The following is a sample of some of the issues the Airmen Association is advocating for or against on your behalf. We are working several issues that are behind the scenes and could become public shortly. Look for updates in the next Transponder, in eBulletins and on our Facebook page.
If you have questions, comments or know of new issues please contact Adam White. As always, when you file your public comments please copy the Alaska Airmen Association. This helps us know and understand your needs and opinions.
FAA Order 8100.19 Destroyed/Scrapped Aircraft
This latest development with FAA order 8100.19 (not a regulation) has some troubling implications. This order is guidance for FAA employees in interpreting regulations and is not something that is required to go through a public process to implement.
Alaska is highly dependent on aviation. Alaska presents an extreme set of operating conditions that very few aircraft designs, current or vintage, can handle. Many are concerned that the fleet of suitable aircraft is dwindling and this policy could negatively impact our ability to operate safely and economically in the future.
The FAA has held a few public outreach meetings on this subject and have received a lot of input for edits. The Alaska Airmen will continue to work with the FAA in implementing/revising this order. Please let the Airmen Association know if you have ideas on how this order can be improved.
The Governor’s budget has stirred a lot of emotions from all sectors. One of the more troubling things to come from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was the mandate to the DOT Commissioner to investigate options of reducing the number of airports in an attempt to lower financial obligations and/or liabilities with a report deadline of June 1st. The options specifically mentioned to investigate are Divestment, Transfer, Reclassification, Closure, and Long Term Leasing. This has far-reaching implications and could be devastating to rural Alaska. The Governor keeps saying that “we can’t be all things to all people and there is a $1.6B deficit,” but you can’t walk away from 82% of the state’s communities who’s only access to the world outside their village is a runway. DOT knows this and is working hard to respond to the OMB. There is not much appetite in Juneau to a wholesale divestment of airports, but there is a need to reevaluate the state's airports from time to time and see if anything needs to be changed.
As for the state budget, the Legislators have to amend then approve the budget, and then the Governor has to sign it. There will be a lot of negotiations and a lot of committee hearings to come up with the final budget. We live in interesting times and The Alaska Airmen Association is following things in Juneau very closely.
Survival Equipment Best Practices
We often get requests from pilots about what survival gear they should carry. Alaska has a state statute (AS 02.35.110) requiring specific survival gear, which is outdated and not very helpful. It is also rarely enforced. In recent years, there have been several attempts to change the statute, without success. After discussions with AOPA and the Alaskan Aviation Safety Foundation, we have work on a “best practices” document (see additional article in this edition of The Transponder)..
Canadian ADS-B Mandate
Canada is still working through its ADS-B mandate, and it won’t be the same as the US. They are only going to be a single format 1090es only, no 978 MHz. They will also be space-based for most of the country so there will be a dual antenna requirement, top, and bottom of the fuselage. These different rules could cause trouble for folks traveling between the L48 and Alaska. Most people are unaware of these different requirements and are not considering them when buying their ADS-B equipment. Remember that the US ADS-B equipage deadline is January, 1st 2020. The only rule airspace in Alaska will be above 18,000’ and inside or above the Anchorage Class C airspace.
The Alaska DOT was granted several million dollars as part of the last round of the Omnibus spending package from the FAA. Alaska DOT will buy, install, and then hand over to the FAA seven new Automated Weather Observation Systems (AWOS). There are plans for more after this round is complete, but DOT is starting with what they know they can accomplish quickly. The seven initial locations are Akiachak (Z13), Coldfoot (CXF), Kotlik (2A9), Nulato (NUL), Perryville (PEV), Tok (6K8), Tununak (4KA).
Alaska Flight Services Survey
The Alaska Airmen Association and AOPA have teamed up to conduct a survey to better understand pilot perceptions of various services provided by Alaska Flight Service Stations (AKFSS). The information will be used to help us advocate for better and more efficient services in the future. We believe our members care about the quality of Alaska Flight Service Stations. All responses provided are anonymous and voluntary. This survey is focused on what Flight Service provides in Alaska and does not include services provided in the contiguous United States.
T-Route/ NDB Update
No navigation system symbolizes old-school technology more than the nondirectional beacon. But as NDBs fade from the scene in most U.S. airspace, they still play key navigational roles in Alaska, making the FAA’s reluctance to invest in their upkeep a cause for pilots’ concern.
Most NDBs and all instrument approaches based on them will likely be gone from the National Airspace System by 2030. To keep the disappearance of NDBs from undermining Alaska’s beacon-dependent colored airways, several aviation organizations (including the Alaska Airmen Association) will soon join with the FAA as part of a working group to develop a new en route structure built on a foundation of GPS-based airways called T-routes. For more information see the additional article in this edition of The Transponder.
R-2206, Clear Air Force Station Radar site
There are plans to upgrade the early warning and tracking radar at the north end of Windy Pass. It is anticipated that this upgrade will require more protected airspace than is currently allocated in R-2206 (read, potential for large expansion of R-2206). The Clear airport (PACL) on the north side of Windy Pass potentially will be affected. The instrument approaches for Nenana (PANN), airways, and other IFR procedures in the Tanana Valley could also be affected. Look for opportunities for public input and be ready for a call to action!
If you have questions, comments or know of new issues please contact Adam White at email@example.com or call our office at 907-245-1251. As always, when you file your public comments please copy the Alaska Airmen Association. This helps us know and understand your needs and opinions. 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.