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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Volume 1, Issue 9AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Volume 1, Issue 9


GA News

Inside AOPA

On Capitol Hill

Quiz Me!

Picture of the day

ePILOT Calendar

Weekend Weather

- Exclusive: Florida instructor describes mid-air
-Garmin adds weather, e-mail, to moving maps
-Rush to declare wilderness areas hurts GA
-AOPA fights standby vacuum AD

Happy holidays. We hope you have enjoyed these first nine issues of AOPA ePILOT. ePILOT will not publish next week, but will resume on January 7, 2000. And Happy Y2K.
Volume 1, Issue 9
December 24, 1999

GA News

Photo by AOPA member David Mitchell


Student pilot Barbara Yeninas is slated for a very special check ride today in Florida. She was in a mid-air collision earlier this month in which two small aircraft locked together but landed safely.

Alan Vangee, Yeninas’ CFI who also survived the freak mid-air collision in mid-December at the Plant City, Florida, Municipal Airport, said that all he saw "was a wheel, coming right down through the windshield" of his Cessna 152. Vangee and his student, Yeninas, were practicing landings at Plant City when 19-year-old private pilot Jay Perrin of Melbourne, Florida, essentially landed his Piper Cadet on top of Vangee’s Cessna, according to reports.

"I heard him call downwind, then base leg, and he said he ‘had the Cessna in sight’…but there were two Cessnas in the pattern that day. The next thing I knew, there was a nosewheel coming through our windshield," Vangee said in an exclusive interview with AOPA. "We were on final, at about 150 feet agl, I suppose, when his landing gear hit us from above," Vangee continued. "The Piper’s main gear landed on top of our flaps, damaging the left flap. The nosewheel, after it came through the windshield, shifted a little to the right, which was good because it kept the prop arcs away from each other."

After colliding, the two airplanes descended as one, with Vangee steering the whole works toward the left of the runway. "I figured that landing on the grass might soften the impact and prevent sparks from igniting any fuel that might leak," the 25-year CFI said. Vangee, 65, is a retired Air Force officer who taught ROTC classes and works as a part-time instructor at Plant City Airport Services. "It worked out well, except for the flap damage and some scratches," Vangee said. "Our landing gear even seemed to handle the extra load without damage." The Piper’s tail ended up resting on top of the Cessna’s empennage.

Vangee said that after the two airplanes came to rest, Perrin emerged from his cockpit to fully assess what had just happened. "He said he knew he hit something," Vangee said, "but he didn’t see what it was [the Piper Cadet is a low-wing design, so its pilot can’t see the area blocked by the wing planform]. He said he went to full power and tried to pull up after he hit us, but of course nothing happened—he was attached to us!"

"I knew I’d landed," Vantee quoted Perrin as saying. "But I couldn’t figure out why I was sitting so high off the ground." Perrin is reportedly a low-time private pilot based at the Bartow, Florida, airport.

In his preliminary narrative of the accident, Perrin described descending from his airplane after the landing and looking into the Cessna’s cabin, saying that Vangee and Yeninas appeared to be "two semi-healthy people." In fact, no one was injured in the accident.

The Cadet suffered very minor damage. It was lifted off the Cessna with a crane and straps, then flown back to Bartow the following day. The Cessna will undergo repairs at Plant City. It had damage to the right wing leading edge, windscreen, vertical stabilizer, and left flap track.

And what about Yeninas? "She handled it very, very well," Vangee said. "Her biggest worry was how to break the news to her husband, who I guess wasn’t very enthusiastic about her taking up flying lessons in the first place." For additional photos of the scene, see (—Thomas A. Horne, AOPA Pilot

Sure, you’re busy today with travel, entertainment, and Christmas in general. But after the packages are unwrapped tomorrow, you might enjoy listening to a few airports from the United States to Australia. Try these links:
...AND WATCHERS--And if you would rather SEE what is going on at a few airports, visit this site: (

As if Garmin International’s GPS color moving maps weren’t revolutionary enough--the ones that lead you through instrument procedures--now you can view weather graphics and text on them. You can even receive e-mail while in flight. Nexrad weather data will be available in the second quarter of 2000. Garmin will offer satellite-based weather datalink through Echo Flight. The Garmin GNS 430 and large-screen GNS 530 will both work with the Echo Flight system. "When we designed the GNS 430 and GNS 530 we wanted an expansive platform for flight-critical data," said Gary Kelley, Garmin director of marketing. "However, this is definitely just the beginning when it comes to Garmin's ability to deliver both text and graphic weather in the future." The weather data provided by Echo Flight is an alternative to other Flight Information Systems (FIS) that are currently in development. Unlike traditional broadcast FIS information, Echo Flight uses Orbcomm's network of low-earth-orbit satellites to deliver weather information to the cockpit on a request/reply basis. With Echo Flight, there are no altitude restrictions, and you can request weather data at your current location, your destination, or anywhere in between. In order to access this data, pilots will need to purchase a $2,495 transceiver from Garmin. Users will then subscribe to a $40-per-month service through Echo Flight.

