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| GA News |
| SINO-SWEARINGEN ROLLS OUT SJ30-2 |
It took some 10 years and several design changes, but the Sino-Swearingen Aircraft Corporation rolled out its first conforming prototype in a ceremony attended by some 500 guests and employees. The rollout took place Monday in front of the Sino--Swearingen headquarters and assembly hangar at the San Antonio International Airport. Speaking of Sino-Swearingen—a partnership between investors in Taiwan and the United States—company President Jack Braly said, "This is the first new aircraft company to certify a jet airplane in 40 years... We're making history." Also speaking at the event were Ed Swearingen, the airplane's designer; Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.); and George Liu, representing the Taiwanese investor group. "You can't get more speed or range from any other business jet for less than $15 million," Swearingen said. Rockefeller was instrumental in obtaining the site for the SJ30's final assembly plant in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Tail assemblies are now being manufactured at the Martinsburg plant. "Before the SJ30-2 came along, you'd have to pay $12 million to fly nonstop coast to coast... In comparison, the SJ30's $5 million price tag makes this airplane an exceptional value," Braly said. The SJ30's projected maximum cruise speed is Mach 0.80. Sino-Swearingen says that it has 164 orders for the airplane, the first flight will happen in September, and certification should follow a year later. Already in assembly are a static test article, a fatigue test airplane, and two production test airplanes.
FIRST CIVILIAN F-16, F-18 GO UP FOR SALE
A warbird restoration company in Kansas got an interesting windfall recently when it was able to purchase an F-16 and F-18. Even better, when the paint was pealed back on the F-18, restorers discovered that it was Blue Angel blue. The jets add to the inventory of 26 other military jets for Air Capitol Warbirds LLC of Wichita, Kansas, and Fulcrum Inc. of Ontario, Canada. But there’s a lot of work to be done before either one flies. Because both planes were demilitarized by the federal government, the F-18 arrived without wings or instruments. But company officials said Tuesday that they have been able to locate all the parts needed for the restoration and expect to have the F-18 flying by the end of the year. The F-16, however, may take two years of work to restore. The jets will be fully functional, minus the weapons systems. A civilian has already put down a $100,000 deposit to hold the F-16, and a similar arrangement is available for the F-18. Company officials said insurance will, no doubt, be expensive. For more information, see the Web site.
MOONEY LAUNCHES NEW MARKETING PROGRAM
Taking a lesson from automobile manufacturers, Mooney Aircraft Corporation last week unveiled a new marketing program for its models of 1999 factory demonstrator aircraft. The program is unique to general aviation not only because it uses a dedicated Web site to promote the sale, but because the sales package includes a considerable discount on each aircraft, below-market-rate financing or cash rebates, upgraded Bendix/King avionics, a fuel credit, prepaid annual inspections, and the opportunity to be placed in a drawing to win a credit of $20,000 toward the purchase of factory air-conditioning or a TKS anti-ice system approved for flight in known icing. The "Sale of the Century," as Mooney calls it, runs through August 31 or as long as the demonstrators remain available. Visit the Web site for complete details.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Inside AOPA |
| COMMITTEE TO AGAIN BYPASS BOYER NOMINATION |
The Senate Commerce Committee met yesterday to forward to the full Senate the name of Dallas trial attorney Debbie Branson for confirmation to the FAA's Management Advisory Council (MAC), once again bypassing AOPA President Phil Boyer. On June 15, the committee forwarded the names of six other MAC nominees to the full Senate for approval, but did not forward Boyer's name or that of Branson. However, on Wednesday Branson's name was added to a list of those scheduled for consideration before the committee. Yesterday, the committee was unable to produce a quorum and her approval was delayed, but may be acted upon as early as today. These developments come in the wake of two sets of follow-up questions committee Chairman John McCain requested from Boyer to clarify his positions on such issues as user fees for general aviation. Along with the answers, Boyer asked for a "timely disposition" of his nomination status. The committee, however, has not indicated that Boyer's nomination will be forwarded any time soon. "Although it is obvious from these questions that there are issues on which we substantively disagree, I believe that we both share the same ambition--to see the FAA evolve into a more efficient operation," Boyer wrote McCain. "I appreciate this additional opportunity to demonstrate my broad background from 'outside the Beltway' and I hope my responses provide the final information you need to decide the fate of my nomination before the upcoming congressional recess." Boyer also suggested to McCain that a firm decision on his nomination would "end the press speculation, rumor-mill misinformation and unsolicited AOPA member reaction to this situation." In his response to McCain's written questions, Boyer emphasized that his broad general aviation and private sector experience would complement and counterpoint the Washington insiders and airline representatives appointed to the MAC. He again clarified AOPA's opposition to all aviation user fees, even if they were to be applied only to corporate aircraft, as McCain has proposed. To see Boyer's answers supplied to the committee on June 12, visit the Web site.
