FAA Picks Its Direction At AOPA Expo

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The Real Meaning Is Not So Easy To See...

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey opened AOPA Expo 2003 with good intentions for the future of GA, and a newly certified engine for now, but by the end of her presentation pilots paying attention to the fine print may have been left a little confused. Blakey announced in her speech that the FAA Wednesday granted a new type certificate for Thielert's 135-hp diesel Centurion 1.7 -- two are worn by Diamond's 180-knots-on-10-gph TwinStar flying in Europe. The fine print says the engines, which incorporate auto parts, will have a $19,000, 1000-hour TBR (time before replacement) in the U.S. Beyond the fine print is the fact that the cost is similar to an overhaul of engines with similar torque and by the time aircraft turning the engine are available in the U.S. the TBR will likely be higher. Blakey also said "we're your voice at the table" when it comes to TFRs but announced that "the FAA doesn't call the shots on this at all," leaving the attending sample of some 1,200 pilots silently helpless. Attendees learned the DC ADIZ will likely stay until the hodgepodge of Secret Service, homeland security, intelligence community and other agencies decide otherwise that GA is not a threat. The other TFRs will likely come and go and Blakey says the FAA will try harder to make sure you know where the restrictions are, as evidenced by a Web site designed especially for that purpose. The site went online Thursday. For it's part, AOPA last week launched its own "Real-Time Flight Planner," which incorporates "up-to-the-minute" graphical, text and plain-language TFR information along with overlaid DUATs weather.