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The 2013 AOPA Aviation Summit will be held October 10-12 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Sitting down with Adam Smith
In 2012, AOPA founded the Center to Advance the Pilot Community, or CAPComm, to reverse the shrinking pilot population. This group has taken over all of AOPA’s initiatives that deal with flight training. Adam Smith, formerly of EAA, was tapped to run the new group. We sat down with Smith to discuss CAPComm and its plans.
What is CAPComm? It gathers all of AOPA’s initiatives to first halt and then turn around the decline in the pilot population we’ve experienced over the past 30 years. CAPComm is not a short-term fix or marketing program. It’s a serious structural change for serious problems.
What sort of major programs will CAPComm be working on? We have three primary initiatives in the first year: flight training, flying clubs, and what I’m calling pilot activation. We will continue the work of the Flight Training Initiative to get after the poor completion rate. We hope to grow the number of flying clubs in this country, and we are going to try to increase the retention rate of aviation.
What part do flying clubs play in this? We want to take them from being part of a subculture to the mainstream of aviation. The concept should be on par with owning or renting. A compelling mix of affordability and community. And we know where there is community, there is stickiness.
What are your goals for flying clubs? We want to increase the number of flying clubs from 650 today to 1,000 in five years. We will create 2,600 new pilots per year with that initiative if successful.
What is pilot activation? Success is not only bringing new people into aviation, but also how well you keep them. Any business that serves customers has a lapsed customer base. We think there are 500,000 lapsed pilots in the United States. They’ve gone through the trouble to get a certificate but then they stop flying. Over five years we hope to improve the retention rate by 1 percent. That’s a total of 5,000 people who rejoin aviation.
What do you see as the easiest and most difficult of these initiatives? Flying clubs are easiest. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. I’m challenged by flight training. Some people aren’t on board. There is so much variation in flight training, from the individual instructor with no airplane to the big flight training academy.
Tyler Hoppe of Cocoa, Florida, joined AOPA AV8RS because he wanted to share his passion of flight with other like-minded teens. “In this town, I’m seriously like the only kid who loves aviation,” he says.
Hoppe says he plans to pursue aviation as both a career and hobby. He is looking at possible careers as an air traffic controller or A&P mechanic.
AOPA AV8RS is about introducing our teen members to the many career opportunities in aviation and aerospace. It’s about providing them with resources to pursue their dream of becoming a professional pilot, an aerospace engineer, air traffic controller, airport manager, or aircraft mechanic.
AOPA AV8RS is also about community. It’s about playing a key part in our association as our future leaders. It’s about belonging to a community of pilots and aviation enthusiasts that’s nearly 400,000 strong. And it’s about exchanging ideas, dreams, interests, experiences—and more—with other AOPA AV8RS across the country thanks to social media and a very active community.
Support a teen with an interest in aviation. Encourage him or her to enroll in an AOPA AV8RS membership, free to teens ages 14 through 18.
Not out of the wood$ yet
As state budgets begin to recover and even states like California—which didn’t float off into the ocean from financial ruin after all as some had prognosticated—are looking at possible surpluses, AOPA will seize on this thawed climate to go after some new proactive measures this year, including securing more steady and stable state funding for GA airports and facilities. However, legislators have snapped us back to reality with the introduction of legislation to again try and repeal vital tax exemptions for GA. While the financial crisis exacerbated the vigor with which certain legislators singled out GA as a juicy target for revenue from the “wealthy” this misperception of GA persists. And, evidently, we will continue to see legislation such as the recently filed Massachusetts H.D.353, seeking to repeal the sales and use tax exemption for GA aircraft in the state. We’re still a target, recession or not. So as the state legislative sessions carry on, we will work as hard in defending beneficial GA laws already “on the books” as we will in pursuing new measures—because they all matter as we work to defend the future of GA.
Starting with the good news first, as state budgets have improved, so has AOPA’s ability to pursue more proactive fiscal legislative initiatives. Michigan H.B.4025 was positive for GA in the state because it captured a larger, dedicated share of GA tax revenue to reinvest back into aeronautics, and—just as significantly—changed the conversation among officials from
insisting on increasing GA taxation to raise revenue to instead focusing on better, more effective allocation of existing revenue.
Just two years ago, on the eve of AOPA’s summit in Hartford, Connecticut, a drastic budget shortfall led even the well-intentioned and historically GA-friendly Connecticut legislature to consider significant taxes on GA in a desperate bid to raise revenue. Connecticut H.B.6387—which would have established a hefty new personal property tax on all GA aircraft in the state—came into play as a vital revenue piece as part of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s first budget upon taking office. Had it not been defeated, even single-engine piston owners were facing several thousand dollars in new annual personal property taxes.
