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HOW YOU CAN IMPROVE GA'S PUBLIC IMAGE
On the Monday before Super Bowl XLII, AOPA President Phil Boyer found himself in the association's television studio, defending GA security. This was after a Phoenix TV reporter did another one of those "exposés" at five area GA airports. Complicating Boyer's job was the fact that the reporter found three unlocked aircraft. "Beyond the crucial role for general aviation security of Airport Watch's 'lock up, look out' message, public perception is vitally important," said Boyer. "I can't compete with pictures of a reporter walking up to your plane and opening an unlocked door. In the court of public opinion, we lose that argument every time." Read more on AOPA Online.
NEW SECURITY COURSE EN ROUTE TO FLIGHT SCHOOLS, FBOs
Thousands of flight schools, FBOs, airport managers, and AOPA Airport Support Network volunteers are now receiving important general aviation security information in the mail. It's part of an effort by AOPA, in partnership with the Transportation Security Administration, to give airport personnel tools for dealing with suspicious activity. The packets contain a new interactive course, General Aviation Security , on CD. Read more on AOPA Online.
USER FEES STILL UNDER SENATE CONSIDERATION
While the FAA funding issue took a holiday break along with Congress, now that the Senate is back in session, user fees are once again on the table. That's because the Senate has yet to reconcile its two versions of an FAA funding bill; the "tax bill" (S.2345) from the Finance Committee, and the "authorization bill" (S.1300) out of the Commerce Committee. AOPA and the general aviation community are adamantly opposed to the $25-per-flight user fee on turbine aircraft in S.1300. Read more on AOPA Online.
AOPA MEMBER GETS $26,000 TAX BILL FROM MAINE
In a disappointing setback last week in AOPA's fight to protect out-of-state aircraft owners from Maine's unfair tax policy, senior state officials failed to rescind onerous tax bills. This despite encouraging discussions AOPA staff had with officials at the state capitol last week. Now the association is working with AOPA member Steve Kahn of Boston who filed a notice of appeal in court last week regarding a $26,000 bill he received in the mail in May. Kahn, who frequently flies his Cirrus SR22 to his summer home in the state, is being charged because of flights he made in 2002 and 2003. Read about Kahn's high-dollar surprise and AOPA's efforts to prevent this from happening in the future.
FOUNDATION REACHES OUT TO PILOTS AFTER CORONA MIDAIR
In the wake of a midair collision in Corona, Calif., which killed four people in the air and one person on the ground, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation is reaching out to Southern California pilots, stressing that collision avoidance procedures must be considered on every flight. The Jan. 20 accident involving a Cessna 172 and a Cessna 150 occurred near Corona Municipal Airport. "Despite the catastrophe here, midair collisions are rare," AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg told California pilots via a video address during one of the Foundation's safety seminars. Read more on AOPA Online.
AOPA WANTS YOUR INPUT ON ELECTRONIC ADs, SAIBs
The FAA is planning to transition from paper to electronic distribution of airworthiness directives (ADs) and special airworthiness information bulletins (SAIBs). The electronic documents are free, and the agency has already asked pilots to voluntarily sign up to receive these notices. AOPA wants to know if pilots are ready to make the switch. Take our short survey to let us know what you think of the proposed transition. "We'll present the findings to the FAA to make sure pilots' needs and concerns are addressed during this process," said Rob Hackman, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs.
AOPA SEEKS LOWER ALTITUDE GPS ROUTES IN WEST
AOPA recently asked members if they need lower minimum en route altitudes (MEAs) on segments of Victor routes they fly, and they responded, with many saying routes are needed in the Pacific Northwest and in the Southwest. Now AOPA has prepared a formal letter of recommendation asking the FAA to honor those requests. In its Jan. 31 letter, AOPA praised the FAA's efforts to establish GPS MEAs for Victor airways in the Northeast and asked the agency to turn its attention to member-requested routes in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona. Read more on AOPA Online.
