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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot--Vol. 3, Issue 40AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot--Vol. 3, Issue 40


Inside AOPA

On Capitol Hill

Airport Support Network

Quiz Me!

ePilot Calendar

Weekend Weather

VFR ops, flight training resume in stages
New Piper announces layoffs
AOPA responds to Washington Post op-ed
Bills to 'tighten' aviation training introduced
Volume 3, Issue 40
September 28, 2001
GA News
AOPA learned at ePilot's deadline that the FAA is preparing to issue a notam warning pilots that military aircraft now have the authority to intercept—and, if necessary as a last resort, shoot down—civilian aircraft that enter restricted and prohibited areas without authorization. In addition, new restricted and prohibited areas are being created that will not be shown on current charts. Check AOPA Online for updates on this developing situation.

In a letter to President George W. Bush, AOPA President Phil Boyer asked for the restoration of VFR flight in "enhanced" Class B airspace, and for a reduction of temporary flight restriction areas around New York City and Washington, D.C., from a 25-nm radius to a 16-nm radius. "[Thursday] you urged Americans to 'get the airplanes flying again all across America' and 'get about the business of America,'" Boyer wrote. "Our members would like to do nothing more than utilize the investment they have in their general aviation aircraft and get them 'flying again across all of America.'" Boyer noted that the typical GA aircraft weighs less than 6,000 pounds and does not present a threat, and that deadly force authorization would place the "ultimate penalty" on restricted airspace violations. He also thanked the president for his tireless efforts at this critical moment in U.S. history. To read the letter, see AOPA Online.

Photo of Phil Boyer testifying before CongressSome 41,000 general aviation aircraft are currently stranded in 30 enhanced Class B airspace areas and two temporary flight restriction (TFR) areas around Washington, D.C., and New York City. In addition to the letter to President Bush, Boyer also testified before the House aviation subcommittee Tuesday about this and other GA issues. While Boyer praised the FAA and the Department of Transportation for trying to get the airplanes back in the air, he pointed out that the agencies have had to report to higher authority—the National Security Council (NSC). "Part of the problem in getting back in the air is not being told what the threats are. If we just knew what some of the threats were, we could offer creative solutions on how to safely move aircraft," Boyer said. Committee members said that they, too, have had trouble getting information at the highest security levels. Subcommittee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) promised that his subcommittee would try to get answers from the NSC and the Department of Defense. For the latest information, see AOPA Online.

GA pilots returned to the skies as VFR operations resumed, but under strict parameters. TFRs and "enhanced" Class B airspace limited options and kept nearly 600 airports closed more than two weeks following the attacks. Airports such as Montgomery County Airpark in Maryland remain closed to Part 91 operations because of TFRs surrounding the Reagan Washington National (DCA) and John F. Kennedy International (JFK) VORs. Other metropolitan airports such as Centennial Airport in Denver are slowly returning to normal traffic counts, but with Part 91 operations limited to IFR and certain VFR training flights because of the airport's location within "enhanced" Class B airspace, workload in the control tower "has definitely increased," according to a spokeswoman for Centennial. A blanket TFR that prohibits all aircraft operations within three nm and 3,000 feet agl surrounding major sporting events or other major open-air assemblies hamstrung numerous airport business operators and fostered confusion among pilots. Pilots also have been asked to avoid the airspace near nuclear power plants, power plants, dams, refineries, industrial complexes, and other similar facilities. While the resumption of flight training has increased operations for flight schools and FBOs, problems continue. "We lose the better part of the day's revenue again," noted one FBO owner in Colorado when a football game nearby effectively shut down operations at the Boulder Municipal Airport last Saturday.

AOPA has recommended to Congress the establishment of a federal aid recovery program for flight schools that were shut down after the September 11 terrorist attack. Based on AOPA's research, no other such programs currently exist. AOPA is asking Congress to extend benefits from existing small business disaster relief programs, similar to those available for hurricane and flood damage victims, to flight schools. It would consist of grants and loans through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Such a proposal has already received support in Congress. See AOPA Online.

General aviation manufacturing companies, also reeling in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, joined the airlines in announcing cutbacks. New Piper Aircraft had reduced its workforce from 1,500 employees to 1,250 two weeks ago, and currently the production line is temporarily closed as the company works through the backlog of aircraft grounded at its Vero Beach, Florida, plant during the VFR shutdown. New Piper said it plans to restart the line on October 8. The company still expects to post its best year since reorganizing, with 448 deliveries and $265 million in revenues, according to company spokesman Mark Miller. In related news, restructuring at Textron—parent company of Lycoming, Cessna, and Bell Helicopter—will result in the reduction of about 2,500 jobs by the end of 2002. Company spokeswoman Susan Bishop says that Textron hasn't yet finalized details as to which divisions would be affected. She also expressed hope: "There is the possibility to see some increase in jet business because of the terrorist attacks."

Two companies have moved one step closer to offering an alternative to traditional scheduled air transportation. Nimbus Group has placed an order for 1,000 Eclipse 500 jets that are to be used as part of an air taxi service throughout North and South America. "With this fleet order our vision of an air taxi service will become a reality. We at Eclipse could not be happier," said Vern Raburn, Eclipse Aviation Corporation president and CEO. Under the terms of the agreement, Eclipse will deliver the aircraft to Nimbus over a five-year period beginning in 2004. Nimbus also has committed to making an equity investment in Eclipse, but no details of that deal or the aircraft order were disclosed.

