May 30, 2008
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GA NOT THE SOURCE OF COSTLY AIRLINE DELAYS, STUDY FINDS Airline delays cost the nation's economy as much as $41 billion a year. So what's the cause? It's not general aviation, according to a recent report from the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) of Congress. The statistical analysis of airline flight delays showed that 29 percent were caused by things the airlines could control, such as baggage handling and fueling. Some 40 percent of all delayed fights were because the preceding flight arrived late. "Extreme" weather accounted for less than six percent of delays, according to the JEC. Read more on AOPA Online.
' TRIBUNE'S' CALL FOR USER FEES IS RUBBISH The Chicago Tribune seems to be singing the airlines' tune when it comes to FAA funding. In an editorial published May 23, the newspaper touted a privatized ATC system funded by user fees. Rubbish, responded AOPA. In a letter to the editor sent the same day the editorial ran, AOPA President Phil Boyer wrote, "The Chicago Tribune's proposed cure for what ails the nation's air transportation system will instead probably kill one of the patients." Read more on AOPA Online.
AOPA CREATES ALTERNATIVE TO AIRCRAFT REGISTRATION PROPOSAL The FAA's proposal to make aircraft registrations expire every three years isn't sitting well with AOPA members, and that's why the association has suggested an alternative plan. "Although AOPA supports the FAA's goal of improving the accuracy of its aircraft registry, we do not agree with the way the agency is proposing to do that," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "We've prepared an alternative that is simpler, less burdensome to aircraft owners, and less costly for the government." Read more on AOPA Online.
DETAILED TAXI INSTRUCTIONS TO HELP REDUCE RUNWAY INCURSIONS In an ongoing effort to improve runway safety, the FAA is requiring air traffic controllers to provide detailed taxi directions to pilots and airport vehicle operators. "Instead of receiving clearance to a specific point, pilots will now be given the actual route they should take," said Melissa Rudinger, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. "This is similar to the progressive taxi requests that pilots can make." The FAA implemented the rule on May 19 after a recommendation by the agency's Runway Safety Call to Action Committee. As a committee member, AOPA evaluated the proposal and studied risk factors such as pilot and controller miscommunication. Brush up on taxiway and runway signage before your next flight with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Runway Safety online course.
AS EXPECTED, PIPER IS STAYING PUT Piper Aircraft has accepted a $32 million incentive package from state and county officials to remain at its present Vero Beach, Fla., location. Read more on AOPA Online.
DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, PILOT SYDNEY POLLACK DIES Legendary director Sydney Pollack was passionate about two things—filmmaking and flying. And he approached them both with a desire to be the best, a consummate professional. In fact, Pollack began his flying career at the controls of a Learjet. He died May 26 at his home in Pacific Palisades, Calif., after a battle with cancer. He was 73. Read more on AOPA Online.
PILOT STILL FLYING AT 101 Ernest Trent is not your ordinary pilot. For starters, he's 101 years old and still in the left seat. Add to that a flying history that includes training aircrews to fly B-25s during World War II and ownership of 13 different airplanes, and you have someone extraordinary. Although Ernie, as he prefers to be called, no longer holds an FAA medical, he still drives his Mini Cooper daily and can exercise the privileges of a sport pilot. Read more on AOPA Online.
IN THE MARKET FOR A HANDHELD? SEE OUR GPS DIRECTORY As drivers, hikers, runners, golfers, boaters, and fishermen have enthusiastically adopted GPS, even more benefits have found their way into aviation. It's no longer unusual when, after landing, general aviation pilots use their handheld GPS receivers to find hotels, restaurants, or recreation areas. If you want to add a handheld GPS to your flight bag, see AOPA Pilot's Handheld GPS Directory for a list of models and features to help you go "direct to" the one that best meets your needs.
DIAMOND PRODUCTION FALLS AS THIELERT PROBLEM GROWS Things should improve for Diamond Aircraft once it receives certification of its own diesel engine later this year, but for now, the feud between Diamond and Thielert Aircraft Engines (TAE) is escalating. Read more on AOPA Online.
THE $200 HAMBURGER? With rising avgas prices, when should the price of the famous $100 hamburger change? According to AOPA ePublishing Managing Editor Nate Ferguson, the GA tribe sets the price. Share your thoughts on his "Reporting Points" blog.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
PROPER AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE CAN CUT YOUR FUEL BILL Do you know how much the condition of the aircraft can contribute to its overall fuel efficiency? AOPA Pilot Information Center Senior Technical Specialist Craig Brown, an experienced A&P, has developed a list of 16 maintenance-related tips that you can follow to improve your overall fuel economy. "Although the benefit of each item individually may not be seen immediately, the cumulative savings that result from checking many or all of these items will be realized over time," Brown said. Read his tips on AOPA Online.
NEW QUIZ OFFERS STRATEGIES FOR AVOIDING MIDAIR COLLISIONS If you've ever had a fender bender in a car, you know the sickening feeling when you realize you can't avoid an impact. Imagine how that moment might feel in flight, where there's no such thing as a minor collision. Prevent yourself from having to face that situation by taking the new AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Quiz on midair collision avoidance. You might be surprised to learn that midairs are most likely to happen on clear days and that head-ons are relatively rare. Find out why, and learn about scanning techniques, the sterile cockpit concept, right-of-way rules, and more. Test your knowledge of other topics with past safety quizzes.
