Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today

AOPA Online Members Only -- -- AOPA ePilot Volume 2, Issue 21AOPA Online Members Only -- -- AOPA ePilot Volume 2, Issue 21


Inside AOPA

On Capitol Hill

Airport Support Network

Quiz Me!

Picture of the day

ePilot Calendar

Weekend Weather

Champion reports strong taildragger sales
Helicopters help keep Brazilian city honest
Gust lock found installed in crashed Baron
Funds approved for AOPA-backed programs
Volume 2, Issue 21
May 26, 2000
GA News
The big airframe makers are not the only ones reporting outstanding sales. Officials at American Champion Aircraft, located in Rochester, Wisconsin, say that they have a problem, but it is a pleasant one: They can't make aircraft fast enough. The factory is turning out a dozen of the popular tailwheel aircraft a month--sometimes more. The best seller is the 160-hp Citabria 7GCBC Explorer. Deep in the American Champion "skunkworks" is a project to explore the return of the 65-hp Champ to production. An airframe has been built and covered. It may fly as soon as July.

Bank robbers beware: the sky is falling. A Brazilian company called LRC Taxi Aereo has been keeping an eye on Sao Paulo by flying four-seat Robinson R44 helicopters around the clock. Each bank has a special radio alarm that sends a signal to LRC Taxi Aereo's centrally controlled base station. GPS receivers pinpoint the location and technicians dispatch the nearest helicopter. Traveling at 130 mph, the helicopters, made by the Torrance, California-based Robinson Helicopter Company, can typically arrive on the scene before the robbers flee. The average response time is one minute and 48 seconds. The helicopters then follow the suspects until they're nabbed by ground patrols. By the end of last year, the security company had flown more than 5,000 hours over Sao Paulo using seven helicopters. During that time, robberies at the participating banks dropped 80 percent.

The National Transportation Safety Board has found that a gust lock had not been removed from the controls of a Beech Baron that crashed on takeoff May 12 from Houston Hobby Airport, killing six. In addition, the Houston Chronicle reported May 18 that the pilot, 64-year-old Kent John Chatagnier, had suffered a heart attack at the time of the crash. Damage to the gust lock and control yoke suggests that Chatagnier fought against the lock for control of the aircraft. The NTSB preliminary report said: "Initial examination of the airplane revealed that the flight control lock was installed in the cockpit's flight control column. The control lock pin was found bent to the left. The control lock hole, mounted on the instrument panel collar, was broken. The control yoke was separated from the control column and both the left and right control yoke horns were separated from the yoke." The NTSB report quoted witnesses as saying the airplane pitched up to a 70- to 80-degree nose-high attitude. The witnesses reported that the nose of the airplane momentarily pitched down slightly and immediately pitched "very nose high." The airplane then rolled to the left and subsequently hit the ground in a nose-low, left-wing-low attitude, the NTSB report said.

The Stoddard-Hamilton story of financial troubles continues. The latest chapter concerns a group of builders who are exploring a possible builder/owner buyout of the assets, or perhaps even a rescue, of the troubled Glasair manufacturer. Click here to learn more about it.

For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

Inside AOPA
The U.S. House approved last Friday a $12.58 billion FAA budget for 2001, a 25-percent increase over this year's budget. "This is dramatic evidence of how the AIR-21 legislation has 'unlocked' the aviation trust fund for the betterment of all aviation," AOPA President Phil Boyer said. "And it demonstrates once again that Congress can and will appropriate sufficient funds for the FAA without having to resort to new user fees." The record-setting budget includes many programs advocated by AOPA that are important to general aviation, including the OASIS flight service modernization program, loran navigation system, and research on a suitable replacement for leaded aviation gasoline. "The FAA can no longer plead poverty," Boyer said. "It now has the necessary funds. Our task now is to ensure that the FAA spends that money wisely and manages these critical modernization projects in an efficient and productive way." (Boyer has been nominated to serve on the FAA's Management Advisory Council to help the agency run in a more businesslike manner.) "The House appropriated sufficient money for every important general aviation program in 2001," Boyer said. "In fact, 2001 may become the year of aviation." The Senate still must approve the FAA's budget. For more information, see AOPA's Web site.


AOPA has learned that the National Geodetic Survey as of May 19 stopped supplying data to the FAA because it has not been paid. NGS, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, provides airport and obstruction surveys. The FAA uses the data to develop instrument approach procedures, among other things. The lack of data doesn't pose an immediate threat to safety, but could affect future programs, such as the development of new GPS approaches. The FAA claims it can't pay the $3.5 million bill to NGS unless it gets a $77 million supplemental appropriation from Congress to augment this year's budget. "The supplemental request is less than 1 percent of the FAA's total budget," AOPA President Phil Boyer said. "It's absolutely incredible that the FAA can't find enough savings in a $10.6 billion budget to be able to pay its important bills." AOPA sent a letter to the FAA on May 22, urging the agency to "take the action necessary to meet its financial obligation."

