Spokane Veterans See True Colors on WPA Foliage Flight

0430: I rush to the computer for the official Go/No-Go weather check. It’s POURING outside. But the radar also shows a rapid clear slot.  Just then, “It’s a GO” beeps the phone with Paul on it, practically taxiing already.  It had stopped raining completely by the time I finished my breakfast brick and quarter cup of half n half.

Gray traces of dawn breaking above memorial flag in Medical Lake, WA

The sun cracks through the cloud base of a misty dawn, silhouetting a single American Flag across the field bearing a certain local Veteran’s memorial. I’m in a Super8 at Medical Lake, and this is my call.  Just a group of simple Civilian Pilots on a yearly patriotic mission…

7 airplanes, 10 pilots, 20 vets and a couple very lucky by-standers took flight this year with Spokane Chapter WPA members. Carolyn thankfully gathered the real food, yummy SUBWAY (Jacob, our sandwich ‘artist’) and everybody at WESTERN AVIATION very kindly donated their hangar.  Meanwhile, I bump into Terry and Dana at Spokane Airways and didn’t even know they were taking part!  This is going to be a good day. Touching down on the still somewhat-glistening Runway 3L at Felts Field, Paul was already in the pattern doing those touch n’ goes  ‘Just working some bubbles out of my new right strut’ he says.

Pilots Tom Morris, Marian Heale, Dana Newcomb, Gary White, Geoff Scott, Paul Vietzke, Terry Newcomb and Dan Melville enjoy a dry spot on the ramp at Felts.

MY FLIGHTNOTES:

  1. Silverwood is building what appears to be a new high-speed/volume teardrop shaped park entrance off Highway95. Big enough to land a small Citation on.
  2. Bitteroot Western Slopes: “Not a spot of color, except for Marian’s Citabria”
  3. Eastern slopes of Lake Coeur D’Alene: Engulfed by smoke. To the extent made a quick call to Spokane approach; “We didn’t just fly into a new TFR, did we?” Thankfully, we had not.
  4. Did anyone else notice how accommodating Felts Tower was? Impressively cool ATC Doug and Kelly provided some ‘red-carpet’ service in an already crowded day, complete with special message; “We are so glad up here you (all) do this for our veterans… thank you. Continue taxi back to Ramp.”

V.A. Director Pam Wick; “Most of these vets have never done anything like this before and they were so excited and thrilled to have gotten the opportunity.  …Thank you for your time and generosity, and know we truly appreciate all the pilots involved.” Left with a smile a mile-wide, I now think how thankful I am, to be able to share such feeling of freedom as flight, with these true heroes who dedicated their lives, protecting ours.

We salute you! Spokane area veterans take flight with the WPA.

Ride along with us and see! PICTURES/SLIDESHOW POSTED HERE

Even MORE exciting photographic aerial adventures are POSTED HERE

Posted on October 3, 2011 | Posted by Geoff Scott | Comment

100 Year Wings

J.J. Ward piloted the first powered flight over the LC Valley on October 13th, 1910.


Now, 100yrs later, the 1909 Herring-Curtis “Model- D Pusher” flies once again, looking and flying just like the original at first glance, then look again; the O-200 engine, sturdy wheels capable of cross-wind hard surfaces, and rudder pedals? It’s better. (Certain “modern day” amenities incorporated to meet current FAA standards)
Roll-out at Stout Aviation for '100Year Annv'
Built by Jim Otey (former WPA president & Boeing engineer) and recently inducted EAA-Hall-Of-Famer Dean Wilson (inventor of the Avid-Flyer & “kit Fox”), The brittled- yellow plans were discovered in a widow’s attic and brought to the EAA, soon to discover they were the wing-forms for the 1st aircraft ever flown in Idaho! Glenn-Curtiss museum shipped copies of the original plans for $25. 1400’ of rigging, spruce, bamboo tubing, cloth doping, and 2 yrs later: The 724lb Bi-winged 4-stabilized “Header” was officially rolled-out under Governor-proclamation for “IDAHO CENTENNIAL OF FLIGHT” at Stout Aviation.

How does it feel to learn a plane never flown before? Otey says- “With that 80hp C-150 engine the minute you apply power – you better be ready to start flying!” Curtis would most certainly have approved of this remarkable 400′ take-off in 5 second and climb at 55… that’s nearly “Mach 3″ in Wright speed . “260’(sq) of wing @ 4lbs per foot loading, it flies more like a glider than a Champ… but you wouldn’t want to try and glide it.” Jim adds. There are several offers to house it at several area museums and even an invite for the US Navy 100yr anniversary~ though, maybe not; “My stomach isn’t so tight anymore, I think it’s growing on me” Jim admits, rolling beside two PBS-TV camera trucks down RWY8 at KLWS.

