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What AOPA is doing to keep you flyingWhat 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


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AOPA, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701-4798
Fax 301/695-2375

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Call 800/622-AOPA (622-2672)

Call 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672)

Call 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672)

Call 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672)

State and Local Action

FAA releases new airports report

The new biannual report on the nation’s federally supported airport system was released by the FAA October 5. The National Plan of Integrated Airports Systems, or NPIAS report, is the FAA’s plan for how it will continue developing the 3,355 public-use airports that it considers important to the national transportation system. The new report identifies the types of airport projects eligible for federal funds over the next five years. The 2013-2017 edition is the first to make use of the FAA’s recent report, “General Aviation Airports: A National Asset,” an effort to categorize America’s more than 2,500 GA airports into four new categories that describe their roles: National, Regional, Local, and Basic.


Aviation superstore partners with AOPA

AOPA recently signed a new strategic partnership with Corona, California-based aviation products company Aircraft Spruce.

“Aircraft Spruce is one of the most-respected brands in the aircraft parts and pilot supplies arena because of their commitment to great customer service,” said Ed Thompson, vice president of corporate partnerships for AOPA. “We are excited about the new member benefits this partnership creates.”

As a Strategic Partner in AOPA’s Corporate Partnership Program, Aircraft Spruce will support the association and its members through engagement activities including sponsorship of the registration area at AOPA Aviation Summit, support for content, and periodic special offers and discounts through both Aircraft Spruce and It will also provide year-round special offers through the AOPA Lifestyles Member Discounts Program.

Aircraft Spruce, founded in 1965 by Bob and Flo Irwin, is the aviation superstore for certified and homebuilt aircraft supplies. The company remains family owned and is run by President Jim Irwin.

“Aircraft Spruce has been a sponsor and supporter of AOPA for many years, and we are very pleased to become a Strategic Partner in 2012,” said Irwin.  “AOPA does many wonderful things on behalf of general aviation, and we look forward to working closely with them to support their efforts.”

Holiday bonus: Right now AOPA members receive a $10 gift card on one purchase of $100 or more. Your first order will be shipped with a $10 Aircraft Spruce gift card for use on your next purchase.

Give the gift of AOPA membership this holiday season

You’ll help support AOPA’s important membership drive

Increasing our membership means AOPA can more effectively face the growing threats to GA, enabling us to preserve our freedom to fly for generations to come, and strengthening our voice in Washington, D.C. When you give an AOPA membership, gift recipients will receive 12 issues of AOPA Pilot; exclusive access to web tools/resources; the help, support, and resources from our aviation experts in the AOPA Pilot Information Center; and so much more.

Share the benefits of AOPA membership with the ones you love this holiday season. Visit or call 800-USA-AOPA.


NASA report: Your 'get-out-of-jail-free’ card?

by Kathy Yodice

As a pilot, one of the tools in your flight bag is the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), known to many as the NASA report. It’s a program designed to get valuable information about what is going on in the system from those who are actually using the system. The information helps to bring about changes that benefit us all. But the best part is you may possibly “get out of jail free” by sharing the information.

ASRS enables pilots to identify safety hazards in operating practices, chart terminology, weather briefings, instruments, emergency procedures, medical issues, or any other aspect of flying. By filing a NASA report, you make your concerns known in an anonymous way, so that any disincentive to make the report because of embarrassment or concern about FAA enforcement action is removed. The information is collected and analyzed by NASA to create valuable data useful in making appropriate modifications to the system to avoid future mishaps.

The program was established in 1975 through a joint agreement between the FAA and NASA after an airliner accident that involved a misunderstanding in operating procedures that was not known to the FAA but was known to pilots. At the time, there was not an effective way for pilots to make their concerns known to the FAA. It was agreed that NASA, as an impartial third party, would collect and analyze aviation safety reports and would provide that data to the FAA—or other appropriate authorities—so that circumstances that might compromise aviation safety may be remedied. NASA would share the information, but not the source of the information. Once the report is received and NASA enters the objective data into its system, the report and any personally identifying information is destroyed. There are two very important exceptions that prevent NASA from keeping your information confidential: if the report involves an accident or a criminal act, then the report will not be de-identified but will be sent in its entirety to the proper authorities such as the FAA, the NTSB, or the Department of Justice. I recommend that members of the AOPA Pilot Protection Services plan contact us before filing a NASA report that may involve an accident or criminal act.

