News and Notes: All in one place

Summit exhibit hall offers latest and greatest

August 1, 2013

exhibit hall

The countdown is on: less than three months until AOPA Aviation Summit 2013, October 10 through 12 in Fort Worth, Texas. “The exhibit hall is filling up fast and we are adding new exhibitors daily,” says Liz Tarver, AOPA exhibit sales manager. “Exhibitors will be prepared to provide members with the knowledge and products necessary to keep them happy, safe, and current. We have the latest and greatest GA has to offer, including new airplanes, avionics, training tools, and pilot gear—all in one place.”

Exhibitors include Aircraft Spruce, Jeppesen, Cirrus, Kestrel, Aspen Avionics, Garmin, Bendix King, and many more. The AOPA Store and Member Area will offer information from Pilot Protection Services, IAOPA, the AOPA Foundation, flying clubs, AOPA Government Affairs, FlyQ, AOPA Aviation Finance, and more.

The Interactive Pavilion on the exhibit hall floor offers opportunities for members to catch product announcements and demonstrations, and meet up with pilots who share similar interests. The new “Ask the Experts” seminars allow members to connect with experts on everything from medical and legal matters to safety and training. This Q&A-designed seminar allows you to interact and get answers to the questions that mean the most to you and your flying. Registration is now open—register today and receive 15 percent off.

EXTRA: Once again the American Bonanza Society will host its annual convention at AOPA Aviation Summit. The Bonanza Society will offer unique Beech Track Seminars, special events, and have exhibits at both the Convention Center and Airportfest.


What AOPA is doing to keep you flying

100LL replacement: The FAA will begin to accept candidate unleaded fuels for testing as a possible replacement for 100LL. This begins the next phase of a transition program that will result in the deployment of unleaded fuel(s) with the least impact on the general aviation fleet. AOPA is a leading member of the General Aviation Avgas Coalition. 

PTS change: The FAA reworded a navigation task in the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards to allow applicants to train and take their flight tests in aircraft equipped with magnetic direction sensing systems other than a magnetic compass. The action will spare some flight training operators thousands of dollars in added costs to install compasses in training aircraft. AOPA identified the problem after an element of the pilotage and dead reckoning task was changed in the current version of the PTS.

getting upset: The International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations opposes the ICAO recommendation to make upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT) in aircraft a requirement for the commercial pilot certificate. IAOPA believes the recommendation attempts to prevent future loss of control accidents at the air carrier operational level; therefore, the training should be developed and occur there—where standardized training and full-motion simulators can be used, and where costs are not passed directly to the pilot in training.

Aircraft re-registration: Later this year, the FAA will wrap up its aircraft re-registration program. All aircraft registrations will have an expiration date, forcing aircraft owners to renew every three years. Owners of the first group of aircraft that were re-registered in 2010 are now receiving renewal notices from the FAA and an email reminder from AOPA.


Strategic partner built on aviation heritage

More than just car rental, a history of aviation

jack taylorEnterprise Rent-A-Car has a rich and distinctive heritage. It’s a remarkable story of how entrepreneurship, hard work, and a big dream can turn a tiny start-up into a world-class company.

The story begins with founder Jack Taylor. Born in the company’s home- town of St. Louis in 1922, Taylor heeded his country’s call after the attack on Pearl Harbor drew the United States into World War II. In 1942, he enlisted and served as a decorated Navy Hellcat pilot in the skies over the South Pacific. Then, like so many others of the Greatest Generation, he returned home to raise his family and start a business. Lessons learned in the Navy—including the values of integrity, hard work, team spirit, and simply doing the right thing—helped shape his personality. They also made their mark on the company he founded in 1957, and that his family owns to this day.

In a tiny lower-level office in a St. Louis Cadillac dealership, Taylor started out with a fleet of seven cars, one employee, and a commitment to provide a uniquely personal brand of customer service. Taylor developed a simple but enduring business philosophy that still guides company efforts as the largest rental car operation in the world: “Take care of your customers and your employees first, and the profits will follow.”

