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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Volume 1, Issue 2AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Volume 1, Issue 2


Capitol Issues

GA News

Inside AOPA

Quiz Me!

ePILOT Calendar

Photo of the day

Weekend Weather

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Aviation trust fund action delayed
Is the FAA planning night VFR restrictions?
WAAS boxes to cost same as IFR GPS
AOPA fields calls on Payne Stewart crash
Another military airfield is converted to civilian use
Flight instructor renewal changes proposed
Volume 1, Issue 2
November 5, 1999

1. Capitol issues
Congress has made little progress on the proposal contained in AIR-21 (H.R.1000) to unlock the aviation trust fund. With adjournment now projected for next Wednesday, House and Senate conferees still hope to conclude their negotiations on the FAA authorization bill before the end of the first session. Many of the smaller, noncontroversial issues have been resolved. The AOPA-supported proposal faces strong opposition from members of the House and Senate budget and appropriations committees. Late last week, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) offered a counterproposal to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bud Shuster (R-PA.).

Domenici's proposal eliminates the general fund contribution for FAA operations, which typically amounts to about 30 percent of the FAA's budget. AOPA believes that Domenici's proposal would not address critical aviation modernization and infrastructure needs, and would inevitably trigger a tax increase on general aviation pilots and airline passengers. AOPA opposes the Domenici proposal, and urges members to contact their senators and tell them to support the continuation of the general fund contribution for aviation and the proposal to unlock the trust fund contained in AIR-21. To contact your senator, go to
2. GA news
New restrictions on night VFR flying have at least been brainstormed at the FAA in light of the John F. Kennedy Jr. tragedy, although none may be formally proposed. Among the requirements said to have been discussed: extra training in spatial disorientation; an instrument rating for pilots who carry passengers; and mandatory flight plans for night flights by VFR pilots. FAA Administrator Jane Garvey stated at AOPA Expo in Atlantic City that there will be no new regulations resulting from the Kennedy accident.

The U.S. Air Force has withdrawn its proposal to fly unlighted aircraft at night in military operations areas (MOAs). That was a big victory for general aviation. For the details, see AOPA Online at Guess what's next? The U.S. Army, along with commercial and space interests, would like to fly unmanned aerial vehicles outside of restricted areas. Besides military testing, the vehicles could be used for crop dusting, surveillance, photography, and commercial satellite launches. Don't worry, AOPA is watching it.

WAAS-capable GPS receivers will cost about the same as present-day IFR-capable receivers, an official at a large avionics firm said recently. WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) boxes will provide correction to GPS signals that will allow precise instrument approaches. When a manufacturer tells you that today's box is "WAAS upgradable," the official said, it means you may need to send it back for all-new internal parts. The software must be upgraded to recognize WAAS signals as another satellite, and the processor speed must be much faster than today's standards. The official had been asked to respond to reports that WAAS boxes could cost much more than present-day IFR boxes. Not true, and not to worry, the official asserted.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a new aviation weather site on the Internet and is asking pilots for their reaction. Go to It is called the Aviation Digital Data Service (ADDS) and was developed with FAA funding by the National Weather Service Aviation Weather Center, the NOAA Forecast Systems Laboratory, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Research Applications Program.

AOPA Communications staff handled numerous media inquiries following the Learjet crash claiming golfer Payne Stewart and four others October 25. To help media insight and accuracy, AOPA responded to media calls (and was called in immediately to CBS News' Washington, D.C., bureau) to provide background and technical information. A few reporters last week missed the distinction that there are two methods for supporting useful consciousness at higher altitudes: supplemental oxygen and supplemental pressure. Light aircraft pilots are more familiar with mask systems that supplement atmospheric oxygen at altitude with additional stored oxygen. But pressurized aircraft increase the pressure of air being breathed so that more of the oxygen available at altitude can be absorbed by the lungs in conditions closer to those on life on earth -- usually an 8,000-foot pressure altitude or less. Several reporters seemed to be commenting that pressurized aircraft somehow inject oxygen into their cabin environments. Nope. In such aircraft, the oxygen problem is solved with pressure.