AOPA is urging the FAA to "do the right thing" and support the town of Keene, New Hampshire, in an airport noise dispute with a neighboring community. In an unusual arrangement, Keene operates Dillant-Hopkins Airport, which is actually located within the Swanzey city boundaries. Swanzey is using its zoning laws to try to shut down a helicopter flight school because of noise. But that violates federal law, which gives FAA exclusive authority to manage the operation of aircraft in navigable airspace. AOPA has asked the FAA to assert that authority and challenge Swanzey's actions. Meanwhile, the city of Keene has filed an action in federal court to overturn the Swanzey ordinance.

On Capitol Hill
Legislation opposed by AOPA to reform the government's annual budget process was defeated in the U.S. House last Wednesday by a 217-210 vote. AOPA analysis of the proposal concluded that the legislation would make it more difficult in the future to link the annual collection of aviation taxes with spending--the concept that allowed the Aviation Trust Fund to be "unlocked" in AIR-21. In addition, AOPA was greatly concerned that the two-year budget cycle would diminish the role of Congress and give the executive branch more control over federal spending. Congress has historically intervened on behalf of general aviation in order to block user fees and ensure GA's fair share of modernization and airports funds.

The U.S. House's National Parks subcommittee passed the General Aviation Access Bill by a 6-5 margin last week. The legislation classifies backcountry "airstrips" as those specific landing areas defined on state and federal aeronautical charts. Democrats failed to support the legislation, feeling that it's premature. They believe that much more information is needed, including a clearer definition of the terms "airstrip" and "maintenance." They further claim that no hard evidence was shown at the hearing to prove that access is being denied and they contend that the public process is working. The bill will be reported to the House Resource Committee for approval in the coming weeks.

Airport Support Network
When the privately owned, public-use Kickapoo (Texas) Downtown Airpark (T47) was listed for sale, the city of Wichita Falls moved toward buying it. But a recent city council election changed the political landscape, threatening the deal. Airport Support Network volunteer Roy Caligan stepped up his airport education campaign, rallied local supporters, and arranged for the ASN video "Local Airports--Access to America" to be shown on local cable television. Because of Caligan's timely and detailed information, AOPA was able to write an encouraging letter. Caligan's efforts and user support provided the foundation for a 5-2 vote by the Wichita Falls City Council in favor of buying the airport.

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: When did the FAA stop requiring spin training for pilot certification, other than CFI certification?
Answer: On June 15, 1949, CAR Amendment 20-3 was adopted. It stated: "This amendment eliminates spins from the pilot certification requirements and, in lieu thereof, provides for dual flight instruction in the prevention of and recovery from power-on and power-off stalls entered from all normally anticipated flight attitudes."

Correction: The answer to last week's question about safety pilots caused some confusion among readers. Second-in-command time may only be logged if more than one pilot is required to operate the aircraft. For more on this issue, see the Web site.

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
Franklin, Pennsylvania. The American Power Boat Association sponsors the Two-Mile Run County Park Boat Races May 27 and 28. Stock, modified, and pro outboard racing classes are offered. Venango Regional Airport (FKL), 814/432-5333, serves the area. Call 814/677-4677 for event information.

Havre, Montana. The 20th Annual Black Powder Shoot takes place May 26 through 29. Tomahawk and knife throwing, long-range black powder cartridge event, and a pancake race. Havre City-County Airport (HVR), 406/265-4671, serves the area. Call 406/265-2483 for event information.

Grants Pass, Oregon. A celebration of boat racing on the Rogue River takes place May 25 through 29. Grants Pass Airport (3S8), 541/955-4535, serves the area. Call 541/474-2361 for event information.

Frederick, Maryland. Join AOPA for the Mid-Atlantic's premier fly-in June 3 at Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK). The 10th Annual AOPA Fly-In and Open House features more than 90 exhibitors, static aircraft displays, free seminars, and good food. Visit the Web site.

Washington, D.C.
Dulles Day 2000 Family Festival at Dulles International Airport takes place June 3. Any general aviation pilot who flies into Dulles for the event receives free landing, parking, and lunch. Call 703/417-8501 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 Orlando, Florida, and San Jose, California, June 3 and 4. For complete details, visit the Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic schedule.

(Pinch Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
The next Pinch-Hitter� Ground School will take place June 18 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 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 Indianapolis, Indiana, June 12; Waukesha, Wisconsin, June 13; Chicago, Illinois, June 14; and Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 15. Click for more information on Pilot Town Meetings.

Contacting ePilot
Got news? Having difficulty using this service? Write to ( [email protected]).

To UNSUBSCRIBE: reply to this e-mail, a free weekly newsletter on general aviation, with the word "unsubscribe" as the subject. Do not include a message. To SUBSCRIBE: visit (

AOPA, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, MD 21701
Telephone: 800/USA-AOPA or 301/695-2000
Copyright � 2000. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.


Click here for more information.

Click here for more information.

Click here for more information.

Click here for more information.


Related Articles