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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot--Vol. 2, Issue 52AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot--Vol. 2, Issue 52


Inside AOPA

Airport Support Network

ASF News

Quiz Me!

ePilot Calendar

Weekend Weather

Pilatus Aircraft sold to private investors
Ayres bankruptcy threatens Loadmaster
FAA fails to reduce controller errors, DOT says
AOPA to oppose Minneapolis Class B expansion
Volume 2, Issue 52
December 29, 2000
GA News
The family of the late Gov. Mel Carnahan of Missouri has filed a lawsuit against five manufacturers in the October 16 crash of a Cessna 335 that killed the governor, his son, and a campaign aide, The Associated Press reported. The lawsuit names Cessna Aircraft Company, Textron, Parker Hannifin Corporation, Sigma Tek, and Aeroflite as defendants, according to the report. The pilot, Roger Carnahan, the governor's son, reported problems with an attitude indicator before plunging 3,200 feet in nine seconds, the AP story said. The aircraft was then below the altitude required for radar coverage. The lawsuit lists Sen.-elect Jean Carnahan and her children as plaintiffs. Jean Carnahan was appointed to the Senate seat after her late husband won the election. Roger Carnahan had told controllers that he was switching to the copilot's attitude indicator just before the aircraft disappeared from radar.

Photo of Pilatus aircraftPilatus Aircraft Ltd., the Swiss-based aircraft manufacturer with offices in Colorado and Australia, has been sold by its parent company, Unaxis, to a group of predominantly Swiss investors. The news service Reuters estimates the value of the deal, which will be completed next month, at between $119 million and $150 million (U.S. currency). Unaxis is restructuring to concentrate on computer technology. The investors hope to take Pilatus Aircraft public with a stock offering in three to four years. The company has sold more than 300 PC-12 turboprop aircraft worldwide, including more than 100 this year. The company employs 1,000 people in Stans, Switzerland, and expects to hire an additional 100 employees to handle the current backlog of orders. Under development is the PC-21, a high-tech training aircraft that is expected to fly in a year.

A new company plans to offer aircraft owners a coast-to-coast network of qualified avionics repair and installation facilities under one name, TransContinental Avionics Corporation. TCA is structured like other successful national chains such as IGA Food Stores and NAPA Auto Parts, said TCA founder Phil McCoy. "All we're doing is applying this same concept to the avionics shop market," he said. McCoy said dealers can remain independent while being able to tap into the purchasing power of a chain. The heart of the system is TCA's Web site for dealers and customers. For more, see the Web.

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of Georgia-based Ayres Corporation in late November has placed in doubt the future of a lucrative contract from Federal Express to develop and manufacture the $4.5 million Loadmaster cargo aircraft, according to reports in The Albany Herald. Fred Ayres has stepped down from leadership of the company and has passed control to Russell Heil, formerly with Delta Air Lines and an Indonesian aerospace company, and Kenneth Knutsen, formerly with Boeing and Rohr Industries. Ayres remains active in marketing efforts. Federal Express had ordered 50 of the 165-knot aircraft with an option for 200 more. The Loadmaster uses two turbine engines to drive a single multi-blade propeller and can carry more than 8,000 pounds of cargo 500 nautical miles, or 6,000 pounds of cargo 1,000 nm. Chapter 11 rules offer protection from creditors while managers seek ways to return the company to profitability. Company officials told the newspaper that the costs of developing the aircraft were a factor in the firm's financial troubles.


U.S. Department of Transportation investigator Alexis M. Stefani says that the FAA has been ineffective in reducing the number of air traffic control operational errors and deviations. Her December 15 report also says that the FAA has shown no particular urgency to solve the problem. The FAA nationwide goal for fiscal year 2000 was to have no more than 829 errors, but 1,154 actually occurred. Stefani said the true extent of the safety risk remains unknown because the FAA does not determine the severity of every incident. In making her report, Stefani cited Washington Center in Leesburg, Virginia, and nearby Washington Dulles International Airport terminal controllers as among the worst in the nation. However, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) sought to put the report in perspective, saying Stefani's own figures work out to one error per 147,000 operations for Washington Center, compared to one error per 200,000 operations nationally.


A retired Army helicopter pilot from Savannah, Georgia, set a world duration record for unrefueled flight in a hot air balloon. Andy Cayton flew his hot air balloon, called "Savannah Six," for 23 hours and 56 minutes in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. The flight began in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and ended near Fargo, North Dakota, over snow-covered terrain on December 13. Once Cayton's flight is certified, it will establish a new world record in Class A, size AX-6 hot air balloons, beating the existing record by two hours, one minute. The flight was primarily done to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Cayton also plans to go for the world distance record.

