AOPA Expo 2000: The Elation Continues – The FAA Boss, a New Type Certificate, ASF’s 50th Mark a Strong Convention

It's been described as "Toys 'R' Us for adults," but it's much more than that. Sure, it's the latest and greatest planes and products from the world of general aviation. It's also a series of informative seminars on technique, a chance to ask FAA Administrator Jane Garvey a question and plenty of opportunities to network with fellow pilots and the AOPA staff. It's AOPA Expo, which concluded yesterday in Long Beach, California. AVweb was there: Here's what happened.


The interested observer mightconclude that last week’s action in New Orleans was the be-all-and-end-all ofgeneral-aviation news-of-the-world, what with all the big-dollar purchases, newprogram announcements and avionics-program launches that came with the NationalBusiness Aviation Association convention.

But general aviation pilots attending the annualconvention of the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association – AOPA Expo 2000 -found plenty new and lots improved to celebrate during the annual gathering ofthe world’s largest pilots’ group – with a bit of overlap in the companiesexhibiting and the news worth hearing.

For example, the audience of AOPA Expo heard plentyto celebrate as the association feted the 50th anniversary of the AOPA AirSafety Foundation and the actions of a staff led by ASF top-safety guru BruceLandsberg, as well as the continuing success of the general aviation community’soutreach effort, Be-A-Pilot – as well as Be-A-Pilot’s success in elevatingstudent starts, the key to ensuring future viability of private aviation.

These notable milestones were only the beginning. Thenthere was the heralding of a new type certificate by FAA administrator JaneGarvey, good news for pilots who fly in Mexico, some new hardware for ourairplanes, some new airplanes and a flight bag full of new items worthy ofconsideration by any active pilot. The list of product demonstrations alonetopped 70.

Against this backdrop, AOPA celebrated its 61st yearof representing the interests of private pilots and protecting general aviation.Once the event concluded and the bean-counters got busy, they came up with theattendance level: 10,816 – a new record. These dedicated GA industryparticipants came for the exhibit floor, stayed to attend the evening events andthe 82 day-filling seminarsand workshops and for the camaraderie that seems tonaturally accompany any gathering of aviators who fly mostly for the love ofbeing aloft. And this was against the backdrop of low ceilings and poorvisibility for the first full day of Expo, forcing many would-be attendees toeither pull up short and (ugh!) drive the rest of the way or cancel their plansto visit southern California altogether.

Other numbers from this year’s event are equally impressive: Some 502 exhibitors presented their latest and greatest to the eager crowds, while 85 aircraft were arrayed on the static display area at the Long Beach/Daugherty Field Airport. AOPA says that the organization is very pleased that this year’s Expo did so well, especially when considering the weather and the “help” provided by last Thursday’s failure of the primary radar system at the Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center. And they should be pleased. Less than ten years ago – 1991, in New Orleans, to be exact – that AOPA Expo, in Phil Boyer’s first year as the organization’s president, managed to draw only about 3,000 attendees. Even when compared to last year’s well-attended event at Atlantic City, N.J., there was a 10 percent increase in attendees. Said AOPA VP-communications Warren Morningstar, “It was an absolutely amazing show.”

From seminars on flying aerobatics for “fun with apurpose” to dispelling “aviation oil myths” to tips for”making a secure aircraft purchase” or on “how to become aprofessional pilot,” there never seemed a moment when the association’smember pilots couldn’t learn something new. And with the meetings of type clubsavailable to aficionados of those designs, the folks flying something oldenjoyed an opportunity to learn something new about their birds and their fellowfans.

The combination of education and fun with someold-fashioned commerce seemed to produce the usual throngs of smiling faces,whether encountered on the exhibit-hall floor or in one of the general sessionsthat brought mobs of members together. All in all, this year’s edition of AOPAExpo was an excellent way for aviation to wrap up another growth year and lookforward to yet another.

We’ll fill you in on what you missed if you didn’thave the opportunity to walk and shop till you dropped in the aisles of the LongBeach Convention Center. Enjoy the ride.

