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Membership News & NotesMembership News & Notes

What AOPA is doing to keep you flying.

AOPA Aviation Summit 2013

Three days, 100+ hours of education

Rod Machado

More than 100 hours of education are scheduled for AOPA Aviation Summit to be held in Fort Worth, Texas, October 10 through 12, 2013 (see “Summit Goes Southwestern,” page 78). Five easy-to-follow daily education tracks—Pilot Skills, Maintenance, Medical/Legal, Technology, and Leading Luminaries—have been designated. These tracks feature aviation experts such as John and Martha King, Michael Goulian, Adrian Eichhorn, Rod Machado, Tom Haines, Mike Busch, John Zimmerman, Adam Smith, Bruce Landsberg, and many more. AOPA Aviation Summit 2013 is the only place pilots have access to these experts in one location and can meet with them face to face.

Aircraft Buying Workshop—Tom Haines
In-Flight Video From A to Z—Dave Hirschman
Is Your Engine Healthy?—Mike Busch
Advanced iPad Flying—John Zimmerman
Top 20 Aviation Apps—Adam Smith

For a full listing of seminars, visit the website.

Pick your day

Planning to attend a day at AOPA Aviation Summit but not sure which day you can attend? Register now and choose the day you’ll attend later.



of AOPA members have been a member for more than 10 years.


AOPA makes financing easier for members

Airplane for saleAOPA has launched an expansive new aviation finance company that will give AOPA members greater access to lending options for aircraft purchases and avionics upgrades. The new service, AOPA Aviation Finance Company, LLC (AAF) will offer more flexible financing options through a collection of banks—rather than just one institution. This will allow AAF to identify the best loan options for members and ultimately deliver competitive terms for each aviation transaction. AAF will not be loaning money directly, but instead be acting as a broker. Notably, AAF also will help members obtain loans for aircraft that tend to be more difficult to finance, such as older, less-complex airplanes. AAF also will identify member loans for avionics upgrades.

While AOPA has offered aircraft finance services for nearly two decades, the new AAF arrangement using multiple banking partners identifies financing options for most types of aircraft at competitive rates and terms. It also offers members exceptional service and knowledgeable advice regarding aircraft loans.

AAF staff will support each AOPA member as a broker, walking them through the financing transaction. AAF will also provide faster time-to-ownership for members by providing quick decisions from established financing partners.


Aircraft title: What could possibly go wrong?

By Ron Golden, AOPA Pilot Protection Services

Those who are considering buying or selling an aircraft should be careful in all aspects of the transaction, including having a title search. It’s easy to become complacent or to be tempted to take a shortcut to save time and money. Although it’s often not a problem, once in a while the title search comes back to bite us.

Consider this experience: The pilot purchased his first aircraft when it was less than a year old, had been used as a demonstrator for 50 hours, and was owned by an aircraft dealership. He paid cash for the aircraft. Since he paid cash, no bank required a title search, and he did not request one. After all, it was a nearly brand-new airplane with no prior owners and purchased directly from the dealer. What could possibly go wrong?

The pilot had owned the aircraft for nearly 14 years when he decided to sell it so he could buy another aircraft. The prospective purchaser asked that he request a title search on the aircraft. The seller gladly complied. He certainly did not expect to find a problem.

The title search showed a dealer financing lien that a bank had recorded with the FAA before the pilot purchased the aircraft. Not only was it very embarrassing, but getting the lien released was not so simple. The bank had gone out of business and its assets had been acquired by another bank. Eventually, the lien was cleared, but not before the title company made several comments about how much simpler it would have been if the pilot had done a title search before purchasing the aircraft. Even worse, it held up the sale for several months.

So remember, always get a title search when buying an aircraft. Make sure the seller actually owns clear title to it. Once you buy it, the aircraft’s problems become your problems.

Fortunately, AOPA Legal Services Plan/Pilot Protection Services can help. Included in the plan is consultation on the sale and purchase of aircraft. The staff can help you find a legal services plan panel attorney in your state to assist you with the transaction. In addition, AOPA has a strategic partner who can also help: Aero-Space Reports is a one-stop shop for aircraft title search, title insurance, escrow, or other related services you might need. The experienced and dedicated staff is an excellent resource for advice as well as all your aircraft title services.

Ron Golden is an attorney with 30 years of legal experience and is legal counsel to AOPA. He has been a pilot since 1975 and owns a Cessna Cardinal RG.

AOPA Pilot Protection Services guards both your pilot and medical certificates to protect your freedom to fly.


