March 20, 2009
In This Issue: Action Alert: We need your story Sparky Imerson's body found Online safety courses earn 11 awards
General aviation is facing its most serious challenge in its 100-year history. Proposed user fees in the president’s budget, growing urban pressures on GA airports, onerous security proposals, and a lack of commitment to fund FAA operations and airport improvements is what we’re facing. We can’t stand by and let others define us. We must take action—and that begins with your story. Personal accounts of how GA makes a difference to you, your business, and your community, and how GA impacts jobs and the economy in your area, are critical to the campaign we are launching. Real stories from real pilots will make the difference in letting policy-makers in Washington, D.C., know what’s at stake. We need you to join the fight by helping us tell our story. Take action—tell us your story!
Well-known mountain-flying instructor, lecturer, and author Sparky Imeson was found dead in the wreckage of his Cessna 180 by searchers on Thursday morning, March 19. Two days earlier he had departed Bozeman, Mont., on a one-hour flight to Helena, Mont., but did not arrive at his destination. A radar track of his flight ended about 18 miles north of Bozeman. Read more >>
Local pilots play a vital role in protecting community airports. On that premise, AOPA created the Airport Support Network, the nationwide system of volunteers dedicated to promoting and protecting community airports. And now that “association within an association” has reached an important milestone: AOPA’s Airport Support Network of volunteers is 2,000 strong. So who is lucky number 2,000? Meet Troy D. Hightower. Hightower, a private pilot and longtime AOPA member, was appointed as the ASN volunteer for Meadows Field in Bakersfield, Calif. Read more >>
Cessna’s SkyCatcher light sport aircraft, also known as the Cessna 162, crashed March 19 during a flight test 15 to 20 miles northeast of Wichita, Kan., near El Dorado Lake. The pilot was not injured and used the aircraft’s BRS ballistic parachute recovery system to safely land. The system uses an airframe parachute to float to a landing. Read more >>
Airports are vital staging grounds for disaster relief but can also be casualties of these catastrophes. Quickly repairing this vital infrastructure is often beyond the resources of an individual state. Bearing in mind the disaster relief requirements highlighted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Mississippi state legislature passed a bill that authorizes Mississippi airport authorities to provide emergency assistance to airports anywhere in the United States in the event of a disaster. With AOPA’s support, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour signed the bill into law this week. Read more >>
You may not have noticed it, but history was made on March 5 at 7:40 a.m. when the Terrafugia Transition lifted off the runway for the first time at New York’s Plattsburgh International Airport. The Transition is the first “roadable airplane” that is completely self-contained in ground mode; previous attempts at flying cars required the wings or other components to be trailered on the ground. Read more >>
When the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) proposed its Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) in October, it set off a storm of opposition—not just among pilots, but also among lawmakers. From the state legislature to the top of the Committee on Homeland Security, lawmakers have denounced the LASP in a growing number of letters to the Department of Homeland Security and TSA. Read more >>
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has introduced its general aviation liaison, Juan Barnes, who fills a new position dedicated to addressing concerns over recent security measures. AOPA has been urging the agency to interface with pilots and operators in order to better understand how its policies affect the GA community; now GA stakeholders can address questions to Barnes, the new line of communication to the TSA’s Office of General Aviation. Questions may be submitted to Barnes via this e-mail address TSAGeneralAviation@dhs.gov. AOPA will automatically be carbon copied in this email. Read more >>
AOPA’s sweepstakes Cirrus will make an appearance at a Connecticut airport this weekend to show support for the town’s plans to purchase the airport. The 2009 AOPA Sweepstakes “Let’s Go Flying” Cirrus SR22 will appear at Robertson Field in Plainville, Conn., on Saturday, March 21, for an open house designed to highlight the airport’s value to the community. Plainville residents will be voting March 31 on a proposal to transfer the property from private to public ownership, a move that would ensure its continued operation as an airport. Read more >>
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has awarded Diamond’s new DA42 NG Twinstar its type certificate, opening the way for European sales and setting in motion the next step: FAA certification. The new DA42—dubbed the NG for “next generation”—features Diamond’s 170-horsepower AE-300 Austro Engine. Diamond began manufacturing its own engines after its previous engine supplier, Thielert Aircraft Engines (TAE), went bankrupt last year. Read more >>
Leading Edge Aviation, a Bend, Ore.-based helicopter flight school and provider of helicopter services and sales, landed a Robinson R44 helicopter at Summit High School recently to support a real-world engineering lesson. Students from Matt Calanchini’s engineering class were able to observe the takeoff and landing, and spend the lesson period interviewing Leading Edge Aviation’s Chief Flight Instructor Jason Baller. Read more >>
