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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot--Vol. 4, Issue 13AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot--Vol. 4, Issue 13

Volume 4, Issue 13 • March 29, 2002
In this issue:
AOPA takes issue with nuclear plant report
Bohannon plans dress rehearsal for record attempt
GA relief not forgotten by Congress
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Copyright � 2002 AOPA.

GA News
CESSNA SETTLES SEAT-SLIPPAGE LAWSUIT
Cessna Aircraft Company late last month settled a 1989 lawsuit stemming from the plaintiffs' claims that a seat slipped in a Cessna 185. The plaintiffs—pilot James Cassoutt, his wife Cindy, and passenger Judy Kealey-Diaz—said that the pilot's seat slipped during a takeoff roll, resulting in a crash that injured all three on board. The Cassoutts suffered burns while the passenger suffered a severed spine. In August, a Florida jury ordered Cessna to pay $480 million in damages, a general aviation record, for what the jurors believed were faulty parts. Cessna denied that the seat-latching mechanism was defective and argued that the pilot failed to follow proper procedures. Cessna appealed the decision. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. However, the plaintiffs' attorney, Arthur Alan Wolk, told ePilot that the settlement was "well within the insurance limits available to Cessna and Textron [Cessna's parent company]." Wolk also said that no punitive damages were included in the settlement, only compensatory damages. The jury had awarded $80 million in compensatory damages and $400 million in punitive damages. Cessna officials were not immediately available for comment.

FEDS DELAY PHASE-OUT OF LAND-BASED NAVAIDS
Transportation and Defense department officials said Tuesday that the government has once again delayed plans to rely on GPS as the primary means of U.S. navigation for fear of blocking and jamming. The 2001 Federal Radionavigation Plan effectively extends the life of land-based radio navaids such as VORs and NDBs. The phase-out is slated to begin in 2010, two years later than expected, and depends on program progress and the rate of user equipment upgrades. The Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to make a decision on the future of loran sometime this year once studies on its viability are completed. "This announcement provides aircraft owners adequate time for planning their navigation upgrades. It's important for the DOT to step up and provide the navaid systems and, more important, the capabilities on schedule," said Randy Kenagy, AOPA director of advanced technology.

AOPA TAKES ISSUE WITH NUCLEAR PLANT REPORT
AOPA is taking exception to a report issued Monday by Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey claiming that there are gaps in nuclear reactor security. Among the claims in the report is a statement that "96 percent of all U.S. reactors were designed without regard for the potential for impact from even a small aircraft." Markey also wants all nuclear sites ringed with antiaircraft weapons. "The report misleads the public by telling only part of the story," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Reactor containment vessels are so massive that a GA aircraft can't penetrate them. Period." All nuclear reactor containment buildings are built like bunkers with at least 12 feet of solid steel and reinforced concrete between the reactor and the outside world. Containment vessels weigh more than 500 tons. A GA aircraft, constructed primarily of lightweight aluminum, would crumple upon hitting such a massive object. Boyer said it would be like hitting a granite cliff. See AOPA Online.

SOARING IS NOT LOITERING, GROUP SAYS
After the September 11 terror attacks, the FAA issued notams restricting "loitering" for aircraft near nuclear power plants and other areas of national security concern. This has had special meaning for glider pilots who circle in thermals to gain altitude. The Soaring Society of America (SSA) has been working with the FAA to clarify the rules. So far, according to the SSA, circling in thermals does not constitute loitering, but the key is to spend only enough time near the facilities to gain lift then move beyond them. One thing was made clear, though. The SSA said that airplanes should not tow gliders over these facilities. The organization recommended that glider pilots and clubs contact security officials at the facilities and let them know who they are and when they'll be in the area.

BOHANNON PLANS DRESS REHEARSAL FOR RECORD ATTEMPT
This weekend over the Gulf of Mexico Bruce Bohannon has planned a dress rehearsal for his attempt to fly level at 40,000 feet and set a world record for Class C-1.b piston-engine aircraft. He plans to take the single-engine "Exxon Flyin' Tiger" to that altitude if no problems develop. The main concern is engine cooling. While temperatures at that altitude are low, cooling depends on air molecules, and air is so thin that the molecules are inefficient in cooling the aircraft's 350-horsepower Mattituck engine (reduced by altitude to 260 hp at 40,000 feet). If the test is unsuccessful, there will be time to make modifications prior to the official attempt at noon on April 9 at the Sun 'n Fun EAA Fly-In. Doctors have assured Bohannon that, for the brief time he will be at 40,000 feet, no pressurization is required. He needs to clear 37,274 feet to claim the new world altitude record.

