FAA Administrator Jane Garvey is scheduled to address AOPA members on Saturday morning, October 21, at AOPA Expo 2000 in Long Beach, California.
This year's AOPA Expo, from October 20 through 22, features a record number of seminars, exhibits, and product demonstrations. On-site registration will be available.
Expo's closing banquet on Sunday, October 22, just weeks before the national election, will feature The Capitol Steps, the hilarious Washington comedy troupe of ex-Capitol Hill staffers who dispense good-natured bipartisan barbs aimed at every political persuasion. The Capitol Steps are sponsored by Audi.
Make your plans now to attend by calling 888/GO2-EXPO (888/ 462-3976), or check the Web site ( www.aopa.org/expo/).
Special arrival and departure procedures have been developed to help minimize delays for the 2,000 general aviation aircraft expected to arrive at Long Beach/Daugherty Field for AOPA Expo 2000. Five of the six VFR arrival routes established for the event do not require communication with Socal Approach. Pilots are urged to arrive VFR if practical, since IFR arrivals and departures will be limited. An IFR slot reservation system will be in effect. For arrival procedures, go to the Web site ( www.aopa.org/expo/), or call 800/ USA-AOPA (800/872-2672).
The FAA has agreed to allow aviation medical examiners to issue time-limited medical certificates at the time of examination to those pilots needing a special issuance medical certificate, commonly called a waiver. Currently, a pilot needing a waiver is forced to wait up to four months pending FAA review.
AOPA had suggested the "immediate waiver" in 1997 as part of a proposal to reduce the FAA's medical certification backlog.
Medical waivers are needed by pilots who suffer from heart disease, diabetes, or some 13 other automatically disqualifying medical conditions, but whose condition poses no threat to aviation safety. Some other conditions (such as skin cancer) may also require waivers.
"This new procedure won't work for all special issuance cases," said AOPA Medical Certification Director Gary Crump, "but there will be more pilots who now will be flying rather than waiting."
More detailed information on medical certification is available on AOPA Online ( www.aopa.org/members/resources/medical.html).
An FAA effort to bring affordable technology to general aviation cockpits was reviewed in July by AOPA President Phil Boyer.
Called Capstone, the project promises affordable traffic, terrain, and weather information, all on a single multifunction display in the cockpit. AOPA supported funding for Capstone in Congress and has helped to set the project's course. Tests on the project are being conducted in Alaska.
A Capstone-enhanced terrain database reduces the risk of controlled flight into terrain, and a datalink system sends weather information (including graphics) directly to the cockpit.
Other new technology being tested includes ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast), which broadcasts the aircraft's position to both ground controllers and other aircraft, offering an affordable collision-avoidance system.
AOPA is also evaluating the technology with two Capstone-equipped aircraft and ground units operating from the association's Frederick, Maryland, headquarters.
In direct response to AOPA requests, the FAA has told its inspectors that dual brakes are not required in aircraft utilized for instruction or checkrides.
AOPA members had reported earlier this year that some FAA regions were interpreting FAR parts 91.109 and 61.45 to require that aircraft brakes be operable from either pilot seat. In some parts of the country, FAA inspectors were "violating" pilots and instructors for flight training in many popular aircraft without dual brakes. Included were such aircraft as the Mooney M20 series, many Beech Bonanzas and Barons, Piper Apaches, and many tandem-seat aircraft.
In April, AOPA obtained a letter of interpretation from the FAA's assistant chief counsel stating that dual brakes were not required for flight instruction, but at the time left unresolved the question of whether dual brakes are required for all CFI flight tests.
For more information, see AOPA's regulatory brief on AOPA Online ( www.aopa.org/whatsnew/regulatory/regdual.html).
AOPA was the only general aviation association participating in activities at both the Republican and Democratic national conventions that took place on opposite coasts of the country this summer.
AOPA Legislative Affairs staffers worked to counter the formidable presence of the major airlines at the conventions, meeting with key congressional members, staff, and campaign officials to present GA viewpoints.
"It was important to remind leaders that while GA pilots may not, like the airlines, have millions of dollars in soft money to finance events at the convention, thanks to our PAC supporters AOPA will make a difference in the key races that will decide control of Congress," said Bill Deere, AOPA vice president of legislative affairs.
An airworthiness directive on model 35 and 36 Learjets is an inappropriate use of the AD process and could set a bad precedent, AOPA says.
