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| SATS MONEY IN NEW NASA BUDGET |
President Clinton’s proposed budget for 2001 includes funding for a demonstration in Virginia of the Small Aircraft Transportation System proposed by NASA. Basically, it is an interstate-like airway system for the masses and would utilize nearly all of the nation’s 5,000 public-use airports. If successful, it could mean boom times for the average community airport, but would not require construction of new control towers or radar facilities. Utilizing mostly turboprop and single-engine aircraft, the system would provide door-to-door air transportation for small businesses and upper-income families. The aircraft would be provided through air taxi, fractional ownership, and private ownership.
ASRS LAUNCHES NEW WEB SITE
NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) has launched a slick new Web site. On the Macromedia Flash-enhanced site, you can learn how the timely filling of a NASA Reporting Form can waive FAA sanctions in the event of an inadvertent violation of the FARs -- and download a form for reporting incidents, should you need one. The site also offers archives of ASRS's "Callback" and "Directline" publications, which include summaries and excerpts of reports submitted to NASA. You cannot submit an ASRS report electronically yet, although NASA hints that that capability is under development.
STUDENT PILOT SOLOS CIRRUS SR20
Jamail Larkins of Martinez, Georgia, turned 16 years old early this week; but instead of taking his driver’s license test so he could borrow the family car, Larkins became the first student pilot to solo in a Cirrus SR20. This event is unusual because Jamail has been flying since he was 12.
For daily news updates, see AOPA's Pilot Briefing.
| Inside AOPA |
| AOPA COMMENTS ON 'PLAIN LANGUAGE’ REGS |
In response to a recent executive order, the FAA has proposed to write future regulations in language we can all understand. AOPA supports that general goal. However, AOPA opposes the FAA’s proposal to prohibit "non-public" communications with FAA officials once an NPRM has been published. While the FAA stated that such "non-public" contacts were "contrary to Department of Transportation ex-parte policy," AOPA feels that prohibition of such contacts is contrary to a fair and open rulemaking process. To insure that the public receives the information necessary to continue to provide objective and specific comments to rulemaking actions, AOPA urges the FAA and DOT to reconsider that policy and allow informal conferences with FAA officials. AOPA is awaiting a formal response from the FAA and will update the membership as this situation develops. For a copy of the FAA’s proposed Part 11 changes and a copy of AOPA’s comments, visit AOPA Online.
FAA APPROVES AMOC FOR PRECISE FLIGHT AD
In a January 19 letter to Precise Flight, the FAA approved an alternate method of compliance (AMOC) for a previously issued airworthiness directive affecting operators of Precise Flight Model III standby vacuum units. This AMOC effectively eliminates the need for flight testing, provided owners of systems whose shuttle valve is serial number 10243 and higher add the requisite updated airplane flight manual supplement (AFMS). Owners of serial number 10242 and lower must replace their shuttle valve for $77 plus labor costs, and add the updated AFMS, in order to avoid the twice-a-year flight testing compliance portion of the AD. AOPA will not withdraw its petition to rescind AD 99-24-10. AOPA believes that replacing the shuttle valves in pre-1991 models should not be mandatory and that updating the AFMS should be sufficient for all models. Of course, any shuttle valve found not to be operating properly should be replaced regardless of serial number. Contrary to Precise Flight's notice to all owners of its SVS Model III, Precise Flight did not involve AOPA in the development of this AMOC. AOPA invites Precise Flight and the FAA to develop an alternate method of compliance that eliminates the in-flight testing for all serial numbers--without having to replace shuttle valves. Click for more information.
AOPA SCORES IN DIRECTION-FINDING FIGHT
The FAA has signed a proposal supported by AOPA that will retain the direction-finding system though 2010. Originally, the FAA had planned to scuttle all DF sites by 1997, but AOPA and other user groups requested that DF equipment remain in place where it is needed most. DF will still be available at 111 locations throughout the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii). The rest of the DF equipment will be decommissioned over the next several months. The FAA agreed to conduct a government/industry study in 1998 that resulted in a list of DF sites that should be retained. AOPA surveyed members, regional representatives and AOPA employees in an effort to determine which DF sites to keep operating. The FAA study included AOPA representatives and representatives of the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists (NAATS)--the union representatives for flight service stations. At all locations, older tube-type DF equipment will be removed. Some of the newer electronic DF equipment will be repositioned to those sites identified for retention.
