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WHITE HOUSE 'DOESN'T GET IT' ON FAA BUDGET
"What part of 'NO!' doesn't the White House understand?" asked AOPA President Phil Boyer after reviewing the administration's proposed FAA budget for fiscal year 2009. "They just changed the dates and submitted essentially the same proposal as last year—a proposal soundly rejected by the general aviation community, the House, and the Senate. Once again, the Bush administration wants huge new taxes and user fees imposed on general aviation, and it wants to slash and burn the Airport Improvement Program (AIP)." The administration on Feb. 4 submitted its federal budget proposals for fiscal year 2009 (Oct. 1, 2008, to Sep. 30, 2009) to Congress. The Bush FAA budget would cut nearly $1 billion from what Congress had approved for AIP—a 22-percent reduction. Read more on AOPA Online.
OREGON SENATOR CRITICIZES FAA OVER USER FEES
Acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell was once again put on the spot about general aviation user fees during a Feb. 7 Senate hearing on his appointment to be administrator. Because of concerns raised by several senators about other FAA management issues, his nomination has been put on hold. Sturgell faced some strong words from Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) on the subject of FAA funding during the hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Sen. Smith reiterated his opposition to a $25-per-flight user fee on turbine aircraft. Read more on AOPA Online.
EQUIPMENT FAILURE DISRUPTS FLIGHT SERVICE
Flight service's weather briefing hotline broke down for about 20 minutes on Feb. 6, making it impossible for pilots nationwide to contact FSS through 800/WX-BRIEF. The problem occurred in the afternoon when Lockheed Martin's call director failed and its backup did not start. AOPA has been in contact with Lockheed to ensure the problem does not happen again. The association also has informed the Department of Transportation's inspector general of the issue. AOPA encourages pilots to use its flight planning tips card, which provides shortcuts through the new FSS system. Pilots should also provide reports on FSS to the FAA by calling 888/FLT-SRVC (888/358-7782).
PROTECTING GA IS AN INTERNATIONAL EFFORT
Aviation makes the world a small place, which is not always a good thing. Sometimes international rules and regulations can adversely affect general aviation in the United States. That's why there was an international GA summit on Feb. 5 at AOPA's Frederick, Md., headquarters. The meeting was between the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA) and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, based in Lausanne, Switzerland. "We agreed to continue and expand the cooperation between our two international organizations to safeguard general aviation access to airspace and airports, and to reduce the costs of flying," said AOPA President Phil Boyer, who also serves as IAOPA president. Read more on AOPA Online.
CESSNA TO BUILD LARGEST-EVER CITATION JET
Cessna Aircraft has unveiled plans to develop the Citation 850 Columbus, an eight-seat twinjet slated to fly 4,000 nautical miles at Mach 0.80, or from Munich to New York nonstop against the worst winter winds. The largest and longest-range Citation ever, the Columbus will debut two new component technologies: The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW810—first of a family of "green" turbofans—and the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system. Read more on AOPA Online.
HISTORIC GERMAN AIRPORT, FORMER U.S. AIR FORCE BASE TO CLOSE
In a situation reminiscent of Mayor Richard Daley's closure of Chicago's Meigs Field, the city government of Berlin, Germany, has moved forward with plans to close Tempelhof, the city's historic downtown airport. The airport could close as early as Oct. 31. Built in 1923 and enlarged during the 1930s under the Hitler regime, Tempelhof is best known as the terminal that saved West Berlin from a Soviet blockade during the Berlin Airlift of 1948-1949. After the blockade, Tempelhof continued to serve as a U.S. Air Force base until 1993. AOPA-Germany and a coalition of Tempelhof supporters have mobilized to help save the airport. Read more on AOPA Online.
NEVER AGAIN ONLINE: LANDING ON FUMES
Unforecast headwinds turn an instructional night flight over familiar territory into a harrowing experience for a new instructor and his student pilot. Read what went wrong in our latest installment of "Never Again Online."
ICING PRODUCTS GET BETTER WITH HELP FROM SPACE
The slippery business of assessing current and future icing conditions should be improving as scientists hone in on what is actually occurring in the atmosphere. Pilots accustomed to using supplemental weather information, such as the Current and Forecast Icing Products (CIPs and FIPs) on the Aviation Digital Data Service (ADDS) Web site, have recently seen enhancements to the products. The products are graphically assigning different levels of severity instead of straight probabilities, which made it difficult for pilots to predict how much ice they might encounter. Read more on AOPA Online.
