January 3, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
The FAA is weighing recommendations for enhancing the safety of flight operations at Pearson Field in Vancouver, Wash., and has agreed to include a vigorous public outreach effort in any procedural changes it might seek for the airport.
AOPA participated in discussions in December in which the FAA heard from airspace users and other stakeholders while examining arrival and departure procedures at the general aviation airport just northwest of Portland, Ore., International Airport.
In prior action, the FAA agreed to delay implementing an air traffic procedure it planned to have take effect at Pearson Field in October 2012. Withdrawing the air traffic procedure was in response to a letter from AOPA, involvement from several congressional inquiries, and input from local pilots requesting that the agency provide more notice and make more advance information available to pilots.
If the recommendations the FAA is now studying result in operational changes, the agency will pursue “a series of public outreach programs” to ensure that pilots have the information necessary to use the airspace safely, said Melissa McCaffrey, AOPA senior government analyst for air traffic services.
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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