| On Capitol Hill |
| HOUSE, SENATE RESUME NEGOTIATIONS ON AIR-21 |
House and Senate conferees have resumed negotiations over the FAA reauthorization bill known as AIR-21. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici is rumored to have offered in a letter to House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bud Shuster a guarantee that annual appropriations from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund will be no less than the annual receipts to the Trust Fund plus interest. Furthermore, Domenici said that if the needs of aviation were not being met, then he would support an appropriation from the U.S. Treasury’s general fund. That may not be such a good deal. Basically, that means that the FAA can only spend what the Trust Fund brings in annually plus the interest on what is already in there. The FAA can't spend what has accumulated in past years. However, House Transportation and Infrastructure staffers are waiting to see the language of such a proposal before giving it much consideration. Negotiations deteriorated last fall when House and Senate conferees could not reach a consensus on "unlocking" the Aviation Trust Fund, or on elimination of the general fund contribution. The conference was scheduled to reconvene this week.
| Airport Support Network News |
| ASN VOLUNTEER HELPS LAUNCH NEW AIRPORT |
A group of developers began to construct a privately owned, public-use residential airport called Mint Julep about 20 miles north of Diamondhead Airport in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The developers cleared an area for a 6000-foot runway and surveyed the lots. But before they presented the final package to the Hancock County Board of Supervisors, a small but vocal group of residents began to spread fears of noise, exploding fuel, etc. Since Diamondhead Airport, Mississippi, is also a public-use residential airport, the elected Hancock County Board representative for Diamondhead asked our AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer, Mario Feola, to give a presentation to the board at the next meeting. The 15-minute talk stressed "peaceful coexistence" and helped convince the board to vote 5 to 0 in favor of Mint Julep Airport. The FAA has just given its approval, and the airport is now open.
| Quiz me! |
|Here’s a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge. |
Question: I have my Commercial certificate; what kind of operations can I perform and not fall within the regulations covering Part 135?
Answer: There are many commercial opportunities. Refer to FAR Part 119.1(e) which details the exceptions to Part 119 and allows those operations under Part 91. These operations include: student instruction, some nonstop sightseeing flights, ferry or training flights, crop dusting, banner towing, aerial photography, fire fighting, helicopter operations in construction or repair, powerline or pipeline patrol, sightseeing flights in hot air balloons, and parachute jumping.
Got a technical question? Call 800/872-2672 or e-mail i[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 |
| Step back, eBay! Watch out, Amazon! The latest edition of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's annual silent auction is now under way on AOPA Online. |
| ePILOT Calendar |
| FLY AWAY PICKS FOR THIS WEEKEND |
Riverside, California. Historic downtown Riverside is transformed into 18th century London from February 4 through 6 for the Riverside Dickens Festival. Performances of Great Expectations, a Victorian Ball, and Pickwick’s Pub Night are some of the featured events. Riverside Municipal Airport (RAL) serves the area, 909/351-6113. Call 909/781-3168 for event information.
Fort Worth, Texas. The annual reenactment of Fort Worth’s last Old West gunfight is held February 8. The last gunfight took place February 8, 1887, between White Elephant Saloon owner Luke Short and former Marshal T.I. "Longhaired Jim" Courtright. Fort Worth Meachum International (FTW) is the closest airport, 817/871-5400. Call 817/624-9712 for event information.
Wilmington, North Carolina. The North Carolina Jazz Festival takes place February 4 and 5. Classic and Dixieland jazz music styles are featured. Wilmington International Airport (ILM) serves the area, 910/341-4333. Call 910/763-8585 for event information.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Florida Renaissance Festival takes place February 5 through March 5, promising five weekends of 16th century fun. More than 125 artisans are also featured. Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE), 954/938-4974 or Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL), 954/359-6100, serve the area. Call 954/776-1642 for event information.
For details on individual airports, see AOPA’s Airport Directory Online. For more calendar events, see the AOPA Pilot magazine Aviation Calendar of Events.
A SF FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Louisville, Kentucky; and Dallas, on February 5 and 6. Clinics are scheduled for Melbourne, Florida, and New Orleans, on February 12 and 13. For complete details, visit the Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic schedule.
ASF PINCH HITTER GROUND-SCHOOL COURSES
(Pinch Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
The next Pinch-Hitterï¿½ Ground School will take place February 19 and 20 in Las Vegas. For details and a complete schedule, see the Pinch Hitter Ground School Schedule.
AOPA PILOT TOWN MEETINGS
Featuring AOPA President Phil Boyer
(7:30 p.m.; admission is free)
The next Pilot Town Meetings are in Salt Lake City February 29; San Jose, California, March 1; and Concord, California, March 2 . Click for more information on Pilot Town Meetings.
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