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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.

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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)


Guess who's back in town?

Election results bring changes for both Reps and Dems

What a year! In addition to the presidency and a number of high-profile congressional races, the 2012 elections featured 11 governorships up for grabs. Additionally, 44 states held elections for 86 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers, with more than 6,000 seats on the ballot.

How did it all end up? At the state level, a little change in each direction. Republicans picked up one governorship; the Democrats successfully defended the other seats thought to be in play. Democrats took back eight state legislative chambers they lost two years ago. Republicans took both houses of the Arkansas legislature for the first time in 100 years, and regained control of the Wisconsin Senate.

The combination of redistricting, retirements, and electoral battles yielded a tremendous turnover in state legislatures. Overall, it is expected that state capitols will welcome about 2,000 brand-new state legislators, surpassing 2010’s record turnover of almost 1,800 seats. The combination of these two record years means that almost half of all state lawmakers will have two years or less experience.

What does all this mean for general aviation? It provides opportunities to educate newcomers, and change old dynamics across the country.

To learn more, watch analysis on AOPA Live from President Craig Fuller and the AOPA Government Affairs team.


Cruising altitude

New discounts for highway cruising

AOPA members like being in the driver’s seat, and no one knows this better than National Car Rental, the industry leader in customer loyalty for frequent travelers. As an AOPA Strategic Partner, National Car Rental provides a discount to members year round. Each time an AOPA member books a rental online (, a portion of the rental helps support general aviation.

AOPA members also can take advantage of complimentary enrollment in National’s award-winning Emerald Club. The Emerald Club expedites the rental process for members by offering counter bypass as well as access to National’s “Emerald Aisle,” an exclusive section of the lot where members can personally select any vehicle as long as they reserve a mid-size car. That means that members can choose the car that best fits their needs—including a full-size car or larger—and only pay the mid-size price.

National also is partnered with Signature Flight Support locations. Upon arrival at one of Signature’s FBOs, AOPA members who have booked a rental through their Emerald Club profile will find a vehicle parked on site with a representative to greet them with the keys. Everything related to the rental is located in the vehicle with no paperwork to complete.

Emerald Club enrollment is free for members and can be completed online. Save AOPA123 to your
profile to get a discount and help support AOPA each time you rent.

Aero-Space Reports signs on as AOPA’s third strategic partner

AOPA has signed a new Strategic Partner agreement with Aero-Space Reports, Inc., one of the leading aircraft title and escrow services providers in the nation. The Oklahoma City-based company becomes AOPA’s third Strategic Partner, joining Enterprise (Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, Alamo Rent A Car) and Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co.

“The outstanding customer service that Aero-Space Reports delivers throughout an aircraft purchase process is exactly the type of experience we want to make more affordable for our members,” said Ed Thompson, AOPA vice president of corporate partnerships.

Aero-Space Reports is a family-owned business with deep roots in aviation. The company was founded in 1969 and taken over by Neal Snowden Sr. and his wife, Polly, a few years later. For the past 20 years, Neal Snowden Jr. and his wife, Vicki, have led Aero-Space Reports to become one of the industry’s most respected aircraft title and escrow services businesses.

“Aero-Space Reports could not be more excited about partnering with AOPA, an organization that clearly shares the same core values we strive to practice,” said Neal Snowden. “We understand aircraft purchases can be stressful, and AOPA members need and deserve a company they can trust. With a title search turnaround time of four hours, and never a charge for rush service, we feel confident Aero-Space Reports is the right company for the job.”


FAA application equals FAA investigation

by Kathy Yodice

The next time you submit an application to the FAA, you may be surprised, even alarmed, to receive written notification that you are under investigation. You may even be required to sign an official- looking form that is meant to prove that you received that notification. The reason for the change is simple, and it’s good for pilots. You will now be receiving a written notification of an investigation every time you apply for a certificate—including each time you visit your AME—under the newly enacted Pilot’s Bill of Rights.

President Barack Obama signed into law the Pilot’s Bill of Rights, legislation with the purpose of making changes to the FAA’s enforcement process to help put fairness back into that process. One of the changes made by the law requires that the FAA “provide timely, written notification to an individual who is the subject of an investigation relating to the approval, denial, suspension, modification, or revocation of an airman certificate.” Too often, an FAA inspector or an FAA air traffic controller would seek out a pilot to ask about a flight incident and the pilot would understandably respond, honestly and often with a lot of information that the FAA could use against the pilot. The pilot would not realize or understand that the FAA was investigating his or her conduct as a possible violation of the FAA’s regulations—nor would the pilot understand that there was often no obligation to provide the FAA with the information being requested.

