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GOOD NEWS: FAA EXTENDS FIRST, THIRD CLASS MEDICALS
Pilots under age 40 can save a trip to the AME. On July 24, the FAA extended the duration of third class medicals from 36 calendar months to 60 calendar months (five years) and first class medicals from six calendar months to 12 calendar months for pilots under age 40. "This is welcome news for the GA industry," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "AOPA supported the FAA's move that makes it easier and more affordable for younger pilots to fly." Current and expired medical certificates are grandfathered under this rule. Read more on AOPA Online.
CONGRESS FEARS PLANES, BOATS COULD CARRY NUCLEAR DEVICES
In a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing July 16, legislators questioned whether enough nuclear detection efforts were in place to prevent the devices from being smuggled into the country by private vehicles, general aviation aircraft, or small boats. "Any security measures would need to be transparent," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "They should not be burdensome to GA pilots and should not impair pilots' ability to enter the country." Read more on AOPA Online.
SENATE COMMITTEE OPPOSES USER FEES
The FAA won’t be able to spend any money to implement new user fees if the Department of Transportation appropriations bill, now pending in the Senate, passes. Thanks to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the Appropriations aviation subcommittee once again inserted language decreeing that “none of the funds in this Act shall be available for the Federal Aviation Administration to finalize or implement any regulation that would promulgate new aviation user fees not specifically authorized by law after the date of the enactment of this Act.” Read more on AOPA Online.
FAA LOOKS AT REDEFINING HOMEBUILT 51-PERCENT RULE
The FAA is scrutinizing "fast build" homebuilt aircraft programs and with that may come policy changes that affect future kit designs. The FAA has released several draft documents to clarify the regulation of the homebuilt aircraft segment. The biggest potential change is to the definition of the so-called 51-percent rule. Read more on AOPA Online.
AOPA FIGHTING GA RESTRICTIONS AT JFK, NEWARK
AOPA is opposing restrictions on general aviation operations at John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty international airports "because they could establish a principle that could be used for restricting access at airports across the country," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. The FAA has taken two steps to keep GA out of the two New York area airports: a short-term order that limits GA to one or two flights per hour at each airport (except between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.) and a long-term proposed rule that would not only limit GA operations, but also auction landing slots to the highest bidder. Read more on AOPA Online.
FAA ISSUES ADVISORIES FOR POLITICAL CONVENTIONS
Pilots who fly in the Denver and Minneapolis areas need to plan ahead for airspace restrictions relating to the upcoming Democratic and Republican national conventions. The FAA is advising pilots that it expects to issue presidential-like temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) around the convention sites while the conventions are in session. Those TFRs will likely cover a 30-nautical-mile radius and include a 10-nm GA no-fly zone from the surface up to but not including 17,999 feet msl. See AOPA Online for the full story and to download the flight advisories.
SPECIAL PILOT REPORT: THE LAMBADA MOTORGLIDER
It may look like a motorglider, but don't be deceived. By maximizing versatility and minimizing energy, the Lambada is a multi-role airplane that may very well be the most efficient aircraft in production today. At cruise power, the 80-horsepower version burns around 3.5 gph at 100 knots. If you see puffy cumulus clouds en route and you'd rather be soaring, just shut off the engine and feather the prop. It becomes a highly capable sailplane with a 30-1 glide ratio. In that case, the fuel burn goes to zero. Fly the airplane in this special pilot report by AOPA Online Managing Editor Nate Ferguson.
FRASCA TURNS 50
If you're like most pilots, you've spent at least a little time in a Frasca simulator. Its manufacturer, Frasca International, marked its fiftieth anniversary this month by inviting more than 600 people to a celebration at its Urbana, Ill., facility. Rudy Frasca, 77, an aviation icon, founded the company in 1958. His first product allowed the venerable Link trainer to be used for teaching VOR and ADF navigation. Frasca constructed his earliest simulators from wood in the garage behind his home. Read more on AOPA Online.