Although a few years have passed since its introduction, the infamous Illinois H.B.451 still serves as the epitome of “ugly” GA legislation that arose out of the confluence of the recession and the escalation of attacks on GA shortly after the “big three” auto executives made headlines. Illinois H.B.451 would have imposed an additional 5-percent luxury tax (on top of the state’s general 7.5-percent sales tax) on a list of luxury items including fur coats, fine jewelry, and…a Cessna 182. The bill classified all GA aircraft as luxury items and, if not defeated, would have slapped a $7,000-plus tax bill on the 182—and thousands more on GA aircraft in the state.
AOPA’s Airport Support Network volunteers play a critical role in protecting their airports. They also play an important role in helping AOPA staff develop the association’s positions on a wide range of federal and state aviation policies.
AOPA calls on ASN volunteers to weigh in on state aviation system plans, federal and state actions that would affect access to backcountry airstrips or seaplane landing sites, and FAA advisory circulars. AOPA also has gathered volunteer experiences to help the FAA learn about the effects on airports of energy-producing facilities, and to encourage dramatic revision of the residential through-the-fence policy. AOPA staff are able to take those experiences and shape policy positions grounded in real-world aviation.
Recently, the FAA invited AOPA to participate in the second phase of its ASSET study, which attempts to categorize all federally funded GA airports in order to better tell their stories to the nation. Since the first round of the ASSET study left some 400 airports uncategorized, AOPA will be calling on volunteers at nearly half of those airports to help explain their role to the FAA.
AOPA’s ASN volunteers think beyond their own airport’s fence to help their association effectively engage in aviation policy making at every level.
Want to see how you can help at your airport and beyond? Visit the website to learn how.
By Warren Silberman, D.O.
AOPA Pilot Protection Services
When you develop a medical condition, take care of yourself and do what your physicians recommend. When you have time, start learning all you can about what I call the “aeromedical” aspects of your condition. Visit the AOPA Medical Certification website and see if your condition is listed there. You also should visit the FAA website and see what you can learn.
If the condition you developed resulted in a hospitalization, you need to obtain the admission history and physical examination; the hospital discharge summary; any pertinent X-ray/scan reports; operative reports, if you had surgery; and pathology reports, if any tissue(s) were removed. Check with AOPA to see if the FAA has a mandatory recovery or grounding period. You then need to collect the documents, evaluations, and testing that you will need to present to the FAA to demonstrate your current status. Anything current cannot be more than 90 days old when you mail your case to the FAA. Depending on the condition, these tests/evaluations can be performed toward the end of the grounding period.
Whatever testing you need to obtain should be done exactly as the FAA requests it. If your physician suggests a different test than the FAA wants, or he/she wants to perform it a different way, check with the FAA first. Failure to follow the FAA’s suggestion may well result in a denial—and the need to repeat the testing as the FAA desired.
Make copies of everything you send to the FAA. It is wise to send a short cover letter that explains what happened to you and that you are providing these records/tests. Tell the FAA what class medical certificate you desire.
The FAA will not review a case unless you have a current aviation medical examination on file. The medical examination can be for any class. If you have a second class medical certificate that, because of its age, has lapsed to third class, this is still OK—you still have what is considered an active examination.
Dr. Warren Silberman is the former manager of FAA Aerospace Medical Certification and a doctor of osteopathic medicine.
Learn more about AOPA Pilot Protection Services.
It was August, and Loretta and Michael decided on a short vacation in Chicago. At their hotel, Loretta was coming downstairs into the lobby. She held on to the banister, but she slipped on the last three stairs, and fell awkwardly. The pain was excruciating. Loretta knew she had broken something and it was bad.
Loretta was taken to a local hospital. X-rays showed she had broken her femur—one of the largest and strongest bones in the body—and needed immediate surgery.
Michael called AOPA Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+). The EA+ medical support team checked on Loretta’s condition and the treatment she was receiving. It was decided that it would be best for them to fly home so she could recuperate there. The healing would take several weeks, if not months.
“Having EA+ was wonderful. EA+ made all the arrangements to get us home,” said Loretta. EA+ paid for the tickets and made sure there was a wheelchair waiting at every stop. And EA+ called Michael every day to ask how Loretta was doing.
Loretta was certain that without AOPA EA+, they would have had a lot more aggravation. There were plans to be made to get home; reservations to be canceled, others to make; tickets to buy. Loretta was convinced that EA+ got better seats for them on the flight home than if they had to book themselves. Plus, she had the comforting sense they were being looked after.