For daily news updates, see (

Inside AOPA
A recently published airworthiness directive (AD) mandating repetitive inspection and flight testing of Precise Flight Model SVS III Standby Vacuum Systems may result in an annual compliance cost higher than the retail price of a brand new standby vacuum system. AOPA has asked the FAA to rescind the final rule AD and reopen the public comment period, pointing out that the high cost of AD compliance is likely to cause most affected aircraft owners to remove their standby vacuum systems from their airplanes. AOPA and the AOPA Air Safety Foundation are long time advocates of the voluntary use of standby vacuum systems, as they have been proven to reduce pilot workload and decrease the likelihood of spatial disorientation in the event of a vacuum/gyro failure in instrument conditions. For a full text version of AOPA’s rulemaking petition visit AOPA Online at (

If you are a student who is going places in aviation, "AOPA Flight Training" magazine would like you to go to the Women in Aviation International conference March 9 to 11 in Memphis, Tennessee. Two lucky winners will receive the scholarships, which include airline fares, hotel accommodations and meals, and of course free entry to the convention. Men and women now enrolled in a collegiate aviation program may enter. Send a one-page cover letter describing yourself and why you want to attend. Also, write a one-page, double-spaced, typed essay on "Promoting General Aviation to the Public." Send them to WAI Scholarship, AOPA Flight Training Magazine, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701. The deadline is January 10.
On Capitol Hill
AOPA President Phil Boyer recently called on Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-AK), chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to investigate the latest proposal to add new lands to President Clinton’s Lands Legacy Initiative. It is likely to negatively affect general aviation. The program is designed to protect wilderness areas as national monuments. "Over the past few years, we have noticed an increase in legislation and land preservation proposals that attempt to ban or restrict transient general aviation flights over and into federally owned and managed land. These bans and restrictions preempt Title 49, of the United States Code that gives the Federal Aviation Administration--not the Department of the Interior--sole authority over aviation and airspace," Boyer said in a letter to the chairman. Boyer is concerned that Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt may attempt to preserve as many "wilderness areas" as possible before the next presidential election. In many western states, and especially Alaska, transient general aviation is often the only means of transporting goods and people from one region to another. The Lands Legacy Initiative allows the president to restrict general aviation access to these areas, and the backcountry airstrips that support them, with a simple stroke of the presidential pen.
Rod Machados Tip
Aviation humorist Rod Machado provides a tip each month on AOPA Online. This month’s helpful hint helps you calculate the change in weight and balance that occurs from fuel usage. To avoid landing surprises, see (
Quiz me!
Here’s a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge.

Question: What is a Visual Descent Point (VDP) and how would I calculate it?

Answer: A Visual Descent Point is a defined point on the final approach course of a non-precision straight-in approach procedure from which normal descent from the minimum descent altitude (MDA) to the runway touchdown point may be started, provided a visual reference (such as lights, threshold markings, VASI) is available to the pilot. There are two equations that may be used in figuring VDP. They are: height (agl) divided by 300 equals the VDP in nautical miles; or height (agl) divided by 10 equals the VDP in seconds.

Got a technical question? Call 800/872-2672 or e-mail [email protected].
Picture of the day
Jump to the AOPA Online Gallery to see the featured airplane of the day. Click on the link for details on how to capture wallpaper for your work area. Visit (
Captains of Industry Featured on AOPA Online
Leaders of the general aviation industry are featured on the "AOPA Pilot" portion of AOPA Online. The current featured personality is Hal Shevers of Sporty’s Pilot Shop.
ePILOT Calendar

HOMEWOOD, CALIFORNIA. Local artists build snow sculptures of bears at the Bear Preservation Festival December 26 and 27. Homewood is located on Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe Airport (TVL) serves the area, 530/542-6180. For festival information call 530/525-2992.

Los Pastores is one of the oldest Spanish traditions in San Antonio. The 250-year-old pageant depicts the age-old conflict between good and evil and is presented by the San Antonio Conservation Society on December 25. Stinson Municipal Airport (SSF), 210/923-4357; Twin Oaks Airport (T94), 210/494-3928; and San Antonio International (SAT), 210/207-3450, serve the area. For festival information, call 210/224-6163.

Christmas in Hopeland Gardens is a walking tour along lighted holiday displays and decorated historic buildings through December 26. Aiken Municipal Airport (AIK) serves the area, 803/648-7803. For festival information call 803/642-7631.

For more events, see

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