The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association will introduce exciting enhancements to the popular AOPA's Airport Directory Online, including free government-published NOS instrument approach charts, a handy kneeboard-size print option for online airport information, the ability to download airport information to a personal computer or a personal digital assistant (PDA), and the return of AOPA's Handbook for Pilots.
"Thanks to the Internet, we can now give our members updated information instantly," said Thomas B. Haines, AOPA senior vice president for publications. "The more than 9,400 NOS charts will be updated in AOPA's database every 56 days so that information is absolutely current."
Beginning in January 2001, AOPA members will be able to download, without charge, current NOS instrument approach procedures (IAPs), standard terminal arrivals (STARs), departure procedures (DPs, formerly called SIDs), and all change notices for the United States.
The charts will be available in the portable document format (PDF) for members to view online and download to their personal computer.
"With the PDF format, pilots can print the charts in any size they want," said Machteld Smith, director of AOPA's Airport Directory. "The charts will be easier to read than the standard 'government issue' because pilots can adjust the size to meet their needs and print them on a much better paper."
The charts will be linked to Airport Directory Online listings. Pilots will simply "point and click" on the related airport entry to download the instrument charts for the airports they need.
Also beginning next year, AOPA members will be able to download the AOPA's Airport Directory database to their personal computers and PDAs using the Palm Pilot operating system.
The database, which is continuously updated, includes everything a pilot could need to know about an airport, from runway information to radio frequencies to FBO information and nearby restaurants and hotels.
Members will be able to select how much information they want, including choosing to download selected airports by region or state. The service will include automatic updates through a synchronization application. That means subsequent downloads will be much faster as only the changed data would be transmitted to the PC or PDA.
"By downloading airport data directly to a PDA, pilots will now be able to take the most up-to-date airport information along with them in electronic format," said Smith.
But AOPA members don't have to wait for the database download to have the most current information in the cockpit.
AOPA's Airport Directory Online already has a handy kneeboard-size print option for chosen airport information. The format provides a quick overview of the most critical airport data, listed in the order a pilot needs. Using any personal computer connected to the Internet, a pilot can print information for any selected airport, ready to be clipped to a kneeboard.
By the end of October, AOPA members will be able to post comments about an airport directly to the airport listing in AOPA's Airport Directory Online. Members will thus be able to share valuable additional information about the airport and surrounding services and attractions.
AOPA's Handbook for Pilots is also now available online. The handy reference book, which has been out of print for several years, has been revised and improved for the Web.
The online handbook includes sections on aircraft performance and operations, airspace and air traffic control, meteorology and weather services, and emergency procedures and survival.
The Handbook also provides quick links to the most up-to-date federal aviation regulations (FARs) and the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM).
"Through the years, AOPA's Airport Directory has constantly evolved and improved ," said AOPA's Haines. "The Internet has pushed publishing into exciting new areas we couldn't even have dreamed of a few years ago. And the most exciting for us is giving AOPA members immediate access to the most current airport and safety data."
AOPA's Airport Directory is sent free to new and renewing members. With the enhancements to the online version, AOPA is changing the frequency of the printed publication. Starting with the 2001/2002 edition due out this December, AOPA's Airport Directory will be published every two years, for distribution on even-numbered years.
AOPA's Airport Directory Online is a member benefit available in the members-only section of AOPA Online. The online version is updated continuously.
October 22, 2000