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Copyright ï¿½ 2002 AOPA.
| GA News |
| FAA PUBLISHES SPORT PILOT, LIGHT SPORT AIRCRAFT RULES |
The FAA finally made public Wednesday afternoon its proposed rules that would create a new pilot certificate–Sport Pilot–a new category of certificated aircraft–Light Sport, and a new category of repairmen certificate–Light Sport Aircraft Repairmen. The proposal would regulate aircraft that are too large to be ultralights, but too small to economically meet current FAA certification standards. The FAA believes the new rules would spur the creation of a new segment of the aviation industry and lead to the certification of 9,000 more pilots over the next decade. "Though our analysis of the proposal has just begun, there seems to be no surprises in the proposal's framework based on what the FAA was promoting last year," said Lance Nuckolls, AOPA director of regulation and certification.
...WHICH AIRCRAFT ARE COVERED?
Light Sport aircraft are described by the FAA as being limited to 1,232 pounds maximum certified gross weight, have a single nonturbine engine, stall speed of 39 knots, maximum airspeed of 115 knots, no more than two occupants, and fixed landing gear. Of the currently certificated aircraft, J3 Cubs, Aeronca Champs and Chiefs, and early model Taylorcrafts would likely fall into the Light Sport category, but aircraft such as the Cessna 120s, 140s, and 150s, Piper PA-11s and PA-18s, and American Champion 7 series would not. The new Sport pilot certificate, which would allow pilots to fly Light Sport aircraft, could be obtained with about 20 hours of training. Sport pilots would need either a third class medical certificate or a valid state driver's license to fly. For more, see AOPAï¿½Online.
AOPA QUESTIONS LAST-MINUTE WASHINGTON TFR
AOPA President Phil Boyer has complained to Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge about a last-minute temporary flight restriction (TFR) that effectively closed nine Washington-area airports during the president's State of the Union address. At 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, just hours before the speech, the FAA issued a notam banning all VFR flight within 25 nautical miles of Washington, D.C. "As a citizen of the United States during these troubled times, I am very concerned about whether I am 'secure in the homeland' with decisions like those made Tuesday," Boyer wrote. "I do not question the imposition of flight restrictions, but the manner in which the government acted. It is troubling that a vital homeland security decision about an event scheduled months in advance was made at not just the proverbial 'eleventh hour,' but operationally beyond any reasonable time pilots would expect such notification." Boyer also told Ridge that the FAA's antiquated notam system is not effective in quickly communicating necessary information to pilots. AOPA staff scrambled to send out about 30,000 special ePilot bulletins to East Coast members as soon as the information became available. See AOPAï¿½Online.
MOONEY DEAL IMMINENT
The sale of the bankrupt Mooney Aircraft Corporation is likely to happen soon, according to sources familiar with the deal. While not disclosing who the buyer is, sources described it as a "reputable aviation company." There has been some movement on the issue in court but it could be a matter of days before details of a potential transaction are solidified. Sources would not go into detail about the terms of transaction. The Kerrville, Texas, manufacturer filed for bankruptcy protection in July. Four serious candidates have emerged and entered negotiations to restore Mooney to profitability.
CAPSTONE PROJECT MOVES INTO SECOND PHASE
The FAA is moving forward on the second phase of the Capstone project in Alaska that will generate real-time three-dimensional terrain information on primary flight displays. Chelton Flight Systems was selected to provide synthetic vision technology designed to reduce controlled flight into terrain accidents. Chelton's electronic flight information system (EFIS) combines military-style head-up display symbology with a virtual reality picture of the outside world. The company will be demonstrating the technology in a series of flight trials in Juneau next month. Once certification is complete, the program will equip up to 200 aircraft in the Juneau region with the systems. In addition to synthetic vision, the Capstone program will also certify the world's first Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) GPS receiver that will provide enhanced capability for precision approaches. AOPA is a partner in the Capstone program.
INDUSTRY PROGRAM NETS 32K PILOT PROSPECTS
Be A Pilot, the industry's national public education program to promote general aviation and learning to fly, generated 32,368 prospective pilots during 2001. Despite a brief downturn in inquiries after September 11–and an increase to $49 in the cost of the program's introductory flying lesson–the number of prospects was the second highest in Be A Pilot's history. The 1,710 flight schools honoring Be A Pilot's $49 introductory flight coupons set another record. The organization's efforts are funded by 40 key general aviation businesses and organizations, which contributed $1.6 million last year. AOPA is one of four Be A Pilot platinum-level sponsors, the highest level. For more information, visit the Web site.
