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A LOOK BACK AT 2007: USER FEES AND FLIGHT SERVICE
For AOPA and its members, 2007 will be remembered for the most intense fight ever against user fees on general aviation. After a battle that pitted the general aviation community against the FAA and the airlines, the year ended in something of a stalemate. On Dec. 20, President Bush signed a $14.6 billion appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008 as part of the omnibus funding bill for all federal agencies, essentially extending the FAA's existing funding and tax structure through the end of February. The House had passed legislation supported by AOPA to use inflation-adjusted fuel taxes to finance the FAA, but the Senate has still not reached an agreement on a bill that doesn't impose user fees. The flight service station system is another area that got members stirred up. While AOPA worked tirelessly to resolve most of the problems, the association will continue to push for improvements of the system in 2008, such as modifying performance metrics. See AOPA Online.
CESSNA DEFENDS SKYCATCHER MANUFACTURING DECISION
Cessna Aircraft has received a lot of e-mail since announcing it would build the light sport SkyCatcher in China. It has been running about half and half for and against the manufacturing decision, so Cessna marketing Vice President Tom Aniello posted an open letter to those who disagree. He said many of the remarks were based on inaccurate or incomplete information, and he wants to set the record straight.
JOURNEY ENDS, SUPPORT CONTINUES FOR GARMIN GNS 480
Garmin has ceased production of its GNS 480 GPS navigation system—the former UPS Aviation Technologies CNX80—but has pledged to support both units for the foreseeable future. In a December letter to its dealers, the Olathe, Kansas-based avionics manufacturer said declining sales prompted a move that many GA watchers had anticipated for some time. While the GNS 480 was the first panel-mounted GPS approved for WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) operations, it never achieved the market success of Garmin's own GNS 430 and 530 units. Garmin recently offered WAAS as an upgrade to the 430/530, an action that appears to have sealed the 480's fate. See AOPA Online.
NASA RELEASES CONTROVERSIAL SURVEY
NASA paid for a survey of both airline and general aviation pilots between 2001 and 2004, but never released it until a Freedom of Information request was filed by a news organization. As of yet, there are no conclusions or analyses, but it appears to be mostly raw data about blown altitude assignments, potential midair collisions, and comments from airline pilots about flying while tired. NASA officials recently consulted with AOPA and other aviation organizations before releasing the data. AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg confirmed that he had spoken to NASA about the release of the data. See AOPA Online.
HAVE YOU CHECKED NOTAMS?
Every pilot knows the importance of checking notams before every flight. Yet some aviators, even highly experienced airline transport pilots, sometimes fail to familiarize themselves with all available flight information. When that information includes a runway closure, the results can turn your world—and your aircraft—upside down. Read what went wrong in this special report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
DIESEL ENGINES TO TAKE OVER U.S. MARKET BY 2015?
There are now more than 1,500 diesel-powered aircraft flying around the world. One industry publication predicts that the number will increase by 500 by the end of 2008 and that sales will further escalate each consecutive year. See AOPA Online.
UNREGISTERED ULTRALIGHTS MAY HAVE TO BE SCRAPPED
For those 2,000 to 3,000 two-place ultralights whose owners have not bothered to convert to the Experimental Light Sport category, the end is near. If two-place ultralights are not registered and certificated by Jan. 31 as experimental light sport aircraft, or placed in the Amateur-Built or the Experimental Exhibition categories, they cannot be legally flown again until certificated. Scrapping them may be the only solution if such certification is not completed. The paperwork must be in the FAA system, not simply postmarked, by Jan. 31. In other words, you need to submit it immediately. See AOPA Online.
CIRRUS MAKES ROOM FOR JET PRODUCTION
Cirrus Design Corp. is giving itself room to grow with a 25-year lease on a 189,000-square-foot facility formerly used by Northwest Airlines as a maintenance base. Cirrus plans to use the space, which has been sitting empty, to develop and ultimately produce its planned personal jet. See AOPA Online.
ELECTRIC AIRPLANE COMPETITION NOW FULLY CHARGED
First it was ballooning legend Bertrand Piccard announcing that his piloted solar-powered airplane, Solar Impulse , would fly nonstop around the world in 2011. Now Lisa Airplanes in France, currently developing a "Hy-Bird" airplane using both fuel cell and 10 percent solar energy, says it can beat Piccard's flight by at least two years. See AOPA Online.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Safety & Proficiency |
MORE AOPA AIR SAFETY FOUNDATION SAFETYCASTS AVAILABLE
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation's popular online SafetyCast series just got bigger, with six new on-demand seminars added this week. Are you worried that coronary artery disease or another heart condition might keep you grounded? Learn how to navigate the special issuance process and avoid a medical certification denial. Another new SafetyCast provides no-nonsense advice for flying GPS approaches, including all you need to know about charts, databases, and the new WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) approaches. Other new topics include exciting flying destinations in the United States and Canada, navigating today's airspace, and making sense of federal aviation regulations. More than 20 convenient, information-packed SafetyCasts are now at your fingertips. Check them out today—and fly safer tomorrow.
'AOPA PILOT'S' THIRD ANNUAL GA PHOTO CONTEST KICKS OFF
It's time again to go online and enter your favorite general aviation photo in the AOPA Pilot 2008 General Aviation Photography Contest, which runs through Sept. 2. Submit photos in five categories—general aviation aircraft, airports, pilots, aerials, and altered images—to vie for cash prizes totaling more than $5,000, including a grand prize of $1,000. The winning photos in each category will be published in the December 2008 issue of AOPA Pilot. In addition, each month between January and August, AOPA ePilot subscribers will be asked to select a photo of the month, which will be published in ePilot and AOPA Pilot. So grab your camera, go flying, and snap a winning shot. Don't forget to submit before Jan. 31 to contend in the January pick-of-the-month vote. You can also view the 2007 winning photos and a slideshow of honorable mentions online.
| 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: I have often heard that pilots should use oxygen when flying above 5,000 feet msl. Why?
Answer: Pilots can become more susceptible to the effects of hypoxia at altitude due to reduced barometric pressure. Although night vision can deteriorate at cabin pressure altitudes as low as 5,000 feet, other significant effects of hypoxia usually do not occur in healthy, non-smoking pilots below 12,000 feet, regardless of the time of day. Typical symptoms of hypoxia include, but are not limited to: impaired judgment, memory, and alertness; sense of well-being; impaired coordination of motor skills, and headache. Hypoxia is prevented by using supplemental oxygen and maintaining a comfortable, safe cabin pressure altitude. More information related to the subject of hypoxia is discussed in the online article "By the Book—Hypoxia."
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].
| 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 |
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| ePilot Calendar |
UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS:
Lake Havasu City, AZ. A Vintage Mooney Group Fly-In takes place Jan. 12 at Lake Havasu City (HII). Contact Phil Corman, 805/227-0480, 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 Long Beach, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; and Sevierville, Tenn., Jan. 12 and 13. Clinics are also scheduled in Jackson, Miss.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Rochester, N.Y., Jan. 19 and 20. 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 Reno, Nev., Jan. 7; Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 8; Milpitas, Calif., Jan. 9; Rohnert Park, Calif., January 10; Mesa, Ariz., and Ft. Worth, Tex., Jan. 14; Tucson, Ariz., Jan. 15; El Paso, Tex., Jan. 16; and Albuquerque, N.M., Jan. 17. The topic is "Top 5 Mistakes Pilots Make." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.