David Schumacher, FAA; Melissa Bailey, AOPA; John Cumberpatch, FAA; Andy Cebula, AOPA
Mar. 11, 2004 - AOPA was honored on Wednesday for its significant efforts to educate and alert pilots of flight restrictions across the country. Representatives from the Baltimore Flight Standards District Office, which handles violations of the Baltimore-Washington Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and Prohibited Area P-40 over Camp David, came to AOPA headquarters to present the staff with the "Good Friend" Award.
"AOPA's efforts in our area and across the nation have helped untold numbers of pilots avoid violations and enforcement actions," said Aviation Safety Inspector John Cumberpatch. "We at the FSDO are tasked with enforcement, whether we like it or not. We have a lot of sympathy for pilots, but we've sworn to uphold the regulations."
As the FSDO citation noted, AOPA sent out more than two million individual e-mails in 2003, alerting pilots to temporary flight restrictions likely to have significant impacts on flight operations. In addition, a scrolling banner at the top of the AOPA Online home page lists TFRs issued under FAR 91.141 for Presidential, Vice Presidential, or other VIP movements. And for pilots in the Baltimore-Washington ADIZ area, AOPA's Air Traffic department developed an online tutorial to teach pilots how to safely operate without getting into trouble.
"There are no hard numbers, but it's obviously making a difference," said Aviation Safety Technician David Schumacher. "When you keep hearing 'I saw it on AOPA's Web site' or 'I got an e-mail from AOPA,' you know that it's working."
The FAA citation singled out AOPA Vice President of Regulatory and Certification Affairs Melissa Bailey, Air Traffic Manager Heidi Williams, and Government Analyst Brent Hart for their efforts. Bailey, Williams, and Hart are the three who first hear of upcoming TFRs and set AOPA's wheels in motion.
But AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula, who oversees the Air Traffic department, told the FAA representatives, "Melissa, Heidi, and Brent are your main contacts at AOPA, but they're part of a much larger team drawing from our Communications, ePublishing, and Information and Technology departments. They all pull together to get the word out quickly and efficiently."
AOPA members who subscribe to ePilot or ePilot Flight Training automatically receive AOPA Airspace Alerts via e-mail when a temporary flight restriction is likely to impact their area. To sign up for either version of ePilot, visit the Web site.