2012 Answers for Pilots

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Answers for Pilots: Ah, the Islands!

Article | 2012, 12 01

Winter escape! Island Retreat! Glorious vacation! I'm referring to the islands of the Bahamas - a popular aviation destination, and it's easier to fly there to than you may realize. Not sure what's involved in flying across the border? Here's a rundown of the requirements for a general aviation flight from the United States to the Bahamas.

Answers for Pilots: Sightseeing Flights

Article | 2012, 11 02

Charitable or community flying events, which this article focuses on, are typically sightseeing flights

Answers for Pilots: The AOPA Flying Club initiative

Article | 2012, 10 01

One of the big news items at AOPA Summit this year is the unveiling of the AOPA Flying Club initiative. Part of the new AOPA Center to Advance the Pilot Community, the AOPA Flying Club initiative is the result of a year's worth of research involving flying club members, leaders, and non-members across the country.

Answers for Pilots: No more paper medical applications

Article | 2012, 09 01

Effective October 1, 2012, FAA will discontinue use of the paper version of FAA Form 8500-8, the form that airmen use to apply for FAA medical certification. Airmen will be required to apply electronically for medical certification, using FAA MedXpress, an online application capturing the same information that was on the paper form 8500-8.

Answers for Pilots: Aircraft Purchasing - there's help for you here

Article | 2012, 08 01

This time of year there's a lot of talk about buying and selling aircraft. For some members, it's a first-time purchase. Others are selling what they own to buy something bigger and faster. And some don't want to go fast anymore and are downsizing from a family-sized flying machine to a two-seater, kicking back to fly low and enjoy the scenery. Whatever your dreams are concerning aircraft ownership, AOPA has the resources to help you - both with your initial purchase as well as with your ongoing experience as an aircraft owner.

Answers for Pilots: What's that airplane worth?

Article | 2012, 07 01

Shopping for an aircraft? Find the approximate list price for aircraft that pique your interest with Aircraft Value Reference (Vref), a database providing average cost valuation and aircraft-specific information on every general aviation airplane, free for AOPA members. When you have narrowed your selection to one or two, get a more detailed valuation for those specific aircraft by customizing your search to include equipment and condition.

Answers for Pilots: Preventive Maintenance

Article | 2012, 06 01

Are you a "do-it-yourself" type of pilot? Like to tinker with your airplane? Want to save some money? You may be surprised at the maintenance tasks you can perform on your own aircraft. FAR Part 43, Appendix A, Paragraph C gives a detailed list of the maintenance tasks a pilot can perform.

Answers for Pilots: Canada! Survival in the Wilderness

Article | 2012, 05 01

The arrival of spring means it may be time to enjoy a trip to Canada’s great outdoors. Our northern neighbor’s unspoiled wilderness, magnificent mountains, and scenic lakes beckon hikers, hunters, and fisherman each year. Canada is aviation-friendly and there’s no better way to see the country than by air. However, since much of Canada is wilderness area, Canadian Aviation Regulations require pilots to carry survival equipment for many flights. Find out if your trip requires specific gear with lists of recommended survival gear by season and area.

Answers for Pilots: Keep up with your meds

Article | 2012, 04 01

We all enjoy the beauty of blossoming fruit trees each spring and the gradual transition of the landscape from brown to green. While our eyes delight in the flourishing scenery, our sinuses may complain. Headaches and congestion mark the onset of allergy season for many pilots. Some medications - even those purchased over-the-counter - have side effects that make them unsafe to take when flying. Double-check your allergy meds to be sure they are FAA-approved. Search AOPA's online medication database by the drug's trade name, generic name, type of medication, or the medical condition being treated to find out whether - and under what conditions - the FAA has approved it for pilots.

Answers for Pilots: Flying south to Mexico?

Article | 2012, 03 01

Many pilots have discovered the beauty and charm of Mexico and now it's easier than ever to fly there. The requirement for private aircraft to be equipped with 406 MHz ELTs has been extended. Pilots with aircraft used exclusively for private flights now have until June 30, 2013, to replace their 121.5-MHz ELT with a 406-MHz model or until their existing 121.5-MHz ELT needs to be replaced, whichever comes first. More good news: we've received a letter of clarification on insurance requirements that may save pilots hundreds of dollars when planning to fly in Mexico. The letter spells out once and for all what the insurance needs are for private aircraft flying to Mexico.

Answers for Pilots: Tax time for pilots and aircraft owners

Article | 2012, 02 01

Bonus depreciation for brand-new aircraft or new equipment in existing aircraft purchased in 2011 (actually, the purchase date can go as far back as Sept. 8, 2010) is 100% of its cost. Bonus depreciation continues into 2012, but drops to 50%.

Answers for Pilots: Color vision

Article | 2012, 01 01

About 8% percent of men and 0.5% of women in the U.S. have problems with color perception. Whether caused by inheritance, injury, or disease, color blindness is challenging to live with and presents some hurtles for pilots. The medical standards in FAR Part 67 specify that applicants for all classes of medical certification have “the ability to perceive those colors necessary for the safe performance of airman duties.” Every visit to an AME for renewal of an airman medical certificate, involves taking a color vision test. Technically known as a pseudoisochromatic color plate test, it’s the one with the pages of different colored dots. FAA made some changes to color vision testing in July 2008. If you hold a statement of demonstrated ability (SODA) or a letter of evidence that was issued before July 2008, your color vision waiver is grandfathered, and you will not be required to test according to the new procedures described in this article.