2011 Answers for Pilots

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Answers for Pilots: Icing

Article | 2011, 12 01

Each winter, AOPA members call the Pilot Information Center with questions about icing, asking, what, exactly, is "known icing"? When can I fly and when am I grounded? The answer depends to an extent on the kind of deicing equipment an aircraft has. But, since the majority of general aviation aircraft are not equipped for FIKI (flight into known icing), we’ll focus on non-equipped aircraft flying in cold weather.

Answers For Pilots: Flying to the Islands

Article | 2011, 11 01

The Bahamas took a beating in August from Hurricane Irene – said to be the worst storm to hit the islands since the Nassau Hurricane of 1926 – and while some airports sustained flooding and damage, most were restored to service within a couple of days. The airports provided a valuable service to Bahamian residents, as government officials flew to Cat Island, Acklins, Inagua and Long Island to assess the local damage. General aviation played a vital role in bringing food, water, and supplies to many who suffered tremendous loss. Organizations such as Bahamas Habitat responded quickly with disaster relief airlifts, then followed up with longer-term restorative efforts in the islands.

Answers for Pilots: Are you special?

Article | 2011, 10 01

For more than 25,000 pilots, obtaining a special issuance medical certificate is the difference between flying and being grounded. The FAA created the SI authorization to provide more flexibility in granting medical certificates to pilots with serious medical conditions. There are 15 medical conditions identified in Part 67 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (the medical standards for airmen) that are disqualifying "by medical history or clinical diagnosis." The FAA doesn't limit SI authorization to these 15 conditions, however, but can extend it to include any medical condition that could progress adversely - decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. AOPA medical certification specialists can help you get through the process.

Answers for Pilots: Aircraft Airworthiness

Article | 2011, 09 01

I remember how surprised I was as a student pilot when we finished up a preflight of the airplane we'd flown a few times before, and my flight instructor asked me, "Are you sure this airplane is airworthy?" The preflight had indicated no problems, so I cleared my throat, and suppressed a bit of uncertainty as I quipped, "It better be - we've flown it three or four times already." He chuckled, then answered seriously, "Let's go have a look at its logbooks." And here I'd thought the only important logbook was the cherished one I kept in my new flight bag. We walked into the maintenance facility and there I got my first lesson on airworthiness - and realized it involved a whole lot more than a thorough preflight.

Answers for Pilots: Hurricanes

Article | 2011, 08 01

It's August and we're right in the middle of the Atlantic hurricane season, which officially began in June. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook predicts a 65 percent chance of an above normal season. Of course, while the weather experts can forecast probable activity, they can't predict the location of landfall until the storm track has been established, and even then, storms have been known to deviate from their projected path. So, for those aircraft owners who live on or near the Atlantic coast, the Gulf of Mexico, or the Caribbean Sea, having a hurricane plan for your aircraft is essential.

Answers for Pilots: Canada calling

Article | 2011, 07 01

From the Citadel in Quebec City to Victoria's Inner Harbour, from the humpback whales of Brier Island to Jasper National Park's great fishing, Canada calls to us to come and visit. History buffs, adventurers, nature lovers, and cultural aficionados will be delighted with the variety of sights and experiences Canada offers. Its territories are huge, spanning 3.8 million square miles - making it the perfect flying trip - and the general-aviation-friendly country welcomes pilots from the "Lower 48" and Alaska. Flying across the border involves some preparation, so if you are planning to make the trip, these are the basic requirements.

Answers for Pilots: Arthritis

Article | 2011, 06 01

For many pilots, as they experience an increase in one kind of mobility (traveling and wide open schedules), they also deal with a decrease of another kind of mobility (flexible knees, hips, and shoulders). Arthritis affects nearly one in five adults, according to the Arthritis Foundation, and more than half of them have not yet reached age 65.

Answers for Pilots: Flying Vacations

Article | 2011, 05 01

You've decided to really do it this year - fly the family to your vacation spot. AOPA can help you with all your vacation planning - from aviation services such as flight planning, airport information, and fuel prices, to non-aviation services offering hotel and rental car discounts, and online stores with everything from restaurant coupons and discounted event ticket to gift cards, sports and leisure equipment, and more. These purchases can save you money and also generate support for general aviation. And there is no enrollment fee for any of these programs - participation is free as part of your AOPA membership.

Answers for Pilots: Great time to buy!

Article | 2011, 04 01

Have you have been spending your winter weekends reading aviation classifieds for airplanes, researching aircraft types, and deciding which flying machine might be right for you?

Answers for Pilots: Taxes

Article | 2011, 03 01

Uncle Sam may be good to you this year! If you recently purchased an airplane that you are using primarily for business - more than 50% of its use is for business - or thinking about improving the business aircraft you own with upgraded equipments or avionics, you'll be interested to learn about recent changes to the tax law regarding bonus depreciation and Section 179 expensing. AOPA consulted with our tax expert, Raymond C. Speciale, Esq., CPA, who is the author of AOPA's publication, "The Pilot’s Guide to Taxes." He reviewed the tax guide and added some new information. Here are the highlights.

Answers for Pilots: Blood pressure

Article | 2011, 02 01

In the United States, 74 million people - one out of three adults - have been diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure). The causes are almost as diverse as the individuals affected: age, race, weight, and lifestyle top the list. Pilots, unfortunately, don't escape the statistics, and an airman with uncontrolled hypertension may have a problem at the next FAA medical exam. Hypertension, however, doesn't have to ground you. Learn what you need to do to keep flying in this month's "Answers for Pilots."

Answers for Pilots: Winter Flying

Article | 2011, 01 01

Brrrr! Winter has much of our country in its frigid grip, bringing with it the challenges of cold-weather flying. If you don’t have a hangar, preflighting the aircraft may be far more time-consuming than in the other three seasons as you face defrosting the airframe, preheating the engine, and shivering through the preflight checklist. It's worth it - some of the most beautiful flights happen in winter, gliding through a brilliant blue sky over an untouched snowy landscape.