As this issue of AOPA Pilot was going to press, experts within AOPA's Government and Technical Affairs Division were analyzing the contents of a massive notice of proposed rulemaking that would significantly alter FAR parts 61, 141, and 143. A review by AOPA's legal department will also be performed.
The rulemaking proposes to revise regulations that prescribe certification and training requirements for pilots, flight and ground instructors, and the operation of pilot schools approved by the FAA. The proposals are intended to update training, certification, and recency of experience requirements. AOPA intends to submit written comments before the NPRM's December 11 cut-off date.
An overview of the contents of the NPRM appears elsewhere in this issue (see "Bye-Bye, CFI?" p. 75). The complete text of the NPRM is available through AOPA Online on CompuServe (library: Active Rulemaking; filename: NOT9511.ZIP) or by submitting a request referencing docket number 25910 to the FAA, Office of Public Affairs, Attention: Public Inquiry Center, APA-220, 800 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington D.C. 20591 or by calling 202/267-3484.
Comments to the docket may be filed in writing to the FAA or electronically through AOPA Online (see "Regulations to Go," p. 84.)
In a $20,000 effort to help enhance CAP Cadet Program aviation education, AOPA has donated to the Civil Air Patrol 4,000 sets of training materials on learning to fly. The effort is part of AOPA's ongoing work, including AOPA Project Pilot and other programs, to bolster the future of general aviation in America.
Nearly 1,000 Cadet Curriculum Enrichment packages were mailed in July to cadets participating in aviation-related CAP summer programs this year. Other cadets are now getting a chance to receive the kit by sending in a special coupon from the 55,000-circulation CAP News with their name and address, plus a 50-word essay on "Why Becoming a Pilot will be Part of My Future."
As judged from the 50-word statement, AOPA will send an "AOPA Future Pilot Learning Kit" — while supplies last — to the 3,000 cadets most interested in flying. The 4,000 total kits are being provided at no cost to the cadet or to CAP.
The kit includes AOPA's An Invitation to Fly! — an 88- page special edition of AOPA Pilot magazine prepared for the Project Pilot program — as well as AOPA's "ABCs of Aviation" glossary and AOPA Air Safety Foundation training materials on basic radio communications and airspace classification.
In other efforts, AOPA provides free training materials for a number of regional CAP Solo Encampments, where each summer several hundred cadets solo in one week at very low cost. AOPA also provides the grand prize in CAP's annual cadet recruiting drive.
On display at AOPA Expo '95 will be historical aircraft and artifacts from CAP operations in World War II. Civil Air Patrol cadets in uniform or with appropriate ID will receive a special $5 discounted admission to the Expo Exhibit Hall, aircraft static display, and some 90 hours of pilot seminars at AOPA Expo.
...that on August 2 New York Governor George Pataki signed S.B.390 into law? AOPA Legislative Action was instrumental in gaining passage of this bill, which provides for liability disclosure statements on all aircraft rentals. New York is the eleventh state to enact such legislation, following Arizona, Delaware, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Legislation (H.B.322) has been introduced to modernize the aeronautics code for the state of Delaware, which was enacted in the 1930s. Included in the bill is a provision requiring an insurance notice on all contracts for flight instruction, aircraft rental, or leasing, to ensure that the flight student, renter, or lessee is aware of the nature of the applicable insurance coverage.
AOPA Legislative Action contacted the sponsor in support of this measure and provided a number of supportive documents and materials to assist in its passage. While the Delaware General Assembly recessed on June 30, their rules of operation provide for carryover of the bill, and this measure will be taken up when the House and Senate convene in January.
AOPA has contacted the Joint Committee on Transportation of the Massachusetts General Court in opposition to legislation (S.B.1758) that would strip the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission (MAC) of its authority to license private landing areas. The legislation is a result of a dispute that arose at Minute Man Airfield in Stow, Massachusetts.
The bill has since been incorporated into a larger measure (H.B.5330). AOPA Legislative Action will continue to provide input and will seek to preserve MAC's authority to review local laws and regulations affecting airports.
