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| GA News |
| BREAKTHROUGH DEAL REACHED ON AIR-21 |
The Senate Budget Committee on Wednesday announced that after six months of stalled negotiations, House and Senate conferees have reached an agreement over the FAA reauthorization bill known as AIR-21. The agreement appears to ensure that the Airport and Airway Trust Fund is "unlocked" and that the money inside will be spent on aviation. Following a series of meetings between House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bud Shuster and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, a deal was reached that would spend $40 billion on FAA funding over the next three years: $33 billion would be spent out of the trust fund, and $6.7 billion would be available to be appropriated by Congress from the general fund on a year-by-year basis.
If the deal is finalized as reported, Congress would be required to spend all of the money that the trust fund takes in each year, plus the interest on the money already in the fund. Next, Congress would be required to provide the full amount authorized for programs such as the Airport Improvement Program Fund (AIP) and Facilities and Equipment (F&E). In total, funding for the AIP would increase from its current annual level of $1.9 billion to $3.4 billion, and F&E would see an increase from $2.04 billion to $3 billion.
Negotiations over other controversial items within the bill, such as passenger facility charges and airline slots at major airports, should be completed in the coming days. Negotiators hope to have the conference report before both bodies for approval by March 10. The bill will then be sent to President Clinton for his signature. Upon hearing the news, AOPA President Phil Boyer said, "Should this proposal be signed into law, it will have been the grassroots effort of the thousands of AOPA members across the nation that helped turn the tide and make AIR-21 a reality." For new details on this breaking story, see the AOPA Web site.
FUEL CONCERN REPORTED IN VAN NUYS, CALIFORNIA
Million Air Van Nuys has drained and flushed its fuel tanks--both those underground and those on fuel trucks--to eliminate a possible source of mysterious black dirt particles found in the fuel by a few aircraft owners. Lab tests on the fuel by Phillips 66 indicate that it is clean and acceptable for use in aircraft. According to Million Air, field experience suggests that the existence of particulate matter can be established by sumping the aircraft fuel system, allowing the sample to settle over 10 to 15 minutes, and performing a visual inspection. Any aircraft owners who have performed a visual inspection and observed particulate matter in their fuel are asked to contact the AOPA Pilot Information Center at 800/USA-AOPA. For more information, and copies of Phillips 66 and Million Air statements, visit AOPA Online.
DIAMOND STAR DEBUTS IN NORTH AMERICA
In a ceremony at Diamond Aircraft Industries' Canadian factory in London, Ontario, the first conforming prototype four-place, DA40-180 aircraft made its first appearance in North America. The DA40-180 is an all-composite carbon- and glass-fiber aircraft, and is powered by a 180-horsepower Lycoming IO-360 engine. It has a claimed maximum cruise speed of 147 knots, and will cost US$185,000 in IFR configuration. Initial JAA certification of the Diamond Star in Europe is expected this summer, with FAA and Canadian Transport Canada certification to follow immediately thereafter. The Diamond Star begins a North American demonstration tour this month, and will be on display in April at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Florida.
GA ENJOYS ANOTHER RECORD YEAR
The general aviation industry has seen annual increases in billings and shipments for five consecutive years. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association reported that 1999 billings climbed 35.1 percent to $7.9 billion, from $5.9 billion in 1998. Shipments of GA aircraft were up to 2,525, from 2,220 in 1998. All sectors except turboprops saw increases. Piston shipments climbed to 1,747, a 13.9 percent increase from 1,534 in 1998. Turboprop shipments declined slightly, from 271 to 264. Jets, meanwhile, saw a 23.9 percent increase, from 415 to 514.
AOPA ADVISES PARK SERVICE ON TUSKEGEE AIRMEN TRIBUTE
AOPA is assisting the National Park Service in planning the new Tuskegee Airmen National Center in Tuskegee, Alabama. AOPA Senior Vice President of Communications Drew Steketee attended a planning meeting in Alabama recently. Others at the Tuskegee University meeting included staff from the National Air and Space Museum, the Naval Aviation Museum, the Martin Luther King historical site in Atlanta, and surviving Tuskegee Airmen and family members. Congress has authorized (but not yet appropriated) $29.1 million to restore historic facilities at Moton Field, Alabama, where America's first black combat pilots were trained. The site--directly accessible by airplane--will be the nation's only re-creation of a WW II military training base.
SOCATA CONTEST DRAWS 434 RESPONSES
Many of you who received the text version of ePilot last week, and viewed it using an older version of Netscape, were not able to use the Web address provided to see details for the Socata paint scheme contest. Socata Aircraft is asking AOPA members to help design a new paint scheme for its new line of Generation Two TB models. So far, 434 of you have entered via e-mail for a chance to win a trip for two aboard an Air France Concorde SST to Paris. Check out the Socata paint scheme contest.
