Nontowered Case Studies – Greensboro, NC

Nontowered Case Studies – Greensboro, NC – Mar. 15, 2017

Presented by Bruce Belgum     March 15, 2017 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.


Guilford Technical Community College – Aviation 1053 Old Stagecoach Trail AV3 Bldg., Room 318 Greensboro, NC 27410

Nontowered Case Studies:  What Went Wrong?

Flying at nontowered fields is a balancing act. Especially on busy days, it demands concentration, communication, sharp eyes, solid stick-and-rudder skills, and the ability to improvise at a moment’s notice. Sometimes the margin for error can be very slim.

With that in mind, ASI’s new seminar turns a spotlight on real-life accidents in the nontowered environment. Together with our expert presenters, you’ll play the role of accident investigator—starting at the crash scene and working backwards through physical evidence, eyewitness testimony, and other leads to figure out what went wrong, and why.

Sponsored by the NCDOT Division of Aviation.

Special Thanks to:  Signature Flight Support.


Dan Namowitz – AOPA

Since the FAA announced the BasicMed rule, pilots who see it as a good fit have been focused on making sure they will be able to continue doing the kind of flying they love under the BasicMed program.

Since the FAA announced the BasicMed rule, pilots who see it as a good fit have been focused on making sure they will be able to continue doing the kind of flying they love under the BasicMed program.

Since the FAA announced the BasicMed rule, pilots who see it as a good fit have been focused on making sure they will be able to continue doing the kind of flying they love under the BasicMed program.

For example, private pilots cannot fly as pilot in command “for compensation or hire” except for some well-known exceptions including charitable flying, sharing costs of flights with passengers, and flying related to a business only if the flight is incidental to that business and does not carry any passengers or property for hire. Will those exceptions be available to private pilots who participate in BasicMed?

The short answer is yes. This is addressed in the BasicMed final rule in footnote 10: “The FAA notes that § 61.113 provides that certain activities conducted by a private pilot acting as PIC are excepted from the general prohibition on operations conducted for compensation or hire. These activities are listed in § 61.113(b)-(h). Although the FAA considers these activities to be operations involving compensation or hire, the compensation or hire exceptions for these operations permit these operations to be conducted under this rule.” Furthermore, the FAA’s published guidance on BasicMed (Advisory Circular AC 68-1, Alternative Pilot Physical Examination and Education Requirements) explains that operations from which a pilot may receive some form of compensation, including “operations such as flying in furtherance of a business, sharing flight expenses with passengers, demonstrating an airplane for sale, and conducting search and location operations,” are exceptions that will “apply to people operating under BasicMed just as they would apply to a person exercising private pilot privileges under a part 67 medical certificate” (AC 68-1,

Charitable, nonprofit, or community event flights also are listed in the advisory circular in 4.1.1 as permissible operations for private pilots exercising their certificate privileges under BasicMed under the limitations of 14 CFR 61.113(d), which references 14 CFR 91.146. For more information on complying with the charitable flight rules of 14 CFR 91.146, read this article by AOPA Legal Services Plan attorney Jared Allen. Pilots will still have to comply with BasicMed’s other provisions on those flights. AOPA encourages pilots to review 14 CFR 61.113(i), which adds BasicMed’s required pilot qualifications and eligible aircraft to the regulation governing private pilot privileges and limitations to act as pilot in command.

As noted, pilots can conduct any operation that they would otherwise be able to conduct using their pilot certificate and a third class medical certificate, except that under BasicMed you may fly with no more than five passengers; fly an aircraft under 6,000 pounds maximum certificated takeoff weight that is authorized to carry no more than six occupants; conduct flights within the United States; fly at an indicated airspeed of 250 knots or less; fly at an altitude at or below 18,000 feet mean sea level; and not fly for compensation or hire (except as discussed in the advisory circular).

The BasicMed advisory circular answers many questions about the rule. AOPA recommends that pilots review it carefully as they prepare to take advantage of new opportunities to fly provided by this long-awaited and hard-won medical certification reform.