AOPA Legislative Action has contacted the chairman of the Michigan Aviation Caucus in support of legislation (H.B.4550 and H.B.4513) that would dedicate 25 percent of the revenue collected from the sales tax on aircraft fuel and the sale of aircraft to the aeronautics account. General aviation is responsible for nearly 83 percent of all aircraft operations in Michigan; of the 237 public-use airports in the state, only 19 are served by commercial air carriers.
In the past decade, 51 Michigan airports have closed. Completion of all projects currently identified as necessary to maintain and preserve the general aviation infrastructure would require the expenditure of nearly $96 million. This requires an annual investment of $16 million to meet the needs by the end of the decade. However, federal funding levels for 1995 represented a 24-percent reduction from 1994 levels, the fifth consecutive year of reduced funding.
Enactment of this legislation is critical to the continued viability of general aviation in Michigan, and AOPA Legislative Action will continue its active support of establishing a dedicated funding mechanism as the legislation progresses.
AOPA Legislative Action actively supported legislation (S.B.1113) that would protect Oregon's 400 licensed airports from urban encroachment. This bill was recently signed into law by Governor John Kitzhaber. As part of the Oregon Aviation Alliance, AOPALA contributed significantly to the bill's development.
AOPA's regional representative, Ray Costello, will serve on the Land Use Planning Advisory Committee, a nine-member commission appointed by the governor to oversee the comprehensive Rule Development Schedule.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation petitioned the FAA this summer to permit a test program of loggable instrument training on ground training devices based on personal computers. ASF believes IFR training on personal computers will improve instrument training and reduce costs.
The FAA requires at least 35 hours of actual or simulated instrument flight experience to obtain an instrument rating under FAR Part 141 and 40 hours under Part 61. Up to 15 hours of that time can be flown on an "approved ground trainer acceptable to the administrator."
"Unfortunately, many of the approved trainers cost more to purchase and operate than the aircraft they simulate," said John Steuernagle, ASF director of program development. "That means few pilots enjoy the instructional benefits of these devices."
ASF says recent advances in personal computer hardware and software have led to realistic and affordable simulations of aircraft performance and instrument flying. ASF believes that PC-based trainers can be used effectively for initial and recurrent instrument training.
ASF has petitioned the FAA to grant an exemption allowing tests of PC-based trainers at FAR Part 141 certificated flight schools in several FAA Flight Service District Office (FSDO) areas. The schools would conduct beginning instrument instruction under an ASF syllabus that would call for 40 hours of flight instruction, of which 14.5 hours would be flown on a specified PC-based ground trainer.
"ASF will track the performance of pilots trained in this program through the instrument rating practical test," said Steuernagle. "If the training proves equal to or better than traditional methods, then we'll ask the FAA to credit the use of PC-based ground trainers in all FAR 61 and FAR 141 instrument training curricula."
From computer-based ground trainers for instrument instruction, the Air Safety Foundation foresees many benefits including these:
"ASF believes that PC-based ground trainers can increase safety by increasing the quality and quantity of instrument procedures training. Their lower cost can also promote aviation safety by making the instrument rating available to more general aviation pilots," said Steuernagle.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation has issued its newest safety review, this one covering the popular Mooney M20 series (see " Safety Pilot: Mooney Safety Review," p. 140). The seventh in a continuing series of type-specific safety reviews, the Mooney study is based on statistics collected by ASF's Emil Buehler Center for Aviation Safety, the largest general aviation accident database outside government.
"Mooneys have a reputation as challenging aircraft, particularly to land," said ASF Executive Director Bruce Landsberg. "But its safety record compares favorably with the other single-engine retractables in the study, and in many areas it fares much better."
Included in the review are some 45 instructive accident briefs, allowing Mooney pilots to examine and learn from the mistakes of others. ASF's Safety Review offers pilots and instructors a complete Mooney M20 training course outline with a suggested syllabus for 11 hours of ground and flight training appropriate for either initial or recurrent training.
The new Mooney M20 Safety Review costs $22.95 plus shipping and handling. It may be ordered from Sporty's Pilot Shop, telephone 800/543-8633, or through AOPA Online.
