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AOPA Online Members Only -- -- AOPA ePilot Volume 2, Issue 13AOPA Online Members Only -- -- AOPA ePilot Volume 2, Issue 13


Inside AOPA

On Capitol Hill

Air Safety Foundation

Airport Support Network

Quiz Me!

Picture of the day

ePilot Calendar

Weekend Weather

Micco preps new SP26 model
Politically timed parks-overflight rule coming
Tiger AG-5B rollout set for November
Discussions in progress on 100LL ban in Europe
Volume 2, Issue 13
March 31, 2000
GA News
The FAA has released a draft policy allowing the Internet to be used for dissemination of aviation weather and notices to airmen (notams). AOPA has encouraged the FAA to release this policy for several years because AOPA sees it as an important step in efficient and inexpensive information dissemination. The draft represents a fundamental policy shift at the FAA, which had previously been very resistant to using the Internet, citing security and liability concerns. This is especially exciting because of the potential to widely disseminate notams that currently are distributed only locally (L-notams), and many other possible applications as well.

Micco Aircraft plans to deliver its second SP20 200-horsepower two-seat sportplane (shown) in a few days at Sun 'n Fun. While production of the SP20 is ramping up, the Fort Pierce, Florida, company is beginning flight testing of the next model, the 260-hp SP26. To accommodate the beefier engine and the greater aerobatic capability that it brings, the tail structure of the SP26 will be strengthened with additional stringers and ribs. Servo tabs will be added to the ailerons to reduce roll forces at higher airspeeds. In addition, strakes will be added to the upper empennage to improve spin recovery. Prior to certification of the new model, which is scheduled for June, the aircraft must be put through 1,147 spins of six turns each. During a brief observation flight last week, AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Tom Haines noted a cruise speed of 140 knots and a 1,000-fpm rate of climb at 95 knots. However, production aircraft are expected to be about 10 knots faster. The test airplane carries heavy test equipment and does not include some airframe enhancements that will be on production aircraft. Micco has 30 orders for the airplanes, most of which are for the SP26.

As several of you pointed out, the picture of the experimental hold line in the last issue of ePilot was from the side. As you requested, that photo in last week's ePilot issue has been replaced by a view from the front and posted to AOPA Online. As always, you'll need to be an AOPA member to see the photos.

AOPA has learned that the FAA and the National Park Service (NPS) are gearing up to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking for implementing regulations to comply with the National Parks Air Tour Management Act of 2000. The FAA and NPS are under some pressure to publish an NPRM before the November elections. When published, the regulations will spell out guidelines for the management of air tour operations over all national parklands. According to the Air Tour Act of 2000, national parks in Alaska are to be exempt from the rule. That act also states that the rule will prohibit commercial sightseeing flights over Rocky Mountain National Park. AOPA was an active participant in the ARAC National Park Overflights Working Group that drafted the recommendations that are being used by the FAA to develop the NPRM. Hopefully there will be little impact on noncommercial general aviation pilots. The work that AOPA has done over the past several years should pay off by excluding general aviation from excessive overflight restrictions. However, there will be limitations on the number of flights that tour operators can conduct.

Final rules expanding the dimensions of the Grand Canyon Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) and establishing air tour limits will be released on April 4. The new rules take effect in December. For the most part, the rules apply to commercial air tour operators and the impact on general aviation is minimal. In the new rules, the FAA has addressed most of the issues AOPA raised:
-Corridors -- Two general aviation flight corridors have been reinstated;
-Boundary of SFRA --The eastern boundary has been moved 5 nm to the west so that the southwest corner does not abut the Sunny MOA;
-Noise Modeling -- General aviation overflights will not be included in the noise models. GA constitutes less than three percent of all overflights, and have little or no impact on "natural quiet."
-Ceiling of SFRA --This issue still needs clarification. AOPA asked the FAA to clearly state that the new (higher) ceiling of the SFRA does not apply to general aviation. AOPA has been assured of this verbally, and it is acknowledged in the preamble to the rules, but there is no direct reference to it in the final rule.
-Expanded Flight Free Zones -- Although opposed by AOPA, expanded zones will go in as planned.

