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AOPA: KEEP USER FEES OUT OF THE 2009 FAA BUDGET
Although the U.S. Senate has yet to pass a final FAA funding bill, the agency's bills still have to be paid. So, the congressional committees that actually write the annual check have started working on the FAA's budget for 2009, assuming that when the time comes the money will be there. And AOPA has strong opinions on what should be in that budget. First and foremost, no user fees. "AOPA supports language prohibiting the FAA from finalizing or implementing any regulation that would promulgate new aviation user fees not specifically authorized by law," AOPA President Phil Boyer wrote in letters to the leaders of the appropriations transportation subcommittees in both the House and Senate. Read more on AOPA Online.
AIRCRAFT REGISTRATION PROPOSAL HINTS AT USER FEES AOPA STRONGLY CHALLENGES FAA'S ADS-B PLAN
In an effort to bring the U.S. aircraft registry up to date, the FAA is proposing a three-year aircraft "re-registration" requirement that would replace the current triennial registration report. The idea seems harmless at the surface. But AOPA has found that the proposal includes a discussion about the FAA's ill-fated user fee proposal and the potential for large increases in the registration fee. Read more on AOPA Online.
AOPA on March 3 raised significant concerns in its formal comments on the FAA's plan for implementing ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast), the backbone technology for the Next Generation air traffic control system. "No one has championed ADS-B more than AOPA," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "After all the time, effort, and energy that AOPA has put into promoting ADS-B and working closely with the FAA to make sure it develops in a way that's useful to general aviation, I'm deeply disappointed with the agency's implementation plan." The FAA proposal requires that all aircraft operating in Class A, B, and C airspace, plus all airspace above 10,000 feet msl, be equipped with costly ADS-B datalink avionics that transmit the aircraft's position, altitude, speed, and ID but offers few additional benefits. Read more on AOPA Online.
|Illustration by John Macneil |
PILOTS MUST REMAIN VIGILANT FOLLOWING ADIZ BUST
A violation of the heavily guarded airspace over the nation's capital on March 5 underscores the need for pilots to review procedures and remain vigilant. Even a small incursion can result in national attention. Although pilot deviations into the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) have been going down since Sept. 11, 2001, there has been an uptick over the past few months. "Pilots need to realize that although there have been changes, the ADIZ has not gone away," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. The most recent incident occurred when the pilot of a Beechcraft King Air allegedly canceled IFR at 14,500 feet. Read more on AOPA Online.
THREAT OF ENGINE FAILURE SPARKS SAFETY ALERT
Precision Airmotive has issued a safety alert for its fuel-injection systems on many light aircraft—including all newer model piston-single Cessnas and some Pipers—because of a possible loose brass regulator plug that could cause significant or complete engine power loss. Read more on AOPA Online.
FOREIGN STUDENTS UNDER SCRUTINY, AOPA OFFERS RESOURCES
In the wake of a Feb. 27 ABC News investigative report on background checks for foreign students pursuing flight training in the United States, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) earlier this week said an independent investigation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) needed to be conducted. With the TSA's background check process for foreign flight students under scrutiny, AOPA reminds flight schools and instructors that they must do their part by following the TSA's guidelines for alien flight training. The place to start is AOPA's Guide to the TSA's Alien Flight Training/Citizenship Validation Rule. Read more on AOPA Online.
CARELESS IN CAREFREE
Some elements of a before-landing checklist are universal. Seat belts? Fastened. Mixture? Rich. Landing light? On. Auxiliary fuel pump? On or off? It depends on the airplane, but a quick check of the pilot's operating handbook (POH) will reveal the answer. The key, as the pilot of a Cessna 210 learned the hard way on March 22, 2005, is following the POH instead of a self-made habit. Find out why the pilot landed short of Sky Ranch At Carefree Airport in Carefree, Ariz., in this special report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
CESSNA SEAT BACK AD EXEMPTS NONCREW SEATS
Based on AOPA's request to exempt noncrew seats in the Cessna 206 from the FAA's seat back airworthiness directive (AD), the agency will not require the seat base attach bracket on the second row of seats in the Cessna 206 be fitted with a bracket modification kit. The AD, which goes into effect April 8, applies to the pilot and copilot seats in more than 1,500 Cessna 172, 182, and 206 aircraft. If aircraft owners comply with an earlier Cessna service bulletin, the work could be covered by the manufacturer. Contact the Cessna Parts Distribution Warranty Administration at 316/831-4296 or by e-mail for details.
