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Memphis FBO files complaint against airport authority
FAA fights airport abuse in Pennsylvania
Efforts made to improve flight service stations
FAA Funding Bill fails to pass
Get the AIM free
Volume 1, Issue 5
November 26, 1999

GA News
An $80-million tourist attraction, Legacy of Flight, will open in 2003 near the Kalamazoo County/Battle Creek International Airport in Michigan. The aviation center will be 15 stories tall and offer interactive attractions that may attract as many as 800,000 visitors a year. Preston S. Parish, chairman of the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum—also known as the Air Zoo—said he is encouraged by the prospects for financial support of the project. "We see this as a place where the Smithsonian meets Epcot," Parish said.

Jacksonville, Florida’s Cecil Field has gone civilian. Once known as Cecil Field Naval Air Station, it is now just Cecil Field, and goes by the identifier VQQ. The first GA pilot to land at the new airport was AOPA member Ken Smallwood (AOPA 013365716). The airport is served by AirKaman Cecil Field ( Not too many FBOs can advertise an on-premises golf course and gym built to Navy specifications.

Wilson Air Center, one of two competing FBOs at Memphis International Airport, has filed a complaint with the FAA charging economic discrimination by airport authorities. The complaint alleges that airport authority officials have consistently made land available at lower prices to Wilson Air Center’s competitor, Signature Flight Support. "Over the years, the airport has made no secret of its desire to force general and business aviation off the airfield," said David Wade, attorney for Wilson Air Center. "This latest effort to check our expansion and stifle competition appears to be designed to do just that." Wilson Air Center is headed by Bob Wilson, son of Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson. ePILOT attempted to contact airport authorities for comment, but an attorney for the airport authority did not return phone calls.

Air show performer Wayne Handley has retired after "getting the wind knocked out of my sails" in a crash of his Oracle Turbo Raven last month in California. Handley crashed after losing power during a steep descent, the final portion of his air show act, with the prop in flat pitch. His future plans include supporting the growing trend of competition among air show performers. To see how Handley won an air show competition a week before his crash, tune in ESPN2 on December 19 at 6 p.m. EST, and again on January 19 at 2 p.m. EST. Look for an article in an upcoming issue of AOPA Pilot magazine.

For daily news updates, see (

Inside AOPA
The FAA is taking a hard position in a fight with city fathers of Allentown, Pennsylvania. Allentown Mayor William L. Heydt wants the Queen City Municipal Airport moved so that the land can be developed. Some of the airport land has already been developed, prompting a recent lawsuit by several pilots. Also, the city uses a hangar as a maintenance garage. The FAA is cracking down and has presented options to the mayor: either keep the airport open—but pay $1.8 million in back rent for airport property now used by the city—or transfer the airport to the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority. The authority wants to keep it open as a reliever for Lehigh Valley International Airport. Comply with one of the options, the FAA told the mayor, or lose future airport improvement money and pay a penalty to boot. Proof of the FAA’s get-tough policy comes from the example of Fall River, Massachusetts, where the FAA recently forced the city to repay $33,000 in airport grants for an airport that the city closed three years ago. AOPA has long advocated such actions and specifically worked with airport users in the Pennsylvania case.

AOPA and its international affiliate, the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA), are preparing for a meeting next year of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The purpose of the meeting is to set world guidelines for financing both airport infrastructure and air traffic services. AOPA and IAOPA both are planning to present strong arguments against the imposition of user fees, and will argue in favor of using government contributions for aeronautical services worldwide.

A first-ever summit meeting between the FAA and industry representatives on flight services—called a "renaissance"— was attended by AOPA. More importantly, general comments made to AOPA by members were relayed directly to the FAA and the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists at the meeting. Here are a few topics for further discussion: use the VFR-not-recommended phrase only when warranted; make flight service a customer-based, not a lawyer-driven, service; increase FAA awareness of how staffing levels affect service; raise the weather knowledge of every briefer to that required for the Flight Watch position; offer additional 800 numbers for each flight service station; and, incorporate specialized local-area knowledge into weather briefings.