Between now and May 1, the date BasicMed becomes effective, the FAA is working to finalize the checklist for the physical exam that a BasicMed participant must undergo every four years with a state-licensed physician. The FAA also is reviewing AOPA’s online aeromedical course that BasicMed participants will be required to take every two years. Both the checklist and the course must receive Office of Management and Budget approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

AOPA supports charitable flying as a great way for pilots to support their communities while doing something they love. The value of those flights, and other kinds of flying, can extend well beyond the direct purpose of the flight by cultivating strong relationships with local communities and, perhaps, inspiring the next generation of pilots and aircraft owners.


By Elizabeth A Tennyson – AOPA

AOPA is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case involving aviation products liability, an issue that could have a significant impact on the cost of flying.

At the heart of the case is the question of whether juries can impose aircraft design standards at the state level in aviation products liability cases, in conflict with the FAA’s federal regulatory and certification standards.

Defective Products

“If a product is defective, aggrieved parties should receive compensation for injuries resulting from the defect, but standards set by the FAA, not by juries or the states themselves, should be used to determine whether the manufacturer is liable in aviation products liability cases,” said AOPA General Counsel Ken Mead. “To do otherwise conflicts with the FAA’s areas of responsibility and threatens the affordability and safety of general aviation.”

Sikkelee v. Precision Airmotive Corp (Gibsonville, NC)

The case, Sikkelee v. Precision Airmotive Corp., involves a 2005 airplane crash in North Carolina following an engine failure. The pilot was fatally injured, and his spouse filed a lawsuit against the engine’s manufacturer, claiming that the failure was the result of a design defect in the carburetor. In 2014, a U.S. District Court found that there was no design defect in the carburetor because the engine was certified and approved by the FAA. But in April of this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed that decision. It found that the FAA’s federal regulatory role did not preempt state law standards of care in aviation products liability actions. It also found that the FAA’s certification and approval of the engine did not eliminate the possibility of a design defect. That ruling allows juries to hold a manufacturer to state design standards, even if the manufacturer satisfied all FAA regulations and the FAA approved and certified the product.

“This case presents an important question about the states’ role in ensuring continued operational safety of aircraft approved by the FAA,” AOPA wrote in a friend-of-the-court brief submitted to the Supreme Court. “As owners and pilots, AOPA members have a substantial interest in the duties imposed upon manufacturers to address unsafe conditions in FAA-approved designs. These duties significantly affect the safety of existing aircraft and future aircraft produced in accordance with that design. Additionally, the cumulative cost effect of aviation products liability actions on manufacturers is also passed onto aircraft owners. Thus, state-law duties defined in an aviation products liability action affect the cost of purchasing new and maintaining existing aircraft.”

FAA Responsibilities

For decades, the FAA has been responsible not only for certifying new designs but also for monitoring, identifying, and addressing any unsafe conditions that may arise after an aircraft has been approved and certified. To ensure continued safety, the FAA may issue airworthiness directives and require manufacturers to make design changes in future production aircraft. It also must approve any and all voluntary changes to the aircraft’s design. In its brief, AOPA wrote that using state design standards in aviation liability actions interferes with these long-standing responsibilities of the FAA.

“It’s vitally important that manufacturers have one set of standards, established by the FAA, to adhere to,” said Mead. “Otherwise they can face the nearly impossible and very costly challenge of trying to follow a hodgepodge of potentially contradictory state standards. That’s bad for safety, it’s bad for manufacturers, and it’s bad for aircraft owners who end up, quite literally, paying the price.”

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) said it, too, planned to file an amicus brief in the case.

For Now, Flying Without A Required Third Class Medical Certificate Has Consequences

Jarod Allen – AOPA

While the clock is already winding down on the FAA’s deadline to implement third class medical reform, you can’t take advantage of the new law to fly without a third class medical certificate just yet.  Until the FAA’s new or revised regulations are in place or the law’s prohibition on enforcement actions takes effect, it is important for pilots to remember that there are serious consequences for flying without a medical certificate as required by the current FARs.

The “FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016” containing third class medical reform was signed into law on July 15, 2016, and sets important dates for the FAA.  The new law directs the FAA to issue or revise regulations that ensure pilots can operate under the provisions of third class medical reform no later than 180 days from July 15, 2016.  However, the law does not provide any specific consequence for the FAA’s failure to meet this deadline until 1 year passes from the date of the law’s enactment.

