Author Archives: Dan Carroll

EAA Chapter Young Eagle Event

Folks, Mark Heule from EAA Chapter 237 is in need of help. 237 is hosting a Young Eagles Rally at Key Air tomorrow morning (Sunday,July 13th) in conjuction with a Collings Foundation event in which some warbirds are making an appearance. There is a major soccer event at the National Sports Center and kids from there may well be attending the Rally. Mark needs ground crew as well as pilots/aircraft. 237 is setting up from 7:30 to 8, flying beginning at 8:30 a.m. If you can help, please contact Mark at 763-234-8428 . This is a terrific opportunity to get some kids in the air!

Randy Corfman

USA Today Misrepresents GA Accidents, Misleads Public

June 18, 2014 – Wednesday’s USA Today report that describes “a massive and growing death toll” from general aviation accidents is an incomplete and misleading piece of reporting that misrepresents actual GA safety trends and the community’s own recommendations to further improve that safety record.

Thomas Frank’s article uses sweeping generalizations, cherry-picked statistics, unbalanced comparisons, and unattributed figures to claim that private aviation is an inherently dangerous activity. AOPA and GAMA were also among aviation organizations that immediately denounced the article.

“Unfortunately, the article’s title ‘Unfit for Flight’ perhaps would have been more accurate as ‘Unfit for Print,’” said EAA chairman Jack Pelton. “The fear-pandering article gives an impression of an unchecked world of flight operations. In fact, general aviation’s airworthiness directive system administered by FAA, which adds safety requirements to new and previously produced aircraft and powerplants, has the force of law and holds aviation to higher standards than any other mode of transportation in the country.”

Pelton also noted that the reporter spent extended time with representatives of GA organizations while gathering information on the story, but chose to include only a single passing comment from GAMA in the published article.

“That is simply sloppy reporting, or journalism that fills in the blanks to reach a predetermined narrative. There was so much that was missed,” he said. “EAA has joined with the GA community in substantial actions and recommendations that have significantly improved safety while maintaining the freedom and convenience that personal flight provides.”

Missed in the article, for instance, was the 40 percent drop in general aviation fatalities since the early 1990s; any mention of the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee that has worked with the FAA to create major, measurable steps toward enhancing GA safety trends; and the Part 23 reform that was signed into law last year as part of the Small Airplane Revitalization Act, which includes specific safety recommendations that must be enacted by December 2015 by the FAA.

“EAA is happy to have the conversation about GA safety and the remarkable advancements that have taken place,” Pelton said. “Reporting such as this hinders the opportunity to have that conversation, because of the tainted picture that was painted. We will continue to educate and welcome those who want to discover aviation, even in the face of misguided reporting such as what we’ve seen here.”

Medical Reform: IFR vs. VFR Battle Rages

The details of the FAA proposal controversial.
By Robert Goyer / Published: Apr 29, 2014
Mark Baker at the AOPA Regional Fly-In
The deck was loaded. Let me explain.
AOPA president Mark Baker was on the stage in San Marcos, Texas, at the first-ever AOPA regional fly-in and was discussing the fact that IFR flying was prohibited in the FAA’s proposed medical certification reform, referred to by many as the “drivers license” medical. The issue was one that few were aware of until Flying brought it to the fore with an editorial in the March issue. Our point was that IFR flying is not only not an additional hazard that should be prohibited in the news rules but that including it in the regs would make flying safer, not more dangerous.

In a private meeting Mark Baker told me that he agreed. The issue, he said, was in getting the new regs moving, the fear being that changes to it might derail it altogether, and the changes were too important to risk that. He has a great point, and far as the issue goes, he doesn’t need convincing. He’s just in a position where he wants to get as much done as he can. I can appreciate that.
So when Baker during his Town Hall meeting that wrapped up the event discussed the issue with a few hundred AOPA members, he started by asking how many in attendance were IFR Pilots.
A sea of hands went up, around three-quarters of those at the talk, a percentage far greater than at any AOPA event I’d been to before.
As I said, the deck was loaded. The weather in San Marcos had been hovering between VFR and IFR all morning, a condition that would require some serious scud running among the towers if someone were to try it. The pilots at the meeting had all filed and flown the ILS.
I ask, which was the safer approach?
It’s rhetorical. I know it, you know it, Mark Baker knows. Let’s let the FAA and Congress know it too. IFR is not some kind of daredevil activity. It is, in fact, the exact opposite. Forcing someone to fly VFR in marginal weather just because they’ve opted to go with self-medical certification instead of the FAA’s cumbersome and risky process makes no sense. Everyone in San Marcos on Saturday, Mark Baker included, understood that implicitly.