...that the AOPA Air Safety Foundation has updated its Cessna Model 182/Skylane Safety Review? The latest edition includes improved graphics, a new index, an improved glossary, and more articles from AOPA Pilot. The review, $22.95 plus shipping and handling, may be ordered from Sporty's Pilot Shop, 800/543-8633, or through AOPA Online.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation has released its annual report for the individuals and organizations that supported its programs for general aviation safety in 1994.
"Not only was 1994 a banner year, 1995 looks to be even better," said ASF Executive Director Bruce Landsberg. "For the first half of this year, the number of ASF donors has increased 25 percent over the same period in 1994."
ASF depends on individual donations and corporate support to continue offering pilot seminars, flight instructor refresher training, and training courseware and home study materials for continuing pilot education. Some 35,000 individual donors contributed $1,468,000 to ASF in 1994. In addition, AOPA members designated $1 of their annual AOPA dues to support the organization.
Important ASF advances during 1994 included establishing the new 16-hour Flight Instructor Refresher Course (FIRC). ASF convinced the FAA that modern teaching techniques permitted condensing the course from a three-day, 24-hour marathon. More than 8,000 CFIs attended ASF FIRCs in 1994.
In addition to support for the FAA's safety seminars, ASF offered 170 of its own safety seminars nationwide last year. Early in the year, ASF's "Operation Airspace" seminars stressed the new airspace reclassification. Later, ASF's Tactical Weather Workshops offered pilots a more thorough understanding of weather. Poor weather decision-making is a leading cause of fatal accidents. The workshops feature an interactive video placing the pilot in real weather emergency situations.
Last year ASF's Pinch-Hitter: The Video offered — for the first time — a home-study version of the popular course for spouses, flying companions, and other frequent passengers.
A pilot from Oklahoma and one from Illinois, each of whom attended AOPA Air Safety Foundation seminars this year, have won Sporty's A300 aviation-band transceivers in ASF's Safety Seminar sweepstakes.
Pilots attending free ASF safety seminars register for a chance to win the hand-held radios. Four of the $365 transceivers, donated by Sporty's Pilot Shop, will be awarded this year. Drawings are held quarterly.
The first winner earlier this year was Vassilis Voulgaris of Tulsa, Oklahoma. A private pilot, he attended ASF's Fall/Winter Tactical Weather Workshop in Tulsa last February.
Student pilot Donald P. Martin of Palos Heights, Illinois, was the second-quarter winner. Last April he attended one of ASF's Illinois seminars featuring Concorde pilot Captain John Cook.
Pilots attending ASF seminars in July, August, and September will have a chance to win a radio in the October drawing.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation schedules free aviation safety seminars in communities nationwide. Taught by a hand- picked team of traveling aviation educators, these seminars strive to improve general aviation safety through continuing pilot education.
So far this year, ASF has conducted 145 safety seminars reaching 22,390 pilots nationwide. Topics have included the highly acclaimed Tactical Weather Workshops, which feature interactive videos placing pilots "in the cockpit" on actual flights in difficult weather, demonstrating a real weather emergency.
Other seminars have taught pilots how to use the new Global Positioning System satellite navigation. Multimedia presentations help pilots learn the capabilities and limitations of GPS navigation and its role in IFR and VFR procedures.
AOPA has joined the Alaskan Aviation Safety Foundation in making a strong case for greater consideration of flight safety issues in restructuring military operations areas and special- use airspace in Alaska.
In detailed written comments and personal presentations by headquarters staff at September hearings in Alaska, AOPA argued that the U. S. Air Force plan launched last year would escalate the risk of midair collisions.
AOPA Technical Services Associate Director Melissa Bailey urged the Air Force and the FAA to establish IFR and VFR corridors for civilian operations affected by MOAs and SUA areas. She pointed out that, with few roads in the interior, Alaska's civil population relies heavily on unscheduled air transport.
Further recommendations included reinforced communications between military and civilian aviation communities; improved overall coordination of military operations with civil air needs; and due regard for intensified civilian air travel during certain peak seasons.
FAA's Alaskan Region has issued a notice of proposal, soliciting public comments on the USAF request, which is essentially unchanged despite "mitigation" following early criticism.
