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AOPA WANTS RUNWAY SAFETY TO BE A 'NATIONAL PRIORITY'
Runway safety took center stage on Feb. 13 as Congress asked industry leaders and government officials to address the increasing number of runway incursions. AOPA President Phil Boyer testified at the hearing before the House aviation subcommittee and called on the FAA to make runway safety a national priority. Shortly before the hearing, the FAA recommended that all pilots at Part 121 air carriers take the Commercial Runway Safety course, created by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation in conjunction with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). But many airlines are now requiring that their pilots take the course. The original course, General Aviation Runway Safety , was launched in 2003 and was so well received that the FAA and ALPA later asked the foundation for a commercial pilot version. Read more on AOPA Online.
CONGRESS TEMPORARILY EXTENDS FAA FUNDING
The House of Representatives and Senate passed yet another extension on aviation taxes and the FAA's budget this week. But the extension does not resolve the FAA funding issue; it just pushes the next day of reckoning to June 30. "We cannot take the necessary steps to improve our aviation system while we limp along on temporary extension bills," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. The House passed its FAA funding bill (H.R.2881) in September. But the Senate has yet to resolve differences between its two funding bills—S.1300, which includes a $25-per-flight user fee, and S.2345, which has no user fees. "We need the Senate to pass a permanent FAA funding bill, without user fees, so that we can move to the future," Boyer said. Read more on AOPA Online.
GA DELIVERIES BROKE RECORDS IN 2007
Strong worldwide demand for aircraft—business jets and turboprops in particular—pushed general aviation industry billings to a record high of nearly $22 billion in 2007, a 16.5-percent increase over the previous year. According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), global shipments of GA aircraft totaled 4,272 units in 2007, compared with 4,053 deliveries in 2006. Business jet shipments reached an all-time high, surpassing 1,000 units for the first time. Piston airplane deliveries dropped by 2.9 percent in 2007, "but still posted the second-best year in over two decades," GAMA said. Read more on AOPA Online.
FAA COMMITS TO MAINTAINING DUAT SYSTEM
Pilots who rely on electronic sources for weather and briefing information can rest easy—DUAT will be around for at least five more years. The FAA has announced plans to initiate a five-year contract for the continuation of DUAT services. That's good news for pilots because for the past few years the FAA has only renewed the existing DUAT contract for six- to nine-month periods, leaving the long-term future of the system in doubt. Read more on AOPA Online.
CANADA'S ELT MANDATE SPARKS CONCERN AMONG U.S. PILOTS
As of Feb. 1, 2009, satellites will stop monitoring 121.5 MHz, one of the emergency frequencies for ELTs. This has sparked concern in the aviation industry and has caused Transport Canada to propose a rule requiring aircraft flying in Canada to be equipped with a 406-MHz ELT. The FAA has not given AOPA any indication that it will mandate a switch to the 406-MHz ELT. "The FAA has the right approach—let pilots equip their aircraft with the ELT that best meets their flying needs," said Rob Hackman, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs, noting that air traffic control, the military, and pilots will still monitor 121.5 MHz. "AOPA will propose options to Transport Canada to allow U.S.-registered aircraft flying in Canada to be exempt from the rule." Read more on AOPA Online.
NEW PARK TURNS AIRPORT INTO COMMUNITY HANGOUT
Remember the days when you could take the family to the airport for a picnic on a sunny afternoon? The kids could play in the grass while you watched airplanes take off and land. Well, the long-lost romantic days of aviation that attracted the community to the local airfield are back, at least for one airport. Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg, Fla., celebrated the grand opening of Albert Whitted Park on Feb. 10. Clear skies and balmy temperatures drew families to the event; eager children jumped at the opportunity to test-fly the new aviation-themed park, unaware that just five years ago, the airport was threatened with closure. Read more on AOPA Online.
