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What AOPA is doing to keep you flyingWhat AOPA is doing to keep you flying

AOPA to unveil 2010 sweeps airplane at Aviation Summit What will AOPA’s 2010 sweepstakes airplane be? A twin or single? A trainer or family hauler? A sleek high-performance airplane or fun light sport aircraft? Find out at AOPA Aviation Summit. Be one of the first to inspect the 2010 sweepstakes airplane up close! Of course, we’re still finishing out the current year with our 2009 Let’s Go Flying Sweepstakes Cirrus SR22, which also will be on display at Summit.

AOPA to unveil 2010 sweeps airplane at Aviation Summit

What will AOPA’s 2010 sweepstakes airplane be? A twin or single? A trainer or family hauler? A sleek high-performance airplane or fun light sport aircraft? Find out at AOPA Aviation Summit. Be one of the first to inspect the 2010 sweepstakes airplane up close!

Of course, we’re still finishing out the current year with our 2009 Let’s Go Flying Sweepstakes Cirrus SR22, which also will be on display at Summit. Make sure you stop by to take a look at the glass cockpit, AmSafe airbags, Forward Vision infrared camera system, L-3 Trilogy standby instrument, and exterior by AirGraphics LLC so that you’ll be acquainted with the airplane if you’re identified as the winner early next year.

AOPA Aviation Summit, our new name for Expo, will take place at the Tampa Convention Center and Peter O. Knight Airport. You’ll be able to choose among dozens of educational seminars and forums, peruse hundreds of aviation products in our exhibit hall, and see the latest aircraft entering the market. Plus, you can participate in hands-on activities such as flying remote-control airplanes.

Aviation Summit strikes up the band for general aviation

A GA Serves America rally—an old-fashioned political-style rally to celebrate general aviation—takes place at AOPA Aviation Summit on Thursday, November 11, at the convention center in Tampa, Florida. The rally will feature patriotic music from a brass band and refreshments. Celebrate your freedom to fly and get ready to protect it at this special event.

Join your compatriots in GA for rousing speeches about protecting aviation and a video appearance by GA Serves America spokesman Harrison Ford. The rally will be a chance to show your passion for flying and to find out from AOPA President Craig Fuller how to help protect and shape aviation’s future.


FAA wants to change training for private, advanced ratings Student pilots could have the option of simultaneously applying for the private pilot certificate and instrument rating. Pilots going for their commercial certificate would need 10 hours of advanced instrument training instead of 10 hours of training in a complex aircraft. And those who fly single pilot in turbojets would need an annual pilot-in-command proficiency check. These are just a few of the changes to flight training that the FAA is proposing.

“The FAA has proposed numerous changes, some of which could dramatically change the flight training environment,” said Rob Hackman, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs.

“Before providing comments to the FAA, AOPA will evaluate each proposal to determine the time and cost that the changes would impose on pilots, as well as the safety benefits that could be realized.”

Another change would be revising the definition of a “complex airplane” to make aircraft equipped with a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system count the same as one with a controllable-pitch propeller.

The proposal would allow student pilots to receive their private pilot certificate with an instrument rating by opening up the option currently being used by waiver at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Middle Tennessee State University.

AOPA encourages pilots, flight instructors, and flight schools to review the proposed changes, which are available online ( 2009/E9-209117.htm), and send comments to the FAA by November 30. Comments can be submitted online ( or mailed to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Room W12- 140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 201190-0001. Be sure to identify Docket No. FAA-2008-0938 in your comments.

Instrument approaches could face chopping block

In its latest round of proposals to cancel instrument approaches, the FAA extended its scope from slashing NDB approaches at airports that also had RNAV approaches to also include cutting VOR and GPS approaches. Of the 1114 approaches that the FAA is considering canceling, 64 are VOR approaches, and 19 are circling GPS approaches.

AOPA supports the FAA’s efforts to eliminate redundant ground-based procedures and shift its resources to developing more satellite-based GPS/WAAS approaches, which deliver better all-weather access, vertical guidance, and lower minimums than conventional nonprecision approaches. However, the association wants to make sure needed approaches aren’t canceled.

The FAA has been canceling redundant approaches for several years in an effort to help fund new GPS approaches. So far, the agency has produced 1,670 WAAS approaches with vertical guidance and ILS-like minimums. AOPA has worked with pilots and the FAA each time to preserve approaches that would maintain access to the airport, support instrument training, and keep the lowest possible weather minimums.

