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AOPA Action

What AOPA is doing to keep you flying

AOPA ACTION SECTIONS National Action State and Regional Action AOPA Airport Support Network AOPA Membership Products AOPA Air Safety Foundation Your AOPA PAC donations help ensure blue skies ahead Over the past few years, AOPA Government Affairs has been successfully weathering the most challenging federal and state economic environment in the history of our 71-year-old organization. In every legislative effort we undertake at both the federal and state levels, whether to address increasing threats of onerous taxation or overreaching security proposals, AOPA’s allies in office—who understand and appreciate the value of GA—are imperative to our success.


Your AOPA PAC donations help ensure blue skies ahead

Over the past few years, AOPA Government Affairs has been successfully weathering the most challenging federal and state economic environment in the history of our 71-year-old organization. In every legislative effort we undertake at both the federal and state levels, whether to address increasing threats of onerous taxation or overreaching security proposals, AOPA’s allies in office—who understand and appreciate the value of GA—are imperative to our success. AOPA Political Action CommitteeWith more than 6,600 state and federal elections this fall to decide the fate of GA in the face of even larger budget challenges, we need your help to keep these aviation-minded lawmakers in office. By donating to the AOPA Political Action Committee (PAC), you can help ensure that general aviation remains on the minds of lawmakers at all levels. Donate today with whatever you can afford, because our strength is in numbers with more legally eligible PAC donors than almost every company or corporation in the country—and your participation will make all the difference. With a donation of $100, $50, or even $10, you never know how much it will save you and your fellow pilots in the long run. Just consider a few recent AOPA successes to illustrate what’s really at stake:

  • Florida Use-Tax Exemption: Under the previous tax system, an out-of-state aircraft could have been subjected to up to a 6-percent sales tax, just for touching down in the state within the first six months of ownership— after the owner paid the proper taxes in his/her own state. AOPA teamed up with the Florida Aviation Trades Association (FATA) and two very effective bill sponsors in the House and Senate to end this troubling tax policy once and for all.

Tax savings for a new Cirrus SR22 owner visiting the state from Alabama: $21,000

  • Washington State Excise Tax Hike: This session, AOPA, NBAA, and members of the Washington state aviation community teamed up with key aviation-minded legislators to stave off a proposal in the legislature that would have significantly increased the registration fees on all GA aircraft—some by as much as 32,000 percent (no, that is not a typo).

Additional fees that would have been charged to a 2003 Bonanza A36 owner annually: $2,975

  • Illinois Luxury Tax: An Illinois representative apparently viewed aircraft as nothing more than luxury items, as he introduced a bill to impose a 6-percent luxury tax on all GA aircraft along with “fur clothing and jewelry.” AOPA worked with local aviation and business groups not only to defeat this bill, but also to address this gross misperception of GA.

Potential cost in “luxury taxes” to purchase a 1983 Cessna 182R in Illinois: $7,494

  • North Las Vegas Aircraft Ban: Amid safety concerns at North Las Vegas Airport, members of the legislature tried to advance a proposal seeking authority to ban experimental aircraft from flying into and out of the airport—a measure that would have set a troubling national precedent regarding aircraft access. AOPA worked with local pilots and legislative allies to rework this measure to seek a more sensible solution to keep North Las Vegas Airport open for all.

Being able to fly what you want, when you want, and where you want...priceless.

To make a contribution to AOPA PAC, go online or call 800/872-2672 (Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET).

GA should be a part of TFR planning process

When it comes to planning flights, the first question that pilots should ask is, “Where will the president be?” The 30-nautical-mile-radius temporary flight restrictions that follow the president can throw a kink in many flight plans.

The FAA, TSA, and Secret Service work closer together now to develop TFRs than they did prior to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but there is still much room for improvement.

AOPA President Craig Fuller recently reminded Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano of the association’s request last summer to participate in the planning process of TFRs, reiterating that “we can bring valuable general aviation expertise to our federal partners in this planning process.” The prompt came on the heels of a TFR that created “significant confusion” in the Chicago area during the president’s stay over Memorial Day weekend.