A new general aviation airport has arisen from the former Tipton Army Air Field near Baltimore. Tipton Airport will provide a modern general aviation facility for the area. The Evironmental Protection Agency has declared complete the years-long cleanup of unexploded munitions and toxic chemicals on the former Ft. Meade Army site. A benefit of the Base Realignment and Closure process of the 1980s and 1990s, the underutilized base has been eyed by civil aviation interests at least since the reliever airport program of the early 1980s -- a joint effort between GA interests and the airlines. During the 1990s, AOPA helped local pilots work with officials to get the airport conversion on track. Tipton Airport is just southwest of Baltimore-Washington International (watch that Class B airspace!) and well-located near the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, U.S. Route 1, and Interstate 95 -- keys to its future success. The new CTAF frequency is 123.0 MHz. By the FAA's count, Tipton is the nineteenth conversion of 34 military airfields nationwide slated for future civilian use.
3. Inside AOPA
Watch for a proposal to expand Dallas/Ft. Worth Class B airspace. AOPA staff attended a meeting in Dallas October 25 concerning planning for a proposal to widen the Dallas/Ft. Worth Class B airspace. The northern and southern quadrants would extend to 37 nautical miles, with floors at 4,000 feet and tops at 11,000 feet msl. AOPA is concerned that enlarging the airspace simply forces more pilots beneath it to avoid detours around the airpace. The proposal has not been formally offered by the FAA.

AOPA opposes expansion of Salt Lake City airspace in a letter to the FAA. The FAA said expansion is needed because of numerous near-midair collisions during the past two years. However, when asked for the evidence, the FAA said AOPA would have to request it through the Freedom of Information Act, a time-consuming process. Independent research by AOPA has not uncovered any near-midairs during that time.

The FAA has issued a proposed AD affecting 600 Lake aircraft. The proposed AD, NPRM 99-CE-27-AD, requires removing the wings and inspecting the left and right upper and lower spar caps and doublers for cracks, replacing any cracked parts, and/or incorporating a modification kit, depending on the extent of the damage. The FAA cites reports of fatigue cracking found on the wing attachment bolt hole on one affected aircraft, and similar reports of cracking on seven other Lake aircraft, as cause for the AD. The FAA estimates that completion of the proposed actions will cost more than $5,000 per aircraft, not including the cost of other parts replacements that may be necessary as a result of the AD. However, many sources indicate that cost of compliance may far exceed the FAA’s estimations. AOPA and the Seaplane Pilots Association plan to issue comments on behalf of their members. In the meantime, affected aircraft owners are strongly encouraged to provide objective comments to the FAA highlighting alternative means of compliance and the economic impact of the provisions of the proposed AD. Comments must be submitted in triplicate to the FAA, Central Region, Office of the Regional Counsel, Attn: Rules Docket No. 99-CE-27-AD, Room 1558, 601 E. 12th St., Kansas City, Missouri 64106. Comments must be received by December 14 1999. For more information visit the AOPA website at

Expiration rules for flight instructor certificates will become more like currency requirements for the instrument rating if an AOPA proposal to the FAA is approved. The issue won't go farther unless the agency hears from the public. As it is, flight instructors who fail to renew their certificates by the end of a two-year period have to retake the tests for the ratings (flight instructor, instrument instructor, etc.). Under the AOPA proposal, flight instructors would have a three-month grace period after the two-year period to complete one of the renewal procedures. After that, the privileges associated with the certificate are withheld, but the certificate does not expire. It can be renewed with common procedures provided today. To voice your opinion, send comments in duplicate (sounds like the government, right?) to: FAA, Office of the Chief Counsel, Attn: Rules Docket AGC-10, Docket number 29775, 800 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20591. To see our complete report on the subject, visit

