The winner of the 1998 AOPA Sweepstakes "Timeless Tri-Pacer" is Lee A. Burton, a Private pilot from Indianapolis, Indiana. The 68-year-old real estate broker joined AOPA in 1973.
AOPA President Phil Boyer surprised Burton in Indianapolis on Sunday, February 7 with presentation of the airplane at nearby Eagle Creek Airport. Local pilots from several area airports and the Indianapolis Aero Club joined in the fun.
Full coverage of the AOPA Sweepstakes presentation festivities will be in the next AOPA Pilot and on video at AOPA Pilot Town Meetings throughout the year.
The study was commissioned by AOPA, the Air Transport Association (which represents leading airlines), and the FAA.
ATA and AOPA called on the FAA to proceed with two additional geostationary reference signals, a national GPS plan, and a management commitment to developing system improvements and user procedures.
Based on study findings, AOPA also asked for early capability for GPS Category I approaches.
ATA commented, "This study clearly shows that with the proper investment and improvements, GPS will become the navigation system for the twenty-first century."
AOPA President Phil Boyer added, "The entire aviation community must now turn full attention to planning the transition phase. Agreement on costs, timing, and user acceptance will determine the time line for planning out the critical implementation phase."
Johns Hopkins has published study results on the Web ( www.jhuapl.edu/transportation/aviation/gps/).
AOPA is opposing discontinuance of World Aeronautical Charts by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Claiming a $5.2-million shortfall, NOAA also informed AOPA on January 12 that prices of its remaining products would increase by 6 percent.
"WAC charts aren't a frill. They're essential to aviation safety," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Pilots shouldn't be penalized because someone in the bureaucracy dropped the ball."
The shortfall traces back to a proposal to transfer NOAA's charting office from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Transportation. In early 1998, AOPA identified a $5 million deficit in the proposed charting budget and alerted Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater, who promised to fix the problem. But no action was taken; the aeronautical charting office wasn't transferred, and Commerce never ensured adequate funding for aeronautical charting.
In some areas, such as the Caribbean and Mexico's Baja Peninsula, WACs are the only safe and acceptable VFR charts available. Many instrument-rated pilots prefer WACs to sectionals.
WACs are also less expensive because one WAC covers the same area as three or four sectional charts. At current prices, a WAC annual subscription covering the United States costs $92. Similar coverage with sectional aeronautical charts costs $585 per year.
Saying that proposed new regulations could result in higher costs and more hassles for aircraft owners, AOPA has asked the FAA to withdraw its proposed changes in certification requirements for aviation mechanics.
"The bulk of this proposal is a solution looking for a problem," said Douglas C. Macnair, AOPA director of regulatory and certification policy.
The proposal would replace sections of existing FAR Part 65 with a new FAR Part 66, establishing a two-tiered certification system. This web of certification, training, retraining, and notification requirements would impose a costly burden on GA mechanics and owners.
For example, a mechanic's failure to tell the FAA about an address change within 30 days would invalidate the mechanic's certificate and make legally unairworthy any aircraft subsequently worked on. "This proposal could spark an endless chain of legal and enforcement actions with no benefit to aviation safety," said Macnair.
"The FAA ignored the simple solution to the problem," said Macnair. "All that's needed is to update the mechanics' training curriculum. We don't need to replace the 19 paragraphs of Part 65 with 11 pages of small print in the Federal Register."
AOPA's detailed objections are available on AOPA Online ( www.aopa.org/whatsnew/newsitems/1999/990111letter.html).
For the sixth year in a row, the Clinton Administration budget plan includes aviation user fees, an action that has drawn quick fire from AOPA.
"They want pilots to pay for other pet political projects," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We need to spend the money we already have in the trust fund — not hike taxes."
The administration's fiscal year 2000 budget proposes to give the FAA the power to charge pilots up to $1.5 billion for safety services such as weather briefings and air traffic control during the first year, starting in October. The user fees would total $7.085 billion over five years. The general fund contribution also would be eliminated, signaling the administration's failure to recognize aviation as a national transportation resource.
The budget also would cut critically needed funding for airports from the current $1.95 billion to $1.6 billion in fiscal year 2000. It would boost overall FAA spending from $9.5 billion to $10.1 billion.
AOPA has petitioned the FAA to reconsider an aileron airworthiness directive affecting some 7,500 owners of Mooney aircraft.
"If the FAA had talked to owners and shops experienced with Mooneys, they would have come up with a much simpler solution to what seems to be a small problem," said Douglas C. Macnair, AOPA director of regulatory and certification policy.