Posted on November 8, 2010 | Posted by Geoff Scott | Comment

ARFF, ARFF!

A Firecrewman's 'Cockpit'

It was a great turnout for the “When Bad Things Happen” seminar held at Geiger international. Thanks to all the Inland Northwest Pilots, Managers, Ops, and Crew who attended this fantastic, fun & very informative event. EMT Chris Wetherell and Lt. Tim Lively were very edu-tational!  Look forward to even more in the MAY edition of “The Flyer” at the Spokane WA Pilots Association’s WEBSITE. Check out THIS VIDEO:

SEE PICTURES POSTED HERE, just remember to PASS:

  1. PULL the pin
  2. AIM the unit (at the base of the fire)
  3. SQUEEZE the trigger
  4. SWEEP the Fire, from the windy side~

….Keep your face to the fire & your head in the clouds~ be safe, everyone. :)
-=Gs=-

Posted on April 11, 2010 | Posted by Geoff Scott | Comment

HOME RUN for the HOME TEAM!

Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 11:40 PM
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Subject: Congratulations! It’s an airport!!

Folks,

After several years of studies and riding the ups and downs of the tides of opinions on the fate of Vista Field, today was the big vote.  In a unanimous decision by the three port commissioners, they voted to keep the airport open!

To the many of you who attended the Monday night hearing, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

Thanks to all of you who stepped up to the podium and spoke on behalf of keeping the airport open.  Thirty-six people spoke in favor of keeping the airport and six wanted it closed.

The meeting was orderly, the speakers were eloquent, considerate, and courteous.  A wide variety of points were made with many speakers from outside the area, as well as locally.  John Sibold of the WSDOT Aviation Division, Carol Moser chairman of the state Transportation Committee, and John Dobson of Washington Pilots Association were among the notable speakers in favor of keeping Vista Field open.

- Marjy Leggett/AOPA Airport Support Network Volunteer

Posted on March 9, 2010 | Posted by Geoff Scott | Comment

AV8NEWS – 02/21/2010

HEADLINES

  • PODCAST:  TILLAMOOK MOVING TO BLUE-SKY WEATHER, BENEFITS SPECIAL OLYMPICS!
  • AOPA REASSURES PUBLIC AFTER SUICIDE FLIGHT IN AUSTIN
  • WASHINGTON AIRCRAFT OWNERS/INDUSTRY; LAST CHANCE TO SPEAK OUT ON S.B.
  • FAA DEADLINE: PILOTS TO ENTER ”DIGITAL  AGE” OR LOSE IT

AOPA  assures “Suicide Flight” NOT your typical pilot.

This week, the aviation community suddenly found itself at the center of the troubling issue of suicide in America. As tragic and dramatic as this one suicide in Austin proved to be, those who influence and make public policy have a responsibility to keep this event in perspective. The fact is that pilots are a remarkably healthy group of individuals, both physically and psychologically. for more… http://blog.aopa.org/aopanow/?p=325&WT.mc_id=ebrief

-AOPA E-brief

AV8NEWS PODCAST: Tillamook Air “Northwest Classics”

 
icon for podpress  022010-AV8NEWS (Tillamook Air Curator Interview) [10:40m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Tillamook Air SpaceThe very large annual Tillamook Air show has changed it’s date & name this year; “Northwest Classics,” formerly known as “Planes Trains and Automobiles”. Check out the awesome poster. Christian Gurling, curator for the museum thought a date in the middle of summer (July31st) would offer a better chance of that elusive Pacific-Coast GOOD weather. And whether you are a pilot with classic aircraft, an exhibitor with a product or service to promote, or just an aviation and war-bird enthusiast… it’s a great deal, just $5 with proceeds going to the Special Olympics!

Event has been expanded, which is hard to do when you’re already in a blimp-sized hangar/museum.  They’ll be flying them too! Not just a bunch of static, on display; AV8News speaks to Christian Gurling in this week’s podcast where we go in-depth covering a barrage of topics from aircraft restoration, acquisition, to setting up the largest aviation event that side of the Columbia. He also wants you to know; “…If you have any individuals who do express interest in setting up a booth at the show, please let me know and I’ll get them set up. In terms of vendors, they will be set up in 10X10 spots. These spaces will run the vendor $50.00 for the day. Pretty cheap actually.” (Especially when sources at Arlington are reportedly paying as much as $500 per day)More info?  contact: cgurling@tillamookair.com

YOU’VE GOT MAIL!