After a change in ownership, the Taiwanese/American-backed resurgence of the former Grumman Tiger AG-5B is on track. The name of the company has changed from TLM Aircraft to Tiger Aircraft LLC, with Taiwanese lock maker TLM continuing to play a minor role. The factory at Martinsburg, West Virginia, is built, tooling is in and undergoing reconditioning, and 11 electronics and engineering specialists are in place. Assembly workers will be hired in July. Chem-Fab, the Hot Springs, Arkansas, firm that last made major portions of the Tiger before production ceased, is ready to ship the 32 completed fuselages, 15 rudders, and 17 ailerons that were available at the time production stopped at American General in Greenville, Mississippi. Chem-Fab is negotiating to produce 165 new shipsets—including wings, fuselages, rudders, and ailerons—which constitute the first two years of production. The parts will be shipped to Martinsburg for completion. Tiger Aircraft plans to produce only IFR-equipped aircraft equipped with dual Garmin 430 GPS moving maps, PS Engineering audio panel/intercoms, S-Tec 40 autopilots, leather seats, and metallic paint. The price has yet to be determined, but will be comparable to the cost of a New Piper Archer or Cirrus SR20. A company official estimated that the price for the 140-knot, four-passenger aircraft will be between $215,000 and $225,000. For information see the Web (

For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

Inside AOPA
The International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA) is concerned over a proposed European Union ban of leaded avgas by 2002. Thursday, there was a meeting in Amsterdam between Europe's Joint Aviation Authorities and IAOPA: Users of 100LL in the United States were represented. Prior to the Amsterdam meeting (expect a report soon in ePilot), AOPA had hosted a group of interested parties at a meeting in Washington, D.C., to prepare for the meeting and to choose a representative. In addition, the group discussed the current research and development efforts of alternatives fuels and aircraft retrofits to mitigate the impact of the inevitable phaseout of 100LL. Other topics included the dwindling worldwide use of leaded motor fuels, the reduction of lead additive suppliers, and the elevated public consciousness of the environmental impact of fuel additives. The group will meet again soon to discuss possible solutions to the eventual elimination of 100LL.

Comments on the twin Cessna exhaust (final rule) airworthiness directive must be received by the FAA no later than April 14. AOPA members are strongly encouraged to provide objective and specific comments to the FAA regarding the compliance provisions of the AD. Send your comments, in triplicate, to: FAA, Central Region, Office of the Regional Counsel, Attention: Rules Docket No. 97-CE-67-AD, 901 Locust St., Room 506, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For more information, a copy of the AD, and AOPA’s original comments, please visit AOPA Online.

AOPA was called Monday for an on-camera interview and backgrounder session with the California producer of an upcoming History Channel "Modern Marvels" episode on "Private Planes." No broadcast date has been set for the feature. Also interviewed were Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine, the National Business Aviation Association, and the Smithsonian's Air and Space magazine. AOPA attempted to expand program concepts to cover development of everyday general aviation, not just the business-jet boom among celebrities and wealthy individuals. Because of the show's historical fascination with pre-WW II "society fliers," AOPA emphasized the postwar "democratization" of general aviation--the mass production and marketing of more affordable light aircraft to a wider audience of more average means.

An AOPA proposal to put air traffic control frequencies on VFR charts so pilots can easily find out the status of military operations areas is under discussion this week by the Government/Industry Aeronautical Charting Forum. AOPA is hosting the group at its headquarters in Frederick, Maryland. The forum oversees policy and procedures for both instrument and VFR charts, as well as instrument procedures design. AOPA President Phil Boyer told the group that aviation safety is an "awesome responsibility," one that AOPA and the AOPA Air Safety Foundation share. He noted that more than 57 percent of all pilots are AOPA members. The association is constantly surveying its members, and when AOPA takes a stand on an issue, "…it truly represents the opinion of our members." AOPA's past work with the charting forum led to the development of visual waypoints to help VFR pilots navigate through complicated airspace. Those waypoints are now being tested.

For those of you who are anxiously awaiting your chance to have your powerplant certified under FAR Part 23, Advisory Circular AC-23-16 "Powerplant Guide for Certification of Part 23 Airplanes" is now available from the FAA. This AC takes into account the comments made by AOPA when it was first proposed. You may acquire a copy of AC-23-16 through the FAA's Web site. Otherwise, you may purchase a copy of AC-23-16 (stock number 050-007-01285-3) for $14 ($17.50 if mailed outside the United States) by contacting the Superintendent of Documents, Post Office Box 371954, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15250-7954, or from any Government Printing Office store

Effective May 1, 2000, AD 98-21-21 R1 will apply to all aircraft having Bob Fields Aerocessories inflatable door seals. This revised AD now excludes manually operated door seals and incorporates an alternate method of compliance to AD 98-21-21 that became effective in October 1998. A copy of this AD is available at the Federal Register Web site and scroll down to the FAA section.

