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.
DUATS is going away
The FAA will discontinue the Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS II) Program, effective May 16, 2018. Internet services, including access to weather and aeronautical information, flight plan filing and automated services will remain available at no charge to pilots at www.1800wxbrief.com run by Leidos (the contractor providing Flight Services to the L48).
With the migration towards portable electronics in the cockpit and the multitude of flight planning apps that are available, the use of DUATS has continued to decline in recent years. The FAA will work with current DUATS II providers on transition activities, including conducting pilot outreach, establishing commercial interfaces, and providing user migration assistance.
Most flight planning apps have already made the switch from DUATS to the Leidos based system for the textual briefing portions of their products and should not be affected. Contact customer service of your app provider for more information.
It is that time of year again for the 40th annual General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey. A random sample of L48 aircraft and every Alaska aircraft is asked to participate in this survey of equipage and use. This information helps the FAA and groups like the Alaska Airmen Association understand the GA fleet and its needs. https://www.aviationsurvey.org
Western Service Center Annual Visit
Adam once again made his annual visit to Renton, WA to visit with FAA policy makers and planners for Alaska Airspace and Infrastructure a few weeks back. Here are a few updates on several issues:
JPARC, Fox, Paxon, and R2201/2205 Charting
The latest guess is charting will begin with the November 2018 cycle. There might be a chance that the airspaces could go live sooner. Please keep a close eye on NOTAMs and our social media pages for any updates.
The High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program outside Glennallen, AK expects to have several times of active transmitter use in the coming months. The FAA will publish TFR’s as usual during the times of activity. There is the talk of a possible Restricted Area eventually being put in place as this type activity does not technically meet the threshold for a TFR. For more information about HAARP visit their website: https://www.gi.alaska.edu/haarp
Here is an updated timeline for getting the Galena VOR back online.
FY18 Design of new installation
FY19 Implementation of design and permitting
FY20 Installation and Flight Check
November 2020 VOR charted
The FAA is struggling to maintain these expensive and outdated systems, some of which are only able to continue working due to cannibalization. As a result, the FAA is looking for possible NDBs to decommission. Most associated route structures of the affected NDBs will be pretty easy to transfer to T-Routes (GPS based). Minimum altitudes should be close to current colored airways.
The Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) office has had a significant budget cut, and they are not sure how things will be affected yet, but new routes will take them some time to implement. The PBN office continues to seek information on what life would look like for users without the colored airways. There is a significant effort underway right now looking at South East AK to see how things could be redesigned. Let the Alaska Airmen know if your operations could be impacted by the loss of the colored airways.
GA in AK talk at the Northwest Aviation Trade Show and Conference
Adam gave two talks about the differences of flying GA aircraft in Alaska versus the L48. The Saturday morning session had over 100 attendees while the Sunday evening session had a little over 50. There were a lot of great questions as most of the folks were planning to fly their aircraft to Alaska within the next five years. The Airmen Association got significant exposure, and we are continuing to gain a foothold in the Northwest as the go-to group for all things Alaska. You can watch his Sunday evening presentation on the Alaska Airmen’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/alaska.airmen/videos/1576234905747192/
Joint letter with AOPA supporting Alaska Flight Services Modernization
The Alaska Airmen and AOPA wrote a joint letter supporting Alaska Flight Services modernization. The FAA is starting the process of revamping systems and integrating new technologies into the capabilities of Alaska’s Flight Service Specialists. Our support will help planners and program managers prioritize the FAA’s efforts. Read the letter in this edition of the Transponder.
ATC Privatization has been set aside for the foreseeable future.
The US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) has removed his push to have ATC Privatization included with the FAA reauthorization (H.R. 2997). The Alaska Airmen Association in cooperation with hundreds of other GA groups across the US banded together to educate those on Capitol Hill about the pitfalls of handing over the safest ATC system in the world to a private corporation with a controlling interest from the airlines. You can read our latest letter to the committee here: http://www.atcnotforsale.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/20180226-Industry-Letter-No-ATC-privatization.pdf
We will continue to support the modernization efforts of the FAA and will work with our congressional delegation towards a long-term funding solution for the FAA.
Follow this link to read the press release from Chairman Shuster. https://transportation.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=402213
DOT Aircraft Registration
Our voices were heard. DOT is reconsidering their proposed $115 registration program. The latest information at press time indicates that DOT is considering reducing the fee and extending the registration period beyond one year. There is also talk of including other benefits to aircraft owners for their participation in the proposed registration program. Expect another comment period soon.
The stated goal of the program would be to collect and maintain current information on the distribution of based aircraft at Alaska’s airports. The primary purpose of this program is to improve the quality of based aircraft data to support airport development funding opportunities and statewide airport system planning.
The Alaska Airmen Association supports DOT efforts to understand and better manage the Alaska Aviation System of airports, but we disagreed with DOT’s first proposal as being too draconian and burdensome. Look for an updated position and ways to comment on our social media outlets and emails when the revised proposal is released.
DOT & PF Aircraft Registration Hearing
Aviation Advisory Board Statement - Our Voices Were Heard!
Look for another comment period soon!
The Alaska Airmen in cooperation with AOPA, the Alaska Aviation Safety Foundation, and the National Weather Service held an Aviation Weather Workshop on February 5-6, 2018. The purpose was to bring the aviation industry and forecasters together to share our needs and goals to bring about greater collaboration and innovation. Over 60 people attended the two-day event from all over Alaska, Washington DC, Denver, Kansas City, and representatives from Environment Canada. The Airmen hosted a social event one evening at the office that was an excellent chance to network and talk about issues in an informal/unofficial environment. Significant headway was made by providing feedback on current weather products and outlining the needs of the pilot community as well as introducing some new research projects and products that could revolutionize the way we plan and get our weather information. The following link is to the presentation slides. https://www.weather.gov/zan/2018AviationWorkshop
We collaborated with AOPA and the Alaska Air Carriers to publish a joint article dispelling some commonly held myths about PIREPs. Read the article in this edition of the Transponder.
We need information from our membership about their experience with Basic Med. More than 20,000 pilots nationwide are using this new program to continue flying without a third class medical. But, it is not always easy to work through the Basic Med process. Finding a Doctor willing to sign off the documents has been a problem for many. We need data and stories from members that we can use that will help us better advocate for you on this issue.
Canada and ADS-B
As the 2020 deadline for ADS-B equipage in the US gets closer remember if you fly in Canadian airspace that Canada will not accept a 978-out solution to comply with their rules. Canada will be a 1090-es space based system only when they go live with their system this year. We are working with other national GA groups to see if there will be exemptions for US registered aircraft but for now it seems that Canada is not considering any.
Reports keep coming in of fuel, and other items are continuing to be stolen from aircraft around the state. Many folks blame the increase on the lack of prosecution of crimes as a result of the recent SB91. Keep a close watch on your local airport and report suspicious activity to law enforcement. Vandalism and theft from aircraft poses a serious threat to the safety of aviation and has far-reaching impacts. Some have said that aircraft vandalism/theft borders on terrorism due to the mental doubt/stress about the condition and safety of the aircraft and whether or not all the damage was found and repaired.
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.