AOPA members need to keep calling their elected officials and asking them to co-sponsor the Pilots Bill of Rights 2 (PBR2), said AOPA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Jim Coon.
“Call your congressmen and call your senators and get them on this bill,” Coon said. “In Washington, you’ve got to keep your issue on the table. There are thousands and thousands of issues, and I’ve got to give credit to our members for keeping this on the table. It’s impressive.”
Coon noted that in mid-July PBR2 had about 28 co-sponsors in the Senate, but following an AOPA call to action, that number rose to 57. Coon said 60 Senate co-sponsors is a magic number—“Sixty votes can stop debate,” he said. But, “Don’t think that once we get to 60 we’re done. We need as many as we can get.”
AOPA will get third class medical reform language through the legislature any way it can. “We’re going to try to attach third class medical reform to any bill that’s moving,” Coon said. “We’re going to try to attach it to the FAA reauthorization. We’re going to try to pass it standalone. We’re going to look for every single opportunity.”
Coon said of the Air Line Pilots Association International’s (ALPA) decision to oppose third class medical reform that AOPA will sit down with ALPA leaders and “get them back on the reservation.”
AOPA President Mark Baker met with ALPA President Tim Canoll in July to discuss the group’s opposition to the bill. Following the meeting, Baker expressed his disappointment with ALPA’s position.
“We’re going to do whatever it takes to get medical reform and we won’t let anyone stand in our way,” said Baker. “ALPA’s decision to oppose medical reform is out of step with the rest of the aviation community, Congress, and many of its members. I’m hearing daily from ALPA members who feel betrayed that the association they count on to represent their professional interests has taken a position that’s so contrary to their own feelings and that could do so much harm to the aviation community as a whole.”
“I want members to understand that, in the political process, it takes months and a lot of discussions and education of members of Congress,” Coon said. “But we’re working this every single day and we’re making progress—there’s no doubt about it.”
DETAILS: 20,000 people have signed the AOPA petition in support of third class medical reform.
The hunt for one or more unleaded replacements for avgas is on target, the Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI) Steering Group said recently.
The PAFI Steering Group, which includes AOPA, gathered in Atlantic City, New Jersey. During the meeting the group received a high-level update on the progress of initial testing of potential replacement fuels for leaded avgas.
To establish a baseline for comparison, scientists are using a mix of lab and fit-for-purpose rig tests. Among the areas being tested for each potential replacement fuel are toxicity; low temperature fuel flow; storage stability under a variety of conditions; and compatibility with materials used in aircraft, such as fuel bladders, fabrics, and metals.
In September 2014, the FAA selected four unleaded aviation fuels to undergo Phase 1 testing. Two fuels developed by Swift Fuels and one fuel each developed by Shell and TOTAL are now being tested, a process that is expected to be complete by late 2015. The most promising fuels will then go to Phase 2 testing in engines and aircraft. The FAA has said it hopes to have an unleaded replacement for avgas certified by 2018, and the program is on target to reach that goal.
The fuels were submitted for consideration through PAFI, a joint industry-government effort to facilitate the development and deployment of a new unleaded avgas that will meet the needs of the existing piston-engine aircraft fleet.
AOPA is working with the FAA, military, and industry groups to refine the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) area that covers the Knik Glacier, northeast of Anchorage. The group is recommending boundaries for the use of the frequency, as well as a set of VFR reporting points to help pilots maintain situational awareness in the area. Minor revisions are being made to Mat Su CTAF zones established in May 2014. Pilots are encouraged to pick up a copy of the current zones, which should be available in September.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a bill to ensure money collected from excise taxes on aviation will fund state grants to airports. AOPA worked closely with the Washington Pilots Association and members of the Washington Senate General Aviation Caucus to win support for S.B.6057. Wyoming hosted the gathering of the Young Presidents’ Organization at Alpine Airport. AOPA President Mark Baker and Editor in Chief Tom Haines were among the speakers at the gathering of successful young business leaders and pilots.
AOPA Regional Manager Melissa McCaffrey visited with California lawmakers to encourage them to become part of the state’s General Aviation Caucus. The bipartisan group was launched in January to focus on issues related to GA and its role in the state’s economy and transportation system. AOPA Ambassador Kay Sundaram hosted a Rusty Pilots program at Fullerton Municipal Airport; at Van Nuys Airport Sundaram is helping to launch a new 501(c)(7) flying club using technically advanced aircraft.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed GA-friendly bills providing $84 million to support and promote GA airports for the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years. AOPA Regional Manager Yasmina Platt attended the Louisiana Airport Managers and Associates conference. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed H.B.517, which includes a fly-away exemption on state sales and use tax for aircraft purchased by out-of-state residents.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a $71 billion budget increasing airport infrastructure funds to $6 million. The Lake in the Woods County Board has approved an AOPA-backed resolution formally selecting a site for a new GA airport in the remote northern Minnesota area known as the Northwest Angle. AOPA Regional manager Bryan Budds is urging support for Michigan legislation supporting GA. H.B.4727 would require the marking of meteorological evaluation towers, and establish a revenue stream for airport improvements.
