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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)

Summit 2012

We’ve got what you want this year!

AOPA’s annual convention for members—AOPA Aviation Summit—has always been designed with member needs in mind. However, the association wants to be sure that it is providing the best experience for members—the biggest bang for the buck, so to speak. So after surveying, researching, and interacting with individual pilots, the association discovered what members want the single most important take-away from the convention to be: education and training. In response, Summit 2012 is placing a greater emphasis on its learning opportunities to include even more expert advice and—entirely new this year—interaction during seminars and sessions. Every one of the 40 scheduled how-to seminars during Summit 2012 will feature a facilitator who will ensure that pilots get the education experience they expect and need. In addition to how-to seminars, Summit 2012 will feature more hands-on opportunities for learning, such as:

  • New aircraft experiences including hot air balloon, tailwheel, and warbird flights at Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport (TRM).
  • “Knock the Rust Off” flights and glass familiarization flights, also from TRM.
  • Flight simulator training scenarios.
  • Small-group-setting seminars and discussions with aviation experts.
  • Peer-to-peer learning.
  • “Pilot’s Choice” topics at health-related seminars.
  • New product showcases with exhibitors.

Summit 2012 returns to Palm Springs, California, October 11 through 13. Palm Springs is the top location, according to the association’s survey, and the convention will return there in 2014 as well. Of interest to Midwest pilots is the selection of Fort Worth, Texas, for Summit 2013.

Mix and mingle

  • AOPA Foundation Charity Golf Tournament, Wednesday, October 10, 8 a.m., Classic Club, Palm Desert, California, to benefit Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Desert.
  • Parade of Planes, Wednesday, October 10, 10 a.m.-noon, Palm Springs International Airport to the Palm Springs Convention Center.
  • Companion Lunch (for nonpilots), Thursday, October 11, noon-1:30 p.m., Renaissance Hotel, Palm Springs.
  • VillageFest, Thursday, October 11, 6 p.m.-10 p.m., downtown Palm Springs. Local artists, food, and live music.
  • A Night for Flight AOPA Foundation benefit, Thursday, October 11, 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Riviera Resort, Palm Springs.
  • California Dreamin’ Resort Party, Friday, October 12, 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Renaissance Hotel poolside. Unique entertainment, music, and cuisine.
  • Aviator’s Breakfast, Saturday, October 13, 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m., Palm Springs Convention Center. Breakfast with the aviation experts you’ve always wanted to meet.
  • Return of the Parade of Planes, Saturday, October 13, 3 p.m.-5 p.m., Palm Springs Convention Center to Palm Springs International Airport.
  • Wild West Desert Adventure, Saturday, October 13, 5 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Metate Canyon. Barbeque dinner in a hidden desert paradise.
  • After-Hours Networking, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 8 p.m. to close, Spa Resort and Casino. Join us at the AOPA lounge, LIFT.

State and Local Action

AOPA puts GA on the table at GOP, Democratic conventions

Delegates, lawmakers, and anyone else planning to attend one or both summer conventions of the major political parties are urged to start a conversation with AOPA.

Issues critical to pilots, aircraft owners, and the millions of people who work in or benefit from the general aviation industry will be decided by many of the people expected to attend the conventions—from congressional leaders to local officials across the country. AOPA continues to take a proactive approach to policy-making, and will deploy staff at both conventions to help educate decision makers about the value of GA, and the role it plays in economic recovery, job preservation, and job creation.

“It is a great opportunity to make sure that these influential people learn about general aviation, get exposed to our issues, and understand that we are an organized community,” said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of airports and state advocacy. “No matter who wins in November, AOPA will still be there to work with them on behalf of general aviation.”

AOPA will be joined by the National Business Aviation Association at both conventions. The presence of the two associations will remind leaders from both parties and the media about the value of general aviation, including its vital role in the nation’s transportation infrastructure, the many charitable activities of pilots and aircraft owners, and the importance of preserving freedom to fly for generations to come. The strength of 400,000 members creates an opportunity for AOPA to be heard on critical issues at a time when politicians are most sensitive to the interests of voters.

AOPA strongly encourages anyone who plans to attend one or both conventions to contact the association and answer a brief questionnaire that will help AOPA staff ensure that everyone with a question gets an answer—and that everyone with an interest in aviation gets a voice in the discussion of key issues.