The other thing that the ASRS enables pilots to do is to possibly avoid the imposition of a sanction. In FAA Advisory Circular 00-46E, the FAA says that it will waive the penalty in an enforcement action if the pilot can show that he or she filed a timely NASA report and has otherwise satisfied the criteria for a waiver. The pilot must be able to show that the report was filed within 10 days of the flight event. The identification strip that you receive back in the mail or the confirmation page that you get on the Internet can demonstrate the timely filing. In December 2011, the FAA relaxed this 10-day requirement by providing that the report be submitted within 10 days of when the pilot became aware or should have been aware of the violation. This change allows the program to apply in those instances where a pilot simply did not know that something had occurred during a flight until the FAA contacted that pilot. Also, to qualify for the waiver, the conduct must have been inadvertent and not deliberate, and it must not involve a lack of qualifications or competency. Finally, the pilot must not have been found in a prior FAA enforcement action to have committed a violation within the preceding five years.

A pilot can file as many reports as he or she wants to, for as many concerns that he or she may have about the system. However, as I noted, a pilot may not take advantage of the program to waive a penalty if the pilot has had another enforcement action and been found to have violated the regulations within the preceding five years.

Another benefit of ASRS is that you can subscribe to the monthly newsletter Callback, which includes excerpts from de-identified reports with supporting commentary in a “lessons learned” format as well as other features that may be of interest to the pilot reader. You can also get on the ASRS website and search reports filed by pilots and other users.

Kathy Yodice is an aviation attorney for AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services and Legal Services Plan. She’s assisted AOPA members for more than 13 years and is a former FAA attorney. She owns a Cherokee 180 and has been a pilot since 1994.


Understanding the dangers of an understated hull

by Janet Bressler

Hull coverage is the single most expensive part of your aircraft insurance premium. The reason is simple. Hull claims are much more frequent, resulting in insurance carriers paying a lot more in hull claims than liability claims. Because the premium attached to your hull coverage is the most attention-grabbing line item on your quote, you may be tempted to undervalue your aircraft to save a few dollars. Resist this temptation as it could cost you your aircraft.

Underinsuring your aircraft may save you some premium in the short term, but it could have another impact that you may not be expecting. An example of the unintended consequences would come if your aircraft replacement value was $200,000 and you elected to insure for $100,000. Your aircraft is in the path of a destructive windstorm while on the ramp and is badly damaged. Aircraft values may be depressed, but repair costs are not. As such, your loss could be classified as a total by the insurance carrier if the repair estimates come close to your understated hull amount. They would then write you the check for $100,000, less your deductible, and retain your aircraft as salvage. You are essentially out the additional $100,000 and unable to replace your aircraft with your insurance proceeds because you decided to undervalue your asset.

Nearly all aircraft policies are written on an “agreed value” basis, which means that the carrier will pay the value listed on your policy, less any deductible, in the event of a total loss. This makes insuring your aircraft to its current market value or “replacement value” critically important.

Review your agreed-amount hull value at least once a year, at renewal time, with your insurance broker, and remember to also assess your insurance limit anytime you add to the value of your aircraft with new avionics, new engines, or other improvements.

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

New extended pilot information center hours

Now you can enjoy a whole new level of access to the team of aviation experts in our Pilot Information Center with our convenient extended weekday hours. The Pilot Information Center is now available until 9 p.m. Eastern time every weekday. Call 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, with your questions and our staff will be happy to assist you.


Thanks, Pete

The Airport Support Network consists of many individuals who have generously given their time and talent to the aviation community. Sadly, each year we lose a few of these dedicated volunteers. As a tribute to them all, we dedicate this month’s column to remembering one in particular. Aviation lost a stalwart and enthusiastic supporter in Juneau, Alaska’s Pete Carlson. Passionate about aviation, Carlson never hesitated to jump in and help when it came to protecting or advancing an aviation cause.

