February 18, 2010
By Kathy Dondzila
Pilots who fly south of the border will be able to reap the benefits of AOPA’s renewal of its annual agreement with Rick Gardner, Authorized AOPA Representative for the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America.
Gardner’s services include research, review, and analysis of regulatory, security, and legislative actions, drafting documents and correspondence, and attending meetings on behalf of AOPA with regard to issues affecting international operations between the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America.
“Rick’s advocacy work on behalf of AOPA’s international efforts is highly valuable,” said Woody Cahall, AOPA vice president of the Pilot Information Center. “He is instrumental in facilitating AOPA’s negotiations in Mexico with The Direccion General De Aeronautica Civil (DGAC) on issues such as 406 MHz ELTs and cabotage. When necessary, he has intervened on behalf of AOPA members who have needed special assistance. He is also active in addressing Bahamas and Caribbean issues. For example, he recently provided detailed information on the functionality and range of remote communication outlets (RCO’s) to aid navigation in the Bahamas, and answered questions on regulations governing use of experimental aircraft.”
Rick, along with his wife, Pia, own and operate Caribbean Sky Tours, headquartered in Cancun, Mexico. Rick is from Nassau, Bahamas, and is a U.S. certificated pilot and CFII/MEI with an engineering/operations background and corporate general management experience. Pia is from Puebla, Mexico, and has a background in international relations and marketing with experience in international trade, and travel and tourism. Rick and Pia work directly with different government agencies and service providers to promote international general aviation tourism, and over the years they have forged a network of relationships in the region. Using this depth of experience, they provide personalized service to pilots wishing to fly to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America in general aviation aircraft.
Technical Communications Manager, Kathy Dondzila, joined AOPA in 1990 and is an instrument-rated private pilot.
Pilots and aircraft owners have volunteered to transport hundreds of sea turtles rescued in Massachusetts to facilities equipped to care for them.
The FAA is working to automate a contingency plan developed on the fly when Chicago Center was taken out by arson from within Sept. 26.
AOPA has urged College Park, Maryland, to make approval of a hotel construction project near the city airport conditional on reducing the building’s height.
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