As his company grew, the Navy veteran expanded operations into new markets and named the company after an aircraft carrier on which he had served, the USS Enterprise.The ship was the most decorated vessel in the U.S. Navy with the 2012 retirement of the latest Enterprise. The Secretary of the Navy announced that the Enterprise name will live on, passed to CVN-80—the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed. This marks the ninth time the U.S. Navy will have a ship called Enterprise in its fleet.

As an AOPA Strategic Partner, Enterprise proudly supports general aviation. Members who book online (www.aopa.org/cars) or call 866-315-9155 can take advantage of a discount on everyday low rates and help support AOPA.


Picking the perfect partner

By Brenda J. Jennings, Senior Vice President, AOPA Insurance Agency

There’s really only one reason to buy aircraft insurance: payment of claims. Hence, you have to judge an insurance company’s ability to pay them. Look for companies with higher AM Best and S&P financial ratings. These insurers can, and typically do, charge a higher premium for their policies. This is only because they provide more responsive claims service.

The best insurance brokers deal with underwriting companies on multiple aviation risks and have large books of business with each, giving them more buying power. Plus, they’ll know which underwriter at each insurance company is the most reasonable to deal with for a specific type of aircraft, what a competitive rate should be on a particular account, what coverages are available at no additional charge, and how hard to negotiate. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Do they have a thorough understanding of aviation insurance, the marketplace, policies, and coverages?
  • Do they have strong relationships within the market?
  • How well do they understand the type of flying you do?
  • Are they willing and able to handle all of your aviation insurance needs?
  • Do they take the time to explain the process and coverages as well as how they relate to you?
  • Do they have sufficient office support to properly service your account?

Action in the states

GA aircraft grandfathered under Illinois tax measure

The Illinois legislature approved Senate Bill 2326, a measure reforming requirements for aircraft operating under a “rolling stock” (across states) state tax exemption. Previously, an aircraft used for hire 33.3 percent or more of the time in interstate commerce was exempt from Illinois sales tax. Other vehicles, including over-the-road trucks, operated under a 50-percent-or-more threshold. As the legislature considered how to equitably balance tax rates among different types of carriers, the state’s department of revenue proposed taxing aircraft at the same 50-percent-or-more threshold.

AOPA worked with legislators to find a way to protect existing state aircraft operators from the financial damage of a new tax hit. The Illinois Aviation Trades Association (IATA) and AOPA secured an amendment to S.B.2326 allowing currently registered rolling stock aircraft to maintain the exemption, while requiring the new 51-percent threshold for aircraft registered in the future.

“Although we understand the legislature’s interest in standardizing these rates, supporting the IATA amendment to grandfather currently qualified businesses was vital, in our view, to ensure the continued health and vitality of these aviation operations as key contributors to the state economy,” said Mark Kimberling, AOPA director of state government affairs.

GA spared adverse tax changes in Louisiana

Sometimes in politics, the good news is that bad news isn’t coming. The good news—that is, the absence of bad news—was confirmed when the Louisiana legislature adjourned without taking action on two bills AOPA was prepared to oppose because of their negative impact on the aviation community. House Bill 714 would have imposed a four-percent sales tax on antique airplanes and noncommercial aircraft of less than 6,000 pounds maintained by private collectors. Senate Bill 257 would have eliminated an enterprise-zone tax credit of $5,000 for “each new job created” by Louisiana’s aviation and aerospace industry. Revenue from the sales tax on antique airplanes and light noncommercial aircraft would have flowed out of the aviation sector instead of being reinvested in aviation infrastructure.

“Sometimes it’s the bills that don’t pass that really determine the success of a state legislative session for general aviation,” said AOPA Vice President of Airports and State Advocacy Greg Pecoraro. “Aside from a few high-profile efforts, a lower-key—yet vital—facet of AOPA’s state advocacy program is our extensive monitoring and tracking system of all state GA legislation, which can amount to hundreds and sometimes thousands of bills in a given year. It only takes one bill or one small provision within a lengthy omnibus bill to inflict significant damage on the industry.”


Fly in for milkshakes!

