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Membership News & Notes August 2019Membership News & Notes August 2019

Join the challenge

AOPA’s Pilot Passport puts the fun back into your flying

There’s a new feature within the AOPA app that is designed to challenge you and make your summer flying even more fun. With Pilot Passport you can search for new airports and places to fly; check in at the airports you visit; share your adventures with other aviators; and earn points, badges, and rewards.

Earn badges for landing at different types of airports, including grass strips, waterways, seaplane bases, heliports, and paved runways; landing at airports in your state; and visiting airports and aviation events across the country.

You can also take part in monthly challenges for a chance to win great prizes. The August challenge will award three aviators each a $25 Hertz rental car certificate and a $25 gift card to the AOPA Pilot Gear store. The top three participants with the most daily airport check-ins through Pilot Passport will win.

Badge Guide

Every check-in awards you points.

  • State badges: Record the number of airports you visit within a state. For example, check in at five Maryland airports and receive a bronze state badge.
  • Region badges: Earn all the state badges within a region.
  • Airspace badges: Check in at airports of the same airspace. For example, checking in at 50 Class C airspace airports equals a gold
    airspace badge.
  • Event badges: Check in at airports hosting an event—like THA, site of the Tullahoma, Tennessee, AOPA Fly-In September 13 and 14.
  • 80th anniversary badges: Celebrate AOPA’s eightieth anniversary year by checking in at any U.S. airport during 2019.
  • Runway badges: Challenge yourself and land on grass strips, short runways, and other challenging runways.
  • Social badges: Share on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or the AOPA Hangar and earn the Social Squawker badge.

Coming soon: badges for island airports, historic and landmark airports, and a special hidden Flight Chops badge.

Looking for more? Stay up to date
Instagram: @flywithaopa, Twitter: @aopa, Facebook: AOPA: Your Freedom to Fly

Congratulations to these challenge winners:

  • J. Ethan Moyer, Keith Carlton, and Billy Watkins Jr. for checking in at the most airports in April.
  • Dustin Unger, J. Ethan Moyer, and Max Kieffer for sharing the most check-ins via social media in May.

DOWNLOAD THE AOPA APP: Apple App Store, Google Play

Membership News & Notes
AOPA Air Safety Institute

Not a scratch

Feel confident parking wherever you go

By Alicia Herron

Parking an airplane seems straightforward, and with local flights, it typically is. You’ll depart from and return to the same place, and you might have an instructor, fellow pilot, or savvy passenger there to help you. The process is easy, comfortable, and known.

But we like to use our certificates to go places and explore and you’ll (hopefully!) venture out to unfamiliar airports. You’ll need to shut down, stretch your legs, or fuel up. Valet parking likely won’t be an option. So how should you approach parking in a new place?

Like most decisions in aviation, it depends. You can start by asking yourself a few questions: How long do you plan to stay? Do you need fuel? Is there a storm coming?

If you’re just planning a short stop, consider transient parking, which is often free and well-marked. You’ll see yellow or white Ts painted on the ground and maybe ropes or chains to help tie down the airplane. Don’t forget to put in the control lock or, if you don’t have one available, use tightened seatbelts to minimize control movement.

If you need to park and fuel and don’t feel like heading to self-serve (or if self-serve isn’t available), many FBOs will waive their parking fee if you fuel up with them. When parking at an FBO, you may mingle with aircraft much bigger than yours. Keep an eye out for any lit beacons even if you can’t hear the whir of an engine or two—the pilots may be getting ready to start up or taxi away. Unexpected jet blast or rotor wash can make your trip to parking a little more interesting than you’d like.

Depending on what kind of airplane you have, you may want to keep it inside overnight. Call ahead and ask the airport about hangar parking and fees. If a storm is coming through, an expensive night indoors for your airplane will be less expensive than repairing hail damage.

Wherever you park, you may be greeted by an aircraft marshal wildly waving his or her arms or orange batons. Especially at fly-ins and pancake breakfasts, you’ll feel more confident if you know what to expect when you arrive.

Arriving at a new airport is always exciting, but don’t get distracted by the red carpet at an FBO or the enticing promise of freshly baked cookies inside—make sure the airplane is secured and that the magnetos, master, and mixture are off and out. If at any point on the ground you think you might hit something, just shut down the engine and assess from outside. A little embarrassment is better than a bent airplane, and wing tips can be hard to judge. Go explore with confidence!