FAA, NWS consolidation plan faces ‘significant challenges’

An ongoing effort by the FAA and National Weather Service to consolidate 20 of the 21 center weather service units into two faces significant challenges, according to a Government Accountability Office report. One of the main challenges is to ensure that services provided to pilots do not degrade as a result of the consolidation. Others include developing a feasible transition schedule that allows stakeholder input and ensuring that the new structure will work in the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System.

“Unless and until these changes are addressed, the proposed restructuring of aviation weather services at en route centers poses new risks and has little chance of success,” the report says.

The FAA and the National Weather Service have been working to develop a consolidation plan since 20011 in an attempt to cut costs. The FAA pays about $12 million annually for the service. A National Weather Service estimate predicts that a consolidated system would cost about $9.7 million per year.

“AOPA maintains that pilots and controllers must have the most accurate and up-to-date weather information,” said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. “We are committed to working with the FAA and the National Weather Service and exploring alternatives to ensure that any plan that moves forward does not negatively impact service for our members.”

Put your security questions to TSA at Aviation Summit

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to talk about general aviation security with top officials from the Transportation Security Administration. They are coming to AOPA Aviation Summit just to talk to you—and give you the inside scoop on the latest security initiatives.

TSA Assistant Administrator John Sammon will lead a discussion on Friday, November 6, at AOPA Live at Center Stage about various security initiatives and the TSA’s plans for general aviation.

TSA General Aviation Acting General Manager Brian Delauter will lead a forum on Friday in which he’ll take all of your security-related questions, discuss Security Directive 8G, and other issues.

“Pilots do not want to miss this event,” said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. “We’re bringing the top officials to Summit so that you can talk directly to them and find out the latest developments in the general aviation security arena.”


Proposed restricted area could affect safety at Fort Irwin

A proposed restricted area at Fort Irwin, California, would confine aircraft to a small corridor in busy airspace and could negatively affect the safety of GA pilots. In response to a proposal to establish a new restricted area, R-21102A, at Fort Irwin, AOPA Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs Rob Hackman wrote that the FAA should reduce the effects of nearby airspace restrictions on current users of the airspace before adding another restricted area.

Gateway airports for TFRs take a step forward

The TFR over Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, for President Barack Obama’s vacation created a gateway airport system and security screening models that allowed GA pilots to operate within the 30-nautical-mile ring and the inner 10-nm-radius no-fly zone. Previously, all operations at airports within the inner 10-nm ring of a presidential TFR were grounded. “Pilots proved that this system works and that the FAA does not need to ground GA operations when the president travels,” said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. “Our ultimate goal is to eliminate these TFRs. Even though the Martha’s Vineyard TFR model still required pilots to jump through several hoops, it is a step in the right direction.” AOPA had suggested numerous alternatives to the standard presidential TFR, including the gateway system that was ultimately used at Martha’s Vineyard.

Delta MOA would hinder Alaska GA ops, be a safety hazard

As proposed, the Delta Military Operations Area (MOA) would shut off the only airway running through the Pacific Airspace Complex—an area that is 320 nautical miles by 100 nautical miles. It also would expose VFR traffic to high-speed military flights and sever IFR airways between Fairbanks, Delta Junction, and Northway, and international flights following the Alaska Highway. AOPA opposes the proposed MOA and has suggested alternatives to try to keep the airspace open to IFR traffic and create a safe environment for VFR traffic.

GA across the nation

AOPA is taking the GA Serves America campaign across the nation, from Appalachia to the Pacific Northwest. AOPA Vice President of Airports and State Advocacy Greg Pecoraro told pilots and aviation professionals at conferences in Kentucky and Oregon about AOPA’s efforts to educate decision makers and the general public about the value of GA and how they can participate. He explained how pilots can protect GA in their state through political action in the legislature and by participating in the AOPA Airport Support Network.

AOPA honors retiring New Mexico aviation director

Los Alamos County Airport manager and pilot David Ploeger has been named the New Mexico state aviation director. Tom Baca announced his successor at the New Mexico Aviation Division 2009 Annual Conference in Santa Fe. AOPA welcomed Ploeger to his new post and commended Baca for his service.