If the FAA has still not published final regulations in the Federal Register by July 15, 2017, then the FAA is prohibited from taking enforcement action against a pilot who does not hold a medical certificate but is making a good faith effort to fly in accordance with the provisions of third class medical reform.

Until the new regulations are in place, or the prohibition on enforcement action takes effect, airmen are required to meet the medical certificate requirements of the current FARs.  FAR 61.3(c): “Medical certificate” provides, in part, that a person may serve as a required pilot flight crewmember of an aircraft only if that person holds the appropriate FAA issued medical certificate, or other documentation acceptable to the FAA, that is in that person’s physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft.  The exceptions to the rule include, among others, operations involving sport pilot certificates, balloons, and gliders.

Airmen can run afoul of FAR 61.3(c) in several different ways, subjecting themselves to fines and even revocation of their airmen certificates.  If an airman has a current and valid medical certificate, but operates an aircraft without that medical certificate in his or her physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft, the FAA’s sanction guidance recommends a “minimum” civil penalty, typically in the amount of $500-$649.

Operating an aircraft without a current medical certificate when an airman is otherwise medically qualified (e.g., an expired medical certificate or a medical certificate not appropriate to the airman certificate privileges exercised) violates FAR 61.3(c), in which case the FAA’s sanction guidance recommends a 30-180 day suspension of an airman’s pilot certificates.

The FAA’s sanction guidance provides for revocation of an airman’s pilot certificates in cases where an airman violates FAR 61.3(c) by operating an aircraft without a medical certificate when he or she is not medically qualified (e.g., an airman has a disqualifying condition and lets his medical expire), or after the airman’s application for a medical certificate has been deferred or denied.  There are numerous cases where the NTSB has upheld the FAA’s revocation of the pilot certificates of an airman who continued to fly despite being denied a medical certificate.  In these cases, the Board readily rejects arguments seeking a lesser sanction, often citing safety concerns and the airman’s attitude of non-compliance with regulatory authority.

If the revocation of an airman’s pilot certificate fails to keep the airman grounded, then the FAA could impose civil penalties or seek a court order compelling compliance with the threat of fines and/or imprisonment.  Federal criminal charges can also be brought under 49 U.S.C. § 46306, which provides for fines and imprisonment up to 3 years for knowingly and willfully acting as an airman without an airman’s certificate.

So, until the new regulations are in place or the prohibition on enforcement actions takes effect, pilots should ensure that they meet the requirements of the current FARs.  The FAA indicates that the agency is on track to finalize third class medical regulations within the 180 day time limit set by Congress.  Once those regulations are available for review, we will provide further guidance.

AOPA Fly-In succeeds despite the rain


The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association leadership and membership both turned out in impressive numbers despite rainy weather for the year’s first regional fly-in at Michael J. Smith Field in Beaufort, N.C., May 20-21.

AOPA President Mark Baker brought the top members of the management team from the association’s headquarters at Frederick, Md., for the fly-in and nearly 2,000 visitors showed up to meet them. The main tent was nearly full with an estimated 800 plus attendees for the Friday evening Barnstormers party.

AOPA President Mark Baker welcomes Fly-In participants to the Friday evening Barnstormers session

AOPA President Mark Baker welcomes fly-in participants to the Barnstormers session

About 230 planes flew in, most on Friday, before heavy rain began. The following day there were intermittent showers, but the fly-in programs continued uninterrupted as the crowd returned.

The Saturday program included a wide range of seminars and presentations on technology, safety, weather flying and general aviation issues.

A display of new aircraft on the main ramp at the airport provided a centerpiece for the event. A polished Diamond DA62 twin grabbed a big share of visitor attention, along with a dozen other new aircraft.

A Diamond Aircraft sales representative shows two visiting pilots a Diamond 20 at the AOPA Beaufort Fly-In.

A Diamond Aircraft sales representative shows two visiting pilots a Diamond 20.