Pilots in Florida are getting help from AOPA Ambassador Jamie Beckett to form flying clubs. Beckett helped launch the Central Florida Flying Club in Winter Haven. He is working with aviators in Lakeland, Plant City, Deland, Vero Beach, and Panama City to form new flying clubs. AOPA, Florida Aviation Business Association, and the Florida Airports Council are working to establish a GA Caucus in the state legislature. In South Carolina, AOPA took part in the Southeast Aviation Expo.
More than 200 Cub Scouts spent five days at AOPA headquarters this summer for “Take Flight 2015,” a summer camp focused on discovering different facets of aviation. Scouts came from Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Massachusetts’ Chatham Municipal Airport strengthened its ties with the surrounding community at a summer airport open house that attracted nearly 900 people. Airport supporters said the turnout was especially gratifying following years of contentious battles over noise at the airport.
AOPA Ambassador Kay Sundaram presented information about AOPA’s You Can Fly program to the Palomar (California) Ninety-Nines, Palomar Airport Association, and students at Palomar Community College.
By Jared M. Allen
A tip for airmen who may operate an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for hobby or recreational use: if you face an FAA enforcement action arising from UAS operations, the FAA may consider your status as a certificate holder to warrant a harsher civil penalty, or even certificate action.
While the hobby or recreational use of a UAS does not currently require the operator to hold any FAA-issued certificate or rating, the FAA may still pursue enforcement action against those operating a UAS who endanger the safety of the National Airspace System.
Regardless of whether a person subject to such an enforcement action is an airman, the FAA may impose a civil penalty as a sanction for an alleged violation of an operational FAR. For example, the FAA assessed a civil penalty in the amount of $10,000 on the individual for the careless or reckless operation of an unmanned aircraft.
However, the FAA may seek an increased civil penalty against an airman because of his or her status as a certificate holder. According to the FAA Compliance and Enforcement Program (FAA Order 2150.3B), a “certificate holder should appreciate the potential for endangerment that operating a UAS contrary to the FAA’s safety regulations may cause.” Therefore, an airman’s “status as a certificate holder is an aggravating factor that may warrant a civil penalty above the moderate range for a single, first-time, inadvertent violation.”
If the FAA alleges “deliberate, egregious violation” of a FAR by an airman during UAS operations, then the airman may face certificate action in addition to a civil penalty. Significantly, the FAA may take such action “regardless of whether the certificate holder is exercising the privileges of the certificate in connection with the violations associated with a UAS operation.”
In light of this FAA enforcement guidance, any airman faced with a potential FAR violation arising from the operation of a UAS should consult with an attorney as soon as possible, and consider whether it is appropriate to file a report with NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS).
Jared M. Allen is an aviation attorney and an instrument rated private pilot.
When negotiating the price of an airplane, it’s easy to get so caught up on the purchase price and getting the best deal that other costs associated with aircraft ownership get neglected. It’s in your best interest to negotiate hard on the purchase price—several thousand dollars either way can make a huge difference to your wallet. But don’t let that one price blind you to what other costs await you when you take that airplane home.
Whether you buy a new or used airplane, expenses can be high with either. If you buy a new airplane, the equipment is more sophisticated and complex—therefore, it can be more expensive to maintain. The same is true with a preowned airplane: older airplanes may need more maintenance.
The costs associated with an airplane can be divided into fixed and variable items. Fixed costs are those that can be negotiated once and will be in place for a year. Examples of fixed costs may be your aircraft payment, hangar rental, or your aircraft insurance premium. Those fixed costs are easy to put into a budget.
Variable costs change from month to month and are sometimes difficult to estimate. Some examples of variable costs are cleaning the airplane, flight training, and fuel.
Of all the variable costs, maintenance is the most difficult to estimate. You have scheduled maintenance—your annual—and other unscheduled maintenance events that will take place during the year. No two aircraft are the same so you’ll need to budget a contingency fund for unexpected trips to the mechanic.
Putting together all these numbers will give you a headstart and a realistic view of aircraft ownership. And don’t forget you’ll still need $100 in the food budget. You have to pay for that hamburger every pilot seeks.
Considering aircraft ownership? AOPA Aviation Finance will make your purchase experience as smooth as possible. For information about aircraft financing, please visit the website or call 800-62-PLANE (75263).
Celebrate your freedom to fly with the 2016 AOPA Foundation calendar that includes spectacular aviation images from cover to cover. Reserve your copy today by donating to the AOPA Foundation.
