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AOPA CALLS ON FAA TO BROADEN SUPPORT FOR GA
The FAA needs to show even greater support for general aviation than what is in a key short-term strategic planning document known as the FAA Flight Plan. That is the message in a letter from AOPA President Phil Boyer to FAA Acting Administrator Robert Sturgell. "AOPA believes the agency needs to put a special emphasis on preserving and improving America's general aviation airports, increasing all-weather access to those airports, and finding an unleaded alternative to today's low-lead aviation gasoline," said Boyer. Read more on AOPA Online.
FAA INTENDS TO REDUCE VOR NETWORK SOON
The FAA has confirmed to AOPA that it is making plans to reduce the network of VORs across the country, beginning in 2010. However, AOPA members are not quite convinced that a widespread VOR reduction is acceptable. Survey information shows that only about half of AOPA members believe a significant number of VORs can be eliminated without affecting their flight operations. "Clearly this marks a big step forward in pilot acceptance of GPS and reduced reliance on VORs, but members are still saying 'not yet,'" said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. Read more on AOPA Online.
TSA CHIEF ACKNOWLEDGES GA INDUSTRY IS SECURITY CONSCIOUS
During an aviation security hearing last month before the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on aviation, Transportation Security Administration chief Kip Hawley said that there is a strong general aviation community that is security conscious and is cognizant of its security responsibilities. Airport Watch, the AOPA/TSA initiative, encourages GA pilots to "Lock Up. Look Out." Pilots voluntarily lock their aircraft and hangars and report any suspicious activity or persons at their airport. "Hawley's comment that the GA community is security conscious is a tremendous compliment to all of the pilots who follow the Airport Watch Program," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "Our industry-wide concerted effort is paying off. Continue to lock up and look out!"
A FUEL-SAVING MESSAGE FROM YOUR ASI
The airspeed indicator (ASI) can tell you a great deal about how to fly more efficiently, but few pilots know how to decode its drag-reducing, fuel-saving, and range-extending message. According to Jack Norris, an aerospace engineer and technical director for the 1986 Voyager around-the-world flight, a simple, mechanical ASI (and an understanding of the aerodynamic drag chart and an airplane’s best rate of climb speed) is all we need to maximize speed vs. drag. Minimizing drag is the key to reducing fuel burn and extending range. Read more on AOPA Online.
DRIFTING ON COURSE: THE BIG DAY
Jeremy King had built 700 hours as a private pilot flying at a grass strip in Georgia, but his ultimate goal was to become an airline pilot. Thanks to some prodding from his girlfriend, King took the plunge. Read about his adventure in this first installment of a six-part series.
TEENS HELP BUILD A PLANE IN TWO WEEKS
Four teenagers likely have a summer break story that will trump all of their friends' vacation experiences. They helped build an airplane in only two weeks. The teens participated in a Build A Plane project from Aug. 11 through 24, assembling a Sportsman 2+2 at the Glasair factory in Arlington, Wash. Each student worked with a Glasair employee to build the plane through the company's Two Weeks To Taxi program. Only the composite fuselage had been fused together in advance. The teens installed safety wiring, riveted the wings, fabricated the elevator and rudder trim tabs, mounted the engine, and installed the instrument panel. They showed their aptitude early in the program, according to Build A Plane Executive Director Katrina Bradshaw: "The wonderful (and) helpful staff from Glasair all agree-the kids are making better progress than the adult customers!"
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Safety & Proficiency |
NEW MINICOURSE RE-CREATES ACTUAL VFR-INTO-IMC ACCIDENT
Low ceilings and reduced visibility kill more pilots every year than all other weather phenomena combined. That's why the AOPA Air Safety Foundation chose this topic for the debut installment of a dramatic new minicourse series. Accident Case Study: VFR Into IMC uses Microsoft Flight Simulator, professional narration, and actual ATC audio from the day of the accident to re-create events leading up to a fatal 2006 crash near Heber City, Utah. Once the cautionary tale is complete, the cause of the crash is thoroughly examined. By highlighting the many opportunities the pilot had to reverse his fate, the goal is to help others avoid sharing it. The minicourse runs 20 to 30 minutes. The lessons learned last a lifetime.
ACCIDENT LEADS TO CHANGE REMOVING COLOR VISION RESTRICTION
In 2002, a FedEx Boeing 727 crashed into trees on approach to Tallahassee, Fla., resulting in the loss of the aircraft and serious injuries to the three crewmembers. The NTSB investigation determined that the first officer's color vision deficiency was one of several causal factors. As an outcome of that investigation and a subsequent safety recommendation, the FAA has modified its procedures for removing the operational restrictions for color vision deficiency. The new procedures vary depending upon the class of medical applied for or held. Learn about the new procedures on AOPA Online.