FORECASTING WEATHER A MONTH IN ADVANCE
Imagine opening your copy of AOPA Pilot to check out the flying forecast for the entire month. That's what members could do 50 years ago when the magazine was launched. Read "Weathercast," the brainchild of Irving P. Krick, in our special March 1958 digital edition to see his maps and predictions of IFR hours, and IFR and VFR dates, for the period March 16 through April 14, 1958.
AVIATION LEGEND DON LOPEZ DIES
You could have stopped the career of Don Lopez, 84, at any point and it would have been a successful one. If his career had ended as a young man, he would have been known as a World War II fighter ace who challenged a Japanese pilot head-on with no intention of flinching. Or you could have said he was an Air Force test pilot. Or you could just point to his role as a systems engineer on the Apollo-Saturn launch vehicle and the Skylab Orbital Workshop. The truth is, he was all those things. Read more on AOPA Online.
VOLUNTEERS BRING AVIATION TO DISABLED CHILDREN
When student pilot Johnny Pineyro saw a newspaper article about Challenge Air, an organization that introduces children with physical disabilities and life-threatening illnesses to aviation, he was determined to get involved. So when he heard about a Feb. 23 event in his home state of Florida, Pineyro hopped in a plane and headed to Orlando Apopka Airport (X04) to spend a day doing something positive for kids and for general aviation. "The best part of the experience was seeing the kids—the anticipation before the flight and then the excitement when they got out of the aircraft," said Pineyro, who photographed the event. Read more on AOPA Online.
GOOGLE LUNAR X-PRIZE WOULD LAUNCH ROBOTS OUT OF THIS WORLD
Want $30 million? All you have to do is launch a robotic little car to the moon, pop it out and send it at least 500 meters, and make it send back video images and data. You get the money if you are first, but there are 10 teams competing for the Google Lunar X-Prize. One detail: It will probably take more than $20 million to accomplish the goal. Ready? The 10 teams currently competing are: Odyssey Moon, Astrobotic, Team Italia, Micro-Space, the Southern California Selene Group, LunaTrex, FredNet, ARCA, Quantum3, and Chandah. Read more on the Google Lunar X-Prize Web site.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Safety & Proficiency |
FAA EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR 'ENGLISH PROFICIENT' CERTIFICATES
Because of an influx of pilot requests for new plastic pilot certificates, the FAA has delayed the deadline by one year for complying with the International Civil Aviation Organization's language proficiency standards for operating internationally. Pilots, flight engineers, and navigators who fly internationally now have until March 5, 2009, to get a plastic pilot certificate with an "English Proficient" endorsement on it. The increase in requests for new pilot certificates is due in part to the FAA's announcement last week that it will require all pilots to carry a plastic certificate by 2010. To help you sort through what certificate you need and by which deadline, AOPA has compiled an online subject report.
A LITTLE SPRING TRAINING CAN HELP YOU FLY LIKE A PRO
Flying may be fun, but professionalism is the hallmark of any great pilot. If you've spent all or part of the winter on the ground, those first spring flights could leave you feeling, and flying, more like a little leaguer than an all-star—unless you take the time for a little spring training of your own. Find out how you can sound and fly like a pro on AOPA Online.
NEW QUIZ TESTS IFR UNDERSTANDING
Nothing gives pilots a sense of accomplishment like completing a picture-perfect approach to an uneventful touchdown in actual instrument conditions. Such happy landings depend on preparation, practice, and precise adherence to the regulations designed for your safety. Test your knowledge of the FAR Part 91 requirements for flying in the soup with the newest Safety Quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. The quiz covers IFR equipment requirements, minimum altitudes, procedure turns, reporting requirements, and more. Need another challenge? Check out previous quizzes.