But the star attraction may well have been the U.S. military display, headlined by the Bell-Boeing MV-22 Osprey that flew in Friday. The aircraft and its 11-member crew were from Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville, N.C. The tilt rotor Osprey is both a turboprop airplane and a heavy-lift helicopter.

The Marine Osprey 22 attracted its share of visitors at the Beaufort Fly-In.

The Marine Osprey 22 attracted its share of visitors at the Beaufort Fly-In.

The Osprey 22 on the ramp at the AOPA Beaufort Fly-In

The Osprey 22 on the ramp.

At a town hall meeting concluding the fly-in, Baker outlined key issues facing the pilot community and listed initiatives by AOPA. He and Experimental Aircraft AssociationPresident Jack Pelton told the audience their organizations will continue their close cooperation in support of general aviation.

“We’re very excited about what AOPA is doing with regional fly-ins,” Pelton said. “The two associations are working hand in hand.”

“We’re stronger together,” Baker added.

A T-28 Trojan owned and flown by Bill Cherry of Wilmington, N.C. was popular with visitors at the AOPA Fly-In.

A T-28 Trojan owned and flown by Bill Cherry of Wilmington, N.C. was popular with visitors.

A curious visitor joins his dad in checking out The T-28 Trojan on display at the Beaufort AOPA Fly-In.

A curious visitor joins his dad in checking out The T-28 Trojan.

The pending third class medical legislation seemed to be the number one issue for pilots and Baker was upbeat, saying he had no doubt Congressional approval was coming this year.

“We started out with a driver’s license (certification) on this, but we ended up with a compromise — one AME visit,” he noted. “If you have a medical issued in the last 10 years, you don’t have to go to the AME. A new pilot has to go one time. Then you have to go see your primary care doctor for a visit every four years. There will be simple record keeping.”

He noted AOPA was frustrated that the medical certification bill “has passed the Senate three times,” but is still stuck in the legislative process.

“It is not about disagreement anymore,” he said. “Now it’s time to get off the dime and move this thing. It will be done.”

Baker pointed to statistics that showed the U.S. pilot population dropped from 827,000 in 1980 to 593,000 in 2014. But he added, “We can fix this.”

The Bandits Flight Team of Raleigh, N.C., crosses the Fly-In grounds during Saturday's events at Beaufort, N.C.

The Bandits Flight Team of Raleigh, N.C., crosses the fly-in grounds during Saturday’s events at Beaufort, N.C.

He emphasized AOPA’s multi-pronged program to increase the pilot population, including an initiative to support flying clubs and start new clubs.

AOPA’s Rusty Pilot program has reached 4,000 pilots so far, he said, noting 1,500 of those pilots are now actively flying again.

“We want to improve the student pilot completion rate,” Baker continued. “And we’re looking to work in the high schools building curriculum, symposium online resources and providing free consulting to administrators and teachers.”

On a last note, Baker told the crowd that AOPA — and the rest of the GA community — will continue to oppose user fees. “I can tell you there is no funding problem at the FAA,” he added.

The next AOPA regional fly-in will be at Bremerton, Wash., (KPWT), Aug. 19-20, then Battle Creek, Mich., (KBTL), Sept. 16-17, and Prescott, Ariz., (KPRC), Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

Third Class Medical reform – SIGN THE PETITION NOW!


AOPA members like you have helped us win some huge regulatory and legislative victories over the years.  But winning the battle for Third Class Medical reform would be one of our biggest achievements since AOPA was founded in 1939.
And I believe with all my heart that victory is now within reach. 
Not only has Third Class reform already passed the Senate twice – as part of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 and as part of the Senate FAA reauthorization package – but this proposal now enjoys huge support in the U.S. House as well, with fully 165 co-sponsors who’ve signed their names to our bill.
But the next signature we need in support of Third Class Medical reform is YOURS.  
So please, if you haven’t already signed our AOPA Petition in support of this critical legislation, click here to add your name today!
Your signature on our Petition can help pass this game-changing proposal that would:
  • Cover VFR and IFR flight in aircraft up to 6,000 pounds.
  • Allow pilots to carry up to five passengers at altitudes up to 18,000 feet.
  • Ensure that most GA pilots will NEVER need to see an AME again.
  • End the nightmare of recurring special issuances.
  • Save our pilot community an estimated $24 million each year!
And, even though it’s not required, I hope you’ll also make a generous contribution to our AOPA Aviation Advocacy Fund when you sign. Please sign the Petition today.

