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| GA News |
| TURBINE HELICOPTER MARKET SLOWS WHILE PISTONS SOAR |
Despite the robust economy, forecasters are predicting that the worldwide turbine helicopter fleet will not increase significantly over the next decade. Honeywell, Rolls-Royce, and the Transportation Research Board all forecast little to no growth in the market through 2009. The forecasts were released this week in Las Vegas at Heli Expo 2000, the Helicopter Association International's annual convention. Robinson Helicopter Company, on the other hand, announced an increase in production rates to meet demand. Robinson, the largest producer of piston-powered helicopters, will also hire 50 new employees, add engineers, and build a 130,000-square-foot assembly building. The company reports high demand for its new R44 Raven, which features a new, hydraulically-powered flight control system as standard equipment; deliveries of the new model begin in April.
RECALL TO AFFECT 51 NEW MOONEYS
Minor defects in an automated riveting process will necessitate the recall of 51 Mooney Bravos, Eagles, and Ovations licensed between May and November of last year. Mooney will recall the airplanes to the factory for repairs, which could take from one day to as long as two weeks depending on how many affected parts an airframe contains. Tom Bowen, Mooney’s vice president of engineering, said the minor defects do not affect safety of flight. Indeed, the FAA is allowing the company two years to complete the repairs.
PILOTS RESPOND TO REQUEST FOR TAXIING TROUBLES
Last week, ePilot asked for situations in which poor airport layout, obstructed taxiway markings, or unclear instructions resulted in uncertainty while taxiing. Some 100 pilots responded, with many offering suggestions. "I often wondered during my training why the detailed airport diagrams are only easily available to IFR pilots...this data should be readily available to all pilots so that they will be familiar with any airport." "Maybe there would be fewer runway incursions if AOPA members could get a look at the runway and taxiway layout just before landing and while taxiing around." Several pilots suggested that the AOPA Air Safety Foundation and the FAA offer high-quality airport diagrams on a Web site.
...AND ASF OFFERS A SOLUTION
That's exactly what the Air Safety Foundation had in mind. ASF has been working with the FAA Runway Safety Program Office and, beginning February 24, ASF's Web site will offer to all pilots diagrams of more than 300 towered airports. Diagrams for the remainder of the country's towered airports will be available within 12 months. "VFR pilots now have a place to go to get this important information for free," said Bruce Landsberg, the foundation's executive director. "This is something that will be very useful to everybody." Additional information on runway incursions can be found in ASF's Operations at Towered Airports Safety Advisor or from the Runway Safety Program Office's Web site.
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY ACQUIRES HEAVY IRON
The Western Michigan University College of Aviation will attack the shortage of aircraft mechanics in a big way on February 4, when it receives a Boeing 747 compliments of Northwest Airlines. The jumbo jet will dwarf WMU's Piper Senecas, largest in its current fleet of 61 trainers. Alas, the big Boeing won't fly again after it arrives in Kalamazoo; it will be used primarily for maintenance training. A Shorts Skyvan, Cessna 310, Piper Aztec, and Bell UH-1 are already in maintenance-training service at WMU. Flight students at the school look forward to a new full-motion Boeing 737-400 Flight Training Device scheduled for commissioning at the school later this year
For daily news updates, see AOPA's Pilot Briefing.
| Inside AOPA |
| 90-DAY GRACE PERIOD EXPECTED FOR MODE C REQUIREMENT |
At deadline, AOPA was awaiting official word from the FAA that the agency would wait 90 days before enforcing Mode C transponder requirements for aircraft formerly covered by the "Mode C Veil Exemption" (SFAR No. 62). The exemption permitted aircraft without altitude-encoding (Mode C) transponders to operate out of some 300 specified satellite airports located below the 30-nm "Mode C veils" of Class B airspace primary airports. These pilots will have to comply with FAR 91.215, which requires all aircraft with electrical systems to carry and use Mode C transponders when operating within Mode C veils. Transponder installation isn't required, however -- pilots may contact their local ATC facility to obtain a waiver allowing continued operation, and one-time approvals often may be granted via in-flight radio request.