AOPA SAYS NEW LAHSO ORDER WON’T AFFECT GA
The FAA’s new land and hold short operations (LAHSO) order issued July 14 will have no significant effect on general aviation. "AOPA fought to ensure general aviation was not penalized as LAHSO procedures were debated," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "The important principle of sequencing air traffic on a ‘first come, first served’ basis at towered airports has been preserved." LAHSO primarily increases airline capacity at airports with intersecting runways. A controller can clear an aircraft to land and stop before an intersecting runway (or other predetermined point). That allows the controller to release another aircraft to take off or land on the intersecting runway. The FAA issued the new LAHSO order following objections from some airline pilot unions over previous changes to the procedures. Under the new LAHSO order, air traffic controllers can direct two airliners, with crews trained in LAHSO procedures, to land on intersecting runways. Procedures for general aviation aircraft remain unchanged. Controllers can direct two GA aircraft to land and hold short just as they have in the past. GA pilots aren’t required to have any additional training for such GA-to-GA LAHSO operations. However, a GA pilot can and should refuse a LAHSO instruction if there is any doubt that the operation can be accomplished safely. Solo student pilots are prohibited from LAHSO operations. Controllers cannot direct "mixed traffic" (a GA aircraft and an airliner, for instance), to land and hold short on intersecting runways. Such mixed LAHSO operations will only be permitted after "adequate pilot training on these procedures is accomplished." The FAA will now start developing training requirements for mixed air carrier/GA LAHSO operations. AOPA and the AOPA Air Safety Foundation will be working with the FAA on defining "adequate training." However, even without that additional training, GA pilots will retain full access to all public-use airports. For more information, see the Web site .
AOPA EXPLORES COMMERCIAL INSURANCE CRUNCH
AOPA is continuing its efforts to tackle the growing commercial aviation insurance problem. The association recently hired a special consultant to look at possible solutions for flight schools, independent flight instructors, and small FBOs that are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain insurance coverage. That consultant, respected aviation insurance expert Ray Olsen, has already produced his first report, including a list of nine insurance companies that will consider providing instruction and rental insurance under some conditions. "It’s important to have a professional aviation insurance agent scour the market and contact all the companies writing commercial aviation insurance," Olsen said. "Some instruction and rental insurance is available, but maybe not at a rate you like, and maybe not for the limits you need." Unfortunately, it is also apparent that some operations still won’t be able to obtain insurance and others will have to pay higher rates than in the past. AOPA has also asked Olsen to look for other "outside of the box" possibilities to make commercial aviation insurance more available and affordable. Possible steps include an insurance pool and a summit meeting for insurers. The list of insurance companies and suggestions on how operators can improve their chances of getting the best insurance deal, are posted on AOPA’s Web site.
LOOK FOR AOPA AT OSHKOSH
Heading to EAA's AirVenture 2000 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, next week? Be sure to stop by the AOPA tent on the thoroughfare just inside the main gate. At the tent you can get a look at the Millennium Mooney sweepstakes airplane--featuring a fresh Red Gold engine overhaul from Mattituck, a new paint scheme, and a new UPS Aviation Technologies panel. In addition, editors from AOPA Pilot and other AOPA staff members will be on site to answer your questions. For details on AOPA's presence at the event, see the Web site. If you're flying into Oshkosh, be sure to review the FAA's notam.
