AOPA regional fly-ins: The votes are in

DSC_0374 We want to keep you Flying sign 2

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?

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Anti-airport group victorious in Santa Monica

8SMO

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.”

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GA challenges benefits of ADS-B

WASHINGTON, D.C. — An FAA-sponsored “call to action” summit to encourage the aviation industry to equip to meet the Jan. 1, 2020, deadline for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) brought general aviation advocates out in force, with one message: The costs outweigh the benefits for GA pilots.

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Expect third class medical reform in 2015

AOPA Petition

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.

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GA supporters retain seats in Tueday’s election

Key general aviation supporters retained their seats in both chambers of Congress in Tuesday’s election, while two incoming elected officials are members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, officials with AOPA report.

But retirements and election losses will leave the General Aviation Caucuses in both the House and Senate with some rebuilding to do in 2015, AOPA officials add.

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SMO vote disappointing to GA advocates

A city sponsored ballot initiative — Measure LC — has passed in Santa Monica, Calif., leaving the future of Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) in the hands of the City Council.

The measure passed with 59% of voters saying “yes” with 90% of precincts reporting Tuesday. At the same time, voters rejected a separate measure — Measure D — that would have given control of the airport’s future to voters.

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Advocacy groups donate to save SMO

Two of GA’s top advocacy groups, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) have contributed more than $540,000 to support a ballot measure in Santa Monica, Calif.,, that would halt efforts to shut down the city’s airport (SMO). According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the campaign measure has raised about $824,000 as of Oct. 22, mostly from aviation-related interests, aircraft owners, businesses and pilots, including actor Harrison Ford, who stores his aircraft at the airport and donated $25,887.