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AOPA SENDS GA WISH LIST TO FAA
Once every three years, the FAA asks for public comments on its existing regulations. And AOPA always jumps at the opportunity to advance general aviation initiatives. This time around, the association is prodding the FAA to catch up with the times. "With the significant changes in technology over the past three years, the FAA's regulations need to be updated to allow pilots to fully utilize the advances," said Melissa Rudinger, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. So, what are AOPA's top three requests? Allow a driver's license medical for recreational pilots; approve IFR approach-certified GPS receivers as a sole source of navigation; and create additional operations test methods for VORs. Read more on AOPA Online.
BOYER KICKS OFF 2008 AOPA PILOT TOWN MEETINGS
Hitting the road after a one-year hiatus, AOPA President Phil Boyer kicked off the 2008 Pilot Town Meeting season in early January with a swing through Florida, bringing new energy and new messages to capacity crowds. Last year Boyer needed to stay close to Washington, D.C., for the FAA funding debate. Not surprisingly, the news members most wanted to hear, and Boyer's key message, was the status of user fees and tax increases on general aviation. "We're in the terminal area, but we're not yet cleared for the approach," said Boyer. Read more on AOPA Online.
CONGESTION PRICING: DON'T FORCE GA OUT OF AIRPORTS
AOPA is vowing to fight any attempt to discriminate against general aviation at the nation's airports. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters on Jan. 14 said that airports could increase their landing charges on commercial airlines during busy periods to encourage the airlines to decrease the number of flights during congested periods. But the aviation community has almost universally rejected so-called "peak-hour pricing" or "congestion pricing." "All federally funded airports, by law, must be open to all classes of users without unjust discrimination," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. Read more on AOPA Online.
FAA DROPS BALL ON PALM BEACH TRACON CONSOLIDATION
When the FAA started working to consolidate terminal radar approach control (tracon) facilities in 2007, the agency said it would conduct public meetings for each proposal to gauge pilot opinion and answer questions. Well, the FAA is conducting meetings. But, as AOPA learned earlier this week, the FAA isn't always prepared to answer pilots' questions. During a Jan. 14 meeting in West Palm Beach, Fla., regarding the proposal to consolidate the West Palm Beach Tracon into the Miami Tracon, the FAA couldn't give pilots or Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) an explanation of the proposal or the impact it would have on services. Read more on AOPA Online.
ECLIPSE GETS $100 MILLION FROM EUROPE
Eclipse Aviation has entered into a new partnership with Amsterdam-based ETIRC Aviation that will expand the very light jet maker's reach throughout Europe. In addition to the European investment company now being the largest equity investor, ETIRC (European Technology and Investment Research Center) CEO Roel Pieper will serve as the non-executive chairman on Eclipse's board. ETIRC plans to establish an assembly facility within its region. The Russian city of Ulyanovsk so far is the top candidate. Read more on AOPA Online.
CESSNA, CIRRUS TOP LIGHT SPORT EXPO NEWS
Cessna Aircraft Company and Cirrus Design provided updates on their new light sport models, while new models were announced by a half-dozen manufacturers at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo. Most of the new models range in cost from $110,000 to $130,000 when equipped with the most oft-requested customer options. Read more on AOPA Online.
CHUTE HAPPENS: PILOT GETS ICED UP
January can be a challenging month for flying. Even in southern states, pilots can encounter ice. Case in point: On Jan. 13, 2006, a Cirrus SR22 had an in-flight loss of control while climbing in icing conditions in the vicinity of Childersburg, Ala. Fortunately, the pilot and two passengers survived the ordeal because, as they say, "chute happens." Read more about the accident in this special report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
NO DECISION ON PIPER SITE
Local papers in Vero Beach, Fla., are reporting that it could be the end of the month or maybe next month before there is a decision on whether Piper Aircraft will remain in Vero Beach or move to Albuquerque or Oklahoma City. An official of the county commissioner's office said there has been no vote on the $12 million package of incentives that could be offered to Piper to stay in Vero Beach. "That was a mistake by the Palm Beach Post," she said. "It has never been on the agenda and we don't know when it might be." Officials at American Capital Strategies, the holding company that owns Piper, could not be reached.
