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.
While reviewing the past 12 months there have been plenty of things to celebrate, and there has been significant progress in a lot of areas, here are some highlights:
- Long-term FAA reauthorization
- Holding off a state-managed Aircraft registration program
- ADS-B Rebate is back!
- ADS-B system shortcomings and Alaska specific problems
- Alaska Airmen Association Government Affairs in-person visit to Washington DC
- The Airmen Association staff are classified as subject matter experts on many topics with the FAA
- Foreign visitors to Alaska to see how we do General Aviation
- Proactive on multiple pieces of legislation
- Possible Anchorage Airspace Study
- Birchwood Airport Sponsorship Status
- State Fuel Tax
- Fighting to keep the FAA’s Airport Division in Alaska
- GPS Jamming
- Alaska NDBs and GPS based route structure (1930’s technology vs. state of the art)
- JPARC (Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex) Military Airspace issues
- Additional SUAIS (Special Use Airspace Information Service) Frequency
- Multiple Airport Master Plan projects
- TFRs (Temporary Flight Restrictions) from the VFR (Visual Flight Rules) GA pilot perspective
- TSA and Alaska specific security issues
- Weather infrastructure needs and new forecasting products
- Governor candidate forum
- BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and backcountry access
- $1 Billion in additional Federal money for airports
Even though there is progress, it is a little frustrating that some of these issues are still on the list from when I first started working with the Airmen Association 11 years ago. The wheels of the government move very slowly, and some issues are too big to solve quickly.
Some of the most significant Government Affairs issues facing us in 2019 will most likely be:
- Educating and informing our new Governor and new appointments to key positions
- Continued ways for the State to make up for shrinking budgets
- “Business case” and “one-size-fits-all” decisions by regulators that do not consider Alaska’s extremes
None of these are different than what we have faced in the past. They are just repackaged. The Alaska Airmen Association is well prepared for the threats. We will continue to be a prominent player in the process of protecting General Aviation in Alaska for generations to come. Your membership is what makes this happen. Thank You!
A few current hot topics…
FAA Order 8100.19
The FAA recently published an Order concerning Destroyed and Scrapped Aircraft. Orders are not regulations but are issued by the FAA as guidance material for FAA personnel, outlining procedures for performing their job functions.
Order 8100.19 has caused a lot of concern for the Alaska Airmen Association and many other aviators. Alaska is highly dependent on aviation and very few aircraft designs, current or vintage, can handle our extreme set of operating conditions. The fleet of suitable aircraft is dwindling.
The Alaska Airmen is following this issue closely. Keep an eye on our social media outlet and member emails for more information as it becomes available. You can read the order by clicking here.
121.5 MHz ELTs
Since 2009, 121.5 MHz ELTs are no longer monitored via satellites. If you still depend on these older format ELTs, you are relying on overhead aircraft and ground-based radios to pick up your distress signal, not a good bet. Recently the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stated that these ELTs would no longer be allowed to be manufactured and soon will not be allowed to be sold. In the eyes of the FAA, if you have a 121.5MHz ELT installed in your aircraft you are still legal. You will still be able to buy batteries and parts, but most likely product support from manufactures will end quickly. This change is an attempt by the FCC to get everyone to upgrade to the newer more capable 406 MHz units without putting a cumbersome financial burden on aviators. So while you are looking at ADS-B solutions get that old ELT replaced!
In a meeting recently with the military, FAA, and other government/industry partners, the Military promised to do better at estimating the actual impact of their testing and only to issue NOTAMs for the actual jamming period and not for multiple days. The FAA still maintains that it is necessary to have “an abundance of caution” when plotting the GPS NOTAM areas and they claim that they will not take terrain into account. We can expect more of these events to come, especially look for them at night too. The military is changing their training regimen. Our military is now facing potential enemies that are as good or better equipped and trained than they are. Our Armed Forces have to get ahead of the power curve.
Remember, if you encounter GPS Jamming and it negatively impacts your safety of flight; please let ATC or Flight Service know as soon as practicable. Also, make sure you fill out a GPS Anomaly Form online by clicking here.
Anchorage/Fairbanks Sectional Errors
The Fox 3, Paxon, and Delta 5 MOAs were not depicted on the November 8 printed charts. The military has started using the airspace (F22s and F16s high speed at 500’ AGL). The FAA reissued the digital charts and corrected the errors, but was not able to catch the paper charts before they were printed. So the paper charts are still wrong, and the FAA has issued a Safety Alert in conjunction with several NOTAMs. If you have considered going digital (ForeFlight, Garmin, etc.) now would be a good time. The error will be corrected at the next printing cycle in May.
Colored Airway to T-Route Transition
Our joint request with AOPA, NBAA, and AACA to the FAA to transition all Colored Airways in Alaska to T-Routes (NDB based to GPS based navigation) has been elevated within the FAA to a safety-related project and has had significant funding and personnel assigned to the task. There is no projected timeline to make the transition, but we all can see the writing on the wall. NDB’s are becoming dinosaurs and are almost extinct. Look for opportunities to provide input during this process.
The Airmen Association is working with the RAF, AOPA, AK DOT&PF, and the FAA to develop an Adopt-an-Airport program loosely based off of the State’s Adopt-a-Highway program. Several remote and backcountry airports need some TLC. The goal would be to leverage our respective memberships and encourage social gatherings (fly-outs) to clear brush, help install signage, pick-up trash and improve the landing surface. The goal is to have something in place before the summer flying season.
As of press time, there were 6990 $500 rebates remaining in the relaunch of the FAA’s equipage program. As a reminder, ADS-B out will be required in and above the Anchorage Class C airspace and above 18,000’ throughout Alaska come January 2020. Canada is getting closer to implementing their mandate, and it looks like it will be a 1090es only system. If you fly through Canada and are about to equip you may want to consider the 1090es out option and not the 978 devices. Regardless of which platform you choose for the out portion, it is imperative that you equip with dual in capability for full functionality, especially with our limited ground station network here in Alaska.
Anchorage Airspace Study
At press time the FAA contractors are still working through the feasibility study for an ILS to runway 16 at Elmendorf. If this current study finds that it is feasible, we can expect there to be a public comment period for a forthcoming Anchorage Airspace Study. The Part 93 VFR procedures will most likely be reviewed, evaluated and possibly revised if the Airspace Study happens. Stand by for calls to action and request for input for ways those procedures can be improved.
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 Association. 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. Visit our Facebook page by clicking here.
If you have questions, comments or know of new issues please contact Adam White at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.