The AD in question would require affected Learjet operators to insert a new page in the airplane flight manual. The page would require the flight crew to don oxygen masks when the cabin altitude warning horn sounds.
"The FAA continues to try to ‘fix' operational or educational problems with ADs," said Dennis Roberts, AOPA vice president of government and technical affairs. "ADs should only be used to address flaws in equipment, not operators.
"The FAA's goal should be more education, less regulation," said Roberts.
AOPA is blasting FAA headquarters for reversing an Alaskan Region hazard decision on a proposed radio tower near Anchorage International Airport.
The proposed 360-foot (497 feet msl) broadcasting tower, fewer than 10 miles off the end of Runway 14 at Anchorage International, was ruled a hazard by the FAA's Alaskan Region air traffic manager, despite the fact that the tower would not technically exceed FAR Part 77 obstruction standards. The official had noted "[This] situation…with the complexity of airspace, mixture of aircraft, and the known high level of low-altitude activity, is anything but normal."
But on appeal, the FAA's Airspace and Rules Division in Washington stuck to the rule book and determined that the tower didn't meet all hazard criteria, giving a green light for tower construction.
"Your office has ignored the safety concerns of airspace users operating around Anchorage International Airport," AOPA wrote. "We ask you to reconsider the impact of this decision on the airspace users your office is entrusted to protect."
AOPA is opposing an FAA plan to raise the ceiling of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) Class B airspace to 10,000 feet. However, AOPA is supporting another part of the plan that would eliminate some Class B airspace east and west of the airport.
"The FAA is doing some of the right things, but doing them the wrong way," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "They should implement the desirable changes now rather than dragging it out."
Boyer said that an ad hoc user group had concluded that the current 8,000-foot ceiling provided adequate protection for air carrier aircraft. AOPA found only three near-midair collision reports for the airport in the past three years, and all of those occurred below 6,100 feet within the limits of existing Class B airspace.
AOPA also noted that the existing airspace ceiling allows VFR pilots to transit the area "over the top" without the use of oxygen.
AOPA has filed a complaint with the FAA alleging that the city of Austin, Texas, has violated federal agreements in its operations at the new Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
"All of the GA services at the former Robert Mueller Municipal Airport were supposed to be available at Bergstrom. They aren't," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of regional affairs.
Austin closed Mueller Airport, a thriving GA and airline facility that was convenient to the city, in 1999 and transferred operations to the former Bergstrom Air Force Base. At the time, the city promised to relocate all aviation activity, but then turned down a request from a third FBO (that had been operating at Mueller) to provide GA services at the new airport.
Dunn told the FAA that AOPA members believe Bergstrom's two current FBOs are catering to larger business and corporate aircraft almost exclusively and that access to Bergstrom's new city-sponsored tiedown area for light aircraft is "inconvenient and cumbersome."
AOPA has also been working with the Aviation Association of Central Texas to resolve problems at Austin-Bergstrom.
AOPA Communications was called by MSNBC News on August 1 to help interpret events as a Beech C24R Sierra prepared for a gear-up landing at Orlando Executive Airport.
Via phone link, AOPA Senior Vice President of Communications Drew Steketee helped to put the emergency landing in perspective for MSNBC viewers. AOPA explained the emergency as relatively minor and outlined gear-up landing preparations and techniques, even as an airborne TV helicopter followed the Beech through final approach, landing, and occupant egress.
"I sure wouldn't have wanted my emergency landing on national TV, but this pilot did a great job," said Steketee. "I think the audience gained more respect for pilot skill and aircraft durability, counter to the ‘crash a day' mentality that prevails among the public."
AOPA Flight Training contributing editor Greg Brown, AOPA 640529, received the CFI of the Year Award from FAA Administrator Jane Garvey at Oshkosh July 30. The 19-year CFI holds an ATP and 737 type rating plus all fixed-wing instructor certificates including glider. He is the author of several books for CFIs and for upgrading or job-hunting pilots. In addition to his AOPA Flight Training column, he offers advice to flight schools and CFIs through the industrywide Be A Pilot program.
In addition to AOPA Airport Support Network volunteers, a team of 12 AOPA regional representatives works full time on state and regional issues of importance to AOPA members. Among the current issues being worked by regional representatives are:
Tall towers are becoming an issue near more and more airports. AOPA is supporting legislation in Missouri to protect airports from nearby towers.
