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Sat, May 13, 2006

Time Is Running Out To Comment On FAA's Plan To Cut Many IFR Approaches

Get Your Letters... Yes, Letters... In By May 31

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has sent out a reminder to its members -- and all pilots -- that the deadline is quickly approaching to tell the FAA what you think of the agency's proposal to cancel some 270 instrument approach procedures that it considers underused or redundant. If you don't agree about one of those procedures, you need to write the FAA before May 31.

The FAA says the number of available instrument approaches has nearly doubled in the last decade, primarily through the addition of GPS and GPS-WAAS procedures. That's great news for pilots of aircraft equipped with those systems... but without other IFR approaches in place as well, that means pilots without GPS capabilities are out of luck.

In some cases, elimination of the procedures would also mean no backup system is in place for when the GPS system goes offline.

The FAA says it wants to eliminate the procedures to cut costs... but AOPA points out that the money to chart and maintain all of those approaches has not increased significantly.

"We want to help the FAA reduce costs, but not at the expense of things pilots need to safely use the National Airspace System," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "Local knowledge is important. Only you know for sure if the approach the FAA thinks is unneeded still serves a useful purpose. So tell the FAA and AOPA, and we'll help fight to keep it if you need it."

Many of the procedures that the FAA wants to cancel are based on NDBs, which AOPA has generally viewed as the last choice for IFR access to an airport. In this action, the FAA isn't proposing to decommission the NDBs themselves -- just some of the approach procedures.

A list of the approaches being considered for elimination is available on the AOPA website, at the FMI link below.

If -- after checking the list -- you find an approach at your local airport is scheduled to be shut down and you want to do something about that, get your pen out and write down your comments. Aero-News has learned the address to send your comments to is:

National Flight Procedures Group
P.O. Box 25082
Oklahoma City, OK 73125

Be sure to specifically cite the approach(s) you feel should be retained, and identify your comments as regarding "proposed instrument approach elimination."

FMI: www.aopa.org, www.faa.gov

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