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STILL PLENTY OF IMPROVEMENT NEEDED ON FSS, REPORT SHOWS
Lost flight plans continue to be the biggest area of complaint for pilots calling the flight service station (FSS) system, according to a report submitted to Congress. This is the first such report the FAA is now providing Capitol Hill every 90 days to show what it and Lockheed Martin are doing to fix long hold times, dropped calls, and problems with briefer knowledge and performance. "The report affirms what we already knew, but the real test will be in the performance of the system from here on out," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "The system's performance has frustrated many in the aviation community. Pilots must be able to get the services they need." Read more on AOPA Online.
AIRCRAFT OWNERS CONCERNED ABOUT SWITCH TO ELECTRONIC ADs
Airworthiness directives and special airworthiness information bulletins are important notices that aircraft owners want to receive, according to 90 percent of the more than 1,000 AOPA members who responded to AOPA's Feb. 1 survey requesting input on the FAA's plan to transition from paper to electronic distribution of these documents. So how's the system working for those who have subscribed for electronic distribution? Half of those signed up for free electronic service said they're satisfied with it, but a third aren't. "The FAA will need to convince us and our members that the system is error free...before we can agree to switch to electronic delivery," said Rob Hackman, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs. Read more on AOPA Online.
FIGHT AGAINST USER FEES CONTINUES, BOYER TELLS UTAH PILOTS
The fight against user fees is still going on, AOPA President Phil Boyer told a Salt Lake City audience Feb. 20 during an AOPA Pilot Town Meeting. "We're battling the airlines on this. We're battling the White House," Boyer said. "We're battling a powerful senator. But we also have a lot of allies in both the House and Senate. And in the end, I think it will be a pretty upbeat story." One of general aviation's allies is U.S. Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah). Speaking on videotape at the meeting, Bennett said GA is vital to the national economy. Read more on AOPA Online.
'AOPA PILOT' TURNS 50
After half a century and 600 issues of the best in aviation coverage, AOPA Pilot—the world's largest aviation magazine—celebrates 50 years with two special digital editions. Don't miss this rare opportunity to check out the first issue (March 1958) and thumb through it as if the original is in your hands. Also, see the March 2008 anniversary edition come to life with videos and links throughout the pages. So come along on a very special journey of the magazines, then and now.
FAA CERTIFIES 1,000TH WAAS APPROACH
The FAA recently marked a major milestone in the move toward a satellite-based air traffic control system with the 1,000th Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) instrument approach. AOPA has been a strong proponent of WAAS as part of the move toward satellite navigation it has championed since 1990. "There is a lot of talk about NextGen, a satellite-based air traffic control system that is envisioned for 20 years down the road," said AOPA President Phil Boyer, "but WAAS is an example of what I like to call 'NowGen'—technologies to improve air traffic that are either here today or will be ready to deploy in the next three to five years." Read more on AOPA Online.
ENHANCED LORAN OFFERED AS GPS BACKUP
The Department of Homeland Security has announced plans to maintain and enhance loran as a backup "positioning, navigation, and timing" system in the event of a GPS outage. The upgraded loran system is referred to as eLoran. "AOPA has pushed for the continued availability of loran as the government has evaluated the future," said AOPA Government Affairs Chief of Staff Randy Kenagy. Read more on AOPA Online.
AOPA SEES FEW GA BENEFITS IN ADS-B PROPOSAL
It may seem far away, but at the same time, it's very near. The comment period on ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast) is closing soon. AOPA intends to submit comments on behalf of its members, but those who want to submit their own must do so by Monday, March 3. The FAA originally published the proposed rule last October. The rule would require all aircraft operating in Class A, B, and C airspace—plus any airspace above 10,000 feet msl—to equip with ADS-B. The proposed compliance date for the mandatory equipment is Jan. 1, 2020. Read more on AOPA Online.
U.S. PILOT JAILED AFTER AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT
A Wisconsin man this month became the first U.S. pilot jailed for a domestic aircraft accident after pleading guilty to negligent operation of a motor vehicle and disorderly conduct following a 2004 crash that claimed the life of his passenger. Mark Strub, 45, was sentenced to 30 days in jail, 60 days of work release, and 1,000 hours of community service plus fines, court costs, and counseling fees. Read more on AOPA Online.
