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FAA FUNDING BILL STALLS IN SENATE
The U.S. Senate on May 6 failed to garner enough votes to limit debate on the FAA funding bill after concerns centered on nonaviation issues. The parliamentary procedure considered by the Senate is called a cloture vote and would have limited debate to 30 hours. It would not have allowed any amendments to be offered. Had it passed, it is likely the full Senate would have approved the bill. Unfortunately, the political debate over nonaviation provisions caused the FAA bill to be withdrawn for further consideration. The bill also prompted a veto threat by the White House, which pushed the hot button for a lot of AOPA members. Read their reactions on AOPA Online.
AOPA TO GET A SAY IN UAV CERTIFICATION STANDARDS
After asserting for years that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) should meet the same certification and operational standards as piloted aircraft before being allowed to operate freely in the National Airspace System, AOPA has been asked to participate on the FAA's aviation rulemaking committee to help develop those standards. "AOPA wants UAVs to be integrated seamlessly into the National Airspace System so that there isn't a negative impact on general aviation," said AOPA Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs Rob Hackman. Read more on AOPA Online.
BUDGET DEFICIT DERAILS FLORIDA USE-TAX EXEMPTION
Out-of-state aircraft owners who fly into Florida within six months of purchasing their aircraft could still be faced with a hefty use tax. The legislature adjourned last week without passing AOPA-backed legislation that would exempt aircraft that were in the state less than 21 days. Because of a $5 billion state deficit, many bills that included a tax exemption failed in the Senate. AOPA will work to push through the exemption if the legislature reconvenes in a special session later this summer.
BAD DATA UNFAIRLY PLAY UP GA MIDAIR THREAT
Flaws in the way the FAA collects and uses air safety data may provide an unrealistic view of the collision threat general aviation aircraft pose in busy terminal airspace, according to the Transportation Department's investigative arm. Of 66 total near midair collision (NMAC) reports that airline crews filed in fiscal year 2007, 16 (24 percent) were later determined to be no-hazard events. Yet they are still classified as near midair collisions in FAA records. Read more on AOPA Online.
FORMER CESSNA HEAD LEADS BOARD OF VISITORS
Cessna Chairman Emeritus Russell W. Meyer is the new chair of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Board of Visitors, a panel that helps grow and promote the foundation's safety mission. On May 1, Meyer accepted the gavel from departing chair and former FAA administrator David R. Hinson. "When [AOPA President] Phil Boyer asked me to chair the Board of Visitors he said it would be for two years," Hinson said at the transition ceremony. "Now, 11 years later, I am retiring, which says a lot about the Air Safety Foundation and this group. It has been my privilege to work with you and witness the phenomenal growth and quality of ASF programs and outreach." Read more on AOPA Online.
CITATION CJ4, PRODUCTION SKYCATCHER MAKE FIRST FLIGHTS
Cessna Aircraft Company is continuing to churn out new models and make rapid progress on those previously announced. The Citation CJ4 prototype made its first flight on May 5 in Wichita, Kan. It flew for more than two hours. It could be considered the luxury model of the Citation single-pilot jet family, with a predicted certification date in late 2009. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2010. It has a full-fuel payload of 1,000 pounds and a maximum payload (by leaving off fuel) of 2,100 pounds. Cessna says the aircraft will have a maximum speed of 435 knots. Also flying recently was the first production copy of the Cessna 162 piston-engine SkyCatcher, taking to the air just eight weeks after the prototype flew. The two-seater costs $111,500 and features a Garmin G300 avionics system.
POSITIVE PROSPECTS FOR THIELERT, BANKRUPTCY OFFICIAL SAYS
The bankruptcy administrator appointed to oversee the insolvency of Thielert Aircraft Engines said in a letter to Thielert customers that business operations will continue, at least temporarily, to maintain product viability and preserve reorganization opportunities. German attorney Bruno M. Kubler said Thielert is in a position to fill all orders it has accepted and to do so with the usual level of quality and reliability. That's good news for Diamond Aircraft, which has 30 Thielert-powered DA42 twin-engine aircraft in various stages of completion. Read more on AOPA Online.
COMPETITION TIGHTENS IN RED BULL AIR RACE SERIES
British pilot Paul Bonhomme edged out American Mike Mangold at the Red Bull Air Race on May 4 in San Diego. This was Bonhomme's second win of the 2008 season. American Kirby Chambliss rounded out the podium in a field of eight pilots who made it past the qualifying round. Read more on AOPA Online.
DAYJET GROWTH SLOWS DUE TO LACK OF FUNDING
DayJet has grounded all but 12 of the 28 Eclipse 500 jets used in its Florida-based charter service and has laid off 100 of its 260 employees after failing to find an additional $40 million in operating capital this year. The company will defer deliveries of what a spokeswoman termed "dozens" of new Eclipse 500 jets planned for this year. Read more on AOPA Online.
