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AOPA ePilot - Volume 10, Issue 16AOPA ePilot - Volume 10, Issue 16

Volume 10, Issue 16 • April 18, 2008
In this issue:
NTSB notes big drop in GA fatalities
Avionics thief caught and jailed
When are you too fatigued to fly?

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GA News

FSS GETS READY FOR BUSY SUMMER SEASON
Change is never easy. And that is why AOPA is working closely with the FAA and FSS contractor Lockheed Martin to make sure there isn't a repeat of last summer's FSS glitches. Part of this effort is Lockheed's summer plan that centers around increased staffing, improvements to the call handling system, and advance preparation for big events, including Memorial and Labor Day weekends, EAA AirVenture, and the AOPA Fly-In and Open House. Read about the plan on AOPA Online and take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Pilot's Guide to Flight Service online minicourse.

NTSB NOTES BIG DROP IN GA FATALITIES
The number of fatalities from general aviation accidents reached a 40-year low in 2007, according to statistics released by the NTSB on April 16. It also marked a 30-percent decrease from the previous year. There were 491 fatalities last year compared with 703 in 2006, although the total number of GA accidents increased from 1,518 to 1,631 for the same time period. Read more on AOPA Online.

TELL US HOW YOU'D BOOST THE PILOT POPULATION
One of the biggest threats facing general aviation is the dwindling pilot population, and that's why AOPA is turning to you for ideas on how to reverse that trend. "Take five minutes and tell me what you'd do," implored AOPA President Phil Boyer. Share your ideas in this short online survey. So far, hundreds of members have responded to Boyer's call to action published in the May issue of AOPA Pilot. "But that's not enough. We need ideas from every AOPA member," Boyer said. "This issue is as important as the user fee fight, and the more information we have, the better we can tackle this problem that threatens the very heart of aviation." See what members are saying on AOPA Online.

AVIONICS THIEF CAUGHT AND JAILED
General aviation pilots frequently band together to protect the tight-knit community from false media reports and terrorist threats. Unfortunately, some of those within the trusted GA circle take advantage of their fellow pilots, casting the industry in a negative light. Such is the case with private pilot and aviation parts broker Mario Enrique Mercier, who was sentenced to eight years in jail on March 21 after being found guilty on Oct. 15, 2007, of charges including the sale or receipt of stolen property and interstate transportation of stolen property. A U.S. attorney's office report indicates that from 2004 to 2006, "Mercier burglarized or was involved in the burglarizing of aircraft at more than 20 private airports in at least eight states." Read more on AOPA Online.

FLIGHT SCHOOLS, FBOs URGED TO INFORM PILOTS OF D.C. ADIZ
In the wake of two high-profile Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) violations, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation has reached out to more than 1,300 flight schools and FBOs within 400 miles of the Washington, D.C., area. "Even after all the headlines and pilot education efforts over the years, we are still seeing more than three incursions into restricted airspace every week in the Washington area," wrote Bruce Landsberg, AOPA Air Safety Foundation executive director, in a letter to all of the businesses. "There is simply no way for me to express the collateral damage that this causes for all general aviation pilots and your business." Read more on AOPA Online.

FAA PROPOSES 22 CHANGES TO SPORT PILOT RULE
In the almost four years since the sport pilot rule was implemented, the pilot community and the FAA have gained a lot of practical experience. Now the FAA has used that experience to develop 22 proposed changes to the rule that would affect aircraft, pilots, and procedures. Read more on AOPA Online.

DIAMOND EYES D-JET CERTIFICATION
Diamond Aircraft is moving one step closer to type certification in the very light jet world with the maiden flight of another D-Jet. Serial No. 3 flew recently for one hour and 25 minutes, company officials said. The airplane will eventually be used to develop avionics, fuel, autopilot, and anti-ice systems. Later in the year, the company intends to retrofit it with the Williams International FJ33-19 engine, its production configuration powerplant.

RED BULL AIR RACE HEADING TO DETROIT, SAN DIEGO
If you've been wanting to see the Red Bull Air Race World Series, you have two U.S. locations to choose from in May and June. Look for a dozen of the world's best aerobatic pilots to tumble over the bay in San Diego on May 3 and 4 and along the Detroit River in Detroit on May 31 and June 1. Last year San Diego drew more than 50,000 spectators, not nearly as many as foreign races, but enough to help Red Bull build its reputation. Read more on AOPA Online.

FAA CONSIDERS AD FOR SUPERIOR CYLINDERS
The FAA is proposing an airworthiness directive aimed at engines with Superior Air Parts cylinder assemblies. The proposal would affect some 8,000 aircraft with IO-520, TSIO-520, and IO-550 engines, requiring repetitive inspections and compression tests on cylinders with more than 750 flight hours. The AD proposal follows reports of cracks around exhaust valves and separation of cylinder heads from barrels, resulting in immediate loss of engine power and, in some cases, forced landings. You can view the full notice of proposed rulemaking online. Comments must be filed by June 10.

