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AOPA ASKS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES FOR THEIR STANCE ON GA
With the Democratic and Republican national conventions just around the corner, the likely presidential nominees from both parties are making clear their political positions. But little has been said about Barack Obama and John McCain's stance on general aviation. So, AOPA has sent each candidate a questionnaire regarding issues important to GA. Read more on AOPA Online.
OREGON AVIATION SOCIETY INDUCTS BOYER
The Oregon Aviation Historical Society inducted AOPA President Phil Boyer into its Aviation Hall of Fame on Aug. 8. Both he and fellow inductee, former AOPA Northwest Region Representative Ray Costello, were characterized as "truly representing the best of those who have made a significant contribution to general aviation." The historical society's museum is located on Jim Wright Field in Cottage Grove, Ore., south of Eugene. Boyer, who was born in Portland and spent the first 20 years of his life in that area, credits his grandfather for planting the seed for "wanting to go into the third dimension," by taking him to the old Portland Airport to watch the DC-3s land and take off. Read more on AOPA Online.
MAN RESCUED IN DESERT IS AOPA MEMBER'S SON
When John Kenny of Arizona read AOPA Online's story about the Husky pilot who found a man lying face down in Nevada's Black Rock Desert on July 23, he initially didn't realize he was reading the account of his son's rescue. Kenny's family did some digging and later pieced together that the man was their family member whom they hadn't heard from for a few days. The man is currently recovering from a broken back. "He saved his life, no question about it," Kenny, an AOPA member and pilot, said of John Morgan, the AOPA member who spotted the man. Read more on AOPA Online.
JET DELIVERIES UP, PISTONS DOWN IN 2008
Jet deliveries surged 39 percent to 663 in the first half of 2008 while turboprops jumped 19 percent to 222 aircraft, but piston deliveries fell 16 percent to 1,034. The latest numbers from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association show total billings reached $12.1 billion for the first half of the year, up 24 percent from $9.8 billion during the same period last year. Piper Aircraft seems to be bucking the trend though, with an increase in its piston single sales. Read more on AOPA Online.
ADIZ TRAINING REQUIREMENT FRAUGHT WITH PROBLEMS, AOPA SAYS
Any pilot who flies VFR within 60 nautical miles of the Washington, D.C., VOR/DME must complete the FAA's one-time special awareness training online course or seminar by Feb. 9, 2009. The FAA's mandate for training stems from an effort to reduce the number of Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) incursions. "AOPA is extremely disappointed that the FAA is requiring pilots who won't be flying in the ADIZ to take the training," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "The FAA's mandate sets up an enforcement trap for pilots who aren't from the D.C. area but who will be passing through or landing within the 60-nm veil." Read more on AOPA Online.
FAA WEIGHS SPORT PILOT RULE CHANGES
With some four years of real-world experience behind it, the FAA is zeroing in on proposed changes to the sport pilot rule. In addition to the 22 proposed changes that were already announced earlier this year, AOPA wants to see the aircraft gross weight boosted beyond the current 1,320 pounds. This could allow the inclusion of a bigger group of existing production airplanes such as the Cessna 150. It would also allow room for advanced safety equipment like emergency parachutes. Read more on AOPA Online.
SMALL KNOWLEDGE TESTING CENTERS LOSE CERTIFICATION
Under a new FAA policy, roughly 120 CATS and LaserGrade testing facilities across the country have lost their knowledge test administration privileges because they gave fewer than 25 tests last year. AOPA has requested that the FAA reverse its policy and immediately reinstate the testing centers' privileges. "AOPA is very concerned that this FAA policy punishes existing testing providers and does not support the ongoing industry effort to grow the pilot population," wrote Rob Hackman, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs, to the FAA. The FAA's policy actually presents a barrier to students pursuing their pilot certificate—a barrier that would only exacerbate the current decline in new student starts. Read more on AOPA Online.
TSA'S GA SECURITY PROPOSAL GETS PRESS ATTENTION
The Aug. 11 edition of USA Today carried a story about a Transportation Security Administration effort to impose charter-like security rules on pilots flying large Part 91 aircraft. The TSA plan would affect aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds—primarily business jets and turboprops—so it does not affect the overwhelming majority of general aviation aircraft or pilots. AOPA supports reasonable security measures but will oppose any regulations that unduly restrict GA with no significant security benefit. Read more on AOPA Online.
