Sometimes the biggest news to come out of an AOPA Regional Fly-in is the event’s attendance numbers, but the audience at AOPA President Mark Baker’s Pilot Town Hall presentation during AOPA’s 2018 Carbondale, Illinois, Fly-in on Oct. 6 may have been the first to hear some much bigger developments.
“I talked with the FAA administrator yesterday,” Baker said. “He was comfortable with me telling you there’s going to be another $500 rebate [for installing Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Out].”
The FAA has mandated ADS-B for flights after Jan. 1, 2020, generally in airspace where a Mode C transponder is required today. “Now is the time to get it done,” Baker noted, adding that there will be more information forthcoming on the AOPA and FAA websites.
EAA Chairman and CEO Jack Pelton had another announcement. On Jan. 19, 2019, Pelton said, the FAA will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that seeks to raise the weight limit for light-sport aircraft from the current 1,320 pounds to 3,600 pounds.
“That will allow you to fly in a 172, have four seats in the airplane and fly 150 mph,” Pelton explained. He also anticipates a rule change that would allow professional builders to construct experimental amateur-built aircraft.
Baker also addressed funding for the FAA. “The Senate has approved a five-year reauthorization that doesn’t include privatization. You have made a difference!” he said. “And now the FAA has five years of certainty [in its funding].”
“It takes everybody in aviation to get things done,” Pelton said, adding that 1986 was the last time a five-year FAA funding authorization was approved.
Of course, the industry news didn’t make the AOPA Fly-in’s attendance figures any less significant. The two-day totals for the event in Carbondale, Illinois, were 179 aircraft and nearly 7,000 people.
Fly-in attendance was boosted by the third annual Southern Illinois Plane Pull, held at Southern Illinois Airport (KMDH); the event raised more than $10,000 to benefit Special Olympics Illinois. Saturday’s crowd included many families.
This release was adapted from an article written by Mike Collins and published Oct. 6, 2018 on AOPA.org. —Ed.