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AOPA Online Members Only -- -- AOPA ePilot Volume 2, Issue 28AOPA Online Members Only -- -- AOPA ePilot Volume 2, Issue 28


Inside AOPA

On Capitol Hill

Airport Support Network

Quiz Me!

Rod Machado's Tips

Picture of the day

Coming up in
AOPA Pilot

The Road to Expo

ePilot Calendar

Weekend Weather

Stoddard-Hamilton files for bankruptcy
Malibu Meridian completes flight test series
Cessna enters fractional business
AOPA follows up with media on Kennedy crash
Volume 2, Issue 28
July 14, 2000
GA News
Stoddard-Hamilton Aircraft Inc. was to file a petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Seattle late yesterday afternoon, said the company's attorney Geoff Groshong. As part of the reorganization process, Stoddard-Hamilton would sell off its worldwide manufacturing and marketing rights for the GlaStar kit line to a father-and-son team from Texas. The team would also buy the GlaStar and Glasair assets. Under the name GlasPlanes Inc., W.D. and Lonny Weitzel plan to reinvigorate the popular series of composite planes with better customer service and control over the company's finances. Lonny Weitzel said Wednesday that Stoddard-Hamilton was essentially funded by kitplane deposits and had high overhead costs. But the deal still has to be approved by a federal judge. As part of the process, 2,800 builders and vendors have to be notified and will have the chance to either weigh in on the process or try to possibly bid against the Weitzels, Groshong said. But the Weitzels are confident a judge will act quickly in their favor, which would allow them to officially represent Glasair and GlaStar at Oshkosh in Stoddard-Hamilton's booth space. The Weitzels would also take over the lease for Stoddard-Hamilton's old headquarters building in Arlington, Washington, and even use the same phone and fax numbers, Weitzel said. Despite the uncertainties after Stoddard-Hamilton closed its doors on May 8, there are companies out there willing to support builders. Aerospace Manufacturing Inc., for instance, will continue to offer exhaust systems for the GlaStar and assist builders with engine mounts, said Chuck Freese, the company's national sales manager. For more information, call 800/597-4315.


The first production model of The New Piper Aircraft Inc.'s Malibu Meridian completed its first series of flight tests required for the extensive certification program. Following the tests, the exterior and interior will be completed before it is delivered to the first customer, Richard Dumais, CEO of Texas International, later this summer. The Meridian is the first totally new aircraft developed by New Piper since it was established in 1995. Company officials said the 267-kt, six-seat airplane can cruise as high as 30,000 feet. For more information, see the Web site.

Cessna Aircraft announced Tuesday that it was entering the fractional ownership fray. The trick will be doing so without offending its largest Citation customer, Executive Jet Aviation, which also happens to be the largest player in the fast-growing fractional aircraft ownership market. Cessna’s plan is to limit its fractional ownership program to the Eastern United States and by doing so with only light jets–at least to start. EJA operates worldwide and has seen most of its recent growth at the higher end of the market. Teamed with TAG Aviation in a 50/50 partnership, Cessna plans to begin operation of CitationShares within the next few weeks. It is buying and refurbishing six Citation Bravos from the open market to kick off the program. In the future it will use only new Bravos and CJ1s, at least until the market demands larger aircraft, explained Cessna CEO Gary Hay at the New York City announcement. CitationShares is an outgrowth of TAG’s existing StarShares program, which uses Beech King Airs to provide regional fractional services out of Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York. Under the partnership agreement, Cessna is buying half of StarShares, which was renamed CitationShares. Use of the King Airs will be phased out in favor of the Citations. For more details, see the Web site.

This week the FAA officially rescinded AD-99-05-13 that mandated the installation of a placard on the fuel selector of nearly all Beech airplanes to "warn of the no-flow condition that exists between the fuel tank detents." Last May AOPA petitioned the FAA to rescind the AD based on the fact that a pilot's improper positioning of a fuel selector valve is an operational concern rather than an airworthiness issue. AOPA argued that if the FAA mandates the installation of a placard for every possible pilot error, critical emergency information would become lost in a muddle of general operational information. For more information and a copy of the final rule withdrawal, see AOPA Online.