Check your EMAIL. You should have gotten a message by now from the FAA regarding the March 31 Deadline for Replacing Paper Pilot Certificates

Pilots who have not yet traded in their paper pilot certificates have until March 31, 2010, when the paper certificates are set to expire. If you’re still using paper, don’t delay. Pilots can no longer exercise the privileges of their paper pilot certificates after the March 31 deadline. Renewing a certificate can be done online or through the mail, and instruction can be found at:  http://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/airmen_certification/certificate_replacement/. Requesting a replacement certificate online requires creating an account with Airman Certification Online Services, which only takes a few minutes. Being registered can help you in the future with quicker processing of an address change or a replacement certificate request.

and speaking of “entering the digital age”… finally… what I’ve been waiting for:

Electronic Notification of Airworthiness Directives
Starting March 1, 2010, FAA will no longer mail paper copies of Airworthiness Directives to aircraft owners and operators. You can sign up to receive this information electronically. If you have not already done so, go to http://rgl.faa.gov and sign up to receive electronic copies of Airworthiness Directives (AD) and Special Airworthiness Information Bulletins (SAIB). You can sign up by aircraft type as well as engine and propeller type. “This is an efficient and much faster way for you to receive important safety information,” explains Jennifer Fleming, FAA Information Program Manager.

Ed: also great from non-owners who frequently rent or fly other aircraft or take instruction!

FAA / FAAST Blast Notice Number: NOTC2147

Posted on February 21, 2010 | Posted by Geoff Scott | Comment

This is the AV8NEWS Network

02-16-2010 AV8News moves to its new server!

Below, you’ll find the archived AV8Newscasts… some of the links and images may not have made it through this migration process. We apologize for this inconvenience if any, encountered. We will be working to resolve any missing link/story/photo issues. You may also wish to update your bookmarks to reflect this new URL, and continue your AV8News service without interruption. This new setup will allow us to update in a more linear fashion, more timely posts, and serving the greater web traffic. You will also find several new topic categories over the next few days on the menu tab listed above. We appreciate your continued feedback, submissions, and comments. Special thanks to Amanda Emily for her assistance in configuring this new News Portal.

-=Gs=-

ONE news source for ALL the skies!

Welcome to the new AV8NEWS.NET

UPDATE: 02-14-10 (2000z)

“what HB3176 would do to General Aviation” (a pilot’s opinion)

  • AOPA say $3.1 billion negative economic impact to WASHINGTON with HB3176″
  • WEEKEND UPDATE: HB3176 appears to be on railroad track to Governors’ Office
  • Olympia: Airport-Adjacent Land Usage Bill Gains Regional Support
  • You’re invited! NW Pilot Safety Seminar @ Moody Aviation
  • Tillamook: expanding Aircraft & Hot-Rod show.

========= TOP STORIES =========


HB3176 APPEARS HEADED TO GOVERNORS OFFICE

UPDATE from WPA/Spokane President-Elect John Townsley:

Although, most of the day was spent wrangling and posturing on the bill to repeal I-960. Testimony on HB 3176 was cut short because of additional testimony allowed during the I-960 discussion (repealing the Eyman tax limitation cap). Quite a large number of people were present. WPA testified w/ WAMA, NBAA, AOPA that the bill as written was severely damaging to general aviation and would have long lasting negative impacts.

It sounds like the intent of the bill managers is to get this to the Governors office early next week. I hear Tuesday as a potential date for passing the bill. It does not sound like there will be any amendments to the bill as it comes out of committee. I don’t think the House leadership wants to open any part of the bill up for discussion. The process appears to be on track to rail road this through to the Governor.

The fiscal analysis and estimated tax receipts fail to consider the offsetting loss of sales tax revenue on fuel, services, and aviation equipment, thus the revenue is overstated by an unknown but probably large amount. The fiscal analysis fails to consider loss of revenue to local government and to the State from loss of tie-down, hangar lease, and leasehold taxes. The fiscal analysis fails to consider or disclose the indirect impacts of the proposed tax increase on aircraft maintenance and support businesses, including loss of B&O taxes, reductions in employee FTE, and associated INCREASED costs to the State through unemployment claims. The fiscal note fails to address the short and long term impacts of reductions in income to the Aeronautics account and resultant erosion of the Aviation System.