Noise issues include a ballot initiative in Juneau, Alaska, that could restrict both fixed-wing and helicopter tours within the city limits. Citizen noise complaints are posing problems for several Florida airports.
State aviation concerns include a ballot initiative in Oregon that could limit state contributions to airport improvement projects. Studies and forecasts affecting GA pilots have been issued by the states of Washington, Massachusetts, and Florida. A new set of state aeronautics rules for pilots in Minnesota is under study.
Airport and airspace issues include more work on redesign of the Las Vegas, Nevada, Class B area; changes to improve GA traffic flow through the Salt Lake City, Utah, Class B airspace; and there could be a Class C airspace study at Nantucket, Massachusetts. In Texas, opposition to a planned airport in Pflugerville is beginning to surface, but a new residential airfield called Pegasus Airpark is well under way near Queen Creek, Arizona.
Legislative action includes a watch for possible adverse effects on GA airport funding in Tennessee and Missouri. AOPA continues to support proposed tax relief for GA pilots in Massachusetts and New Jersey, and proposals in New Jersey and Ohio to help save privately owned public-use airports. AOPA-supported tax relief for GA pilots in Minnesota was adopted.
T-hangar costs in Florida are likely to rise as a result of a new fire code law passed earlier this year, but an AOPA-encouraged initiative by the Florida Department of Transportation is expected to help keep increases reasonable.
H.B.219, passed earlier this year, tied together the Florida Building Code and the Florida Fire Prevention Code to require greater resistance to hurricanes in new construction. Although T-hangars are not directly mentioned in the 228-page law, experts believe that new T-hangars in at least some parts of the state will be required to withstand 125-mph winds, significantly increasing both the cost of construction and resulting rental rates.
AOPA Florida Regional Representative Nelson Rhodes, however, reports that the expected increases may be blunted by a new Florida DOT policy that allows state grants for 80 percent of T-hangar construction costs undertaken by the airport as an economic development project.
AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Chris Andrews (center) was presented with an AOPA Award of Excellence at the Des Moines Pilot Town Meeting August 29 by AOPA President Phil Boyer for his work in helping to preserve general aviation at Des Moines International Airport. Andrews discovered last fall that Des Moines airport officials were more interested in the growth of large cargo operations than in GA operations. Among other things, officials had planned permanent closure of predominately GA Runway 13R/31L. Andrews reported the issue to AOPA and is providing research, rallying local pilots, arranging local media attention, and involving local politicians. He also is forming a support group to help protect GA interests at the airport.
Colorado. Fort Collins: The newly resurfaced Runway 15 at Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport is providing a new seamless landing area, reports AOPA ASN volunteer Mike Myshatyn.
Connecticut. Willimantic: AOPA ASN volunteer Paul H. Rice successfully coordinated a notam for activity at a blasting site directly under the final approach path for the GPS Runway 9 approach at Windham Airport.
Florida. Naples: A plan to ban jets exceeding a certain decibel level has been announced by the Naples Airport Authority. AOPA has filed an objection to the restriction based on details and documentation provided by ASN volunteer R. Scott Cameron.
Illinois. DeKalb: More than 1,600 people attended a July "Transportation Exposition 2000" at DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport to help citizens appreciate the value of the airport. AOPA ASN volunteer Jack Bennett helped plan the event.
Indiana. Elkhart: In ongoing efforts to protect Elkhart Municipal Airport, AOPA ASN volunteer David Dodson helped negotiate an avigation easement over a housing complex proposed near the airport, plus disclosure and covenant language in tenant lease agreements to help prevent noise claims. Some of the covenant language came from the AOPA Noise and Land Use Handbook.
Louisiana. Bastrop: AOPA ASN volunteer Jeff E. Taylor reports that Morehouse Memorial Airport Manager Billy Bolton's efforts have resulted in a much-needed ramp overlay. Taylor is also serving as a head adviser for a Boy Scouts' Aviation Explorer Post, earning positive publicity for the airport.
Maine. Auburn: Ten new condominium T-hangars, constructed by FBO Bel Air Services, have been completed at Auburn/Lewiston Municipal Airport. AOPA ASN volunteer Lillian LeBlanc reports there is demand for an additional 10, attesting to the value of the airport.