The ASNV at Juneau International Airport, Carlson’s activities were wide ranging. He spent many hours in a variety of causes: an augmented flight chart for the Juneau area, promoting runway safety, reviewing the Southeast Alaska Aviation Study, tracking legislation, digging into Forest Service plans to protect backcountry aviation, and so much more. He served on the Juneau Airport Board for more than 12 years, as a regional director for the Alaska Airmen’s Association for half a dozen years, and belonged to the Alaska Airports Association.

Born in 1939, Carlson made his way to Alaska in 1964, where he enjoyed a varied career in finance, construction, retail, tourism, and government. A few weeks ago, he left behind large shoes to fill, many friends, and probably a few tire marks on gravel bars in southeast Alaska. Thanks to aviators like Carlson across America, we have the largest, most robust airport system in the world.

Look around your airport. Who do you know that’s involved in many aspects of the aviation community? Chances are they may be your ASN volunteer. If not, maybe they should be.


22nd 'Joseph T. Nall Report’ released

The Air Safety Institute has released the twenty-second edition of the Joseph T. Nall Report, its annual statistical analysis of general aviation accidents in the United States. This latest update includes a detailed examination of GA accidents in calendar year 2010 and describes trends in GA safety over the preceding decade.

Despite increased flight activity, 2010 saw fewer accidents on non-commercial flights than 2009. The fixed-wing accident rate remained near its recent average, but a 22-percent drop in helicopter accidents combined with a 7-percent increase in flight time to dramatically reduce the rate of helicopter accidents—which fell below the fixed-wing rate for the first time. Accident rates on commercial flights, both fixed-wing and rotorcraft, were almost unchanged.

Four fatal accidents occurred on fixed-wing flights under Part 135 and one in a helicopter during medical evacuation training. In all, there were seven accidents on 135 helicopter flights, down five from the year before; and 28 on fixed-wing flights, two fewer than in 2009. Visit the website for details.

Comprehensive passenger briefings equal better survival chances

Imagine yourself as a nonpilot passenger in an aircraft that has just crash landed. The pilot is unresponsive. The other passengers are gravely injured. Your only hope of survival is to be rescued—soon. But will anyone know where to look?

Unfortunately, accidents happen, and when they do, a little information can sometimes make a big difference. The Air Safety Institute’s new video, Critical Information: The Passenger Safety Briefing covers often-overlooked items that should be part of every preflight passenger briefing. You’ll also get helpful survival tips from NTSB and CAP experts, and learn the single best way to increase your odds of rescue.

AOPA Foundation

AOPA Hat in the Ring members celebrate excellence

On a gorgeous, star-filled, Palm Springs evening, during AOPA Foundation’s Night for Flight Gala, the prestigious Hat in the Ring Society presented its first annual Achievement in General Aviation Awards. This year’s honorees are:

  • For Achievement in Airport Stewardship: John Black, Executive Director of Tennessee’s Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority.
  • For Achievement in Public Service: Welles Murphey, Jr. for flying hundreds of missions for Angel Flight and other humanitarian organizations.
  • For Achievement in Aviation Safety: Dana Siewert, Director of aviation safety at the University of North Dakota.
  • For Achievement in Aviation Education: Jerry Gregoire, Chairman of Redbird Flight Simulations, Inc.

To learn more about this year’s award winners, visit our website, If you’d like to become a Hat in the Ring donor, and take part in our 2013 Awards please call Julia Jones at 301-695-2000.

Answers for pilots

Ah, the islands!

Winter escape! Island retreat! Glorious vacation! The islands of the Bahamas are a popular aviation destination, and it’s easier to fly there than you may realize. In addition to the clear, turquoise waters and white sand, there’s a contest this year and next, sponsored by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and administered by, to encourage you to do some island hopping. Pilots who document landings at 12 of the 20 Bahamas airports of entry before November 30, 2013, will be eligible to win free nights at resorts on various islands. Not sure what’s involved in flying across the border? Read all about it in December’s Answers for Pilots.

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