“Caution! Terrain ahead! Pull up! Pull up!” The stark aural warning from the Garmin GNS 430 would normally bring instant action—but not this time. Stu Horn, president of Aviat Aircraft, had heard the GPS’s automated voice so many times flying a Husky A1-C through the towering canyons of central Idaho that the alarms became the accompanying soundtrack to the epic scenery passing by outside. Horn, along with about 45 people in 25 general aviation aircraft, was taking part in an annual autumn pilgrimage to the Idaho backcountry for a week of camping, camaraderie, and spectacular flying in Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness Area. Read more and watch a backcountry flying video from AOPA Pilot >>
Eclipse Aviation’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing this year has attracted bidding groups with competing visions for how to keep the Eclipse brand alive. So far, several bidders have announced their intention to buy the assets of the bankrupt manufacturer, which currently has 250 to 260 jets in service. One additional group wants only the intellectual property rights of Eclipse, in order to provide service to existing aircraft. Read more >>
Garmin’s G1000 integrated avionics suites will soon start showing up in King Air 200s and B200s, now that the FAA has granted a supplemental type certificate for the popular twin-engine turboprops. “We’ve gone to great lengths to make sure customers who upgrade to this panel have the same leading edge technologies they would find in a jet,” said Gary Kelley, Garmin’s vice president for marketing. “This retrofit is available to most King Air 200/B200 aircraft today because the STC takes into account the most common King Air configurations.” Read more >>
The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) is dismantling and returning a rare North American F–82 termed the Twin Mustang to the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, following the rejection of a settlement offer from the CAF. The CAF, based in Midland, Texas, felt that it had an agreement from the Air Force in 1968 to keep the F–82 and return it to flying status. The matter went to court. After a ruling that the airplane must be returned, the CAF appealed. The CAF recently offered to drop its lawsuit and agree not to fly the aircraft, if the Air Force would allow the airplane to remain on static display at the CAF Airpower Museum in Midland. The National Museum of the Air Force rejected the deal. Read more >>
In 1984, the world was shocked into action by pictures and stories of famine and suffering coming out of Ethiopia. Humanitarian agencies rushed to provide food, water, emergency medical care, and shelter to millions of people. The relief effort was hampered by conflict and fighting; the most vulnerable were impossible for relief workers to reach safely with poor or non-existent roads and the violence. Enter Air Serv International: a group of dedicated aviation visionaries who realized the power of small-craft aviation in expanding the reach of relief and assistance during natural disasters and crises. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Like a blockbuster sweeping the Oscars, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s interactive courses recently dominated a communications awards competition, with nine courses taking home a total of 11 trophies. Known as the Addys, the annual awards honor cutting-edge work in a variety of categories, including Internet-based interactive media. The foundation has been honored with Addy awards in previous years, but the 2009 haul is unprecedented. In addition to numerous gold and silver prizes, the honors included a “best in show” judge’s award for a unique course that, in the judge’s own words, takes a traditionally dry topic and makes it compelling and amusing. Read more and see a complete list of the winning courses on AOPA Online.
On a dark night in March 2008, the pilot of a Cirrus SR22 took off westbound from Front Royal Airport in Virginia. Rapidly rising terrain required an immediate climbing right turn to the northeast. The pilot entered the appropriate waypoint into the airplane's GPS, but failed to set the autopilot to the correct GPS steering mode. The aircraft climbed straight out, impacting a ridgeline four miles west of the airport. Read more in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
News coverage of Captain “Sully” Sullenberger’s celebrated landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in January, just a few minutes after the Airbus A320 he was flying struck a flock of large birds on takeoff from LaGuardia Airport, has raised birdstrike awareness and spurred conversations on the topic across the country. How big is the problem, really? The National Wildlife Strike Database contains information on nearly 80,000 birdstrikes that have been voluntarily reported over the past 18 years. However, the FAA estimates the number of reported strikes to be less than 20 percent of the total number of strikes that occur. Read more >>
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.
Video Update: Following the publication of its most recent special report on aircraft collisions with skydivers, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation learned of a brief but dramatic near-miss video that illustrates the need for awareness and vigilance. See the video via a link in the updated report.
Ensuring the health and vitality of your airport is up to you—incompatible development and economic and political pressures can restrict your flying. Every day 2,000 Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers are working with AOPA headquarters to help save their airports, but we need more. Below is a link to a list of the airports where an ASN volunteer could make a difference.
To nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer, visit AOPA Online.
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit ASN Online.