On Capitol Hill
The U.S. Senate passed legislation Monday to protect innocent aircraft owners when the government seizes their property. A similar bill overwhelmingly passed the House last year with the support of AOPA. Under current law, the burden of proof falls on innocent aircraft owners trying to reclaim property suspected of being linked to a crime. In addition, owners have virtually no way to force the government to pay for damages. Under this new legislation, the government must prove by "clear preponderance" of the evidence that property targeted for seizure was connected to a crime. The bill establishes an innocent owner provision that will protect the property of owners who had no knowledge of illegal activity. The bill also eliminates the current requirement that a person whose property was confiscated must pay, in cash, 10 percent of the value of the confiscated property before a suit can be filed against the government. The bill will now return to the House floor for final approval. President Clinton is expected to sign the bill in the coming weeks.

Air Safety Foundation News
Nine regional runway safety workshops, one in each of the FAA regions, are scheduled to take place before the end of May as the agency attempts to cope with media and legislative focus on this issue. AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg made a presentation earlier this week at the first workshop. "Make it clear to pilots when they are cleared to cross or taxi onto a runway and clearly identify where the edges of the runway are and you will go a long way toward eliminating pilot deviations," Landsberg said. A review of FAR 91.129 (I) to clarify taxi instructions--along with good paint, signs, and in-pavement guard lights--are recommended. "Our suggestions will immediately help all pilots under all conditions, and they can be done without breaking the budget," Landsberg said.

Click here to learn more about the Air Safety Foundation.

Airport Support Network
Score another victory for the Airport Support Network (ASN). As previously reported in ePilot, AOPA urged officials of Forks Township in eastern Pennsylvania to favorably consider the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority's request for a runway extension at Easton Airport (N43). ASN Volunteer Chuck Frenchko has continually provided local research and updates to AOPA on this situation. In addition, Frenchko rallied the troops so that about 140 pro-airport people attended a meeting on the runway lengthening. The latest report is that the township has approved the 300-foot extension, although some conditions have been attached. All indications are that the details can be worked out.

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 fly several times a year to Canada. Canada, as you are well aware, has a number of ADF approaches. Can you give me any insight into the use of GPS in lieu of ADF/DME in Canada?
Answer: Canada has just published Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) #1/00 on January 27, 2000. The AIC expands the use of GPS. It describes changes to the overlay nonprecision approach program, the conditions under which pilots may use GPS in lieu of DME and ADF to identify certain fixes, and the conditions under which pilots may use GPS distance in lieu of DME when reporting their position. This AIC allows you to use an IFR TSO-C129 approved GPS receiver in lieu of ADF/DME in Canadian airspace, subject to certain conditions. For a copy of AIC 1/00, please contact an AOPA technical specialist at 800/872-2672, or e-mail AOPA.

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
Arrival and departure procedures for the AOPA Fly-In on June 3 are now available on AOPA Online. If you are planning on joining us to attend entertaining seminars, see the latest products, and oogle over new aircraft displays, you will find the procedures helpful.

ePilot Calendar
Cheraw, South Carolina. The Cheraw Spring Festival highlights the rich history of this beautiful town with music, food, home tours, trolley rides, and Confederate living history programs April 1 and 2. Cheraw Municipal/Lynch Bellinger Field (47J) serves the area, 803/537-9626. Call 803/537-8425 for event information.

Beaver, Oklahoma. Dung flingers from around the world converge on Beaver for the World Cow Chip Throwing Championship April 14 through 16. Beaver Municipal Airport (Q44) serves the area, 580/625-3331. Call 580/625-4726 for event information.

Hood River, Oregon. Nearly 15,000 acres of fruit trees can be viewed in a tour of the Hood River Valley April 15 and 16. Along the tour routes from Panorama Point to Mt. Adams are pancake breakfasts, quilt shows, winery and brewery open houses, and antique and craft shows. Hood River Airport (4S2) serves the area, 541/386-1133. Call 800/366-3530 for event information.

Don’t forget! 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. San Diego, California; Denver, Colorado; and Tampa, Florida, on April 1 and 2. Clinics are scheduled in Indianapolis, and Chicago on April 8 and 9. 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 April 15 and 16 in Atlanta, Georgia. 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 Meeting is in San Bernardino, California, May 15; Costa Mesa, California, May 16; and Oxnard/Camarillo, California, May 17. Click for more information on Pilot Town Meetings.

Contacting ePilot
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