fullerton, Calif. The force of impact severed one wing and crumpled the other, releasing fuel that erupted in a fireball 750 feet above the ground. The pilot and passenger were killed. Find out what led to the fatal accident in this special report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
FSS TIP OF THE WEEK: BUILD YOUR PILOT PROFILE Want to shorten your preflight weather briefing time? Set up a profile with flight service the next time you speak with a flight service briefer. Information such as your aircraft type, N number, and home-base airport will pop up on the briefer's screen the next time you call, as long as you aren't calling from a line that has its number blocked. For more on simplifying preflight briefings, see AOPA's AFSS Telephone Briefing Tips and Techniques card, and take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's online minicourse, A Pilot's Guide to Flight Service . You can report complaints and compliments on the service you received by calling 888/358-7782.
COULD JOINING ONLINE AVIATION FORUMS MAKE YOU A SAFER PILOT? Are pilots who participate in aviation-related online forums safer and more informed than those who don't? See what AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirshman thinks about it in his Reporting Points blog post, "Web posts make us invulnerable! (We hope...)." Share your thoughts on the issue through the blog's comment function.
MEDICAL CERTIFICATION HELP FROM SOMEONE WHO REALLY CARES When you call AOPA to get help with medical certification issues, you may very well talk to Jo Ann Wilson. She's been part of AOPA's medical certification team for 14 years, and before that she was a nursing assistant and emergency room technician. But what makes her special is the distance she'll travel to help you. "I want the members to know that I truly care about their certification problems and that I will do everything I can to obtain their certificates for them, whether it takes an hour or months," Jo Ann says. Read more on AOPA Online.
THOUSANDS OF PILOTS UNKNOWINGLY FLY WITHOUT INSURANCE AOPA research has shown that most pilots mistakenly believe they are covered by the FBO's insurance policy when they rent an aircraft. "The FBO carries insurance to protect its interests, not yours, and many pilots are surprised when they get the repair bills after an incident," said Greg Sterling, executive vice president of AOPA non-dues revenue. "Even a minor 'fender bender' can be costly." The AOPA Insurance Agency offers affordable rates plus 10-percent renewal discounts for pilots who keep their records clean. To learn more about renter's insurance or get a free quote, visit the AOPA Insurance Agency online or call 800/622-AOPA. Read more on AOPA Online.
Here's a question asked by an AOPA member who contacted our aviation services staff through the AOPA Pilot Information Center. Test your knowledge.
Question: I know an altimeter inspection is only required when flying under IFR, but what about the transponder inspection? Is it required for both VFR and IFR flights?
Answer: Unlike the altimeter inspection that is required to operate under IFR, a transponder inspection is dictated by the airspace through which you are flying. A transponder used in airspace specified by FAR 91.215 (which includes operation within Class A, within or above Class B and C, and above 10,000 ft msl) must be inspected within the preceding 24 calendar months for both VFR and IFR flights. For more information, view the AOPA online subject report on Aircraft Inspections.
Got a question for our aviation services staff? The AOPA Pilot Information Center is is at your service. Call toll-free 800/872-2672 to speak to a specialist about any general aviation topic. Or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to email@example.com.
A PROGRESSIVE PANEL It's time for the next phase. Now that AOPA's 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer has been completely refurbished with new paint, a new interior, and an overhauled engine, it's time to work on the front office. Get Your Glass is all about the panel, and this week we introduce the panel components and discuss some of the challenges involved in creating such unique and progressive instrumentation.
The AOPA Online Gallery allows you to download your favorite aviation images to use for wallpaper or send a personalized e-card. Search the hundreds of fabulous images in our archives and select your favorites today! For more details, see AOPA Online.
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a Social Networking Specialist and Web Site Traffic/Content Specialist. To learn more about these and other career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS: Burlington, N.C. A spring vintage aircraft fly-in takes place May 2 through 4 at Burlington-Alamance Regional (BUY). For more information, contact Jim Wilson, 843/753-7138.
East Gull Lake, Minn. The Minnesota Seaplane Pilots Association annual spring fly-in and safety seminar takes place May 2 through 4 at East Gull Lake (9Y2). For more information, contact the Minnesota Seaplane Pilots Association, 651/210-1220, or visit the Web site.
Abilene, Texas. A Dyess Big Country Airfest takes place May 3 at Dyess AFB (DYS). For more information, contact 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs, 325/696-2863, or visit the Web site.
San Diego, Calif. The Fleet Week San Diego Sea and Air Parade takes place May 3 at San Diego Bay. For more information, visit the Web site.
Anchorage, Alaska. The Alaska State Aviation Trade Show and Conference takes place May 3 and 4 at Ted Stevens Anchorage International (ANC). For more information, contact Dee Hanson, 907/245-1251, or visit the Web site.
Bridgeport, Conn. A Three Wing open house takes place May 10 at Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial (BDR). For more information, contact Christine, 203/375-5795 extension 101, or visit the Web site.
Point Lookout, Mo. A Welcome to Wings fly-in and open house takes place May 10 at M. Graham Clark-Taney County (PLK). For more information, contact Ben Fisher, 417/332-1545, or visit the Web site.
Modesto, Calif. A Modesto Airport Day airshow takes place May 10 at Modesto City-County Harry Sham Field (MOD). For more information, contact Jerry Waymire, 209/968-2613.
To submit an event to the calendar or to search all events visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online.
FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Sacramento, Calif., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Albany, N.Y., May 17 and 18. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
AOPA AIR SAFETY FOUNDATION SAFETY SEMINARS AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., May 5; Cohoes, N.Y., May 6; Syracuse, N.Y., May 7; Rochester, N.Y., May 8; Madison, Wis., May 13; Milwaukee, Wis., May 14; and Manitowoc, Wis., May 15. The topic is "Top 5 Mistakes Pilots Make." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.