6,003: The number of state legislative seats up for grabs in 44 states this year

State legislatures have tremendous control over the viability of GA in your state, with the power to levy taxes on GA—ranging from fuel to maintenance and registration fees. The state legislature also plays a pivotal role in the management and protection of GA airports. So pay attention to your local elections and let your local representatives know how important GA is to you.


What if I don’t write everything down on my medical application?

by Kathy Yodice

Q.: Since my last medical in 2004, I have had many doctor visits, none involving major medical conditions. My big question is: Do I need to list every medical visit since 2004 or is there a statute of limitations? What if I forget one and fail to list it?

A.: The medical application form is a document that almost every pilot fills out, over and over again, and each time, it requires careful attention in answering the questions. Failure to pay that careful attention could lead to a loss of our ability to fly. As it relates to your question regarding what to report, there are at least two questions on the medical application form that merit our attention:

First, question 18, “Medical History” asks Have you ever in your life been diagnosed with, had, or do you presently have any of the following? If any of your doctor visits since 2004 involve any of the conditions listed in the form, you will have to provide a “yes” response and an explanation. The language of the question is meant to make clear that it pertains to any of the conditions or circumstances listed that have ever happened in your life, without regard to a time limitation. And, any “yes” answers must continue to be given on future applications. Just because you answer “yes” once does not relieve you of making sure to answer “yes” over and over again, although on subsequent applications you do not need to repeat the details and may simply state “previously reported.”

Second, question 19, “Visits to Health Professional Within the Last Three Years” limits any response to the three years preceding your application for medical certification. Therefore, you should list all your visits to a health professional within the previous three years, with the exception that visits for counseling need only be listed if related to personal substance abuse or a psychiatric condition. You do not need to list routine dental, eye, and FAA periodic medical examinations or consultations with your employer-sponsored employee assistance program unless for substance abuse or if it resulted in a referral for psychiatric evaluation or treatment.

If you forget to list something, there can be pretty severe repercussions. When you submit your medical application, you sign the form at the bottom, signifying that you “hereby certify that all statements and answers provided by me on this application form are complete and true to the best of my knowledge.” If your answers are not true and complete, to the best of your knowledge, the FAA will view your answers as intentionally false.This will prompt the FAA to take action to immediately revoke all of your airman certificates—not just your medical certificate, but your pilot certificate as well. So, it is in your best interest in protecting your ability to continue to fly that you carefully consider the questions posed on the medical application form and that you fully and fairly answer those questions.

Kathy Yodice is an aviation attorney for AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services and Legal Services Plan.

Answers for pilots

No more paper medical applications

Effective October 1, 2012, the FAA is discontinuing use of the paper version of FAA Form 8500-8. Now all airmen must apply for FAA medical certification online using FAA MedXpress. Read about it in this month’s Answers for Pilots.

Membership Drive

Member get a member

Make AOPA stronger than ever to defend your freedom to fly. Refer at least three new AOPA members and you’ll receive your next year of membership free. Go online to find out more.

Notice on 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


Don’t be afraid to ask

by Janet Bressler

Students and renters, this is for you. Before you jump into the cockpit at your local FBO on your next flight you should also do a simple preflight check on the insurance for that aircraft.

Most pilots dislike talking about insurance (unless it is to lament on the cost, of course) and prefer to assume that it is all in place and not a concern. To help you ask the right insurance questions of your FBO—and determine what coverage is in place for your flight—here is a short list of items to run through for the insurance portion of your checklist:

1. Request a certificate of insurance from your FBO evidencing the below items to understand its aircraft coverage:

  • All aircraft the FBO offers for rental that you could be flying
  • Aircraft liability limit
  • Aircraft hull coverage and deductibles
  • Student and renter liability (if they provide, optional coverage)

2. Review your rental agreement to understand your obligations to pay for any damage.

3. Review your nonowned aircraft policy to understand what it covers and does not cover regarding your rental agreement obligations.

A quick note on student and renter liability: Although it is nice for FBOs to provide this coverage to their customers, it is not a substitute for personal nonowned aircraft insurance. First, it is part of the liability limit for the FBO and not an exclusive amount for your protection. And, second, it does not provide any type of hull coverage extension to you if you damage the aircraft.