No Plain Jane: Garvey Tackles Issues With Wit And Warmth

“I haven’t had an allowance increase since I was about15,” quipped the most powerful woman in aviation today, FAA administratorJane Garvey, as she responded to an introduction by AOPA president Phil Boyer -an introduction in which Boyer told members to applaud their own letter writingefforts that swayed Congress to give the agency its biggest budget increase indecades. We’re talking the whopping $12 billion the FAA got for Fiscal 2001,thanks to passage of the AIR 21 bill that locked the Airport & Airways TrustFund up for aviation use – and barring budgetary slight-of-hand that pilferedthe airport pool in past years to mask soaring deficits.

Garvey spoke briefly about upcoming efforts toimprove airport access, to resist local restrictions, to return safety programscut by past budget shortfalls, and to streamline the processes of approving newplanes and new equipment – while putting some logic into less-than-bright ideasabout making older aircraft meet contemporary standards when improving thequality and utility of the equipment installed.

Not bad for three years, two months and a few days on thejob. AOPA and FAA may not always see eye-to-eye, she noted, but the twoorganizations have managed to work together productively to the benefit of theircommon constituencies.

An example: FAA’s awareness of raising runway incursionsstarted action at 800 Independence and up I-270 in Frederick, Md., where theAOPA Air Safety Foundation began to post the diagrams of hundreds of airports onthe AOPA Web site for pilots to access before flying into fields with which theyaren’t familiar.

Here are, briefly, some others: AOPA’s efforts to getthe FAA to cut the wait for CFI candidates awaiting check rides, now down to twoweeks from waits that lasted months for some instructors-to-be; and the shamefulbacklog of special medical approvals has shrunken to 13,000 – down from morethan 70,000 a year ago – and continues to drop. The goal: same-day medicalreviews of special-circumstance applications.

Garvey noted that tension will always exist betweenthe regulators and the regulated. After all, she noted in a colorful quote fromPierre Trudeau, the late Canadian prime minister: When sleeping with anelephant, no matter how docile or tame, you feel every twitch and every grunt.Her goal seems to be making her elephant twitch and grunt as little as necessaryto get its job done.

But in quoting the late Max Karant, AOPA Pilot’sfirst editor and a perpetual thorn in the FAA’s institutional side, Garveyaffirmed the idea that maybe, after all, we can get along more than we disagree.”The system,” Karant wrote, “must be designed to serve all usersand not just the privileged few.”

Said Garvey, “That’s right and that’sfair.”

The Qs And As: No Soft Pitches, No Curveballs, No Strike-Outs

You’d expect an open mic to draw a variety of questions forsomeone as powerful as the head of the world’s leading aviation agency, and theaudience of AOPA members did not disappoint. Questions on a proposed Part 161noise study for Burbank, for example, will only proceed, she affirmed, when thestudy design is fair and balanced – and lacking any foregone conclusions.”We were very clear: no predetermined outcomes,” she said.

She told a questioner that the FAA is walkingsomething of a tight rope in dealing with land-use issues around local airports,trying to balance the often-conflicting views of appropriate use adjacent toairports like Chico, where the powers-that-be would like to develop property inways less-than-compatible with the airport itself.

Ditto for Hawthorne, where Gary Parsons, winner ofAOPA’s award for Airport Support Network volunteers is watching the latestantics of the local government: hiring a shopping-mall development company tostudy the best use of the airport property. The city fathers insist that allthey have to do is return $5 million to the FAA to discharge the 11 years ofgrant obligations remaining since the airport last asked for and got federalfunds. “I don’t think it’s that easy to get out of a grant,” Garveyaffirmed. “Others have asked about that and backed off after finding outwhat was involved.”

And from an Arizonan came a question about how fourairports – Sierra Vista, Bullhead City, Flagstaff and Lake Havasu – canjustify locking general aviation out of terminal buildings build in part withfederal grant funds, simply because of security rules enforced because of ahandful of regional-airline flights. Those airport managers, we expect, will behearing from both Washington and Frederick in the near future – and rightfullyso, we believe.

Other topics covered included the future of theFlight Service Station (FSS) network, on improving air traffic flow in crowdedcorridors and around the country, on revising the Age 60 Rule that mandatesairline pilot retirements, on the Thursday meltdown of L.A. Center’s radar andother brought typically informative, generally predicable answers. In all areas,there’s work going on.

