February 27, 2014
By Elizabeth A Tennyson
Growing general aviation, protecting airports, and local and national advocacy issues were among the topics leaders from AOPA discussed with the heads of state aviation associations, Airport Support Network volunteers, and hundreds of pilots during the Northwest Aviation Conference held outside Seattle Feb. 22 and 23.
AOPA President Mark Baker told hundreds of pilots attending the conference about the association’s efforts to reduce the cost of flying, exempt more pilots from the third-class medical, grow the pilot population, and end the unwarranted stops and searches of general aviation aircraft by Customs and Border Protection and other law enforcement agencies.
That last issue drew a strong crowd reaction. Pilots have been outraged by reports of CBP and other agencies stopping and detaining pilots and searching their aircraft without probable cause or reasonable suspicion of illegal activity. AOPA has pledged to work with Congress and federal agencies to get to the bottom of the incidents and bring them to a halt.
Baker also met with leaders of state aviation associations from Washington, California, Oregon, Alaska, and other states as well as members of the Washington Seaplane Pilots Association.
In conjunction with the conference, 29 AOPA Airport Support Network volunteers from around the Northwest gathered for an update on critical AOPA initiatives.
AOPA will be back in Washington state at Spokane’s Felts Field on Aug. 16 for an AOPA Fly-In that will include a pancake breakfast, town hall discussions with Baker and other AOPA leaders, educational seminars, aircraft and product displays, and free lunch for AOPA members and their families. Everyone is welcome. Participants should RSVP online.
Director of Government Affairs and Executive Communications Elizabeth Tennyson joined AOPA in 1998, the same year she earned her private pilot certificate. She also holds an instrument rating and enjoys jumping out of planes almost as much as flying them.
Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole announced Oct. 16 that he would retire from the helm of the agency on Dec. 31. According to the TSA, Pistole is the longest serving administrator the agency has had. His nomination to head the TSA was confirmed in 2010.
The Voters Decide campaign is making a pre-election push for a ballot measure to put the future of SMO into the hands of voters.
At an Oct. 2 meeting hosted by AOPA, U.S. CBP leaders met with their counterparts from Canada to discuss ways to ease GA border crossings.
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