THE 'VISION' THING
Take a close look at Cirrus Design's prototype SJ-50 "Vision" jet—and then glance at Alan and Dale Klapmeier's original VK-30 from the 1980s, and the similarities are impossible to miss. The sleek, five-seat, low-wing, composite airplanes are true to the same design philosophy with technology that's 20 years apart. Read more about the two aircraft in AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman's latest blog entry.
JOY OF FLIGHT: VEGAS BY CESSNA 182
How can the excitement of the Las Vegas Strip be topped? Fly there yourself. "As I was bleeding chips at a poker table at Caesars, I couldn't help but think that I was probably the only person at the table with his own plane waiting for him at the airport," wrote Brian Brandfas in "Vegas by Cessna 182," the latest installment in the Joy of Flight series. "They all had itineraries to keep, but I had the freedom to leave when I wanted." Read about the adventure and send us your own stories. Previous stories are available online.
PBS STATIONS AIR FAMED AVIATION FILM
One of the greatest challenges for pilots is conveying to nonpilots the joy and emotion received from piloting an airplane. Most pilots who have seen the film One Six Right agree that the high-definition documentary with its spectacular images and soaring musical score carries the message better than any other medium. Now, nonpilots across the country have the opportunity to view this film through their local PBS stations. Read more on AOPA Online and learn how to find when it will air in your area.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Safety & Proficiency |
SLIDE SHOW CAPTURES POWER OF STORMS
Thunderstorms can be beautiful and terrifying at the same time. They also create a lot of other strange phenomena, from waterspouts to baseball-size hail. As pilots, we know to give these convective beasts a wide berth. Watch our online slide show to see why airplanes and thunderstorms don't mix. Then check out the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's thunderstorm awareness resources to learn how to steer clear of these violent storms.
METARS: YOU KNOW THE CODE, BUT DO YOU KNOW THE MEANING?
Many pilots could probably decode METARs in their sleep, but it's important to understand what all the information means—and how to incorporate it into preflight planning and decision making. For example, if a METAR says lightning is in the vicinity, how close is that? What effect will "VV010" have on your go/no-go decision? Test your knowledge of the ins and outs of METARs with the latest Safety Quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Then challenge yourself with previous Safety Quizzes.
DON'T LET MEDICAL PROBLEMS BREAK YOUR HEART
A heart problem doesn't necessarily mean the end of your flying days. Nearly 21,000 pilots are flying on special-issuance medicals with some type of cardiac medical history, including heart attack, coronary bypass surgery, angioplasty with coronary stents, heart rhythm problems, pacemaker, valvular disease, and even heart transplant. To get a special-issuance medical certificate for a heart condition, the FAA requires a maximum exercise treadmill stress test, routine blood chemistry profile, and cardiac exam report. The tests must not show evidence of disruption of blood supply to the heart or other significant abnormalities. For more information, call AOPA's medical certification specialists (800/872-2672), or visit AOPA Online.
FSS TIP OF THE WEEK: NO AIRCRAFT ID? NO PROBLEM
Pilots who use rental aircraft sometimes call flight service without knowing the N number for the airplane they will be flying. While an N number is preferred, you can also inform the briefer that you do not yet know the aircraft ID and that you would like to place your first and last name or other identifying information in the aircraft ID box. This will provide a quick and easy way to verify the briefing later if needed. Do not get a briefing under one N number if you will or could be flying a different aircraft. If you flew an aircraft with a different N number and had an incident or accident, there would be no record of a briefing under that aircraft ID. For more FSS tips, download AOPA's quick reference card and take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's online minicourse.
PILOT INPUT NEEDED ON FAA SAFETY OUTREACH
Recent FAA efforts have focused on improving aviation safety through education and community involvement. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation would like to measure awareness, usage, and value of the FAA's effort among pilots and provide feedback to the agency. Please take a moment to share your thoughts through this brief online survey. The foundation will compile the results and present the findings to the FAA next month.