Eric Peterson (Waxhaw, NC) wins AOPA’s You Can Fly Sweepstakes 152


Eric Peterson, a missionary pilot who has operated search-and-rescue, disaster relief, and humanitarian flights for almost 40 years, was awarded the AOPA 2015 You Can Fly Sweepstakes top prize, a Reimagined Cessna 152, at a surprise presentation March 22 in North Carolina.

“Eric exemplifies the very best attributes of general aviation pilots through his willingness to give of himself for others,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “He’s flown fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters all over the world in service to others. He’s known by his peers as an extraordinarily hard worker and, despite recent back surgery, he just finished extending a turf runway that will help train future missionary pilots who will carry on this demanding work. He’s also raised two sons, Rob and Todd, who followed his footsteps and became professional pilots—and that’s a legacy any of us would be proud of.“

Eric Peterson with his new Reimagined 152. Photo by Chris Rose.
Eric Peterson with his new Reimagined 152. Photo by Chris Rose.

Peterson served as a pilot and more recently an airport manager for JAARS Inc., a nonprofit, North Carolina-based firm that trains and places missionaries around the world. JAARS currently has about 30 pilots operating 26 aircraft in seven countries around the world (Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Gabon, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Tanzania).

Peterson was raised on a dairy farm in Michigan, became a pilot and aviation mechanic, and flew in Alaska, where me met his wife, Carol. The two became Christian missionaries and spent most of their careers in the Philippines, where Eric flew Helio Couriers, Super Cubs, and Hiller and Robinson helicopters. They also raised two children there.

Flying in remote and mountainous areas without reliable weather forecasts or navigation aids was exceptionally risky. Some of the landing strips were hacked on mountainsides with hand tools, and many were just 600 feet or less. Other hazards included a rebel group that once struck Peterson’s Hiller UH12E helicopter with five bullets, one of which lodged in a rotor blade.

Colleagues praised Peterson for his quiet competence as a pilot and his unwavering service to others.

“He doesn’t like being in the spotlight or taking credit for his accomplishments,” said Mike Mower, a fellow JAARS pilot who flew with Peterson in the Philippines. “He’d rather see others get the recognition.”

Peterson’s son Rob, a missionary pilot in Africa, wrote via email that his dad provided a “consistent example of character, integrity, and dependence upon on the Lord.”

“He has also set an example to me by his deliberate, careful, and disciplined approach to flying.”

Peterson’s son Todd is a U.S. Air Force pilot based in Germany, and he said his dad shaped his own flying ambitions.

Eric Peterson speaks with his son Todd, who is in the U.S. Air Force stationed in Germany. Photo by Chris Rose.
Eric Peterson speaks with his son Todd, who is in the U.S. Air Force stationed in Germany. Photo by Chris Rose.

“He is the most exemplary pilot and man I have ever met,” Todd wrote. “He is a person who gives his all to his family, his faith, and aviation. Words cannot even come close to expressing the gratitude I feel.”

As usual, the sweepstakes winner was chosen in a random drawing by a third party. The sweepstakes was open from Dec. 1, 2014, until Dec. 31, 2015, and Peterson’s membership in AOPA during that period automatically entered him for a chance to win. As anAutomatic Annual Renewal member, Peterson received extra entries in the sweepstakes. The previous four AOPA Sweepstakes winners have been Automatic Annual Renewal members.

The presentation of the prize airplane involved an elaborate ruse—and this year it was done in coordination with JAARS missionaries unaccustomed to subterfuge. The airplane, a 1978 Cessna 152, was remanufactured by the craftsmen at Aviat Aircraft in Afton, Wyoming, to “as-new” condition. (Learn more about the remanufactured aircraft in this AOPA Pilotarticle.)

