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WASHINGTON SENATOR STICKS UP FOR GA
Some 1,200 pilots from the Pacific Northwest on Feb. 23 learned the latest in the user fee battle from AOPA President Phil Boyer at the Northwest Aviation Conference in Puyallup, Wash. In his eighteenth appearance before the annual convention, Boyer noted that the general aviation industry continues to battle the big airlines, Bush White House, the FAA, and "one powerful senator" over user fees. "But we also have some powerful allies on our side," said Boyer. Among the members of the Senate in position to influence the final outcome of the FAA funding issue is Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who is chairman of the transportation subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. She spoke to the audience in a recorded video presentation. "Rest assured, Phil has already shared pilots' concerns with me, and I get it. No new user fees." But she did note that the FAA funding issue is "complicated." Read more on AOPA Online.
IS GA TO BLAME FOR STALLED SENATE FAA FUNDING BILL?
There will not be an FAA funding bill this year "based on the GA community's inability to compromise," said Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) during a Feb. 28 Senate Commerce Committee hearing. "I blame it on them because we can't work it out." Rockefeller is a proponent of a $25-per-flight user fee for turbine aircraft that he says is necessary to pay for modernization of the air traffic control system. Rockefeller also contends that GA is not currently paying a fair share of the costs of operating ATC. But his colleague on the committee, Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.), disagrees. Read more on AOPA Online.
GADGET SAVES PILOT WHO DITCHED AT SEA
If Maurice Kirk hadn't been carrying a personal locator beacon (PLB) on Feb. 16 when his Piper J-3 Cub went down more than 70 miles out to sea, he probably wouldn't be alive today. While AOPA opposes any attempt to mandate a change to 406-MHz ELTs, it encourages members to proactively seek emergency equipment that matches their flying habits. Read more about Kirk's rescue on AOPA Online.
FAA MANDATES PLASTIC PILOT CERTIFICATE
Still hanging onto your paper pilot certificate? You'll need to upgrade to a plastic pilot certificate by March 31, 2010. The FAA released its final rule Feb. 28, announcing the required switch to the certificate it deems is more counterfeit resistant. When the FAA proposed this mandate in 2005, AOPA members overwhelmingly supported the move to a more secure certificate. If you are attached to your paper certificate and original issuance date (the plastic certificate will have a new one), don't worry. You can keep your paper certificate for nostalgia; you just can't use it to fly. Read more on AOPA Online.
CONGRESSMAN GOES TO BAT FOR GA ON CUSTOMS RULE
General aviation pilots who fly internationally have a sympathetic ear on Capitol Hill. AOPA Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Andy Cebula and AOPA member Jim Turner met with Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) on Feb. 26 to discuss the proposed changes in procedures for GA aircraft flying to and from the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants to require pilots to submit arrival/departure notification and passenger lists electronically before leaving or returning to the United States. Read more on AOPA Online.
RULE PLACES TIME LIMIT ON AIRCRAFT TRANSACTION PAPERWORK
If you're planning to sell your aircraft, be aware of a new FAA rule. Effective March 31, once you sell or transfer your aircraft to a new owner, you have 21 calendar days to complete the information on the back of your registration card and return it to the FAA. The agency had proposed to set a five-day time limit, but after AOPA objected to this unrealistic requirement, the FAA adopted the 21-day rule. In addition, the FAA is also requiring that requests for new aircraft registration include typed or printed names along with signatures. The mandate is part of the FAA's Drug Enforcement Assistance Act, in which the agency is working to keep the U.S. aircraft registry up to date.
AOPA TESTIFIES IN SUPPORT OF ELIMINATING MAINE AIRCRAFT TAX
A bill that would exempt all aircraft from Maine's sales and use tax is getting strong support from AOPA. AOPA Vice President of Regional Affairs Greg Pecoraro testified in favor of the bill, Legislative Draft 1976, before the Joint Standing Committee on Taxation during a Feb. 26 session in Augusta. The bill sponsor, Senate President Beth Edmonds, herself a former pilot and AOPA member, would exempt all aircraft and parts that are used exclusively in the repair or significant overhauling of an aircraft from the state's sales and use tax. Read more on AOPA Online.