4. AOPA Air Safety Foundation news
New "Never Again" seminar ready
ASF will introduce this month a sequel to one of its most popular seminars, "Never Again." "More Never Again," which debuted at AOPA Expo in October, brings you true stories of brushes with disaster and provides powerful lessons in dealing with flying challenges. The seminar has already played to an enthusiastic audience in New York. To learn how you can attend one of the seminars, visit the ASF web site, or call 1-800-USA-AOPA.
5. Quiz me!
Here’s a question asked by our members either in e-mails or telephone calls to our AOPA technical specialists. Do you think you would know the answer?
What endorsement does the FAA want when a pilot participates in the Pilot Proficiency Award (Wings) Program in lieu of a flight review?
The recommended endorsement for completing a phase of the FAA’s Wings Program is found in AC 61-91H, Pilot Proficiency Award Program, and is as follows: Mr./Ms._________________________, holder of pilot certificate no.________, has satisfactorily completed the training requirements outlined in AC 61-91H, paragraphs 7a,b,c,d,e,f, or g (state which). /s/M. Smith, 123456789CFI
Got a question? Call 800/872-2672 or e-mail [email protected].
6. ePILOT Calendar
This weekend's ePILOT picks:
San Angelo,Texas, hosts the 46th Annual Invitational
Calf and Steer Roping competition November 6 and 7. Brush up on your roping skills because there's big money in it. Eighty ropers vie for a purse of $54,750. Mathis Field (SJT) serves the San Angelo area, and is located seven miles outside of the city. Rental cars and taxi service are available. For information on the rodeo show call 877/727-6336, or visit the Web site Call Mathis Field at 915/659-6409.

The home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt is host to the annual Fala Day Festival in Warm Springs, Georgia, November 6. Festivities are in honor of FDR's famous Scottish terrier, Fala. Roosevelt Memorial Airport (5A9) is located three miles north of Warm Springs. Call 706/655-9927 for a voice-mail message. For information on the Fala Day Festival, call 404/250-7963.

Napa Valley wineries will pour their finest vintages at the 15th Annual Napa Valley Wine Festival November 6 in Napa, California, from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Napa Valley Exposition Center. Napa County Airport (APC) is located five miles south of the city and taxi service is available. For more information on the festival, call 707/253-3563 or visit the Web site Napa County Airport can be reached at 707/253-4300.

November 5-12, 1999
5-6—Austin, TX. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (BSM). Southwest Aviation Trade Show and Symposium. Call Paul Downs, 888/285-2127.
5-7—Andros, Bahamas. Lighthouse Beach Resort. Lobster Fly-In. Call 800/327-7678
6—Chino, CA. The Planes of Fame Air Museum. Special event featuring early jet aircraft including the Bell P-59 Airacomet and Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. Call 909/597-3722.
6—Knoxville, TN. Knoxville Downtown Island Airport (DKX). Fly-In Lunch. Sponsored by EAA Chapter 17. Call Jerry Depew, 423/577-4461.
6—Lawrenceville, GA. Gwinnet County-Briscoe Field (LZU). First Saturday Breakfast. Call Sue Adams, 770/613-9501.
6-7—Orlando, FL. Orlando Executive Airport (ORL). Challenge Air Event. Call Lonna Harris, 214/351-3353.
For a complete look at upcoming events, visit

AOPA Pilot Town Meetings with Phil Boyer
November 9—Denver, CO. Sheraton Denver Tech Center, 7007 South Clinton Street, Englewood, CO. 7:30 p.m.
November 10—Dallas-Fort Worth, TX. Grapevine Convention Center, 1209 South Main Street, Grapevine, TX. 7:30 p.m.
November 11—Prescott, AZ. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Auditorium, 3200 Willow Creek Road, Prescott, AZ. 7:30 p.m.
For more information on Pilot Town Meetings, visit

AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Courses
(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
November 6-7—Albuquerque, NM. Holiday Inn Mountain View, 2020 Menaul Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM.
November 6-7—Anchorage, AK. Regal Alaskan Hotel, 4800 Spenard Road, Anchorage, AK.
November 6-7—Seattle, WA. Hawthorn Suites, 6329 South 212th Street, Seattle, WA.
For more information on ASF Flight Instructor Refresher Courses visit

Pinch-Hitter courses
November 14—San Diego, CA
. Four Points Hotel by Sheraton, 8110 Aero Drive, San Diego, CA. 9:30 a.m.

7. Photo of the day
Dress up your dull computer desktop. Here’s a link to the latest photography from AOPA Pilot’s Mike Fizer. Right click on the photo and capture this exciting aviation wallpaper for your computer screen. Visit

Contacting AOPA
Got news? [email protected]
8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.
AOPA, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701.
Phone: 301/695-2000 Fax: 301/695-2375
E-mail [email protected]
On the web:

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