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Copyright ï¿½ 2002 AOPA.
| GA News |
| AOPA DISAGREES WITH FAA STUDENT-PILOT PROJECTIONS |
AOPA is disputing the FAA's forecasted decline in the number of student pilots, presented this week at an FAA conference in Wichita. The FAA predicts that the number of student pilots will decline by 4.5 percent in 2002, and by an additional 1.2 percent in 2003--but the agency says that the total number of pilots will actually increase during the forecast period. Where will these pilots come from? "Student starts are the key to the general aviation industry," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Everything is driven by the number of students. If the FAA is wrongly pessimistic about the future, it can negatively affect industry decisions. A wrong forecast will hinder, not help, the general aviation industry's economic recovery." AOPA contends student pilots will increase some 16 to 20 percent in the next five years. AOPA said the FAA forecast was based on bad assumptions and internal system errors. For more, see AOPA Online.
CESSNA TO MOVE McCAULEY PROPELLER PLANT
In yet another indication that general aviation manufacturers are feeling the strain of a weakened economy, Cessna Aircraft Company announced Monday that it will move its McCauley Propeller Systems plant, located in the Dayton, Ohio, area, to Georgia, as first reported in the March 15 edition of ePilot. McCauley will be consolidated with Cessna's facility in Columbus, Georgia, which produces parts for its single-engine airplanes. The decision affects some 195 workers and of those, 30 will be asked to move to Georgia. A Cessna spokeswoman said a decision has not been made as to when the operation will be moved. McCauley has been in Dayton for more than 60 years.
SOUTH CAROLINA PILOTS EXPERIENCE FSS UPGRADE
Welcome to a new era of greatly enhanced pilot weather briefings. Pilots who call the automated flight service station in Anderson, South Carolina, will be the second in the nation, following testing in Seattle, to speak with a briefer who uses a modern computer, instead of 1970s-era equipment. Called OASIS, the program is part of the FAA's plan to modernize all 61 FSSs by 2008. (The Department of Transportation inspector general, however, recently recommended that the FAA consolidate the number of FSSs into 21 continental and five offshore sites.) The new system is based on an off-the-shelf computer operating system, meaning that it's upgradeable, unlike the current system. OASIS incorporates better weather graphics and can superimpose airspace boundaries, flight restrictions, and other special-use airspace on the briefer's screen. AOPA has long supported the OASIS program and will continue to push for modernizing flight services. FSSs urgently need upgraded telecommunication equipment to share information between stations.
'AMERICAN FIGHTER PILOT' GOES DOWN IN FLAMES
After only two episodes in a planned series of eight, the CBS reality show American Fighter Pilot is on "hiatus" because of low ratings. The TV jargon means that the show may return this summer, according to a CBS spokesman. The show featured three men from different walks of life who were in training to become F-15 fighter pilots at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. The second episode ended in a cliffhanger where one of the pilots, Lt. Todd Giggy, lost the brakes in the F-15 during landing on his first fighter flight. CBS wanted viewers to tune in the following week to see if he and his instructor survived. Then the show went off the air. An Air Force spokesman said the brake emergency was handled correctly by using an arresting cable, and that all three pilots passed their training and entered the Air Force fighter pilot roster. The show was taped nearly two years ago, with follow-up filming completed last winter.
NTSB URGES FAA TO REDEFINE 'NIGHT' IN MOUNTAINS
The crash last year of a chartered Gulfstream III as it made an instrument approach into Aspen, Colorado, has prompted the NTSB to recommend that the FAA change nighttime restrictions and prohibitions in mountainous areas. The jet aircraft was attempting to land after official sunset, minutes before a Stage II nighttime curfew would take effect. The board does not address the curfew and the role it may have played in the pilot's decision-making process. Instead, it asserts that ambient lighting conditions in the shadows of mountain peaks can become dangerously low well before the onset of aeronautical night. While the NTSB correctly identifies the importance for terrain awareness in low-light situations, AOPA thinks that the board should consider the safety implications of Aspen's nighttime curfew on Stage II and III aircraft. In Aspen's case, general aviation operations are permitted at night, if a pilot has conducted an operation at the airport within the preceding 12 months.
RAYTHEON OPENS ONLINE PARTS WAREHOUSE
Now you can buy Raytheon Aircraft parts over the Web. The site lists more than 12 million parts from Raytheon and suppliers such as Dunlop, Goodrich, and Champion Aerospace. Parts can be ordered over a secure network. The site was activated April 5; domestic customers get free second-day delivery until May 1. The parts are shipped from Raytheon's new distribution center at the Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport. See the Web site.