ROBINSON SHATTERS INDUSTRY HELICOPTER RECORD
Robinson can't make enough helicopters. The Torrance, Calif., company has raised the bar once again by claiming a new industry record. In 2007, Robinson says it manufactured 823 new helicopters, the most civil helicopters ever produced in a single year by one company. It shattered its previous record of 806 set in 2005. Robinson also broke the record for production of a single helicopter model in one year with 664 four-seat R44s. It finished the year by producing 159 two-seat R22s. With strong sales projected for 2008, Robinson is working on increasing its production rate, which currently averages 18 new helicopters per week.
RED BULL AIR RACE TO GO MIDWEST
The Red Bull Air Race World Series is returning to the United States in 2008 with not one but two events planned. Look for a dozen of the world's best aerobatic pilots to tumble over San Diego on May 3 and 4. Last year an event in San Diego drew more than 50,000 spectators, not nearly as many as foreign races, but enough to help Red Bull build its reputation. In the coming weeks, Red Bull plans to announce a second U.S. stop somewhere in the Midwest. Read more on AOPA Online.
AVIATION ARTIFACT FROM 'CASABLANCA' SAVED BY AN INCH
Jim Dunn, owner of the Airtel Plaza Hotel and Conference Center at Van Nuys Airport in California was eating breakfast one day when a friend casually mentioned that the famous Hangar 2 was about to be demolished. It was the first biplane hangar constructed before the airport opened in 1928 and was seen in the movie Casablanca. Dunn succeeded in getting the façade moved to the parking lot of his hotel where it will go on display. "It will be a movie set," Dunn promised. "People will have theme parties there." He hopes to have it ready for its close-up by summer, but it could take longer. Read more on AOPA Online.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Safety & Proficiency |
UPDATED AIRSPACE COURSE MAKES A PERFECT WINTER REFRESHER
With cold temperatures and winter storms dominating the weather picture, you may not be flying as much as you'd like, but that's no reason to let your skills atrophy. Stay up to date with a completely revamped airspace primer from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Know Before You Go: Navigating Today's Airspace presents updated and expanded information using animated 3-D graphics to help you visualize and understand different types of airspace. Practical tips, interactive flight-planning exercises, and matching games reinforce learning. The course takes a little more than an hour to complete, but your progress is automatically saved so you can take a break any time. The program qualifies for the AOPA Insurance Agency's Accident Forgiveness program and FAA Wings credit.
HOW WELL DO YOU UNDERSTAND PROFICIENCY REQUIREMENTS?
Are you current to carry passengers at night? What's involved in a flight review? How often do you need to renew your medical certification? All these questions and many more are covered in Part 61 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. Put your knowledge of this section of the FARs to the test with the latest AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Quiz. Learn even more by watching the on-demand SafetyCast, Regulations: What Every Pilot Should Know . Need another challenge? Check out previous quizzes.
FLEXIBLE STANDARDS MAKE MEDICALS WIDELY AVAILABLE
Think you can't get a medical? Even if you've been denied in the past you may be able to get a special issuance medical certificate—so far, 25,000 pilots have this authorization. It's possible to get a special issuance medical for 15 disqualifying conditions listed in FAR Part 67, including diabetes and heart disease. The FAA also can tailor a medical for just about any condition, including kidney stones, glaucoma, cancer, or Parkinson's Disease. Each condition has an FAA-established procedure for periodically reevaluating the pilot's health. This flexibility means medical certification is available for a wide range of conditions, but the process can be confusing. AOPA's staff of medical certification experts can help. Just call 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672) or visit AOPA Online's medical certification section.