Don’t be afraid to ask your FBO to provide you evidence of its aircraft insurance—you are the customer, after all. You really do not want to wade through the FBO’s full policy if they offer it up, but simply want a certificate issued to you personally or a general To Whom It May Concern certificate with the basic details. Either is fine and easy for your FBO to obtain for you.

Then involve your insurance provider for help reviewing the FBO’s coverage, your rental agreement, and personal insurance policy to ensure you understand how they work together and what level of protection you have while flying a rented aircraft.

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

Protecting your passion is our passion

The AOPA Insurance Agency is now AOPA Insurance Services. We are a full-service

aviation insurance brokerage assisting members and nonmembers alike with any type of aviation insurance need. We have placed all of our valuable member benefits under one roof. Visit our new website and see our new look.

Build financial security for your family with AOPA’s term life insurance plans

If something happened to you, would your family have enough assets to make sure they could maintain their current lifestyle? Will they have enough to pay everyday living expenses, children’s college education, and otherwise meet all the other financial obligations that you and your income provided for?

For most Americans, the answer is no. According to a recent life insurance ownership study, 35 million Americans have no life insurance protection at all. And of those who do have coverage, most don’t have enough to ensure a secure financial future for their families.

Available to AOPA members are several term life insurance options—from group annual term to a 10-year or even a 20-year term. This helps many people keep coverage as they go through different stages of life, such as when they get married, have children, send children to college, and as they retire. These plans are a great way to have confidence that your loved ones will be financially secure.


Making a difference beyond the airport

Some AOPA Airport Support Network volunteers are so energized that their influence is felt not just at their airport, but throughout GA. If you follow the annual Air Race Classic you may know of Dianna Stanger, who, with race partner Victoria Holt (aka The Racing Aces), won the 2012 race. If not, get ready to be impressed! Stanger not only serves as the ASN volunteer at Calhoun County Airport in Port Lavaca, Texas, but also runs two flight schools (the other at Victoria Regional Airport); the FBO; and manages the airport. All the while, she is also trying to get more young women into aviation through a flight training scholarship she established with Holt. The pair also hosted an International Learn to Fly day, Women of Aviation week, and were second runner-up as the “Most Female-Pilot-Friendly Airport in the World.” And that’s not all, at the airport Stanger hosts an annual kid’s day, an aviation-themed art contest, visits throughout the year by youth groups, and a fall festival featuring Young Eagle flights. Stanger is a skilled and versatile aviatrix as well, flying helicopters and jets. So, how about you? The more each pilot gives back, the stronger general aviation will be in the future.


‘A Night for Flight’ to remember

If you could do just one thing this year to help preserve general aviation’s future while treating yourself, or finding the perfect gift, how should you do it? The answer: Participate in the AOPA Foundation’s A Night for Flight benefit and auction during AOPA’s Aviation Summit.

Register to attend the event, scheduled for Thursday, October 11, 2012, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Riviera Palm Springs Resort in Palm Springs, California; donate an item; start your bidding at 9 a.m. EDT on August 27 (bidding ends at 11:59 p.m. EDT on October 11); and, finally, treat yourself and attend this exquisite event, which includes a courtyard reception, elegant dining, and dazzling entertainment. Cost to attend the event is $250 per person (half of the ticket price is a tax-deductible contribution to the AOPA Foundation).

Four Hat Award winners will be announced during the A Night for Flight benefit and auction. AOPA President Craig Fuller and AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg will present the awards to those who have made significant strides in each of four categories: Aviation Education, Airport Preservation, Humanitarian Service, and Aviation Safety. The society is open to anyone donating $1,000 per year to the AOPA Foundation. All proceeds support the foundation’s mission to improve aviation safety, preserve community airports, and encourage learning to fly.


New ASI seminar debuts: ‘Flying for a Lifetime’

you pay close attention to your airplane, search out hidden problems, and generally keep a wary eye on things—because, after all, airplanes change as they age. So do pilots. These changes can be subtle—but do we give them the attention they really deserve? ASI takes a look at that question, and explores different ways you can maintain the same high level of safety over a lifetime of flying. Attend a free Flying for a Lifetime seminar in your area. Additionally, Aging Gracefully, Flying Safely is an ASI course built around a candid discussion with several real pilots about their personal reflections on aging and flying.

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