| On Capitol Hill |
| AOPA HOSTS FIRST CAPITOL HILL TOWN HALL MEETING |
AOPA President Phil Boyer last week hosted the first Pilot Town Meeting to take place on Capitol Hill. More than 20 senators, representatives and staff, including Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens and House national parks and public lands subcommittee Chairman Jim Hansen, attended the informational and entertaining meeting. This special congressional Pilot Town Meeting focused on the new technology reaching general aviation cockpits to make flying light planes safer and more efficient. Boyer and the AOPA Legislative Affairs staff demonstrated a UPS Aviation Technologies MX20 multifunction display, set up to simulate the Capstone program now being tested in Alaska. Capstone will provide in-cockpit displays of weather, terrain and traffic, greatly improving situational awareness and safety. The system will reduce the chances of collision with terrain or other aircraft. Several members of Congress tried their hands at shooting ILS approaches to Runway 23 at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland, using the Elite personal computer-based aviation training device (PCATD) with the controls and avionics package. The enthusiastic response from the members of Congress in attendance led Boyer to declare that AOPA's Capitol Hill Pilot Town Meeting will become a semiannual event.
| Airport Support Network |
| VOLUNTEER OF THE WEEK–DUSTIN PAULSON |
At Mora Municipal Airport (JMR), Minnesota, ASN volunteer Dustin Paulson reports that in addition to temporarily saving the turf crosswind runway from closure because of the expansion of a neighboring industrial park, the city has been persuaded to keep the runway open during the expansion process. The turf crosswind runway will be relocated instead of being closed. Paulson and other airport supporters have been able to get city officials to form an airport advisory board to help make airport-related decisions. The city has started the acquisition process for the land that will be needed for the relocation of the crosswind turf runway.
Click here to learn more about the Airport Support Network.
| AOPA Air Safety Foundation News |
| NTSB FIGURES PROVIDE GOOD NEWS FOR GA |
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation, which tracks general aviation fixed-wing accident statistics for light aircraft, was pleased by the latest numbers from the NTSB. The preliminary figures show that general aviation aircraft had fewer accidents through the first six months of this year compared to the first half of 1999. Overall, GA accidents have dropped more than 8 percent, from 876 last year to 805 this year. Better yet, fatal general aviation accidents are down almost 10 percent as compared to last year. The subcategories of personal, business, and instructional accidents have also improved over last year. Personal accidents are down almost 9 percent and business accidents are down almost 20 percent, while instructional accidents are down more than 4 percent. But there is bad news regarding midair collisions. There have been nine midair collisions so far this year (compared to eight last year), and the number of fatal midair collisions has increased from two to six. Remembering that the year is only half over, ASF Executive Director Bruce Landsberg noted that continued vigilance and good judgment never takes a holiday. "The aviation community is doing a good job but keep your head out of the cockpit and remember to judge the weather conservatively," he said.
| Quiz me! |
|Here’s a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge. |
Question: How often are isogonic lines updated on sectional charts?
Answer: The National Ocean Service (part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is the source for our answer. Isogonic lines and values are based on the five-year epoch chart. For most of the continental United States, the current values are based on 1995 information. Those values should be updated later this year, and it could take as long as two years to complete the transition for all charts.
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].
| 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 |
| WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS |
Muskegon, Michigan. The Muskegon Air Fair takes place July 21 through 23, featuring Brutus the Skydiving Dog, Danny Clisham, and the Shockwave F-15 Eagle Demo team. Muskegon County Airport (MKG), 231/798-4596, serves the area. Call 800/652-4774 for event information.
Hillsboro, Oregon. One of the top five air shows in the country takes place July 21 through 23, featuring the Blue Angels, Russian Thunder, Swift Magic Aerobatics team, and others. Portland-Hillsboro Airport (HIO), 800/547-8411, is the host airport. Call 503/227-2681 for event information.
Pasco, Washington. Thunder in the Air takes place July 22 and 23, featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, Steve Stavrakakis, and Julie Clark. Tri-Cities Airport (PSC), 509/547-6352, is the host airport. Call 509/547-2203 for event information.
Dayton, Ohio. The United States Air and Trade Show takes place July 22 and 23, featuring military aircraft and recreations of World War II air battles. Dayton International Airport (DAY), 937/454-8200 is the host airport. Call 937/898-5901 for event information.
UPCOMING AOPA EVENTS
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.
ASF FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic is scheduled in July 22 and 23 in San Diego, California. Clinics are scheduled in Baltimore, Maryland; Memphis, Tennessee; and New Orleans, Louisiana, July 29 and 30. For complete details, visit the Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic schedule.
ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
The next AOPA ASF Safety Seminars are scheduled in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for EAA AirVenture 2000 July 26 through 29. For more information about ASF Safety Seminars, visit the Web site.
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 August 12 and 13 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. 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 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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