While Airport Support Network volunteers across the country typically are pilots who care deeply for general aviation and give back to the pilot community in various ways, some are real overachievers. Take Dick Acker, ASN volunteer for Clare Municipal Airport in Clare, Michigan, for example. With the ASN program since 1998, Acker has been actively involved in general aviation in many ways, and for many years. A former president of the Michigan Association of Airport Executives, Acker was active on many issues supporting the state’s airports, and worked with AOPA on securing a long-term financial solution to a depleted state aeronautics fund. His current efforts include spearheading efforts at the airport to build a parallel taxiway and serving on the Michigan Aeronautics Commission General Aviation Committee. A Young Eagles advocate and encourager of youth in aviation, Acker is dedicated to keeping aviation strong. He is a longtime manager of the airport and, if you fly there, you can anticipate the homemade milkshakes and cookies for which he is well known throughout Michigan.


The AOPA Jay by Redbird

Get right to the good stuff: flying

aopa jayPracticing at home is a great idea for pilots. You can keep your skills sharp and your mind in the cockpit even when you can’t make it to the airport. There are two obstacles to effective home flight simulation: purchasing and assembling the right hardware requires a Ph.D. in computer know-how—and, after flying the virtual world for a bit, most pilots get bored. Redbird Flight Simulations, a leader in FAA-approved flight simulators for general aviation, addresses both these issues with the AOPA Jay. The Jay combines the monitor, computer, and flight controls in an all-in-one unit. It boots up directly to a launch screen where you can select your airplane, airport, and weather conditions.

The Jay has a scenario mode allowing users to load and fly preset scenarios that range from simple flight challenges to complex flights with multiple potential outcomes. For example, an article from the pages of AOPA Pilot on an aircraft accident is linked to a mission where the Jay owner can fly that scenario. Redbird Media creates these scenarios in partnership with AOPA, Flying magazine, King Schools, IFR Workshop, and other training outlets and publications. The scenario exchange is open to any company wishing to create scenarios for the Jay. A one-button update on the Jay will load the latest scenarios available for free, or one the owner has purchased.

The Jay chassis is metal, not plastic. Control smoothness is paramount. The parts should last indefinitely. In addition, there are pilot-centric touches. For example, the yoke travel is equivalent to that of a typical Cessna or Piper single—about three times as far as most plastic flight sim yokes move. The software powering the Jay is Lockheed Prepar3D, an evolution of Microsoft’s FSX, enhanced and expanded for professional-level simulation, including Redbird’s full-motion simulators.

Visit the AOPA Store for more information on the Jay and to see other great pilot gear.


‘AOPA Stay Smart’ webinars

AOPA is proud to announce a new webinar program for all AOPA members, AOPA Stay Smart. Keep an eye on your email at the end of each month for an invitation listing the Stay Smart webinars for the upcoming month.

Each webinar lasts about an hour and is both informative and interactive, providing an opportunity for you to ask questions using a chat feature.

With the highest-quality content and notable presenters, AOPA Stay Smart webinars offer members information on a wide variety of topics, including aircraft purchasing; aircraft maintenance; For Your iPad: Introducing AOPA FlyQ EFB; flying club insurance; and Nontowered Airport Operations: A Refresher, among many other options.

View upcoming webinars online (www.aopa.org/pilot-resources/upcoming-webinars.aspx).


AOPA Foundation

Educating pilots on improving their skills and enhancing GA safety is a core tenet of the AOPA Foundation’s Air Safety Institute and its educational programs. Your contribution funds these activities and ensures that ASI continues to address the needs of pilots everywhere. Show your support today (www.aopafoundation.org/donate).