“The GA community understands the complexities involved in security planning in today’s environment and GA operators make every effort to comply with restrictions when they have been properly informed,” Fuller wrote.

“But unnecessary complexity, or inadequate information, can lead innocent and safe pilots to inadvertently violate the airspace.”


Maximum takeoff weight (lbs) of a Remos GX light sport aircraft— AOPA’s 2010 sweepstakes airplane.

Maximum takeoff weight (lbs) of a Boeing 747-800.

The size in acres of Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport ( DFW). The total footprint of the airport is larger than LAX, Chicago’s O’Hare, and Miami International Airport combined.

Rhode Island: Aviation sales-tax exemption flies in Rhode Island

Despite a significant budget deficit, AOPA and aviation allies in Rhode Island were able to work through another challenging fiscal year with the sales-tax exemption on aviation parts, storage, and aircraft purchases still intact. AOPA Northeast Regional Representative Craig Dotlo sprang into action by corralling members of the state aviation community when a Senate bill was introduced with a House companion bill that would have eliminated the aviation sales tax exemption. With the help of action from the members, AOPA and its state allies were successful in getting the repeal left out of the final budget package. “While the exemption remains in effect, it is likely that the legislators will look at this and other exemptions again next session, as nothing is sacred with a worsening budget situation,” said Mark Kimberling, AOPA director of state government affairs. “Yet these short-term decisions will have long-term implications, as these exemptions are critical to the future economic and job growth and sustainability of the state aviation industry—and this is a message that we will continue to try to drive home.”

Alaska: Lawsuit dismissal clears way for Willow Airport planning

An Alaska court has dismissed a lawsuit by a property owners group in Willow, Alaska, that had blocked the planning process for Willow Airport and its accompanying seaplane base. The lawsuit, which also attempted to eliminate seaplane operations, had hampered the master planning project at the airport, leaving issues such as land use and capital improvements on hold. AOPA, together with AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Jane Dale, the Willow Airport Support Group, and the Alaska Air Carriers Association, encouraged the Alaska DOT to conduct thorough planning for the entire airport and seaplane base complex and to establish a technical advisory committee to assist in all aspects of the airports planning process. As a result of the court ruling, the newly formed advisory committee can now move forward in its airport planning process—including the seaplane complex.

West Virginia: W.Va. gov announces bid for Senate seat

W.Va. Governor Joseph Manchin, IIIWest Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III, a passionate pilot and 51- year AOPA member, has worked for years to promote general aviation in his state. Now he might get the opportunity to share his knowledge of aviation on Capitol Hill.

Manchin announced July 20 that he will run for the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s Senate seat in a special election. Manchin had appointed Carte Goodwin, his former general counsel, to temporarily fill the seat. Byrd, the longest-serving member of Congress, died June 28 at the age of 92.

“As a longtime aircraft owner and pilot, Gov. Joe Manchin brings first-hand knowledge to conversations about general aviation issues,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “He knows, from personal experience, just how effective general aviation is as a tool for business, for personal transportation, and for building the economy. That depth of understanding has made him a powerful advocate for general aviation in his home state of West Virginia and beyond.”

California: Santa Monica jet ban overreaches, would flout FAA

The city of Santa Monica has no authority to ban certain jet traffic from Santa Monica Airport, AOPA told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Santa Monica city officials adopted an ordinance in March 2008 to ban Category C and D aircraft (such as Gulfstreams and some Citations and Challengers) from operating at the airport—a move that could pave the way for restrictions at and even closures of airports across the nation based on local complaints, without consideration of those airports’ role in the national air transportation system. AOPA and the National Business Aviation Association filed a friend of the court brief regarding the city’s appeal of an FAA decision that the city had no authority for the ban. “To allow safety restrictions to be determined on a piecemeal basis would disrupt the uniform and exclusive federal regulation of aviation safety that was intended by Congress and is necessary to ensure the safety and efficiency of the national aviation system,”
the associations wrote.