According to the FAA, cracks in original-design Mooney aileron control links could lead to a loss of aircraft control. AD 98-24-11 requires inspection of most Mooney M20 models to determine whether improved control links with reinforcing gussets at the angle joint are installed. If not, the control links must be removed from the aircraft and checked for cracks, using magnetic particle inspection. Original-design control links must be removed and inspected every 100 hours.
But an AOPA review of service data showed that only about three cracked links have been found. And in each case, the crack was detected visually before the link was removed from the aircraft.
"Based on the results of nearly 1,100 inspections, AOPA maintains that the initial and repetitive off-wing magnetic particle inspection should be deleted in favor of an on-wing visual inspection," said Macnair.
A copy of FAA's Mooney aileron control link AD is available on AOPA Online ( www.aopa.org/whatsnew/newsitems/1998/982411ad.txt).
AOPA is supporting an FAA move to relieve owners of new Cessna 182s from repetitive 25-hour inspections of faulty exhaust heater shrouds.
The action, in the form of an immediately adopted AD, would permit owners to install a replacement muffler from Cessna, thus canceling the onerous inspection requirement. Cessna is covering the cost of new parts and labor for the installation.
The original June 17, 1998, AD was issued to catch any possible carbon monoxide leaks from a batch of defective mufflers installed on 182S models manufactured in Cessna's new Independence, Kansas, plant. Compliance information can be found in Cessna Service Bulletin 98-78-03.
AOPA has asked the city fathers of Hawthorne, California, to end consideration of a plan to close Hawthorne Airport for construction of a retail mall. AOPA ASN volunteer Gary D. Parsons had sounded the alarm that brought AOPA intervention at the key Los Angeles-area reliever.
Recent letters to the council from AOPA and other organizations may have caused postponement of the decision. The agenda item was removed from a January council meeting. However, the airport's fate may yet be decided in the months ahead.
"We believe developer Pacific Retail has misquoted the benefit of this valuable community airport," AOPA Vice President of Regional Affairs Bill Dunn told city officials. "The benefit cannot necessarily be determined by looking at a balance sheet for the airport."
He advised city fathers that a Virginia study showed every dollar spent on an airport generates another $1.52 in the community surrounding the airport. Dunn also reminded the city that it has accepted user-funded FAA grants that carry obligations to continue operating the airport for a defined period.
"We urge you to resist the illusion of an income windfall and consider the possibilities of developing compatible industrial property surrounding the airport," said Dunn.
Alaska. Anchorage: Alaskan Air Safety Foundation Vice Chairman Mike Vivion has been named the FAA's national Aviation Safety Counselor for 1998. Vivion often works closely with AOPA in promoting Alaskan aviation.
Arizona. Chandler: The City of Chandler has approved relocation of the Chandler Airport's heliport to the east side of the field. AOPA had supported the move, which will cost much less than buying out noise-sensitive homeowners. Phoenix: A plan to restore 100 percent of flight property tax revenues to the state's aviation fund is being promoted by AOPA, the Arizona Airports Association, and the Arizona League of Cities and Towns. San Manuel: Work to fix deteriorating pavement and other deficiencies at the San Manuel Airport is expected to start soon, thanks in part to the persistence of AOPA ASN volunteer Morris "Court" Courtright.
Idaho. Back-country airstrips will benefit from a nonprofit foundation endowed by veteran Idaho pilot J. Curtis Earl, AOPA 137421. AOPA, the Idaho Division of Aeronautics, and the Idaho Aviation Association have been fighting attempts by federal agencies to close several back-country strips and recently helped to win a court ruling allowing Idaho airstrips to be reequipped with minimum facilities such as toilets and fire rings.
Massachusetts. AOPA is supporting House Bill 547, which would exempt aircraft sales from sales and use tax. Nantucket: AOPA ASN volunteer Mark Conway reports that the Nantucket Memorial Airport intends to bring stronger pressure on pilots who disregard noise abatement procedures. Norwood: ASN volunteer Joe Barca is working with local pilots to fight several proposed towers near the Norwood Memorial Airport.
Mississippi. AOPA is supporting MississippiSenate Bill 2055, which would remove sales tax on aircraft repairs or service.
Montana. Senate Bill 205 would add one cent per gallon to the state's aviation fuel tax. AOPA is supporting the bill because it would dedicate the revenue to aviation.
Nevada. Fallon: The configuration of the R-4803 restricted area will be adjusted to allow easier navigation around Fallon Municipal Airport and the Hazen VOR.
New Jersey. Atlantic City: A super unicom has been installed at Bader Field. The automated unit can reply to a pilot query with ASOS-type information. Talks with a prospective FBO for the endangered airport are continuing.
New York. AOPA is opposing Assembly Bill 1627, which would apply a luxury tax on the sale of aircraft.
North Dakota. Bismarck: The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission will propose elimination of the $8 registration fee that North Dakota pilots are assessed every four years.