COMMANDER AIRCRAFT PRODUCTION THWARTED BY ECONOMY
Commander Premier Aircraft Corp. (CPAC) located in Cape Girardeau, Mo., is on the auction block after failing to find between $5 million and $10 million in financing needed to restart aircraft production. CPAC was formed in 2005 by 50 owners of Commander airplanes to acquire the assets of bankrupt Commander Aircraft Company. They wanted to build new Commanders and provide parts and service to the existing fleet. Read more on AOPA Online.
FORMER NARCO AVIONICS PRESIDENT BUYS COMPANY
Narco Avionics Inc., headquartered in Fort Washington, Pa., has been purchased by California-based Alan Hanks, the company's president from 1994 to 1998, under International Avionics, Inc., a Delaware-based holding company. Hanks and company officials said the purchase, made from the estate of the former owner, will allow more emphasis on work in progress to develop new products. Hanks said he expects to spend half his time in Pennsylvania directing the company. He lives in Dana Point, Calif., south of Los Angeles.
EXPLORER POST GETS TEENS INVOLVED IN AVIATION
When you're passionate about something, you want to share that passion with the world. For many pilots that means telling friends about aviation or taking them for rides. But for Darren Large, it means something bigger. Large started an Aviation Explorer post at Morristown Municipal Airport in New Jersey where he serves as the projects and grants administrator. The program helps young people ages 15 to 20 who are interested in aviation explore career options and develop an understanding of the field through firsthand experiences. Read more on AOPA Online.
SURE, I'LL FLY ACROSS THE ATLANTIC IN A SKYHAWK
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne is thinking about flying a diesel-powered Cessna 172 from the United States to Europe. If you know Tom, he's no stranger to open water. Read what's going through his mind in his latest blog posting.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Squawk Sheet |
CESSNAS TO REQUIRE AIR SOURCE SELECTOR INSPECTION
A new airworthiness directive (AD) affecting many Cessna models requires inspection of the alternate static air source selector valve. The AD, which takes effect May 12, requires inspections for certain 172, 175, 180, 182, 185, 206, 207, 208, 210, and 303 series airplanes. It is intended to ensure that the part number identification placard doesn't obstruct the air source. An obstructed alternate static air source could produce false altimeter, airspeed, and vertical speed indications.
TAYLORCRAFT STRUT FITTINGS TARGET OF NEW AD
Owners of Taylorcraft A, B, and F series models will be required to inspect wing strut attach fittings beginning June 6. A new airworthiness directive (AD) requires a one-time inspection for all land-based aircraft and a repetitive inspection for any affected aircraft that is float or ski eqsuipped. The AD requires inspection and repair or replacement of any corroded or cracked fittings. The AD affects more than 3,100 aircraft and follows an accident in which the wing separated from an airplane in flight. The AD is the second in recent months to affect Taylorcraft wing struts. A November 2007 AD requires inspection and possible replacement of the struts themselves. AOPA worked with the FAA to give pilots more options for inspection methods and replacement parts under that AD.
FAA CONCERNED ABOUT WIRING BUNDLES IN CESSNA CARAVANS
AOPA has filed comments in opposition to a proposed airworthiness directive for Cessna Caravan 208 and 208B airplanes. The AD would require the inspection of wiring bundles in the right and left wings. Loose wires would need to be secured while damaged ones would need to be replaced. More than 500 aircraft could be affected. AOPA said that the proposed AD is premature because a recently issued Cessna service bulletin appropriately addresses the maintenance issues. AOPA said the FAA needs to allow the industry more time to take action.
| Safety & Proficiency |
NEW CHART CHALLENGE TESTS ILS SKILLS
If you're an experienced instrument pilot, you might think there's nothing challenging in reading an ILS approach chart—after all, it's about the most straightforward IFR procedure. But don't be too sure you've got it all wrapped up. Attention to detail and a thorough understanding of chart symbology are musts. Test your knowledge with the new IFR Chart Challenge: ILS Approach online minicourse from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. The course, the third in a series of chart challenges, takes about 20 minutes to complete. Then try our other IFR Chart Challenge minicourses covering VOR and RNAV approaches.
NEVER AGAIN ONLINE: NO SHORTAGE OF CHALLENGES
High density altitude, a heavy load, and quickly deteriorating weather conditions threaten the pilot of a Piper Archer. Find out how he escapes in the latest installment of Never Again Online.