John Dobson of WPA mentioned in testimony before the House Finance Committee on 13 Feb 2010 that the Aviation Division reports a decline in fuel tax receipts of about 25% in 2009 associated with reduced flying related to the recession. Further reductions in fuel tax receipts are likely should HB 3176 be enacted. Loss of revenue to the Aeronautics Account will directly impact the condition, utility, and safety of the 138 public use airports located in Washington State. This will have a negative impact on sales taxes, business activity, the State’s capacity to respond to disasters or to conduct SAR, and ultimately the quality of life and security of Washington’s citizens.

Might be timely to start writing the Governor’s Office to suggest this is bill is very poor public policy as written, and than Section X in particular should be vetoed should it reach her desk. Of course, all communications must be polite, respectful, and on point!

some day this may all be condos

Write Governor Gregoire a letter:
Governor Chris Gregoire
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

Give Governor Gregoire’s Office a call:
Governor’s Office 360-902-4111
For relay operators for the deaf or hard of hearing, please dial 7-1-1

Fax Governor Gregoire a letter:
360-753-4110

Or, send E-Mail to Governors office.

OFFICIAL WPA Testimony:

“…My Name is John F. Dobson;

I am President of the Washington Pilots Association and I am the Executive Director for the Port of Shelton.

I represent over 1000 pilots in this State. I manage a marina and I manage an Airport. And yes, I am an aircraft owner. And I am here to oppose Section 10 of HB 3176.

First I would like to set the record straight. Not all aircraft owners are “fat cats” . . . after all I do work for a Port District. Second, there are no similarities between boats and aircraft.

In July of 2009 the Governor and the Legislature received the report from the Long-term Air Transportation Study (LATS). That report reviewed existing trends in capacity and challenges to the Washington Transportation System. They found a significant backlog in urgently needed maintenance, safety improvements, and other infrastructure work for public use airports in Washington State . . . the estimate is upwards of $300 million dollars. One of the major recommendations of LATS was to increase investment in the aviation transportation system to assure adequate capacity for the future of aviation and to prevent further erosion caused by deterioration and closures.

The real punch line here is saving jobs. To date the state has lost over 35% of its revenue derived from all aviation sources. If you pass the ½ % Excise Tax increase you will cause further degradation in State Revenues. Our projections indicate this excise tax will cost the State an additional 15% . . . And that means fewer aircraft in this state and fewer aviation related jobs!

Please Remove Section 10

I would add . . . The Washington Pilots Association would be happy to work with this (Finance) Committee to craft an appropriate fee schedule. We thank you for your time.”

——————————————————————————————————————

02-12-2010 AOPA tells WA lawmakers… wait just a second.

HOUSE BILL 3176
The negative economic impact of the Aircraft Excise Tax Provision
Washington House Bill 3176 would replace the current system of aircraft registration fees with an annual excise tax of five-tenths of one percent of the aircraft’s value – creating the highest registration fees in the nation for several types of aircraft. This increased burden on an already strained aviation industry will diminish levels of safety, efficiency, and the overall positive economic impact of the current aviation system in Washington, because:
 Aircraft tax liability will increase by 1,400% or more – forcing aircraft owners to reduce flying and, in some cases, sell their aircraft outright. Less aircraft based in state and less flying = less state revenue from fuel taxes, existing registration fees, and other taxes.
 Private individuals, air ambulances, search-and-rescue operators, flight schools, small businesses, charitable organizations, and agricultural operators would decrease number of hours flown, citizens served, and levels of commercial activity.
 Washington will lose aircraft, businesses and associated economic activity to other states with more competitive tax environments. 25 states have no registration fees at all – including states with the highest per-capita aviation economic contributions in the nation.
 Responsibility for enforcement falls on the already overburdened WSDOT Aviation. Even as the bill strips WSDOT of the income from the current aircraft registration fees and sends the money to the State’s General Fund, it would assign them this hugely expensive enforcement responsibility.
General Aviation alone (all flying other than airlines and military) currently contributes approximately $3.1 billion to the state economy per annum and supports over 7,600 jobs. While we understand the search for additional short-term revenue in the current budget environment, it is important to recognize the potential negative economic impact and the resultant actual overall net loss in revenue from a proposal of this nature. We, therefore, urge you to oppose adoption of Washington House Bill 3176 to protect the vitality of general aviation and the state economy.
- The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is a national a not-for-profit membership organization that represents over 12,200 citizens of Washington. Since 1939, AOPA has been committed to ensuring the safety, future viability, and development of general aviation airports and their facilities as an integral part of our national transportation system. (www.aopa.org)
Winter Games

Remember: Olympic Sized Flight-Restrictions now in effect!

