FREDERICK, Md. – Building on the popularity and success of its inaugural events, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) will host five fly-ins at new locations nationwide during 2015.
Are clubs becoming the dominant force in local flight training?
When Bakersfield Flying Club president Bill Woodbury learned that the club had been named as a top tier American flight school, he was shocked for two reasons: First, he never thought of his club as a flight school and, second, his group had never sought such notoriety.
“Of course I was pleased and honored to learn of our recognition,” said Woodbury, “but to say I was surprised is an understatement.”
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is working to mitigate the economic and safety impacts of a proposed military training area that will cover 28,000 square miles above Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
The association made the commitment after the U.S. Air Force released an environmental impact statement Nov. 28 that did not adopt safeguards sought by the general aviation community in Montana.
Phase 1 testing of four possible replacements for 100LL begins this month at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City.
The four unleaded fuels — one from Shell, one from TOTAL, and two from Swift Fuels — will undergo laboratory and rig testing to analyze a number of factors, including materials compatibility issues with aircraft components, such as fuel bladders, fuel gauges, pumps and more.
It’s in the record books: The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s sixth and last new regional fly-in — seven if you count the heavily-attended Homecoming to AOPA HQ in Frederick, Md. How did it go, this change from one big annual convention? What was gained and what was lost?
On Nov. 4, a ballot initiative to give the Santa Monica City Council more control over operations at Santa Monica Municipal Airport (KSMO) in Southern California was approved by voters, signaling — for some — a death knell for the embattled airport.
Measure LC allows the City Council to manage the airport as it sees fit, including closing all or part of the 227-acre property. The measure, which passed with a 60% margin, mandates that the airport land be used only for parks, open space and recreational facilities until voters can approve land-use guidelines.
It had the backing of several community groups which have been trying to close the airport for years, citing safety concerns and calling the airport a playground for “rich hobbyist pilots.”
At the last Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) regional fly-in of the year, pilots clamored to sign a giant petition calling for reform of the third class medical.
It’s a scene that’s been played out at all the AOPA events throughout the year, association officials say, reporting that more than 10,000 signatures have been garnered since the petition first appeared at SUN ’n FUN. The panel that was at McKinnon St. Simons Island Airport (KSSI) in Georgia was the 10th panel.
“It’s been really popular,” said Steve Hedges, AOPA’s spokesman.
Gray skies didn’t dampen the spirits of those who attended the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association regional fly-in Saturday, Nov. 8, at St. Simons Island, Georgia, at the McKinnon St. Simons Island Airport (KSSI).
AOPA President Mark Baker reported that the regional fly-ins were such a success that 45 airports are now bidding to host next year’s fly-ins. AOPA officials estimate that between 16,000 and 17,000 pilots and aviation enthusiasts attended the regional fly-ins, which were held throughout the country.
A few photos from the show follow, look for more in the Nov. 20 print edition of General Aviation News.