Get extra lift from AOPA. Start your free membership trial today! Click here

AOPA Action

What AOPA is doing to keep you flying

Responding to member concerns, AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association will request an exemption that would allow many pilots flying the most common single-engine aircraft recreationally to use a driver's license and self-certification medical standard.

AOPA Membership Services and Products


Call 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672)

Send your new address and AOPA membership number to:
AOPA, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701-4798
Fax 301/695-2375

Call 800/638-3101

Call 800/523-7666

Call 800/622-AOPA (622-2672)

Call 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672)

Call 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672)

Call 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672)

National Action

Avid GA advocate and aviator retires

“It is sad to see Sen. Levent leave the South Carolina Senate after so many years of service, but he wants to return to GA flying and he has certainly earned the opportunity to enjoy life and good health and more time in the air,” AOPA Regional Manager Bob Minter said. “Phil Leventis is a man of rare character and integrity. He has served his country and beloved state so well.”

State and Local Action

Aviation funding bill passed in Michigan

An AOPA-backed bill to fund state aeronautics accounts without increasing Michigan’s already high state tax on aviation fuel and other products is on its way to Gov. Richard Snyder for signing.

House Bill 4025 passed the state Senate 35-1 on June 14. The House passed the bill in April. The measure amends state tax law by dedicating a share of tax proceeds from sales of fuel and other aviation products to the state aeronautics accounts to fund maintenance and improvements of aviation infrastructure.

After the Michigan House passed the bill April 26 on an 81-29 vote, AOPA reported that the bill’s progress in 2012 marked a departure from previous legislative sessions—when efforts to increase aviation taxes flourished. The measure was sponsored by Rep. Dave Agema in the House, and by Sen. Tom Casperson in the Senate.

AOPA worked jointly for its passage with the Michigan Association of Airport Executives and the Michigan Business Aviation Association. AOPA Great Lakes Regional Manager Bryan Budds traveled to Lansing on numerous occasions to urge passage.

“This was truly a group effort to win passage of this legislation. AOPA will continue to press forward to ensure that a sufficient amount of revenues derived from aviation are reinvested in state aviation infrastructure,” said Mark Kimberling, AOPA director of state government affairs.

AOPA members helped move the effort forward by contacting members and urging them to contact their state legislators and express support for the legislation, Kimberling added.


Last chance to win

‘Tougher Than a Tornado’ Husky Sweepstakes about to end

If you’ve ever dreamed of flying far off the beaten path in a rugged, capable, handcrafted airplane made for adventure, this is your time to act win this rough-and-ready Aviat Husky worth approximately $210,000. This airplane will be awarded to its new owner at AOPA Summit in Palm Springs, California, October 11 through 13. Be a current member as of August 31, 2012, to be eligible to win. Put some extra luck on your side with additional sweepstakes entries by enrolling in our Automatic Annual Renewal Program, becoming an AOPA Life Member, or completing an Air Safety Institute online course or minicourse. But do it soon; this could be the year AOPA hands over the keys to you.


Should you refuse to take a breathalyzer?

By Dr. Warren Silberman

I’ve heard rumors in the pilot community that airmen shouldn’t consent to a breathalyzer test if they are suspected of an alcohol or drug-related offense while operating a motor vehicle. From my aviation medical perspective, if this happens to you, consider allowing the officer to perform the test. Otherwise, this is called a “refusal” to test, which the FAA considers equivalent to a significant positive alcohol test result, and the FAA will require you to be evaluated by a substance abuse specialist. I also advise all airmen to tell the truth on their FAA examination. The FAA has zero tolerance for airmen who falsify their response.

FAR Part 61.15 (e) states that if you have a conviction for or administrative action while operating a motor vehicle that involves drugs or alcohol you must report this to the FAA’s Security and Investigations Division in Oklahoma City within 60 days.

You must report an arrest, conviction, and administrative action involving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs on their next FAA examination. Note the addition of “arrest” to this requirement, which includes being stopped by a police officer and being asked to submit to a field sobriety test and breathalyzer test. If you don’t report the offense as required by Part 61.15 (e), when the FAA finds out it will pursue an emergency revocation of all your certificates and ratings. Generally, you’ll lose your certificates for one-year unless legal representatives can bargain this down to something less.

