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.
Advocacy and Legislation
The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act would allow pilots to use the driver’s license medical standard for noncommercial VFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats, as long as they carry fewer than five passengers, fly below 14,000 feet msl, and fly no faster than 250 knots.
The Civil Aviation Medical Association is objecting to the FAA's proposed sleep apnea policy, warning that the evidence doesn't justify the approach.
Pilots have formed a user group and launched a petition drive to save Runway 5/23 at Joplin Regional Airport in Joplin, Mo.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.