July 1, 2011
By Kathy Dondzila
Experts and leaders from the aviation industry gathered recently for the tenth annual Aviation Summit at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. AOPA President Craig Fuller moderated a panel, “The State of Airports: What is Needed and How it Can Be Achieved,” and demonstrated general aviation in action with a flight simulator.
“This event is a wonderful opportunity to bring a cross-section of business and aviation leaders together,” Fuller said of the summit. “It’s a chance to talk to a broad audience about the issues affecting all segments of aviation, and having a simulator on hand gives participants a taste of the fun of flying as well.”
AOPA helped sponsor the event, which was designed to “explore the pressing need to improve our aging aviation infrastructure, the need to invest in innovative technologies, and the debilitating impact of burdensome and expensive government regulations,” according to the National Chamber Foundation website. The summit included sessions on improving the U.S. aviation infrastructure, the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), the challenges and possibilities of commercial air travel, aviation’s impact on alternative fuels, and security.
During the panel discussion about airports, Fuller noted that the more than 19,000 airports, including 5,000-plus public-use facilities, are critical pieces of the U.S. transportation infrastructure.
In addition to Fuller, National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen and former Cessna Aircraft Co. President Jack Pelton represented GA and spoke at the event. Pelton joined airline CEOs in calling for greater leadership from President Barack Obama in the aviation industry on a panel discussing commercial air travel, according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce writer Sheryll Poe. Bolen moderated a talk with FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt on the next steps for NextGen. NextGen has been a key issue of FAA reauthorization, and Fuller testified before Congress on the subject in February.
“General aviation is an important segment of our national transportation network, and no aviation summit would be complete without the GA perspective,” said Fuller. “By bringing the concerns of the general aviation community to a forum like this one, we are able to further understanding of the issues that affect how we fly now and far into the future.”
AOPA is urging owners to check their registration status and avoid becoming grounded because of processing delays or failure to comply with the new FAA rule. To check your registration month or status of your registration, visit the FAA aircraft registry website.
For owners of aircraft with May registrations, issued in any year, the window for re-registration will be open for online submission through July 31. Re-registering should ensure that the new registration is received before the old one expires on September 30.
The FAA is sending out the notices to the address on file for the aircraft six months before the scheduled expiration of registrations. These notifications are being sent to the address on file at the FAA, which may be different than the owner’s home address if the aircraft is registered to a limited liability corporation (LLC), corporation, or partnership, or if the address on file is out of date. Owners can see the official address on file at the FAA aircraft registration website. When re-registering online, you must use the code provided by the FAA in the letter of notification.
Some re-registrations submitted on paper have been returned to applicants, usually for one of two reasons: Owners failed to include both their signature and printed name on the application as required. Owners with aircraft registered to LLCs or similar entities failed to include their correct title on the application as it appears on their original LLC paperwork.
For more information, contact AOPA’s Pilot Information Center (800-USA-AOPA). If you want a concierge service to track and handle the re-registration paperwork for you, or if you have neglected some registry documents along the way, you can contact AIC Title Service (800-288-2519) for help.
A recent revision of a set of Transportation Security Administration guidelines for commercial airport operators includes a new appendix dedicated to general aviation operations.
The TSA’s revised Recommended Security Guidelines for Airport Planning, Design, and Construction is applicable to airports with scheduled passenger airline service under Transportation Security Regulation Part 1542.
“GA operations at commercial service airports should be evaluated, designed, and located independently from commercial operations areas as much as practical to minimize potential security conflicts, flight delays, and unnecessary inconvenience to both GA and commercial service operators,” said Tom Zecha, AOPA manager of aviation security.
Imposing commercial designs and procedures on GA “may result in unnecessary restrictions, potentially causing a decline in operations at the airports and a drop in GA activity and revenues,” Zecha added.
The Coalition to Save Our GPS, of which AOPA is an active member, is urging members of the House and Senate to register their concerns with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about the risk of signal interference or degradation that GPS could face from mobile network operator LightSquared’s plan to expand into bandwidth adjacent to that used by GPS. LightSquared received a conditional waiver to proceed if testing—to be performed under the company’s supervision—reveals no threat to the much lower-powered GPS signals.
“Our industry cannot allow GPS to be threatened by interference and we appreciate Congress’ attention to this urgent matter,” said AOPA Vice President of Legislative Affairs Lorraine Howerton, who serves as the chair of the General Aviation Working Group on the coalition.
AOPA and fellow aviation coalition members ATA, EAA, GAMA, NATA, and NBAA have been working to rally more members of Congress to the cause of ensuring the integrity of GPS. “This is a matter of serious concern to the aviation industry and much of U.S. commerce, and we respectfully request that you require the FCC to take all steps necessary to protect the GPS,” the aviation coalition members said.
“Thousands of aircraft use GPS receivers for navigation, including approach and landing, and it is central to the FAA’s ADS-B-based NextGen Air Transportation System. We are extremely concerned that these receivers could be jammed within miles of LightSquared’s transmitters and the consequences of disruption to the GPS signals are far reaching, creating 40,000 ‘dead spots’ each miles in diameter through U.S. cities.”