A fatal Cessna 441 accident in Oregon last week has made it onto the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's watch list. What's unusual about the accident is that it happened during what seemed to be a normal landing in light winds. Read more about the accident in Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg's latest blog entry.
| Inside AOPA |
FISHING TRIP HOOKS 'THE ULTIMATE AIRPORT' IN PHOTO CONTEST
Terry Bardwell was in the right spot: While he and members of his fishing party anticipated a spectacular sunrise flight on their way to a fun-filled week at Lake Kabinakagami in Northern Ontario, Terry captured the early morning sun glistening off the water at Watson's Air Service in Wawa, Canada. Thanks to Gary Palinkas for entering the photo. Going to Oshkosh or just out flying? Get inspired, take a picture, and join the contest for a chance at cash prizes and to be published in AOPA Pilot. Go online to see the 2008 monthly contest winners and click on "2007 winners" to view last year's grand finale and a slide show of honorable mentions. This year's contest runs through Sept. 2.
SEE YOU AT OSHKOSH!
Is Oshkosh on your must-do list this summer? If you're heading to the show, which kicks off July 28 and runs through Aug. 3, make sure you visit AOPA's Big Yellow Tent. You'll see AOPA's 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Archer and have the opportunity to talk to the association's medical certification, government advocacy, and membership services representatives, along with staff from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation and AOPA Insurance Agency. Plus, on Tuesday, July 29, you can talk to an aviation attorney. See what else is going on at the tent. If you can't make it to Oshkosh, AOPA ePilot will bring you the latest news with a special edition on Tuesday.
AOPA MEMBERS: START YOUR ENGINES
If you're looking for the ultimate car rental experience, look no further than the newest edition to the Hertz Fun Collection: the Corvette ZHZ. The Corvette ZHZ will be available as part of the Fun Collection fleet at select airports throughout the country. Reserve your car through AOPA Online for discounts and to provide revenue to AOPA to help protect and defend general aviation.
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| 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 recently passed a small kidney stone, and my doctor has cleared me to fly. A friend told me that I would need to report this on my next medical application. Is this true?
Answer: Yes, you will need to report the kidney stone on your next application for a medical certificate. You will also need to provide your medical examiner with a summary of your history of kidney stones and a report of a recent (within 90 days) spiral CT, ultrasound, or IVP. If the reports confirm the absence of stones, if there have been no previous occurrences of stones, and if there are no other complications, the medical examiner may issue the certificate. For more information, read our subject report on kidney stones.
Got a question for our aviation services staff? The AOPA Pilot Information Center is a service available to all members as part of the annual dues. Call 800/872-2672, or e-mail to [email protected]. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to [email protected].
| Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Update |
BUTTONING UP THE SQUAWKS
AOPA's 2008 Get Your Glass Piper Archer spent last week under the care of Penn Avionics in West Chester, Pa., undergoing some minor avionics work. The staff at Penn handled some software updates, recalibrations, and other minor fixes. There's even a new player in the panel. We will give you the details next week. In the meantime, check out this week's update to learn how the shop resolved some minor squawks and get a sneak peek at our Oshkosh coverage.
| Picture Perfect |
The AOPA Online Gallery allows you to download your favorite aviation images to use for wallpaper or send a personalized e-card. Search the hundreds of fabulous images in our archives and select your favorites today! For more details, see AOPA Online.
| Aviation Events & Weather |
Looking for something to do this weekend? Wanting to plan an aviation getaway? See our online calendar of events. We've enhanced our calendar so that with one click, you can see all of the events listed in the calendar regions you selected when personalizing ePilot. Now you can browse events listed two weeks to a few months out to make your planning easier. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.
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 Jacksonville, Fla., and Memphis, Tenn., July 26 and 27; and in Champaign, Ill., and Fort Worth, Texas, Aug. 2 and 3. 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 Wichita, Kan.; Ypsilanti, Mich.; and Germantown, Tenn., on Sept. 8. Topics vary-for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.