GIVE YOUR MEDICAL CERTIFICATE KNOWLEDGE A CHECKUP
Many people dread a visit to the doctor, but as a pilot, knowing your medical condition is a must. And with recent changes to the duration of some medical certificates, it's a good idea to brush up your knowledge of aviation medical certification. Can a family physician issue your medical certificate? Which allergy medications are you allowed to take? What happens if a pilot is cited for DUI? Give your medical certificate awareness a thorough checkup with the latest Safety Quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Then keep your brain healthy with a liberal dose of the foundation's previous quizzes.
FSS TIP OF THE WEEK: FILE MULTIPLE FLIGHT PLANS
Planning a long cross-country during the Labor Day weekend? Consider filing multiple VFR flight plans—one for each leg of your flight. Filing shorter flight plans gives you an advantage in receiving search-and-rescue (SAR) services should you have an accident or emergency. Flight service contractor Lockheed Martin points out that if your flight plan has a three-hour duration, SAR would begin after three-and-a-half hours. If your flight plan includes the entire trip, with multiple stops, and is active for six-and-a-half hours, SAR wouldn't start for seven hours. Then searchers would have to cover the entire route. For more tips, take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's A Pilot's Guide to Flight Service minicourse.
THUNDERSTORMS AND ATC
The NTSB recently issued a safety alert about IFR flights and thunderstorms. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation worked with the FAA, air traffic controllers, and the National Weather Service to produce the Weather Wise: Thunderstorm and ATC online course in an effort to reduce the number of accidents involving IFR flights that tangled with thunderstorms. The statistics are faring better, but there's more that pilots can learn. Read more in AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg's latest blog entry.
| Inside AOPA |
VREF—A VALUABLE RESOURCE WHEN BUYING OR SELLING AIRCRAFT
Whether you're ready to sell your aircraft or are combing the classifieds for a good deal on a used aircraft, you need to do some homework so that you know the approximate value of the aircraft. AOPA's Aircraft Valuation Service, called Vref, is the perfect place to start. Simply select the type of aircraft, year, model, equipment options, and aircraft condition. The service will generate a wholesale value that you can use as a gauge. If you're not sure whether aircraft ownership is for you, check out " Realize the Dream" in the September 2008 issue of AOPA Pilot.
PIC SPECIALISTS: THERE ISN'T A QUESTION THEY CAN'T ANSWER
The specialists in AOPA's Pilot Information Center have diverse aviation experience, and they go through a rigorous AOPA training course before being let loose to answer your questions. With their experience and training, they can find an answer to practically any question. For example, specialist Daryl Governale has flown more than 2,600 hours in 45 different makes and models of aircraft. He's an FAA designated examiner and has, among other privileges, his single and multiengine seaplane ratings. Daryl has worked in the charter, corporate, instructor, and survey segments of aviation and said he prefers "airplanes with pistons and pushrods rather than turbine planes." If you have a question about airman certification or flight instructor refresher clinics, you'll likely talk to Daryl. Feel confident when you call 800/USA-AOPA, knowing that you'll talk to an experienced pilot.
CFIs: PROTECT YOURSELF-AND YOUR LIVELIHOOD
Flight instructors can be held liable for their students' incidents, even if the CFI was not on board the aircraft at the time. When shopping for aviation coverage, look for a policy that is designed to meet the unique needs of CFIs. See AOPA's checklist of items to look for when shopping for coverage.
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| 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: It is true that some airports are changing from a 24-hour TAF to a 30-hour TAF?
Answer: Yes, starting Nov. 5, 32 large airports will be changing to a 30-hour TAF (terminal aerodrome forecast) in order to meet ICAO weather formatting standards. All other airports that provide a TAF will continue to cover a 24-hour forecast period. Read this AOPA Pilot article to see a list of which airports are changing to the 30-hour TAF.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to email@example.com.
| Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Update |
THERE'S MORE TO GLASS THAN PFDS
With all the focus of this year's Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer centered on the panel and its new Aspen Avionics EFD1000 primary flight display, we haven't spent much time talking about multifunction displays (MFDs). But today's true glass cockpit airplanes must have an MFD, and there are many options. Learn more in this week's sweepstakes update.
| 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.
To submit an event or to search all events in the calendar 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 Phoenix, Ariz., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Sacramento, Calif., Sept. 6 and 7; in Richmond, Va., Sept. 13 and 14; and in Baltimore, Md., and Seattle, Wash., Sept. 20 and 21. 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.