March 6, 2009
In This Issue: Committee passes FAA funding Awards honor controllers who save lives Amid closures, air taxi opens its doors
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The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee March 5 approved the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009 (H.R. 915). The FAA funding bill now moves to the next committee. “This is an important first step, and we strongly support this bill,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller, “but with the Obama administration’s call for user fees, we know we have a rough flight ahead of us.” (Fuller testified in support of H.R. 915 on Feb. 11). The Transportation Committee believes that the time-proven system of aviation excise taxes, not user fees, should continue to fund the FAA and modernization of the air traffic control system. Read more >>
Members of Congress, led by Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), have warned the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to reconsider the proposed Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) or face possible legal challenges and “congressional obstacles” to implementation. In comments submitted Feb. 27, a group of seven members of Congress from four states chided the TSA for using inaccurate estimates of the direct and indirect costs of the LASP proposal and failing to allow adequate public input on the plan. Read more >>
Karoline Amodeo, a 25-year-old private pilot from Hopewell Junction, N.Y., got the surprise of her life Feb. 28 on stage in front of hundreds of pilots attending the Women in Aviation conference in Atlanta. Thinking she was attending the conference to work at AOPA’s exhibit booth, Amodeo was in “worker mode” when she stepped up on stage Saturday morning to hold a model of AOPA’s 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer II while AOPA President Craig Fuller announced the winner. Read more >>
Pilots and controllers need to work together to make the system safer—and to defeat user fees—AOPA President and CEO Craig Fuller said March 4 at the National Air Traffic Controllers Association “Communicating for Safety” conference in Las Vegas. Read more >>
“We’ve got an engine failure.” They’re words no pilot wants to speak and no controller wants to hear. Then the response: “All the airports in the area are IFR.” That’s the beginning of a calm but frightening exchange between the pilot of a Bonanza and air traffic controller Joe Mackie in the Greenville-Spartanburg Tracon. What happened next made Mackie a hero and earned him a coveted Archie League Medal of Safety Award. Read more and hear the radio calls between pilots and award-winning controllers >>
A Feb. 28 EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) proposal would make it harder to gain European recognition for pilot certificates earned in the United States. The proposal would require the equivalent of re-certification for the private pilot certificate. If passed into law, the proposal would adversely affect U.S. flight schools that train foreign pilots, as well as pilots coming to the United States for training. Read more >>
Concerns that the purchase of Superior Air Parts by either Teledyne Continental Motors or Lycoming may violate antitrust laws appear to have scuttled for now a court-ordered auction in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, leaving the company in bankruptcy limbo. Read more >>
Brent Redpath has long dreamed of flying. From his experiences as a young boy traveling by air, he remembers the excitement of takeoff and landing and the thrill of watching planes from the window of the airport. Born deaf, Redpath could not hear the roar of the jet engines, but the motion of the airplanes inspired him to learn to fly. Now, at age 20, he is realizing his dream. “I loved watching the movement of the aircrafts and I would picture myself behind the wheel taking control,” Redpath said in an e-mail to AOPA. “My dream started from a young age and each exposure I had with airplanes made me more interested in flying.” Read more >>
Remos Aircraft, the German manufacturer of light sport aircraft, has issued a safety directive to its customers following the fatal crash on Jan. 25 of a Remos GX during the U.S. Sport Aviation show in Sebring, Fla. The company said an inspector from the NTSB determined an aileron fastener was unsecured in the crash that killed a photographer and seriously injured the pilot. The pilot is recovering from his injuries. Read more >>
The FAA has issued a special airworthiness information bulletin asking Eclipse EA500 owners and operators to report current and future problems with their very light jets directly to the agency. Eclipse faces Chapter 7 liquidation at a March 4 bankruptcy court hearing, and Eclipse production, spare parts manufacturing, and warranty service have ceased. The airplanes can continue to fly as long as they are maintained in an airworthy condition. “Contrary to media reports,” the FAA said in its bulletin, “the FAA has no plan to ground the EA500 airplanes.” Read more >>
At this year’s Heli-Expo, Feb. 22 through 24 in Anaheim, Calif., Bell Helicopter announced May 2009 as the anticipated certification date for its new light twin helicopter. This reflects a six-month delay from the certification date announced at last year’s show. Read more >>
Van’s Aircraft is now offering Hartzell Propeller’s new composite ASC-II propeller, the Ohio-based manufacturer said this week. According to Hartzell, owners and builders of any RV with a Lycoming-360 engine can fit a two-blade composite propeller, while RV-10 builders using the Lycoming-540 powerplant can opt for a new three-blade version. Read more >>
“Hello America. This is Paul Harvey. Stand by…for news.” Radio commentator and raconteur Paul Harvey died Feb. 28 at age 90 in Phoenix, Ariz. Harvey was an avid pilot who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He had been an AOPA member for more than 50 years. Read more >>
The FAA has scheduled meetings to talk to National Aeronautical Charting Office (NACO) agents about plans to raise their minimum sales threshold, but AOPA is asking the agency to listen to the concerns of all users. The meetings, set for March 9 and 10 in Las Vegas and March 24 and 25 in Greenbelt, Md., are open to charting agents only. Following a request from AOPA, the FAA has invited the association to attend the meetings and submit comments on behalf of GA users when the plan is finalized. Read more >>
If you’re buying or updating an airplane used in business, the stimulus measure signed by President Obama last month includes good news for you. The measure, officially called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, extends the special 2008 tax incentives for aircraft purchases used in a business or leasing situation. And the incentives are retroactive to Jan. 1, so that any qualifying 2009 purchase and delivery could be covered. Read more >>
In this economy it seems that more companies are closing down than taking off, but one New York air taxi service is looking to buck the trend with a new business designed for scaled-down air travel in the northeast United States. Hopscotch Air, a personal air limo service scheduled to start operations in April, hopes to attract regional travelers who have found that crowds, cutbacks in services, and security lines have made airline travel increasingly difficult. Read more >>
As a nurse anesthetist and a pilot, John Offutt of Granbury, Texas, has been helping to improve the lives of others for the past 15 years. In particular, Offutt uses general aviation to fly hundreds of miles to administer anesthesia to patients in rural hospitals in Texas and Oklahoma. Whether the patient is a child who needs to have a tonsillectomy or is a geriatric patient who needs to have a broken hip pinned, traveling 80 to 100 miles for surgery is not an option. “Patients outside metropolitan areas don’t want to travel long distances or be away from their home and their community,” said Offutt, 59. “They would rather have the operation where they live than in a big city.” Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Every year in the United States, people voluntarily toss themselves out of perfectly good airplanes more than 3 million times. Sometimes these falling humans collide with perfectly good airplanes on the way down. On April 23, 2005, an aircraft on downwind at a Florida airport was substantially damaged when it struck and fatally wounded a skydiver under canopy. In another accident, a Piper Cherokee collided with a freefalling jumper at 5,700 feet msl, crushing the Piper's vertical stabilizer. The parachutist survived the impact, only to witness the crippled airplane spiraling out of control. Read more in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Daylight-saving time returns Sunday, March 8, so remember to set your clocks forward this weekend. And when it comes time to file a flight plan, don’t forget that the conversion between Zulu and your local time will change. Here’s a chart to help you make the adjustments. And enjoy! Longer spring days mean more daylight hours for flying, so dust off your skills with an after-work proficiency flight.