AOPA Air Safety Foundation News
Ever hear a weather briefer use the phrase "VFR not recommended"? It is all too common. A government/industry panel—separate from the FAA/industry summit mentioned above—that includes the AOPA Air Safety Foundation has concluded that the term is over used. For example, ground fog at one reporting station can prompt the use of the phrase for an entire route. Excessive use of the phrase appears to be a way for the government to avoid possible liability. The FAA, ASF, and industry officials are looking at ways to avoid unnecessary use of VFR-not-recommended warnings.
On Capitol Hill
Despite an 11th-hour attempt to work out disagreements, the Congress adjourned for its holiday recess without passing an FAA funding bill. The Senate passed a six-month extension of the FAA funding bill, including the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) late last week, but the House did not take up the issue. As a result, the final omnibus spending bill agreed to by the White House and congressional leaders does not contain such a provision. However, the currently unauthorized program will remain in place and air traffic control operations will continue operating under existing law. Such action leaves approximately $2.4 billion in airport construction funding up in the air until a deal can be worked out next year.
Quiz me!
Here's a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge.
Question: How can our local flying club meet the drug testing requirements when we sell airplanes rides for our aviation scholarship fundraiser?
Answer: Your club may request exemption under 14 CFR 11.25. When requesting exemption, petitioners must refer to the parts from which they are requesting exemptions, in this case, Parts 14 CFR 135.251, 135.255, 135.353, and appendices I and J under Part 121. You must state formally why granting this exemption will be to the public’s interest and that an equivalent level of safety will be maintained. Additional information about the pilot’s experience and the aircraft will be helpful. Send your petition in duplicate to Rules Docket (AGC 10), FAA, 800 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20591.

Got a technical question? Call 800/872-2672 or e-mail [email protected].
Picture of the day
If you can’t fly today, at least look at a nice airplane picture. Liven up your computer desktop with some new aviation photography. Here’s a link the AOPA Online Gallery. Right click on the photo to capture wallpaper for your work area. Visit (
New on AOPA Online
AOPA Online and Gleim Publications have teamed to make the text and graphics of the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) free to AOPA members and available at (
ePILOT Calendar
Aitkin, Minnesota.
World Famous Fish House Parade November 26. Scandinavian spectacle of wacky floats, costumed anglers, and decorated fishing shanties paraded through this tiny town of 1,700. Aitkin Municipal Airport (AIT) is two miles from the town. Call 218/927-2527 for airport information; 218/927-2316 for festival information or visit the Web site (

Huntsville, Texas. Trinity Scottish Festival and Highland Games November 26 and 27. Clan Cameron will be honored at this extensive Scottish festival featuring live music, Highland games, and food. Huntsville Municipal Airport (UTS) is two miles from the city. Call 409/295-8136 for airport information; 409/594-0195 for festival information.

Placerville, California. Festival of Lights in historic downtown Placerville, Gold Rush territory, November 26. Music, refreshments, shopping, and Santa Claus. Placerville Airport (PVF) is three miles east of the city. Call 530/622-0459 for airport information; 530/621-5885 for festival information.

Williamsburg, Virginia. Food and Feasts of Colonial Virginia November 25 through 27; Colonial Christmas opens November 28 and runs through January 2. Costumed historical interpreters celebrate the season 17th-century style. Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport (JGG) is three miles from Colonial Williamsburg. Call 757/229-9256 for airport information; 800/404-3389 for information on Colonial Williamsburg or visit the Web site (

For more airport details, see AOPA’s Airport Directory Online at: (

November 26-December 3, 1999

November 26-December 25—Sterling, PA. Spring Hill Airport (70N). Fly-In to tag your holiday tree. More than 25,000 to choose from. Call Wayne Saar, 570/689-9310.
December 1-4—Nashville, TN. Opryland Hotel. 1999 Convention of the International Council of Air Shows. Call John B. Cudahy, 703/779-8510.
December 3—Fort Myers, FL. Page Field (FMY). Pancake Breakfast, sponsored by EAA Chapter 66. Call Greg Warr, 941/694-0111.
3-5—Nassau, Bahamas. Marriott Crystal Palace Resort. Junkanoo Grande Finale Fly-In. Call 800/327-7678.
3-5—Miami, FL. Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. WWII. Miami Beach Veterans Reunion. Call Julian Goldman, 305/932-2024.
For more events, see (

(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
December 4-5—Denver, CO. Doubletree Hotel-Denver, 3203 Quebec Street, Denver, CO.
December 4-5—Orlando, FL. Adam's Mark Hotel, 1500 Sand Lake Hotel, Orlando, FL.
December 11-12—Allentown, PA. Ramada Inn at the Malls, 1500 MacArthur Blvd., Whitehall, PA.
December 11-12—Fresno, CA. Four Points Sheraton, 3737 N. Blackstone Ave., Fresno, CA.
December 11-12—Lincoln, NE. Holiday Inn-Lincoln Downtown, 141 North 9th Street, Lincoln, NE.

For more ASF Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics, visit (

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