December 13, 2013
DECEMBER 13, 2013 - VOL 15, ISSUE 50
The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act would allow pilots to use the driver’s license medical standard for noncommercial VFR flights in single- or twin-engine aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats, as long as they carry five passengers or fewer, fly below 14,000 feet msl, and fly no faster than 250 knots.
Frazzled in flight? What if your airplane could sense you're overloaded and take some piloting tasks off your hands? Honeywell Aerospace researchers are using electroencephalography (EEG) sensors to detect when pilots are at higher risk of making mistakes.
Built for the U.S. Navy in the 1940s and second only to the "Spruce Goose" among the largest flying boats in history, the Martin Mars appears to be nearing the end of a storied career. Though unrivaled in its capacity for scooping and dumping water on wildfires—nearly 30 tons of water can be released in a single drop, enough to make the ground shake nearby—work for the Mars has dried up amid competition from newer aircraft.
Read more and watch a video...
AOPA Live This Week
A driver's license medical could be one step closer. Plus, join AOPA Live This Week® for a seaplane flight around Puget Sound, affordable hydrophobic technology that might delay ice formation, an aviation watch that costs as much as an airplane, and a conversation with aircraft designer Walter Extra.
AOPA Live This Week, Dec. 12...
Contemplating IFR flight scenarios for airports like Delta, Utah, is excellent review for any instrument pilot. That's because briefing for a flight into and out of Delta covers bases unlikely to be encountered on your next two-hour tour of your home field approaches.
Every year, pilots nationwide make a dangerous gamble in the cold, wet weather of winter, where icing reigns. Ill-equipped to combat the conditions, they pay a high price for their lack of preparation and underestimation of their foe. Learn more about hazards of flying in and around rain and snow, and avoid such dangers.
Take the Air Safety Institute's Weather Wise: Precipitation and Icing online course.
Have you heard of the Air Safety Institute's new online Flight Instructor Refresher Course? It is the most comprehensive FAA-approved CFI renewal program available. CFIs can renew their certificate online, during a two-year training window—from the enrollment date until certificate expiration—and receive credit for certain completed Air Safety Institute courses.
Take a test drive with the eFIRC introduction video, and take the online course.
Is persistence always a virtue? Delaying a go-around or trying again—and again—after a missed approach has had fatal consequences.
During a hastily organized webinar held Dec. 12, Federal Air Surgeon Dr. Fred Tilton said the FAA will move forward with implementing its new sleep apnea policy despite overwhelming opposition from the aviation and medical communities. Tilton told the online audience that the policy is a "process enhancement" rather than a significant change, and therefore the FAA does not need to—and won't—go through the rulemaking process.
The Civil Aviation Medical Association (CAMA), which represents aviation medical examiners, has joined the roster of groups objecting to the FAA's proposed sleep apnea policy. In a letter to the FAA administrator, CAMA warns that the new policy can't be justified by the scientific evidence and would place an undue burden on pilots, the medical certification process, and the nation's accredited sleep centers.
AOPA has filed formal comments opposing a proposed airworthiness directive that could affect thousands of ECi cylinders. The association is asking the FAA to withdraw the proposal and re-examine the data before taking any further action.
FAA personnel reallocations, government contracts terminated in an effort to save costs, glitches with progress on the Digital Imaging Workflow System, and the government shutdown have compounded to produce a larger-than-usual backlog of special issuance medicals for tens of thousands of pilots.
For pilots, the 60,000-plus-member Civil Air Patrol comes readily to mind when an aerial role in a rescue or a response to a natural disaster is launched. When rescuers worked against the clock to locate six members of a family who had not returned from a Dec. 8 recreational outing into Nevada's mountains, cellphone forensics experts from CAP's state wing helped narrow the search area.
With recent advances in technology, innovative engineers have been attempting to build a practical electric-powered helicopter. The two-person Volocopter uses 18 rotors, each powered by its own electric motor, and its first successful flight was Nov. 17.
Opinion Leaders blogger Rod Rakic finds the movie Moneyball inspiring. It's a movie as much about business as it is about baseball. Anyone managing an aviation business can find inspiration here too. It's how the business model of OpenAirplane came to be.
Aircraft type clubs are general aviation's best-kept secret weapon. While there are more than a hundred of them, they fly stealthily below the radar of most pilots. Only a fraction of pilots belong to any of them, yet they offer the best value proposition in aviation: They're cheap and they could save your life.