Follow up to story originally reported inSPOKANE FLYER, Jan. 2010,
and on AV8NEWS.NET (http://geoffscott.info/?p=668)

VIP NOTAM – Seattle, Washington

Notice Number: NOTC2134
3NMR – 3000 AGL

Specific instructions and restrictions available at http://tfr.faa.gov . Pilots advised to local Flight Service Station at 1-800-WX-BRIEF.

MOODY AVIATION SAFETY SEMINAR COMING

Good day WA Pilots. We at Moody Aviation are once again hosting an aviation safety seminar on Monday and Tuesday March 8 – 9, 2010 which is open to the public. Any who might be interested come join us for all or portions. Includes: test pilot Russell O’Quinn in“Live to the Limit.” Alan Davis, Gregg Simpson and Steve Quigg sharing “The Nuts and Bolts of Safety” ranging from traffic, accident studies, security and Vg diagrams.

Contact: Jim Conrad
Director of Flight Operations

Moody Aviation
6719 E. Rutter Ave., Spokane, WA 99212
509-535-4051 x206
www.moody.edu


PROTECTING OUR AIRPORTS “SAFETY ZONES”

I said, I LIKE THIS HOUSE!Legislation is afoot to re-classify in some cases, and establish property usage rights within “Airport Zones” around the state. The bill under discussion is SSB 6603, in which airport owners and operators could have a significant impact in protecting their operations from encroachment associated with ‘undesirable’ land uses.

Often, airport operators see the second stage where land is being cleared, and are understandably frustrated with development within flight operation zones. SSB 6603 would require local governments to restrict such uses as they develop or update comprehensive plans. Furthermore, it will provide WSDOT with the authority to establish rules (Washington Administrative Code) to serve as guidelines for local governments in the development of comprehensive plans. Growth Hearing Boards would take notice of the rules and guidance provided by WSDOT and CTED as well as the statute.

SSB 6603 would strengthen the hand of WSDOT, CTED and the Growth Hearing Boards, as well as airports, to defend against encroachment… not “prohibit” encroachment. Airports would still have to defend their own interests, but may find greater ally at the Hearing Boards.

- Updated Information on SSB6003 can be found HERE.

27th Annual Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show

Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 9:00 AM
Location: Western Washington Fairgrounds
110 9th Avenue SW
Puyallup, WA 98371

Description: The 27th Annual Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show. The Northwest’s premier mid-winter aviation event! Attend Safety Seminars, see new products, visit with friends and shop during this two-day aviation event! (-FAAST/BLAST)

your eyes, outside the airplane

Welcome to the new AV8NEWS.NET

UPDATE: 02-13-10 (0300z)

  • *FLASH!* AOPA say $3.1 billion negative economic impact at risk with HB3176″
  • WA legislator responds to need for AC Tax Initiative
  • Olympia: Airport-Adjacent Land Usage Bill Gains Regional Support
  • Tillamook: NW Airshow Changes Date, Expands Event
  • D.C.: Feds unveil new FAR’s for sport/rec pilots.
  • Local: The RAF “Invades” Spokane

========= TOP STORIES =========

WA. Legislator Responds To Need For Tax Initiative

In a letter response to EAA released to the WPA, WA STATE Representative Sam Hunt clearly outlines the intent of the new tax proposal :

” ….In 1949 the legislature set up differently structured taxes on airplanes and boats, but at the same level. The airplane tax was done as a specific dollar amount, and then for 60 years never adjusted for i nflation. The proposal in HB 3176 is to reset the tax for airplanes at the same level as boats – one half of one percent of value. This returns the tax to the legislature’s original intent – the same as the level on boats. There is no intent to damage general aviation.

The Joint Legislative audit and review commission does regular performance audits on tax preferences. This last year it looked at the general aviation aircraft exemption from property taxes and recommended that we keep the current structure so that we don’t subject them to double taxation – both property taxes AND the aircraft excise tax. The bipartisan commission that oversees the performance audits voted unanimously to adopt the commission report, but asked us to look at the LEVEL of the excise tax and to return it to the original parity with boats. You can read the report here http://www.leg.wa.gov/JLARC/AuditAndStudyReports/2009/Documents/09-11.pdf#page=127 and the commission recommendation here: http://www.leg.wa.gov/JLARC/AuditAndStudyReports/2009/Documents/09-11ReportSummary.pdf on page 7.

The commission comments were that “the Legislature should consider whether excise fees should be raised and whether the level…should more closely correspond to the Legislature’s apparent original intent of approximately one percent of value.”

I hope this at least explains the rationale for the proposal.

Representative Sam Hunt
22nd District (Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and Northern Thurston County)
hunt.sam@leg.wa.gov
www.leg.wa.gov/house

WPA Spokane Chapter President-Elect J. Townsley Responds:

Thanks for your attention to this important legislation.

