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AOPA Online Members Only -- -- AOPA ePilot Volume 2, Issue 16AOPA Online Members Only -- -- AOPA ePilot Volume 2, Issue 16


Inside AOPA

On Capitol Hill

Airport Support Network

Quiz Me!

Picture of the day

Coming up in
AOPA Pilot

The Road to Expo

ePilot Calendar

Weekend Weather

Attention Bahamas-bound pilots: you'll pay more
Inspection required for 1,000 TCM crankshafts
Antenna declared hazard to GA
AOPA-backed asset-forfeiture bill passes Congress
Volume 2, Issue 16
April 21, 2000
GA News
Contrary to the "Islands of the Bahamas, Private Pilots' Bill of Rights," the Bahamian government has reinstated the $15-per-person departure tax for the pilot and copilot on GA flights departing the Bahamas. Pilots and copilots had previously been exempted from this tax. AOPA has protested the unannounced levy. In response to an AOPA inquiry, Bahamian officials said that the need for the additional fees is the result of damage caused by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. AOPA was told that the Bahamian government incurred excessive expenses in bringing the islands' infrastructure back to its pre-Floyd condition. Information obtained from an April 18 Bahamas Consular meeting indicates that the Bahamian government is holding its position on the levy. AOPA is continuing efforts with the Bahamian government to resolve the issue and will keep you posted. In the meantime, be prepared to pay the departure tax when leaving the Bahamas.


On April 14, Teledyne Continental Motors issued Mandatory Service Bulletin MSB-00-5 requiring inspections on nearly 1,000 crankshafts. TCM cited composition and processing deficiencies during its supplier’s steel production process as the cause of 11 recent crankshaft failures. The failures have occurred in the connecting-rod journals on straight-drive engines manufactured, rebuilt, or field-overhauled in 1998 and 1999. The failures occurred in engines with operational times ranging from 15 to 1,257 hours. TCM's recommended inspection procedure involves, within the next 10 hours, drilling two small core samples from the crankshaft propeller flange to be sent to TCM for metallurgical inspection. The FAA plans to issue a priority-letter airworthiness directive mandating the TCM-recommended inspection and repairs. TCM will supply the equipment necessary to drill the two core samples, and has vowed to provide the results of the metallurgical testing to affected aircraft owners within 48 hours after receipt of the samples. Sources at TCM indicate that the manufacturer will cover the parts and labor costs of the initial inspection and any necessary parts replacements in accordance with its warranty. Engines affected by the service bulletin include IO-360, TSIO-360, LTSIO-360, O-470, IO-470, IO-520, TSIO-520, LTSIO-520, IO-550, TSIO-550, and TSIOL-550-series new and rebuilt engines assembled utilizing a crankshaft that was manufactured between April 1, 1998, and March 31, 2000. To determine if your engine is affected by the service bulletin, check the crankshaft serial number and visit the TCM Web site, or call TCM's customer service department at 888/200-7565. For more information, a copy of the service bulletin, and a copy of the AD (when available), visit the AOPA Web site.

The FAA has a new weapon in the battle against runway incursions. Sensis Corporation has an FAA contract to deploy a system at Memphis International Airport that can provide positive identification of all transponder-equipped aircraft on the airport, including runways, taxiways, and ramp and gate areas. Memphis International is the primary hub for the cargo carrier Federal Express, and an important hub for Northwest Airlines. The data will be displayed in the Federal Express ramp tower as well as the FAA tower, providing a surface surveillance picture that is expected to improve safety and capacity, especially in bad weather.

President Bill Clinton has nominated Phil Boyer, president of AOPA, to the new FAA Management Advisory Council. The 15-member Management Advisory Council (MAC) is intended to provide "an oversight resource for management, policy, spending and regulatory matters under the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration." The MAC will advise the FAA administrator on modernizing the air traffic control system and ways to make the agency more efficient and "businesslike."

For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

Inside AOPA
The 355,000-member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has added its voice to those trying to preserve Plum Island Airport--a historic airstrip serving the popular Newbury/Newburyport area on the Massachusetts coast between northern Boston suburbs and New Hampshire. The Society for Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA), the airport’s owner since area property was granted to it in an estate bequest, is considering closing the airport. The airport has operated at the current site since 1934, and dates to 1910.

The FAA has announced a decision regarding a hazardous antenna near Anchorage, Alaska, that will benefit all of general aviation. A proposed 360-foot agl broadcast antenna (497 feet msl) north of Point MacKenzie lies beneath Class C airspace. There are instructions on the Anchorage Terminal Area Chart instructing pilots to avoid altitudes of 600 to 2,000 feet msl in the area of the tower. The tower has been declared a hazard to air navigation, even though technically it doesn't exceed any obstruction standards. The FAA reached the decision based on comments from many local GA pilots, AOPA, the Alaska Airmen's Association, and others. The FAA determined that the sparsely populated area, when combined with frequent low clouds and visibilities, created situations where pilots would be affected by the loss of the airspace that the antenna required. To AOPA's knowledge, the FAA has never issued a hazard determination based on adverse impacts to VFR operations, even when the antenna didn't exceed height standards. The proponent of the antenna is expected to challenge the FAA's ruling, but the willingness of the FAA Alaskan Region to stand up to tremendous pressure raises the bar for other regions to do the right thing, instead of just following the rulebook.