AOPA Member Products aisle at Summit a must-see

AOPA Aviation Summit, formerly known as AOPA Expo, will offer many exciting new exhibits, products, and events. While you’re there, be sure to visit our AOPA Certified partners in the AOPA Member Products aisle to learn more about our financial, insurance, and pilot services. Stop by and say hello; you could walk away with great prizes.

Find out how you can protect your pilot certificate for just pennies a day, purchase the only term life insurance trusted to carry the AOPA name, apply for an AOPA credit card, and score great discounts on everything from FAA computerized testing to car rentals.

Looking to buy an aircraft? Member Products can help you perform a title search, finance your purchase, and insure your aircraft all in one place.

Have aviation legal questions? You can come by the legal services booth and speak to one of our panel attorneys who specialize in aviation. The Member Products aisle offers something for everyone, and with giveaways and great prizes, make it a must see.

Don’t forget, all of our Member Products support AOPA by generating revenue, which is reinvested to fund our advocacy efforts and keep your membership dues low.

AOPA Online Travel offers price assurance

Do you find yourself hesitating before booking your online travel, wondering whether the price will go down if you wait? AOPA Online Travel provided by Orbitz puts an end to the guessing game with its Price Assurance program. The minute you book your flight through AOPA Online Travel, Orbitz immediately starts tracking to see if another customer books the same flight at a lower price. If someone does you’ll be issued a refund for the difference. A check ranging from $11 to $2110 per traveler depending on the difference will be mailed to you automatically. There are no forms to fill out or phone calls to make. A portion of the revenue generated is returned to AOPA and reinvested to fund our efforts to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation. So go ahead and book that trip with confidence. AOPA Online Travel and the Price Assurance program will ensure that you’ll receive the best price possible.


ASF spotlight on VFR night flight

Once the sun has set and the night sky alights, you’re in for a mostly magical and peaceful time aloft. And with the winter season’s short days and long nights, you may find an afternoon flight spill into the night rather quickly, so why not enjoy this opportunity?

Stop! First review ASF’s Night VFR Flight Safety Spotlight, which offers plenty of night flying resources all in one convenient place. You’ll want to see the big picture, especially when you’re thinking of departing into a dark and moonless night. There may not be much to it when you’re on an IFR flight plan: After all, you’ve got another set of eyes—in the form of ATC—on your flight, the airways ensure terrain and obstacle clearance, and you’re prepared to complete the flight with an IFR approach at your destination.

But when you contemplate flying VFR at night, planning takes on another dimension, well beyond your usual VFR daytime flight planning— and it should. The GA night VFR accident record, as revealed by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s accident database, clearly shows proportionately many more VFR accidents at night than during the day. Be safe, bolster your knowledge, and fly prepared— brush up now.

Free AOPA ASF Safety Seminars
Date Location
11/7/2009 Pikesville, N.C.
11/9/2009 Greenville, S.C.
11/9/2009 Jamestown, N.C.
11/10/2009 Decatur, Ga.
11/10/2009 Smithfield, N.C.
11/11/2009 Castle Hayne, N.C.
11/11/2009 Huntsville, Ala.
11/16/2009 Burbank, Calif.
11/17/2009 Costa Mesa, Calif.
11/18/2009 Ontario, Calif.
11/19/2009 San Diego, Calif.

These programs are made possible by gifts from individual pilot donors to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Seminar dates are tentative. For final dates, please visit the Web site.

Did you know? Night VFR

When ground lights are sparse or the night is pitch-dark without a brilliant moon, your flight can become more challenging than you expected. Conditions may even resemble IMC and it could be difficult to distinguish landmarks, terrain, and weather. This is a good time to carefully plan. Ask yourself before any night flight:

  • you night current?
  • you feel comfortable with night takeoffs and landings?
  • the possibility you’ll encounter clouds? You may not be able to see clouds on a dark night.
  • there rising terrain after departure, along your route, or on the approach path at your destination?
  • there special departure or arrival procedures to consider?
  • you have a mental picture of the approach and runway environment?

Fully brief your flight and understand weather conditions that can produce marginal visibility leading up to IMC levels. At night, marginal VMC should be considered a no-go for VFR operations.

Now Online: VFR into IMC PSA

Consider this: During a recent 10-year period, VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) led to more than 380 accidents, 811 percent of which were fatal. With statistics warning us that VFR flights into IMC are still the leading cause of fatal GA accidents, why are we not paying closer attention?