Summer is here—that means relaxation, travel, and fun. It also means an increased chance of identity theft. All of your information that you use when traveling—your credit cards, your driver's license, and your passport—are ripe for the picking when you are on the road.
For AOPA members, summer travel also includes plans to fly to vacation locales. As with other personally identifiable information, your pilot certificate, medical certificate, and aircraft registration are all valuable pieces of information to you—and to identity thieves.
AOPA's partnership with LifeLock provides pilot-specific protocols to help you in the event your pilot-specific documents are stolen. Of course, it also includes the industry leading identity theft protection services of LifeLock 24 hours a day. LifeLock's services include analyzing new account openings, monitoring public records, scanning the Internet and file-sharing networks for your information, and—as a last resort—helping to fix any problems if you become a victim of identity theft. Visit the website to learn more about our program and enroll today.
Some quick travel tips:
Plus, you can get the protection of LifeLock for a 10-percent discount and with a 60-day money back guarantee. Enroll now.
Nearly two airplanes a week are lost when their pilots unexpectedly exceed the critical angle of attack, and more than 40 percent of these crashes are fatal. That number is a sad reminder that, even though stall awareness and recovery are introduced in pre-solo training and tested repeatedly on checkrides and flight reviews, unrecoverable stall accidents continue to snag pilots during takeoffs, landings, go-arounds, turns in the traffic pattern, simulated engine failures, ground reference maneuvers, and ill-advised buzzing attempts. While a hard landing following a too-high flare is usually survivable, a skidding base-to-final turn that results in a spin usually is not.
Would you like to improve your awareness to prevent such an accident? Let the Air Safety Institute help with its newly developed interactive stall/spin accident map, which identifies accidents caused by stalls, with or without spins, since 2003. Scrolling over the accident site brings up details of the aircraft, location, and casualties, with a link to the full description and NTSB report. Then take a look at the NTSB probable cause determination to learn how you can stay safe.
Partial data is available for 2010 because most of these accidents can't be conclusively identified until the NTSB investigations are complete (fatal-accident investigations may take more than a year).
It may come as a surprise, but when you're flying the traffic pattern you're participating in maneuvering flight. Basically, any flying close to the ground is considered maneuvering flight. But, you can be safe, provided you don't fly recklessly. That's why you'll want to check out ASI's Maneuvering Flight: Hazardous to Your Health? Safety Advisor, which discusses things to consider before you sign up for formation flying or aerial work. You'll come away with a healthy dose of respect for stalls/spins and aerobatics, and you'll learn about performing these safely.
Did you know? Leave a lasting legacy Do you ever wonder what the future holds? One way you can help create a secure future is having a good plan to ensure your family will be well cared for and giving something back to GA. With the AOPA Foundation's Online Wills Planner, you can organize what you own and state who you intend to benefit.
For example, it can be as simple as specifying an amount or percentage in your will to go to the AOPA Foundation. As you consider how to save on estate taxes and how you might benefit one or more charitable organizations, remember a bequest permits you to leave a lasting legacy and often provides valuable tax savings.
Once your guide is completed the foundation encourages you to visit with your advisor to finalize your plan. For free access, visit www.giftlegacy.aopa.org and click on "Plan Your Will." You may also contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Connecticut legislature has passed a $40.1 billion, two-year state budget package that does not include two tax proposals that could have devastated the state's aviation industry.
The budget package, signed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, dropped a proposed personal property tax on aircraft. It also passed without eliminating a sales tax exemption on labor performed for aircraft maintenance.
The budget passed the Senate 19 to 17 in the wee hours May 4, after clearing the House May 3 on an 83-to-67 vote that capped 10 hours of debate.
The personal property tax—2 percent on the first 70 percent of an aircraft's assessed value each year—combined with Connecticut's existing registration fees, would have created extremely high costs for basing aircraft in the state, and could have led to widespread relocations of aircraft across state lines.
Had the sales-tax exemption on labor been eliminated, the result would have been a major competitive disadvantage for the state's 101 repair shops. All but one other New England state has the exemption in place, and the single exception, Maine, is now considering legislation for an exemption.
AOPA worked with a coalition of local aviation businesses and pilots, including the Connecticut Business Aviation Group (CBAG), throughout the legislative process, pressing home the importance to the state's aviation industry of removing the personal property tax from the package, and preserving the sales-tax exemption.
Over the course of several weeks, AOPA met with Malloy, his budget advisers, legislative leadership, and committee chairmen, as well as individual lawmakers on many occasions.
"This is definitely good news for the entire Connecticut aviation community," said Mark Kimberling, AOPA director of state government affairs. "It is the result of very careful collaboration between AOPA and several state aviation businesses and pilots."
Kimberling commended the legislature, especially its leadership, "for their ultimate decision to forego this tax proposal after very careful consideration and deliberation of this issue in the face of numerous difficult budget decisions."