MORE DAYLIGHT COULD MEAN MORE NIGHT FLIGHTS
With Daylight Saving Time arriving March 9, longer spring days may lure you out for a quick flight after office hours. But those evening flights may also mean more landings after dark. Be sure you're prepared. Review the resources available in the "Night Flying" section of the AOPA Pilot Information Center, then check out the "Flying Night VFR" Safety Hot Spot from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation for videos, articles, and quizzes that can help you avoid the most common nighttime safety hazards.
| Inside AOPA |
YOUR CHANCE TO VOTE IN MONTHLY 'AOPA PILOT' PHOTO CONTEST
Help choose the next "Photo of the Month" in the AOPA Pilot 2008 General Aviation Photography Contest. Go online to vote for your favorite of the top 12 February entries chosen by the AOPA Pilot staff. Also submit your own snapshot online to contend for cash prizes and a chance to be published in AOPA Pilot. The February winner will be announced in next week's ePilot and published on AOPA Online and in an upcoming issue of AOPA Pilot. The contest runs through Sept. 2.
| 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: The last time I received a briefing from flight service for my VFR flight, I was told that an "STMP" was in effect at my destination. I wasn't really sure what that meant, so I decided to land at a different airport. Could I have landed at my originally planned destination?
Answer: STMP stands for special traffic management procedures, and they are used when airports are expected to have a significant increase in traffic. STMPs are issued by notam and often put in place for special events, like the Super Bowl. Airports near ski resorts in Colorado will have an STMP during peak ski season. An STMP is used to give all pilots flying IFR a fair chance to land safely at the time they want. IFR traffic is typically required to have an arrival and departure reservation during the effective times. VFR traffic is not required to make a reservation but should be prepared for delays from the tower at the destination airport.
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 [email protected]. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to [email protected].
| Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Update |
KEEPING OUT THE NOISE
The majority of smaller general aviation airplanes are very loud inside. Headset technology has vastly improved over the years to deal with the problem, but almost nothing has been done to the airplanes. We want the winner of AOPA's 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Archer to fly in complete comfort, so the folks at Oxford Aviation in Oxford, Maine, have made a number of changes to keep out the noise. Learn what they've done in this week's online update.
| 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 |
| ePilot Calendar |
UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS:
Charlotte, N.C. Jetpool's Future of Business Aviation VLJ Show takes place March 7 and 8 at Wilson Air Center at Charlotte/Douglas International (CLT). See and compare VLJs from many manufacturers and learn at seminars covering "VLJ 101" and specialty topics. For more information, contact Barbara Schick, 704/359-4674, or visit the Web site.
Wheeling, Ill. The Chicago Executive Airport Aviation Career Expo takes place March 8 at Chicago Executive's (PWK) Hangar 10. Visit with aviation industry professionals and the nation's top schools to explore the possibility of a career in aviation. For more information, contact Jamie Abbott, 847/537-2580, or visit the Web site.
Punta Gorda, Fla. The Florida Aviation Expo takes place March 15 and 16 at Charlotte County (PGD). For more information, contact Carlos Gray, 239/989-1109, or visit the Web site.
Sellersburg, Ind. The 2008 Indiana Aviation Safety Seminar for Ultralight, Sport, and Experimental Aircraft takes place March 15 at Ivy Tech Community College. For more information, contact David Graves, 812/216-3106, or visit the Web site.
Orono, Maine. The second part of the two-part seminar "Advanced Navigation Equipment and Techniques" takes place March 19 at the University of Maine—Orono. For more information, contact Michael Lessard, 207/422-3015, 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 in Orlando, Fla., and Baltimore, March 8 and 9. A clinic is also scheduled in Reston, Va., April 5 and 6. 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 Birmingham, Ala., and Ypsilanti, Mich., March 10; Marietta, Ga., Springfield, Ill., and Cleveland, March 11; Peoria, Ill., and Whitehall, Ohio, March 12; and Rockford, Ill., and Indianapolis, March 13. The topic is "Top 5 Mistakes Pilots Make." There is also a seminar scheduled in Northbrook, Ill., March 10. The topic is "Do the Right Thing – Decision Making for Pilots." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.