LANCAIR KITS OFFER MERLIN SATELLITE WEATHER OPTION
Satellink Technologies announced that Lancair Avionics, supplier to Lancair kit builders, plans to offer its Merlin satellite information service as an option in delivered kits. Lancair Avionics is currently testing the Merlin system in its single-engine piston company aircraft, which will be available in June. Merlin broadcasts a variety of graphic and text weather products continuously, such as Nexrad base reflectivity and echo tops, convective sigmet areas, icing and turbulence reports, TFRs, and METARs/TAFs with the latest updates posted and delivered to the user automatically in the cockpit. The service is to be available for fixed monthly fee, without additional usage charges. For more, see the Web site.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Inside AOPA |
| SENATOR CITES FBOs AS 'BIGGEST WEAKNESS' IN SYSTEM |
General aviation continues to be unfairly blamed as some members of Congress challenge security measures at small airports in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. In a Senate transportation appropriations subcommittee hearing on aviation safety and capacity issues, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) stated that "the biggest weakness in the national transportation system is in the FBOs," and that while there are security measures in place for commercial aircraft, there is "no consideration given to security of private aircraft. Literally anyone can get in a private plane." Campbell left the hearing after he made his comments, so the sole witness at the hearing, FAA Administrator Jane Garvey, did not respond. "It's unfortunate that Campbell made these statements, giving the public the perception that general aviation is not safe. Frankly, I am distressed that general aviation continues to be the whipping boy when we are not the security threat," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. See AOPAï¿½Online.
NEW JERSEY AIMS TO ACQUIRE FAMILY-OWNED AIRPORT
New Jersey state officials have joined a long-running feud between the owners of Solberg-Hunterdon Airport and Readington Township, by entering a signed letter of agreement for the state to purchase the airport for a fair market value of $22 million. The township had begun proceedings to condemn the airport and assume control of it. AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Simeon Hitzel played a critical role in bringing the state into the negotiations and in keeping both pilots and the public involved in the process. Some state officials called Hitzel's involvement "key" to making the deal. The sale is not a done deal yet, but shows what can be accomplished with a vocal ASN volunteer acting as advocate and organizing support in the community. See AOPAï¿½Online.
AOPA FIGHTS TO SAVE ENDANGERED AIRPORT
Smith Field, the general aviation airport in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is in danger of being closed. About 100 community members and pilots met earlier this week at a Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority hearing to offer proposals that will keep the airport open. The airport authority, after listening to a representative from AOPA headquarters and many speakers from the local community, delayed its decision to close the airport, promising to consider the proposals from individuals and groups. The panel will announce its decision within a month as to whether or not to keep Smith Field open. The endangered airport faces problems, including a decline in operations. Residential development is encroaching on the airport and the airport sponsor has not pursued federal funding. See AOPAï¿½Online.
CAN GA AFFORD EUROPEAN SINGLE SKY INITIATIVE?
Phil Boyer, in his role as president of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA), said at a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, last week that European "Single Sky" plans could prove costly and reduce the utility of general aviation on the continent. The plan could also have long-term implications for U.S. pilots. "The simplified structure may increase the communications, navigation, and surveillance equipment requirements that could reduce general aviation's utility, increase delays, and restrict access so that all airspace will be controlled," said Boyer. "This also raises questions about increased costs for new equipment such as Mode S transponders for datalink and 8.33 kHz-capable aircraft radios to address frequency congestions." Single Sky would eventually reduce airspace categories from seven (A through G) to three (N, K, and U). See AOPAï¿½Online.
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| On Capitol Hill |
| SENATE COMMITTEE PASSES AMENDED MEIGS LEGISLATION |
Legislation that would codify Illinois Gov. George Ryan and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's agreement to preserve Chicago's flagship general aviation airport, Meigs Field, for another 25 years is headed to the Senate floor. The bill, which passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee Thursday morning, would also expand O'Hare International, and expedite the creation of a new airport at Peotone, south of Chicago. "This is good news for the general aviation community," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Hopefully the Senate leadership will bring this legislation to the floor soon so this much-needed legislation will be passed." See AOPAï¿½Online.
COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS PROMPT ACTION ON AOPA ID PETITION
In an important statement of support, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee yesterday endorsed AOPA's petition to the FAA for a rule requiring pilots to carry valid photo identification. The recommendation for prompt action was included in the official committee report that accompanies the General Aviation Reparations Act of 2002. This legislation would provide $2.5 billion in direct aid and $3 billion in loan guarantees to general aviation small businesses affected by the post-September 11 airspace shutdown. See AOPAï¿½Online.
| Airport Support Network |
| VOLUNTEER OF THE WEEK—DAVID FAILE JR. |
Airport Support Network volunteer David Faile Jr. of Sikorsky Memorial Airport (BDR) in Connecticut testified at a last-minute public hearing called by the State House Judicial Committee concerning a pending bill (HB 5028) that would require background checks on flight students. In his testimony, Faile stated that the issue should be handled by the federal government, not each individual state. Faile, who is a Master CFI and 1999 National Flight Instructor of the Year, pointed out that background checks will not prevent terrorist actions, but rather create a false sense of security and a financial burden on flight schools.
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit AOPAï¿½Online.
| AOPA Air Safety Foundation News |
| ASF DIRECTOR HIGHLIGHTS GA SAFETY RECORD |
The general aviation safety record continues to improve, ASF Executive Director Bruce Landsberg told attendees at the tenth FAA General Aviation Forecast Conference this week in Wichita. Citing ASF's recently released Nall Report, he noted that there has been an improvement in weather-related accidents, with fewer cases of continued VFR flight into instrument weather conditions. He predicted that the percentage of pilot-related accidents will continue to increase. "The hardware is becoming increasingly more reliable, but human 'engineering improvements' are very slow," Landsberg said. He explained the massive ASF education efforts to improve the human machine, including free safety seminars conducted nationwide and the more than 100,000 ASF safety videos sent to new private and instrument-rated pilots over the last three years. Conference goers were particularly impressed with ASF's online courses, including the new SkySpotter program to train pilots to provide better pilot reports (pireps). See AOPAï¿½Online.
| Quiz Me! |
|Here's a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge. |
Question: How wide is a jet route?
Answer: Jet routes extend from Flight Level 180 to FL 450, inclusive, and designate frequently used routings. According FAA Order 7400.2E, Procedures for Handling Airspace Matters, jet routes have no specified width. However, alignment should be planned using protected airspace specified for VOR airways in FAR 71.75 or any flight inspection limitation to prevent overlapping special-use airspace or the airspace to be protected for other jet routes. FAR 71.75 states that federal airways include the airspace within parallel boundary lines, four miles each side of the centerline. See AOPAï¿½Online.
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 |
|The AOPA Online Gallery has been updated with the May photos. Click on the link for details on how to capture wallpaper for your work area. See AOPA Online. |
| What's New At AOPAï¿½Online |
|The latest update to airport taxi diagrams is now available. See AOPAï¿½Online. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| Check your weekend weather on AOPA Online. |
WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS
West Conshohoken, Pennsylvania. Pilot Town Meeting featuring AOPA President Phil Boyer takes place May 2 at the Philadelphia Marriott West. Visit AOPA Online for more information.
Natchez, Mississippi. The River Cities Airshow and Motorcycle Extravaganza takes place April 26 through 28 at Hardy-Anders Field Natchez-Adams County (HEZ). Call 800/647-6724 for more information.
Galveston, Texas. The Lone Star Flight Museum Airshow takes place April 27 through 28 at Scholes Field (GLS). Event highlights include F-16 Falcon/P-47 Thunderbolt heritage flight, LSFM's newly restored Spitfire, and a flyover of a B-2 stealth bomber on Saturday. E-mail or visit the Web site for more information.
Ridgecrest, California. Ridgecrest-Inyokern Air Show and Balloon Festival takes place April 27 through 28 at Inyokern Airport (IKY). Featuring hot air balloon races, civilian and military fixed-wing and helicopter aerobatics and flight demonstrations, static displays, and ground entertainment. E-mail Phil Mills or visit the Web site.
For more airport details, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online . For more events, see Aviation Calendar of Events
ASF FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Cincinnati, and Reston, Virginia, April 27 and 28. Clinics are scheduled in Irvine, California and Pensacola, Florida, May 4 and 5. For the Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic schedule, see AOPA Online.
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 in Fort Lauderdala, Florida, on May 12. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.
ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Rogers, Arkansas, April 29, Springfield, Missouri, April 30, and Wichita, May 1. The topic is spatial disorientation. For more information, visit the Web site.
For comments on calendar items or to make submissions, contact [email protected].