FSS TIP OF THE WEEK: ANYONE THERE? The new Lockheed Martin flight service voice recognition system prompts you for your location in order to connect you to a local briefer, but you can also request "any" to reach the first available briefer in the country. While this can shorten the hold time to speak to a briefer, he or she may not have the same degree of local knowledge as a briefer trained for your region. The briefer can provide information that is contained in a standard, abbreviated, or outlook briefing, but you must interpret the weather data. For more FSS tips, download AOPA's quick reference card and take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's A Pilot's Guide to Flight Service online minicourse. Provide feedback on your briefing by calling 888/358-7782.
NEW ARRIVAL PROCEDURES FOR AOPA FLY-IN As you plan your flight to AOPA's eighteenth annual Fly-In and Open House on Saturday, June 7, in Frederick, Md., make sure you download our new graphical arrival procedures. We've moved the VFR holding area farther from the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone to give you a little more breathing room. To thoroughly prepare for your arrival, read about our special arrival and departure procedures, temporary tower operations, and more on AOPA Online. With thousands of pilots expected to attend, you'll want to become acquainted with this information well in advance.
AOPA CALL CENTER HAS EXPERTS IN HOUSE These days, when you call an 800 number for assistance, you might very well find your call being answered halfway around the world. Not when you call AOPA. "Members are often surprised that AOPA not only has headquarters staff, but expert pilots on the other end of the line when you call," said Toni Mensching, an aviation technical specialist in the AOPA Pilot Information Center. "Normally, in one simple call our members get solutions from the first person they speak with." Mensching is a former first officer for US Airways, pilot recruiter for FedEx, and flight instructor for a Part 141 university. Read more on AOPA Online.
COORDINATION KEY TO EASY AIRPLANE PURCHASE Buying your first airplane is a little like buying your first home—it's a big commitment with a lot of paperwork, a fair amount of anxiety, and the occasional gotcha. So when David White found his dream airplane, a Diamond Katana with a Rotax engine, he called a trusted source for help financing the purchase. Read more on AOPA Online.
SUPPORT FOR GA REWARDED WITH FAMILY VACATION When Michael Broder first applied for an AOPA credit card in 1997, he just wanted to give something back to aviation—and he has, supporting AOPA with every purchase. But he also discovered that AOPA isn't the only winner when he uses his card. Read more on AOPA Online.
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 am planning a trip to Canada in my Cessna 182. Do I need to apply for the CANPASS program and obtain a permit before my trip?
Answer: For the trip, you will need to make customs arrangements by notifying Canada Customs at 888/CAN-PASS at least two hours, but not more than 48 hours, before flying into Canada. Pilots making multiple trips into Canada may receive additional benefits by applying for the CANPASS Private Aircraft permit program. The program is optional and benefits include access to more airports and expedited clearances. There is a fee of CAN $40 for five years of CANPASS membership. For more information on traveling to Canada, view the online subject report.
Got a question for our aviation services staff? The AOPA Pilot Information Center is a service available to all members as part of the annual dues. Call 800/872-2672, or e-mail to email@example.com. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LOOKING GOOD IN A ONE-PIECE Now that AOPA's 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer is undergoing a major panel refurbishment, we've spent a lot of time focusing on the new instruments and equipment that will be keeping the winner safe and aware at all times. It's not always what's on the panel that matters, however. Sometimes it's what's framing the equipment. We're replacing the old plastic panel covering with a new one-piece flat metal panel, designed, cut, and installed at Penn Avionics in West Chester, Pa. Check out this week's sweepstakes update to learn all about it.
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.
UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS: Danville, Va. The Southside Skyfest takes place May 31 and June 1 at Danville Regional (DAN). For more information, contact Marc Adelman, 434/799-5110, or visit the Web site.
Stevens Point, Wis. A fly-in takes place June 1 at Stevens Point Municipal (STE). For more information, contact Phil Branham, or visit the Web site.
Bartlesville, Okla. Biplane Expo 2008 takes place June 5 through 7 at Bartlesville Municipal (BVO). For more information, contact Charles W. Harris, 918/622-8400, or visit the Web site.
Reading, Pa. World War II weekend takes place June 6 through 8 at Reading Regional/Carl A Spaatz Field (RDG). For more information, contact Brenda Saylor or Dave Schott, 610/372-7333, or visit the Web site.
Frederick, Md. The 18th Annual AOPA Fly-In and Open House takes place June 7 at Frederick Municipal (FDK). For more information, visit the Web site.
Atlanta, Ga. A Good Neighbor Day airshow and open house takes place June 7 at Dekalb Peachtree (PDK). For more information, contact Mario Evans, 770/936-5440, or visit the Web site.
Caldwell, Id. A Festival of Flight airshow and classic car show takes place June 7 at Caldwell Industrial (EUL). For more information, contact Doug Bergner or Darin Hunt, 208/571-6804 or 208/459-0718, 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 Orlando, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., and Reston, Va., June 7 and 8. Clinics are also scheduled in Phoenix, Minneapolis, and Columbus, Ohio, June 21 and 22 and in San Jose, Calif., June 28 and 29. 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 at the AOPA Fly-In and Open House, June 7, in Frederick, Md. 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.