IMPROVE YOUR SAFETY BY LEARNING FROM OTHERS
Gain invaluable knowledge about flying safely by learning from the mistakes of others. Using your ePilot personalization preferences, like "piston single-engine" or "turbine," the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Accident Database generates a list of accidents that have been added to the database in the past 30 days. If you haven't personalized your newsletter, select your aircraft preferences from the "types of aircraft" section on the ePilot personalization page.
| Inside AOPA |
NEW MEMBERS PUSH AOPA PAST 415,000
When Bruce Yonehiro of San Francisco and Dan Maggart of Chambersburg, Ill., signed up for AOPA membership last week, they had no idea just how significant it would be. They joined within minutes of each other, making them AOPA's 415,000th and 415,001st members. Yonehiro learned to fly five years ago at Gnoss Field in nearby Novato, Calif. Maggart, meanwhile, is an active private pilot and an agronomist. Living in a rural area where farmers grow corn and beans, he uses his piloting skills to take the farmers up in the air for a new perspective. Read more on AOPA Online.
VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE PHOTO
Enthusiastic photographers entered hundreds of new images in the AOPA Pilot 2008 General Aviation Photography Contest last month. We invite you to pick your favorite from the 12 best entries selected by AOPA Pilot staff. The January winner will be announced in next week's ePilot and published in AOPA Pilot. To get your own shot at fame, submit your entries at AOPA Online. The contest ends Sept. 2. Cash prizes totaling $5,000, including a grand prize of $1,000, will be awarded.
DON'T SKIMP ON PREPURCHASE INSPECTIONS
Most people wouldn't buy a house without a professional inspection, so why buy an airplane without one? Yes, you can expect to pay several hundred dollars for a thorough prepurchase inspection on a piston single-engine airplane—more for more complex aircraft—but it's worth every penny in peace of mind and trouble saved down the road. Check out these tips before you schedule a prepurchase inspection.
GIVE YOUR VALENTINE THE GIFT OF FLIGHT
If you're looking for a unique gift to give your sweetheart this Valentine's Day, consider spending your special day high above the clouds together. Many flight schools offer discounted introductory lessons, and his-and-her flying lessons are a great way to spend a day together creating new memories. Visit AOPA Online for a list of flight schools in your area. Share your love of flying with that special someone by becoming his or her Project Pilot mentor. Or if your significant other is uneasy about flying, give the gift of cockpit confidence with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Pinch Hitter DVD.
BUYER'S MARKET: AIRCRAFT FINANCING PROGRAM LOWERS RATES
The AOPA Aircraft Financing Program has lowered interest rates in several loan segments to make aircraft ownership more affordable. AOPA Aircraft Financing can expedite your aircraft purchase—for light sport aircraft, very light jets, or any aircraft in between—with an easy application process and quick credit decision. Bank of America is the preferred lender for AOPA with 10 years of aircraft financing experience. Call 800/62-PLANE to apply for a loan and speak to one of our financing experts, or apply online. We'll even pay your AOPA membership dues on loan amounts greater than $20,000.
| 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: What are the significant differences between cold and warm fronts?
Answer: Keep in mind that warm and cold fronts are relative terms with environmental variables that make up their characteristics and impact the weather. The two frontal types will vary in speed, composition, weather phenomenon, and prediction. Cold fronts move very quickly, generally 20 to 35 mph, in comparison to warm fronts, which typically move at 10 to 25 mph. Cold fronts also possess a steeper frontal slope due to their compacted, dense air make-up. Violent weather activity is commonly associated with cold fronts, and the weather usually occurs along the fontal boundary, not in advance of it; however, squall lines can form during the warmer seasons as far as 200 miles in advance of a severe cold front. Warm fronts will bring low ceilings and poor visibility, provide warning of their approach (i.e., development of cirrus clouds overhead), and can take several days to pass through the area. More information on this subject is discussed in "The Weather Never Sleeps—Battle lines in the sky." Also read the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's WeatherWise Safety Advisor.
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 |
Send an airplane to a reputable paint shop for a new coat, and chances are they will find some flaws in the skin. Such was the case with AOPA's 2008 Get Your Glass Archer. The skilled technicians at Oxford Aviation in Oxford, Maine, found a few dents and dings that needed to be repaired prior to the application of the pearl white basecoat. Read our latest update to learn how we dealt with the flaws.
| 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 Baton Rouge, La., and Nashua, N.H., Feb. 16 and 17. Clinics are also scheduled in Sacramento, Calif., and Dallas, Feb. 23 and 24. 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 Henderson, Nev., Feb. 11; Northglenn, Colo., Feb. 12; and Colorado Springs, Colo., Feb. 13. The topic is "Top 5 Mistakes Pilots Make." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.