I do not have information readily available about the relative value of boats and aircraft in 1949. I don’t believe that relative values of boats and aircraft in 1949 is relevant to the situation aviation in Washington faces today.

A comparison of taxes applied to boats and to aircraft is like comparing the proverbial “apples and strawberries”. Just as apples grow on trees, aircraft operate in the air. Apples require long term investment to bear fruit. So do airports and the aircraft based upon them. Boats operate from marinas. They are restricted to well defined waterways, lakes, and the sea. Aircraft of all sizes and capabilities are essential to Washington’s economy.

Aircraft are used for search and rescue, disaster relief, medical evacuations, surveys, movement of goods and cargo, movement of people, and for personal transportation in ways similar to automobiles. If a boat fails to return to its berth are sent to search for it, not another boat. When a child or elderly person wanders away from a rural community, we use aircraft in the search. In many instances these services are provided at no cost, or perhaps just for the cost of fuel. Just last fall volunteers donated hundreds of flight hours during the eight day search for a missing Taylor Craft from Harvey Field.

Aircraft and aircraft owners provide significant services to citizens of Washington at no charge. For example, nearly 2200 young people were introduced to aviation around the State through the EAA “Young Eagles” program in 2009. Hopefully some of these youngsters will realize that they too can fly, and will grow up fill in behind one of the many military, air ambulance, and airline pilots who will retire in the next few years. Another selfless organization is Angel Flight. Nearly 300 Washington pilots and aircraft owners flew hundreds of Angel Flight “missions” in 2009, serving residents of our State. Angel flight transports medically stable patients from their homes to where they receive needed care – for FREE!

The 2006 State and Regional Disaster Airlift Operations Plan developed by the Washington Department of Transportation, Aviation Division would utilize privately owned aircraft to augment Government resources should a large disaster occur. Tasks such as for transporting persons and cargos to hard hit areas, reconnaissance, surveillance, and disaster relief may be performed by private individuals in privately owned aircraft. The ½% excise tax on aircraft cannot but diminish the pool of available private aircraft to assist with emergency response to very large disasters. Recall that a significant amount of aid to the disaster victims in Haiti is provided by private individuals flying privately owned aircraft. The huge tax increase proposed in HB 3174 will discourage individuals from owning aircraft, or from basing their aircraft in Washington.

A few years ago the Legislature and Governor established very liberal tax benefits for Boeing Corporation and related commercial aircraft enterprises. Clearly there was recognition that the manufacture and use of large transport category aircraft brought significant social and economic benefit to the State. While the legislature was very diligent in protecting Boeing Corporation, it has shown less interest in the health and vitality of small businesses and individual users of the aviation system. Small airports such as Kelso, Goldendale, and Tonasket serve rural communities located at some distance from major urban centers. Volunteers, many of whom are aircraft owners, donate many hours to maintain or improve the airports – for the public good. Small airport Fixed Base Operators and providers of air taxi services have not received the same favored tax treatment. The proposed ½% excise tax will, instead of improving their balance sheet as was done with Boeing, significantly increase their fixed costs. Who will train the next generation of pilots when even more small flight schools close because they cannot recapture the additional cost of owning and operating their fleet? Moody Aviation based at Spokane Felts Field estimates the excise tax will raise their costs of operation by nearly $100,000 per year. Is it the Legislatures intent to eliminate privately held flight schools?

In July of 2009 the Governor and Legislature received the report by the Longterm Air Transportation Study council (LATS). The LATS report reviewed existing capacity, trends, and challenges to the Washington air transportation system. Among the findings of LATS was that a significant backlog of urgently needed aerodrome maintenance, safety improvements, and other infrastructure work exists on public use airports within Washington State. LATS also found that between 2005 when the study began, and 2009 when it was completed that three public use airports closed. Why is this relevant to the discussion of relative worth and taxation methods for boats vs aircraft? Because airports, particularly those that serve smaller communities receive substantial support from fees and rents paid by aircraft owners and tenants. It is also relevant because one of the major recommendations of LATS was to increase investment in the aviation transportation system. Investments are needed both to assure adequate capacity for the future and to prevent further erosion of capacity caused by deterioration and closure. The proposed several hundred to several thousand percent increase in aircraft excise taxes will diminish critically needed investments in the Washington State aviation system. HB 3176 would direct all excise tax receipts to the general fund. Currently 10% of excise taxes are deposited to the aeronautics account.