Nevada: Reno-Tahoe advocates speak out for GA

Advocates for general aviation at Reno-Tahoe International Airport are digging in their heels for a long fight to keep GA from being forced out. On a recent trip to Reno, AOPA Vice President of Airport Advocacy Bill Dunn met with local general aviation advocates and the newly formed Reno-Tahoe Aviation Association to provide advice and reinforcements on fighting to keep a foothold at the airport. The association was formed to provide advocacy for local pilots following the announcement earlier this year that the long-term leases of two existing FBOs were not being renewed. Dunn also met with Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority’s president and CEO, Krys T. Bart, and testified before the Washoe County commissioners about the value and importance of GA, at the request of commissioner and AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Robert Larkin. He told the Commissioners that those wishing to continue to be based at RNO should be accommodated at RNO and not forced to relocate.

Massachusetts: Taxes and funding: AOPA educates govs on key GA issues

More than 40 governors attended the 2010 National Governors Association annual conference in Boston, giving AOPA the perfect opportunity to discuss general aviation issues, including sales tax exemptions, excise taxes, and state aviation trust funds, with officials from across the nation. “Proactive engagement is especially important now as governors are preparing to grapple with even larger forecasted budget shortfalls because stimulus funding has run out,” said AOPA Director of State Government Affairs Mark Kimberling. During the conference, longtime AOPA member West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III was appointed as chair of the association.


Volunteer spotlight: Linda Street-Ely

Left to right: John Collins, Linda Street-Ely, Joey Colleran, and Kim Reed AOPA’s John Collins, Joey Colleran, and Kim Reed gave ASN volunteer Linda Street-Ely (second from left) a tour of AOPA headquarters.

What do ASN volunteers do when they aren’t being the eyes and ears at our GA airports across the country? Well, Linda Street-Ely of Liberty Municipal Airport ( T78) in Liberty, Texas, spent her summer preparing for and flying in the 2010 Air Race Classic, which concluded at the home base of AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland. Street-Ely and her race partner, Elizabeth Kummer, won third place overall out of 54 teams. The annual all-women air race attracts women from all across the United States and even international women pilots. After Street-Ely’s superb finish, she made her way to AOPA for a tour and met with the ASN staff. When Street-Ely isn’t racing her Grumman Cheetah around the country, she is busy at T78 making sure positive stories about the airport are covered in the local media. In 2009 Street-Ely attended the ground-breaking ceremony of two new projects—runway light installation and drainage projects—and spoke to the local media about the importance of these projects.

How are you engaged in aviation? Being an ASN volunteer is a great way to make an additional contribution to general aviation.

For more information on how you can help support your airport, visit AOPA Online.

AOPA Membership Products

Learn how you can keep young and fly forever (almost!) at AOPA Aviation Summit!

Health forums at AOPA Aviation SummitMaintaining good health is a goal shared by all. But for a pilot it’s not just a goal, it’s a necessity. This year at AOPA Aviation Summit you can choose from a variety of health forums designed to help you stay healthy—and keep your medical.

Attend “Keep Young and Fly Forever” and learn how to keep your brain fit to fly by practicing the top five brain skills needed to stay at peak at any age. Based on current research, this high-energy program will let you test yourself, and provide useful take-away guidelines for both pilots and flight instructors.

Also, be sure to stop by “What’s So Special about Special Issuances?” and find out about one of the most flexible tools available to the FAA for issuing medical certificates to pilots with more serious medical conditions. Cancer, coronary artery disease, bypass surgery, pacemakers, stents, diabetes, asthma, and kidney stones are just a few of the many medical conditions that require a special issuance. Learn about the regulatory basis for an authorization, why it’s required, and what it takes to get it and keep it.

Don’t let your health dictate how long you can fly. Join us at AOPA Aviation Summit in Long Beach, California, November 11 through 13, and take your health into your own hands.

Be prepared in case of accident or incident

AOPA Legal Counsel Kathy Yodice wants AOPA members to remember that even the most judicious pilot can have an accident or incident.

According to Yodice, many pilots don’t know that accident and incident reports go to the NTSB, not the FAA. She says, “Generally, pilots have no reporting obligation to the FAA unless ATC gave priority handling or the pilot declared an emergency—but a written report by the pilot and/or the operator of the aircraft may be required to the NTSB.”