ROBINSON HELICOPTER AD NEEDS MODIFICATION, AOPA SAYS
A Robinson Helicopter airworthiness directive (AD) that went into effect Jan. 18 is redundant and places a burden on pilots, AOPA has written the FAA. The AD affects various Robinson R22 and R44 models—nearly 2,300 helicopters. It requires a one-time visual inspection and "tap test" of the rotor skin blade along with a visual inspection of the rotor blades before each flight, with a record of each inspection logged in the helicopter's maintenance records. Read more on AOPA Online.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Safety & Proficiency |
RECORD NUMBERS TAKE AIR SAFETY FOUNDATION COURSES
Pilots are proving that the top source of aviation safety education is the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. The foundation's online course completions jumped 48 percent from 2006 to 2007, to a record 270,595. And an all-time high of 41,962 pilots attended the foundation's in-person safety seminars. "Pilots must continually hone their flying and decision-making skills to stay safe. We're gratified that they're using our education materials and attending our seminars to stay sharp," said Bruce Landsberg, executive director of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Read more on AOPA Online.
SPECIAL ISSUANCE RENEWALS EASIER THAN EVER
With 34 covered conditions and more than 26,000 participants—a new record—it's easier than ever to get your special issuance medical renewed, often right in your aviation medical examiner's (AME's) office. Read more on AOPA Online.
WINTER PROFICIENCY A CLICK AWAY
Winter weather may ground you, but a wide range of computer-based options can help you maintain critical flying skills. Whether you have access to a simple flight simulation program for your home computer or an FAA-certified training device, there are plenty of ways to keep your skills fresh for that first good-weather flying day. Find out how on AOPA Online.
Airport Support Network
JOIN THE AIRPORT SUPPORT NETWORK TODAY
Ensuring the health and vitality of your airport is up to you—residential development and economic and political pressures can restrict your flying. Every day more than 1,900 Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers are working with AOPA headquarters to help save their airports, but we need more. Below is a link to a list of the airports where an ASN volunteer could make a difference.
To nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer, visit http://www.aopa.org/asn/asn-form.html.
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit http://www.aopa.org/asn/.
| Quiz Me |
Here's a question asked by an AOPA member who contacted our aviation services staff through the AOPA Pilot Information Center. Test your knowledge.
Question: If I let my medical expire, is there a penalty if I wait to renew it?
Answer: No, in fact nothing in the FAA's Part 61 regulations requires a pilot to continuously maintain a valid medical certificate. You might have a good reason for delaying and not renewing right away because of an existing medical condition, or maybe your personal "to do" list doesn't leave room for a visit to the local aviation medical examiner at that exact time. The only pilot restriction you'll be subject to by not renewing your medical certificate is that you will not be able to act as PIC within the privileges of a recreational pilot and higher (excluding sport pilot privileges) or as a required crewmember such as a safety pilot.
Got a question for our aviation services staff? The AOPA Pilot Information Center is is at your service. Call toll-free 800/872-2672 to speak to a specialist about any general aviation topic. Or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to email@example.com.
| Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Update |
THE PERFECT AIRPLANE
Buying the perfect airplane is never easy. It seems like the best candidate either costs too much, has damage history, or doesn't have quite the right panel. For our yearly sweepstakes airplane, that task is even harder. We look for a well-worn airplane just waiting to be redone, but it has to be mechanically sound to get the best value. Visit AOPA Online to learn how we found this year's airplane and the process we went through to acquire it.
| Coming up in 'AOPA Pilot' |
Check out the Piper Matrix, a step up from the typical high-performance single; get an in-depth look at AOPA's 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes airplane; and learn lessons from a TBM 700 accident that cost three lives. It's all in the February issue of AOPA Pilot, which will be in your mailbox soon.
| Picture Perfect |
The AOPA Online Gallery allows you to download your favorite aviation images to use for wallpaper, send a personalized e-card, and order high-quality prints to be shipped directly to your doorstep. Search the hundreds of fabulous images in our archives and select your favorites today! For more details, see AOPA Online.
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Jeppesen. |
| ePilot Calendar |
UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS:
San Diego, CA. A Winter Weather Flying Seminar takes place Jan. 24 at the San Diego FSDO on Montgomery Field (MYF) at 7 p.m. Contact Rich Martindell, 619/253-7649, or visit the Web site.
Tampa, FL. The Tampa-Garparilla International/Invitational Fly-In and Air Tattoo takes place Jan. 26 at Peter O. Knight (TPF). Contact Neil Cosentino, 813/784-4669, or visit the Web site.
To submit an event to the calendar or to search all events visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online.
FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in San Jose, Calif., and Baltimore, Jan. 26 and 27. Clinics are also scheduled in Melbourne, Fla., Louisville, Ky., Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, and Reston, Va., Feb. 9 and 10. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
AOPA AIR SAFETY FOUNDATION SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Raymond, Mo., Jan. 21; Baton Rouge, La., and Houston, Tex., Jan. 22; San Antonio, Tex., Jan. 23; and Austin, Tex., Jan. 24. The topic is "Top 5 Mistakes Pilots Make." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.