DON'T SCREW WITH YOUR RAYTHEON PANEL, FAA SAYS
The FAA is concerned about the length of screws in some instrument panels of Raytheon aircraft, according to a proposed AD. The move stemmed from a report where an improperly sized screw damaged a rotating beacon circuit breaker switch. The FAA said such a condition could lead to fire in the cockpit. The proposed directive, 2001-CE-43-AD, would apply to Raytheon models E55, E55A, A56TC, 58, 58A, 58P, 58PA, 58TC, and 58TCA Baron airplanes. It would require the inspection for damage and replacement, if necessary, of the instrument panel electroluminescent panel retaining screw and beacon circuit breaker switch. The public comment deadline is April 5.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Airspace Update |
| FAA ISSUES RESTRICTIVE SUPER BOWL TFR |
After weeks of intense negotiations among the FAA, U.S. Secret Service, and other members of the security community, the FAA issued a notam establishing a temporary flight restriction (TFR) around New Orleans during Super Bowl XXXVI activities. Despite the best efforts of both the FAA and AOPA, the Secret Service and Department of Defense insisted on a 45-nm-radius TFR around Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). The TFR becomes effective at 6 a.m. today (February 1) and runs through 11:59 p.m. local time February 3. Thanks to the FAA's dogged insistence, general aviation aircraft can operate within the 45-nm TFR (except for within 3 nm of the Superdome), provided they are on VFR or IFR flight plans, maintain communication with ATC, and have been assigned a discrete transponder code. See AOPAï¿½Online.
ANOTHER UTAH AIRPORT TO CLOSE DURING OLYMPICS
In response to Department of Defense recommendations, the FAA has released two additional notams expanding the temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) around two Winter Olympic venues in Utah from the original 2 nm to 30 nm during specified times. The Ogden Ice Sheet venue TFR will extend to 30 nm from February 10 through February 22 daily between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. In addition, the Peaks Ice Arena venue TFR in Provo will be expanded to 30 nm from February 9 through 13, and February 15 through 19 from noon through 11 p.m., February 14 from 9 a.m. until midnight, and again February 20 through 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Flight through the TFRs during the active times is prohibited unless authorized by ATC. The Ogden TFR will affect operations at Brigham City Airport. AOPA has requested that FAA and Salt Lake City air traffic control personnel establish procedures and communication links so that aircraft on the ground at Brigham City can contact ATC to obtain permission to operate through the TFR. See the notams on AOPAï¿½Online.
LAST-MINUTE TFR GOES IN EFFECT OVER NEW YORK CITY
The FAA issued a notam establishing a temporary flight restriction (TFR) around New York City. U.S. security officials apparently demanded the expanded security area for the World Economic Forum meeting that started yesterday. The notam, effective January 31 at 7 a.m. and extending through February 4 at 10 p.m., establishes an 18-nautical-mile TFR around the JFK VOR. Pilots flying in the New York area must make sure they have obtained all of the latest notams immediately prior to flight. See AOPAï¿½Online.
FAA ISSUES SPECIAL PROCEDURES FOR DAYTONA 500
The FAA has issued a five-part notam establishing special air traffic procedures during the Daytona 500 race week in Florida. Slot reservations will be required for all domestic, nonscheduled IFR arrivals into Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Flagler County, and Spruce Creek airports daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning February 13 through February 16. In addition, slot reservations will be required on February 17 from 6 a.m. to noon. See AOPAï¿½Online.
NEW REQUIREMENTS FOR FLYING INTO MEXICO
Mexico has issued new requirements for some pilots flying from the United States. Pilots flying rented aircraft, aircraft registered under a corporate name, or any helicopter must obtain prior authorization before entering the country. There are no fees for obtaining this authorization. In the last few weeks, there has been some confusion about a supposed new "landing permit" in Mexico. AOPA has confirmed with the Mexican government that no new permit is required, just prior authorization for entry of aircraft that are not registered in the pilot's name (and all helicopters, regardless of registration). See AOPAï¿½Online.