ROBINSON HELICOPTER CAUGHT IN SCHOOL CLOSURE
There are more than 15 helicopters waiting in hangars at Robinson Helicopter with no place to go following the closure of North Las Vegas-based Silver State Helicopters. The failed company at one time had more than 30 schools in 15 states involving 2,500 students. AOPA's Pilot Information Center has received 34 calls from students; most of them had signed $69,900 contracts to receive private-instrument through flight instructor certificates, external load proficiency training, and a turbine transition course. Read more on AOPA Online.
ADAM AIRCRAFT SUSPENDS OPERATIONS, FATE OF COMPANY UNCERTAIN
Adam Aircraft Industries was expected to tell its 800 employees and creditors on Feb. 14 whether the company plans to permanently close its doors. "We're still waiting to hear," said Shelly Simi, an Adam spokeswoman. The announcement had not been made as of ePilot deadline. The company, based at Centennial Airport in Denver, suspended operations on Feb. 11 after failing to secure up to $150 million in long-term financial commitments. Adam claimed a backlog of 400 orders for its two aircraft models, the A500 piston twin and the A700 jet. See AOPA Online for the latest update on the fate of the company.
HYPOXIA, POOR PLANNING A DEADLY COMBINATION
Investigate any aviation accident, and you'll almost always find a series of events leading to it. On Jan. 23, 2003, a pilot's series of bad decisions—improper preflight planning, poor fuel management, and failure to use supplemental oxygen—led to a fatal accident in Utah. Take note of the pilot's flaws in judgment as you read this special report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
BIRDS KEY TO CREATING THE ULTIMATE FLYING MACHINE
Man has long studied the ease with which birds fly through the air in hopes of being able to attain the same freedom. Just as Leonardo da Vinci did centuries ago, Wei Shyy, chair of the University of Michigan's Aerospace Engineering Department, and a group of professors from around the world are looking to our winged friends in hopes of unlocking the key to creating the ultimate flapping-wing flying machine. Read more on AOPA Online and watch a short multimedia presentation from the University of Michigan that showcases Shyy's dramatic photos of these amazing creatures in flight.
POPULAR VIRGINIA AVIATION PROGRAM FACES CUTBACKS
Because of a decrease in revenue from the state aviation fuel tax and sales and use tax, the Virginia Department of Aviation announced Feb. 8 that it will make temporary cutbacks in its Aviation Ambassador Program. As AOPA ePilot reported Feb. 1, the program encourages pilots to fly to all 66 public-use airports, attend safety seminars and fly-ins, and visit the state's aviation museums. Pilots who completed the program got a leather flight jacket. The department will temporarily stop awarding the jackets, but pilots can still complete the program and receive a certificate of recognition. The state will save the records and, when more funds are available, award the jackets retroactively. Since the program's inception in 2005, 137 participants have completed it.
AVIATION PIONEER FRANK PIASECKI DIES
Frank Piasecki, a pioneer helicopter designer and AOPA charter member (AOPA 60631), died Feb. 11 at his home in Havertown, Pa. He was 89. Piasecki joined AOPA in 1949. He formed his own company and developed the tandem-rotor helicopter configuration in 1945. Read more on AOPA Online.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Safety & Proficiency |
SPRING FLYING PRIMER
Spring is in the air. Well, maybe not quite yet, but it's definitely coming, and you'll want to be ready to take to the skies on that first perfect day. You can make that first flight go smoothly by spending the last gray days of winter hitting the books. So don't wait until the last minute. Follow our checklist to get current to carry passengers, complete your flight review, or refresh your knowledge of your aircraft's performance figures and systems.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK FOR A GREAT MEDICAL EXAM
When it comes to getting an aviation medical exam, a little research and preparation can ensure a positive experience—especially if you have a complex case that may require a special issuance. Read these tips from AOPA's medical experts on how to pick an aviation medical examiner who will go the extra mile to get you a medical certificate and what you can do to help your case. What you learn could mean the difference between getting your medical and having it deferred.
| Inside AOPA |
CHAMP IN THE SNOW WINS JANUARY PHOTO OF THE MONTH
This Aeronca Champ on skis is calling it a day after frolicking in the snow at Millers Field in Newburgh, Maine. John Miller, owner of the private-use 2,400-foot grass strip, picked a perfect opportunity to snap the Champ as Allan Tubbs taxied it toward the hangar for the evening. Go online to see a full-size version of the photograph, view photos of the runners-up, and to find out how you can enter the competition. Submit your own general aviation snapshots online for a chance to win in the AOPA Pilot 2008 General Aviation Photography Contest, which runs through Sept. 2.