But in the end, she noted, the FAA’s days of megaprojects, sweeping plans for change and revolutionary advances, are over.Incremental changes advanced building-block style are the methods of preference- whether in working on advances like ADS-B, a new architecture for the FSSnetwork, or Free Flight – are the only way these advances can be developed andimplemented without technology and costs breaking down the process, she noted.

A Word To The Boss: No Resignation Required

With the 2000 presidential elections just over a couple ofweeks away, a question arose asking whether Garvey would offer her resignationto the new Commander-in-Chief – long a Washington tradition for presidentialappointees in cabinet-level, agency level and White House posts. But Garvey’sappointment, the first under a 1997 law that gave the FAA post a fixed,five-year term, doesn’t fit that mold.

Like the five members of the National TransportationSafety Board, the head of the Federal Reserve and the FBI, Garvey’s appointmentis not “at the pleasure of the president.” That’s not to say she’dnecessarily want to hang around to work for whichever version of Candidate 2000picks up the Electoral College majority.

But unless she feels the relationship completelyuntenable, AVweb is optimistic that she’ll help establish a favorableprecedent for the good of her office and hang around until her five-year termexpires in August 2002. The continuity can’t hurt the FAA and, we suspect, willbe good for all of us in the community. AVweb hopes to see some – butnot all necessarily, of course – of what Garvey started actually get finishedby her. So hang on to the pen and paper, Madam Administrator. Our communityfought long and hard for that five-year law and only you can give it theprecedent it needs to give it a future.

It’s Here: Cirrus Launches SR22 – Quicker Than Most Expected

Another group of smiling faces belonged to the Dudes fromDuluth – the staff of Cirrus Design Corp. – where the final efforts were goinginto completing certification of the SR22, the 310-horse ContinentalIO-550-N-powered follow-on to the groundbreaking SR20 personal airplane. And theeffort should rapidly come to a conclusion, according to Cirrus President AlanKlapmeier. In fact, the certification program endured a bit of an interruptionso Cirrus could bring the 180-knot powerhouse design to Long Beach for itspublic debut and the company’s first official acknowledgement that the programis underway.

According to Klapmeier, certification should concludebefore year’s end, thanks to an effort to complete drop tests of BallisticRecovery Systems’ emergency-parachute system for the SR22 – tests that wereongoing as AOPA Expo 2000 was underway. Final flying and check-offs of theairplane itself were nearly complete, with drop tests of a weighted airframeamong the final, tall hurdles left to clear.

That puts Cirrus in a position to lap competitorLancair’s Columbia 400, a follow-on to the still-sluggish Columbia 300 program.But that’s another story for later in this report.

What Is It? A Faster, Heavier, More Capable Cirrus

Cirrus first acknowledged it was considering an SR20follow-on design more than a year ago – but has never since firmly acknowledgedthat the program was a go. Still, there have been hints, including companysources stating that a payload increase planned for the SR20 would be completedin concert with certification tests of the SR22. Now, those times are near. Butthe SR22 is more than simply a higher-horsepower, faster-flying version of theoriginal Cirrus.

For example, the new SR22 flies 20 knots faster andweighs more than 400 pounds more than the SR20 to give the new bird a payload of1,150 pounds; the wing span is three feet wider, at 38 feet, four inches; thepanel is all-electric, with the plane sporting dual alternators, batteries andelectrical buses to assure power to the electric gyros used in place of theair-driven units. That means no suction pump and one less system to maintain andworry about. And with 81 gallons of fuel, the SR22 delivers a cruise range of727 nautical miles, with reserves.

At a price of $276,600 for the base model – whichincludes an S-Tec/Meggitt System FiftyX autopilot, dual Garmin GNS boxes, one a430, the other a 420 without the ILS and glideslope receiver and an electric HSI- the SR22 has labored little to build a substantial backlog of orders – 178,according to Klapmeier, about one full year’s worth of production, most of themconverted from the 600-plus backlog of orders amassed for the SR20. Many ofthose initial converts opted for the optional “B” equipmentconfiguration, which includes dual GNS 430s and the Sandel 3308 EHSI; this modelcommands a $294,700 price tag.

With Cirrus’ total orderbook approaching 700, Cirrusplans to establish a second production line to build the 300-horse Cirrus -which means shorter lead times for people holding orders on either list.Regardless of which you might lust after, you might want to stop dreaming andstart ordering, before the wait gets longer yet again – and you can count onthe list getting longer before it gets shorter.