Attention international fliers! Have you used the Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) to provide flight information and passenger manifests to Customs and Border Protection? Take our online survey to tell us about your experience filing information for international flights to and from the United States. Give us your comments and suggestions, and let us know of any problems. Mandatory compliance begins May 18. AOPA will use the survey to provide better feedback and insight to Customs and Border Protection staff who work with the program; we are also planning to develop a user’s guide for eAPIS, and the feedback will help us answer members’ questions about the system.
A group of Missouri pilots who banded together to keep their local airport alive are an inspiration to AOPA members nationwide who want to protect their airports, said AOPA Vice President of Local Airport Advocacy Bill Dunn. Dunn stopped in Festus, Mo., last week to meet with the pilots who have bought the Festus Memorial Airport to save it from closure. He said the purchase of the airport testifies to the power of pilots to preserve general aviation facilities in the face of economic pressure. Read more >>
To nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer, visit AOPA Online.
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit ASN Online.
Congratulations to Karoline Amodeo, the winner of the 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer. “While I didn’t get to see Karoline’s reaction to the award live, I did get the opportunity to welcome her back to New York and take her flying in her new airplane,” writes Ian Twombly, the 2008 sweepstakes project manager. “Although most people would probably be timid about flying a new airplane for the first time, Karoline was not in the slightest. She jumped in, threw on her new headset, and went for it.” Read more >>
Last week’s crash of a Turkish Airlines 737-800 landing in the Netherlands has everyone speculating on what might have happened. Wake turbulence from a Boeing 757 that is rumored to be the preceding aircraft was one of the theories. But now it seems that automation and complacency may have been to blame. Read more >>
In Tim McAdams’ recent blog (” Standing on a Basketball”), he discussed hovering. “I stated that a helicopter is dynamically unstable. A reader commented, ‘Helicopters have neutral dynamic stability. They are not unstable.’ This made me think that perhaps I should dig a little deeper into the subject. Sometimes a mathematical model or an engineer’s definition can be perceived differently when used in a practical application.” Read more >>
With great rates on airfare, hotels, and cruises through AOPA Online Travel you may find that you don’t have to sacrifice your vacation this year after all. You can even save on your car rental from Alamo, Avis, and Hertz with special AOPA discounts and members only coupons for free rental days, dollars off, and free upgrades. With member savings like that, you can plan a dream vacation that fits your budget. Plus a portion of all the revenue generated is returned to AOPA and reinvested to fund our efforts to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation. So start planning your trip and book your travel through the only program that not only saves you money, but also supports general aviation. Visit AOPA Online and book your trip today.
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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 am a flight instructor, and I need help finding the advisory circular that provides examples of all the endorsements an instructor can give. Can you tell me what advisory circular has that information?
Answer: Advisory Circular 61-65E provides guidance on the certification of pilots, flight instructors, and ground instructors. Sample endorsements are found in Appendix 1 of this advisory circular.
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.
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 Ontario, Calif., March 14 and 15; Orlando Fla., and Virginia Beach, Va., March 21 and 22; San Mateo, Calif., March 28 and 29; Atlanta, Ga., Northbrook, Ill., Salt Lake City, Utah, Ashburn, Va., April 4 and 5. 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 Bolingbrook, Ill., Bedford, Mass., and Cleveland, Ohio, March 10; Peoria, Ill., and Whitehall, Ohio, March 11; Rockford, Ill., and Indianapolis, Ind., March 12; Birmingham, Ala., March 16; Marietta, Ga., March 17; Randolph, N.J., March 19. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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Editorial Team : ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller Contributors: Elizabeth Tennyson, Warren Morningstar, Alton Marsh, Dave Hirschman, Tom Horne, and Ian Twombly
Prolific helicopter manufacturer Robinson saw lower sales in 2014 on weak global demand, but a new engine deal and some aircraft options indicate a strong future.
Declaring this “a time for disruptors,” flamboyant MD Helicopters owner Lynn Tilton vowed to keep her storied company moving forward into her second decade of ownership.
The FAA needs to be more efficient and complete critical projects, House leaders said during a hearing on FAA reauthorization.
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