"In the end, this issue was really a decision to foster, rather than stifle, new growth of a critical sector of their economy in GA. This decision will certainly pay off in terms of saving businesses, jobs, and in generating revenue long term," added Kimberling.
AOPA Aviation Summit 2011 is scheduled to take place in Hartford, Connecticut, September 22 through 24.
Given that the proposal to repeal the sales tax exemption on aircraft purchases has been soundly rejected by the legislature multiple times over several sessions, and the bill introduced this session has failed to advance out of committee, a small group of apparent anti-aviation lawmakers have resorted to sneakier tactics. Language was quietly amended to an unrelated economic development bill that would have altered the definition of tangible property as it relates to aircraft in existing code that would have resulted in a repeal of the exemption. The amendment was caught, however, and removed from the bill.
The New York Legislative Aviation Caucus recently welcomed its one-hundredth member since first being formed in 2010. "The caucus promises to be the catalyst for advancing aviation in New York," said Carl Beardsley, manager of Greater Binghamton Airport (BGM) and president of the New York Aviation Management Association (NYAMA).
With a moratorium that protects California flight schools from costly regulatory burdens set to expire, AOPA and its legislative partners are working to assure a smooth transition to a permanent solution. The California Senate took an important step toward that goal, unanimously passing Senate Bill 619, that would exempt flight instructors and flight schools "that provide flight instruction pursuant to Federal Aviation Administration regulations and meet certain criteria" from provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009.
Rep. Peter J. Daley has introduced House Bill 1100 to exempt GA aircraft sales and maintenance from the state sales tax. The bill, which currently has more than 60 cosponsors, would help the state's aviation industry better compete for new business and investment among a number of northeastern states with exemptions already in place.
Most aviation enthusiasts know the important roles that airports play. We understand that they support local economies, grow and connect businesses, link remote areas, and provide countless other benefits. But many who are not familiar with general aviation have a far different picture of the local airport. With this in mind, how can we better inform the community of the important role an airport plays?
Arthur Rosen, AOPA Airport Support Network Volunteer at Scottsdale Airport, in Scottsdale, Arizona, has learned the secret—get involved. "Maintaining relationships with airport managers, local policymakers, and community leaders is key," Rosen said. By leveraging his relationships, Rosen has assisted in the reactivation of one of Scottsdale's VOR approaches, the establishment of a new U.S. Customs facility, and the installation of many airport surface improvements.
In addition, Rosen takes the time to introduce curious minds to the world of general aviation through introductory programs for the community's children. "So many people just don't understand the airport," Rosen said. "By getting people to come out and see what we do, we make supporters for life." To see how you can promote your local airport visit the website.
For more information on learning how to volunteer for AOPA, visit AOPA Online.
Don't miss AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford, Connecticut, September 22 through 24. Visit the website.
FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt will be the keynote speaker during the opening session of AOPA Aviation Summit on Friday, September 23, at the Connecticut Convention Center.
Babbitt, the sixteenth administrator in the FAA's 53-year history, was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009. He was a pilot for Eastern Airlines for 25 years and was a former president of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the largest airline pilot union in the United States.
The FAA employs more than 49,000 people, including 15,000 air traffic controllers and 6,000 flight safety inspectors. Babbitt has a strong commitment to safety and was quoted on his appointment as saying, "My number-one priority is to focus on safety. This is a business where one mistake is too many." Safety and the future of NextGen will be among the topics in his speech at Summit. Babbitt will also provide updates on the state of general aviation from the FAA's perspective, a recap of key FAA accomplishments as they relate to GA, and the FAA's focus for 2012 and beyond.
Babbitt is a long-time GA pilot who once quipped, "When I started my career as a professional pilot, there were two people I really had little interest in meeting: my chief pilot, and I certainly never wanted to meet the FAA administrator. Now I have the job."
If your spouse is considering joining you at AOPA Aviation Summit this September in Hartford, Connecticut, but wondering what else there will be to do outside of the aviation events, these two activities might be the answer.
"Noshing in New York" is a guided bus tour into Manhattan. Your guide will give a food tour of the Big Apple with stops at the world-famous delicatessen, Zabar's, on the Upper West Side; Greenwich Village for a stop at Bleeker Street (sometimes referred to as "Little Little Italy"); Lower East Side stops at Kossar's Bialy Bakery, Chinatown, and Manhattan's first Little Italy—Mulberry Street.
The tour departs the Connecticut Convention Center on Thursday, September 22, at 9 a.m. and returns at 4 p.m. Cost is $79 but you get $30 back when you board the bus.
Enjoy a day trip to the Mohegan Sun Casino, on Friday, September 23. The casino offers some of New England's finest dining, shopping, entertainment, and sporting events all in one exciting destination. The tour departs at 8:30 a.m. from the Connecticut Convention Center and returns at 3:45 p.m. Cost is $22 with casino bonuses.
For information on both tours, contact Dattco Tours (800-229-4879 ext. 638; email@example.com).
Technical Communications Manager, Kathy Dondzila, joined AOPA in 1990 and is an instrument-rated private pilot.
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