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| FAA TO ISSUE TCM CRANKSHAFT PRIORITY LETTER AD |
FAA investigators this week have determined that anamolies in materials are the apparent cause of failures in certain Teledyne Continental Motors crankshafts. As AOPA ePilot reported last week, TCM issued a mandatory service bulletin affecting more than 1,000 engines. This week, as expected, the FAA announced that it plans to issue a priority letter airworthiness directive mandating a material inspection recommended in the TCM service bulletin. The FAA cites 11 crankshaft failures that occurred as a result of metallurgical deficiencies in the steel used to manufacture the crankshafts. Sources in the FAA indicate that investigators originally believed the suspect steel to be within specifications and therefore free of defect. Later, however, through the development of more stringent testing procedures, investigators learned that anomalies in the trace-element composition and material processing of the steel combined to create the unsafe condition. TCM crankshafts manufactured between April 1, 1998, and March 31, 2000, and installed in new, remanufactured, or field-overhauled engines are affected. TCM will provide the tools necessary for the material inspection free of charge and has vowed to cover the cost of parts and labor associated with the inspection and any required repairs. The priority letter AD is expected to be released as early as Monday and will be posted on AOPA Online as soon as it's finalized. For more information, a copy of the service bulletin, and a copy of the AD (when it becomes available), visit AOPA Online.
PILOT LEAVES STEARMAN NEAR NORTH POLE
Although he made aviation history, Gustavus "Gus" McLeod left two friends behind: his pilot buddy and his biplane. On April 17, under a bright sun with clear skies and light winds, McLeod circled his 1939 PT-17 Stearman open-cockpit biplane around the geographic North Pole three times. Later, McLeod, 45, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, and his support plane landed on a patch of ice at a National Science Foundation base camp about 36 miles from the Pole. McLeod buried the ashes of his pilot friend Doug Duff, who was planning on making the trip with him before his traffic reporting airplane went down in 1998. Besides suffering a touch of frostbite from below-zero temperatures, McLeod faced some obstacles. He endured blizzard conditions, engine problems, and malfunctioning radios and GPS receivers, and was nearly lost several times. After circling the Pole and making a couple of refueling stops, McLeod's troubled engine failed on final approach to a weather station. He fell short of the runway, causing the struts to crack from the hard landing. McLeod had to leave the damaged biplane behind on a sheet of ice and return home on a commercial flight. Discussions are under way about retrieving the airplane from an ice floe that is moving an estimated 12 miles a day. "I left two friends at the Pole," McLeod said, "My dear friend Doug Duff, and my airplane." To find out more about McLeod's adventure, visit his Web site.
IMPROVED AVIAT 110 SPECIAL ATTRACTS SALES
When Aviat Aircraft presented its Monocoupe 110 prototype to dealers in February, the dealers requested changes in the design. It was back to the drawing board, so to speak, and now the new, improved Aviat 110 Special is attracting orders again. Sales of the aerobatic trainer had been stopped while changes were made to improve stability and control balance. The new prototype flew for the first time in April. Now, first deliveries are planned for September instead of June. Improvements include a large reduction in adverse yaw, a larger vertical fin and rudder, and lighter control forces. There were also improvements to the interior. Many of the changes were discussed in an article in AOPA Pilot ("Fast Eddie and the Deuce Coupe," April). Now, one dealer who had ordered only one 110 Special and had canceled prior to the improvements has placed a new order for four of the aircraft. Another work in progress at Aviat is the Millennium Swift. Construction of a prototype heralding the return of the Globe Swift will begin in June. The aircraft will have considerable improvements over the original model, making it much faster and sleeker. Production of the Swift should start next year.
CESSNA ROLLS OUT 100th CITATION EXCEL
Calling it a "significant achievement," Cessna recently celebrated the rollout of its 100th Citation Excel from the company's Wichita production facility. In 30 months the company went from producing one airplane every 25 days to producing a jet every three days. "This is the fastest production line acceleration in the history of the Citation program," Cessna President Charlie Johnson said. "Teamwork and an unwavering commitment to the program are to be credited for the attainment of this milestone." The popular business jet was introduced in 1994 and granted FAA type certification four years later. Today, more than 70 have entered service, logging more than 15,000 flight hours. In related news, an FAA supplemental type certificate has been granted for installation of Safe Flight's N1 Computer in the Excel. The computer displays real-time target thrust settings for takeoff, climb, cruise, and go-around. Safe Flight officials said the computer lowers the risk of engine damage, reduces repair costs, and extends operating life.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Inside AOPA |
| FAA CLARIFIES POSITION ON 'DUAL CONTROL' ISSUE |
There has been considerable confusion over several recently issued FAA interpretations of the dual control provisions of FAR parts 61 and 91. Yesterday, AOPA received a new letter of interpretation from the FAA that clarifies the agency's position on this issue. For more information, a copy of AOPA's analysis, and a copy of the new letter of interpretation, visit AOPA Online.
