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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot--Vol. 3, Issue 29AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot--Vol. 3, Issue 29


Inside AOPA

On Capitol Hill

Airport Support Network

Quiz Me!

2001 Bonanza

ePilot Calendar

Weekend Weather

Fossett readies for balloon record attempt
Inventor gets a charge out of aviation
AMD offers CH2000 lease program
FAA follows AOPA lead on Oceanside
Volume 3, Issue 29
July 20, 2001

TO OUR READERS: Because of a train wreck and the fire that resulted late Wednesday afternoon in Baltimore, a significant part of the area's telecommunications backbone was damaged, causing problems for East Coast Web sites. Some of the Web links in this week's ePilot may be temporarily out of service.

GA News
Photo of Eclipse aircraftEclipse Aviation Corporation, which caught GA's attention with its plan to sell a lightweight, six-place twinjet for less than $1 million, will unveil a number of refinements to the Eclipse 500's design next week at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. Mockups of the updated aircraft reflect a new cockpit/instrument panel configuration and cabin interior, and employ a number of preproduction parts. Eclipse also is renewing its commitment to friction stir welding, a machine process in which a rapidly rotating pin creates frictional heat that bonds two pieces of material–in this case, aircraft aluminum. Friction stir welding demonstrations will take place hourly between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Eclipse exhibit, located on the southwest corner of AeroShell Square (formerly the West Ramp). For more information on Eclipse, see the Web site.

Adventurer Steve Fossett is in Australia to once again attempt to fly around the world alone in a balloon–that is, if the weather cooperates. Just getting off the ground has presented difficulties. On June 17 a gust of wind ripped his balloon, Solo Spirit, during the inflation process. Since large quantities of helium were not available in Australia, tanks had to be shipped in from Singapore. If all goes well, Fossett may launch as early as Sunday. To ride along on the adventure, see the Web site.

Electric airplanes? The time is now, says at least one inventor. Jim Dunn, a former National Security Agency official and IBM executive, is developing an electric-powered airplane. Next spring he will be outfitting a two-seat French MCR-01 Lafayette and equipping it with 320 pounds of lithium ion batteries. The projected range of the airplane is 100 miles. Dunn plans to add fuel cells to extend the range to 250 miles in 2003, and in 2004 install a total hydrogen fuel cell system, giving it a range of 500 miles. The project is being supported by a number of parties, including former astronaut Robert "Hoot" Gibson. The airplane will be on display at EAA AirVenture next week.

Aircraft Manufacturing and Development (AMD), of Eastman, Georgia, now offers a new leasing program for flight schools and clubs. Leases of the CH2000, a two-place, utility-category aircraft, include targeted promotional material for marketing the aircraft as a trainer. The three-year lease term requires a minimum monthly payment of $1,121, covering the first 50 hours of flight time, with additional time billed at $10 an hour. AMD claims the plan provides for a profit of $2,145 per month if the CH2000 flies 75 hours, and $3,025 if the airplane is flown 95 hours. For more information, visit the Web site.

FAA official Paul L. Galis has told Westchester County, New York, officials that they have 30 days to explain why a supposedly voluntary night curfew at Westchester County Airport in White Plains has been enforced through lease restrictions and other actions. When airlines tried to operate flights after the curfew, the county closed its parking garage to airline passengers. When corporate flight departments tried to renew leases, they were told that compliance with the night curfew was required to win approval of the lease. FBOs on the airport have been told by the county not to service aircraft during the midnight-to-6:30 a.m. curfew. Galis told County Executive Andrew J. Spano on July 5 that his airport may be in violation of the Airport Noise and Capacity Act, and he warned that the FAA might not proceed on the airport's pending application for a passenger facility charge until the matter is resolved. Westchester County spokeswoman Susan Tolchin told ePilot that "The county is not coercing anybody to do anything." Leases have not been denied airport tenants based on willingness to obey the voluntary curfew, she said, adding that county officials are "well aware" of FAA regulations and requirements.

For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

Inside AOPA
The FAA has warned the City of Oceanside, California, not to implement Draconian restrictions on the use of the airport. That follows a direct request from AOPA for the agency to intervene. The city council had enacted a curfew, prohibited touch-and-go landings, and demanded that aircraft owners paint a city registration number on the underside of their wings. AOPA fired off a series of protests and contacted the FAA. Now the FAA has told the city that it is required to "operate the airport for the use and benefit of the public and make it available to all types, kinds, and classes of aeronautical activity on reasonable terms, without unjust discrimination" because the city had received federal grants. For more, see AOPA Online.

The FAA started using a new VFR transition route over Los Angeles International Airport on July 16. The LAX "mini-route" replaces portions of the LAX Shoreline VFR route that was suspended last October following several instances of airliners passing too close to VFR traffic. AOPA has been working with the FAA to ensure that GA aircraft did not lose any access through the Los Angeles Class B airspace. The new route allows VFR aircraft to cross over the east ends of LAX's runways at 2,500 feet with appropriate clearance. Initially, the route will be available only for a few hours a day, but AOPA expects that the FAA will expand the hours of operation soon. Download Los Angeles Tower's "Letter to Airmen" or see AOPA Online for details.