COURT DECLARES STEVE FOSSETT DEAD
A Chicago court has declared 63-year-old adventurer Steve Fossett dead following failed efforts to find him and his borrowed Super Decathlon in the Nevada desert. Fossett disappeared last September. A massive effort using every known means of search technology, including satellite photos reviewed by people around the world, didn't turn up anything besides the discovery of other crash sites. Read more on AOPA Online.
ADAM AIRCRAFT FILES FOR CHAPTER 7
Adam Aircraft Industries on Feb. 15 filed for Chapter 7 under the federal bankruptcy code. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Denver has appointed a trustee, Jeffrey Weinman of Denver, to oversee the case. Workers began attending job fairs Monday with several companies, including Piper Aircraft, Honda Aircraft, Gulfstream Aerospace, Epic Aircraft, Cirrus Design, Bombardier Aerospace, and others. A meeting of creditors is scheduled at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Denver on March 12. An attorney working on final details of the bankruptcy said the debt of the company is "closer to $100 million." She also said the trustee on the case has raised the estimate of the company's assets to "$10 million to $50 million."
DIAMOND GETS BOOST FOR D-JET DEVELOPMENT
Diamond Aircraft Industries of London, Ontario, got a USD $19.3 million boost to its USD $93.9 million research and development program for the D-Jet. The all-composite, five-seat aircraft is marketed as a personal light jet and has caught the interest of flight schools. The funding, awarded by the Canadian government's Industrial Technologies Office, is "repayable," but no terms were released. The company said the D-Jet is aiming for certification by mid-2008 and has 300 orders.
FAMOUS NAME JOINS HAWKER BEECHCRAFT
Although his family name is synonymous with Cessna, Russ Meyer III, formerly program manager for the company's Citation Mustang, will join rival Hawker Beechcraft as director of new product development, company officials said Feb. 15. Meyer, 45, son of Russ Meyer Jr., Cessna's legendary chairman emeritus, will start his new job at the cross-town competitor in Wichita, Kan., on March 3. "If you would have told me six months ago that I was leaving Cessna, I would have said, 'You're crazy,'" Meyer, a 13-year Cessna veteran, told The Wichita Eagle. Read more on AOPA Online.
A TRIP WITH ERNEST K. GANN
Imagine having the opportunity to fly with one of your aviation idols. Phillip Graves had such an opportunity as a 26-year-old commuter pilot. Famed aviation author Ernest K. Gann boarded one of Graves' short flights to Friday Harbor, Wash., but gusty winds pushed the young pilot to his limits to give Gann a perfect flight and touchdown. Read about the adventure in "A trip with Ernest K. Gann" in the latest installment of the Joy of Flight. To submit a story about general aviation adventures, send us an e-mail. Past articles are available online.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Safety & Proficiency |
CERTAIN U.S. PILOTS NEED NEW 'ENGLISH PROFICIENT' CERTIFICATE
Do you fly internationally? If so, you'll need a new pilot certificate with the words "English Proficient" on it. The new certificate will be required for international flights starting March 5, when the International Civil Aviation Organization's language proficiency standards for operating internationally go into effect. The requirement applies to airplane and helicopter private, commercial, and airline transport pilots; flight engineers; and flight navigators. Pilots with a U.S.-issued certificate will not need to pass a language test, just request a replacement certificate from the FAA. The plastic replacement certificate will cost $2 and take seven to 10 days to be processed. All newly issued pilot certificates will have the endorsement.
TALK TO AN AME ON AOPA's MEDICAL FORUM THIS WEEKEND
When you visit AOPA's medical forum this weekend, you'll have the chance to tap into a font of expertise. That's because Dr. Bruce Chien, a senior AME and member of AOPA's Board of Medical Advisors, and Gary Crump, director of AOPA's medical certification services, will be frequenting the forum and responding to member questions and comments posted over the weekend. AOPA's medical forum is a great resource for open discussions on all things related to aviation medicals, including medications, treatments, and FAA policy.
GET YOUR AIRPLANE READY FOR FLYING SEASON
Whether you rent or own the airplane you fly, you want to be sure it's in top condition when you climb aboard on that first glorious spring day. That's why it's a good idea to use these last weeks of winter to brush up on maintenance issues and take care of any needed repairs. See AOPA Online for resources that will help you spot and fix maintenance problems.
DO YOU KNOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD?
