"Our Voice for General Aviation in Alaska"
The following are a few of the hot issues the Alaska Airmen's Association is currently tracking and working on in your behalf. We are working on many more subjects behind the scenes. Please keep a close watch on our website http://www.alaskaairmen.org, read our eBulletins, visit our social media pages, and watch the live advocacy updates for more timely updates.
If you have questions, comments, concerns or know of new issues, please contact Adam White. As always, when you file your public comments please copy the Alaska Airmen's Association. This helps us know and understand your needs and opinions.
NDBs on the chopping block
The FAA continues to pick the next level of the lowest hanging fruit. There is no official policy, but the FAA is slowly getting rid of all NDBs in the nation, including Alaska. It is difficult to find folks that need or want NDBs to stick around other than the argument that we shouldn’t put all of our navigation eggs in the GPS basket. The Alaska Airmen’s Association has been pushing for T-Route replacement of the colored airways so we don’t lose low altitude IFR capabilities, but that takes time for the FAA to implement. With this latest round, most are collocated with a VOR, have no approach associated with them, or already have a T-Route association. If you need NDB’s for the type of flying you do we would like to hear your story. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Direct-dial for AWOS and ASOS
The FAA recently considered removing the capability to call AWOS and ASOS stations directly. The FAA is having a hard time finding parts to keep the old systems running. The Alaska Airmen’s Association along with several other industry groups, voiced our concerns that it is vital to be able to call these stations, especially when there are stations that are not sending data into the FAA system for months at a time. The FAA agreed and committed to keep this functionality and make sure that it would be in the next tech refresh of the AWOS and ASOS systems
Flight instruction in Experimental Aircraft
A recent court case in Florida involving a warbird group that was claiming that their main purpose of paid flights was for flight instruction has caused a lot of unintended consequences. The courts disagreed with the warbird group and said they were giving joy rides for a fee. The court’s interpretation of the FAR’s said that flight instruction activities are considered compensation and for hire. The FAA has claimed that it would take four years to fix the FARS to get flight instruction back to what it was before. That timeline has not set well with aviators. Therefore, Congress has acted and is in the process of passing legislation that would fix the issue and not bind the aviation community to the four-year process of the FAA. This is an ongoing issue, look for more updates as they become available.
The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) at the north end of Windy Pass will hang around for the foreseeable future. The timeline continues slip for implementing the new expanded Restricted Area for the new Radar at Clear Space Force Station. Many construction delays due to Covid and supply chain issues have prevented the radar from coming online as originally planned. Another delay to the charting of the Restricted Area expansion comes from the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) work to mitigate the concerns raised by the Alaska Airmen’s Association and others. Primarily, the need for visual and radio notification to pilots in the area when the lower levels of the airspace is activated outside of NOTAM’d times. We appreciate the MDA and FAA for taking our concerns seriously and working to find good solutions that protects the aviation community from the effects of the powerful radar.
The FAA Safety Initiative (FAASI) final document is due to be released publicly on October 14th. Many of you provided feedback to the FAA about what you think would improve safety in Alaska. This document is the next step in the process for the FAA to implement many of the recommendations submitted. The Alaska Airmen’s Association is an active participant in the process and will continue to encourage the FAA in enhancing safety in Alaska. We will also do what we can to encourage Congress to provide funding to implement the findings of the report. Without funding this effort is just another futile exercise in bureaucracy.
We heavily rely on you, our members, to keep us in the loop with what you see and hear. Recently it came to our attention that there was a new communications tower being built extremely close to the Quartz Creek airport (JLA). The FAA did review the application to build the tower and found no hazard to VFR navigation. I’m not sure we would agree with them. Had we known about the tower before construction was mostly complete we might have been able to do something. Please help us protect and preserve aviation in Alaska by letting us know what is going on in your back yard as early as possible. Timing is key to our success.
Social Media Live Events
Don't forget to watch the Government Affairs social media live events on Facebook and Instagram. Adam goes into detail about some of the hot issues we are working on and takes your questions. The goal is to have at least one event a month, sometimes more, if needed. Look for times and dates to be posted on our social media accounts and in eBulletins. Past events are archived on our YouTube channel.
If you want more information on these topics or have questions, comments, or if you know of new issues, please contact Adam White (email@example.com 907-322-1098). As always, when you file your public comments, please copy the Alaska Airmen's Association. Please keep a close watch on the Airmen's Facebook page for the latest information on how we are advocating for Aviation in Alaska on your behalf. https://www.facebook.com/alaska.airmen/