Get started on your CFI renewal now with ASI’s new eFIRC

The Air Safety Institute is excited to announce its new online Flight Instructor Refresher Course—aptly named eFIRC—which was launched July 1. And CFIs should be excited, too. The new online course, which is optimized for the iPad, is accessible on any mobile device or personal computer, includes great educational videos, and saves your progress as you work. A great benefit of the eFIRC is that you can spread out taking the course over the full two-year CFI renewal cycle. As long as you complete the FIRC within the four months prior to your certificate’s expiration date, you’ll maintain the same expiration month you had before. And you now have flexibility to customize your training—there are lots of elective modules to choose from, allowing you to select topics of interest to you. Certain ASI online courses count toward the eFIRC program. That could mean you’re already partway through the renewal before you’ve even begun, if you recently completed a qualifying ASI online course. And the renewal application is completed entirely online—no need to mail paperwork or leave the comfort of your home. As always, you have the option of attending an in-person FIRC offered at locations throughout the United States.

Cost for the online FIRC is $124; in-person FIRCs are $235 if you preregister, or $250 at the door. The course includes all Form 8710 paperwork and processing. Upon course completion you receive an exclusive ASI Thumb Drive, with the Federal Aviation Regulations, Aeronautical Information Manual, FAA handbooks, an endorsement guide, practical test standards, ASI’s CFI to CFI digital newsletter, AOPA’s Flight Training Field Guides, and more.

The Air Safety Institute has provided training and flight instructor refresher courses to CFIs since the 1970s.


Buying an aircraft?

Many pilots prefer to pay cash for an airplane. While this sounds admirable, economics suggest that it may be time to take a second look and consider whether financing an aircraft purchase is a better alternative for you. Few pilots have the cash on hand for the total purchase price of an aircraft, which means that the buyer has to dig into money that has already been invested or put away for retirement. That means stocks—even well-performing ones—are sold and investments are cashed in to come up with the full purchase price.

With low interest rates continuing to be offered, it makes sense to borrow at least a portion of the purchasing price for your aircraft purchase. Low interest rates mean this is a great time to borrow money, and many previously owned aircraft are available.

Maybe you just want to upgrade your current airplane. Whether it’s an engine overhaul or a new glass panel, AOPA Aviation Finance Company, LLC will help you find the money. You will work with someone who is your advocate. You can talk aviation and we will understand. AOPA Aviation Finance works with a number of banks, relieving you of the tedious process of shopping for a loan. And since AOPA Aviation Finance is part of AOPA, you can rest assured that you are the priority, because you are a valued AOPA member.


FAA and depression: Antidepressant use

By Warren Silberman, D.O., AOPA Pilot Protection Services

On April 4, 2010, the Federal Air Surgeon announced new policy guidelines for the use of a class of medications known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Currently there are only four medications that are acceptable: Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, and Zoloft. These medications are believed to have the least demonstrated side effects. Guidelines for their use include:

1. The airman must have been on the same dosage of the medication for 12 months without any changes;

2. The airman cannot have had any suicidal thoughts or acts as part of their depressive episode;

3. The FAA will consider airmen who are being treated for conditions other than depression, such as migraine headache or irritable bowel syndrome.

The Federal Air Surgeon is considering lowering the 12-month time on medication requirement. However, if the medication is discontinued, the airman should wait 90 days and provide medical records that explain what symptoms they had when they were placed on the medication and a current status report that includes how they responded to treatment, reaction when the medication was discontinued, and how they are functioning now that they are no longer taking the medication.

The FAA’s Office of Aerospace Medicine Policy in Washington, D.C., reports that from April 2010 until June 2012 it had authorized special issuances for 79 airmen of all medical classes and denied 19.

Dr. Warren Silberman is the former manager of FAA Aerospace Medical Certification and a doctor of osteopathic medicine. A pilot since 1986, he is recognized nationally as an expert in aerospace/preventative medicine.


New extended pilot information center hours

Now you can enjoy a whole new level of access to the team of aviation experts in our Pilot Information Center with our convenient extended weekday hours. The Pilot Information Center is now available until 8 p.m. Eastern time every weekday. Call 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Eastern time, with your questions and our staff will be happy to assist you.


The annual meeting of the members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association will be held at 12 noon on Friday, September 6, 2013, at the headquarters of AOPA, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland, located on the Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK), for the purpose of receiving reports and transacting such other business as may properly come before the meeting, specifically including the election of trustees. —John S. Yodice, Secretary