It may be a long time since you took your checkride, and perhaps your memory of general aviation's "rules of the road" is a little fuzzy. Find out how much you know with the latest AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Quiz covering Part 91 of the federal aviation regulations. You can test your knowledge of the rules about weather minimums, fuel reserves, aircraft lighting, and more. Need another challenge? Check out previous quizzes. Learn more about the real-world intersection of regulations, common sense, and safety with the foundation's on-demand SafetyCast, "Regulations: What Every Pilot Should Know."
SAVE YOURSELF BY LEARNING FROM OTHERS LIKE YOU
Sometimes aviation accidents seem so far removed from the flying we do that it's hard to learn the lessons they have to teach. But you can learn from accidents involving the same make and model airplane you fly or at the airports you frequent. You can learn about common accident causes by using specific criteria to search accidents in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Accident Database, which focuses exclusively on general aviation aircraft. Search by the type of aircraft you fly, the airports you visit, or the type of flying you do—such as instructional, VFR, or IFR—and discover lessons from 25 years' worth of accidents.
| Inside AOPA |
EASIER THAN BUYING A CAR?
If buying an airplane seems like a difficult proposition, you may not have the right support team helping you through the process. When Gary Robertson of Tempe, Ariz., wanted a new airplane, he turned to the experts at the AOPA Aircraft Financing Program, a partner program with Bank of America. He applied for the loan online, had an answer within 12 hours, and even got help dealing with the seller. "It was easier than buying a car," Robertson said. "There was no smoke and mirrors. It was upfront. They told me what I needed to do and what the seller needed to do. They even called him [the seller] and explained it to him." Read more on AOPA Online.
AOPA BRINGS ROD MACHADO TO WAI
You're guaranteed to get two things out of any Rod Machado seminar—laughter and learning. Now you can get those, plus credit for the FAA's Wings pilot proficiency program, when you attend Machado's "Defensive Flying: Five Strategies to Keep You Safe in the Air" seminar at the upcoming Women in Aviation International 2008 conference. The seminar, sponsored by AOPA, is scheduled for Thursday, March 13, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. and is open to all pilots. The WAI conference will be in San Diego at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center from March 13 through 15. For more information or to register, visit the Web site. Preview Machado's teaching style by watching his two AOPA Air Safety Foundation SafetyCasts.
| 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: My child's local public school is having a charitable auction to raise money for a field trip. I'm a private pilot and would like to help by offering an airplane ride prize to the highest bidder. Would this be OK without breaking any FAA rules?
Answer: In March 2007, the FAA enacted a new regulation to Part 91 related to charitable events. In order for you to legitimately offer and conduct the flight, you must have logged at least 500 hours of total flight time. You will also need to work with your local FAA flight standards district office and provide them with information on the planned event. Forward your pilot information (copies of pilot and medical certificates and logbook showing your current flight review and recency of experience) and a signed statement listing prior events you have participated in, if any, during the current calendar year. The flight must be nonstop, begin and end at the same airport, and not exceed a 25-satute-mile radius from that airport. Learn more in AOPA's Guide to Charitable/Nonprofit/Community Event Sightseeing Flights and the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Charity Flying Safety Brief.
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 |
FLYING IN STYLE
Though the exterior of AOPA's Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Archer is beautiful and striking, the interior is where pilots spend most of their time. Considering that, the craftsmen at Oxford Aviation in Oxford, Maine, are working to create a sleek and comfortable new interior for the Archer. New leather seats and sidewalls are just the beginning of the Archer's full interior makeover. Visit AOPA Online to learn what's happening inside the airplane this week.
| 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.
Miami, Fla. The Wings Over Miami Air Show takes place March 1 and 2 at Kendall-Tamiami Executive (TMB). For more information, contact Dennis Haber, 305/256-3002, or visit the Web site.
Fargo, N.D. The Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium takes place March 2 through 4 at the Ramada Plaza Suites in Fargo. For more information, contact Darrel Pittman, 701/328-8190, 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 Phoenix, Ontario, Calif., and Virginia Beach, Va., March 1 and 2. Clinics are also scheduled in Orlando, Fla., and Baltimore, March 8 and 9. 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 Greenville, S.C., Feb. 25; Decatur, Ga., Feb 26; Huntsville, Ala., Feb. 28; Rochester, Minn., March 3; Cedar Rapids, Iowa, March 4; Bellevue, Neb., March 5; and Olathe, Kan., March 6. The topic is "Top 5 Mistakes Pilots Make." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.