Quantifying the nature of General Aviation in Alaska is a big challenge, when it comes to advocating for our needs in the state. Whether arguing against losing weather reporting stations or evaluating proposed rule changes, the data collected each year by the General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey (GA Survey) helps establish our case.
Alaska IS different!
Any of us who have flown in the lower-48 know that Alaska is indeed different, in many ways. Ownership of our airports (most are operated by the State of Alaska), the density of weather reporting stations (low), towered airports (few), make up of our fleet (think tail-wheeled aircraft), our reliance on aviation (high), and many other things make us different. The GA Survey designers recognize that, which is why they do a 100% sample of aircraft owners in the state. That means YOU should by now have found a flyer in your mail box, which is a personal invitation to participate in the survey.
How hard is it?
Not difficult to do, but takes a little bit of preparation. Sit down with your pilot log book, and add up last years flight hours. They would like a breakdown of your uses, in percentage, including categories like business, pleasure, instruction, proficiency, etc. Other questions ask about the kind of equipment installed in your airplane, including types of GPS, and whether you have equipped with ADS-B. Total time on your aircraft is another question, along with your average fuel burn. It took me about 15 minutes to complete the survey online, using the website provided on the notice. If you are not comfortable with that, give a call or fire off an email and they will send you a hard-copy form, along with a post-paid mailer.
Who gets the data?
The survey is conducted by Tetra Tech, an independent research firm, on behalf of the FAA. No personal information that relates back to your aircraft is released, just summary information that allows both the government, and organizations like AOPA to quantify GA. Things like how many active aircraft are operating in Alaska, how many hours they flew, and how they are equipped. This helps AOPA and other aviation organizations when it comes to advocating for you. If you would like to look at the results from previous years’ surveys, check it out at: http://www.faa.gov/data_research/aviation_data_statistics/general_aviation/
Even if you didn’t fly last year, or sold your aircraft, please respond to help round out the picture. If you have questions or need more information, please call Tetra Tech toll free at 1-800-826-1797, or email [email protected]
If you already completed the survey, thank you. If not, please do so today!