AOPA Action

What AOPA is doing to keep you flying

October 1, 2010

AOPA ACTION SECTIONS

EPA confirms: No lead ban deadline looms on avgas

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that it has not set a deadline for the removal of lead from avgas—and that it will coordinate closely with industry stakeholders in the development of a solution to the issue.

“EPA has not established or proposed any date by which lead emissions from aircraft operating on leaded avgas would need to be reduced,” wrote Margo Oge, director of the office of transportation and air quality for the EPA. “In fact, EPA does not have authority to control aviation fuels.” The statements, which came in response to questions from AOPA and other industry groups, were the most explicit affirmation thus far of the EPA’s commitment to consider safety and economic impact on general aviation in any action that it takes.

Did you know?
In 2010, 46 states will hold legislative elections. Democrats currently control 61 of the 99 chambers—27 chambers could change hands with five seats or fewer.

AOPA, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, National Business Aviation Association, and National Air Transport Association had requested clarification about perceptions within the GA industry that the EPA is taking steps to remove lead from avgas by 2017. The GA organizations are part of a coalition working to develop a plan for the transition to an unleaded avgas, and the organizations said the need to manage these fears within the industry was diverting resources from efforts to work toward the actual goal of an unleaded future for GA.

The EPA assured the coalition that it will consult with the FAA, states, industry groups, and user groups, and consider the impact of potential regulatory action on the GA fleet. “The EPA is committed to working with these stakeholders to keep piston-engine aircraft flying in an environmentally acceptable and safe manner throughout the United States,” the agency wrote.

The GA avgas coalition is working with the EPA, FAA, and Congress to assure safety, minimize the impact on the existing fleet, and ensure the sustainability and growth of GA throughout the transition to an unleaded aviation fuel. The group is educating members of Congress on the issue and continues to stress the importance of the FAA’s leadership role in the process. The coalition also is working to have Congress appropriate an additional $2 million requested in the president’s fiscal year 2011 budget that is specifically to be used for avgas research and development.


NATIONAL ACTION

FAA issues AD affecting 42,000 Piper aircraft

An airworthiness directive (AD) requiring the inspection and possible replacement of the pilot and co-pilot control wheel shafts on the Piper PA-28, PA-32, PA-34, and PA-44 could affect nearly 42,000 airplanes.

Did you know?
In 38 states, governors and state legislators will play a determining role in redrawing congressional districts following the latest Census results next year.

AOPA opposed the AD, stating that the FAA needed to refine the number of aircraft that would be affected because the amount of work and cost involved would place a burden on aircraft owners. AOPA members and Piper aircraft owners said that the disassembly and inspection of the control wheel shaft could take several hours and possibly damage the part in the process. The association pointed out that failure of the control wheel shaft in these aircraft has been rare.

While the FAA did not address most of AOPA’s concerns, it did offer a credit to those who had complied with an earlier service bulletin that encouraged the same action. The agency also adopted the recommendation from AOPA and aircraft owners to change the compliance date to the next 100 hours time in service or 12 months, whichever occurs first. The AD took effect August 31.

eAPIS enhancements let users save, reuse manifests

Customs and Border Protection recently announced enhancements to its Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS). Pilots can now save up to 10 manifests indefinitely, and eAPIS will automatically save the latest five manifests for 30 days.

“United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has listened to your feedback. Enhancements have been implemented in eAPIS based on your suggestions,” the agency said in a notice.

The functionality is designed to allow pilots to modify their manifests to submit the return leg of a trip, submit future trips to the same destination or with the same people on board, and update previously submitted manifests. Each manifest will allow pilots to submit their notice of departure or arrival, view details, and save it as a template.

Pilots must file manifests through eAPIS (or another approved method) at least 60 minutes prior to departure when arriving in or departing from the United States. Those who fail to do so could be fined $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for subsequent violations. So far, no pilots have been fined since the May 18, 2009, implementation of eAPIS.

AOPA and pilots had commented on the eAPIS proposal in 2007, notifying CBP that the rule was unworkable. While some changes were made to the final rule to accommodate operations from remote areas that did not have Internet access and unexpected in-flight routing changes because of deteriorating weather or other safety issues, the system still proved cumbersome to use. AOPA continued to work with the CBP to communicate members’ concerns, and the CBP heard directly from pilots who use the online system.

“This is a step in the right direction,” said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of operations and international affairs. “Customs officials are listening to pilots and observing the tremendous compliance record of the general aviation community. These enhancements are a sign of pilots’ hard work and dedication to following all regulations.”


AOPA members given free first step to renter’s insurance

All AOPA members who do not own an aircraft and have not secured renter’s insurance now have $100 of coverage toward aircraft damage available to them at no charge. This $100 may be used toward the insurance deductible in the event of an incident.

“We have found that AOPA members who rent aircraft are often unaware of their insurance needs, so this $100 member benefit is a way to remind them that they are liable for aircraft damages when they rent an aircraft,” said AOPA Insurance Agency President Janet Bressler. “Of course, our hope is that uninsured renters will secure far more prudent insurance than $100 of deductible coverage.”

