February 28, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
AOPA is welcoming the FAA’s decision not to pursue new flight procedures for arrivals and departures at Pearson Field in Vancouver, Wash. The announcement ends several months of pilot concerns about their future use of the general aviation airport just northwest of Portland (Ore.) International Airport.
AOPA, the FAA, and local pilots all participated in efforts to address concerns about flight safety in the airspace. AOPA had submitted a formal request for discussions before any procedures were imposed, and members of the Washington and Oregon congressional delegations had also weighed in to urge that pilot input be considered before operations in the airspace were modified.
“AOPA is pleased that the FAA heard pilot input, worked together with the general aviation community, and responded to their concerns,” said AOPA Senior Government Analyst of Air Traffic Services Melissa McCaffrey.
Follow-up measures to promote safety will include continuing efforts to familiarize local and transient pilots with the needs of operating in the airspace, and making educational opportunities available on topics such as wake turbulence avoidance.
Pilots expressed their satisfaction with the resolution to AOPA’s advocacy staff at the Northwest Aviation Conference in Puyallup, Wash., where AOPA President Craig Fuller was the keynote speaker.
News of the FAA’s decision “closes the door” on local pilots’ concerns about the future use of Pearson Field, McCaffrey said.
The movement to exempt thousands of general aviation pilots from the third class medical certification process is gaining momentum in Congress and the aviation community.
The recent warrantless stops and searches of law-abiding pilots on general aviation flights have drawn the attention of mainstream media.
The National Aeronautic Association has awarded the Collier Trophy for “the first unmanned, autonomous air system operating from an aircraft carrier.”
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