| On Capitol Hill |
| AS CONGRESS RECONVENES, QUICK PASSAGE OF AIR-21 UNLIKELY |
As Congress reconvenes this week following its winter break, any quick resolution to the stalemate in negotiations between the House and Senate over the legislation designed to "unlock" the Aviation Trust Fund appears unlikely. Although the House and Senate conferees were expected to meet to discuss passage of the FAA reauthorization bill yesterday, most sources do not expect any immediate progress. The two parties last met in November, when negotiations broke down and Congress adjourned for the year
| AOPA Air Safety Foundation News |
| PRELIMINARY 1999 SAFETY NUMBERS LOOK GOOD |
Preliminary data from the National Transportation Safety Board's Web site indicates that last year was a good one for general aviation. There were 1908 general aviation accidents, down by one from 1998, and 342 fatal GA accidents -- a reduction of 23 from the previous year. The number of fatalities increased by 5, however, to a total of 628. GA accidents categorized by the NTSB as involving personal and instructional flights saw significant improvement in all categories. The data, which is subject to change, may be viewed on the NTSB Web site.
| Airport Support Network News |
| WASILLA WON'T GO TO THE DOGS |
Last year the Iditarod dogsled race closed the Wasilla (Alaska) Airport for 24 hours. Without consulting with airport business owners or users, the city hauled in snow, spread it on the runway, and then removed it after the race. And the city plans to do so again this March, even though the Iditarod has the potential to draw tourists to Wasilla, and the air charter business on the field has a full flight schedule for the event. Ray Block, AOPA's Airport Support Network volunteer at Wasilla, brought this proposed closure to AOPA's attention. His research revealed that the city had not followed the proper procedure for closing the airport, and that the FAA had not been notified of the proposed closure. Block and other airport users have joined forces to fight this closure, and have notified the FAA -- which said that it will not let the city close the airport for the race. AOPA will continue to monitor the situation, and act as appropriate.
| Quiz me! |
|Here’s a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge. |
Question: May I laminate my pilot's certificate?
Answer: Yes, according to FAA Order 8400.10 (par. 753). "Note: Airmen may either use clear laminating sheets to protect permanent FAA-issued certificates or have the certificates professionally laminated as long as the airman's signature is placed on the certificate before lamination. Without the signature, the certificate is not valid."
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 the AOPA Online Gallery. |
| ePILOT Calendar |
| FLY AWAY PICKS FOR THIS WEEKEND |
Decatur, Illinois. Jazz musicians from across the country convene in Decatur for the 25th annual Central Illinois Jazz Festival from January 28 through 30. Decatur Airport (DEC, 217/428-2423) serves the area. Call 217/422-8800 for event information.
McCall, Idaho. More than 50 snow sculptures created by local residents are featured in the McCall Winter Carnival from January 28 through February 5. McCall is home to the Idaho State Snowsculpting Championship. McCall Airport (MYL, 208/634-1488) serves the area. Call 208/634-7631 for event information.
Durango, Colorado. Snowdown, Colorado's premiere winter celebration, features 60 winter events in Durango from January 26 through 30. Durango-LaPlata County Airport (DRO, 970/247-8143) serves the area, as does the Animas Air Park (00C, 970/247-4632), a residential airpark. Call 970/247-8163 for event information
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The annual Civil War Ball Weekend takes place January 29 through 31, featuring dances and costumes of the era. Many of the area's historic bed and breakfast inns are featured. Gettysburg Airport and Travel Center (W05, 717/337-2364) serves the area. Call 717/337-3423 for event information.
Angel Fire, New Mexico. The World Shovel Race Championship features shovel racers vying for the fastest shovel, the fastest modified shovel, and the wackiest shovel February 4 through 6. Angel Fire Airport (AXX, 505/377-3171) serves the area. Call 505/377-4237 for event information.
For details on individual airports, see AOPA’s Airport Directory Online. For more calendar events, see the AOPA Pilot magazine Aviation Calendar of Events.
A SF FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are in San Jose, California; Baltimore, Maryland; and Rochester, New York, January 29 and 30. Clinics are scheduled in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Louisville, Kentucky; and Dallas, Texas, February 5 and 6. 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 be held January 30 in San Jose, California. 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 Salt Lake City February 29; San Jose, California, March 1; and Concord, California, March 2 . Click for more information on Pilot Town Meetings.
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