And Next Up From Cirrus? Hope You Can You Spell FADEC

Given the innovations Cirrus Design has successfullytackled – composite airframe, large-screen multifunction display and the CirrusAirframe Parachute System, and a single lever to control engine power, to namethe top ones – some seem to expect company executives to be hot for some of thenew powerplant options emerging from engine makers. So, the question went, wouldit be a Diesel, as at least one European distributor has stated? How about ashaft version of a little Williams turbine? Or even a fanjet?

Nope, said Alan Klapmeier. He’s excited aboutTeledyne Continental Motors development of a full single-power control for theContinentals Cirrus uses. Certification of the system for the IO-360 and IO-550is near its end, opening the door for Cirrus to further enhance its two modelssooner rather than later.

Micco Celebrates The SP26’s Rapid Certification

What’s an aviation convention without at least one newairplane to ogle and fantasize about? It’d be something of a let down duringthese boom times, don’t you think? Not to worry. Thanks to the rapid work ofMicco Aircraft and the FAA, the Florida-based, Seminole-tribe owned company wasable to celebrate the certification of the 260-horse, tailwheel SP26 – only 10months after the January certification of the company’s 200-horse SP20, thefirst reincarnation of the old Meyers 145.

FAA administrator Jane Garvey brought companyrepresentatives to the stage of the convention center’s ball room at the startof her annual Meet-The-Boss session – a session in which the first fixed-termFAA boss showed herself to be at the top of her game a bit more than three yearsinto her five-year-fixed-term tenure, we must add. But more on that later.

Getting back to the SP26 certification, Garvey noted thatthrough the hard work of the company and FAA staff, the follow-on aircraft camethrough the program much more quickly than the it took to get the SP20 throughthe program. It shows, Garvey noted, what the public and private sectors canaccomplish working together.

Free Bird: Mooney Madness, With A Cause

Here’s one you don’t encounter every day – an airplanecompany working to give away airplanes. But that’s exactly what Mooney AircraftCorp. plans to do with a brand-new Eagle to one of the 5,000 people who buy a$100 ticket in a lottery to benefit the Eagles Against Diabetes Partnershipthat’s funding research into a promising new therapy that could cure thedisease. Yes sir, according to Mooney President Chris Dopp, this isn’t a freelease or a temporary loaner. Someone will take home $360,000 worth of Eagle,equipped with all the goodies, including a Garmin GNS 430, an autopilot andslaved HSI.

The Children’s National Medical Center in Washington,D.C., and Vanderbilt University’s Center for Microgravity Research will share inthe benefits from the raffle, which is being supported by the General AviationManufacturer’s Association, the Mooney Aircraft Pilots Association, the Evans-GilrithFoundation, and the planemaker, of course. For information on how to get yourone-in-5,000 chance for a new Eagle, check out the details at tickets should go about as fast as the 180-knot prize.

Down To The Tropical Sun: Baja Pilots Work Wonders With Mexico

Some of you may have read my missive in the delights ofpaperwork that’s been part of the experience flying through Mexico for years andwondered whether it’s worth the effort. Well, we thought so then and plan toreturn for another adventure trip South of the Border. But things should go moreeasily and less expensively thanks to work by the Baja Bush Pilots Associationwith the government of Mexico and Mexico’s version of AOPA, FEMPPA, unveiledduring Expo 2000.

According to BBPA, association president JackMcCormick received an appointment from Mexico Senator Alejandro Gutierrez to siton a special committee dubbed “Simplification for the PrivateAviation” in Mexico earlier this year and the first meeting October 11 hasalready brought some changes. For example, now all 57 international airports inMexico are port-of-entry points for both piston and turbine aircraft, ending thedifferentiation between POI airports designated for either piston or turbine, aparticularly arcane system in which you could depart Mexico, for example, fromMattamoros in a piston plane but not from Tampico – and vice versa. Pilots fromnorth of the border can now change their passenger list and even fly withinMexico with different passengers than those listed on the entry permit, anotherwelcome, logical change. A special tax has been rescinded, as well, savingAmerican flyers some welcome bucks.