The $100 free coverage applies only to members who have no applicable insurance in place. AOPA members who rent aircraft are urged to buy their own renter’s insurance at limits reflecting their level of flying activity. A free quote is available from the AOPA Insurance Agency online.

“We believe renter’s insurance is such a valuable benefit for our members that we will start them out with a minimal amount of coverage,” Bressler said. “One hundred dollars is clearly not enough and provides no liability protection if someone is injured or defense costs in the event of litigation, so now’s the time to join the 17,000 other AOPA members who have renter’s insurance in place and get protected.”

Comprehensive coverage for renters is available for as low as $99 per year. Renters are also given a 10-percent discount on renewal with a claim-free flying record. Applying for renter’s insurance is easy and can be accomplished within 15 minutes online or by calling 800-622-AOPA (2672) for a custom quote from the experienced agency staff.

Buying a friend’s airplane made easy by AOPA

When a friend of Dave Ohser put his airplane up for sale, Ohser was not in the market to buy an airplane. But when the friend insisted that Ohser buy his airplane, he had to say yes—but said that he didn’t think he would be able to get financing for it.

It wasn’t that Ohser had bad credit—he had no credit history. Based on a preference for paying cash, Ohser did not believe he could get the loan. But he went to AOPA Online (www.aopa.org/afp), filled out the aircraft financing form, and pressed “submit.” The next morning, he was called to supply a bit more information, some photos of the airplane, and that was it. A little wrangling went on about putting a bit more money down, but within 24 hours, he was approved for the aircraft loan.

Today he is the proud owner of a 1972 Grumman AA–5 Traveler. “I knew I was getting a good deal, as my friend took great care of this airplane,” Ohser says. “AOPA made this a wonderful experience for me. I had never financed an airplane before, but AOPA made it a very easy process. They led me step by step through it.”

From his New Port Richey, Florida, base, Ohser flies mainly for fun. “My flying is mostly local, but I did just take a three-hour trip to Pensacola,” he says.

If you’re interested in aircraft financing visit AOPA Online.


STATE AND LOCAL ACTION

1 Vermont:

AOPA member Brian Dubie advances to gubernatorial election
Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, a colonel in the Air Force Reserves and American Airlines captain, emerged out of the primary election unopposed and now has set his sights on the November 2 general election to bcome Vermont’s next governor. To read more about Dubie’s journey from F–16 pilot to Lt. Gov., go online.

2 Arizona:

Board dismisses flight school regulation claim
Part 61 flight schools are not subject to the regulations and fees intended for "private vocational programs," the Arizona State Board for Private Post-secondary Education decided at a meeting August 26. The board considered reinterpreting current arizona law in a way that would classify Part 61 flight schools as vocational schools, making them subject to regulatory requirements and fees similiar to a controversial new California law. After hearing testimony from AOPA and several members of the Arizona GA community about the potential detrimental effects of adopting a new interpretation of the law, the board voted unanimously to take no additional formal action on the issue.

3 Utah

Tenacity wins radar for Utah airport
Eleven years of tenacity, cheerleading, refusal to take no for an answer, and a team effort have produced a radar facility for the airspace around Provo, Utah, reports Greg Soter, the AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer at Provo Municipal Airport. Construction of the Beacon Interrogator-6 Air Surveillance System started June 29. “Having this radar considered, approved, funded, and now built has been an effective team effort,” said airport manager Steve Gleason. “AOPA’s ASN volunteer [Greg Soter] has played a significant role.”

Did you know?
Why are there only 99 state chambers? The Nebraska legislature is unicameral (single-chamber) and nonpartisan.

5 California

Thermal plumes a potential danger near airport
Thermal plumes from a proposed power plant less than three miles from Byron Municipal Airport may pose a hazard to pilots, AOPA told the Contra Costa County Airport land use commission, which voted 5-4 declaring the development incompatible with the airport land-use plan. AOPA joined ASN volunteer Chris Rossi and representatives from the California Pilots Association in opposition to this development project. The California Energy Commission will consider those findings before it decides whether to issue a license to the project, a 200-megawatt natural-gas-fired facility with four exhaust stacks that would be located 2.6 miles southeast of Byron Municipal. Of particular concern to AOPA is the potential for thermal plumes from the exhaust stacks to cause turbulence for landing and departing aircraft in the most critical phases of flight. The FAA is also conducting additional studies on the potential hazards of thermal plumes, with results anticipated later this year.

6 Washington:

Seaplanes seek continued access to Ross Lake
The National Park Service is creating a management plan for Ross Lake National Recreation Area in Washington that could impact seaplane operations on the lake. AOPA Vice President of Airports and State Advocacy Greg Pecoraro attended the first of a series of Park Service meetings in Washington to ensure that seaplanes will maintain access to the lake. AOPA will also be filing formal comments on the plan.

