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Friday, February 27, 2015

Medical reform legislation introduced in House, Senate - AOPA

 Medical reform legislation introduced in House, Senate

February 26, 2015

The Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 would allow pilots flying recreationally in a wide range of aircraft to no longer obtain a third class medical certificate. The new bill would allow private pilots to make noncommercial VFR and IFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with up to six seats.
The Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 would allow pilots flying recreationally in a wide range of aircraft to no longer obtain a third class medical certificate. The new bill would allow private pilots to make noncommercial VFR and IFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with up to six seats.

A group of powerful senators and representatives has introduced new legislation in both houses of Congress that would allow thousands of pilots to fly without going through the costly and time-consuming third class medical process and would offer new protections for general aviation pilots.
Under the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2, pilots flying recreationally in a wide range of aircraft would no longer need to obtain a third class medical certificate. The new bill would allow private pilots to make noncommercial VFR and IFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with up to six seats. Pilots also would be allowed to carry up to five passengers, fly at altitudes below 14,000 feet msl, and fly no faster than 250 knots. Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 also includes a provision to ensure that pilots can fly under the new rules even if the FAA fails to comply with the bill’s provisions 180 days after enactment.
“The introduction of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 is great news for the general aviation community and we are grateful to Sens. Jim Inhofe and Joe Manchin, and Reps. Sam Graves and Dan Lipinski, and all their bipartisan colleagues for putting forward this legislation that would do so much to help grow and support GA activity,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “Pilots have already waited too long for medical reform, so we’re particularly pleased to see it included in this important measure. Third class medical reform is our top legislative priority, and we will actively work with Congress to build support for this legislation that is so vital to the future of general aviation.”
In addition to third class medical reform, the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2, which was introduced in the House (H.R. 1062) and the Senate (S.571) late on Feb. 25, would protect GA pilots from liability on charitable flights, extend legal protections to FAA representatives, and require FAA contractors to provide information under Freedom of Information Act requests.
"Pilot's Bill of Rights being signed into law in 2012 was a major victory for the aviation community, but I promised we would not stop there,” said Inhofe. “Today, I am taking the next step in keeping that promise by introducing the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2, which expands upon necessary reforms and continues to cut red tape hampering the general aviation community. Among many things, the legislation most importantly expands the FAA's existing third-class medical exemption for light sport aircraft to cover most recreational airmen. This will protect the rights of thousands of qualified airmen who would otherwise be grounded due to excessive medical regulation technicalities; this reform is of great need. It is an honor to have the strong bipartisan support of my colleagues in Congress and of those in the general aviation community, and I am committed to shepherding this legislation through the 114th Congress.”
In addition to Inhofe, the Senate legislation was introduced by Sens. Manchin, John Boozman (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Angus King (I-Maine), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).  Both Inhofe and Manchin are AOPA members and Senate GA Caucus members, while Boozman serves as the Senate GA Caucus co-chair. Heitkamp, Moran, Roberts, Shaheen, Tester, and Wicker are also Senate GA Caucus members.
The legislation in the House was introduced by Reps. Graves, Lipinski, Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). Graves, Rokita, and Peterson are all AOPA members and House GA Caucus members, while Lipinski is a GA Caucus member who has been a stalwart GA supporter.
“As a pilot, I know how important the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights, as signed into law in 2012, has been in establishing needed protections for pilots when dealing with FAA enforcement proceedings,” said Graves. “This new bill improves upon those protections and expands the rights afforded to pilots and other certificate holders,” he continued. “I fully expect this bill to receive the same strong, bipartisan support in Congress and across the general aviation community.”
The language in the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 regarding third class medical reform is identical to that in a new General Aviation Pilot Protection Act bill also introduced on Feb. 25 in the House (H.R. 1086) and Senate (S.573). Reps. Rokita, Graves, Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), Peterson, Lipinski, Bill Flores (R-Texas), Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), and Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) introduced the House measure. Like Graves and Rokita, Pearce, Flores, and Hanna are AOPA members.
In the Senate, the new General Aviation Pilot Protection Act legislation was introduced by Sens. Boozman, Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who chairs the Senate Aviation Subcommittee, Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Inhofe, Moran, and Roberts.
Rokita and Boozman led the way on third class medical reform when they introduced similar legislation in the previous Congress. That earlier General Aviation Pilot Protection Act gained more than 180 bipartisan cosponsors in the House and Senate before it expired at the end of the congressional session.  
“It’s clear that third class medical reform has widespread bipartisan support in Congress as well as in the general aviation community,” said Baker. “We appreciate the steadfast way in which Rep. Rokita and Sen. Boozman and their colleagues are pursuing this issue on behalf of GA pilots.”
In addition to medical reform, Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 includes provisions to improve the notice to airman (notam) program by establishing a rating system to prioritize notams, including TFRs, and creating a repository to maintain the information in a way that makes it accessible to the public. That system would be considered the sole source location for pilots to check for notams. The legislation also would protect pilots from enforcement action if a notam is not included in the repository and prohibit enforcement of notam violations if the FAA hasn’t finished the system within six months of the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 being enacted while providing an exception for national security.
To help pilots facing enforcement actions, Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 would ensure that data collected by contract towers and other outsourced FAA programs is subject to the same Freedom of Information Act requirements as data from the FAA itself. The exception would be aviation safety action reports, which are designed to prevent accidents by encouraging voluntary reporting of safety concerns by employees of FAA contractors.
The measure also includes liability protections for representatives of the FAA working on behalf of the agency such as aviation medical examiners as well as nonprofit volunteer pilot organizations and volunteer pilots who fly for public benefit. The bill also would protect pilot certificates by preventing the FAA from requiring a re-examination of a covered certificate holder without clear evidence of wrongdoing or unsafe behavior.