Avfuel Corporation has entered into an agreement with Texaco to purchase Texaco's general aviation business in California, Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee. The divestiture of this portion of Texaco's general aviation business satisfies U.S. Federal Trade Commission requirements placed on the merger of Chevron and Texaco. The two companies have scheduled separate shareholder meetings on October 9 to seek final approval for the merger. Completion of this acquisition is expected shortly after the merger closes.

Officials at Mooney Aircraft remain optimistic that a buyer will soon emerge to purchase the company out of bankruptcy. The Kerrville, Texas, manufacturer filed for bankruptcy protection in July. It was awarded $1 million by its bank to continue operating for 60 days. The deal expires October 15. Mike McConnell, senior vice president of strategic planning, says that many interested and qualified potential buyers have visited the facility. Only 30 employees remain at the factory, mostly preparing paperwork for the bankruptcy proceedings. No manufacturing is under way. However, the company is able to deliver parts out if its $1.5 million inventory.

For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Inside AOPA
AOPA responded immediately to an inaccurate and misguided opinion article calling for a Clamp Down on General Aviation . In the September 25 Washington Post op-ed article filled with inaccuracies concerning general aviation operations, security consultant Joseph A. Kinney suggested that general aviation aircraft could easily be turned into weapons of mass destruction. AOPA President Phil Boyer responded, "As the United States examines initiatives to enhance security, the general aviation community wants to help and will add security measures where they will make a difference, not blindly where they will close businesses, hurt commerce, and further restrict travel."

The FAA issued Monday a special airworthiness information bulletin (SAIB) recommending the inspection for and replacement of cracked plastic control wheels installed on certain Cessna airplanes. The FAA originally proposed an AD requiring inspection and testing of the wheels. AOPA and aircraft type clubs opposed the proposed AD, stating that the concern would be more appropriately addressed by a nonmandatory means such as an SAIB. See AOPA Online.

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On Capitol Hill
The first two of what will be many bills addressing aviation security were introduced in Congress recently—these would require flight students to pay for a criminal background check before taking lessons. However, AOPA maintains that it was the failure of government agencies already charged with checking the backgrounds of people entering the United States that allowed the terrorists into the country. In a letter to the first bill's sponsor, Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), AOPA President Phil Boyer wrote that AOPA "would be pleased to work with you on proposals to enhance the procedures of the government agencies that allowed terrorists to enter the country and enroll in flight training," but he also warned that the legislation as written would penalize "an entire industry that has no direct responsibility for who is allowed to enter the country...the financial burden of a background check will cause many of those with an interest in learning to fly to simply not try at all." For more see AOPA Online.
Airport Support Network
The AOPA Airport Support Network would like to take this opportunity to thank our more than 1,000 volunteers across the country for their hard work and continuing efforts during these trying times. Our volunteers have kept us abreast of issues evolving at their airports with the closure and gradual reopening of the national airspace system. It is during times like these that the economic impact of general aviation, particularly at smaller GA airports, is felt. Our volunteers have provided us with real-time information that has greatly assisted AOPA as we talk with various federal agencies. Thank you again for your dedication to the ASN program now and in the future as we face uncertain challenges with airports.

To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit AOPA Online.
Quiz Me!
Here’s a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge.

Question: When did the FAA stop requiring spin training for pilot certification, other than CFI certification?

Answer: CAR Amendment 20-3 was adopted on June 15, 1949. It states: "This amendment eliminates spins from the pilot certification requirements and, in lieu thereof, provides for dual flight instruction in the prevention of and recovery from power-on and power-off stalls entered from all normally anticipated flight attitudes."

Got a technical question for AOPA specialists? Call 800/872-2672 or e-mail to [email protected]. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to [email protected].
Picture Perfect
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. See AOPA Online Gallery.
On The Road To Expo
The show goes on—don't miss AOPA Expo 2001, November 8 through 10 in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The registration deadline for one-, two-, or three-day advance discount packages has been extended to October 19. For complete information on this spectacular aviation event, see AOPA Online.
ePilot Calendar
Ames, Iowa. The Iowa Aviation Conference takes place October 10 and 11 at the Hotel at Gateway Center. Call 515/292-8600 for event information.

El Paso, Texas. The Amigo Airshow takes place October 13 and 14 at El Paso International Airport (ELP). Call 915/545-2864 for event information.

Mesa, Arizona. The Copperstate Regional EAA Fly-In takes place October 11 through 14 at Falcon Field (FFZ). Call 520/760-7770 for event information.

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

(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in San Jose, California, October 13 and 14. For the Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic schedule, see AOPA Online.

(Pinch-Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
The next Pinch-Hitter� Ground School will take place October 21 in Indianapolis, Indiana. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.

For comments on calendar items or to make submissions, contact Julie S. Walker at [email protected].

Contacting ePilot
Got news? Contact ePilot at [email protected] Due to the large volume of mail received, we regret that we are unable to individually answer all correspondence.

Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].

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Tel: 800/USA-AOPA or 301/695-2000
Copyright � 2001. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.


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