At 1:30 p.m. on January 13, 2013, Piper Arrow N4975S departed on a routine flight from Sandersville, Georgia, to Delaware’s Summit Airport where the pilot—a prominent cardiologist—was scheduled to perform surgery in nearby Dover the following morning.
Although low instrument weather was widespread across the Mid-Atlantic region, conditions were forecast to improve by the time the 600-hour private pilot—who was instrument rated and current—had planned to arrive at his destination. With more than five hours of fuel on board, N4975S seemed well-prepared for the three-hour-and-45-minute flight.
But the first sign of trouble emerged three hours and twenty minutes into the flight: During the initial approach at the destination the weather had not improved as expected, so the pilot decided to divert to an alternate; yet, one hour after the flight’s original ETA, the Arrow still had not landed and its pilot, who by now was surely fatigued flying solo in instrument weather conditions at night, continued pressing on into the darkness.
Come along with the Air Safety Institute on this ill-fated flight to unravel the pilot’s unfortunate decisions and reflect on the lessons we can learn from it (www.airsafetyinstitute.org/acs-finalapproach). Flight simulation and actual air traffic control audio help reconstruct the flight’s troublesome chain of events and remind us of the importance of obtaining in-flight weather updates, selecting appropriate alternates, and recognizing and conveying an emergency—and not wait until it’s too late.
Whether you like to plan a VFR flight using paper and pencil, a personal computer, or a mobile device, you still need to interpret the sectional chart and understand the basics of cross-country flight planning.
How sharp are you when it comes to planning a VFR cross-country flight? Do you know the meaning of chart symbols and airspace, and are you up to date on general good-to-know information found on a sectional chart? Will you recognize where to get fuel or if the airport lighting system is pilot-controlled? Are you able to identify terrain and obstacle heights?
Before embarking on your next long cross-country trip, test your skills with this hypothetical 350-nautical-mile VFR flight from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, to Festus, Missouri.
Nathan Parker, who flies his Cessna 152 in Northern California, is the second-quarter winner of the Air Safety Institute’s “Learn and Earn Safety Challenge.” Parker, who said he likes AOPA’s educational online programs because they keep his mind in aviation mode, won a Stratus 2 Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast receiver from Sporty’s Pilot Shop.
Parker got into flying around 2000. Now the Corning, California, pilot flies his Cessna 152 around the north of the state and sometimes uses it to get away for a day or two with his wife. The two-seater can turn a four- or five-hour car ride to the coast into about a one-hour trip, he said. “I love my little 152. It’s a lot of fun and is not that expensive to own or operate.”
Are you ready to win? Enter the “Learn and Earn Safety Challenge” for a chance to win each time you complete a free online safety course, Real Pilots Story, or Accident Case Study. Visit the website for complete rules and additional details. The challenge runs through December 31.
AOPA member transitions from renter to owner insurance
James Vest started working on his private certificate in 1986. Juggling college and work, he managed to get enough hours to solo, then do his solo cross-country. He passed his written test and was getting close to his checkride. Unfortunately work and college took over most of his time and he stopped flying.
Fast-forward 23 years, and the flying bug bit him again. For the past 21 years, he’s been working for the Illinois State Police and he is continuing to rise within the department. He started studying for his knowledge test and returned to flying lessons. “I was surprised at how much I retained in relation to flying and was able to take off and land myself the first time out—with an instructor right next to me, of course.” He progressed with training and moved through solo and cross-countries.
“The weather and scheduling with my instructor turned out to be a challenge and I ultimately made the decision to attend a flight school in Florida. The weather was better and I could fly multiple times a day,” he says. His checkride went well and he got his ticket. “The next day I took my first passenger and significant other, Angie, for a ride. Upon returning to Illinois, I immediately started looking for an airplane to purchase.” After a year of searching, he found a Cessna 182 in Ohio and brought the airplane home in July 2014.
When Vest purchased his airplane, he was already a customer—of AOPA Renters Insurance. “I chose AOPA originally as a renter because the rate seemed very good. When I purchased my aircraft, I stayed with AOPA because they had the best rates for me on my aircraft.”
Whatever you fly, AOPA Insurance has the right policy for your new aircraft. For more information or to request a free quote on aircraft insurance, talk to AOPA Insurance Services or visit the websiteYou may qualify for a 5-percent discount just for being an AOPA member.
your throat is sore and scratchy, your nose congested, and your face throbs with sinus pressure. What may have been a summer cold or an allergy may have grown into a full-blown sinus infection. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic and perhaps a decongestant or an antihistamine. It’s a good time to ground yourself until your health has returned to normal. But if you feel better before the round of medications is completed, check the medications database to see that they are on the FAA’s “OK to fly list.” Read more in this month’s Answers for Pilots. Call the medical specialists in AOPA’s Pilot Information Center, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672).