For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

Inside AOPA
The news media and the public seemed to accept the NTSB final report last week on the John F. Kennedy Jr. crash, with conclusions and reactions similar to early information on the accident that occurred in July 1999. Last summer AOPA–while cautioning the public to await NTSB findings–appeared extensively in reports to assist public understanding of technical issues while countering erroneous reporting and ill-informed opinion. AOPA took pains to explain spatial disorientation and nighttime VFR flight over large bodies of water. AOPA does not anticipate extensive media appearances this month, but has responded to a number of inquiries following the release of the report. Now, however, the tragedy may receive new interest with a promotional tour this week by Christopher Andersen, author of The Day John Died, who appeared on NBC's Today Show recently. The book–mostly a retrospective of JFK Jr.'s life and Kennedy family lore–includes some speculation and conclusions about the crash. Since it was written and printed before the NTSB final report, AOPA has been watchful that speculation or conclusions not supported by the NTSB investigation might have been included. AOPA agreed weeks ago to appear in a news interview on the subject for the Fox News Channel, and was furnished a copy of the book in advance. Drew Steketee, AOPA senior vice president of communications, participated on Wednesday in a taped interview from Washington with Andersen, who was at Fox studios in New York. Andersen is claiming that "false" ASOS reports played a key role in the crash. However, at least one theory–regarding weather reports at Martha's Vineyard–is specifically contradicted by the NTSB report. The book may trigger renewed speculation and crash theories in the tabloid press, despite an extensive and conclusive NTSB report. TV's Inside Edition, for instance, contacted AOPA recently to discuss whether dyslexia contributed to the accident. AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg will report on the NTSBs findings in the September issue of AOPA Pilot.

The unprecedented effort to change and improve the airworthiness directive process took an important step forward at AOPA headquarters Monday. Representatives from 18 aircraft type clubs and owner organizations, the Experimental Aircraft Association, AOPA, and the FAA gathered to discuss the new AD coordination process. This procedural change for the FAA means that people having firsthand experience with specific aircraft will be consulted at the beginning of the AD process. The meeting also gave attendees an opportunity to provide input on the first draft of the FAA's new Airworthiness Concern Process Guide. "This is a revolutionary change in the way we resolve airworthiness concerns," said Dennis Roberts, AOPA's executive director and vice president of government and technical affairs. "The FAA recognizes that the best source of knowledge on how to keep these aircraft flying safely resides with the type clubs and the owners and mechanics who keep these airplanes flying."

AOPA staff joined two other general aviation organizations last weekend to provide information on the joy of flying for thousands of visitors to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Museum spokeswoman Jane Pisano said that "upwards of 20,000" people move through the museum doors on summer weekends, and that most of them naturally have at least some interest in aviation. The You Can Fly information booths were set up directly in front of the main doors to the museum. Staffing the booths this year were representatives from AOPA, the Be A Pilot industry learn-to-fly program, and the Civil Air Patrol. Participation in the annual museum-sponsored event is part of AOPA's ongoing effort to acquaint the nonflying public with the value of general aviation.

On Capitol Hill
Americans will go to the polls in less than five months to decide who will lead our nation into the next century. Although polls focus on the presidential battle between Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore, the battle for control of the House of Representatives appears to be in a dead heat. And several AOPA members face tough reelection campaigns. In North Carolina's 8th Congressional District, Robin Hayes has his hands full with challenger Mike Taylor. After being forecast to win by a large margin in 1998, Hayes was only able to edge out Taylor by three points. Now Hayes is up against him again, but this time Taylor is receiving the strong support from the Democratic Party he did not get in 1998. Several other AOPA members in Congress are facing tough reelection battles, including Republicans Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Charles Bass of New Hampshire. Rep. Toomey is faced with unexpected opposition from organized labor and Rep. Bass has had to raise large amounts of campaign funds to stave off a challenge from his Democratic opponent who has the strong backing of the state's Democratic governor. AOPA is also watching the reelection campaign of Democrat Leonard Boswell of Iowa. After pulling out a narrow victory in 1996, Rep. Boswell is once again faced with stiff opposition in a district that generally favors Republicans. As the election draws near, these races, and many others, will become tighter as control for the House intensifies.

