Pilot Information Center: Don't sleep on this resource
When Sean Collins was an aviation student at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts, he didn’t know the full extent of the resources available to him through the Pilot Information Center (PIC) at AOPA.
“If I had known there was an AOPA department of pilots I could call with questions, I’d have gotten through school a lot faster,” he teases.
Today, Collins is an aviation technical specialist with AOPA’s PIC—one of the voices who answers when you call 800/USA-AOPA—and he has a wealth of knowledge to share with members. He holds a commercial pilot certificate with single and multiengine ratings and is working on a flight instructor certificate.
Working in the PIC, Collins dedicates a majority of his time to airspace obstruction evaluations.
If you’ve received a notam from AOPA about a presidential TFR, a shuttle launch, or military activities in your neighborhood, chances are Collins or his PIC colleague Tom Kramer put the FAA’s verbiage into user-friendly language for you. If you still have questions about specific notams, Collins can answer them. He says members have been calling about the special security procedures that go into play at Midway Airport when President Barack Obama travels to Chicago.
“It’s only happened once so far, but we anticipate it will happen again,” he says.
In addition to airspace obstruction evaluations and notam dissemination, Collins plays an active role in AOPA’s Airport Support Network and also is a liaison for State Legislative Affairs.
He says he loves talking on the telephone with members, and while the topics they raise can seesaw from airspace to aviation maintenance to pilot currency, he’s ready and willing to help out. Collins urges all members to make use of the PIC, which he considers “an underutilized benefit.”
Do you have an aviation question? Or perhaps you’ve heard the conventional wisdom at your local airport and you’d like a second opinion? Then pick up the phone and call the Pilot Information Center at 800/USA-AOPA. Aviation technical specialists like Sean Collins are available to take your questions weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern.
April 2, 2009