New Jersey student pilot Robbert van der Bijl (AOPA 3706945) became AOPA's "Five Million Dollar Man" in March when his AOPA Visa statement included the five millionth dollar returned to AOPA members as part of the AOPA 5% FBO Rebate program. "I've only been an AOPA member for nine months, but in just 20-some flight hours I've saved more than twice my $39 membership," exclaimed the 27-year-old software engineer. AOPA and partner MBNA America Bank launched the AOPA FBO Rebate program in August 1997. It returns a 5 percent credit on any purchase, up to $5,000 per year, made with an AOPA Mastercard or Visa at any FBO that sells fuel or rents aircraft and is listed in AOPA's Airport Directory. For more, see AOPA Online.

AOPA offered recommendations to improve the process for field approvals at a public meeting that took place yesterday. AOPA has noticed a marked decline in the ability of aircraft operators to readily obtain field approvals for a variety of alterations and installations over the past several years. They are required for the installation of GPS and other avionics improvements, among others. The FAA elected to address this issue by forming the FAA Field Approval Task Force and the Field Approval Process Improvement Team (FAPIT). AOPA's recommendations include committing more dedicated inspector resources; using FAA designated engineering representatives (DER) and designated airworthiness representatives (DAR) in the field approval process; and including expert industry representation on the committee.

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On Capitol Hill
The House campaign finance reform bill, which could level the playing field between GA and the airlines, failed last Thursday when representatives couldn't agree on the procedural rules for considering the issue. For now the airlines can continue to donate millions of unregulated dollars to political candidates and parties–more than $10 million in soft money contributions in the 2000 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The House bill, authored by Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) and Martin Meehan (D-Mass.), is now stalled in the House Rules Committee, and supporters hope to bring it back before year's end. The Shays-Meehan bill resembles the Senate bill sponsored by John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), and both ban soft money donations from unions, corporations, and wealthy individuals to political parties.

Facing the possibility that an AOPA-supported prohibition against the closure of backcountry airstrips would be extended by Congress until October 2002, an agreement has been reached between Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and the departments of Agriculture and Interior to develop a national policy governing backcountry airstrips on federal lands. The establishment of such a national policy is a long-sought goal of AOPA. The Bush administration has committed itself to a process that includes periods of public notice, comment, and participation by the states. For more, visit AOPA Online.
Airport Support Network
AOPA started the Airport Support Network (ASN) to provide a coordinated effort to reduce anti-airport sentiment. ASN volunteers keep AOPA headquarters abreast of political and public opinion developments that may affect their airports. They attend public meetings dealing with airport matters and report to AOPA on the proceedings. ASN volunteers help promote local airport activities to enhance the airport's public image. They also act as the AOPA liaison with local pilot associations, user groups, airport advisory commissions, and airport management officials. Does this sound like something your airport has? If not, your airport needs an ASN volunteer. Below are just a few airports in your area where an ASN volunteer could make a difference.

To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit AOPA Online.
AOPA Air Safety Foundation News
Flying Physicians' Association President R.C. Thompson recently presented Bruce Landsberg, AOPA Air Safety Foundation executive director, with a donation from members of FPA. "From their experience in the medical field, physicians understand the importance of recurrent training," notes Landsberg. Landsberg, an honorary member of FPA, spoke at the group's annual meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, touching on collision avoidance, among other topics. FPA promotes medical and aviation proficiency at its regional and annual meetings. In 1995, FPA sponsored ASF's study on GA weather-related accidents and, more recently, a Safety Advisor on decision-making for pilots performing charity medical assistance flights. Click here to download the advisor.
Quiz Me!
Here’s a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge.

Question: Will my attendance at a Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic (FIRC) allow me to receive a signoff renewing my ground instructor certificate to meet the requirements of FAR 61.217?

Answer: According to the FAA, the intent is to have the ground instructor maintain proficiency, and attendance at a FIRC would meet the requirements of 61.217(b). The ground instructor would have the FIRC instructor endorse his logbook at the completion of the course.

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 logoThe 2001 AOPA Sweepstakes aircraft, an opulent 200-knot-plus Beech Bonanza S35, will make its first public appearance next week at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. The Bonanza will be awarded in early 2002 to one lucky pilot. More than 30 companies are contributing to the project, providing free or reduced-rate goods and services. "This year's airplane is making a quantum leap ahead of any previous AOPA Sweepstakes airplane," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. For our latest project update, see AOPA Online.
On The Road To Expo
The medical seminar track for this year's AOPA Expo features presentations on a wide array of medical problem areas that pilots experience. Coping with vision problems, medication usage, the neurological effects of aging, and understanding FAA medical certification policy are just a few of the medical topics available. You'll get an opportunity to talk with the deputy federal air surgeon and other medical specialists and physicians. For more, see AOPA Online.
What's New At AOPA Online
The July 12 updates for the airport taxi diagrams and U.S. Terminal Procedures are available on AOPA Online.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? AOPA is seeking dedicated professionals for two positions: Airport Support Network manager and database manager for the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. If you have experience to bring to either of these opportunities, and you are committed to aviation, we invite you to join us at AOPA. See AOPA Online for more information.
ePilot Calendar
Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The EAA AirVenture 2001 Fly-In Convention takes place July 24 through 30 at Wittman Regional Airport (OSH). Call 920/426-4800 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 Safety Seminars are scheduled in Oshkosh, July 25 ("Single Pilot IFR"); July 26 ("More Never Again"); July 27 ("Operations at Towered Airports"); and July 29 ("GPS for VFR Operations"). 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 Baltimore and Seattle, July 28 and 29. 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 July 22 in Jacksonville, Florida. 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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