March 27, 2005

AOPA Working Hard for General Aviation

phil_boyer_aopa_thumb.jpgAs, I posted earlier this week I had the opportunity to hear and meet Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association President, Phil Boyer, speak at an AOPA Pilot Town Meeting. The purpose of these meetings is to share all the great work AOPA is doing for its members.

Phil talked about the ongoing concern that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could begin imposing user fees for General Aviation pilots. The FAA is always looking at ways to save on their budget and pilots have been concerned they might start charging GA pilots to pay for usage of FAA services. Phil played a video clip of FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey saying the FAA is not interested in charging usage fees which was followed by applause in the auditorium. Phil mentioned AOPA has been proactive in helping the FAA find ways to cut costs so that usage fees would not need to be an option.

One way to cut costs is the privatization of Flight Service Stations (FSS). AOPA has been supportive of this process and active in finding a solution. Phil recently was quoted saying " the consumer advocate for general aviation pilots, AOPA fought in the halls of Congress and the FAA to make sure that FSS customers are going to get the service they need." Flight Service Stations for a long while have been functioning with older equipment and tight staffing. The FAA selected Lockheed Martin to take over management of the flight service stations and modernizing them while at the same time providing an FAA cost savings estimated to be more than $2 billion over the next ten years.

Lockheed Martin is also guaranteeing to answer FSS calls within 20 seconds and radio calls from aircraft in five seconds. Additionally, they will be setting up a profile system so that when I call in for a weather briefing they already have information including my common routes, aircraft flown and my experience readily available to them to help personalize my briefing. AOPA was very involved in the selection process.

Phil also talked about another big initiative for AOPA which is the development of the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). AOPA has worked closely with the Federal Aviation Administration in the development of WAAS which will provide more accurate GPS navigation. One benefit of WAAS is that it improves GPS signals accuracy from 100 meters to approximately 7 meters.

The FAA states the following benefits:

  • Greater runway capability

  • Reduced separation standards which allow increased capacity in a given airspace without increased risk

  • More direct enroute flight paths

  • New precision approach services

  • Reduced and simplified equipment on board aircraft
  • Significant government cost savings due to the elimination of maintenance costs associated with older, more expensive ground-based navigation aids (to include NDBs, VORs, DMEs, and most Category 1 ILSs)

I love that AOPA offers these forums to share all the great work they are doing for General Aviation on behalf of their members.

Posted at 5:39 PM | Post Category: AOPA, General | Save & Share This Story

March 24, 2005

AOPA Pilot Town Meetings

aopa_logo.jpgIf you are a frequent reader of this blog you know I am a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). AOPA is a great organization that promotes and protects general aviation through local, state, federal and international advocacy.

Throughout the year AOPA holds Pilot Town Meetings where they share their accomplishments and goals with pilots as well as talk about current issues related to General Aviation. I was excited that one of these meetings was planned for Cincinnati.

I did not know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. First off it was great to see over 200 pilots or General Aviation enthusiast in a room together some of which travelled great distances by plane and car to make it. I met a gentleman that drove an hour and a half to be part of the meeting. His home airport is in Hillsboro, OH which happens to be home of one of my favorite airports - Highland County Airport (KHOC). I wrote a post about this airport when I was first learning to fly.

Secondly it was great to hear all the accomplishments AOPA has made. They work very hard in Washington to protect the interests of General Aviation enthusiasts. Phil Boyer, President of AOPA, gave a great speech and was not only knowledgeable but very entertaining as well.

Keep an eye out for a Pilot Town Meeting near you and make sure you attend!

I will write tomorrow night about some of the issues that were discussed in the meeting.

Posted at 11:11 PM | Post Category: AOPA, General | Save & Share This Story

March 20, 2005

Be Cool Star is Just That

travolta_house_small.jpgJohn Travolta is not only a huge movie star but he is a huge aviation afficionado. Travolta stars in the recently released Be Cool which is a sequel to Get Shorty. I saw the film this evening and found it to be very entertaining. I would recommend it to anyone that enjoyed the first in the series.

Now, back to Travolta being cool. Travolta has always been an aviation enthusiast and has spent his earnings on flying from the start. With the success of his career he has been able to indulge his passion for flying. He has moved to a house within the Jumbolair Aviation Estates community. At the Jumbolair Estates he built with his wife Kelly Preston a house styled like a 1950's airport terminal, that was featured in an issue of Architectural Digest. To complete the part he has a remarkable fleet of aircraft that include:

  • Gulfstream II Luxury Jet
  • DC3 Dakota Airliner
  • Lockheed Constellation
  • 1964 Boeing 707-138B

So in my book John Travolta fits the bill - Be Cool.

Posted at 10:17 PM | Post Category: General | Save & Share This Story

March 6, 2005

Building My Pilot's Operating Handbook Library

poh.jpgToday was a beautiful day to fly. Unfortunately, I had not reserved a plane today and there were no openings. But, that did not deter me from visiting the airport. I stopped by Blue Ash Aviation to pick up a Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH) for the Diamond Eclipse. You may notice I had previously referred to this plane as a Katana. It is actually a variant with the name Eclipse.

Every aircraft has a POH and it should always be in the airplane. I believe it is a great practice for pilots to purchase there own copy of the POH for planes they fly in order to better understand the aircraft. Most POH manuals will include the following:

  • General Information

  • Operating Limitations

  • Emergency Procedures

  • Normal Operating Procedures

  • Performance

  • Weights and Balance

  • Aircraft Systems

  • Maintenance

My flight instructor taught me to read through the POH highlighting the important information. Then if I have not flown that plane recently I can quickly flip through the POH and familiarize myself with important performance and emergency procedure information.

I look forward to reading through the Diamond Eclipse POH this week and flying it next weekend.

Posted at 7:31 PM | Post Category: General | Save & Share This Story