NEW RESTRICTED AREAS IN NEW MEXICO
The FAA has approved four new restricted areas in New Mexico to allow the Army to test the theater missile defense system. Two small areas, R-5117 and R-5121, are over Fort Wingate, New Mexico, where the Army will launch the missiles. The other areas, R-5123 and R-5119, are extensions to an existing restricted area over White Sands Missile Range. AOPA pushed the FAA to limit the impact of the new areas on general aviation. The FAA will require the Army to complete all launches prior to 9 a.m. and limit the number of tests to six to 10 per year. Also, a NOTAM must be issued at least 24 hours before the new restricted areas can be activated. The new restricted areas will become effective June 15.
AOPA PROPOSES AERONAUTICAL INFO SERVICE
Earlier this week, AOPA submitted a proposal to the FAA for the creation of an Aeronautical Information Service. The proposed AIS would bring the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Aeronautical Charting and Cartography Division, which is responsible for printing aeronautical charts, and the FAA's information divisions together, to form a director-level line of business within the FAA. (The charting division was ordered to be moved to the FAA by AIR 21 when the president signed it late last month.) AOPA's proposal enables the FAA to streamline costs while improving efficiency. AOPA believes that AIS functions such as chart production, database dissemination, and development of new products for future free flight and area navigation operations would benefit under this proposal.
AOPA ENTERS INTO EXCLUSIVE AGREEMENT WITH CATS
An FAA-approved computer testing service, Computer Assisted Testing Centers (CATS), has entered into an exclusive agreement with AOPA to be the official AOPA Certified Service partner for FAA knowledge exam testing. CATS will provide an exclusive $10 discount to AOPA members. CATS is planning to allow registration for FAA written tests over the Internet soon. For information, call 800/947-4228.
AOPA AIRCRAFT TO DEMO DATA LINK
The FAA is moving forward on a project intended to provide an affordable data link to all aircraft cockpits. The advanced system could eliminate the requirement for ELTs and transponders. Called Capstone, the demonstration system being evaluated in Alaska is designed to enhance situational awareness by displaying surrounding traffic, terrain avoidance data, and graphical and textual weather data. It would all be presented on a multifunction display, using GPS positioning data, in front of the pilot for rapid scan during flight or on the ground. More than 22 of the planned 150 aircraft participating in the Alaska demonstration have been equipped with an avionics package provided by the FAA to test the developing system. Two of the Capstone avionics packages have been received at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland, for installation in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Piper Archer and AOPA's Beech A36 Bonanza. A site survey has been completed at Frederick to begin installation of a broadcast transceiver to support a demonstration this summer using the AOPA aircraft. The broadcast will provide radar surveillance data from Reagan National and Dulles International airports as well as Nexrad weather data. The demo aircraft will also have air-to-air data link capability to identify each other's position with or without radar surveillance data. The intent of the demo is to gain continuing support for an affordable system that will perform a radarlike surveillance function, offer live weather data, and provide terrain avoidance information in the cockpit of all participating aircraft.
| On Capitol Hill |
| SENATE TO CONFIRM AOPA'S BOYER |
AOPA President Phil Boyer will testify before the Senate Commerce Committee on May 4 to discuss his appointment by President Clinton to the Federal Aviation Administration's Management Advisory Council (MAC). First proposed by AOPA in 1994 and established by Congress in 1996, the MAC will be given broad access to internal FAA documents and personnel within the agency. Furthermore, the MAC will be empowered to function as a direct management advisory and policy oversight resource for the FAA administrator on efforts to improve the performance of the agency.
| Airport Support Network |
| VOLUNTEER OF THE WEEK – SAM CRIMM II |
When the Tullahoma, Tennessee, city school system put a down payment on property 600 feet off the end of Runway 18, Airport Support Network (ASN) Volunteer Sam Crimm II alerted AOPA. The plan was to build a middle school on the property near Tullahoma Regional Airport/William Northern Field (THA). The ASN staff provided Crimm with details on how to oppose the school development. The state Aeronautics Division and the airport authority also opposed the selected school site. After discussions with parents, the school board decided not to build on the property.