CARTERCOPTER ROTATES TOWARD RECORD
The CarterCopter test aircraft is inching toward the rotorcraft equivalent of the sound barrier with its latest speed run of 149 knots (171 mph). The speed was achieved last Friday. But testing had to be stopped after the gyroplane started yawing. The team had to modify the rudder before testing could continue. Powered by a Corvette engine, the CarterCopter uses a rotor for vertical takeoff and landing and a small wing for high-speed cruise. The aircraft is heading toward the Mu 1 barrier, the ratio between the forward speed of the rotorcraft and its rotor tip speed relative to the aircraft. The team is currently looking at a ratio of 0.87. CarterCopters L.L.C. plans to patent the technology and sell it to certified aircraft and kitplane manufacturers. See the Web site.

CONTROL VISION, AIRCELL BRING WEATHER INFO TO COCKPITS
In the quest to bring graphical weather products to the cockpit in real-time, Control Vision and AirCell announced a partnership this week. Control Vision's software for personal digital assistants (PDAs), Anywhere Wx, displays Nexrad radar images. How that information gets to the PDA is AirCell's business. The company's cellular-based communications network is now compatible with the Anywhere Wx software. The panel-mount Guardian 1000 retails for $3,500, and monthly service, including voice, data, and weather is $39.95, which includes five minutes; additional minutes are $1.99. According to an AirCell spokesman, a pilot can upload Nexrad images for the continental United States in less than one minute at 9,600 bps. Control Vision continues to offer satellite datalink service for Anywhere Wx through GlobalStar. For more, see controlvision.com or aircell.com.

For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Inside AOPA
THE AOPA INSURANCE AGENCY FINDS INSURANCE FOR HOMEBUILT OWNERS
Homebuilt aircraft owners were shocked last week when Avemco (which is a direct insurer, not an insurance agency) suddenly issued a moratorium on policies for higher performance homebuilt and experimental aircraft. The company reportedly will no longer write new policies for aircraft with retractable gear, more than 200 horsepower, more than $200,000 in value, or capable of cruising faster than 180 knots. But the AOPA Insurance Agency has identified a number of companies willing to write such insurance. "Sadly, we can't help everybody. There are some risks the insurance companies are unwilling to cover," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. The AOPA Insurance Agency has established a special "Experimental Desk," staffed by experienced agent Silka Bulleigh. Call 800/622-2672, extension 127, or see AOPA Online.

GA SAFETY RECORD IMPROVES
Preliminary statistics released by the NTSB on Tuesday reveal that 2001 was the safest year ever for general aviation, according to analysis by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. GA experienced fewer accidents than any time since record-keeping began in 1938. NTSB figures showed the number of general aviation accidents dropped by more than 6 percent from 2000 to 2001. Total accidents declined from 1,838 to 1,721 (down 6.4 percent), and fatal accidents dropped from 343 to 321 (6.4 percent). But according to NTSB estimates, general aviation flew fewer hours in 2001; 26.2 million hours compared to 29.1 million hours in 2000. Because of those estimates, the accident rates increased slightly. "This minor rate increase doesn't indicate a change in the overall GA safety picture," said Bruce Landsberg, ASF executive director. "We will continue to concentrate our safety education efforts in areas to reduce the accident numbers even more, such as spatial disorientation, weather, and midair collisions. Those efforts are clearly reflected in the reduced number of GA accidents in 2001." See AOPA�Online. ( add link ).

FAA EXTENDS AOPA ALCOHOL/DRUG TESTING EXEMPTION
The FAA has granted an extension to AOPA's alcohol and drug testing exemption for certain charity flights. The exemption allows AOPA members to conduct local sightseeing flights to help airport groups and local charities raise money without the pilot having to institute a drug- and alcohol-testing program. (Since pilots collect a nominal fee for these charity fundraising flights, the FAA has determined that pilots have to comply with the Part 135 charter operations drug testing regulations, unless the pilot has applied for the exemption.) The exemption was originally granted in June 2000 and has been extended until June 2004. "Although we're pleased that the FAA granted our request for an extension, we need a permanent regulatory solution," said Lance Nuckolls, AOPA director of regulatory and certification policy. Download the exemption or see AOPA's regulatory brief.