As aviation enthusiasts we can be sure that we will have disagreements with nonenthusiasts. Maybe the issue will be user fees or safety. Whatever the case, conflict will come our way. So let's take that knowledge and get ourselves ready.
Apps of the week
Apps that handle everything from checking aircraft N numbers to calculating crosswind, tailwind, and headwind components are among those recommended by AOPA members.
How do you approach a flight around the world—do you fly from dawn to dusk, set a leisurely schedule with lots of time for sightseeing, or shoot for something in between? Find out from AOPA Pilot Technical Editor Mike Collins, who helped fly an MU-2 for 30 legs over a total of 26,568 nautical miles in 98.1 hours.
AOPA Foundation focus
AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg has challenged AOPA President Mark Baker to a dogfight. The battle? To see who can bring in the most Hat in the Ring Society donors before the end of the year to support aviation safety, promote community airports, and encourage more people to fly. And you help decide the winner.
Cessna reports "strong deliveries" of the new TTx since being awarded an FAA type certificate in June, and Brazil has followed suit.
Bob Enos is the weekly winner in Lightspeed Aviation's $500 Burger Getaway sweepstakes. The package includes gift cards for avgas, rental car, dining, and lodging.
Canadian airline WestJet had a Christmas surprise for some of its passengers this year. A video of the surprise has gone viral.
Flying Musicians to appear at Wright anniversary celebration
Strange but true general aviation news
Aviation job board
AOPA is seeking an airshow and event planner to manage AOPA's presence at airshows and events, including Sun 'n Fun and EAA AirVenture. This position develops all programming and logistics plans, oversees the implementation of the event, manages budgets, and provides support to other AOPA event programs, including the Frederick, Md., fly-in and AOPA regional events.
Click here for more information or to see other exciting career opportunities.
You've plotted a true course of 005 degrees with the intention of cruising at 5,500 feet msl on a VFR flight. You've figured the true airspeed to be 115 knots. The winds aloft at 3,000 feet and 6,000 feet are forecast to be from 260 degrees at 25 knots. The elevation is approximately 900 feet along the entire route. Magnetic variation is 9 degrees east and compass deviation is 0 degrees. What effect do these conditions have on your planned cruise altitude?
The magnetic course will be in the range from 180 clockwise through 359 degrees. That means if you want to cruise above 3,000 feet agl, then you should plan on flying at an even thousand foot mean sea level plus 500 feet. According to 14 CFR 91.159, 5,500 feet would not be appropriate. Deviations from this rule must be authorized by ATC. (Source: FAR 91.159)
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. Contact AOPA.
After buying a GoPro camera for the cockpit, what other things should you buy?
Jan 4-5 - Ypsilanti, Mich.; Portland, Ore.; San Jose, Calif.; and San Antonio, Texas
Jan 11-12 - Knoxville, Tenn.; Jackson, Miss.; Seattle, Wash.; and Charlotte, N.C.
Jan 24-25 - Baltimore, Md., and Long Beach, Calif.
Feb 8-9 - Fairfax, Va.; Nashua, N.H.; New Orleans, La.; and Louisville, Ky.
For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the Air Safety Institute's new Online eFIRC.
Jan 13 - Mesa, Ariz.; and Reno, Nev.
Jan 14 -Tucson, Ariz.; and Sacramento, Calif.
Jan 15 - Milpitas, Calif.; and El Paso, Texas
Jan 16 - Albuquerque, N.M.; and Santa Rosa, Calif.
Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Check out user-submitted events from your region. To include an event or to search all events in the calendar, visit AOPA Online. AOPA does not endorse the events listed below, nor have ePilot editors edited the submissions. AOPA assumes no responsibility for events listed.
AOPA's online photo gallery allows you to upload your own aviation photography as well as view, rate, and comment on others' photos.
Take a look, and submit your own photos!
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The Environmental Protection Agency has denied the most recent petition from environmental groups that asked the agency to reconsider a 2012 decision not to immediately pursue an endangerment finding for leaded avgas.
NEW SLEEP APNEA POLICY RESPONDS TO AOPA CONCERNS
A new FAA policy on obstructive sleep apnea that addresses many of the concerns raised by AOPA is scheduled to take effect March 2.
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