Ohio. Columbus: AOPA ASN volunteer Robert I. Lewis reports that 30 new GA hangars are nearly complete at Bolton Field. Cleveland: An ILS installed at Burke Lakefront Airport is expected to help increase traffic at the field to 120,000 flights a year by 2015. The airport is less than a mile from the Cleveland business district.
Oregon. Denmark: The Oregon Aeronautics Division will no longer allow auto racing on the Cape Blanco State Airport. AOPA had questioned the practice after complaints from members. Portland: AOPA is studying a proposal to raise avgas and jet fuel taxes to help repair the state's runways and taxiways. Also, AOPA is supporting Senate Bill 108, which would elevate the existing Aeronautics Division of the state's DOT to an independent Oregon Department of Aviation.
Pennsylvania. AOPA is supporting Senate Bill 19, which would create an Aviation Advisory Committee to guide lawmakers on aviation issues.
Rhode Island. North Kingstown: The Rhode Island Pilots Association and AOPA are working to preserve Quonset State Airport. A port development plan threatens runway closures, loss of airport land, and erection of tall cranes near the runways.
South Carolina. State Senate Bill 253 would create and fund a grants program for airport improvements. AOPA is supporting the measure.
Washington. Yakima: AOPA, the Washington Pilots Association, and the Washington Aeronautics Division are fighting a proposed 300-foot (agl) transmission tower near Runway 27 at Yakima Air Terminal/McAllister Field.
AOPA Flight Training's editorial focus will remain unchanged: features, insights, and valuable how-to information for new student pilots, their flight instructors, and pilots training for professional flying careers.
As before, Flight Training will be mailed to new student pilots free of charge for six months. Current paid subscribers will continue to receive the magazine with no interruption in service.
The title will be AOPA's first magazine available on newsstands in the United States and will introduce AOPA early to those thinking about becoming a pilot. There are currently some 95,000 student pilots in the United States, more than 60,000 new student pilots each year, and thousands more in advanced training for flying careers.
The new convention center in Atlantic City, New Jersey, will be the backdrop for AOPA Expo '99, which will take place October 21 through 23.
The three-day Expo will include hundreds of aviation exhibits, an aircraft static display at nearby Bader Field, and 90 hours of seminars for pilots. Package plans are available.
For more information about Expo '99, call 888/GO-2-EXPO (888/462-3976).
AOPA members have received more than $1 million in rebates for using their AOPA credit cards at FBOs nationwide. The million-dollar mark came late in 1998 with rebates issued to Allan Johnson and Charles Wait of Arizona.
Since its inception in August 1997, the FBO Rebate Program has helped pilots reduce their cost of flying by returning 3 percent of all purchases made with an AOPA MasterCard or AOPA Visa at a qualified FBO. Qualified FBOs are those that rent aircraft or sell fuel. They are listed with a 3 percent margin logo in AOPA's Airport Directory and searchable on AOPA Online ( www.aopa.org/info/certified/rebate/fbo_rebate.html).
The average monthly FBO rebate is $27 ($324 a year, more than eight times the annual $39 cost of AOPA dues).
The entire cost of the rebate program is underwritten by card issuer MBNA America. There is no financial contribution from AOPA, AOPA membership dues, or by FBOs.
"The FBO rebate feature of the AOPA Credit Card Program has been popular, as you might expect," said Andrew Horelick, AOPA senior vice president of products and services. "But members should remember that using the card for all purchases — not just at FBOs — helps to keep their AOPA dues low and GA strong."
For more information or to apply, call 800/523-7666 and mention priority code J5HI, or visit the Web site ( www.aopa.org/info/cccertlink/).
"Many pilots don't realize how much their aircraft value rises during the term of their policy," said Greg Sterling, AOPA Insurance Agency executive vice president. "No other GA insurance policy provides this type of benefit."
In the event of a total loss, the new coverage enhancement automatically increases an aircraft's insured value up to 5 percent based on the increase in the aircraft's market value as reflected in the Vref aircraft value reference.
The AOPA Aircraft Insurance Program policy also now includes expanded trip-expense reimbursement coverage to help defray travel expenses after an accident.
The AOPA Insurance Agency is the world's largest GA aircraft insurance agency, offering members a choice of policies from insurance companies rated "A" (excellent) or better by A.M. Best and Company. Coverage includes insurance for owners, renters, CFIs, and unique aircraft. For a free instant quote, call the AOPA Insurance Agency at 800/622-AOPA (800/622-2672). The AOPA Insurance Agency Web site is www.aopaia.com.
Some 4,000 prospective new pilots were introduced to the world of aviation last year through AOPA Project Pilot.