Email [email protected]

Membership News & Notes
Donations to the AOPA Foundation support You Can Fly programs such as the High School initiative, which reaches students with aviation-based science, technology, engineering, and math curricula.
You Can Fly

Contribute to the challenge

You have until August 31 to help us make our goal

The late James C. Ray believed that life skills are learned through aviation, which prompted his visionary support of AOPA’s You Can Fly program to help get (and keep) more pilots flying. His legacy lives on through the Ray Foundation’s 2019 You Can Fly Challenge, which encourages other aviators to offer their support.

Contribute to the challenge by August 31, 2019, and your donation’s impact will be doubled by the Ray Foundation’s dollar-for-dollar matching grant of up to $2 million.

The You Can Fly program’s high school curriculum is inspiring the next generation of pilots and unmanned aircraft professionals. To help improve the flight training experience, we will be releasing a customer service course for flight schools. We’ve helped start new flying clubs and supported existing clubs to make flying more accessible, affordable, and enjoyable. And our Rusty Pilots seminars have made it easier for lapsed pilots to complete their flight review.

“A key to the You Can Fly program’s effectiveness is that it supports pilots wherever they may be in their journey, whether they’re being introduced to general aviation, in flight training, actively flying, or they need help getting back into flying.”

—Mark Baker, AOPA president


Adam Answers

Do I need title insurance?

By Adam Meredith, AOPA Aviation Finance

Q: I’m planning to purchase a used airplane in the next six months. I’ve heard some owners talk about not needing title insurance. Wouldn’t this be required by a lender? I’m familiar with title insurance for a home purchase, but what exactly are the benefits of title insurance for an airplane purchase?

A: Surprisingly, no, many lenders do not currently require title insurance on every transaction. Like a home, your aircraft also has a title history, which should be reviewed before buying. While most AOPA members know the importance of this and perform a title search prior to buying an aircraft, many may not know there are numerous scenarios where a lien or claim can end up in the FAA registry and/or otherwise “clouding” your ownership interest. By obtaining title insurance, the title insurance company will defend you legally against any bogus claims.

Email [email protected]

Medically Speaking

Deferrals, delays, and enforcement

Try to be patiend—and keep receipts

By Gary Crump

Deferral is a four-letter word to pilots. In aviation-speak, a deferral means the medical application is forwarded onto the FAA for further review. The pilot walks out of the aviation medical examiner’s office without a medical certificate, and the waiting begins.

Because of a perfect storm of unexpected circumstances, the approximately 90-day average time for medical certification processing to be complete has slipped significantly. The FAA is scrambling to throw resources at the problem including overtime for certification staff, and “Surge Tuesdays,” in which much of the FAA medical system staff is off the phones and working cases to get the backlog cleared out. Unfortunately, one of the bottlenecks in the system is a crucial first step in the review process—that of scanning all received hard-copy medical records into a digital format that can be sent to a reviewer’s inbox. Until those records are digitally in the workflow system, the FAA doesn’t really know they are there.

When the FAA sends a letter to an airman requesting “additional information” to determine the pilot’s eligibility to hold a medical certificate, the letter includes a harsh warning that if no reply is received within 60 days from the date of the letter, the FAA will either refer the case for legal enforcement action, or deny the application for failure to provide the requested information. We are seeing an increased number of cases where a pilot responds to one of these FAA requests and confirms (for example, by certified mail) that his or her letter containing the requested information was delivered to the FAA within the 60-day deadline, but the letter was not processed by the FAA’s scanning section in a timely manner. The letter may sit for days, and in the meantime, the 60-day deadline expires. Since the FAA does not know the letter has been received until it is scanned into the system, the FAA concludes that the pilot failed to respond to the request and refers the case for legal enforcement action.

For this reason, it is important to have tracking verification that the information the FAA requested was sent within the required time frame (certified, return receipt, or overnight delivery). AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services attorneys can work with you and the FAA attorneys who handle cases referred for legal enforcement action. If you can document that you appropriately provided the requested information, PPS staff can help you navigate the next steps.

Gary Crump is senior director of the AOPA Pilot Information Center, medical division.

The annual meeting of the members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) will be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, September 11, 2019, at the headquarters of AOPA, 411 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. If you are not able to attend, but would like to appoint your voting proxy, please visit or call 800-872-2672. —Kenneth M. Mead, Secretary

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