The same reasoning holds true for an application being submitted to the FAA. When you sign any FAA application form, you are certifying that the information you have provided on the form is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge, and you are agreeing that the information may be used by the FAA to determine whether to issue the certificate or rating to you. The FAA fully expects you to be truthful and accurate and complete with the information that you provide. If you fail in this regard, and the FAA finds out about it, the FAA takes the ultimate sanction against you—revocation of all of the certificates you hold based on charges of intentional falsification. Providing false information on your application can subject you to criminal penalties, including jail time and hefty civil penalties. So, this new step of notifying you that you are under investigation in connection with your application is, in my view, an additional safeguard to remind you of the FAA’s expectation that you have read the questions on the application form, that you understand the reason for the questions, and that you answer each of the questions correctly to the best of your knowledge.

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.


Aftermath of Sandy’s wrath

by Janet Bressler

Many AOPA members are still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Damage was suffered by airports and aircraft throughout the superstorm’s path. All the aviation insurers have worked hard to handle the hundreds of reported claims of aircraft damage and destruction to airport property. And some have done so in the midst of experiencing damage to their offices and computer systems.

Sandy, like other major disasters, has brought out the best in people. We received reports of damage from airport personnel and aircraft maintenance providers on behalf of some of our policyholders that could not reach the airport to inspect their aircraft, and provided the needed detail for the owner to file a claim. Several posts on the AOPA forum by pilots asked how to safely transport gasoline in their aircraft to try and get resources to those in need. Others used their aircraft to survey shoreline areas of New Jersey and Long Island for damage and posted aerial photos and videos online.

As a former resident of both Long Island (Port Jefferson for you locals) and Philadelphia—with many summers spent on the shore in Jersey—I was horrified to see the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the especially hard-hit areas. It is heartwarming to see the aviation community reaching out to help one another.

Following a major natural disaster the first question we receive once the claims begin to subside is, “Will insurance rates go up?” To date, nearly all reports are indicating that the insurers and reinsurers should be able to manage the impact without significant rate changes. It is early, though, and the ultimate cost of Sandy to the insurance industry is still unknown.

If you suffered an aviation-related loss at the hands of Sandy, let your policy do its job for you now—and let us do our job for you at renewal time.

Best wishes for 2013 to everyone.

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 8 p.m. Eastern time every weekday. Call 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Eastern time, with your questions and our staff will be happy to assist you.

A lot has happened this year

Are your insurance policies overdue for their annual inspection? This past year has been eventful and, as it comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to review your insurance policies. Your coverage needs may have changed. You may even find that it’s time to shop around for better rates, as insurance prices are decreasing. Every pilot is unique. From life insurance underwriting to claims service, we know that there’s much more to you than can be captured by numbers on a chart. AOPA offers great rates on term life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, aircraft insurance, and more. And since they are AOPA certified, you won’t have to pay higher rates just for being a pilot. Make sure when you take your first flight of 2013, you can relax and enjoy the flight knowing that you’re covered by AOPA Insurance Services.


As Hurricane Sandy bore down on the Northeast, ASN volunteers at several airports in the region joined with other pilots at their airports to pull together assistance for impacted communities.

At Rhode Island’s Newport State Airport, ASN volunteer Graeme Smith reported that area businesses supported his appeal for help for storm victims he planned to reach on Staten Island and in New Jersey. Hoping for a few airplane loads of supplies, Smith received more than 12 airplaneloads of goods, requiring him to reach out to additional pilots to fly the supplies. Sixteen pilots flew a total of 23 missions in a staggering final total of 5,445 pounds of urgently needed supplies.

The Fitchburg Pilots Association in Massachusetts transported thousands of pounds of supplies to hurricane victims on Long Island.

Anyone who questions the value of GA and the network of community airports across the country should remember GA’s critical value in times of emergency, and the pilots who volunteer their time and aircraft.


Ambushed by ice

Pilot Dean Clark was on a flight he’d made hundreds of times. He knew the airplane well and there was no serious weather in the forecast.

But that didn’t keep him from coming close to being one of the 13 icing-related accidents that occur each year, on average, in general aviation aircraft.

Find out what happens in this latest Air Safety Institute Real Pilot Story. Listen as Clark tells the gripping story of his unexpected struggle in ice-filled clouds—enough ice to nearly bring down his Cessna 182.

The chilling tale will make you think twice before taking any risks with ice this winter. View aircraft photos taken after the flight, and review some critical facts before flying this winter.

Funding made possible by the Donner Canadian Foundation and the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association’s Flight Safety Foundation.

Debuts January 2013
What’s covered?

  • Challenging questions about specific VFR and IFR charts
  • Critical tie-ins with real-world procedures and decision making
  • Analysis of tragic accidents caused by chart misinterpretation
  • Important “gotchas” you need to be on the lookout for


Aging eyes

We take our vision for granted until something affects it. Your eyes, unfortunately, are not immune to the effects of aging. Cataracts and the ensuing surgery, and lens implants, are often a part of life. Even something as simple as getting new contact lenses could have an impact on your airman medical certification if the lenses are tinted, bifocal, or multifocal. Read about how changes in vision may affect your medical certificate, and what the FAA allows or disallows, in January’s Answers for Pilots.

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