Advocacy at Work

By Adam White, Alaska Airmen’s Association Government Affairs

We continue to work with Federal, State, and local officials on behalf of our members, ensuring Alaska Aviation remains accessible and a viable means of transportation and recreation. The following issues are limited examples of how we work towards those goals. 

FAA Airport Compliance Inspections 

The FAA Airports Division ensures that Airport Improvement grant assurances are adhered to. One key method is through on-site inspections at airports. These inspections, while necessary, can sometimes lead to misunderstandings and frustrations, such as when the FAA prohibits certain items in hangars or when the State DOT questions the aeronautical use of specific structures. 

If you are subject to an FAA or Airport management inspection, be courteous but ask questions to better understand what the inspection looks for. Also, be aware that if the majority of the hangar’s use is not really aeronautical, be prepared to be challenged about it. Many folks feel their hangar is their castle, but the FAA wants to ensure that airports are kept for aeronautical use. If you have questions about aeronautical use, please get in touch with the Airmen’s Association; we can help.  

NTSB Float Safety Alert 

Following a couple of fatal float accidents in Alaska due to poor float maintenance, the NTSB is developing a Safety Alert in collaboration with the Airmen’s Association and other stakeholders. As part of the working group, the Airmen’s Association is actively contributing to the formulation of the Alert, ensuring its accuracy and relevance to the float-flying community nationwide. We are currently reviewing the final draft and aim to release the document before the end of the summer flying season. 

Increase in medical questions 

There has been a marked increase in calls and emails from members concerning medical-related questions and difficulty dealing with the FAA. Some of the issues have been easy to fix by advising the member on how best to advocate for their case. Other problems have been more complicated to help with. Several folks are complying with the FAA request for more information and medical tests only to be told that by the time the FAA gets back to their case, the tests are out of date and will need to be done again. This is very frustrating and expensive for the pilots. There was language in the FAA Reauthorization Bill that should help with some of these issues, but it remains to be seen if and when the FAA will follow the congressional mandate. 

100LL Opinion piece 

An opinion piece in the Anchorage paper recently attacked the use of 100LL fuel in Alaska and claimed that the aviation industry is dragging its feet to make the transition. The Alaska Airmen’s Association worked with Alaska Air Carriers to present a response to rebut some of the article’s claims. We wanted to present some facts and context that were missing from the opinion piece. See our response in this edition of the Transponder. 

If you want more information on these topics or have questions or comments, contact Adam White ( 907-245-1251). Watch Adam’s monthly live updates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Please copy the Alaska Airmen’s Association when you file your public comments. 

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