If you ask Loretta whether everyone should get EA+, she answers, “Definitely. We’ve already recommended it to customers and friends. You don’t want to be without it.”
Learn more about the Emergency Assistance Plus Program.
Imagine you had to pay for every touch and go, every flight plan filed, every landing made. Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? What if general aviation as we know it ceased to exist? What if GA in the United States began to crumble and emulate GA in Europe? Wake up and end the nightmare by supporting the AOPA Foundation mission.
As a tax-exempt charitable organization, the AOPA Foundation works to improve aviation safety through the Air Safety Institute, preserve community airports, and encourage learning to fly for career and personal benefit—all in the interest of ensuring the future of GA in America.
The AOPA Foundation provides a variety of unique philanthropic opportunities for individuals to support enthusiasm while safeguarding general aviation’s future in a way that meets their needs. For as little as $10 a month, you can join the AOPA Foundation’s Monthly Giving Program and be at the forefront by keeping pilots safe while safeguarding the future of GA. As a participant in the monthly giving program, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that each month, you are making a contribution to support the freedoms pilots hold dear. It’s easy to budget and you can change your pledge amount or cancel at any time.
The charitable IRA rollover provision was enacted in 2006 as part of the Pension Protection Act and was extended with the recently signed American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The measure allows individuals age 70 and one-half or older to donate up to $100,000 from their individual retirement accounts to public charities such as the AOPA Foundation without having to count the qualified charitable distribution (QCD) as taxable income. If you are looking for a way to give back to general aviation, consider satisfying your 2013 IRA required minimum distribution by donating to the AOPA Foundation. If you or your advisor would like to receive IRA gift information, please contact Stephanie Kenyon at 301-695-2088 or email [email protected].
Air Safety Institute report examines research on older pilots
There’s no denying it: The pilot population is growing older. It’s a shift that poses real challenges for the industry, and raises important questions about GA safety. And eventually the question arises whether you should be flying the same way you did when you were younger. How much does aging impact pilot performance? Does it affect certain skills more than others? And what’s the bottom-line impact on safety?
If you’re young at heart but concerned about the effect of aging on your flying ability and safety, examine the Air Safety Institute’s new report, Aging and the General Aviation Pilot: Research and Recommendations . The study looks to the past 20 years’ worth of scientific research on older pilots for answers. Based on a review of more than 30 published studies, the report summarizes both the overall impact of age, and effective ways pilots can minimize or delay any negative effects.
One of the key research insights reveals that different pilots experience the aging process very differently. In some respects this is an oversimplification, but it also reflects a basic truth we see around us in our daily lives: There is chronological age, and there is “true age”—and the two do not always correspond.
In the Air Safety Institute’s latest Real Pilot Story, Vancouver native Bryan Webster recounts a wild flight as a passenger in a Cessna 150—one that had him go from normal to unconscious in an inverted, flooded cockpit in 15 seconds flat. He also shares some of the extensive knowledge he’s amassed while training more than 5,000 people in water egress techniques. Hear the rest of the story, and find out what should be on your mind before your next overwater flight.
Produced with the generous support of the COPA Flight Safety Foundation and Donner Canadian Foundation.
Visit the website for dates and locations near you.
By Janet C. Bressler
President, AOPA Insurance Services
We all purchase insurance with the hope we’ll never have to use it because of an aircraft accident. But if a misjudgment, mechanical problem, or old-fashioned bad luck should come your way and result in a broken aircraft (at best) or injured people (at worst), there are some immediate basics to always keep in mind:
When reporting an incident, this list of quick questions will cover what’s needed to begin the claim process:
Who: Names and contact information for everyone involved (pilots, passengers, aircraft owners, FBOs), anyone injured, and any witnesses.
What: Aircraft details (registration number, year/make/model), vehicle details (VIN number, description).
Where: Location of the accident and location of the aircraft if it was necessary to remove it from the scene.
When: Date and time of accident.
Why: Details of the accident including description of damage to your aircraft and any other property damage, and general condition of any injured parties.
How: How should the claims adjuster contact you? Provide multiple phone numbers, if possible, with the primary indicated and an email.
A great way to gather information in today’s world is by taking photos with your phone. Capture pictures of the scene, aircraft damage, vehicle plates, anything related to the accident or incident. Your insurance broker is there to assist you throughout the claim process, so my last piece of advice is to make good use of that resource to get back into the air as quickly as possible.
Janet C. Bressler is a private pilot and aviation insurance professional.
Visit the AOPA Insurance Services website.
With all the government talk about the fiscal cliff and looming budget problems, have there been any changes that may affect aircraft owners for the 2012 tax year? Read more in this month’s Answers for Pilots.