General Aviation Protection Act Supports the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act

March 11, 2014 – Three U.S. senators Tuesday introduced the General Aviation Pilot

Protection Act as a companion bill to one unveiled in the House of Representatives in December, which includes a provision that would reform airman medical certificate standards while maintaining safety.

Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) co-sponsored the bill that provides a solution to a long-standing hurdle of burdensome medical certificate standards for pilots who fly recreationally. In March 2012, EAA and AOPA requested an exemption that would ease third-class medical requirements for pilots flying certain types of aircraft, but the FAA has not to date taken action on that request despite more than 16,000 comments received in favor of the proposal.

“I urge the FAA to work with our pilots, respond to these reasonable petitions, and provide additional flexibility,” Sen. Boozman said when introducing the legislation. “If the FAA continues to delay, this bill will start the discussion toward a legislative solution.”

In announcing the bill, Sen. Boozman also noted that current regulations require private pilots flying aircraft for recreational purposes to have a third-class medical certificate. Over the last decade, 60,000 pilots left the industry, many due to the costly and time consuming process of obtaining a medical certificate. This bill expands on the success of FAA’s sport pilot regulations that were adopted in 2004 and allow pilots to fly many types of small, light aircraft without a third-class medical certificate but require that all pilots undergo a flight review by a certified flight instructor every two years. During these biennial flight reviews, instructors will continue to evaluate each pilot’s physical and cognitive condition, as well as his or her ability to safely operate an aircraft.

The proposed legislation would allow pilots to use a valid state driver’s license in place of the traditional medical certificate if the flights are:

  • Not for compensation
  • Conducted in VFR operations only, at or below 14,000 feet MSL
  • No faster than 250 knots
  • In aircraft with no more than six seats and no more than 6,000 pounds gross takeoff weight.

See the following link to read the full text of the release:

Editor’s Note: In December 2013 House bill, H.R. 3708, was introduced by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) and as of March 23, 2014 there are 74 co-sponsors of the bill.  The bill continues to gain support.  Both the House Bill H.R.3708 and the Senate Bill S2103 can be tracked at:








Living Legends of Aviation Awards 2014


John Travolta to Host the 11th Annual

Living Legends of Aviation® Award

Beverly Hills, Calif., January 9, 2014 – The 11th Annual “Living Legends of Aviation”® Awards, presented by Bell Helicopter and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, announce more honorees today.  The awards will be held January 17, 2014, at the Beverly Hilton.

With more Legends and Celebrities confirmed to attend than ever, this most prestigious and important recognition event of aviation, the “Living Legends of Aviation,” is honoring Mr. Frederick W. Smith, founder and CEO of FedEx with the Legends “Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award.”  Mr. Bruce Whitman, Chairman and CEO of FlightSafety International, will receive the “Lifetime Aviation Industry Leader Award.”

Bob Hoover has selected Major General Patrick Brady, a Medal of Honor recipient, to receive the “Freedom of Flight Award.”  In addition, Bob will pay tribute to his good friend, Col. Bud Day, posthumously, with his wife, Doris, and son, George Jr., receiving a special Legends medallion.

Morgan Freeman narrates the  “Flown West” segment of the program with a tribute to Paul Poberezny, founder of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).  There will also be a special 10-year salute to the Udvar-Hazy Center, the companion facility to the Smithsonian Air & Space museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, the non-profit organization that produces the Living Legends of Aviation Awards, will induct seven Legends, including T. Allan McArtor, Chairman of Airbus Americas; David Hurley, who has a 60 year aviation legacy and is Chairman Emeritus of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum;  John Uczekaj, CEO of Aspen Avionics; David Neeleman, founder of Jet Blue and Azul Airlines;  Roy Morgan, founder of Air Methods and actor/pilot Treat Williams.   In addition to induction, Jack Erickson, an avid aviation helicopter and fixed-wing pilot, will be honored as Bell Helicopter’s “Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award” honoree.  Erickson used the Sikorsky S64 and redefined aerial heavy lift in logging, firefighting, transmission tower erection and many limited access construction projects worldwide.

Harrison Ford is presenting his “Aviation Legacy Award” to Marilyn Richwine and Rhonda Fullerton, two key assistants who coordinate the Citation Special Olympics Airlift with amazing results.  The 11th Annual Awards promises to be a memorable and historic event.


The Summer of Their Lives

By Peter Bunce
Created: October 23, 2013

Eight Students Build Two Airplanes in Just Two Weeks

For most high school students, summer is a time to sleep in, relax with friends, find a part-time job, or head off for camp. But for the eight student winners of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA)/Build A Plane Aviation Design Challenge — and an old aviation head like me who was fortunate enough to work with them — the summer of 2013 was a life-changing experience as we built two Glasair Sportsman aircraft in just two weeks.

