Live the Dream
Skyport's grand experiment open for business
“We're going to change the way we train pilots.” That was the message from John King, co-founder and owner of King Schools on the opening of the Redbird Skyport in San Marcos, Texas, Nov. 8. King and about 300 other people from the local community and aviation industry were there to celebrate a new grand experiment in flight training. The Skyport was built by Redbird Flight Simulations, maker of the FMX low-cost, full-motion simulator for general aviation. Seeing a need to radically change the way we get students through the flight training process, Redbird built a state-of-the-art facility in less than four months that includes a showcase of its simulator products, a large hangar, and an FBO. Read More >>
Video contest offers English Channel flight prize
A video contest promises to send one American woman to the United Kingdom for a general aviation flight across the English Channel in celebration of an aviatrix’s historic flight 100 years earlier. The organizers of Women of Aviation Worldwide Week events, which celebrate milestones of women in aviation and aim to get more women flying, are holding the “Across the Channel: Women Unifying Nations” video contest to mark the 100th anniversary of Harriet Quimby’s flight across the channel. The winner will be flown from England’s Headcorn Airport to France’s Le Touquet Airport in 2012, in a general aviation aircraft to celebrate Quimby becoming the first woman pilot to make the flight, on April 16, 1912. The winner also will receive an airline ticket to Europe, local transportation, food, and accommodations for the trip. Read More >>
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Aircraft of the Month
Cessna 208 Caravan
The Caravan was introduced in 1985 as a simple load-hauler, built for rugged operations in jungle clearings and desert strips of developing countries. It was designed for simplicity, relatively low maintenance costs, field maintainability, and redundancy. The Caravan is the largest single-engine airplane ever produced by Cessna Aircraft and is viewed by many as a solid and reliable workhorse. For passenger carrying operations in the United States, the airplane is certified to carry up to ten passengers. The Caravan is also a popular choice for flying cargo to and from medium and small communities across the country. The Caravan is so well suited for this type of operation that between 1985 and 1991, FedEx was operating 249 of the 460 Caravans built.
Ask a Pilot
I will be turning 16 soon and I would like to start working on my private pilot certificate. I have heard of other teenagers flying solo on their sixteenth birthday. How can I do that too?
Answer: If you and your flight instructor feel you are ready to solo on your sixteenth birthday, it is certainly possible. According to Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs), you cannot solo until you are 16, and in order to do so you must have a student pilot certificate and at least a third-class medical certificate. Typically, a student pilot applicant working on a private pilot certificate would visit an aviation medical examiner (AME) and receive a combination airman medical and student pilot certificate. The applicant must be at least 16 in order to obtain this certificate. This can present a problem if a student pilot turns 16 on a weekend because an AME might not be available. There are alternatives, however. The AME can issue the airman medical and student pilot certificate with a limitation that it is not valid until the month, day, and year of the applicant’s sixteenth birthday. This can only be done if the student pilot will turn 16 within 30 days of the date of application. Alternatively, the AME can issue just the medical certificate prior to the student’s sixteenth birthday, and then have a flight standards district office examiner or FAA designated pilot examiner issue a student pilot certificate on the applicant’s sixteenth birthday—provided, of course, one is available to do so.
Do you have a question about flying? Ask a pilot! Call 800/872-2672 or send an e-mail.
In the Blogs
Here are some recent posts from our Let's Go Flying blogs.
For my first night cross-country of this semester, my instructor and I flew to Dyersburg airport in Dyersburg, Tennessee. I spent the hour before the flight preparing for my first night flight in over a year. I made sure that I had my flashlight and an extra set of batteries. I also was reading up on the newer 2003 Cessna 172R. This would be the first time I would fly the newer 172 and although they aren't incredibly different, it’s important to know about the differences. The biggest difference between the new and old models is that the newer R models are fuel injected instead of carbureted. Little changes included inertia real seat belts and strobe lights. Overall, the R models are nicer. Read more >>
It's a drag to find a rag ... inside the cowling
One of the things I find consistently more difficult as I gain experience flying is maintaining the diligence I know is required to maintain safety. I believe in standard operating procedures. I practice them and I teach them. I’m a full time professional CFI, after all, so most of my flight time is in an instructional environment and yet I still find that my procedures continually need tweaking and improvement. I most often fly in the training environment, one in which we have the luxury of always choosing the safest option. There is no training mission that HAS to be flown, there are very few external time pressures, and we follow protocol every single time (as a matter of training as much as maintaining safe operating procedures). Read more >>
Aviation Calendar of Events
Airports all across the United States offer weekend activities, from pancake breakfasts and barbecues to car and air shows. Find out what's going on in your area. You can search by city, state, or geographic region.
Wings of Dreams Fly-In Breakfast
Fly-in or drive-in to Keystone Heights Airport in Florida on Jan. 7 from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for a pancake breakfast buffet to benefit the Wings of Dream Aviation Museum. Breakfast is $7 for adults and $4 for kids. Vintage cars will be on display. For more information and to RSVP, email email@example.com.
U.S. Sport Aviation Expo
This light sport aviation show held Jan. 19 through 22 at Sebring Regional Airport in Florida is the largest in the United States. Exhibitors come from across the United States and as far away as Africa, China, Romania, New Zealand, Australia, and the Czech Republic to attend this major aviation event. View the daily schedule and learn more online.
Private Pilot Knowledge Test Preparation Class
At their various locations nationwide, American Flyers is conducting a private pilot knowledge test preparation class from Feb. 3 to 5, 2012. The course fee is $295 and includes textbooks and a test supplement. Contact American Flyers support at 1-800-362-0808 or visit the website to find a location near you and register for the class.
Pilots love to take photos, and they love to share them with other pilots. Now you can upload your flying photos to our online gallery, “Air Mail.” Share your special aviation images, or view and rate more than 7,000 photos (and growing). Photos are put into rotation on the AOPA home page!