AOPA was joined by other GA organizations in immediately sending letters of support for Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 to the lawmakers who introduced the legislation in the Senate and the House. The letters emphasized the importance of the legislation to the GA industry and thanked the legislators for leading the way on important reforms.
“The bill and its provisions will help ensure the future sustainability of our industry and its valuable contributions to the nation’s economy and transportation system,” the letters said.
In addition to AOPA’s Baker, the letters were signed by the leaders of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Flying Physicians Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, National Agricultural Aviation Association, National Air Transportation Association, and National Business Aviation Association.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

From "Flying Magazine"

Learn from Other Pilots' Mistakes

By Pia Bergqvist / Published: Feb 24, 2015
Sky Kings Loss of Control
You are likely aware of NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), which can give you a "get out of jail free”-card if you self report a mistake you've made during a flight. What you may not be aware of is that the ASRS publishes the submitted stories, anonymously of course, in a newsletter and in a searchable database. These are terrific resources that can help you learn from others' mistakes.
The searchable database allows you to limit your search to certain parameters, such as a variety of flight conditions, phases of flight, types of aircraft, locations and more. The stories cover all sizes of aircraft models, from light singles to multi-engine jets.
ASRS also has a monthly newsletter called Callback that focuses in on a particular issue and is aimed at improving pilots' decision-making skills through critical thinking. Each newsletter has a theme and covers several incidents submitted by pilots flying vastly different types of airplanes. You can access previous issues of Callback on the ASRS website.
The information you'll glean from ASRS will not only help you avoid incidents, it will also help you avoid trouble with the FAA. Our own Peter Garrison will help you avoid more serious mistakes through his monthly column Aftermath, which covers fatal accidents and is well worth including in your regular reading habits, if you don't already.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Full house this morning at "Whiteplains Plantation K-Club"

Photo and report by : Steve Sanderson - 2-23-2015

This morning, as we do every Monday morning, we joined our pilot friends for the Whiteplains K-Club at our nearby K-Mart.  We were honored today to have Her Majesty’s personal representative, Sir Douglas Mackay, join our group. We are pictured with Tricia and Theresa, who take such great care of us every Monday.  Sir Douglas is pictured on the far left, no doubt preparing his favorable report to the Queen after his trip here to inspect the colonies:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New rules for Drones