Click here to learn more about the Airport Support Network.
| AOPA Air Safety Foundation News |
| SIMPLE FIXES ARE PRIORITY FOR RUNWAY INCURSIONS |
The FAA should first work on simple fixes for the runway incursion problem, ASF Executive Director Bruce Landsberg told the Aviation Week Safety and Operations Conference in Nashville last week. "First, we should amend FAR 91.129(i) so that the red-and-white sign next to a runway is treated just like a red-and-white stop sign on a highway," Landsberg said. "Always stop before crossing a runway, then proceed with clearance." Improved pavement markings and in-pavement flashing guard lights are inexpensive and can be effective. Landsberg also suggested standard taxi routes at high-density airports to reduce ground control radio frequency congestion.
ASF TO AWARD FIVE SCHOLARSHIPS IN 2000
The Koch Corp. sponsors one AOPA Air Safety Foundation $1,500 award for a Kentucky resident in an accredited aviation program. ExxonMobil Lubricants and Petroleum Specialties contributes four scholarships at $2,000 each (two for regular academic aviation and two specifically restricted to A&P students). Visit the Web site for details and application requirements.
To learn more, visit the Air Safety Foundation Online.
| Quiz me! |
|Here’s a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge. |
Question: If a student pilot wants to obtain a student pilot certificate and solo on his or her sixteenth birthday (the earliest date allowed by FAR 61.83), and the birthday falls on a weekend when aviation medical examiners are usually not conducting aviation physicals, can the combined student pilot/medical certificate be issued early?
Answer: The aviation medical examiner can issue the certificate, provided the applicant is medically qualified, but no more than 30 days before the sixteenth birthday. The medical certificate must include the limitation "Not valid until (month, day, and year of sixteenth birthday)."
Got a technical question? Call our technical specialists at 800/872-2672 or e-mail to [email protected]pa.org. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to [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 the AOPA Online Gallery. |
| What's New at AOPA Online |
|A new brochure telling you all you need to know about AOPA Expo 2000 that takes place in Long Beach, California, October 20 through 22, is now available online. Visit the Web site. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| FLY AWAY: ePilot PICKS FOR UPCOMING WEEKENDS |
Marietta, Georgia. The Naval Air Station Atlanta Air Show takes place April 29 and 30, featuring performances by the Red Baron Stearman Squadron, Dan McClung, Tiger Tom Klassen, Chuck Lisher, and Tom Seydel. Cobb County-McCollum Field (RYY), 770/528-1615, serves the area. Call 770/919-6415 for event information, or visit the Web site.
Nantucket, Massachusetts. The island's annual Daffodil Festival will be held April 28 through 30. (The April 14 ePilot listed incorrect dates for the event.) Nantucket Memorial Airport (ACK), 508/325-5300, serves the area. Call 508/228-1700 for event information.
Beaufort, North Carolina. The 12th Annual Beaufort Music Festival takes place in downtown Beaufort April 28 through 30. Michael J. Smith Field (MRH), 252/728-1777 serves the area. Call 252/728-4611 for event information.
Stockton, California. Oak Grove Regional Park, 135 acres in Stockton, plays host to the city's three-day annual Asparagus Festival April 28 through 30. Food, music, arts and crafts, and family activities. Stockton Metropolitan Airport (SCK) serves the area, 209/468-4700. Call 209/943-1987 for festival information.
UPCOMING AOPA EVENTS
The AOPA Fly-In and Open House takes place at Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK), Maryland, on June 3. Visit the Web site.
For more airport details, see AOPA’s Airport Directory Online. For more events, see the Aviation Calendar of Events.
ASF FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Reston, Virginia, April 29 and 30. Clinics are scheduled in Portland, Oregon; Sacramento, California; and Albany, New York, May 6 and 7. For complete details, visit the Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic schedule.
ASF PINCH HITTER GROUND-SCHOOL COURSES
(Pinch Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
The next Pinch-Hitterï¿½ Ground School will take place place place May 14 in Houston, Texas. For details and a complete schedule, see the Pinch Hitter Ground School Schedule.
AOPA PILOT TOWN MEETINGS
Featuring AOPA President Phil Boyer
(7:30 p.m.; admission is free)
The next Pilot Town Meetings are in San Bernardino, California, May 15; Newport Beach, California, May 16; and Oxnard, California, May 17. Click for more information on Pilot Town Meetings.
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