AOPA DONATES $5,000 TO CAP FOR HELPING PILOTS
AOPA has made good on a promise to the Civil Air Patrol. AOPA on Aug. 8 donated $5,000 to CAP as a "thank you" for the group's assistance in letting pilots know about airspace challenges related to AOPA's annual Fly-In and Open House. During the first week of June, AOPA realized it had a problem. President Bush decided to go to Camp David, Md., on the same weekend of the fly-in, prompting the FAA to expand prohibited and restricted airspace over the presidential retreat. How could AOPA reach out to all pilots planning on coming and let them know about the temporary flight restriction? Read more on AOPA Online.
NTSB ISSUES PRELIMINARY REPORT ON FIRST ECLIPSE ACCIDENT
The pilot of the Eclipse 500 that ran off the runway at the Brandywine Airport in West Chester, Pa., told the NTSB he was fast and high on the approach to the relatively short, narrow runway. The accident, the first for the new model of the very light jet, caused substantial damage to the airplane, but the pilot and the only passenger, his young daughter, were not hurt. Read more about the accident on AOPA Online.
FIRST LOOK: SEAMAX LIGHT SPORT AMPHIBIAN
A little two-seat amphibian from Brazil got lots of attention at Oshkosh with its sleek lines and playful disposition. The SeaMax floats like a duck and paddles like a canoe. In a first look at the seaplane, we take it around Lake Winnebago to see if it's really as fun as it looks and we search for Jimmy Buffett. So far 89 of these seaplanes are flying throughout the world. Read more on AOPA Online.
ECLIPSE PROMISES CUSTOMER REFUNDS WITH INTEREST
While it has suspended refund payments to customers who canceled Eclipse 500 orders after the recent price hike, Eclipse Aviation officials say they plan to fully pay the refunds with interest once the next round of funding closes before the end of the year. The company notified position holders just before EAA AirVenture in July that it was temporarily suspending refund payments as a means of conserving cash. Read more on AOPA Online.
THIELERT OWNERS NOW CREDITORS
The Louisville, Ky.-based Thielert Engine Owner's Group (THENOG) has been named to the creditor committee charged with sorting out bankrupt Thielert Aircraft Engines' financial affairs. This will boost THENOG's muscle in trying to eliminate "multiple unnecessary ADs issued by Thielert...and improve support and upgrade options for Thielert-powered aircraft," the group said. THENOG board member Dr. Todd House, president of YourJet LLC—an air taxi company that operates a TAE-powered Diamond Twin Star—said, "Through our advocacy on the creditor's committee and our legal standing with the German insolvency court, we can accelerate the process of bringing relief to owners of aircraft using Thielert engines."
FAA SEES BENEFIT IN SPECIAL TRAINING FOR ROBINSON COPTERS
The FAA wants to continue to require special flight training for Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters. In 1995 the agency put in place a special federal aviation regulation (SFAR) to address the unique aerodynamic and design features of the helicopters. There had been more fatal accidents due to "main rotor/airframe contact than other piston-powered helicopters." There have been no such accidents over the past few years. The FAA has been extending the SFAR in five-year increments. Now it is proposing to modify the expiration date so that it says "until further notice." The last extension of the SFAR was in March 2008.
'NEVER AGAIN' STORIES NOW AVAILABLE AS PODCASTS
The "Never Again" department has consistently been one of the most popular features of AOPA Pilot magazine. Now we are proud to begin offering your favorites in podcast form. Listen to them on the Web or take them with you.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Safety & Proficiency |
ALL HAIL BREAKS LOOSE ON FINAL
Blinding rain, gale-force gusts, damaging hail, and intense downdrafts proved disastrous for the pilot of a Piper PA-34-200T Seneca when he attempted a go-around in a thunderstorm on Aug. 2, 2003, in Galion, Ohio. Read about the horrific in-flight conditions and the pilot's actions in this special report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
TAKE YOUR TIME WHEN GOING FROM SEA TO SKY
If your taste for adventure extends from under the water to high above it, take extra care to avoid decompression sickness, commonly called the bends. Scuba divers are familiar with the idea that breathing compressed air at high pressure can allow nitrogen to build up in tissues during a dive. If you rise to the surface too quickly, that nitrogen can be released into the bloodstream as bubbles, causing severe pain and even death. The potential for disaster is aggravated if you fly after diving because the lower air pressure at altitude can also allow the sudden release of nitrogen bubbles into the blood. Read more on AOPA Online.