Obtaining quotes to insure your aircraft

By Brenda J. Jennings, Senior Vice President, AOPA Insurance Agency

A trick of the trade is that when requesting quotes, never rely solely on the application to present your information. A follow-up phone call with the insurance broker is the best method for getting the best coverage, particularly if you’re a new pilot, insuring a new type of airplane, or plan on flying to new places. You want to discuss:

  • Who are the pilots who will be flying the aircraft, even if they’re not going to start flying until later into the policy year? This is important so you don’t choose an insurer that won’t cover the additional pilot downstream (such as a student or transitional pilot).
  • Is your use of the aircraft going to change beyond your own personal use? Rental or instruction? Aerial photo work?
  • Are you planning a trip down to Argentina or up to Greenland this year? Make sure you mention these details so you avoid insurance surprises later on.
  • Will you be refinancing this year? Lienholder coverage can vary slightly between carriers, so learn the potential impact on you.
  • Are you adding an aircraft or replacing your current one with something different?
  • When requesting your hull coverage, be sure you consider the amount of your lien, if applicable. Sometimes this is the key factor in your hull value decision.
  • While liability limits are typically left up to the discretion of the aircraft owner, if you have a hangar lease or other contractual requirement, you need to consider those in addition to your own personal needs.
  • If you’ll ever rent your aircraft, another contract to review is the rental agreement. Understand what you’ve agreed to with the FBO and how your insurance policy may or may not protect you.

Brenda J. Jennings is an aviation insurance professional with 35 years of experience.


Air Safety Institute: Improving Runway Safety

General aviation pilots of all experience and certificate levels account for the majority of runway incursions each year, causing airport surface accidents and incidents because of a single miscalculation or a host of slip-ups coming together at the wrong time: Communication mistakes, unfamiliarity with an airport layout or its operations, poor weather, and pilot inattentiveness—to name a few culprits—can wreak havoc, often leading to mangled aircraft, possibly injuries, even death.

How can we improve our chances of avoiding such calamities? A simple process that calls for sterile cockpit procedures and completing checklists before moving on the airport surface area pays dividends in better situational awareness during taxi, takeoff, and landing. But safe runway operations also require improved communication among pilots, air traffic control, and ground vehicle crews.

Especially at unfamiliar airports, it is important to be extra vigilant about proper communication and visually clearing the area, be it during approach, takeoff, or taxi. And, as much as electronic airport diagrams help us navigate unfamiliar taxiways at larger airports, it also means we may be heads down for a prolonged time watching our aircraft move along the cockpit display, oblivious to what’s going on outside the cockpit window.

The Air Safety Institute has pulled together a host of safety exclusives online. It includes ASI’s Runway Safety online course produced with the support of the FAA’s Office of Runway Safety, runway safety flash cards, Ask ATC videos, and safety quizzes, including one on airport signs and markings.

Take a look at this ASI video reenactment of a deadly runway accident at Quincy, Illinois, caused by a major communication breakdown between two aircraft on the ground and a regional airliner inbound for landing.

Aquatic hitchhikers can be a pest

SeaplaneSeaplane pilots care about the environment, especially the waterways they depend upon for their aircraft. But aquatic nuisance species are threatening the health and recreational use of lakes. To help stem the tide of these encroaching pests, the Air Safety Institute, in collaboration with the Seaplane Pilots Association, created a video to help train seaplane pilots on how to properly inspect and clean their aircraft of these aquatic nuisances—and how to avoid them altogether. Watch How to Stop the Spread of Invasive Species by Seaplane, and take the quiz to show you’re doing your part to avoid transporting these aquatic hitchhikers.

ASI launches its new online FIRC on July 1

If you’re a flight instructor in need of certificate renewal or a pilot interested in honing skills and learning new material at a CFI level, you’ll want to attend the Air Safety Institute’s new online flight instructor refresher program coming July 1. As always, you can attend an in-person FIRC and receive an exclusive ASI Flash Drive, which includes FAR/AIM Handbooks, an endorsement guide, practical test standards, ASI’s CFI to CFI digital newsletter, and AOPA’s Flight Training Field Guides. Additionally, ASI handles all 8710 paperwork and processing for both in-person and online FIRCs.

Did you know you can donate your airworthy airplane to the AOPA Foundation? Bypass the hassle of selling and gain a tax benefit, while fueling GA’s future with your donation.


What AOPA is doing to keep you flying

Remove obsolete questions. The Airman Testing Standards and Training working group, co-chaired by AOPA, is working on airman certification standards and recommendations for updating handbooks and overhauling test question development. The group published for comment in the Federal Register the initial standards for the private pilot certificate and instrument rating. The group also recommends the FAA remove obsolete questions from the FAA knowledge exams. The questions reference terms of technologies that have become obsolete.

