AOPA President Phil Boyer stopped by Honolulu January 12, 2006, to give a quick rundown on the state of general aviation and answer questions. Boyer had been in Kona attending a conference dealing with FAA funding. Local aerobatic instructor Hank Bruckner introduced Boyer to the more than 100 pilots in attendance that evening at the Waikiki Marriot Hotel. Bruckner is an AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer, which means he works closely with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association to keep the organization informed of issues affecting general aviation at Honolulu International Airport.
Boyer did some introducing himself, pointing out in the audience Laurence Balter, a member of the Governor's Advisory Panel on Transportation. Balter will have the opportunity to present general aviation's perspective to Governor Lingle and other panel members.
Membership in AOPA has grown since 9/11, with latest figures now easily topping 400,000 members. Such numbers give Boyer a good amount of horsepower when negotiating with lawmakers on issues affecting light plane. His talk started on a high note with a summary of recent AOPA Sweepstakes winners. Included too was a presentation of new avionics which display terrain features with the same simplicity as looking out your windshield. Boyer explained how expansion of the WAAS network will enable airports currently without precision approaches to offer GPS approaches in which the localizer and glideslope displays on the plane's panel can be used to follow a precise path to the approach's conclusion. All these advances add up to the potential for greater safety as the new instrumentation becomes more widespread.
In the question and answer period, one top concern of Hawaii pilots has to do with the need for flight instructors to renew a TSA qualification. Even though flight instructors can take an initial TSA course online, recurrency requires completion of an airport specific threat training, and such training is currently not available for instructors who fly from Honolulu International.
Mr. Boyer's talk reinforced this reporter's belief that we general aviation pilots are well served by AOPA and its down-to-earth president.
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