And perhaps best of all, we can fly night VFR from and totowered airports that are open after dark. Before, any night flight had to be onan IFR flight plan to fly at night. But this isn’t the end of McCormick’s work- more improvements are expected, including a 360-day multi-entry permit for aflat $50 fee, a new form that combines all the entry-permit forms into one, andeven a single-window payment system that will eliminate the running around tomultiple offices that prevails today, and more. To learn more from the source,you can contact McCormick at (480) 730-3250, Sen. Gutierrez at (011)525-345-3329, or Dr. Luisa Romero M del Sobral, the head FEMPPA, at (011)522-383-0260.

Hasta la vista.

Extra, Extra, Read All About It: 400 Gets Its FAA Papers

Walter Extra’s latest vision of things with wings got itsflying papers, Extra Aircraft LLC announced during NBAA, and the four U.S.dealers are hot to sell this hot new pressurized single. Powered by TCM’s rareTSIOL-550C liquid-cooled engine, the 350-horsepower turbocharged six-seater cancover more than 1,000 nautical miles at 230 knots. The 400 can also get itsoccupants above most weather, thanks to a service ceiling of 25,000 feet -FL250, to regular users of their heights – as the occupants enjoy a cabinaltitude of 8,000 feet.

The carbon-fiber-fuselage design sports a cantileverhigh-wing configuration that even delivers all-weather capabilities in its fullIFR panel – radar and a pair of Garmin GNS 430s to guide you along. PacificExtra in Seattle, Extra Southwest in Deer Valley, Ariz., East Coast Aviation atHanscom Field in Massachusetts, and Showalter Aircraft Sales in Orlando arehandling U.S. sales of this scorcher. Oh, yeah, bring along plenty of pennies,because the Extra 400 is going for a bit more than a million – perhaps a newhigh for a piston single.

I’ll See Your Chute And Raise You A Parachute: The GARD’s Back

Years before Cirrus made jaws drop by announcing that itsplanes would sport their own whole-plane parachute systems, the company thatmade those ‘chutes possible won an FAA STC to put the General AviationRecovery Device (GARD) in Cessna 150 and 152 models. But the 1993 GARD neverquite caught on as South Saint Paul’s Ballistic Recovery Systems had hoped.Well, hope and patience are often rewarded, as Cirrus proved, since the systemshave been standard equipment aboard every production SR20.

And more proof is at hand through the launch of MillenniumAerospace’s plans to acquire and refurbish 150s with new paint, new interior, anew Garmin 530-anchored avionics stack, and new GARD-150s for the training andpersonal-flying markets. According to Chuck Parsons, owner of Chicago-basedMillennium Aerospace, the final price of these updated and upgraded birds willbe less than half a new 172 – which lacks both the big Garmin and the bigparachute.

Flight schools around the country can expect to starthearing from Parsons in the coming weeks, as BRS gears up to produce more GARD150s – a no-brainer for a company that’s delivered more than 13,000 emergencyparachute systems in the past 18 years. With the documented save of 134 pilotsin that time, and Cirrus’ adaptation of the BRS system to both the SR20 andSR22, we won’t be surprised to hear that acceptance of the GARD-equipped 150will be higher than before.

Stack Attack: Honeywell, UPSAT Advance Their Color Gear

Even as its corporate future is in play, Honeywell’s Bendix/Kingstaff was smiling as they let everyone within earshot know that the new KLN94color IFR GPS is starting to ship after the unit received its TSO approvalrecently. That gave the Honeywell display a new appeal for pilots interested insomething from the other side of Olathe, Kan., where rival Garmin isheadquartered.

The combination of a KLN94 – which is plug-and-playcompatible with the KLN89B mounting tray – linked to the new KX155A nav/comdelivers all the same features as another Kansas company’s all-in-one box,Honeywell staff offered – with a color display screen only slightly smallerthan “those other guys’ unit” and at a lower price. Add on a KMD 150multifunction display, and for less than “those other guys'” biggerbox, you get even more color display area and some redundancy, to boot, sinceeach unit has its own color screen.

Shipments begin this month, according to the company, and abacklog of demand already has the assembly line humming. Also at Expo, AOPAmembers who didn’t attend NBAA the week before got to hear the first words onHoneywell’s upcoming Apex integrated avionics system launched at New Orleans.

