July 11, 2008
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AOPA SUPPORTS MOVE TO LOWER GAS PRICES With avgas prices hovering between $5 and $7 a gallon and automobile gasoline prices double that of a year ago, nearly three-quarters of AOPA members have scaled back their flight time. Looking for any way to assist members in what is becoming an aviation fuel crisis, AOPA joined a new, rapidly growing coalition late this week that is led by the transportation industry to do just that: Stop Oil Speculation Now (S.O.S. Now). "It's obvious that something needs to be done to lower the cost of fuel," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We've joined this effort that is quickly gaining momentum, and we hope that it ultimately creates a national energy policy that Congress can adopt." Read more on AOPA Online.
CONTROLLERS PRAISE BOYER The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has expressed high praise for AOPA President Phil Boyer. Upon learning of Boyer's planned retirement, NATCA President Patrick Forrey said, "Phil's leadership of AOPA has resulted in tremendous growth of the organization and significant advancement for the safety of general aviation. Owners and pilots worldwide could not have asked for a better advocate concerning all-important issues in the world of aviation. Phil's guiding philosophy has been the same as NATCA's: Safety Above All!" Boyer noted that the pilot-controller partnership is critical. "Many controllers are also pilots and AOPA members, and I'm always tickled when they say 'hello' because the AOPA aircraft—N4GA—comes up on frequency." Read more on AOPA Online.
RADAR VIDEO OF F-16'S CLOSE CALL WITH GA AIRCRAFT AOPA has obtained a video of the radar return and radio calls for a March 21 incident in which an F-16 pilot flew in close formation with the unsuspecting pilots of a Pilatus PC-12 and a Beechcraft Premier jet flying through an active military operations area. The civilian pilots used aggressive maneuvers to try to prevent a midair. See AOPA Online to watch the radar video of the close call and listen to the Premier jet pilot's frantic calls to ATC.
LANDSBERG EMPHASIZES SAFETY AT FLYING PHYSICIANS MEETING It would be hard to find a more safety-conscious group than doctors, so it should be no surprise that the Flying Physicians Association takes safety seriously. That's why they've been inviting AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg to speak at their annual meeting for more than 20 years. During a July 8 presentation in Asheville, N.C., Landsberg discussed the top five fatal accident causes in general aviation with some 200 attendees. He emphasized instrument approach accidents—the group lost a member in a low IMC approach accident earlier this year—and thunderstorm avoidance following his own weather-dodging flight from AOPA headquarters in Maryland to attend the meeting. AOPA Director of Medical Certification Gary Crump talked about various aeromedical issues.
CIRRUS GIVES ITS JET AN IDENTITY Long known simply as "The-Jet," Cirrus Design's new plane has a name—and a model number. The single-engine, V-tail plane will be known as the SJ-50 Vision. "We had to come up with something that fit the idea, image, and dream," said Alan Klapmeier, Cirrus CEO and cofounder. He was speaking Wednesday at an event for Vision buyers at the company's annual homecoming in Duluth, Minn. "The name gives it an identity we'd like you to be proud of." The SR in the company's first two planes—the SR20 and SR22—stands for "single-engine reciprocating," Klapmeier said. So SJ continues the same logic with "single-engine jet." Read more on AOPA Online.
COMPUTER SYSTEM PREDICTS DANGEROUS CLOUDS Scientists say they have developed technology for helping pilots avoid those pesky pop-up thunderstorms. They'll throw in turbulence prediction at no extra charge. The computer system developed by a team of researchers at the University of Alabama uses data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's GOES weather satellites to provide 15-minute to one-hour warnings of thunderstorms by tracking changes in cloud temperature and water vapor. Researchers say this is the first time forecasters have had a tool to predict storms locally. Doppler radar, for instance, only tracks rain after it starts to fall. Read more on AOPA Online.
LIGHT JETS, MODERN HELICOPTERS SINK TILTROTOR Bell Helicopter officials told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram this week that the civilian market for the Bell BA609 Tiltrotor is disappearing as more capable helicopters and $2 million very light jets take center stage. The lead on the project has been shifted to program partner AugustaWestland in Italy. Read more on AOPA Online.