POLICE SERGEANT SHARES GIFT OF FLIGHT, WINS $1,000
When 18-year-old Matthew Thomas was invited to take a ride with police Sgt. James Blair, it wasn't in the back of a police cruiser—it was in Blair's Piper Cherokee 160. Thomas, a friend of Blair's teenage daughter, enjoyed the flight so much that he went back for several more, and Blair became his AOPA Project Pilot mentor. Now Blair is being rewarded for sharing the joy of flight as the winner of the final fourth quarter random drawing for a $1,000 gift card to be used for aviation-related expenses. Read more on AOPA Online.
| 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: Is there a classification listing of cloud types?
Answer: Yes. There are eight different cloud classifications based upon their outward appearance and composition: cumulus, stratus, cirrus, castellanus, lenticularus, nimbus, fracto, and alto. Knowing these terms will help you identify a particular cloud type while en route to your destination. Cloud type is determined by height, shape, and behavior. Low clouds (stratus, stratocumulus, and nimbostratus) are those that form near the surface and extend up to 6,500 feet agl. Midlevel clouds (altostratus and altocumulus) form around 6,500 feet agl and extend up to 20,000 feet agl. High clouds (cirrus, cirrostratus, and cirrocumulus) develop above 20,000 feet agl and usually form only in stable air. To pilots, the cumulonimbus cloud is perhaps the most dangerous cloud type (heaped or piled clouds associated with moderate to heavy rain and severe turbulence). Additional information on clouds is discussed in the AOPA Pilot article "Wx Watch: Among the clouds."
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 |
SEARCHING FOR PERFECT PAINT
Achieving a perfect paint job on an airplane is harder than it may seem. There's more involved than simply stripping the old paint, cleaning the aluminum (or composites), and reapplying the new coats. In this week's update, find out how sweepstakes contributor Oxford Aviation in Oxford, Maine, strives to achieve that perfect paint job as it takes our Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer through the paint booth this week.
| Coming up in 'AOPA Pilot' |
AOPA Pilot's fiftieth anniversary edition will be hitting mailboxes within a couple of weeks. Find out how the No. 1 aviation magazine was born; fly a 1958 and a 2008 Cessna Skylane 182 to see what's changed in half a century; and read about the Texas pilot who won AOPA's 2007 Catch-A-Cardinal.
Erratum: Erroneous information in the February issue of AOPA Pilot may cause pilots to mistakenly underestimate the amount of turbine fuel they need. The story, "Tricks of the Trade: Jet Fuel—Pounds to Gallons," (page 91) contained an incorrect formula. Look for the correct method for calculating fuel amounts in the March issue. An article in the April issue will detail other ways to convert from pounds to gallons.
| 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:
Charlotte, N.C. The Future of Business Aviation VLJ Show takes place March 7 and 8 at Wilson Air Center at Charlotte/Douglas International (CLT). For more information, 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 Sacramento, Calif., and Dallas, Feb. 23 and 24. Clinics are also scheduled in Phoenix, Ontario, Calif., and Virginia Beach, Va., March 1 and 2. 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 Eugene, Ore., Feb. 19; Portland, Ore., Feb. 20; Seattle, Feb. 21; and Puyallup, Wash., Feb. 23. The topic is "Top 5 Mistakes Pilots Make." Another seminar is also scheduled in Puyallup, Wash., Feb. 23 and the topic is "Say it Right! Radio Comm in Today's Airspace." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.