Elsewhere on the Expo exhibit floor, the innovators fromOregon were showing off the newest capabilities of the UPS AviationTechnologies’/ MX20 multifunction display – functions that don’t requireanother UPSAT unit to exploit. Among the welcome advances are an accuratedepiction of Jeppesen approach plates overlaid on the aircraft tracking function- complete with strips that show the descent profile, altitude and circlingminima, and the missed-approach procedure.

Although the demonstration unit worked off a UPSAT GX60 IFRGPS, the features work regardless of the GPS feeding the display. And, accordingto company sources, there are even more features in the works that should bedebuting no later than the Aircraft Electronics Association convention next May.

Echo Flight: Orbcom Bankruptcy No Sweat For Datalink Service

If you’d been counting on adding an Echo Flight datalinkfeed to your airplane, but were concerned about the September Chapter 11bankruptcy-protection filing of its satellite provider, OrbCom, there’s no needto sweat, according to Echo Flight president Robert Kalberer. “OrbCom has aplan in the works, its business is getting better, and they’re going to come outof this relatively soon,” Kalberer told AVweb at Expo 2000.

A combination of new clients for its low-Earth-orbitsatellite system, cost reductions and changes in its business focus shouldsecure the LEO system for years to come, much to the relief of Echo Flightcustomers awaiting the hardware to feed their multifunction displays weather andmessaging services. “The line’s not getting shorter,” Kalberer said.

Gilt By Association: New Faces Hope For Gold From Expo Crowd

Aviation conventions are time-proven places to launch newproducts and potential gold mines for the launchers, as you’ve probably noticedfrom our reports over the years, and AOPA Expo is never an exception to thatrule, from the big stuff to the small and, sometimes, esoteric. With that inmind, here’s a bit of product potpourri for your consideration.

Airborne Weather In The Palm Of Your Hand From DigiWX

Datalink aside, the DigiWx broadcast system gives a smallairport weather reporting capabilities that can move from plane to plane andthat fits in the palm of your hand. Based on a low-power FM transmitter, theDigiWx is a solar-powered air-data-gathering tower that broadcasts wind speed,direction, crosswind component, temperature, humidity and barometric pressure toa palm-size receiver with its own liquid-crystal display. With the runwayorientation plugged in, you can see a graphic depiction of the wind directionrelative to the runway, as well as the other data listed above – while on theground or aloft, up to about 10 miles. The system costs $6,950, with onereceiver; additional receivers go for $595 for this VFR-only system. The maker,Belfort Instrument Co., is based in Baltimore. Check them out at,of course.

Entertaining In The Malibu Or Mirage

Phoenix-based Cutter Aviation showed of its corporate-styleentertainment center recently STC’d for the Piper Malibu and Mirage. You loseone seat, but gain access to music, video and DVD entertainment equipment, aswell as a 12-inch color video monitor for the visual gear. Prices start at$13,500 for the cabinet installation, alone; the monitor adds $5,000. The weightgain for the cabinet alone is a svelte 22 pounds – plus the weight of anyoptional gear installed.

Navigation In The Palm Of Your Hand

This a growing segment of the electronics mania that’sswept through general aviation in recent years, and it’s one that lets all thosepalm-size PDAs do double duty – keeping lists, swapping email, makingappointments and navigating by GPS. One of the players displaying this newtechnology was Boston-based TeleType and its TeleType GPS hardware and software.This system works of a combination GPS engine-and-antenna unit mated to astandard card that plugs into the PDA. Open the software and get touch-screennavigation control of your VFR GPS and moving-map display.

Portable collision avoidance at hand

With 18 midair collisions last year and some high-profilemeetings of the metal this year, avoiding things that go crunch in the skyremains a priority for us all – but one expensive to enhance, equipment-wise.Now pilots not blessed with the five-figure budgets needed to equip their wingswith stand-alone collision-avoidance gear or the hardware needed for the newTraffic Information Service were making for crowds around the exhibit ofSureCheck Aviation, where the star of the display was the new $495 TPAS – orTraffic Proximity Alert System.