AOPA EDUCATES MEMBERS ABOUT THROUGH-THE-FENCE OPERATIONS
Through-the-fence agreements—arrangements that allow off-airport property owners direct access to an airport's taxiways and runways—are a source of growing controversy as airparks with housing developments are becoming increasingly popular adjacent to publicly funded airports. To help members understand the issue, AOPA has produced a white paper, available online, that explains how through-the-fence operations work, the FAA's position on them, and available steps to address conflicts between such operations and FAA policy.
ENDURANCE TEST, CIRCA 1958
Who would spend more than two months aloft living in a Cessna 172 eating minced supper from a thermos jug? Two young pilots on a mission to set a world endurance record, of course! Fifty years ago Bob Timm and John Cook regularly balanced on their Cessna's wing strut to clean the outside windshield and hoist up the refueling line from the truck speeding below their little airplane. See their adventure come alive in video accompanying the story in the AOPA Pilot special fiftieth anniversary digital edition. The video will automatically load on the front page of the article after a few moments.
OLDEST BOEING RETURNS TO AIR
Scud running in 1928 was no safer than it is now. A pilot who tried it in a monster biplane called a Boeing 40C suffered a dramatic conclusion. The Pacific Air Transport airplane, which flew passengers and the mail in an enclosed cabin while the pilot sat out in the breeze, clipped trees for a mile, slicing one and then another, until a mountain got in its way near Canyonville, Ore. The single passenger died, and the cargo of diamonds scattered. There the wreckage sat for 70 years until it was recovered by the Oregon Aviation Historical Society and sold to Addison Pemberton. Now, eight years later and with the help of 61 volunteers who put in 18,000 hours, it's flying again. Read more on AOPA Online.
CLARIFICATION: In the Feb. 22 edition of ePilot, we wrote about the Wisconsin pilot who was sentenced to jail after pleading guilty to negligent operation of a motor vehicle and disorderly conduct following a 2004 crash that killed his passenger. The pilot was giving rides at Alexander Field, South Wood County Airport, but he was not a part of the Children's Miracle Network Balloon Rally.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Heli-Expo News |
SIKORSKY LAUNCHES 265-KNOT HELICOPTER
Sikorsky Aircraft has unveiled its much-anticipated "X2" technology demonstrator—a next-generation helicopter prototype designed to exceed speeds of 250 knots in level flight. X2 will achieve this goal through using rigid, counterrotating rotor blades, coupled with a fly-by-wire control system that slows the blades as forward speed increases. This, according to Sikorsky, mitigates the speed-limiting retreating blade stall phenomenon. "We want to break the paradigm of 160 knots," said Sikorsky President Jeff Pino, speaking Feb. 24 at the 2008 Heli-Expo event in Houston, Texas. Read more on AOPA Online.
ROBINSON R66 TURBINE HELO GAINS CLARITY
Development of the Robinson R66—the company's first foray into the turbine helicopter market—is moving forward at a "slow but steady pace," according to company founder Frank Robinson. Speaking to a packed crowd at the 2008 Heli-Expo event in Houston, Texas, on Feb. 24, Robinson said the R66 prototype has been flying for several months, exhibiting handling characteristics not unlike the piston-powered R44. Read more on AOPA Online.
SCHWEIZER'S NEW S-434 COULD REACH PRIVATE FLIERS
A bid to combine the best attributes of the Schweizer 333 single-turbine and RQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter has yielded the first new offering from the combined Sikorsky-Schweizer: the S-434. Launched Feb. 24 at the Heli-Expo 2008 show in Houston, Texas, the S-434 will target a wide range of rotary-wing missions, with an initial focus on civil and military flight training, aerial law enforcement, and private utility flying. Read more on AOPA Online.
| Safety & Proficiency |
SERIOUS RUNWAY INCURSIONS HIGHLIGHT NEED FOR AWARENESS
Two high-profile taxiway incidents in a single week have focused national media attention on runway safety issues soon after Rep. Jerry Costello called on the FAA to make regular reports to Congress on the status of runway safety efforts. On Sunday, Feb. 24, two United Airlines jets clipped wing tips on a taxiway at Dulles International Airport, outside Washington, D.C. The incident came one week after a similar episode at Washington, D.C.'s Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport forced the evacuation of 63 passengers from two US Airways planes. Read more on AOPA Online to learn how you can prevent a runway incursion and the associated negative media attention.
