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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot--Vol. 3, Issue 32AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot--Vol. 3, Issue 32


Inside AOPA

Airport Support Network

Quiz Me!

2001 Bonanza

ePilot Calendar

Weekend Weather

Fossett launches in balloon
The Vin Fiz flies again
Plum Island Airport reopening moves closer
AOPA urges court to keep Kansas airport open
Volume 3, Issue 32
August 10, 2001
GA News
Photo of Solaris Aircraft An American company has introduced a line of already FAA-certified composite aircraft after it bought the type and production certificates from a German company. Solaris Aviation Inc. of Parkland, Florida, is manufacturing the Sigma line of retractable-gear aircraft. Engine options range from 230 to 310 horsepower; the most powerful is estimated to have a top speed in excess of 210 knots. Each model features gull-wing doors on both sides of the fuselage. The 250- and 310-hp models will be available in the United States for selling prices of $244,900 and $279,900, respectively. Solaris was established in 1999 after it bought the assets, molds, and tooling from Ruschmeyer Aircraft GmbH. The more labor-intensive parts of the airplanes are being produced at a facility in Poland that was previously used to manufacture gliders. Final assembly is taking place in Florida. For more information, call 954/415-9337. The company's Web site is expected to be up by late next week. See the Web site.

Hoping to make the first solo balloon flight around the world, Steve Fossett has launched from Northam, Western Australia, aboard the Solo Spirit. By Thursday afternoon, Fossett had covered more than 5,000 miles and was about 1,600 miles northeast of Auckland, New Zealand. To follow the flight of the Solo Spirit, see the Web site.

The organization Inventing Flight: Dayton 2003 has completed a flying replica of the Vin Fiz, a Wright brothers 1911 Model EX that flew for the first time in June. The airplane was built and flown by Dana Smith, an aeronautical engineer. The Vin Fiz made history in 1911 when pilot Calbraith Perry Rodgers flew it across the North American continent. At the time, the Armour Meat Packing Company sponsored Rogers in exchange for his promoting its new grape-flavored soft drink, Vin Fiz. Altered slightly from the original, the new version is powered by a modern auto engine. Inventing Flight: Dayton 2003 was founded in 1989 to promote aviation, the Wright Brothers, and Dayton, Ohio's role in the birth of aviation. For more, see the Web site.

Plum Island Community Airfield Inc. (PICA) recently signed a five-year lease with the goal of opening the historic Plum Island Airport in Newburyport, Massachusetts, later this year. Now, only one major step remains. The previous airport operator, Richard Hordon, placed obstructions intended as a noise barrier on his property, which abuts the approach end of Runway 28. PICA has won a temporary injunction against Hordon seeking removal of the structures, and as of this week, the barriers have been dismantled while Hordon awaits an appeal. "We're pleased that the ruling came so soon and was in our favor," says Robert Walton, AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer for Plum Island. Both AOPA headquarters and Walton have been working with the property owner, the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA), and PICA toward reopening the airport since its closure last fall. Reopening the airport hangs on approval of the provisional operation certificate by the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission (MAC). The airport meets current safety standards, with the exception of the structures on the Hordon property. PICA entered into the lease agreement with SPNEA and plans to hand over daily operations to Victor Capozzi, of General Aviation Services in Beverly, Massachusetts. See PICA's Web site.

For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Inside AOPA
AOPA has petitioned the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision allowing the closure of Richards-Gebaur Airport in Kansas City, Missouri. At issue is the way the FAA released Kansas City from its obligation to maintain the airport. In exchange for federal assistance, airport sponsors promise to keep the airport open. See AOPA Online.

AOPA is watching closely the FAA's upgrading of radios used for air traffic control. Included in the upgrade are options to "go digital" or split existing voice radio frequencies into 8.33 kHz channels. This is the first step toward a planned change in communication radios that will eventually affect all aircraft. The FAA still plans to implement a digital radio system (dubbed Nexcom) that has both voice and ATC datalink capabilities late in this decade. Although most GA pilots won't be expected to reequip until sometime beyond 2010, AOPA is urging the FAA to maximize existing frequency use and allocations before requiring aircraft owners to purchase new radios that would provide few, if any, new benefits.