UNMANNED MILITARY AIRCRAFT TO OPERATE UNDER ADVISORY NOTAM
The FAA's decision to issue an advisory notam, rather than flight restrictions, for unmanned military aircraft operations near Cherry Point, N.C., should be a model for managing traffic near unmanned aerial flights, AOPA says. "It is encouraging that the FAA balanced the needs of civil aviation with those of the military by making this an advisory notam," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "This needs to be the template for other locations where unmanned aircraft are used." See AOPA Online for specific operations at Cherry Point.
FAA FINALIZES SAFETY RULES FOR MU-2B OPERATORS
The FAA has finalized safety rules for the Mitsubishi MU-2B twin turboprop airplane, creating new pilot training, experience, and operating requirements. The good news is that AOPA and the industry got most of what they wanted after the FAA decided to favor training issues over airworthiness action. The final special federal aviation regulation (SFAR) mandates a comprehensive and standardized pilot training program, the use of a standardized checklist, and a working autopilot on board except in certain circumstances. Read more on AOPA Online.
VFR NIGHT FLIGHT ENDS IN CFIT
VFR flight on a dark night over sparsely populated areas can quickly become a challenge, even for a skilled pilot following a familiar route. On the night of Jan. 17, 2006, the pilot of a Cessna 182P was killed when he flew into a hill near Big Pine, Calif. The noninstrument-rated pilot had accumulated more than 6,500 hours of flight time, with thousands of those hours reportedly accrued near the accident scene. Read what went wrong in this special report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
DELIVERIES BEGIN FOR QUEST KODIAK
Quest Kodiak made two customer deliveries of the tough backcountry Kodiak single-engine turboprop in one week following a longer-than-expected effort to bring the FAA-certified aircraft to market. More than 100 are on order. First requested by missionary groups, the aircraft has caught the eye of charter and cargo carriers that don't necessarily need to pick their way through trees toward unimproved mountain airstrips. Read more on AOPA Online.
'GLASS' TBM 850 MAKES U.S. DEBUT
EADS Socata has delivered its first two TBM 850 turboprops to be equipped with the Garmin G1000 electronic flight information system. Socata claims more than 60 orders for the $3 million, Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66D-powered aircraft, which offers a maximum cruise speed of 320 knots at 26,000 feet. Read more on AOPA Online.
AIR TAXI HOPEFULS GATHER IN FLORIDA
About 100 people interested in using the new breed of very light jets for on-demand charter service met in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., last week for the first formal gathering of the International Air Taxi Association. Attendees were treated to individual presentations and panel discussions covering various aspects of this emerging market niche, from potential business models and operational details to insurance considerations and FAA Part 135 certification strategies. Read more on AOPA Online.
EARN REWARDS FOR LANDING AT VIRGINIA AIRPORTS
Tired of making the same $100 hamburger trips each weekend? Pilots who fly in Virginia can earn rewards for trying new destinations around the commonwealth as part of the Virginia Aviation Ambassadors Program. To promote general aviation, the Virginia Department of Aviation rewards pilots who fly to all 66 public-use airports, attend safety seminars and fly-ins, and visit the state's aviation museums. AOPA member Tom Mahoney has completed the program, earning a leather flight jacket and enjoying a year's worth of weekend adventures. "As pilots we always practice the same approaches at the same airports, but this gave me experience landing in many different environments," Mahoney said. Read more on AOPA Online.
THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA
Pilots, here is a reminder to check all parts of an aircraft prior to takeoff. On a cool January evening at Fort Lauderdale Executive airport in Florida, an iguana found a warm, dark hangar in which to hide, but early the next morning the Ashbritt company needed its Piper Chieftain. Where to hide? Pilot Steve Shoemaker of Fort Lauderdale found the iguana trying not to be noticed on the nose gear and called Bruce Woodrell of the nearby Banyan Air Service to take this picture. The iguana continued to pose until linemen pushed it out of the hangar with a broom. What other strange sightings have pilots reported in or on their aircraft? Read "Critters on Planes," based on feedback from an ePilot survey
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Safety & Proficiency |
NTSB SAFETY ALERT WARNS PILOTS OF NIGHTTIME CFIT ACCIDENTS
The NTSB on Jan. 24 issued a safety alert about a series of controlled flight into terrain accidents that occurred in nighttime visual meteorological conditions. The pilots were flying in mountainous terrain, and in many cases, were in contact with air traffic control. Better preflight planning could have prevented the accidents, according to the NTSB. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Terrain Avoidance Plan Safety Brief discusses preflight planning tips. More tips about flying in such conditions are offered in the Foundation's Night Flying VFR Hotspot and Mountain Flying online course.
