AOPA President Phil Boyer hosted the first Pilot Town Meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., July 14. More than 20 senators, congressmen, and staff attended the informational meeting, including Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens and House national parks and public lands subcommittee Chairman Jim Hansen.
(Boyer conducts some 30 AOPA Pilot Town Meetings per year for pilots across the nation.)
"This special congressional Pilot Town Meeting focused on the new technology reaching general aviation cockpits," said Boyer. "It gave AOPA the chance to educate key decision makers in Congress about the advances that are making GA flying safer and more efficient."
Of particular interest was the UPS Aviation Technologies MX20 multifunction display, set up to simulate the Capstone program now being tested in Alaska. Boyer showed how this system, using GPS and datalink, provides in-cockpit displays of weather, terrain, and traffic. That information can greatly improve situational awareness and safety and reduce the chances of collision with terrain or other aircraft.
Also demonstrated were the Garmin GNS 530 GPS/nav/com/ILS with color moving map and the handheld Garmin 295 Color VFR GPS.
Under the guidance of an AOPA Legislative Affairs staffer, several members of Congress practiced an ILS approach to Runway 23 at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland, using the Elite PCATD personal computer flight simulator with control wheel, rudder pedals, and avionics package.
Others tested their knowledge on instrument procedures using King Schools IFR Ground Schools Interactive CD and viewed electronic Jeppesen instrument approach charts on the CT-1000 yoke-mounted flat-panel display.
The enthusiastic response by members of Congress in attendance led Boyer to declare that AOPA's Capitol Hill Pilot Town Meeting will become a semi-annual event.
July 14, 2000