AOPA is conducting a survey about AOPA members' experiences with customer service in general aviation today. Results will be used later this month in a presentation to industry leaders by AOPA President Phil Boyer. If you have purchased a 1997 model or newer GA aircraft from a dealer, and have purchased a 1997 or newer automobile from a dealer–and are willing to spend nine or 10 minutes comparing your customer service experiences in those transactions–see AOPA Online.

Changing your mailing or e-mail addresses? Click here to update.
Airport Support Network
The situation at C.J. Evans Field (51J) in Lake City, South Carolina, has completely turned around in the past year, said AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Dusan Fridl. The airport had been neglected and severely vandalized. But after much hard work and negotiations with the Lake City Town Council and the state, the airport is again fully operational. All of the runway lights have been repaired, along with a badly damaged VASI system, wind cone, and lights. A rotating beacon and pilot-controlled runway light system were installed. The entire terminal building was renovated, and the town resurfaced the parking area and ramp area and cut trees in the approach area. The town council was so excited about the new airport that it is currently forming an airport committee and naming Fridl as a member. It is charged with establishing a budget to maintain and continue to improve the airport. A small local technical college has even expressed interest in starting a flight school there. To learn more about ASN, see AOPA Online.
AOPA Air Safety Foundation News
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation began production this week on a new video for a safety seminar on spatial disorientation. The new seminar will debut in November at AOPA Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This latest seminar will show pilots how to avoid situations that can lead to spatial disorientation, the phenomenon that caused the John F. Kennedy Jr. accident. While spatial disorientation is most common among VFR pilots who lose sight of the horizon in low visibility, the video will also demonstrate that even experienced instrument-rated pilots flying sophisticated turbine aircraft can fall into the trap.
Quiz Me!
Here’s a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge.

Question: When on an instrument approach, what are the visual references from the runway of intended use that a pilot may use to descend below the minimum descent altitude (MDA) or decision height (DH)?

Answer: According to FAR 91.175(c), at least one of the following visual references for the intended runway must be distinctly visible and identifiable to the pilot: The approach light system (except that the pilot may not descend below 100 feet above the touchdown zone elevation using the approach lights as a reference unless the red terminating bars or the red side row bars are also distinctly visible and identifiable); threshold; threshold markings; threshold lights; runway end identifier lights (REIL); visual approach slope indicator; touchdown zone; touchdown zone markings; touchdown zone lights; runway; runway markings; or runway lights. See ( ).

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].
AOPA Sweepstakes Bonanza Update
bonanza logoAfter ripping out the tattered old blue interior in the 2001 AOPA Sweepstakes Bonanza, an inspection backed up what was previously thought: The 35-year-old bird is in good shape. Now here comes the leather interior. See our latest project on AOPA Online.
On The Road To Expo
Don't miss AOPA Expo 2001, November 8 through 10, in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For complete information on this spectacular aviation event, see AOPA Online.
What's New At AOPA Online
It's back. The AOPA Online Gallery is up and running again for your viewing enjoyment. You can browse through hundreds of images representing the finest general aviation photography in the world. You can even download your favorite image and use it as your computer's desktop image. It's free. Try it today. See AOPA Online.
ePilot Calendar
Oklahome City, Oklahoma. The Annual Okie Derby takes place August 17 and 18 at Wiley Post Airport (PWA). Call 405/844-4011 for event information.

Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Air and Water Show takes place August 18 and 19. Call 312/744-9537 for event information.

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

The next AOPA ASF "Fuel Awareness" safety seminars are scheduled in Rockford, Michigan, and Little Rock, Arkansas, August 13; Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Memphis, Tennessee, August 14; Anderson, Indiana, and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, August 15; Chattanooga, Tennessee, August 16; and Maryville, Tennessee, August 17. See AOPA Online for more information.

(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Champaign, Illinois, and Norfolk, Virginia, August 18 and 19. For the Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic schedule, see AOPA Online.

(Pinch-Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
The next Pinch-Hitter� Ground School will take place August 12 in Reno, Nevada, and September 9 in Phoenix. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.

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

Contacting ePilot
Got news? Contact ePilot at [email protected] Due to the large volume of mail received, we regret that we are unable to individually answer all correspondence.

Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].

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Copyright � 2001. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.


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