News & Information You’ll Want To Know In Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska & Iowa
by Yasmina Platt
Manager, AOPA Central Southwest Region
2014 is a wrap and planning for 2015 regional initiatives and activities is well underway. I hope you, too, have some general aviation resolutions planned for this year. Maybe finish your private pilot certificate? Add a new rating? Introduce someone to general aviation? Take a flying vacation? Fly to all public-use airports in your state? Gain some mountain flying experience? Attend an AOPA Regional Fly-in? A pilot is always learning and we can also certainly think of many fun things to do with aircraft.
If becoming a seaplane pilot is one of your future goals, you may be interested in knowing that state aviation officials in Kansas and Iowa are reaching out to the pilot community with a petition that would measure interest in gaining seaplane access to several lakes under jurisdiction of the Kansas City District of the Army Corps of Engineers. Lakes in the jurisdiction, on which seaplane operations are currently prohibited, include one in Iowa, nine in Kansas, seven in Missouri, and one in Nebraska.
After receiving a number of inquiries about using some of the waterways, state department of transportation officials in Iowa and Kansas decided to work together to pursue the possibility of opening lakes owned by the Kansas City District to those pilots flying float-equipped aircraft. Pilots who wish to support the effort may access the petition here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/kansas-and-iowa-residents-support-an-effort-to. Oh, and Missouri has a seasonal seaplane training provider now: http://blog.aopa.org/vfr/?p=535.
As another way to increase recreational flying in Missouri, we will try again to amend the state’s Recreational Use Statute (RUS) to include aviation activities, as well as try to create a fly-away exemption. We have a new sponsor for the RUS amendment since Representative Funderburk did not seek re-election in 2014. We hope to get this bill passed in 2015 as there is a group of folks intending to designate the Lake of the Ozarks area an “aviation recreational destination.” The fly-away exemption would exempt out-of-state residents from paying the state’s sales tax when purchasing an aircraft in Missouri, thus keeping more aircraft sales (and possibly aircraft maintenance and upgrades) in Missouri, rather than neighboring states. I also plan on visiting the Zenith Aircraft factory during one of my upcoming trips to the area. You can follow my schedule on the regional Twitter page: www.twitter.com/aopacentralsw.
For now, I will be in Kearney in late January for the Nebraska Aviation Symposium where I will be presenting twice: January 28 from 7-9 pm regarding airspace and January 29 at 2 pm regarding light sport aircraft (LSA) and the sport pilot certificate.
I will also be back in Topeka, Kansas on February 3 for Kansas Aviation Day at the Capitol. AOPA will have a booth and will be talking with legislators regarding the importance of general aviation to the state.
This year’s Iowa Aviation Conference is scheduled for April 21 and 22 at the West Des Moines Sheraton. On Tuesday, the 21st, at 7 pm, I will teach a Pinch Hitter course for flying companions while pilots concurrently attend the annual safety seminar. Discussion will include the possibility of the pilot becoming incapacitated while in flight and the need for the non-pilot to take control of the airplane. In addition, when the non-pilot is well-versed in the operation of the airplane, it enhances safety and increases the enjoyment of flight. Some of the topics to be covered include: aircraft parts and instruments, basic navigation using GPS, radio usage, traffic patterns and landing, and emergency procedures. If you are interested in learning more about this and/or want to RSVP your flying companion for the Pinch Hitter course (space may be limited), please send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The February 2015 edition of AOPA Pilot magazine, includes a list of the AOPA Regional Fly-Ins to be held this year, as does this issue of Midwest Flyer Magazine on page 35. In keeping with the theme of “meeting our members where they fly,” the general goal is for the majority of our members to enjoy an AOPA fly-in close to their homes over a two or three-year period.
As always, the best way to stay up-to-date with my schedule and regional happenings is via our regional page: www.aopa.org/central-southwest-rm (the Twitter feed can be found there as well).