Airport Support Network
Sharing airspace with gliders, skydivers, ultralights, hot air balloons, student pilots, and Air Force F-15s and F-16s can create problems when there is a lack of understanding among users. At the suggestion of Burt Compton, ASN volunteer at Homestead General Aviation Airport in Florida, a meeting was held to discuss the issue. Besides the pilots and airport managers, civilian and military air traffic controllers met to discuss the primary operating areas and altitudes that are used. Since everybody was satisfied with the results of the meeting, Compton suggested that the airspace users group become a permanent fixture in the area. The group decided to meet four times a year to continually work toward improving airspace safety.

Click here to learn more about the Airport Support Network.

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 flag air carrier?
Answer: The answer is in FAR Part 121, Special Federal Aviation Regulation 38-2. Under "definitions" it is stated that "wherever in the Federal Aviation Regulations a regulation applies to 'flag air carriers,' it means a regulation that applies to scheduled operations to any point outside the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia conducted by persons described in paragraph 4(a)(1) of this SFAR."

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

Rod Machado's Tips
Aviation humorist Rod Machado talks with Microsoft official Bruce Williams about the value of flight simulators in flight training. See this helpful tip on AOPA Online.

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.

Coming up in AOPA Pilot
Find out what it's like to fly the night beat with Los Angeles Police Department helicopter pilots, learn what the AOPA Pilot editors think about the Micco SP20 and SP26, and see if you've got the right stuff at the National Test Pilot School in the August edition of AOPA Pilot. The issue will be mailed July 22.

On the Road to Expo
In the mood for campaign trail humor? The celebrated Capitol Steps comedy troupe will be performing at the banquet at AOPA Expo 2000 in Long Beach, California, this fall. With the presidential election just a heartbeat away, enjoy selections from their newest compact disc including Son Of A Bush, Livin' Libido Loco, You're So Vague, and many more. The banquet will take place from 7:30 to 10 p.m. on October 22. Don't delay, reserve your seat at the banquet today. Call 888/GO2-EXPO or visit AOPA Online.

ePilot Calendar
Pensacola Beach, Florida. The Blue Angels will perform in the skies over Pensacola Beach July 14 and 15. Pensacola Regional Airport (PNS), 850/435-1746, is a sponsor of the event. Call 850/452-2311 for event information.

Davenport, Iowa. The Quad City Air Show, featuring the USAF Thunderbirds, Patty Wagstaff, Jimmy Franklin, and the U.S. Army Golden Knights, takes place July 14, 15, and 16. Davenport Municipal Airport (DVN), 319/391-5650, serves the area. Call 319/285-7469 for event information.

Angel Fire, New Mexico. Wings Over Angel Fire features hot air balloons, vintage airplanes, parachute jumps, and more July 14, 15, and 16. Angel Fire Airport (AXX), 505/377-3171, serves the area. Call 800/446-8117 for event information.

Torrance, California.
The Torrance Air Fair, featuring Otto the Helicopter, Allen and Darrin Silver Wings Flight Team, and Smoke-N-Thunder, takes place July 15 and 16. Zamperini Field (TOA), 310/784-7900, is the host airport. Call 310/325-6303 for event information.

AOPA Expo 2000
takes place in Long Beach, California, October 20 through 22. Visit the Web site.

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 Jacksonville, Florida, and San Mateo, California, July 15 and 16. A clinic is scheduled July 22 and 23 in San Diego, California. For complete details, visit the Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic schedule.

The next AOPA ASF Safety Seminars are scheduled in Little Rock, Arkansas, July 17; New Orleans, Louisiana, July 19; and Birmingham, Alabama, July 20. For more information about ASF Safety Seminars, visit the Web site.

(Pinch Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
The next Pinch-Hitter� Ground School will take place place August 12 and 13 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. 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 Omaha, Nebraska, August 28; Des Moines, Iowa, August 29; and Lansing, Michigan, September 11. Click for more information on Pilot Town Meetings.

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