Proposed Drone Rules Revealed Sunday

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The FAA and Department of Transportation will hold a rare Sunday morning news conference to release the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the use of small unmanned aerial systems in the National Airspace System (NAS). In an even more rare Saturday night statement, the agency outlined what to expect: "The rule is specifically aimed at increasing the routine use of small UAS for business purposes, and does not apply to model aircraft used for recreational purposes. We already have rules in place for that," the statement said. "The proposed rule includes operational limitations -- such as daylight only operations, maintain a visual line of sight with the aircraft at all times and height restrictions."
The weekend scramble appears to be the result of the apparently unplanned posting of an internal review of the FAA's long-awaited rulemaking. The document (PDF) suggests the rule will allow affordable widespread commercial use of drones weighing less than 55 pounds. The document appears to have been posted by mistake and only for a few minutes on the FAA website. Forbes blogger Gregory McNeal got hold of it, and it has since been repeated on numerous news sites. It gives an exhaustive analysis of the anticipated impact of the NPRM, but its principal message seems to be that small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) will be allowed in the NAS without onerous restrictions or requirements on the part of commercial users and that the cost of compliance for commercial users will only be about $300.
"This proposed rule would allow certain small UAS non-recreational (e.g. commercial) operations to operate within a regulatory framework by providing a safe operating environment for small unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds (25 kilograms)," the analysis reads. This proposed rule also addresses aircraft registration and marking, NAS operations, operator certification, the use of visual observers, and operational limits in order to maintain the safety of the National Airspace System (NAS).
Based on the estimated cost of compliance, it would appear the rules won't be too tough. "The estimated out-of-pocket cost for a small UAS operator to be FAA-certified is less than $300," the analysis says. The analysis paints a picture of drones as an overall benefit to society. "As this proposal enables new businesses to be established, the private sector expected benefits exceed private sector expected costs when new entrepreneurs enter," it reads. The analysis also pegs the economic impact of drones at $100 million a year and that the rule would "have benefits that would justify its costs," including the use of drones in circumstances where manned aircraft can't operate.
The NPRM just starts the process of implementing the rules. Significant rules like this normally come with a 90-day comment period and there are likely to be thousands of comments, every one of which the FAA must take into consideration. It could be months or more likely years before the final rule is enacted.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

NextGen GA Fund To Buy 10,000 Lynx ADS-B Units | Flying Magazine

NextGen GA Fund To Buy 10,000 Lynx ADS-B Units

By Stephen Pope /
Published: Feb 12, 2015


L-3 Lynx
ADS-B compliance is about to become a little less pricey for thousands of aircraft owners after the public-private NextGen
GA Fund announced it is buying 10,000 low-cost Lynx NGT-1000 ADS-B
units from L-3 Aviation Products as part of the "Jumpstart GA 2020"
program. But as you might guess, there's a small catch.
In order to get the rock-bottom reduced pricing being offered by
NEXA Capital Partners, the entity that manages the NextGen GA Fund on
behalf of the FAA, you must be among the first 10,000 aircraft owners to
buy the gear (obviously) and you have to send in your money and install the equipment by July 1, 2016.

Click below for full story.

NextGen GA Fund To Buy 10,000 Lynx ADS-B Units | Flying Magazine

Nancy Bonacum 2015 2 Slide Show

Monday, February 09, 2015

Record at the K-Mart Breakfast Club

Photo by: Steve Sanderson 2-9-2015

Record attendance this morning at K-Club! 21 members were present as we welcomed Neil Bonacum and Jim Franklin to our group. Welcome, Gentlemen!

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Remembering Nancy Bonacum 2-7-2015

Very nice lunch today after the memorial service for Nancy Bonacum. Thanks to all of our Whiteplains neighbors who brought food and to Mike and Jean Moore for hosting in their hangar. Special thanks to Susan Ramsey for coordinating the event.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

New Date for Soup-Off Event

Don't forget soup-off event this Friday at 6:30pm at Moore's hangar. That will be a good day for hot soup.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Whiteplains Announcments - Memorial Service

Whiteplains will be hosting a reception for Niel Bonacum and his family after the memorial service on Saturday, February 7th.

The reception will be in Mike and Jean Moore's hangar and will be a potluck.  I was told that 15-20 people besides Whiteplains folks would be there so please fix a little extra food.  The service starts at 11a and I was told would last about 45 minutes. WP folks could them head home and bring food to the hangar, noonish.

Coffee, iced tea and water will be available as well as all paper products.

Please let me know if you plan on coming so that we will have everything we need.