FSS TIP OF THE WEEK: CLOSING YOUR FLIGHT PLAN IN THE AIR
Sometimes the best intentions are forgotten in the excitement of the moment. Although most pilots plan to close their flight plans once they are on the ground, occasionally they forget. As an alternative, you can close your VFR flight plan in the air when you have the airport in sight and are confident the landing is assured. Not sure how? If you have time to look at your chart, find the nearest VOR box and use the frequency designated with an "R." You can talk to FSS on that frequency and listen on the VOR. You can also reach flight service on 122.2 MHz in most parts of the country. Find out more by taking Air Safety Foundation's A Pilot's Guide to Flight Service minicourse.
BIG SKY—LITTLE AIRPLANES
A Cessna 172 and Cirrus SR22 recently collided midair in VFR conditions near Rock Springs, Wyo. Midair collisions are rare; only six occurred in 2006 and 10 in 2005 according to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Nall Report. Bruce Landsberg, the foundation's executive director, discusses some of the lessons that can be learned from this accident in his latest blog update.
| Inside AOPA |
'BOYS AND PLANES' WINNER IN JULY 'AOPA PILOT' PHOTO CONTEST
"Our boys love aviation and flying in small airplanes," said Brian Hash. "My wife Denise took this picture of Nolan, 6, and CJ, 4, at a park-n-ride at the south end of the Auburn Municipal Airport in Auburn, Wash." Nolan started flying in airplanes when he was five weeks old, and CJ says he will be a pilot when he gets bigger. Join the contest for a chance at cash prizes and to be published in AOPA Pilot. Only 18 days remain before the contest ends Sept. 2. Go online to see the 2008 monthly contest winners and click on "2007 winners" to view last years' grand finale and a slideshow of honorable mentions.
TFR TROUBLE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
When a Blackhawk helicopter or F-16 is off your wing, the last thing you're thinking about is what the FAA is going to do once you get on the ground. That thought won't likely cross your mind until you're safe on the ground and have stopped shaking. Then reality sets in, and you realize that you violated a temporary flight restriction. The FAA will be asking for your certificate. So what do you do? Find out on AOPA Online.
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| Airport Support Network |
MAKE A DIFFERENCE: JOIN THE AIRPORT SUPPORT NETWORK TODAY
AOPA Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers receive special treatment for the vital role they play in protecting their home airports. During major events, like Sun 'n Fun, Oshkosh, and AOPA Expo, the volunteers are treated to a special breakfast meeting in which they can meet one another, share ideas for promoting their airports, and work hand in hand with AOPA staff on larger projects. AOPA President Phil Boyer, who started the ASN 10 years ago, recently told a group of volunteers at Oshkosh, "Airports are at risk now more than ever, and the importance of the program has never been greater. ASN volunteers serve as an early warning system for airport issues, which is invaluable in helping AOPA protect community airports."
Nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer, and learn more about the Airport Support Network.
| 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 was reading through a pilot report (pirep) that was labeled "UUA," instead of the usual "UA." What is the difference?
Answer: UA or UUA indicates the type of message. A message will be coded as UA for a routine pirep. It will be coded as UUA when the information is considered urgent. Information is considered urgent when a pirep contains any of the following weather phenomena: tornadoes, funnel clouds, or waterspouts; severe or extreme turbulence, including clear air turbulence; severe icing; hail; volcanic ash; low-level wind shear (pilot reports airspeed fluctuations of 10 knots or more within 2,000 feet of the surface); or any other weather phenomena reported that are considered by the controller to be hazardous, or potentially hazardous, to flight operations. Interested in learning more about pireps? Take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation' s SkySpotter online course.
Got a question for our aviation services staff? The AOPA Pilot Information Center is a service available to all members as part of the annual dues. Call 800/872-2672, or e-mail to [email protected]. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to [email protected].
| Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Update |
FLYING THE ASPEN AVIONICS EFD1000 PFD
If we were developing a list of frequently asked questions related to this year's Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer, the list would begin with one related to flying the Aspen Avionics EFD1000 primary flight display. Being such a new display, there aren't that many pireps on what's it's like to fly the PFD. See this week's update to learn the ins and outs of this new unit.
| Aviation Events & Weather |
Looking for something to do this weekend? Want to plan an aviation getaway? See our online calendar of events. We've enhanced our calendar so that with one click, you can see all of the events listed in the calendar regions you selected when personalizing ePilot. Now you can browse events listed two weeks to a few months out to make your planning easier. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.
FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Reno, Nev., and Allentown, Pa., Aug. 16 and 17; and in Phoenix, Ariz., and Sacramento, Calif., Sept. 6 and 7. 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 Wichita, Kan.; Ypsilanti, Mich.; and Germantown, Tenn., on Sept. 8. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.