The JAARS organization, which has more than 600 employees, came up with a plan to hold a ceremony to honor Peterson’s work on extending a rough, grass runway at its home airport that is used to prepare JAARS pilots for the obstructed, unimproved strips they will face overseas. Peterson had extended the runway to 1,400 feet from 800 feet, mostly with volunteer labor and a 1968 front-end loader.

The honor was real, JAARS said. But the surprise award of the airplane to a well-loved and respected pilot was a tightly kept secret.

Baker arranged to attend the runway ceremony with several members of the AOPA media staff.

Eric Peterson thinks the hangar ceremony is just for the grass runway expansion, but AOPA has another surprise for him! Photo by Chris Rose.
Eric Peterson thinks the hangar ceremony is just for the grass runway expansion, but AOPA has another surprise for him! Photo by Chris Rose.

The group held a presentation in the JAARS hangar with a PowerPoint presentation that touched on the highlights of the project, and Baker was asked to say a few words.

“It’s always great to be back in the state that was first to fly,” Baker said. He praised the new runway, and noted JAARS’ efforts to train pilots and mechanics and restore aging bush aircraft. He said that AOPA shares those goals and even launched a Reimagined aircraft program that restores worn out trainers to as-new condition.

The very first such remanufactured aircraft is N152UC, a bright yellow Cessna 152 that was scheduled to be given to the winner of the AOPA You Can Fly Sweepstakes in the first quarter of this year. Baker congratulated Peterson on winning the sweepstakes, and JAARS officials pulled the hangar doors open to reveal the airplane, which had quietly landed at the airport and taxied to the hangar during the ceremony.

Peterson was totally surprised by the gift and graciously thanked AOPA, saying, “I got too old to fly for JAARS, but I’ve been thinking about getting back into flying.” The Cessna 152 is perfect for that mission.

His sons, who have known it was in the works for a week, had their own ideas for the airplane’s future.

“I’d like to train my children to fly in it someday,” said Todd, who is 6 feet 4 inches tall. “I’ll make myself fit.”

Eric Peterson hops in his new Cessna 152. Photo by Chris Rose.
Eric Peterson hops in his new Cessna 152. Photo by Chris Rose.


AOPA Announces New Fly-in Locations For 2016

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) will host four regional fly-ins, all in new locations, for 2016, the Association announced Oct. 1.

AOPA has selected the following dates and locations for its 2016 AOPA Fly-Ins:

  • May 21    Michael J. Smith Field (MRH) in Beaufort, North Carolina
  • Aug. 20    Bremerton National Airport (PWT) in Bremerton, Washington
  • Sept. 17   WK Kellogg Airport (BTL) in Battle Creek, Michigan
  • Oct. 1       Earnest A. Love Field (PRC) in Prescott, Arizona

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the success of the AOPA Fly-Ins, so we’re excited to bring them to brand new locations, with new seminars, social events, and activities for 2016,” said AOPA President Mark Baker.

Since the AOPA Fly-Ins began in 2014, more than 27,000 people have attended and more than 4,000 aircraft have flown in to a dozen events in 10 states. The 2016 events will be the first AOPA has held in North Carolina, Michigan, and Arizona. Previously AOPA has visited California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.

The 2016 locations were carefully selected from among numerous detailed proposals submitted by airports nationwide. AOPA has hosted a fly-in at its Frederick, Maryland headquarters for the past two years, but has decided to visit a different mid-Atlantic location in 2016.

“We wanted to be able to visit another fun airport within reach of the greater Washington, D.C., area and meet folks who might not be able to make it to Frederick,” said Baker. “So for 2016, we’ll spend a weekend in North Carolina instead. But we also know our members enjoy coming home to headquarters, so we’ll definitely return to Maryland in the future.”

Features for 2016 fly-ins include:

  • Barnstormers Party on Friday night with food and entertainment
  • Free on-field camping at all four 2016 fly-in locations
  • Traditional pancake breakfast cooked and served by local pilots and volunteers
  • Lunch with a variety of offerings available from gourmet food trucks and local restaurants
  • Dozens of aircraft displays and exhibitors
  • New seminars, speakers, and a Pilot Town Hall with AOPA President Mark Baker