April 4, 2008
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AOPA READY TO MOVE FORWARD, BUT WITHOUT USER FEES Of his 27 years as an aviation policy professional, the past few have been the closest the general aviation community has come to a civil war with the FAA and airlines, a top AOPA official told air traffic controllers. Instead of the industry debating about the future of the ATC system, it has been fighting about how it's going to be paid for, Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs, said on April 1 at the National Air Traffic Controllers Association's 2008 Communicating for Safety Conference in Chicago. Read more on AOPA Online.
CONTROLLERS HONORED FOR SAVING PILOTS' BACON Those disembodied voices you hear over the radio take on a new life during emergencies. Suddenly they become comforting, if not your immediate best friends. Take controller Paul Hiel at the Oklahoma City Tracon: On April 10, 2007, he heard several microphone clicks on his frequency, but no voice modulation. Hiel asked if there was an aircraft out there trying to contact approach, and he received more clicks. Hiel guided the Beechcraft Bonanza 36 through instrument conditions and to a safe landing, all without any verbal communication from the pilot—only clicks. For that, he was honored with one of the Archie League Medal of Safety Awards. Read more on AOPA Online and listen to audio recordings of other pilot saves.
FLORIDA OFFICIALS TRY TO CLARIFY CONFUSING TAX LAW One of general aviation's most friendly states has been looking decidedly less so for people who recently purchased aircraft. New owners are worried about getting hit with unexpected tax bills from Florida. With the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., just around the corner, confused members have been contacting AOPA. The association on March 28 received written clarification from the state in response to a recent letter from AOPA President Phil Boyer to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Presumably, if a nonresident buys an airplane in Florida and moves the aircraft out of the state within 10 days, the owner would not be subject to use tax. Read more on AOPA Online.
ASPEN AVIONICS FLIGHT DISPLAY TO LIGHT UP GA PANELS AOPA's 2008 sweepstakes airplane is the first to receive a certified Aspen Avionics glass-panel flight display. The FAA recently approved the paperwork for the Evolution Flight Display 1000 system to be installed in nearly 400 aircraft models. Aspen Avionics President John Uczekaj presented AOPA President Phil Boyer with one of the company's first units last week during Boyer's visit. Read more on AOPA Online.
OH, DEER: THERE GOES THE GEAR! While bird strikes occur more frequently and tend to garner more pilot concern, slamming into a 200-pound whitetail is far more likely to cripple an aircraft. Case in point: On Feb. 1, 2006, a Cessna 172 collided with a deer while attempting to land at Bessemer Airport in Bessemer, Ala. The pilot had to divert to Birmingham International Airport and try to land with substantially damaged landing gear. Read more in this special report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
TOXO RECEIVES LSA CERTIFICATION Composite Aeronautic Group of Zaragoza, Spain, received special light sport aircraft certification for its Toxo Sportster on March 28 at Blue Ash Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Toxo, powered by a 100-hp Rotax 912 ULS, has a climb rate of 1,000 fpm, a range of 600 nm, and a maximum cruise speed of 120 knots. A three-blade ground-adjustable propeller and an electronic flight instrumentation system come standard with the aircraft. The Toxo is scheduled to be on display at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., from April 8 through 13.
PILOT GROUP HONORS LOST FRIEND THROUGH SCHOLARSHIP When retired Air Force Col. Haywood "Woody" Faison died at age 89, his many friends and former flight students in the East Cooper Pilots Association (ECPA) wanted to honor him—and what could be a more fitting tribute for this longtime pilot, flight instructor, and war veteran than a flight scholarship. Enter Able Flight, a charitable organization that provides scholarships to help individuals with disabilities learn to fly, and Ryan Kelly, a former staff sergeant in the Army reserves, who lost his leg below the knee in July 2003 while serving in Ramadi, Iraq. Read more on AOPA Online.
YOUR BLOCKBUSTER EVENT—BUYING AN AIRCRAFT Trips to Blockbuster are more likely to end well if you know in advance what movie you intend to rent—and buying an airplane, in that sense, is the same. Define the airplane's mission as realistically and narrowly as you can. Do your research in advance. Decide what kind of airplane you intend to buy—and then start hunting. But where's the best place to look—a dealer, online or print classifieds, or your home airport? Find out which method is right for you.