In summary, the comparison of aircraft to boats is a red herring, if you will excuse the pun. Aircraft subject to the proposed excise tax provide Washington’s citizens with many benefits. Direct benefits include eliciting substantial numbers of volunteer hours maintaining essential public services. Indirect benefits accrue from the jobs and businesses supported by the nearly 7,000 aircraft registered with WSDOT/Aviation. These businesses create wealth that is tapped by local communities to support their municipal or Port District owned airport. While the General Fund may receive some additional revenue from the ½% excise tax, the true increase in State revenue will be something less. Fewer flying hours means a reduction in maintenance and fuel sales. This will reduce state sales taxes by an unknown, but substantial amount. It will also reduce sales tax revenues received by local governments, causing impacts at the local level. Fewer flying hours also means less income for airport dependent businesses. This means a reduction in B&O revenue. Some FBOs have already let employees go because their business has diminished. Further reductions in business are likely should the excise tax increase be enacted as proposed. As airport businesses decline, so will local airports. As our airports decline, our capacity to respond to disasters, conduct SAR, and to create wealth through off airport business enterprises will decline. Boats are not airplanes. Marinas are not airports. Marinas are not a portal to the world. Every airport is potentially a direct connection to every other airport. Airplanes look for boats in trouble. Boats never return the favor.

The legislature views aviation as just another cash cow. Of the 36 to 38 million dollars in State taxes levied on the aviation industry in the last biennium, only about 14-15% was reinvested in the system. Contrast this to the highway system where all fuel taxes and registration fees are reinvested for the benefit of our citizens. There is a real danger that the cash cow many Washington residents depend upon for essential services, the cash cow we rely upon in times of trouble, will be drained of vitality and become just an anemic carcass.

- J. Townsley

02-12-2010 UPDATE: AOPA JUMPS TO CALL, in official letter:

HOUSE BILL 3176
The negative economic impact of the Aircraft Excise Tax Provision
Washington House Bill 3176 would replace the current system of aircraft registration fees with an annual excise tax of five-tenths of one percent of the aircraft’s value – creating the highest registration fees in the nation for several types of aircraft. This increased burden on an already strained aviation industry will diminish levels of safety, efficiency, and the overall positive economic impact of the current aviation system in Washington, because:
 Aircraft tax liability will increase by 1,400% or more – forcing aircraft owners to reduce flying and, in some cases, sell their aircraft outright. Less aircraft based in state and less flying = less state revenue from fuel taxes, existing registration fees, and other taxes.
 Private individuals, air ambulances, search-and-rescue operators, flight schools, small businesses, charitable organizations, and agricultural operators would decrease number of hours flown, citizens served, and levels of commercial activity.
 Washington will lose aircraft, businesses and associated economic activity to other states with more competitive tax environments. 25 states have no registration fees at all – including states with the highest per-capita aviation economic contributions in the nation.
 Responsibility for enforcement falls on the already overburdened WSDOT Aviation. Even as the bill strips WSDOT of the income from the current aircraft registration fees and sends the money to the State’s General Fund, it would assign them this hugely expensive enforcement responsibility.
General Aviation alone (all flying other than airlines and military) currently contributes approximately $3.1 billion to the state economy per annum and supports over 7,600 jobs. While we understand the search for additional short-term revenue in the current budget environment, it is important to recognize the potential negative economic impact and the resultant actual overall net loss in revenue from a proposal of this nature. We, therefore, urge you to oppose adoption of Washington House Bill 3176 to protect the vitality of general aviation and the state economy.
- The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is a national a not-for-profit membership organization that represents over 12,200 citizens of Washington. Since 1939, AOPA has been committed to ensuring the safety, future viability, and development of general aviation airports and their facilities as an integral part of our national transportation system. (www.aopa.org)

R.A.F. “INVADES” SPOKANE

While Washington and other states seem to be shutting down airports of all sizes at an alarming rate, there is an organization doing a great job fighting to keep them open… and even opening new destinations in the process! The Spokane Chapter was treated to a night with members of the RAF. Not Prince Andrew in a Hawker, the Recreational Aviation Foundation.

Originally a few Montana back-country pilots started the RAF. The RAF is now over 1,000 members strong with recreaviationalists from ALL over the country, representing the backwoods, and turning their passion for the backcountry into a powerful national voice for preserving, maintaining, and creating outdoorsy airstrips across the nation. (Have you ever flown to a USFS strip? Did you know you CAN?) AND building new “runways”! Boasting the first time an airfield has been built in a national forest in over 45 years, they also have the unique honor of signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Death Valley National Park to assist in maintaining the three airstrips in Death Valley National Park.