AOPA advises pilots to check notams before flying. See AOPA Online for graphics and the latest on the air traffic situation.
| Inside AOPA |
| AOPAï¿½COMMENTS ON MILITARY TRAINING |
The FAA this week granted an Air Force petition to conduct night flight training operations at or above 18,000 feet msl in aircraft without lighted position lights. This activity will occur in Class A airspace where ATC can ensure an equivalent level of safety for nonparticipating aircraft. Many AOPA members are familiar with a related Air Force petition, still under review by the FAA, that requests similar relief for lights-out operations in some MOA airspace. Currently lights-out training is conducted within restricted areas. In November 2001, AOPA submitted comments to the pending proposal and is working with Department of Defense officials in the Pentagon to ensure safety for nonparticipating GA operators. "AOPA's goal is to make sure radar coverage is provided in all MOAs where the activity occurs and that training is terminated anytime a nonparticipating aircraft enters the MOA," said AOPA Senior Vice President Andrew V. Cebula. "AOPA also recommends a combination of VHF communications, toll-free hotlines, and Web sites be used to give pilots scheduled and 'real-time' activity. These measures are necessary to ensure an equivalent measure of safety," he added.
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| On Capitol Hill |
| BUSH'S PROPOSED BUDGET MAY SQUEEZE FAA FUNDS |
In his first State of the Union address, President Bush delivered his priorities for the fiscal year 2003 budget: defense, homeland security, and economic security. These proposals will be formally presented in the budget that he submits to Congress on Monday, marking the beginning of the annual budget process. For Homeland Security, which includes protecting our airports and airplanes, Bush is proposing $38 billion. Bush will also seek a $48 billion increase in new defense spending. With much of the discretionary spending in Bush's budget going to defense and homeland security, enormous pressure would be placed on funding for the FAA and other agencies. "AOPA's top priority in the budget process is to ensure that the FAA continues to receive the funding for airports and airway modernization delivered by the historic AIR-21 legislation agreement of 2000," said Julia Krauss, AOPA vice president of legislative affairs.
| Airport Support Network |
| VOLUNTEER OF THE WEEK–MARTIN CHRISTIE |
Central Jersey Regional Airport (47N) is a privately owned, public-use airport that is facing the risk of ownership changes and possible closure. AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Martin Christie alerted ASN staff about this issue and requested assistance. ASN advised Christie about government funding opportunities. Christie and the Friends of Central Jersey Airport are currently preparing to make a presentation to the Hillsborough mayor, requesting that the township acquire the airport using federal and state funds. Martin is continuing to keep ASN posted.
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit AOPAï¿½Online.
| Quiz Me! |
|Here's a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge. |
Question: Is it illegal, according to the FARs, to operate an aircraft that is over gross weight?
Answer: For aircraft certificated under Part 23, it is illegal, and in this situation, three rules must be considered. First, 14 CFR 23.23(a) states that ranges of weights and centers of gravity within which the airplane may be safely operated must be established. Furthermore, 14 CFR 23.1519 states that the weight and center of gravity limitations determined under 14 CFR 23.23(a) must be established as operating limitations. Finally, 14 CFR 91.9(a) tells us that no person may operate a civil aircraft without complying with the operating limitations specified in the approved airplane or rotorcraft flight manual, markings, and placards. It is possible to obtain waivers and special flight permits from the FAA to operate an aircraft over gross weight but this is approved on a case-by-case basis, and must be done prior to the planned flight. 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].
| AOPA Sweepstakes Bonanza Update |
|What happened to the AOPA Sweepstakes Bonanza? It's alive and well in Mineral Wells, Texas, as we're about to announce the winner for this fine thoroughbred. Check out our latest project update on AOPA Online. |
| 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. |
| What's New At AOPA Online |
|Looking for a place to take your FAA written test? Click here to download our updated list of FAA-approved computer testing sites from AOPA Online |
| ePilot Calendar |
| Check your weekend weather on AOPA Online. |
WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS
Boca Raton, Florida. The Wings of Freedom Tour will be stopping at Boca Raton Airport (BCT) February 17 through 20, featuring B-17 and B-24 bombers. Call 561/488-6155 for event information or see 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 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Las Vegas; and Oklahoma City, February 9 and 10. Clinics are scheduled in Colorado Springs, Colorado; New Orleans; and Kent State, Ohio, February 16 and 17. 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 Las Vegas February 10. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.
ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Mesa, Arizona, February 12; Tucson, Arizona, February 13; and Albuquerque, New Mexico, February 19. The topic is spatial disorientation. See AOPA Online.
For comments on calendar items or to make submissions, contact Julie S. Walker at [email protected].