Aeronautical comments, to be evaluated by the FAA, will be accepted until October 10, 1995. They should be addressed to the Federal Aviation Administration, Attention: System Management Branch, AAL-530, 222 West 7th Avenue, #14, Anchorage, Alaska 99513-7687. Pilots can obtain copies of the notice of proposal from that office or from AOPA Online (library: Active Rulemaking; filename: AK_SUA.TXT [text format] or AK_SUA.PDF [Adobe Acrobat format]).
...that no refunds are likely for aircraft owners who paid the $115 FCC radio station license fee prior to September 18, when the fee was reduced to $75? AOPA is advocating refunds and pointing out the inequity for those who paid the higher fees. Members should be aware, however, that in the current climate of balanced budgets, most government agencies are very reluctant to relinquish any revenue that has already been collected. An FCC official told AOPA that case-by-case exceptions may be made if an aircraft is sold with several years remaining on the 10-year FCC license.
AOPA Expo '95, this year's annual AOPA convention and trade show for general aviation, will offer the most exhibitors, the largest exhibit hall ever, 90 hours of seminars for pilots, and 50 aircraft on static display.
It's all at the Convention Center on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey, October 19 through 21 — AOPA's first Expo in the Northeast since 1967. FAA Administrator David Hinson will make a special appearance on October 20. Display aircraft will be located at the nearby Atlantic City-Bader Field.
Expo convenes this time in Atlantic City because of the East Coast city's unique backdrop for two special Expo themes: general aviation's interest in new technology for the future and GA's special contribution to World War II.
Attendees will be offered a rare opportunity to tour the FAA Technical Center in Atlantic City, where the FAA develops and tests future navigation, air traffic control, aircraft systems, and crashworthiness concepts.
AOPA Expo will also look into the future with a special Saturday, October 21 general session on new technology by leading developers and proponents of future navigation, electronics, and aircraft systems.
On all three days, the massive 100,000-square-foot AOPA Expo exhibit hall will offer the latest in new products and concepts for general aviation fliers. More than 300 exhibitors are signed up to display their wares. Also featured are product demonstrations, exhibits on aviation history, and information from numerous aviation public service organizations.
Friday, October 20, is CFI Day at AOPA Expo '95, highlighted by the luncheon presentation of the industry-wide "CFI of the Year" and "Maintenance Technician of the Year" awards by FAA Administrator David Hinson.
Hinson will give the keynote speech to Expo's general session on Friday and answer questions from the AOPA Expo audience.
The entertaining Ralph Hood, the new Project Pilot national CFI marketing mentor, will speak at the October 20 Expo luncheon, addressing CFIs and everyone concerned about general aviation's future. His message will inspire us to rise above today's problems to see "It's Clear on Top" if we'll just raise our sights.
The general session on opening day, Thursday, October 19, will feature AOPA President Phil Boyer and the Team AOPA report to the membership.
The event ends on Saturday night, October 21, with the AOPA Expo closing banquet. It features the prestigious Sharples and Hartranft Awards, presented to the individual and to the government official who made the greatest contributions of the year to general aviation.
AOPA Expo '95 offers numerous attendance options suitable for everyone's budget and time considerations.
Advance registration for Expo '95 is not necessary. You can attend even if you decide at the last minute. You can just show up. On-site registration is fast and easy — whether for everything Expo has to offer that day, or for "exhibits-only," or for "exhibits and seminars only" admissions. For information, call 800/942-4269.
Technology will be a major theme at AOPA Expo '95, and Atlantic City offers a unique opportunity for Expo attendees to tour the FAA's own "Skunk Works," the FAA Technical Center, on Thursday and Friday.
Much of the research the FAA conducts into future navigation, air traffic control, airline safety, and general aviation fuels happens at the FAA Technical Center. The Tech Center includes 516,000 square feet of air traffic control laboratories, an ATC simulation lab, offices managing 150 projects, and 1,600 FAA staff and 1,200 contractor personnel. Tours will also visit the Human Factors Lab and the Aircraft Safety Test Area.