With the Congress now in Washington, D.C., full time, AOPA President Craig Fuller has spent the past few weeks in large part on Capitol Hill. “The good news is that I have found after many meetings we have strong support from Democrats and Republicans in Congress for general aviation,” Fuller writes. “But, there are serious challenges.” Read more >>
Press reports last week noted that the family of Cory Lidle, the New York Yankees baseball player who crashed in October 2006 while trying to reverse course in a tight Class B corridor in New York City, is suing Cirrus Design for $45 million in lost wages that he might have earned. The premise is that a flight control system malfunction caused the Cirrus SR20 to slam into the side of a building. Read more >>
Depressed prices on good used single-engine propeller aircraft are now the only up side to an economy that bobs on windless seas waiting for a breeze like the Ancient Mariner. Mike Long of Air Orlando Sales in Florida says a 2005 Cessna 172S with 1,900 hours that should cost between $155,000 and $162,000 is on the market for $135,000. The aircraft is equipped with the Garmin G1000 avionics suite. That’s bringing in tire kickers, but they are still reluctant to sign the deal. Read more >>
One important method for determining a helicopter’s health is vibration analysis. All helicopters have an inherent vibration. The type and intensity varies as a function of rotor design and isolation systems. Understanding basic vibration levels and being alert to changes is an important safety tool for helicopter pilots. This is exemplified by the crash of a Bell 212 helicopter equipped with a cockpit voice recorder. Read more >>
For the first time, AOPA is a platinum-level sponsor of the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., from April 21 through 26. You won’t want to miss all of AOPA’s special presentations, including AOPA President Craig Fuller’s talk about the latest issues facing general aviation on Thursday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m., at the newly named AOPA Pavilion adjacent to the Florida Air Museum. Plan to make yourself at home at the AOPA Pavilion—you’ll enjoy a variety of informative speakers and panels each day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. AOPA Day, Friday, April 24, will feature a $5 admission discount for AOPA members. Read more >>
Buying an airplane is a stressful endeavor. One must-do step along the way is a title search. Buy an airplane with a lien and you’ll be responsible for it. Protect yourself with a title search from AOPA Aircraft Title Services. A title search lets you know the lien status of the airplane as well as the incident/accident history, the database of major alterations or repairs, and the name and address of the current owner. Using escrow services, which AOPA Aircraft Title Services also offers, is a decision that depends on the situation. Doing the deal in cash face-to-face with no deposit is probably safe. But if there’s a lien, or if you’re doing the deal from a distance, escrow is smart money. Let the professionals take care of the paperwork. With AOPA Aircraft Title Services, a phone call and a few forms take all the guesswork and stress out of the deal. Call AIC Title Service at 800/711-0087.
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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 used to live in Canada and had begun flight training but never obtained a pilot certificate. Can I use the flight time I logged in Canada toward an FAA pilot certificate now that I live in the United States?
Answer: Yes, you may credit your flight training with a Canadian flight instructor toward an FAA pilot certificate. The Canadian flight instructor would not be eligible to provide any endorsements other than those showing training given. For example, that instructor could not endorse your logbook for a practical test. For more information read FAR 61.41.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to email@example.com.
Learn to fly AOPA’s 2009 "Let’s Go Flying" Sweepstakes Cirrus SR22; read about flight data recorders making their way into general aviation aircraft; and find out which Cessna model is this month’s budget buy in the April 2009 edition of AOPA Pilot. It’ll be in your mailbox shortly. For a sneak peek at the magazine online, along with multimedia presentations, see AOPA Pilot Online.
AOPA's new online photo gallery allows you to upload your own aviation photography as well as view, rate, and comment on others' photos. Your favorite aviation images from AOPA Pilot are still available online through this new gallery. Take a look, and submit your own photos!
Want something to do this weekend? Wanting to plan an aviation getaway? See your personalized online calendar of events . We've enhanced our calendar so that with one click, you can see all of the events listed in the calendar regions you selected when personalizing ePilot. Now you can browse events listed two weeks to a few months out to make your planning easier. You can also bookmark the personalized calendar page to check it as often as you want. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.
To submit an event or to search all events in the calendar visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices see AOPA's Airport Directory Online.
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in San Mateo, Calif., March 28 and 29; Atlanta, Ga., Northbrook, Ill., Salt Lake City, Utah, and, Ashburn, Va., April 4 and 5; Denver, Colo., Indianapolis, Ind., and, Cincinnati, Ohio, April 18 and 19; San Diego, Calif., Tampa, Fla., and, Boston, Mass., April 25 and 26; Pensacola, Fla., and Houston,Texas, May 2 and 3. 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 are scheduled in Gaithersburg, Md., March 25; Pittsburgh, Pa., March 30; New Cumberland, Pa., March 31; Bethlehem, Pa., April 1; Plymouth Meeting, Pa., April 2; Blacksburg, Va., April 13; Clayton, Mo., and Danville, Va, April 14; Warrensburg, Mo., and Richmond, Va., April 15; Springfield, Mo., and Hampton, Va., April 16. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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Editorial Team : ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller Contributors: Jill Tallman, Elizabeth Tennyson, Warren Morningstar, Alton Marsh, Dave Hirschman, Tom Horne, and Ian Twombly
Beringer Wheels and Brakes announced the availability of several types of aircraft wheels on July 29 at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and said a new anti-groundloop tailwheel design is forthcoming.
The widespread presence of angle-of-attack indicators in general aviation aircraft could reduce fatal loss-of-control accidents caused by inadvertent stalls, said the FAA.
Flight Design says production and testing of its four-seat C4 is on target despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
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