On Capitol Hill
Late last week the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the conference agreement on the annual budget resolution that, if followed, will fully fund the Aviation Investment and Reform Act, known as AIR-21. Many believed that drastic cuts in FAA operations, Amtrak, and the Coast Guard would follow in the wake of the passage of AIR-21, but budget committees in both the House and Senate honored their commitments to recommend full funding of all transportation programs. House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bud Shuster praised the measure, saying, "Gone are the days of using the trust fund to mask the deficit. This budget resolution restores honesty to the budget process." However, the budget resolution recommendations are nonbinding, and it remains to be seen whether the House Appropriations Committee, which opposed AIR-21, will honor the Budget Committee's recommendation for transportation funding.

Congress has overwhelmingly passed AOPA-supported legislation to protect innocent aircraft owners from government property seizures. The House has approved the final version of the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act. The Senate had approved the bill earlier, and President Clinton is expected to sign it into law shortly. The law will make it harder for the government to seize property it suspects might be linked to a crime, and it will make it easier for property owners to reclaim seized property. "For too long, the government has been able to seize an aircraft without a hearing, trial, or even an arrest, and innocent aircraft owners have had to spend considerable time and money to regain their property," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "This law will restore the balance. Innocent owners shouldn’t be penalized for crimes they didn't commit."

Airport Support Network
Jack Dugan, our AOPA Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteer at Bowers Field (ELN) in Ellensburg, Washington, reports that users face threats of encroachment from a residential development. AOPA's ASN staff provided Dugan with resources and insight into compatible land uses around airports. Height restrictions, as well as safety and noise, must be delineated and considered part of a criterion in formulating appropriate land-use compatibility. As a result, Dugan is bird-dogging the issue by encouraging the development of compatible land-use zoning.

Click here to learn more about the Airport Support Network.

Quiz me!
Here’s a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge.

Question: "I was reviewing the METAR reports. What is the meaning of the designation A02 and A01 that appears right after the RMK and before the SLP?"
Answer: The Aeronautical Information Manual, paragraph 7, says that the A02 designation is an automated weather station with a precipitation discriminator. The A01 designation is an automated station without a precipitation discriminator. A precipitation discriminator can determine the difference between liquid and frozen or freezing precipitation.

Got a technical question? Call our technical specialists at 800/872-2672 or e-mail to [email protected]. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to [email protected].

Picture of the day
Jump to the AOPA Online Gallery to see the featured airplane of the day. Click on the link for details on how to capture wallpaper for your work area. Visit the AOPA Online Gallery.

What's New at AOPA Online
On AOPA Online: A lot of members have recently been asking our technical specialists about "cookies" -- what they are, how they work, and whether they pose a danger. We've put together some resources to help make you a better-informed cookie consumer at AOPA Online.

Coming up in AOPA Pilot
Our AOPA Sweepstakes Millennium Mooney got its new panel, as you saw if you attended the Sun 'n Fun EAA Fly-In last week in Lakeland, Florida. Now, read all about it in the June issue of Pilot. You'll also find articles on mastering the autopilot, flying the new Cessna T-206, and latest developments at Chicago's threatened Meigs Field.

On the Road to Expo
You’ll be surprised by all the new attractions and development taking place in Long Beach, California, site of AOPA Expo 2000. The new Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific has already entertained more than one million visitors. The Rainbow Harbor with its harbor/dinner cruises and exclusive water taxi service is only the beginning of the Queensway Bay Redevelopment Project; it will also bring a multitude of retail and entertainment venues to the Long Beach area. Even if you have visited Long Beach before, you'll want to see what you've missed. See the details of our October 20 through 22 event on AOPA Online.

ePilot Calendar
Norfolk, Virginia. The International Azalea Festival Air Show takes place at Chambers Field, Naval Station Norfolk, April 29 and 30. It features military and civilian aircraft exhibits, concerts, and a night sky show. Norfolk International Airport (ORF), 757/857-3351, serves the area. Call 757/445-6647 for event information, or visit the Web site.

Weeping Water, Nebraska. Four days of country music take place April 27 through 30 during the Cryin' Creek Country Music Festival. Hog roast, fiddle competition, gospel show. Browns Airport (EPG), 402/267-6465, serves the area. Call 402/944-3241 for event information.

Half Moon Bay, California. Pacific Coast Dream Machines, a festival celebrating motorized vehicles such as airplanes, trucks, and motorcycles, takes place April 30. Classic, vintage, exotic, and custom vehicles; biplanes, helicopters, and DC-3 rides. Half Moon Bay Airport (HAF), 650/573-3701, serves the area. Call 650/726-2328 for event information, or visit the Web site.


The AOPA Fly-In and Open House takes place at Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK), Maryland, on June 3. Visit the Web site.

AOPA Expo 2000 takes place in Long Beach, California, October 20 through 22. Visit the Web site .

For more airport details, see AOPA’s Airport Directory Online. For more events, see the Aviation Calendar of Events.

(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are in Salt Lake City, Utah and Reston, Virginia, April 29 and 30. For complete details, visit the Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic schedule.

(Pinch Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
The next Pinch-Hitter� Ground School will take place place place May 14 in Houston, Texas. For details and a complete schedule, see the Pinch Hitter Ground School Schedule.

Featuring AOPA President Phil Boyer
(7:30 p.m.; admission is free)
The next Pilot Town Meetings are in San Bernardino, California, May 15; Newport Beach, California, May 16; and Oxnard, California, May 17. Click for more information on Pilot Town Meetings.

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