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On Capitol Hill
GA RELIEF NOT FORGOTTEN BY CONGRESS
A Senate bill that would provide disaster loans and loan guarantees for small businesses affected by the September 11 terrorist attacks passed the Senate on Friday by a voice vote. Small Business Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) and ranking Republican Christopher Bond (Mo.) negotiated with the White House to clear the way for the president's signature on the AOPA-backed bill, the American Small Business Emergency Relief and Recovery Act of 2001 (S. 1499). The legislation will have to pass the House, which is expected to take up the measure after the congressional spring recess, before it becomes law. While the legislation is not GA-specific, the bill would provide disaster loans to GA small businesses affected by the airspace shutdown. Other AOPA-backed small business relief packages (H.R. 3347/S. 2007), sponsored respectively by Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), includes more comprehensive GA relief. See AOPA Online.
Airport Support Network
SIGN UP TO SAVE YOUR AIRPORT
AOPA started the Airport Support Network (ASN) to provide a coordinated effort to reduce antiairport 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 nominate a volunteer, which can be yourself, see AOPA Online.
AOPA Air Safety Foundation News
ASF'S 2001 NALL REPORT GOES ONLINE
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation's 2001 Nall Report is available for download on AOPA Online. The report analyzes aviation accident statistics from the NTSB during the previous year. Click here to download the report.
Quiz Me!
Here's a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge.

Question: What endorsement does the FAA want when a pilot participates in the Pilot Proficiency Award (Wings) Program in lieu of a flight review?

Answer: The recommended endorsement for completing a phase of the FAA's Wings Program is found in Advisory Circular 61-91H, Pilot Proficiency Award Program, and is as follows: "Mr./Ms.______, holder of pilot certificate number______, has satisfactorily completed the training requirements outlined in AC61-91H, paragraphs 7a,b,c,d,e,f, or g (state which), signed (instructor's signature, CFI number). You may want to indicate the phase number in the endorsement, such as Phase II or Phase IV, etc. This endorsement can be written in the notes section for a particular flight or in the back of the logbook with the rest of the endorsements. For more on the FAA Wings Program, see AOPA Online or see the FAA's advisory circular.

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].
Picture Perfect
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. See AOPA Online.
What's New At AOPA Online
How familiar are you with airport lighting systems? Take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's quick quiz to test your knowledge. See AOPA Online.
ePilot Calendar
Check your weekend weather on AOPA Online.

WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS
Washington, D.C. The National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place March 24 through April 7. See our nation's capital in its springtime glory as more than 6,000 trees blossom. Be sure to check notams before flying in this area, and remember that Ronald Reagan National, College Park, Hyde, and Potomac airports are closed to transient general aviation aircraft. For more information, visit the Web site.

Kissimmee, Florida. B-25 Mitchell warbird reunion takes place April 4 through 6 at the Flying Tigers Warbird Air Museum on Kissimmee Municipal Airport (ISM). Contact the museum, 407/933/1942, or e-mail.

Snowmass Village, Colorado. Snowmass Banana Season takes place April 5 through 8–go bananas for spring skiing! Visit the Web site for more information.

For more airport details, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online . For more events, see 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 Clinics are in San Diego, Chicago, and Indianapolis, April 6 and 7. Clinics are scheduled in Boston and Atlanta, April 13 and 14. For the Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic schedule, see AOPA Online.

ASF PINCH-HITTER GROUND-SCHOOL COURSES
(Pinch-Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
The next Pinch-Hitter� Ground School will take place in Frederick, Maryland, on April 13. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.

ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Glenview, Illinois, April 8; Rockford, Illinois, April 9; Peoria, Illinois, April 10; and South Holland, Illinois, April 10. The topic is spatial disorientation. The following Safety Seminars will take place during Sun 'n Fun EAA Fly-in in Lakeland, Florida: Operation Airspace '02 and Spatial Disorientation, April 7; Operation Airspace '02 and Fuel Awareness, April 8; Spatial Disorientation and GPS for VFR, April 9; Collision Avoidance and Single Pilot IFR, April 10. See AOPA Online.

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

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