Similar to other collision-avoidance devises, the TPASsystem listens for and deciphers the transponder output of other aircraft in twomodes: en route and terminal. When in the en route mode, TPAS alerts the pilotto aircraft as far away as five miles. In the terminal mode, the highest alertlevel is triggered by aircraft within 2,000 feet. TPAS does not give altitudeinformation or resolution information like those five-figure systems availablefrom other vendors. But it is portable, can run off ship’s power or six AAcells, and will even show when the plane is within range of ground radar. Checkout SureCheck at

Don’t Want To Ride A Motorcycle? H-D Will Help You Fly, Too

Yessir, Harley-Davidson Financial Services has weighed into the growing field of aircraft finance, through its partnership with DorrAviation Inc. Loans are available for terms to 20 years, new or used; forwarbirds; and for aircraft older than 20 years. Rates go as low as the NewYork-posted prime rate for loans above $200,000. So if you don’t want a pickle,and don’t want to ride a motorcycle, you may still qualify for your own Harleywings. Harley-Davidson finance is in Chicago, Dorr Aviation is in Marlboro,Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch, AOPA’s On A Roll

Uncle Phil went for some laughs on AOPA Expo’s opening dayby putting ASF headman Bruce Landsberg through the rigors of a quiz show ala WhoWants to Be a Millionaire. No, there wasn’t a million at stake, but there werefour checks for $50,000 each to underwrite another year’s worth of productionfor the Project V (for “video”) program launched last year. With eachcheck equal to the costs of sending videos to about 13,000 pilots, a lot moreaviators will get tapes in the mail than last year.

And that will help ASF, which has arguably been a majorinfluence in the dramatic drop in aviation accidents, both fatal and non-fatal,to another record low this year – something Jane Garvey lauded in her openingremarks.

But Landsberg just can’t leave things going well – he’safter making them even better, a hallmark of his nine-year tenure at thefoundation. The newest twist: teaming the Air Safety Foundation with Jeppesen tolaunch the new ASF-Jeppesen CFI Renewal Online program to meet the FAA’srequirements for Flight Instructor Refresher training. The $149 tab evenincludes filing of all the validation paperwork with the FAA.

More Credit Due: AOPA Rebate Program Increased

If you use your AOPA credit card like I do, you probablyenjoy getting those 3 percent rebates back from MBNA America Bank – theinstitution that covers the rebate costs. Well, your rebates will grow inproportion, AOPA announced at Expo 2000, to 5 percent starting January 1. AOPAwas already looking into ways to enhance the rebate program back around Sun nFun in April, and we know first hand that much of the feedback AOPA received wasthat more money never hurts.

Since the program’s launch in 1997, MBNA has returned toAOPA members more than $4 million worth of rebates, with the average monthlyreturn equal to AOPA’s annual dues. With more than 4,500 participating FBOs,maintenance shops and other suppliers participating, members qualify for rebateson everything from gas and oil purchases to avionics and equipment upgrades.

Free At Last? NOS Charts Available From AOPA On-Line

Don’t let the New Year creep up on you without checking theink or ribbon in your printer: Something free is coming your way. StartingJanuary 1, AOPA members will be able to print out on their computer free NOSapproach plates, STARs, SIDs (now called Departure Procedures or DPs,) andchange notices for all 9,400 published procedures. The plates will be linked tothe association’s on-line airport directory and available in Adobe’s PDF format,so you can print them out scaled to a size you can read and on paper that willstand up to rough handling, if you choose. The update cycle will run every 56days, same as the NOS charts you buy at the pilot shop or from the guvmint. Mostimportantly, they will be legal in the cockpit, just like the ones you’re usingnow.

In a nod to the ever-present digital culture of today, AOPAis also formatting the online Airport Directory so pilots can download airportdata and diagrams to a notebook computer or PDA – without printing them at all.You can already print out airport diagrams and information in a kneeboard-sizeformat to carry with you, in case you’re not interested in adding moreelectronics gear to your flight bag.

The End Is Here

Why does there always seem to be more to report and lesstime to report it in? Perhaps it’s just another one of those positive signs ofthe times for general aviation. We’d like to think so, at least, and with thefun and camaraderie of another AOPA Expo fresh in our minds, it’s easy to beoptimistic that next year will be even better.

If you didn’t make it to Long Beach this year, don’tstress. Next year’s AOPA Expo is just a bit more than 11 months away: In FortLauderdale, Florida, next November 8-10. Be sure and stop by and say”Hi” when you’re there.


Be sure to check out AVweb’s image gallery of AOPA EXPO 2000!