Michigan. Midland: City councilors appointed AOPA ASN volunteer Tom Lind to the Jack Barstow Airport Commission as a pilot representative. Airport commissioners then elected him vice chairman of the commission.
Minnesota. Mora: The much-needed crosswind runway at Mora Municipal Airport has been saved, at least temporarily. AOPA ASN volunteer Dustin Paulson reports that organized lobbying by local pilots convinced city fathers to keep that turf runway open during expansion of an adjacent industrial park. Also, the city has appointed several local pilots to a newly formed airport advisory board and has started the land acquisition process to permanently relocate the crosswind runway.
Nevada. Las Vegas: A Clark County Aviation Association community aviation day brought about 750 locals to North Las Vegas Airport to see the value of a general aviation airport. AOPA ASN volunteer Ann Devers reports that another such event is planned for November 4.
North Carolina. Greensboro: An aviation safety "Wings Weekend" that included free
recurrency training by volunteer CFIs attracted more than 500 pilots to Piedmont Triad International Airport in late April. AOPA ASN volunteer and CFII Maycay Beeler was one of the instructors at the annual event and reports that attendees arrived from all parts of the Carolinas and beyond.
Texas. Jacksonville: An additional corporate hangar, new parking areas, and a long-sought terminal building have been completed at Cherokee County Airport. AOPA ASN volunteer Bud Ridgley reports that the hangar is the fourth built in the past 12 months.
Virginia. Richlands: A fly-in at Tazewell County Airport drew more than 2,000 people, boosting awareness of local airport value. AOPA ASN volunteer Patricia Beavers helped organize the event.
West Virginia. Morgantown: AOPA ASN volunteer Paul W. De Vore worked with Dr. Linda Vona Davis of the West Virginia Association for Women in Science to sponsor a one-day "women and aviation" program at Morgantown Municipal Airport. The program is to become an annual event.
Wisconsin. Clintonville: AOPA ASN volunteer Daniel C. Sigl helped arrange a tour of Clintonville Municipal Airport for members of the Waupaca County Commission. He reports that this was the first airport visit for many. Sturgeon Bay: AOPA ASN volunteer
David Konkel is working with airport manager Keith Kasbohm to form an airport support group for Door County Cherryland Airport that includes airport officials, pilots, local businesses, and economic development representatives.
Despite otherwise lower-than-normal attendance at EAA AirVenture 2000, safety seminars presented by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation drew record crowds.
ASF seminars "GPS for VFR Operations" and "Single Pilot IFR" drew a total of more than 1,000 pilots, leaving standing room only in the meeting room. In addition, the award-winning ASF video Weather Decision Making sold out early in the show.
"I'm gratified that pilots cared enough about aviation safety to continue standing after seats ran out," said John Steuernagle, ASF vice president of operations.
"GPS for VFR Operations" offers an analysis of how GPS can lead pilots astray. One humorous anecdote tells of a determined pilot headed for Cheyenne, Wyoming (CYS), who nearly ran out of fuel blithely following GPS guidance toward CYT—which is in Yakataga, Alaska, nearly 2,000 miles away.
"Single Pilot IFR" answers the longstanding "is it possible" question in the affirmative, offering tips and techniques for safe solo operation in the IFR environment.
In a novel twist, ASF personnel gave out some 3,000 aviation "fortune cookies" to pilots stopping by the ASF booth. The fortunes inside the cookies served as a starter for safety-related thought and analysis. Aviation fortune cookies will be offered again at AOPA Expo 2000 in Long Beach, California, from October 20 through 22.
The second in a series of four AOPA Air Safety Foundation "Safety Highlights" validates both fixed-gear Piper Cherokees and retractable-gear Piper Arrows as reliable, sturdy favorites among aircraft owners.
Piper Cherokee and Arrow Safety Highlights, sponsored by United States Aircraft Insurance Group (USAIG), is being mailed free to all FAA-registered owners of Piper PA–28 aircraft.
The new safety review shows that some 81 percent of Cherokee accidents and 72 percent of Arrow accidents were caused by the pilot, mostly as a result of poor judgment. Similar pilot error rates were found in comparison aircraft.
The highest number of PA–28 accidents occurred during landing. Long landings were the most common problem in fixed-gear Cherokees; hard landings were most common in the retractable-gear Arrows.
Single copies of the report are available by request to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701; by calling 800/USA-AOPA (800/872-2672); or via the ASF Web site ( www.aopa.org/asf/).