CESSNA OFFERS FREE FUEL TO SKYLANE CUSTOMERS Cessna joins Diamond Aircraft in making a free-fuel offer to boost sales in a slow piston-engine market. Now you can get $15,000 worth of free fuel if you purchase a Cessna 182 or Cessna Turbo Skylane by Sept. 30. You have until December 2009 to use up the fuel offer, which is based on an average 11.5 hours flown per month at 12 gallons per hour and priced at $6 a gallon. Included with the offer is a free upgrade to the standard G1000 to add Garmin's Synthetic Vision Technology that is in the final stages of certification.
SAVE MONEY AND SHARE THE FUN WITH A FLYING CLUB Gas just keeps getting more expensive, but you can reduce the cost of flying by being part of a flying club. In most clubs, members share the cost of aircraft ownership—that means sharing everything from purchase and maintenance expenses to insurance and tiedown costs. How much can you save? That depends on how much you fly, how many members your club has, and how many aircraft the group owns. Joe Fox of the Inn Flying Club in Maryland says that compared to renting from a local FBO, members of his club save upward of $30 an hour for every hour over three that they fly each month. Read more on AOPA Online and see a matrix of cost savings.
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RUNWAY SAFETY INITIATIVE TARGETS PILOTS, FLIGHT SCHOOLS The increase in runway incursions has garnered attention from the aviation industry, FAA, and Congress. Earlier this year, AOPA President Phil Boyer testified about runway incursions and pledged an educational outreach effort by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. This week, the foundation reached more than 100,000 pilots with an e-mail or postcard containing links to runway safety resources, including flash cards, an online course, and a Safety Quiz. More than 2,400 flight schools received runway safety flash cards to help educate students. Do your part to reduce runway incursions—study these resources, share them with pilots, and be vigilant on the runway.
NEVER AGAIN ONLINE: COMPLACENT IN THE COCKPIT After noting that a fuel leak off the left wing of a Twin Comanche was no big deal, the pilot found himself making an emergency landing at Guerrero Negro Airport in Mexico for what he thought was a blown nitrogen charge in the left engine's propeller. It wasn't until rollout that he learned the true cause of the emergency. Read more in the latest installment of Never Again Online.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH AN F-16 OR BLACKHAWK OFF YOUR WING? With the presidential campaign heating up and football season just around the corner, pilots can expect to see numerous temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) in the coming months. Checking notams before every flight will help you avoid unintended formation flight with a military aircraft, but do you know what to do if you're intercepted? Test your knowledge of intercept procedures with the latest AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Quiz. Learn more about TFRs and how to respond to intercepting aircraft in the foundation's Know Before You Go online course. Keep this intercept procedures card handy in your flight bag.
FSS TIP OF THE WEEK: FLIGHT WATCH IS FOR WEATHER En route flight advisory service, commonly called Flight Watch, uses specially trained weather briefers to provide en route aircraft with up-to-date weather information and receive pilot reports. It should not be used for filing, activating, or closing flight plans, for standard weather briefings, or for any other routine matter. Flight Watch is available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. local for aircraft flying between 5,000 feet and 17,500 feet agl. However, it can work at lower altitudes. When calling Flight Watch, give your position relative to a VOR and give the briefer time to tune his or her radios to respond to your call. For more FSS tips, take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s online minicourse, A Pilot’s Guide to Flight Service .
LANCAIR MISHAPS The Lancair experimental aircraft: beautiful, fast, and having what the FAA calls a "disproportionate" number of fatal accidents. There have been seven fatal accidents since February, including the most recent, which occurred this week. See AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg's blog for some preliminary FAA statistics running from October 2007.
IMPROVE YOUR SAFETY BY LEARNING FROM OTHERS Gain invaluable knowledge about flying safely by learning from the mistakes of others. Using your ePilot personalization preferences, like "piston single-engine" or "turbine," the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Accident Database generates a list of accidents that have been added to the database in the past 30 days. If you haven't personalized your newsletter, select your aircraft preferences from the "types of aircraft" section on the ePilot personalization page.
NEW ENDOWMENT PROGRAM TO ENSURE GA'S FUTURE AOPA has just launched the AOPA Legacy Society to allow pilots and aviation enthusiasts to give back to general aviation through a charitable bequest or other qualifying deferred donation. Through these generous and thoughtful donations, members of the AOPA Legacy Society establish a permanent endowment fund for the betterment of general aviation. "Many of the victories we have achieved in general aviation, from keeping airports open to the regulations we've kept to a minimum, have been accomplished by generous support from our members," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "The AOPA Legacy Society is another force in our fight to keep general aviation alive for future generations." Hal Shevers, founder and chairman of Sporty's, is serving as honorary chairman and charter member of the AOPA Legacy Society.