If you obtain the police report prior to seeing your AME and the breathalyzer result is less than 0.15, he may issue you your medical certificate if you are otherwise healthy. If you can’t obtain the police report within the time mandated for the AME to submit your examination into the FAA, if your breathalyzer was 0.15 or above, or you had a refusal, you’ll be required to provide an evaluation by a recognized substance abuse specialist.

Dr. Warren Silberman is the former manager of FAA Aerospace Medical Certification and a doctor of osteopathic medicine. A pilot since 1986, he is recognized nationally as an expert in aerospace/preventative medicine.

Answers for Pilots: Aircraft Purchasing

This time of year there’s a lot of talk about buying and selling aircraft. For some, it’s a first-time purchase. Others are selling to buy something bigger and faster. And some are downsizing from a family-sized flying machine to a two-seater, kicking back to fly low and enjoy the scenery. Whatever your dreams are concerning aircraft ownership, AOPA has the resources to help you—both with your initial purchase as well as with your ongoing experience as an aircraft owner. Read about the resources available to you in this month’s Answers for Pilots.

Introducing AOPA AV8RS

All new AOPA Youth Membership

AOPA AV8RS—The Pilots of Tomorrow is a new youth membership for students ages 13 through 18. The program involves outreach to AOPA membership, aviation organizations, businesses, and youth-serving organizations. The new youth membership will serve to develop a new generation of pilots and AOPA members by raising awareness of aviation and flight through effective education, engagement, cultivation, and support. The youth membership has a $15 value, but, because of AOPA member support, is free to teens ages 13 through 18. Benefits include:

  • Digital edition of Flight Training magazine
  • Access to members-only content on
  • Scholarships: Two awarded per year
  • Dedicated Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr pages as well as a YouTube Channel, logo back pack, membership card, and more.

Notice of annual meeting of members

The annual meeting of the Members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association will be held at 12 noon on Friday, September 7, 2012, at the headquarters of AOPA, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland, 21701, located on the Frederick Municipal airport (FDK), for the purpose of receiving reports and transacting such other business as may properly come before the meeting, specifically including the election of trustees, and specifically including the adoption of an amendment to the bylaws of the
association to expand eligibility for voting membership in the association beyond pilots and owners to individuals who have an interest in advancing the cause of general aviation. — John S. Yodice, Secretary

News & Notes

We need you more than ever

Strength in numbers—Help us preserve the freedom to fly

For the past seven decades, AOPA has relied on the support of its members to become the most powerful voice in general aviation. We owe our strength and many accomplishments to nearly 400,000 members across the country. As our industry and the pilot population struggle through these tough economic times—and with must-win battles such as fighting user fees—we need you more than ever to help us maintain our powerful voice with a thriving and growing membership.

In that spirit, we’re excited to announce the launch of an all-in membership drive. In the coming months, we’ll be providing you with tools and resources to help build our membership. Share these with fellow pilots, those just starting flight training, a military friend—and, brand-new this month, a young person interested in aviation. If just a fraction of our members refer one new member, we will continue to grow and protect your freedom to fly. But we can’t do it alone, we need your help.

Five Ways You Can Help

  • Encourage someone to join AOPA
  • Give a gift membership
  • Refer a military aviator for a one- year complimentary membership
  • Sign up a future pilot in AOPA’s Youth Membership
  • Educate others about the benefit of membership

Why your membership matters

Increasing membership means we can work that much harder to face down the growing threats against general aviation. And, with a very important election in November, a robust membership means we’ll have an even stronger voice in Washington, D.C., enabling us to continue the fight to preserve our freedom to fly—for you, and your children and grandchildren. But we can’t do it without you. Together we can continue to battle the long-term threats to the future of general aviation, reverse the declining pilot population, and preserve GA for all of us who share a passion for flying. And, no one has a greater stake in these issues than pilots like you, and all of us here at AOPA.

It only takes one. One member referral to make a difference. Please join us in this very important drive. You can also help by sharing on your Facebook and Twitter accounts to raise awareness of our campaign.


Testing the limits

By Janet Bressler

The most important coverage on your policy is often the most misunderstood—aircraft liability limits. You hear us banter around insurance terms such as smooth limits, combined single limit, sublimits, per passenger versus per person, et cetera. What does it all mean?

Here’s the accident scenario: You need to make an emergency landing in your Baron and spy a golf course below with a nice, long, fairly straight fairway. You are able to land, but your passenger suffers a serious neck injury, a golfer busy texting is not paying attention and does not move before your wing knocks him to the ground, and the fairway is all torn up— not to mention the damage to your Baron. Not your best day.