AIRCRAFT COLLECTOR STEPHEN PITCAIRN DIES Stephen Pitcairn, a businessman, pilot, and aircraft collector, died of cancer on March 29. He was 83. He was the son of inventor Harold F. Pitcairn, known for his Pitcairn Autogiro. Stephen had maintained hangars in New Jersey that housed his father's airplanes, including the open-cockpit Mailwing biplane, and several vintage cars. The family's successful airmail business changed hands in 1930 and eventually became Eastern Airlines. Stephen flew for Eastern for three years during World War II. For a retrospective on the Pitcairns, see the story from AOPA Pilot.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
CSC DUATS CHANGES NOTAM FORMAT With the implementation of a keyword system by the FAA, users of CSC DUATS will notice a change in how notams are organized. Since March 20, CSC has grouped notams according to FAA-assigned keyword. The new categories include runway, aerodrome, obstruction, navigation, communication, airspace, and taxiway. Notams that have not been assigned keywords are grouped in a separate section. That section will probably be eliminated by June as keywords are assigned to all notams. The FAA began assigning keywords Jan. 28 as part of the process of doing away with local notams and making the information contained in them available through any official briefing source. Pilots who prefer the previous way CSC DUATS organized notams can call the company at 800/345-3828 to have their account changed back to the original format.
MAKE YOUR SUN 'N FUN TRIP SAFE AND EASY A flight to Sun 'n Fun can be a great "road trip" for you and your airplane, but the high volume of traffic and unusual mix of aircraft can cause problems if you aren't prepared. Well before you launch, make sure your flying skills are up to scratch. Be sure you've thoroughly read and understood the arrival procedures so you know what to expect when you get near Lakeland Linder Regional in Florida, and review the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Runway Safety online course to make sure you avoid a runway incursion. Read more tips for flying to Sun 'n Fun, including how to successfully navigate flight service.
RE-CREATIONS, ATC AUDIO BRING THUNDERSTORMS TO LIFE What's it like to fly into a thunderstorm? Find out while remaining safely on the ground with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Thunderstorms and ATC online course. Chilling accident re-creations, including actual ATC audio, provide real-world examples of the destructive force of thunderstorms. The 45-minute course includes information about how ATC describes precipitation, what weather-radar services controllers can offer, and how you can effectively communicate with controllers. Read more on the subject with the foundation's Thunderstorm and ATC Safety Advisor, then test your knowledge with this Safety Quiz.
CROSSWIND CONUNDRUM When you're facing a stiff crosswind, what technique do you employ—the slip or crab? Sometimes the technique depends on the type of aircraft you're flying, but sometimes it's a matter of pilot preference. Tell us your crosswind landing technique, why you use it, and what kind of aircraft you fly. We'll compile the anecdotal information into a story in next week's ePilot.
FLYING SAFE AND SMART IN ALLERGY SEASON When your white car suddenly turns yellow, you know it's pollen season. And with that pollen comes allergies. Fortunately, many over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications are allowed by the FAA. AOPA's Medical Certification Center Online offers a database of allowable drugs—a search for "allergies" or "allergic rhinitis" will bring up a list of allergy medications and their status. Even if the medication you're taking is OK with the FAA, use common sense. If you're taking a new medication, don't fly for 24 to 48 hours until you know how it affects you. And, if your medication makes you drowsy, don't fly. Ask your doctor for an alternative. Questions? Call the medical certification specialists weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern toll-free at 800/USA-AOPA.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD AT SUN 'N FUN Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., only lasts a week (April 8 through 13), but what you do there can stay with you throughout the year and beyond. Take the opportunity to visit AOPA's Big Yellow Tent where you can vote on what aviation issues are most important to you—we'll use that information to help focus our efforts on the issues that matter most—and learn how you can protect and promote general aviation today and tomorrow through programs like Airport Watch, Project Pilot, and more.
GET ADVICE FROM AOPA'S EXPERTS While you're at Sun 'n Fun, be sure to take advantage of the AOPA experts inside the forum tents and at AOPA seminars. Join Executive Vice President Greg Sterling as he discusses "10 Tips on Buying an Aircraft" on Thursday at 11 a.m. in Forum Tent 8, then get the inside scoop from AOPA Legal Counsel John Yodice as he tells you "What Every Pilot Should Know About FAA Enforcement" Friday at 10 a.m. in Forum Tent 7. On Saturday, help a would-be pilot get started with "Invitation to Fly" at 1 p.m. in Forum Tent 9, and on Sunday learn about "The Nuts and Bolts of Medical Certification" with AOPA Director of Medical Certification Gary Crump at 10 a.m. in Forum Tent 2.
FIND LOWEST FUEL PRICES IN AOPA'S AIRPORT DIRECTORY ONLINE Looking to shave some cost off your flight to Sun 'n Fun or any other flight? AOPA's Airport Directory Online puts more than 5,600 fuel prices right at your fingertips. Find the lowest fuel prices within a radius of an airport, or by state and fuel type, and plan your fuel stop accordingly. You'll be amazed how much of a difference in price several miles can make. Fuel prices are provided by 100LL.com and updated frequently.