For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

Inside AOPA
The FAA is proposing to expand the Minneapolis Class B airspace by extending the lateral limits from 20 to 30 miles and increasing the ceiling from 8,000 to 10,000 feet msl. AOPA will oppose the expansion, contending that the FAA has not yet provided any compelling operational or safety reason for the expansion. It would unnecessarily restrict general aviation access to public airspace. Public user meetings will take place on January 9 in St. Paul and January 13 in Eden Prairie to discuss the proposed expansion. AOPA urges interested pilots to actively participate in these meetings. Without input, it is nearly impossible for the FAA to get a complete and accurate picture of the impact that this proposed action would have on general aviation. An AOPA representative will attend the January 13 meeting.

The deadline for the 2001 AOPA Max Karant Journalism Awards is April 16. Each year AOPA honors fair, accurate, and insightful coverage of general aviation by the general (nonaviation) media. The $1,000 awards are presented annually in four categories: print, television/cable news or short feature, television/cable program length, and radio. For more, see AOPA Online.

Airport Support Network
Year after year, members have asked AOPA how they can help defend their airports. In response, AOPA launched the volunteer Airport Support Network in late 1997. The program, in which members concentrate advocacy efforts at the grass roots level, has been a resounding success. The number of volunteers appointed to the program has reached 867 and the growth continues. Working in concert with AOPA's Regional Affairs team, ASN volunteers have successfully defended airports from a number of threats and have spread the word on the value of airports to the nonflying public. Become a partner with AOPA and help us help you protect your airport. Proactive campaigns are much more successful that reactive ones. For more information on ASN, see AOPA Online.

AOPA Air Safety Foundation News
To give yourself a tremendous lift for the new year, treat yourself to a Life Associate membership from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. You get lifetime membership in AOPA, a lifetime automatic $100-per-year donation to ASF (from your $2,500 endowment contribution), and a $2,000 tax deduction for fiscal year 2000 as long as your check or credit card authorization is dated in 2000. Stock gifts can be transferred to a charitable account for ASF in your broker's custody (tax ID number 52-6042953) by 4 p.m. EST today. Above all, have a happy, healthy, and safe new year from your "ever-vigilant" friends at ASF. For more information, call 800/955-9115 or visit AOPA Online.

The AOPA Air Safety Foundation has published aircraft accident graphs for November, representing the latest statistical data available from the NTSB on fatal and nonfatal crashes. For more, see AOPA Online.

Quiz Me!
Here’s a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge.

Question: I've just moved and need to find a new aviation medical examiner (AME). Specifically, I need to find a senior AME that can issue a Class I medical. Do you have any suggestions on where to find a new AME?
Answer: AOPA provides a list of AMEs in the members-only section of AOPA Online. You may search by city and state. Each listing will tell you whether a particular doctor is a senior AME. For more, see AOPA Online.

Got a technical question for AOPA specialists? Call 800/872-2672 or e-mail to [email protected]. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to [email protected].

What's New At AOPA Online
AOPA members can now sign up for a free Web-based e-mail address. Show your pride in AOPA membership with a "[email protected]" e-mail address. Visit AOPA Online to enroll.

ePilot Calendar
In response to member requests, some destinations will be posted one week in advance.

Oxnard, California. The World Beechcraft Society Convention takes place January 4 through 7 at Oxnard Airport (OXR), 805/382-3022. Call 800/345-9066 for event information.

Lawrenceville, Georgia. A pancake breakfast takes place at Gwinnett County-Briscoe Field (LZU), 770/822-5196, January 6. Call 770/613-9501 for event information.

Kissimmee, Florida. . The Flying Tigers Warbird Restoration Museum hosts the 2001 Forestry Aviation Workshop January 9 through 11. Air Attack Special Forces aircraft will be on display. The museum is located on the Kissimmee Municipal Airport field (ISM), 407/847-4600. Call 407/933-1942 for event information.

For more airport details, see AOPA’s Airport Directory Online . For more events, see the Aviation Calendar of Events.

(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Charlotte, North Carolina; Seattle; Long Beach, California, and Detroit, January 6 and 7. Clinics are scheduled in Jackson, Mississippi; Jacksonville, Florida; and San Antonio, Texas, January 13 and 14. For complete details, visit the Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic schedule.

The next AOPA ASF Safety Seminars are scheduled in St. Louis, January 8; Springfield, Missouri, January 9; Kansas City, Missouri, January 10; and Wichita, January 11. For more information see Web site.

(Pinch Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
The next Pinch-Hitter� Ground School will take place January 7 in Long Beach, California. For details and a complete schedule, see the Pinch Hitter Ground School Schedule.

Featuring AOPA President Phil Boyer
(7:30 p.m.; admission is free)
The next Pilot Town Meetings are in Tallahassee, Florida, January 30; Fort Lauderdale, Florida, January 31; and Tampa, February 1. Click for more information on Pilot Town Meetings.

For comments on calendar items or to make submissions, contact Julie Walker at julie.[email protected].

Contacting ePilot
Got news tips? Contact ePilot editor Nathan A. Ferguson at [email protected] Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].

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Telephone: 800/USA-AOPA or 301/695-2000
Copyright � 2000. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.


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