Since 1994, some 30,000 new entrants or pilot prospects have been mentored by 24,000 AOPA members. The program "graduated" its 2,000th new Private pilot in 1998: Debbie Boone Sims of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. "The videotape, articles and newsletters [from AOPA Project Pilot] kept her enthused and moving," said her father/mentor Daniel Boone, a Florence, Alabama, lawyer. "I think it's a great program."
AOPA Project Pilot helps experienced pilots to transfer their knowledge and experience to new aviators — not as instructors, but as mentors and advisors. Mentoring helps students to get over the rough spots in the flight-training process.
There is no charge for participation in the program or for any of the materials provided to Project Pilot students or their mentors.
For more information, call AOPA at 800/USA-AOPA (800/872-2672) or visit the Project Pilot Web page ( http://flighttraining.aopa.org/projectpilot/).
Pilots often struggle to put into words why flying has become a central element of their lives. So AOPA challenged young Civil Air Patrol cadets from around the nation to explain what drives their hopes of becoming a pilot.
Jenna Sielski of North White Plains, New York, won AOPA's "Why I Want to Be a Pilot" essay contest for CAP cadets.
Titled "I Want to 'Touch the Face of God,'" Sielski's essay used the famed John Gillespie Magee poem as a starting point. Then, based on Jenna's first and only flight last autumn (in a glider "to learn the basics of flight"), she beautifully explained a linkage between her desire for personal and spiritual development and one's ability to rise above the everyday world through flying.
"One's perceptions of earthly problems become more positive — solutions are possible. It is one planet after all. Leaving the earthly weightiness behind, the surrounding atmosphere holds the real promise.
"True, aviation and flying can prepare you for studying math, science, and physics. Becoming a pilot can offer excitement and challenge. The pursuit of flying can hone your senses and make you more perceptive.
"But where else can you '...touch the face of God?'"
Cadet Sielski receives a $1,000 flight-training scholarship from AOPA. Nearly 100 essayists from across the nation entered the event, which challenged CAP cadets to consider the personal, experiential, and career benefits of becoming a pilot.
The 1998 AOPA Air Safety Foundation Nall Report, released in late December and containing 1997 statistics, had some good news for pilots: 1997 marked a new record for GA safety.
In 1997, overall GA accidents decreased to 1,642, of which 331 involved fatalities. In 1996, there were 1,781 accidents, 355 involving fatalities. Because FAA-estimated GA flight hours also increased slightly in 1997, the GA total accident rate fell to just 7.51 per 100,000 flight hours, the lowest since recordkeeping started in 1938.
Named after the late National Transportation Safety Board member and GA advocate Joseph T. Nall, the report has become the definitive first source on fixed-wing GA accidents for aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds. It is available online ( www.aopa.org/asf/publications/) or in hard copy by sending $2 for postage and handling to: 1998 Nall Report, AOPA ASF, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701.
"ASF's safety outreach efforts for GA rely heavily on contributions from individual pilots," declared ASF Vice President for Development Art Keefe. "Individual pilots provide the key to our success in pilot education, research, and safety publications — and the future of ASF." The 2000 calendar will be published and mailed to all AOPA members and ASF supporters this fall.
William Waggoner, of Lebanon, New Jersey, and Kent McInnis, of Oklahoma City, have each won a handheld transceiver after attending ASF seminars late last year. The prizes are provided by Sporty's Pilot Shop.
Waggoner's lifelong interest in sailing put his flying career on hold for 40-plus yearsæuntil 1996, when he received a gift certificate for flying lessons. He earned his Private pilot certificate in 1997 and is now the owner of a 1976 Piper Arrow.
Information and schedules for all ASF safety seminars can be found in the "AOPA Action" section of AOPA Pilot magazine, or on AOPA Online ( www.aopa.org/asf/seminars/) .
The ASF is now accepting applications for its 1999 McAllister and Burnside memorial scholarships. Each scholarship awards $1,000 annually to a college junior or senior pursuing an aviation degree.
Applicants must maintain a 3.25 or better grade-point average on a 4.0 scale and write an essay answering the question "What one item could be changed to improve student pilot training?" (McCallister) or "How should ASF educate pilots on avoiding VFR flight into instrument conditions?" (Burnside).
The scholarships were established in memory of Eugene and Dorothy McAllister of California and Donald Burnside of Florida, and are administered jointly by the ASF and the University Aviation Association.
"These scholarships memorialize loyal friends of the GA community, while serving the financial and academic needs of future aviators," said Art Keefe, ASF vice president of development. "We can't think of a better way to say, 'we care.'"
Information and applications for 1999 McAllister and Burnside scholarships can be obtained from AOPA Online ( www.aopa.org/asf/about/scholarships.html) or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Scholarship, AOPA Air Safety Foundation, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701. Completed applications must be received by March 31.