ADVOCACY AT WORK . . . . . . our voice for general aviation
June / July 2012
Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC) EIS. The JPARC consists of all land, air, and sea training areas used by the military in Alaska. The military currently use considerable lands and airspace to conduct testing, training, and to support joint exercises and mission rehearsals. The Army and Air Force, through the Alaskan Command, are proposing to modernize and enhance the JPARC to enable realistic joint training for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. We realize the impacts of this plan are monumental. While the FAA has not yet reviewed their proposal we encourage them to get involved early in the process, even before the proposal is submitted for their review. The draft EIS was released on March 30th. At the request of the Airmen and other industry groups the comment period was extended to July 9th.
Airmen host meeting with Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari
Alaska FAA officials invited the Alaska Airmen to host an impromptu meeting with John Porcari, Deputy Secretary of theUS. Department of Transportation. Asked to do a “repeat” of FAA Administrators visit last summer, the meeting was hosted at the Airmen’s headquarter office at Lake Hood Seaplane Base. Accompanied byWashingtonDCstaff and FAA Regional Administrator, Bob Lewis the meeting was occasionally interrupted during the take-off and landing of local floatplanes. A former general aviation pilot himself, Mr. Porcari listened to industry concerns from over 14 organizations present to include the Alaska Airmen, Alaska Airports Association, Alaskan Aviation Safety Foundation, Alaska Air Carriers, Alaska Aviation Coordination Council, Alaska 99’s, Alaska DOT&PF, CAP, Medallion Foundation, Department of Interior, Seaplane Pilots Association and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Topics included infrastructure and decommissioning of infrastructure, status of NAVIADS that are out of service, the future of NextGen inAlaska, and weather for IFR and VFR operations inAlaska. Other comments included the overall health of the industry, the participation of the State ofAlaskain funding infrastructure needs, UAV’s and the Joint Pacific Aviation Resource Complex (JPARC) proposal.
Mat Su Mid-Air Collision Working Group Update – At the prompting of industry the FAA initiated a stakeholder meeting held between government and industry to address the multiple mid-airs and potential mid-airs last summer. Two working groups were formed to address different aspects of the issue, a Mat Su Mid-Air Communications Review working group and a Mountain Pass Collision Avoidance working group. The Alaska Airmen and AOPA are co-chairing the Mat Su review effort. Four meetings have been held to date following an defined agenda to ensure an organized approach was initiated. Most importantly, we need to know what it is we are dealing with which involves collecting necessary background data and information to make informed recommendations. This includes review of CTAF/Area frequency assignments, their origin, back ground and supporting operations data. A review military of training operations in the Mat Su Valley, pilot use of VFR reporting points, effectiveness of NOTAMS and pilot training regarding mid air avoidance are all areas of education the group needs to understand.
Over 600 pilots participated in the online pilot survey about flight operations and collision avoidance in the Mat Su Valley. All pilots who fly in or through this region of the state were invited to participate. These results will be used to assist the joint industry/government working group as it develops recommendations to help improve aviation safety in this area.
The National Weather Service (NWS) continues to make changes to how weather data is collected inAlaska. They plan to phase out the remaining human observers who report weather under the NWS funded A-PAID program. There is currently a plan to substitute automated weather systems for some of the 22 sites across the state, and abandon others. The automated stations replacing the observers will operate 24 hours a day, but the current plan is for them not to be FAA certified stations. The Alaska Airmen are working with AOPA and other organizations to ensure that this vital weather data will be distributed to pilots via Flight Service, DUATs and any other normal distribution channels.
NAVAID Outages The decommissioning of NAVAIDS is of concern toAlaska. While we are aware that some of these navigation aids, lights and weather are presently out of service, we are asking there be no degradation of information available to the pilot. Because systems have not been functional for more than one year, does not necessarily mean they are not needed. It was brought to our attention that pilots learn to operate in a higher level of risk because of these commissioned and uncommissioned systems that are not operational. Through a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request a list of facilities that have been out of service was finally secured. Understanding FAA budget constraints we have requested the FAA use industry to help prioritize this list.
. . . . . . . . I can show you pictures of Lake Hood from the 40s and 50s with the takeoff channel and floatplanes already there and no houses anywhere near. This article was written and published in the April May 2008 Issue of the Transponder.