CAST YOUR VOTE FOR MARCH 'PHOTO OF THE MONTH' Would you like to see your winning photo published in AOPA Pilot? With spring flying and the airshow season kicking off, now is an excellent time to participate in the AOPA Pilot 2008 General Aviation Photography contest. Go online to vote among the top 12 March entries selected by AOPA Pilot staff. Then, grab your camera, go flying, and submit your own photographs through AOPA Online. Cash prizes totaling $5,000, including a grand prize of $1,000, will be awarded. March's winning picture will be announced in the April 18 edition of ePilot and published in an upcoming issue of AOPA Pilot. The contest runs through Sept. 2.
IS YOUR CERTIFICATE AT RISK? Spring has arrived, and for many pilots that means less time on the ground and more time in the air. Unfortunately, in today's climate for general aviation every flight you take could put you at risk of violating any one of at least 700 relevant federal aviation regulations with which pilots are required to comply. Fortunately, as the thousands of AOPA members enrolled in the Legal Services Plan already know, for as little as $29 per year you can enjoy peace of mind every time you fly knowing that if a federal enforcement procedure comes your way, you'll have the best legal advice and support available anywhere. Read actual case studies from real pilots.
Here's a question asked by an AOPA member who contacted our aviation services staff through the AOPA Pilot Information Center. Test your knowledge.
Question: If I am going to the airport for some touch and goes in the pattern, is there a federal aviation regulation that requires me to obtain a weather briefing?
Answer: FAR 91.103 requires the pilot in command to become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. It states that the PIC is required to obtain "weather reports and forecasts, fuel requirements, alternatives available ... and any known traffic delays" for a flight under IFR or a flight not in the vicinity of an airport. However, checking weather resources for any flight can help you to avoid some unwanted crosswind practice that exceeds your personal limits and to remain aware of any temporary flight restrictions. It is important to remember that if a weather or flight planning-related mishap occurs, a pilot can still be charged for not "becoming familiar with all available information." An example would be a violation issued under 91.103 for not checking weather and then getting caught in IFR conditions.
Got a question for our aviation services staff? The AOPA Pilot Information Center is is at your service. Call toll-free 800/872-2672 to speak to a specialist about any general aviation topic. Or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to email@example.com.
INTRODUCING YOUR NEW SWEEPS AIRPLANE The airplane has been repainted and interior refurbished. The engine has been overhauled. And now, the airplane has some glass! Although the entire panel isn't finished, you can see the world's first certified Aspen Avionics Evolution Flight Display 1000 unit installed in the Archer at AOPA's Big Yellow Tent at Sun 'n Fun, April 8 though 13. Read more in this week's update.
The AOPA Online Gallery allows you to download your favorite aviation images to use for wallpaper, send a personalized e-card, and order high-quality prints to be shipped directly to your doorstep. Search the hundreds of fabulous images in our archives and select your favorites today! For more details, see AOPA Online.
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a Director of Development and a Manager of Aviation Safety Analysis. To learn more about these and other career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS: Various locations, Kan. The All Kansas Air Tour, a seven-day trek across Kansas, takes place April 1 through 8. For more information, contact Ed Young, 785/296-2553, or visit the Web site.
Ames, Iowa. The annual Ames/Iowa State University Fly-in Breakfast takes place April 5 at Ames (AMW). For more information, contact Kendall Craven, 507/272-4323, or visit the Web site.
Smyrna, Tenn. The Great Tennessee Airshow takes place April 12 and 13 at Smyrna (MQY). For more information, contact Lois Vallance, 615/459-2651, or visit the Web site.
Palm Springs, Calif. The Doolittle Tokyo Raid Commemorative Program takes place April 12 at the Palm Springs Air Museum. For more information, contact Sheilah Reed, 760/778-6262, ext. 235.
To submit an event to the calendar or to search all events visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online.
FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Denver, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City, April 12 and 13; and San Diego, Chicago, and Indianapolis April 19 and 20. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
AOPA AIR SAFETY FOUNDATION SAFETY SEMINARS AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Lakeland, Fla., April 12; Concord, Calif., and Clayton, Mo., April 14; Fresno, Calif., and Warrensburg, Mo., April 15; Salinas, Calif., and Springfield, Mo., April 16; Palmdale, Calif., April 17; and Hickory, N.C., April 19. The topic is "Top 5 Mistakes Pilots Make." There are also Safety Seminars scheduled in Lakeland, Fla., April 10 and 11. The topic is "Thunderstorms & ATC." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.