For more information on learning how to volunteer for AOPA, visit AOPA Online.


AOPA AIRPORT SUPPORT NETWORK

Two volunteers—One victory

After three years of debate, the Venice City Council voted to approve and file an updated Airport Layout Plan with the FAA for Venice Municipal Airport in Florida. The continued advocacy and educational efforts of Airport Support Network volunteers John Yurosko and Chuck Schmieler, and local pilot groups such as the Venice Aviation Society, Inc., and the Venice Airport Business Association, proved to be successful as the airport plunged into controversy.

Efforts to update the master plan centered on bringing the runway protection zone and runway safety areas to their proper dimensions. Encroachment from housing and an on-airport golf course complicated the issue. The city council started to put pressure on the airport to reduce the runway size, or to limit the size of aircraft that could land at Venice through changing its airport category designation.

The ASN volunteers and local aviation community stood strong, worked with AOPA and the FAA, and truly had a positive impact on the outcome.

AOPA ‘rallies the troops’ for airport support

AOPA Airport Support Network volunteers are on the front lines of airport protection, acting as AOPA’s eyes and ears to alert the association of challenges facing public-use airports. AOPA President Craig Fuller and ASN Director Joey Colleran commended the volunteers for their work at the annual network breakfast at EAA AirVenture July 30. “Airport Support Network volunteers play an important role in ensuring that we all continue to have access to the nation’s airports,” said Colleran. Colleran also discussed the launch of the Airport Support Network electronic newsletter Hangar Talk, the first network Webinar (log in to watch the archived version online or view the slides on the website).


AOPA FOUNDATION & AOPA AIR SAFETY FOUNDATION

ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
October 4 Bolingbrook, IL
October 5 Northbrook, IL
October 6 Rockford, IL
October 11 Madison, WI
October 11 Poughkeepsie, NY
October 11 Milwaukee, WI
October 12 Cohoes, NY
October 12 Colorado Springs, CO
October 13 Gaithersburg, MD
October 13 Manitowoc, WI
October 13 Northglenn, CO
October 13 Tompkinsville, KY
October 14 Mt. Sterling, KY
October 18 Portland, OR
October 18 Ypsilanti, MI
October 19 Seattle, WA
October 19 Cleveland, OH
October 20 Columbus, OH
October 21 Indianapolis, IN
October 25 Blacksburg, VA
October 25 Concord, CA
October 26 Danville, VA
October 27 Richmond, VA
October 28 Hampton, VA
Tentative schedule; visit the website for confirmed information.

Now online! Cross-country crisis accident case study

Experience the chilling reality of an ill-fated flight from Chicago to Raleigh, North Carolina, in this latest video installment in ASF’s popular Accident Case Study series.

Using actual ATC audio and dramatic Microsoft Flight Simulator re-creations, Accident Case Study: Cross-Country Crisis has you ride along with the pilot and his five passengers in a Piper Seneca II as the weather deteriorates en route.

You will get a gripping look at the peril in store as the pilot struggles to maintain control of the aircraft in low visibility and heavy snow in mountainous terrain near Huntington, West Virginia. To make matters worse the aircraft is low on fuel leaving ATC and the pilot few options.

Cross-Country Crisis is interspersed with scene analysis and safety tips to decipher where things went from bad to worse. You’ll come away with a clear understanding of how faulty decision-making can paint a pilot into a corner. This accident case study highlights the critical and lifesaving role a 180-degree turn can play when pilots encounter deteriorating weather.

The AOPA Air Safety Foundation hopes to help others avoid dangerous decision-making by sharing lessons learned from this accident. See the video online.

ASF at Aviation Summit

With forum titles such as Engine Failure After Takeoff, Spin Myths, What Went Wrong, Real World IFR, and Night Flying Safety, just to name a few, it’s obvious safety is the name of the game at this year’s AOPA Aviation Summit being held November 11 to 13 in Long Beach, California.

Join AOPA Air Safety Foundation staff along with Barry Schiff, Max Trescott, Dave Hirschman, and Tom Horne as they tackle a variety of safety topics. The full schedule is posted online, Register now.

Safety Tip: LUAW

Here’s a new acronym for your flight bag: LUAW or “line up and wait.” What does it mean when you hear these ATC instructions while you’re on the taxiway waiting for your departure clearance? Instead of the familiar phrase “taxi into position and hold,” the controller will issue “line up and wait” instructions to indicate you may taxi onto the runway and wait for a takeoff clearance. This change brings the United States in line with standard ICAO phraseology. Go online for details. Remember, the new terminology change was expected to take place on September 30, 2010.

ASF wants your opinion

Now is a good time to help feed the weekly Web poll. Topics on fuel management, “buzzing” (daredevil low-level maneuvering requiring abrupt control inputs), and ATC traffic advisories have solicited interesting responses.

Visit the AOPA Air Safety Foundation home page and scroll down the page, where you will find a new poll ready for your input and to review others’ responses.