The Human Factors Lab uses advanced techniques such as virtual reality to study the interaction of human and machine. Controllers and pilots reach out and touch computer-generated images rather than prototype hardware. Future airport designs are reviewed by "flying" around runways and "walking" through buildings that don't yet exist. The Reconfigurable Cockpit Simulator tests various instrument panel layouts and presentations.
In the largest government fire test facility in the United States are the soot-encrusted fuselages of a Boeing 707 and a Douglas DC-10 ready for burn-through tests or trials of the British water misting system for airliner interiors.
Because general aviation needs a no-lead avgas to meet upcoming environmental requirements, research at the Tech Center is making real progress towards a viable aviation gasoline for the next century.
To see what the FAA does to prepare for aviation's future, an AOPA Expo visit to the FAA Technical Center will be a valuable learning experience.
Tours are limited. Sign up in advance at the booth in the Expo registration area. Reservations are first-come, first- served. Advance registration for the tour is not available by phone or mail.
Buses leave AOPA Expo for the four-hour FAA Technical Center tour at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, October 19 and 20. For more information, inquire at the registration area at AOPA Expo.
AOPA Expo will honor general aviation's "Flying Minutemen" of World War II in Atlantic City, site of CAP Coastal Patrol Base One.
Expo's Friday, October 20, luncheon includes presentation of an original historical video and in-person honors for three CAP heroes, including the first pilot in World War II to receive an Air Medal directly from President Franklin Roosevelt. FAA Administrator David Hinson and CAP National Commander Gen. Richard Anderson will attend.
A Friday afternoon historical seminar will detail general aviation's role in anti-sub operations. Three CAP search aircraft will be on display, including a Fairchild 24 like the one flown by Zack Mosley, creator of the "Smilin' Jack" comic strip adventures that helped popularize aviation.
The Civil Air Patrol will hold a New Jersey Wing membership meeting and Commander's Calls, featuring an address by the CAP National Commander, on Saturday, October 21.
The Civil Air Patrol was initially conceived as a state organization by legendary New Jersey aviation advocate Gill Robb Wilson. After the CAP was established nationally just seven days before Pearl Harbor, AOPA voluntarily disbanded its own nascent wartime effort, the AOPA Air Guard.
With military airpower stretched thin on the East Coast, it was the CAP that faced down enemy subs then sinking scores of freighters and tankers each month — often within sight of the beach. Diving on subs unarmed, the CAP's light planes forced them to submerge and run.
Later, CAP aircraft carried bombs and depth charges. In all, the CAP Coastal Patrol flew 24 million miles, found 173 subs, attacked 57, hit 10 to 12, and sank at least one, if not two — including one just off Atlantic City.
The military had resisted these volunteer "country-club pilots" and "toy planes," but from 21 bases stretching from Maine to Texas, CAP had deterred close-in sub operations by the summer of 1943. A German commander later confirmed it: coastal U-Boats were withdrawn "because of those damned little red-and-yellow airplanes."
The Civil Air Patrol's World War II contribution played an important role in advancing general aviation as a mature and capable element of American aviation. The cost: 59 CAP aviators lost their lives, including 26 lost at sea in 74 ditchings.
At AOPA Expo '95, AOPA will salute these unique and until-now unheralded general aviation pilots, celebrating their World War II bravery and the CAP's service to pilots and communities in trouble ever since.
Expo attendees participating in the tribute will receive one of 5,000 souvenir flight bag stickers — a replica of the CAP's famous World War II "Tired Dog" insignia designed by the late Zack Mosley.
In connection with AOPA Expo '95, special VFR and IFR arrival and departure procedures will be in effect for both Atlantic City International Airport and Atlantic City Bader Field from October 18 through 22.
More than 1,200 aircraft are expected to park at International (ACY); Bader Field (AIY); and nearby Ocean City, New Jersey, airports. Other airports subject to IFR reservations requirements include Woodbine, Hammonton, Millville, and Cape May County airports. Shuttle bus transportation ($8, $15 round trip) will be offered from International, which is expected to accommodate 650 aircraft. Taxicabs will offer transportation ($8 to $10 one-way) from Bader Field, which will accommodate 450 aircraft.