DATES ANNOUNCED FOR CAYMAN ISLANDS ESCAPE
The Cayman Islands will host its fourteenth annual International Aviation Week from June 14 through 19. The event includes two days of flying and safety seminars, as well as a beachfront airshow and aircraft static displays. International Aviation Week is enjoyed best, however, when the trip is made by GA aircraft. Daunted by the 330-nm flight from Key West, Florida, south across the middle of Cuba to Grand Cayman? Let the Cayman Caravan, an organized overflight, handle the details for you. For more information on International Aviation Week, call the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (800/346-3313) or visit the Web site. Or, review previous AOPA Pilot articles on the experience; see " Postcards: Island Escape" and " Postcards: Cayman Caravan."
For daily news updates, see AOPA's Pilot Briefing.
| Airport Support Network |
| VOLUNTEER OF THE WEEK - JOHN MARSHALL |
BMW race cars conducting high-speed rides on a portion of the Whiteman Airport in Los Angeles does not sound like a good idea, does it? As soon as John Marshall, AOPA's Airport Support Network volunteer, became aware of the situation, he began to investigate and discussed concerns with the airport management. He also contacted the FAA district and regional offices regarding the situation, which prompted their investigation. Because of Marshall's quick response time and persuasive pleas on behalf of general aviation, the airport sponsor required BMW to install temporary barriers so that on-lookers and aircraft are not in immediate danger. Appropriate FAA authorities are now handling the situation.
Click here to learn more about the Airport Support Network.
| AOPA Air Safety Foundation News |
| FATAL PERSONAL FLYING ACCIDENTS DOWN 11.1 PERCENT |
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation says preliminary statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board show that 1999 was the safest year yet for general aviation flying. The data continue an improvement trend dating back to 1947. "The 342 fatal accidents reported by the NTSB for 1999 are the fewest since the end of World War II," said Bruce Landsberg, ASF executive director. "The total accident rate and the fatal accident rate were each the lowest recorded since government record-keeping began in 1938. Most areas of general aviation flying showed improvement. Welcome news this year was an 11.1 percent decline in fatal personal flying accidents and a 1.7 percent decline in total personal flying accidents. The number of fatal instructional flying accidents dropped 9.1 percent. The number of midair collisions increased from 15 to 18 in 1999, but only half resulted in fatalities." The Air Safety Foundation is developing a new safety seminar on midair collision avoidance that is scheduled to debut in October.
| Quiz me! |
|Here’s a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge. |
Question: How can I participate in the FAA Wings Pilot Proficiency Program?
Answer: The Pilot Proficiency Award Program, or "Wings" program, was developed by the FAA to encourage pilots to seek recurrency training. Certificated pilots with current medicals as well as ultralight pilots, may participate in the program. Pilots may complete one phase of the program each year. There are 10 phases. The completion of each phase requires a minimum of three hours of flight training and attendance at one FAA-sanctioned or -sponsored safety seminar. The pilot receives a certificate and set of lapel wings. Seaplane pilots may request the "Seawings" version of the lapel pin. Completing a phase of the Wings program counts as a flight review. The completion date of the training, not the date of the award presentation, becomes your flight review date. Visit AOPA Online for more information.
Dozens of you sent e-mails regarding last week's Quiz Me! question on the meaning of the letters in the GUMP checklist. Visit AOPA Online for an overview of your responses.
Got a technical question? Call 800/872-2672 or e-mail [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. |
| ePILOT Calendar |
| FLY AWAY PICKS FOR THIS WEEKEND |
Daytona Beach, Florida. The "World’s Largest Motorcycle Event" transforms Daytona Beach into a motorcycle lover's paradise March 3 through 12. Swap meets, auctions, shows, and art exhibits. Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB) serves the area, 904/248-8030. Call 904/255-0981 for event information.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Cowboy Ski Challenge takes place March 4 and 5. This rodeo features novelty ski races. Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) serves the area, 307/733-7682. Call 307/739-2770 for event information.
Rangeley, Maine. The New England Sled Dog Races feature eight-dog, six-dog, and four-dog professional and junior classes March 4 and 5. Rangeley Municipal Airport (8B0) serves the area, 207/864-5307. Call 207/864-5364 for event information.
Clare, Michigan. Everyone is Irish March 10 through 19 at the Clare Irish Festival. This marks the twenty-fifth year for this festival, which features performers, craft shows, singalongs, and food. Clare Municipal Airport (48D) serves the area, 517/386-7202. Call 888/282-5273 for event information.
AOPA Expo. Join us for AOPA Expo 2000, October 20 through 22 in Long Beach, California.
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. San Mateo, California; Norfolk, Virginia; and Philadelphia on March 4 and 5. Clinics are scheduled in Ontario, California, and Phoenix on March 11 and 12. 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 place March 11 and 12 in Phoenix, Arizona. 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)
Phil Boyer is the featured speaker at the Montana Aviation Conference in Billings, Montana, March 4; and the Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium in Fargo, North Dakota, March 5. There are no Pilot Town Meetings until March 28 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Click for more information on Pilot Town Meetings.
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