PICK YOUR FAVORITE JUNE PHOTO Cast your vote for the June "Photo of the Month" in the AOPA Pilot 2008 General Aviation Photography Contest. AOPA Pilot staff selected the 12 best June entries, and now it is up to you to vote for your favorite. The monthly winner will be announced in next week's ePilot and published on AOPA Online and in an upcoming issue of AOPA Pilot. You too can have a shot at winning. Enter your own photos in the contest before it closes Sept. 2. Cash prizes totaling more than $5,000 will be awarded, including a grand prize of $1,000.
AOPA STAFF ON HAND TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS AT OSHKOSH Stop by AOPA's Big Yellow Tent this year at Oshkosh. Come into our air-conditioned tent to get free legal advice and talk to our government affairs representatives. This year at Oshkosh, expect giveaways each day—the grand prize is a Garmin 496.
BOOK NOW FOR AOPA EXPO EXCITEMENT Join your fellow aviation enthusiasts for three fun-packed days at AOPA Expo 2008, Nov. 6 through 8, in San Jose, Calif. Register now to get special rates for packages that include the exhibit hall, educational seminars, and fun social events. When you book your room at an AOPA hotel, you will receive special rates and, upon check-in, a gift bag filled with information on everything San Jose has to offer. Come enjoy daily general sessions and the aircraft display, all free and open to the public. In addition, Cessna will be providing free transportation to and from the aircraft display (located at Mineta San Jose International) and the convention center.
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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: I was reading the Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD) and saw the abbreviation EMAS. What does EMAS stand for, and where can I find more information about it?
Answer: EMAS stands for Engineered Materials Arresting System. An EMAS is usually constructed of high-energy absorbing material that will collapse under the weight of an aircraft and prevent an overrun. An EMAS is typically found at larger airports, such as Chicago-Midway International. For more information view the Engineered Materials Arresting Systems for Aircraft Overruns Advisory Circular (AC 150/5220-22A).
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WHAT MAKES THE PERFECT PANEL? After many sweepstakes projects, it's a question we ask ourselves often at AOPA. What makes a great instrument panel refurbishment, and how do we choose the right company to do it? With so many options today, finding the right balance of cost, expertise, workmanship, and timeliness is a difficult task. Read this week's sweepstakes update to get some ideas on how to pursue your panel work.
The AOPA Online Gallery allows you to download your favorite aviation images to use for wallpaper or send a personalized e-card. 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 an Aviation Technical Specialist, Web Traffic/Content Specialist, and Director of Development. To learn more about these and other career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS: Olathe, Kan. An Air Expo sponsored by the Heart of America Wing of the Commemorative Air Force takes place July 12 and 13 at New Century Aircenter (IXD). For more information, contact Beth McCale, 913/706-8986, or visit the Web site.
Geneseo, N.Y. The Geneseo Airshow 2008 takes place July 12 and 13 at Geneseo (D52). For more information, contact Austin Wadsworth, 585/243-2100, or visit the Web site.
Tarkio, Mo. The fifth annual Wing Nuts Flying Circus and Fly-In takes place July 12 at Gould Peterson Municipal (K57). AOPA President Phil Boyer will be speaking at the event. For more information, visit the Web site.
Howell, Mich. The seventh annual Helicopters Only Fly-In takes place July 13 at Livingston County Spencer J. Hardy (OZW). For more information, contact Skip Olszewski, 810/516-7144.
Mesa, Ariz. The 2008 SW American Association of Airport Executives Conference takes place July 14 at the Arizona Golf Resort Hotel and Conference Center. AOPA President Phil Boyer will be speaking. For more information, visit the Web site.
Denver, Colo. The Parade of Pistons takes place July 17 through 19 at Centennial (APA). For more information, contact Susan Bolinger, 218/525/6228, or visit the Web site.
Benson, Minn. A Benson Kid Day Weekend Fly-In takes place July 20 at Benson Municipal (BBB). For more information, contact Kent, 320/843-4432, or visit the Web site.
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 Newark and Pittsburgh, July 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 Wichita, Kan., Ypsilanti, Mich., and Germantown, Tenn., on Sept. 8. Topics vary—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.