RUSSIAN OWNERS COMPLETE ADAM AIRCRAFT DEAL
One of the Russian owners of AAI Acquisitions arrived in Denver this week to formally complete the $10 million purchase of bankrupt Adam Aircraft and tour the facilities at the Centennial Airport complex. Massive cleaning efforts to ready the dusty buildings for a return to operations have begun as part of a 90-day reactivation plan. The future of the A500 piston-engine twin aircraft is uncertain, but the A700 business jet will move toward FAA certification once again. Recruitment of employees is to begin May 1. Read more on AOPA Online.

SUN 'N FUN HIGHLIGHTS
Growing the pilot population, synthetic vision technology, and, well, mud were hot topics of discussion at Sun 'n Fun 2008. AOPA Executive Vice President of Communications Karen Gebhart told a crowd of pilots that we must do something now to boost the future pilot population. Meanwhile, AOPA President Phil Boyer presented an update on the FAA funding issue. AOPA Pilot launched a new product video series, beginning with Garmin's Synthetic Vision System. One AOPA member got an expensive repair bill after the mud had its way with his airplane. And the AOPA Pilot editors launched a new blog called "Reporting Points."

CORRECTION: The F6F Hellcat was produced by Grumman, contrary to what we said in the April 11 edition of this newsletter. ePilot regrets the error.

For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

Safety & Proficiency

THUNDERSTORM BRINGS FLIGHT TO VIOLENT END
On June 25, 2006, the pilot of a Piper PA-34 Seneca attempted to fly through a line of convective activity over Tafton, Pa. The extreme turbulence from a developing thunderstorm ripped the aircraft to pieces, killing the pilot and his two passengers. Witnesses said debris from the airplane continued falling for up to 10 minutes. Read more in this special report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.

CROSSWIND LANDINGS DONE THE AOPA WAY
Hundreds of pilots have shared their crosswind landing techniques with AOPA during the past two weeks. So we decided to share some of the AOPA staff pilots' techniques with you. See how our techniques compare to yours, read about AOPA Pilot editors' most memorable crosswinds in their online blog (you can post comments to their entries), and consider AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg's safety tips.

INTERACTIVE COURSES NOT JUST FOR NOVICES
Who knows more about flying than a 20-plus-year pilot with thousands of hours of experience at the controls of F-16s, airliners, and his own Vans RV-4? Now give that pilot combat experience and make him an accident investigator. What could he learn from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's interactive online courses? Plenty, says Lt. Col. Edward "Ned" Linch, who holds all those qualifications and more. "Your courses are not only for the private pilot!" Linch wrote to the foundation recently. "I've taken several of them and I think the courses are excellent...short and to the point with the important information you need to know." Linch took the Mountain Flying course before flying over the Rocky Mountains on his way to Oshkosh last year. Take a course and become a safer pilot today.

WHEN ARE YOU TOO FATIGUED TO FLY?
Fatigue can mean a lot of things, including physical and mental exhaustion. But when it comes to flying, fatigue means poor judgment, slow reaction times, and an inability to process information, all of which are likely to lead to the words "pilot error" appearing on an accident report. To help you understand fatigue, its hidden dangers, and how to combat them, the AOPA Pilot Information Center has put together a special online section packed with resources. And be sure to test your knowledge of fatigue and other aviation medical issues with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Quiz on aeromedical factors.

Inside AOPA

REAL EXPERTS, READY FOR ANY QUESTION
When you call 800/USA-AOPA looking for help, who answers the phone and what do they really know about aviation? Craig Brown, a senior technical specialist in the AOPA Pilot Information Center, is just one of the voices you might hear. Brown has been flying for 24 years, given more than 8,000 hours of flight instruction, and holds a whole range of certificates and ratings including ATP, A&P, and ground instructor credentials. Find out his favorite type of aircraft to fly and some of the strangest calls he's taken from members.

CUB AND BIRD SOAR TO HIGHEST VOTE IN MARCH PHOTO CONTEST
Congratulations to AOPA member Curtis Chapline, who was inspired by a Piper Cub and a bird to produce a winning composition for the March "Photo of the Month" in AOPA Pilot's 2008 General Aviation Photography Contest. Chapline had just snapped the Cub at his home base airport in Cypress, Texas, when he spotted the eagle. Adjusting the two images produced the clever look he wanted. Go online to see a full-size version and to view photos of the runners-up. Submit your best photograph online for a chance at cash prizes and to be published in AOPA Pilot.

UPGRADE YOUR RATING WITH FLIGHT TRAINING FUNDS
Working on a new certificate or rating? Make sure you have the funds to achieve your dreams of flying with AOPA Flight Training Funds. It's the super-flexible, affordable way to fuel your passion. Plus, you can use it for anything else: avionics, pilot supplies, FBO expenses, or even nonaviation purposes—the choice is yours. See AOPA Online or call 888/628-7700 to apply today. Mention code FAAQAP.