GET PILOT PERSPECTIVES WITH ONLINE FORUMS
Only another pilot knows how it feels to cope with an emergency thousands of feet above the ground. And only another pilot knows the dilemma of choosing the perfect airplane, the challenge of planning the perfect flight, or the struggle to make the perfect crosswind landing. No wonder there are times when only another pilot's perspective will do. When you are looking for advice, insight, or support from fellow pilots, look no further than the AOPA Online Forums. With a dozen categories, including international flying, medical matters, mechanics bench, and aircraft and ownership, the AOPA Online Forums are the perfect place to discuss aviation issues with fellow AOPA members.
| Inside AOPA |
CATCH-A-CARDINAL OWNER TALKS ABOUT HIS NEW WINGS
If you missed our Jan. 26 announcement, AOPA's 2007 Catch-A-Cardinal Sweepstakes airplane has found its new owner—Bruce Chase of Longview, Texas. Chase is the assistant chief flight instructor and an assistant professor at LeTourneau University. You can watch a short video of Chase talking to Texas news media about winning the aircraft and a clip of AOPA President Phil Boyer interviewing him about his flying background.
FLYING CLUBS KEEP COSTS UNDER CONTROL
Everyone is looking for ways to make flying more affordable, and flying clubs can be a great option for enjoying the benefits of aircraft ownership without shouldering all of the expense. Whether you are considering joining an existing club or starting one of your own, AOPA's Pilot Information Center has the resources to help. Visit the Flying Clubs section of AOPA Online to learn about choosing and financing an aircraft, taxes, and insurance considerations for flying clubs. You'll also learn how to get started, handle aircraft scheduling and maintenance, and establish club rules.
| 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: When did the FAA start utilizing the various airplane airworthiness standard categories?
Answer: The effective date was Nov. 13, 1945, enacted by the then current Part 3 of the U.S. Civil Aviation Regulations. The airworthiness categories—normal, utility, and aerobatic—were determined based upon factors such as strength, operation, and serviceability. Normal category airplanes were intended for nonaerobatic, nonscheduled passenger, and cargo operations. Utility category airplanes were permitted to operate under limited aerobatic maneuvers such as steep turns, stalls, lazy eights, and chandelles (excluding snap and inverted maneuvers). Aerobatic category airplanes did not have any specific operational restrictions unless disclosed by any required flight tests. The appropriate category suffix (i.e., N for normal) is listed on the airworthiness certificate. Not much has changed today based upon the now current FAR 23.3 "Airplane Categories."
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 |
GET YOUR GLASS PAINT SCHEME SELECTED
The votes are in and have been tallied. The margin was close, but we have a winning color for AOPA's 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer. View the winning choice on AOPA Online. In this update, we also explore the process that got us to this point and what aircraft owners can expect when getting their airplane repainted. In short, it takes an expert touch and a shop with the know-how and care to produce a great paint job.
| 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 |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Jeppesen. |
| ePilot Calendar |
UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS:
Casa Grande, Ariz. The Fifth Annual Arizona Flying Circus takes place Feb. 8 through 10 at the Francisco Grande Resort. For more information, visit the Web site.
River Ranch, Fla. Lakeathon 2008 takes place Feb. 10 through 14 at River Ranch Resort (2RR). Contact Marc Rodstein, 561/483-6566, 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 Melbourne, Fla., Louisville, Ky., Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, and Reston, Va., Feb. 9 and 10. 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 Little Rock, Ark., and Ocala, Fla., Feb. 4; Fayetteville, Ark., Tampa, Fla., and Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 5; Melbourne, Fla., and Oklahoma City, Feb. 6; and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Wichita, Kan., and Germantown, Tenn., Feb. 7. The topic is "Top 5 Mistakes Pilots Make." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.