Reform Part 23. Members of the U.S. House introduced legislation that would set a deadline for the FAA to act on the Part 23 Aviation Rulemaking Committee’s recommendations for less costly and safer aircraft certification procedures. The reorganization would provide a regulatory environment that benefits new and existing aircraft by removing barriers to investment in new designs by manufacturers, and by making vital safety equipment available to existing aircraft without prohibitive costs now involved.

Defer to the FAA, AOPA says. Five senators have asked the FCC drop its proposal to ban 121.5 MHz ELTs. The proposal would cost aircraft owners more than $500 million on technology that would become obsolete once the FAA implements NextGen. The senators called on the FCC to “immediately abandon” its pursuit of an ELT rule change and defer to the FAA on matters concerning the National Airspace System.

Understanding accident causes. AOPA met with staff from the NTSB Office of Aviation Safety, asking for improved accident investigations in order to better understand the cause of general aviation accidents. A three-step process—obtaining better understanding, identifying prevention strategies, and getting the word out to the community—has been adopted by the board and the FAA/Industry General Aviation Joint Steering Committee.

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 6, 2013, at the headquarters of AOPA, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland, 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.—John S. Yodice, Secretary


AOPA Airport Volunteers reach critical milestones

2,517 volunteers in the Airport Support Network

AOPA's Airport Support Network staffAOPA’s Airport Support Network, long the linchpin in the association’s local advocacy program, has recently marked two important waypoints in its drive to protect the nation’s nearly 5,200 public use airports. At a ceremony at the association’s Frederick, Maryland, headquarters, AOPA President Craig Fuller announced that the ASN program had reached an all-time high of more than 2,500 airports with an ASN volunteer—and that Virginia had become the first state in the nation to have an ASN volunteer in place at each of its 66 public-use airports. Nationwide, there are now 2,517 volunteers in the ASN.

AOPA launched the network in 1997, seeking out an AOPA member at each public-use airport to give the organization an early warning system for local issues of concern to general aviation. “We have a force that is really unlike any other,” said Fuller, speaking of AOPA’s advocacy on behalf of airports. “Part of that is this amazing network of airport support volunteers.”

Fuller also honored the work of Virginia Aviation Director Randall Burdette (center in photo)—himself a former ASN volunteer—in helping achieve the strategic goal. AOPA’s ASN program offers local pilots an opportunity to work with the association to protect their own airport, through training courses, AOPA-produced guides and other resources, and dedicated staff assistance.


Be one of the 50 percent

Enroll in the automatic annual renewal program

What’s the number-one thing more than 50 percent of AOPA members have in common? They don’t receive renewal notices in the mail. If you’ve already signed up for AOPA’s automatic annual renewal program, you know what we’re talking about. You enjoy no bills, invoices, or checks to write and you have the peace of mind knowing your membership is always current.

Plus, when you enroll in the program, you’ll get a $4 discount on your AOPA membership dues and will receive five additional entries into the AOPA Debonair Sweepstakes, increasing your chances of winning the sweepstakes airplane—a completely refurbished 1963 Beechcraft Debonair B33.

You’ll also get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re saving your association money and doing something good for the environment by eliminating the need to send renewal notices and forms. And what’s even better, the money AOPA saves by sending fewer renewal mailings goes directly to providing you with more benefits, services, and advocacy to protect your freedom to fly.

Enroll in AOPA’s automatic annual renewal program by going online, calling AOPA’s member services staff at 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672), or by checking the automatic annual renewal option on your renewal form. The credit card you provide will be charged once a year, in your renewal month, and you’ll receive an automatic confirmation from AOPA. Your transaction is secure, and you can cancel at any time.

Visit the website to learn about upgrading to the AOPA Plus membership.


Flying to the Bahamas: What a getaway!

Flying over the BahamasIf you are thinking of flying to the Bahamas this summer, you can find the information you need for flight planning and trip preparation on AOPA’s website. You will find important local information posted at the top of the page with links for details. For instance, at the time of this writing, Nassau (MYNN) had issued notams for temporary runway closures because of maintenance. Read more in July’s Answers for Pilots. Questions? Call the aviation specialists in AOPA’s Pilot Information Center, 800-USA-AOPA, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 pm.


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

Call 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672)

Call 800/955-9115

Call 800/638-3101

Call 800/523-7666

Call 800/62-PLANE (75263)

Call 800/622-AOPA (622-2672)

Call 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672)

Call 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672)

Call 866-315-9155

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.

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