Future (MSU) Pilots of the RAFSpeakers: John McKenna, RAF President, joined by Dan Prill, VP, and Jerry Cain, secretary-treasurer. They told us about pursuing the RAF mission in D.C. “This country isn’t being run by the senators …but the 22yr-old assistants; they’re making the choices. Many don’t know the necessity of airstrips for recreation, life support, emergency and fire services.” Examples include where a USFS spotter plane ran out of fuel while controlling a fire near the North Fork of the Flathead River, and was forced to use a closed USFS airstrip as an only available option.

We… can learn a few lessons from RAF about keeping our backwoods airstrips open (think: Haiti and how their ONE runway is the only thing connecting all those people to much needed support). Like… Ryan Field, the RAF’s own airstrip outside Glacier National Park available to even non-members with prior permission. Contact the RAF at their website at www.theraf.org . Be sure to watch the video on the home page, or request a free copy!

-WPA Spokane Flyer (1/2010)  Geoff Scott / AV8NEWS

AV8-RED LINE

Welcome to the new AV8NEWS.NET!

UPDATE: 02-11-10 (2357z)

  • *exclusive* WA State legislation responds to need for A/C Tax Initiative
  • Washington: Pilots rally against proposed Excise Tax Initiative
  • Olympia: Airport-Adjacent Land Usage Bill Gains Regional Support
  • Tillamook: NW Airshow Changes Date, Expands Event
  • D.C.: Feds unveil new FAR’s for sport/rec pilots.
  • Spokane: R.A.F. “Invades” Northwest

*THIS JUST IN* 787 SIGHTINGS OVER CENTRAL WA

The 87 is in flight… Taking advantage of some local M-VFR to do “pattern” work over Moses Lake, we know it’s not the maiden flight~ but thanks to unnamed sources at Boeing for sending us some GREAT SHOTS of the Boe-hemouth (arr arr) taking to the picturesque skies over the rugged NW. We think, with runways big enough to land a space-shuttle on, and plenty of open space east of the mountains (not to mention their boasting 350 VFR days a year) Moses Lake is a great place to practice flying maidens.

I’ll add these shots to the HOTWINGS pages in a few days, for now just ‘click on ‘em. – Screen-Saver Safe (TM)

FAA ANNOUNCES NEW SPORT/RECREATIONAL RULES

Federal Aviation Administration made changes to the FAR’s concerning Parts 43, 61, 91, and 141 Certification of Aircraft and Airmen for the Operation of Light-Sport Aircraft; Modifications to Rules for Sport Pilots and Flight Instructors (With a Sport Pilot Rating).PHOTO COURTESY OF "HOTWINGS"

The FAA has adopted new rules to take effect in April. In the final draft (located at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-02-01/html/2010-2056.htm ) approved last week, “ The FAA is amending its rules for sport pilots and flight instructors with a sport pilot rating to address airman certification and operational issues that have arisen since regulations for the certification of aircraft and airmen for the operation of light-sport aircraft were implemented in 2004. These changes will update those regulations to reflect operational experience that has been gained since the original regulations became effective.”

- FAA FAAST/Blast

POLISHING “FROSTY WINGS” NO LONGER ALLOWED.

As of Feb. 1, 2010, pilots of large general aviation aircraft, air taxis, and on-demand operations may no longer “polish” frost accumulations before takeoff. “Frost Polishing” WAS permitted under FAR Part 91, subpart F and under FAR parts 125 and 135. (read the official Federal ruling HERE). The new rule cites 12 accidents where airplanes with “polished” frost crashed shortly after takeoff …

-more at: (http://www.aopa.org/training/articles/2009/091202frost.html)

The very 1st AV8News banner

02-10-10 AV8NEWS NETWORK DEBUTS!!!

• Washington: Pilots rally against Excise Tax Initiative
• Olympia: Airport-Adjacent Land Usage Bill Gains Support
• Tillamook: NW Airshow Changes Date, Expanding.
• Spokane: The R.A.F. “Invades” the Pacific Northwest

We are pleased to debut the brand new AV8NEWS NETWORK. Aviation news and the news MAKERS behind the wings, on a weekly basis. This shall include a worldwide podcast and interviews & discussion featuring pilots, operators, and more. Our first such “guest” Shall be Curt Gurling of Tillamook Aviation Museum, discussing changes to an expanded “Planes Trains & Automobiles” event now scheduled for later this summer.

=Gs=- (and the entire AV8NEWS team)

AV8News your Situational Awareness... OUTSIDE the cockpit.

Posted on February 16, 2010 | Posted by Geoff Scott | Comment