So we have the following claim components: bodily injury inside the aircraft to your passenger; bodily injury outside the aircraft to the golfer; damage to the golf course, and damage to your aircraft. Your aircraft damage will be handled under your hull coverage, but the rest fall under your liability limit.

With a “smooth” limit, which is the informal term for a combined single limit (these are one in the same), you have your entire limit to address all three liability claim components. So if you insured at $1 million smooth, you would have the full $1 million to address claims from your passenger, the golfer, and the golf course.
Smooth limit policies certainly are more expensive and you’ll understand why in just a minute.

With a “per passenger” sublimit, which is a common limit available from the standard marketplace and often purchased, your passenger coverage is reduced to the sublimit on your policy. So if you’re insured at $1 million limited to $100,000 per passenger, the golfer and the course would be under the $1 million and coverage for the passenger claim would be limited to the $100,000.

With a “per person” sublimit, which is found in policies issued by some direct underwriters, not only is your coverage reduced for your passenger, but also for the golfer in this scenario—and would be for anyone injured inside or outside the aircraft. “Per person” sublimits are the most restrictive and should be avoided if at all possible. There is markedly less coverage than the other liability limit options and there is almost never a related premium savings.

Check the liability limits on your policy to understand your coverage before your next takeoff.

Janet Bressler, a private pilot, is an aviation insurance professional with more than 17 years experience.


Get 'em out to the airport

It’s no surprise that people don’t support an airport when they don’t understand it. Hayward (California) Executive Airport’s Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteer Claude Goldsmith hosted an AOPA booth during the airport’s open house. Airport management focused on youth outreach through the local schools and had an outstanding turnout from the community. Summer and fall flying offer pilots a great opportunity to participate in fly-outs and open houses. ASN often works with management and local pilots to provide materials for open houses. Check out our online guide, Holding an Airport Open House. It’s a step-by-step guide to staging an airport open house that will help nonpilot neighbors appreciate the value of a convenient community GA airport. ASN volunteers across the country utilize this resource tool and it could help you host a great event. A little planning makes a great community event. And the more the community understands and appreciates their airport, the lower the threat of closure.


Fulfilling the pledge: Growing the pilot population

AOPA’s Flight Training Student Retention Initiative (FTSRI) is a long-term, industry-wide effort dedicated to increasing the percentage of students who earn a pilot certificate. The concept is simple: Facilitating a positive flight training experience will help student pilots achieve their goals while growing the pilot population and strengthening general aviation.

Enter the AOPA Foundation, which recently received funding approval to use FTSRI research in the development of valuable tools for the flight training community. Practical guidance and tools such as training workbooks for three different audiences—students, flight instructors, and flight schools—will help this industry segment learn how to get the most out of flight training.

The focus on student completion is now blossoming and branching out, allowing the Foundation to also earmark this funding to advance development of the MyFlightTraining website, the AOPA Flight Training Excellence Awards, and flight training scholarships.


How’s your fuel management?

If pilots who crashed their airplanes because of fuel exhaustion or starvation had one thought in common, it was probably: “It won’t happen to me.” But, if no one expects to run out of fuel, then how come it happens almost twice a week?

Just as an example, here are three absurd, but easily preventable causes: improper flight planning, not stopping for fuel, and finding no fuel at the fuel stop—and departing again.
Think carefully: If there’s no fuel at your fuel stop, what would you do? Could you call for service? Or find another fuel stop nearby? But, would you know how much fuel is really left in the tanks to safely reach the alternate location? If there’s any doubt, it’s better to stay put and figure out some way to get gas in the tanks.

Learn more and make smart choices with ASI’s interactive Google-based map that plots the locations of accidents caused by improper fuel management. Just roll over the individual icons to see basic accident details, or click a link to be taken to the full report in the ASI Accident Database. The display is scalable, and can be filtered by variables like date or aircraft type.

Don’t fool yourself: It can happen to you. Check out the map today—so you don’t end up on it tomorrow.

Fuel-management tips

ASI recommends you land with at least one hour of fuel in the tanks; this means you should be prepared to make an intermediate fuel stop before continuing to your destination.

Find additional fuel management-related resources at this one-stop location. Visit the Fuel Management Safety Spotlight at

Related Articles