Yodice says that “accident” is narrowly defined in the NTSB’s rules. An accident includes any death, a serious injury that is defined in the regulations, or substantial damage to the aircraft, which is also defined. Yodice says that when in doubt, seek competent assistance to help determine what is and is not required to be reported.

That’s why the AOPA Legal Services Plan can be invaluable to an AOPA member. One call can put you in touch with an experienced aviation counselor who can guide you step by step through the reporting process. Now is the time to enroll in AOPA’s Legal Services Plan online or by calling 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672).

Preorder your 2011-2012 airport directory today

The 2011-2012 edition of AOPA Airports, the printed version of AOPA’s online airport directory (, will be published later this year. Because so many members have shifted to the website for airport information, however, only a limited number of printed copies will be available. Preorder by October 1 at the reduced member price to reserve your copy, and enjoy free shipping to U.S. addresses.

The AOPA Airports 2011-2012 print edition is your perfect flight-planning companion. With information on virtually every public-use airport, this portable version is a must-have. It’s compact enough to carry in your flight bag, so you’ll have the information you need at your fingertips—from airport data and diagrams to FBOs, restaurants, lodging, and ground transportation. The book sells for $39.95 to nonmembers, but AOPA members enjoy the discounted price of $19.95.

The print edition is scheduled to ship by December 31, 2010. Preorder your copy online today. Copies ordered by October 1 will receive free shipping to U.S. and Canadian addresses.


New Real Pilot story! Mayday at Mount McKinley

Submit your own story

Have you ever had a close call in an airplane from which others can learn? Send details to [email protected] and we’ll consider your story for an upcoming Real Pilot Story.

Imagine flying the gorgeous mountains of the Alaska Range, sharing spectacular views of Denali Park with your passengers. Then, just as the stunning panorama of Mount McKinley spreads out before your eyes, something goes terribly wrong with the airplane.

An exhilarating-trip-turned-nightmare is exactly what unfolded on a tour operator’s scenic flight when the aircraft became uncontrollable at 11,000 feet. Listen to the pilot describe how he managed the almost impossible task of flying his aircraft while alleviating his passengers’ fears in “Mayday at Mount McKinley,” the foundation’s latest installment in the popular Real Pilot Story series.

Watch actual footage of the developing dilemma, and take away important lessons learned from this pilot’s incredible journey.

Updated online course

Too often, simply a failure to communicate, brought about by mistaken assumptions, leads to inadvertent thunderstorm penetration.

The newly revised online course “Weather Wise: Thunderstorms and ATC,” produced with the generous support of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service, addresses these issues by looking at the capabilities and limitations of
ATC weather radar, and providing effective ways for pilots and controllers to avoid critical misunderstandings.

The course includes a video re-creation of a real-life thunderstorm incident.

Take the course online.

Real World IFRCatch ASF’s “Real World IFR” seminar near you

Real World IFR” is not just a rehash of the regulations. The seminar is aimed at sharing collected wisdom from pilots who know the IFR system. Find out how pilots who fly every day in all kinds of weather do it. “Real World IFR” goes beyond basic IFR training into the world of professional piloting.

Learn new ways to deal with IFR in the real world— check the schedule for dates and locations near you.


September 1

Maryville, TN

September 7

Newton, MA

September 8

East Hartford, CT

September 9

Morrison, NJ

September 13

Wichita, KS

September 13

Sioux Falls, SD

September 14

Pierre, SD

September 14

Oklahoma City, OK

September 15

Little Rock, AR

September 15

Rapid City, SD

September 20

Reno, NV

September 20

Rochester, MN

September 21

Cedar Rapids, IA

September 21

Sacramento, CA

September 22

Bellevue, NE

September 23

Olathe, KS

September 27

Fort Worth, TX

September 27

Mesa, AZ

September 27

St. Louis, MO

September 27

Pittsburgh, PA

September 28

Summerdale, PA

September 28

Springfield, MO

September 28

Tucson, AZ

September 28

W. Houston, TX

September 29

San Antonio, TX

September 29

Albuquerque, NM

September 29

Allentown, PA

September 30

Austin, TX

September 30

King of Prussia, PA

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.

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