This wonderful opportunity came about when GAMA’s 84-member companies partnered with Build A Plane, a nonprofit organization that promotes aviation and aerospace education, to create the competition. Our aim was to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education among high school students and to inspire the next generation of aviation leaders and our future manufacturing and maintenance work force.

In just the first year, the competition attracted 27 entries from schools in 22 states. Schools used complimentary X-Plane software provided by Fly to Learn, along with curricula and training, to design and fly their own virtual aircraft. GAMA engineers judged the winners based on performance and aerodynamic parameters.

To read the rest of the article see the following link:

FAA Issues Apology for Delay on Medical Petition

AOPA has announced that it received a letter from FAA Administrator Michael Huerta apologizing for the FAA’s nearly two-year delay in responding to the joint AOPA-EAA petition that would expand the use of the driver’s license medical standard. In his Dec. 26 letter, Huerta said it was important to “ensure that such an unprecedented change will not result in any adverse impact that could lead to degradation in safety.” He did not indicate when the agency will make its final decision. The letter was sent following a meeting with AOPA President Mark Baker that included discussion of the third-class medical issue.

Administrator Huerta said he recognized the importance of the issue to pilots as there had been more than 16,000 comments made on the petition. The long delay by the FAA resulted inintroduction of the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act in Congress by members of the Congressional General Aviation Caucus. The act would allow pilots to use their state’s driver’s license medical standard for noncommercial VFR flights below 14,000 feet in aircraft with no more than six seats, weighing 6000 pounds or less and with a cruise speed of 250 knots or less. AOPA and EAA have called on their members to support the proposed act and will be continuing to request they contact their representatives in the months to come.

New bill would expand driver’s license medical

The following is a news release from AOPA regarding new legislation introduced in Congress today to significantly broaden the parameters for piloting aircraft under the driver’s license medical standard .

December 11, 2013

By  Elizabeth A Tennyson

After nearly two years of FAA inaction on the AOPA/EAA third-class medical petition, Congress has taken matters into its own hands, offering up legislation that would vastly expand the number of pilots who could fly without going through the expensive and time-consuming third-class medical certification process. Reps. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), a member of the House General Aviation Caucus, and GA Caucus Co-Chair Sam Graves (R-Mo.) on Dec. 11 introduced the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act. The legislation would dramatically expand the parameters for flying under the driver’s license medical standard. Rokita and Graves are both AOPA members and active pilots.
“We have waited far too long for the FAA to expand the third-class medical exemption to more pilots and more aircraft,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “Congressmen Rokita and Graves stepped forward to take decisive action in the best interests of general aviation when the FAA refused to act. We appreciate their outstanding leadership on this issue and look forward to seeing this bill move forward.”
The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act would allow pilots to use the driver’s license medical standard for noncommercial VFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats. That includes virtually all single-engine airplanes with six or fewer seats, including Beech Bonanzas, as well as many light twins like the Piper Aztec, Beech Baron 55 and 58, and Cessna 310. By way of comparison, most large SUVs on the roads today weigh more than 6,000 pounds and can carry six to seven passengers, making them larger than the aircraft that would be operated with proof of a valid driver’s license under this new bill.
Pilots would be allowed to carry up to five passengers, fly at altitudes below 14,000 feet msl, and fly no faster than 250 knots. The act also would require the FAA to report on the safety consequences of the new rule after five years.
To read the complete article see the following link to the AOPA website:


NTSB implements Pilot’s Bill of Rights

September 26, 2013

By  Elizabeth A Tennyson

A little more than a year after the Pilot’s Bill of Rights took effect, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a final rule implementing many of the provisions of that law.

Under the rule issued Sept. 20, the NTSB adopted a series of changes to its Rules of Practice. The changes are designed to ensure that pilots facing enforcement actions are treated fairly and have timely access to information about their cases.

The NTSB will now be required to apply the same rules of evidence and procedure used in federal courts as a way to ensure the fairness of proceedings, including appeals.

For details see the following AOPA link:

The Coming SocialFlight Revolution?

The fresh bloom of interactive applications available on portable devices today is changing how pilots fly, but if has its way it may also be changing why you fly — and for all the right reasons. SocialFlight’s creators have lofty goals. They aim to improve your business connections, your social life, your flying life, and ultimately drive sustainability if not growth in the statistically shrinking GA segment, all free of charge. It’s sunshine and roses level stuff. But here’s the twist: according to Jason Clemens, vice president of marketing for Where2 Interactive (SocialFlight’s developer), “between summer 2012 and January 2013, we got 12,000 pilots signed up.” And if the business provides those users with what it intends to provide, SocialFlight could deliver real gains for GA. Even more important, because of its business model, the effort may not have to become profitable for its developers, or anyone else, to still grow and provide a sustained and increasingly useful service for pilots and the GA community as a whole. Continue reading