Enter ASF’s latest Pilot Safety Announcement (PSA), “Flying Blind.” Modeled after popular radio and television public service announcements, the entertaining anecdotes might make you chuckle, even shake your head in disbelief. But heed the serious message these PSAs provide and share the link with others.


In the 1990s, public-use airports were closing at an average rate of two per week. Over the past 10 years, thanks to the efforts of the AOPA Airport Support Network, AOPA member volunteers at almost 2,000 airports across the country have played an integral role in helping AOPA slow that trend. For more information on how you can help support your airport, visit AOPA Online.

Political action

Washington: When it comes to protecting airports, good intentions alone are no substitute for action and initiative. As Will Rogers once quipped, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

It’s a philosophy that supporters of Vista Field (S98) in Kennewick, Washington, seem to have taken to heart. Although owned by the Port of Kennewick, the airport is located within the city, which has long wanted to close it and develop the land for other purposes. On several occasions the Port has resisted attempts to do that—but the city shows no signs of giving up.

Earlier this year, during the city’s latest effort to expedite Vista Field’s departure, ASN Volunteer Marjy Leggett found herself working informally with a small but dedicated group of airport supporters. Over time, the little group coalesced into an organized caucus that aimed to enlist public support for the airport. And then, with elections for both Kennewick City Council and the Port Commission on the horizon, a question arose: Why not try to recruit pro-airport candidates? It was, as Leggett says, “a unique opportunity to swing the focus from removing the airport to supporting the airport.”

With that in mind, the group began the task of convincing pro-GA citizens to enter the fray. The effort was successful: Candidates were recruited for six of the seven races, and so far the results have been encouraging. In the Port Commission primary, two of the candidates defeated an antiairport incumbent, while in the City Council race pro-airport candidates are in contention for each of the five open seats in the general election. Although the ultimate outcome remains to be seen, the effort already stands as a model for effective political engagement at the local level.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Remember that the best way to influence political decisions is often from the inside: Get involved in your local political scene, and encourage other airport users to do the same.

Volunteer Spotlight: Ken Paskar

New York: At a time when state governments across the country are faced with serious budget shortfalls, and in a political climate that makes general aviation a convenient target for cutbacks, you might imagine that getting a sales tax exemption for GA aircraft would be an uphill battle. And you’d be right. But sometimes, seizing victory from the jaws of defeat is just a matter of finding the right allies.

For years, pilots, businesses, and workers in New York state have benefited from a sales tax exemption on aircraft parts and maintenance. The exemption, however, was set to expire at the end of the year: Without action from the state legislature, it would be a thing of the past. But despite a great deal of effort on the part of the New York Aviation Management Association (NYAMA), AOPA, and other groups, by mid-year the situation was still tenuous.

That was about to change, however. In government, a surprising amount of influence sometimes rests in the hands of certain well-placed individuals—people who can dramatically impact the political landscape. In New York, one of those people is Sheldon Silver, the longtime Speaker of the State Assembly. And that’s where ASN volunteer Ken Paskar comes in. A passionate and politically active advocate for general aviation in New York, Paskar hadn’t been involved in the sales tax fight. But as the pro-aviation forces pondered their next move, Paskar was mentioned as someone who might be able to make a difference. Paskar resides in Silver’s district, and had taken the time to get to know the Speaker personally.

As it turned out, he made a big difference. Paskar helped organize a meeting between Silver and NYAMA representatives, during which they stated the case for making the tax exemption permanent. After a positive discussion, and careful consideration of the economic merits of the maintenance exemption, Silver decided to put his support behind the effort to renew the exemption. With the speaker’s support, legislative sponsors moved the bill quickly through to the assembly floor for passage. This was a critical step in securing subsequent Senate and gubernatorial approval of the measure. It was a victory for GA on multiple fronts. As Paskar says, “A lot of our strength comes from the relationships we’ve developed.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Do you know your state legislator well enough to get them on the phone or arrange a meeting with them? They are your neighbors, and want to know their constituents. Although a few states have very large districts, most are small enough that it is easy to get to know your representative like Ken Paskar did. If you have political connections that could benefit GA, let AOPA know. Learn more about getting involved by reading about political action.

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