REFRESH YOUR AIRSPACE EXPERTISE BEFORE FLYING SEASON
If you're among the many pilots who've spent more time on the ground than you'd like this winter, you might awake from your aviation hibernation to find you've forgotten the many nuances of flying in complex airspace. No one wants to end up on the wrong side of an airspace or regulatory violation, so it's a good idea to invest a little time in brushing up on the rules. If spring sees you back in the air after a hiatus of several years, the newly updated "Pilots' Guide to Getting Back Into Flying" will tell you what has changed while you've been grounded. No matter how long or short the time has been since you were last up in the air, review these safety tips to help you get up to speed quickly.
SEMINAR HELPS PILOTS BREAK DANGEROUS CYCLE
Everyone makes mistakes. In fact, when it comes to flying, most pilots seem to make the same mistakes and make them repeatedly. Fortunately, thousands of pilots want to break that cycle, so it's no wonder the AOPA Air Safety Foundation safety seminar "Top 5 Mistakes Pilots Make" has been setting attendance records. A Feb. 20 presentation in Portland, Ore., drew an audience of 530 pilots. Find out why pilots are flocking to the seminar.
FLYING NORTH FOR THE SPRING
If the spring thaw has you thinking about heading North, be sure your certificate and knowledge are up to date. Before heading to Canada this spring, review the rules and take advantage of the many resources AOPA offers to help you plan your journey. If you've made the trip before, a brief overview of the requirements may be all you need. First timers can review the comprehensive resources covering everything from regulatory requirements to attractions from AOPA's Pilot Information Center and watch the on-demand SafetyCast seminar, "Flying Into Canada." Before you head to Canada, don't forget to update your pilot certificate to meet the new English-proficient requirement.
| Inside AOPA |
CHECKING ACCOUNT PUTS MONEY IN YOUR POCKET, SUPPORTS AOPA
With the AOPA personal checking account from Bank of America, you'll generate contributions to AOPA when you open a new checking account and each time you make a purchase with your AOPA Check Card—at no additional cost to you. You can also get $125 if you open your new account by April 30. Now your everyday banking can help deliver valuable revenue to AOPA to help fight user fees and support AOPA's daily effort to maintain the safety and freedom of flying. Visit the Web site or your neighborhood Bank of America and use offer code WGSAOPA0308.
| 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: Can I fly my Cessna 150 without a medical under sport pilot?
Answer: A Cessna 150 does not meet the definition of a light sport aircraft (LSA) because it is too heavy. An LSA not intended for operation on water is limited to a maximum takeoff weight of 1,320 pounds or less. Also, an LSA has a two-person seating capacity limitation and cannot have a maximum airspeed exceeding 120 knots while in level cruise flight. While a Cessna 150 does not qualify, standard category aircraft such as the Piper Cub and the Ercoupe 415C/CD do. Learn more about the sport pilot rule and LSAs in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Quiz and on-demand SafetyCast.
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 |
AN INTERIOR COMES TOGETHER
Sure, the paint looks great. And yeah, the airplane has a strong engine from Penn Yan Aero. And of course, the panel will have the newest glass technology on the market. But as pilots, we sit for hours and hours in the cockpit, and comfort is a priority. The folks at Oxford Aviation in Oxford, Maine, are in the final stages of putting together the front office, and greater comfort is just the beginning. Add to that hand-crafted fine wood accents, among other things, and you have the best-looking glass airplane around. Check AOPA Online today to watch it come together.
| 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. Jetpool's Future of Business Aviation VLJ Show takes place March 7 and 8 at Wilson Air Center at Charlotte/Douglas International (CLT). See and compare VLJs from many manufacturers and learn at seminars covering "VLJ 101" and specialty topics. For more information, contact Barbara Schick, 704/359-4674, or 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.
Wheeling, Ill. The Chicago Executive Airport Aviation Career Expo takes place March 8 at Chicago Executive's (PWK) Hangar 10. Visit with aviation industry professionals and the nation's top schools to explore the possibility of a career in aviation. For more information, contact Jamie Abbott, 847/537-2580, 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 in Orlando, Fla., and Baltimore, March 8 and 9. Clinics are also scheduled in San Mateo, Calif., and King of Prussia, Pa., March 15 and 16. 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 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.