AOPA MEMBERSHIP PLUS SAFETY EQUALS SAVINGS ON INSURANCE
AOPA members can receive special discounts and accident forgiveness when they purchase aircraft insurance through the AOPA Insurance Agency. "Everyone talks about flying safely, but we wanted to reward you for doing something about it," said Greg Sterling, AOPA executive vice president of non-dues revenue. "That's why qualified training can earn you accident forgiveness. With the accident forgiveness program, your premiums won't go up, even if the accident or incident was your fault." Just for being members, pilots can receive a 5-percent discount. By participating in at least two AOPA Air Safety Foundation training courses each year, they can also receive accident forgiveness and up to a $100 deductible waiver on certain policies. To learn more or to get a quote, contact the AOPA Insurance Agency at 800/622-2672 or visit the Web site.

Airport Support Network

JOIN THE AIRPORT SUPPORT NETWORK TODAY
Ensuring the health and vitality of your airport is up to you—residential development and economic and political pressures can restrict your flying. Every day more than 1,900 Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers are working with AOPA headquarters to help save their airports, but we need more. Below is a link to a list of the airports where an ASN volunteer could make a difference.

To nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer, visit http://www.aopa.org/asn/asn-form.html.

To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit http://www.aopa.org/asn/.

Quiz Me

Here's a question asked by an AOPA member who contacted our aviation services staff through the AOPA Pilot Information Center. Test your knowledge.

Question: I am in the military serving overseas. I am also a CFI, and my CFI certificate is about to expire. I have heard of a regulation that allows me to let the certificate expire and then get it renewed when I return to the United States. Where can I find this in the FARs?

Answer: This information can be found in Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) No. 100-1 to Part 61. With the required documents, this SFAR allows military personnel to renew a CFI certificate that has expired while outside of the United States. The certificate must be renewed within six months after returning, or by June 20, 2010, whichever is earlier. It also allows any pilot (who meets the conditions of this SFAR) to complete a practical test on any expired written with the same time frame.

Got a question for our aviation services staff? The AOPA Pilot Information Center is is at your service. Call toll-free 800/872-2672 to speak to a specialist about any general aviation topic. Or e-mail to [email protected]. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to [email protected].

Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Update

RUNNING THE NUMBERS
Now that Sun 'n Fun has wrapped up in Lakeland, Fla., it's time to finish work on the glass instrument panel. But before we fly N208GG back to Penn Avionics in West Chester, Pa., we wanted to give an update on the numbers. How fast does it cruise? How hot are those black seats? What do the Speedpants do to the cruise speed? Find out in this week's update.

Picture Perfect

The AOPA Online Gallery allows you to download your favorite aviation images to use for wallpaper, send a personalized e-card, and order high-quality prints to be shipped directly to your doorstep. Search the hundreds of fabulous images in our archives and select your favorites today! For more details, see AOPA Online.

Weekend Weather
ePilot Calendar

UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS:
Sanford, N.C. A seminar on navigating North Carolina's military airspace takes place April 23 at Sanford-Lee County (TTA). For more information, contact Paul Wilder, 919/776-2003.

Stillwater, Okla. Air Fest 2008 takes place April 19 at Stillwater Regional (SWO). For more information, contact Gary Johnson, 405/372-7881.

Cincinnati, Ohio. Lunken Airport Days and Warbird Fly-In takes place April 26 and 27 at Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Field (LUK). For more information, contact Cheryl Popp, 513/489-2022, or visit the Web site.

Jackson, Miss. An airfest and airshow takes place April 26 at Hawkins Field (HKS). For more information, call 601/939-5631, or visit the Web site.

Galveston, Texas. The eighteenth annual Spirit of Flight Airshow takes place April 26 and 27 at Scholes International at Galveston (GLS). For more information, contact Elizabeth Smith, 409/740/7722, or visit the Web site.

To submit an event to the calendar or to search all events visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online.

FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Tampa, Fla., Cincinnati, and Boston, April 26 and 27; Pensacola, Fla., Kansas City, Mo., and Houston, May 3 and 4; and Sacramento, Calif., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Albany, N.Y., May 17 and 18. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.

AOPA AIR SAFETY FOUNDATION SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Hickory, N.C., April 19; Charlotte, N.C., April 21; Gilbertsville, Ky., and Fayetteville, N.C., April 22; West Lafayette, Ind., Worthington, Ky., and Castle Hayne, N.C., April 23; Cranford, N.J., April 24; Boise, Idaho, and Cheswick, Pa., April 28; New Cumberland, Pa., and Salt Lake City, April 29; Towson, Md., and Bethlehem, Pa., April 30; and Plymouth Meeting, Pa., May 1. The topic is "Top 5 Mistakes Pilots Make." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.


Member Tools:

Editorial Team:

  • ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller
  • Contributors: Nate Ferguson, Warren Morningstar, and Alton Marsh

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