EXTRA PLANNING, FLEXIBILITY A MUST FOR GOOD BAHAMAS TRIPS
Pilots who want to enjoy the beautiful islands of the Bahamas by GA should take extra care when planning their trip and understand that the rules and conditions are different than those at home. "The Bahamas simply don't have the same communications capabilities we are used to when flying in the United States, and pilots need to be aware of that before they launch," explained Woody Cahall, AOPA vice president of government affairs for pilot information, who recently flew to eight airports in the Bahamas to get a firsthand look at conditions there. Read more on AOPA Online.
FSS TIP OF THE WEEK: EFFECTIVELY USING TIBS
Want a quick picture of the weather and wind before you get a preflight briefing? Flight service offers the transcribed information briefing service (TIBS)—a computer-generated recording of METARs, TAFs, winds and temperatures aloft, airspace procedures, and special announcements. To access TIBS, call 877/4TIBS-WX or 800/WX-BRIEF, Option 3. You will be prompted for your state and TIBS area. Use Lockheed Martin's online TIBS map to locate your area. For more FSS tips, take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's online minicourse, A Pilot's Guide to Flight Service , and download AOPA's quick reference card to carry in your flight bag.
BREEZE THROUGH YOUR NEXT MEDICAL
Many pilots renew their medical certification during the spring and summer months. To ensure you don't get hit with unnecessary delays in the event of a deferred medical application, follow the medical certification tips on AOPA Online. Before you visit your aviation medical examiner, fill out AOPA's TurboMedical interactive medical form. It will flag disqualifying answers and give you the information you need to get the problem corrected before your medical. Plus, you can print the form and give it to your AME to attach to your application so that you don't have to fill it out again. If you have any questions about medical certification, call our specialists at 800/USA-AOPA.
IMPROVE YOUR SAFETY BY LEARNING FROM OTHERS
Gain invaluable knowledge about flying safely by learning from the mistakes of others. Using your ePilot personalization preferences, like "piston single-engine" or "turbine," the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Accident Database generates a list of accidents that have been added to the database in the past 30 days. If you haven't personalized your newsletter, select your aircraft preferences from the "types of aircraft" section on the ePilot personalization page.
NEW REQUIREMENT SETS REGISTRATION TIMELINE
An addition to the federal aviation regulations (FARs) sets timelines for returning sales and registration information to the FAA after you sell an aircraft. Under FAR 47.41(b), anyone who sells an aircraft must return the registration card, with sales information completed on the back, to the FAA within 21 days. The new regulation took effect March 31. Read more on AOPA Online.
WHEN YOUR WORLD ROLLS OVER
If you ask a roomful of pilots how many have suffered vacuum pump failures, usually one-third to one-half raise their hands. AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg takes up the subject in his latest blog posting.
| Inside AOPA |
A COLORFUL PALETTE AWAITS YOUR PHOTO CONTEST VOTE
It's all up to you! Vote for your favorite photo. AOPA Pilot staff selected 12 pictures from the entries received in the April photo contest. The winning image will be announced in next week's ePilot and will be published on AOPA Online and in an upcoming issue of AOPA Pilot. The AOPA Pilot 2008 General Aviation Photography Contest runs through Sept. 2. Submit your photographs at AOPA Online to enter the contest with cash prizes totaling more than $5,000.
WHY WAIT IN LINE?
Expect more from your next car rental experience. With Avis Preferred Service you can rent a car with ease. They'll already know who you are and what kind of car you prefer. The personalized service provided by Avis Preferred is unparalleled and is available to AOPA members free of charge. Enroll today and start enjoying all the benefits Avis Preferred has to offer. Include your e-mail address and Avis will automatically e-mail your receipt within 24 hours of the car's return. Plus, now you can choose to fly past the tollbooths with Avis' e-toll option.
SERVICE, PRICE KEY TO AOPA INSURANCE AGENCY LOYALTY
Over the years, J. Barry Mitchell has owned five airplanes ranging from high-end pistons to light sport aircraft, and all have been insured through the AOPA Insurance Agency. "The price has always been competitive, but the best part of the experience is really service," Mitchell says of his many years as an AOPA Insurance Agency customer. "It's the knowledge of my agent and her professionalism. She's always available and responds quickly to any questions. Invariably she gets back to me within hours, even when I tell her it's not an emergency." Read more on AOPA 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: While reviewing the Airport Remarks section of the Airport/Facility Directory I read, "Group VI acft with a wingspan greater than 214' are restricted from using Twy L." What is a Group VI aircraft, and where can I look to find out what the classification means?
Answer: Airplanes are divided into six different design groups according to airplane tail height or wingspan. Aircraft with wingspans of 214 feet to 262 feet are classified as Airplane Design Group VI. The definition of each airplane design group is provided in Chapter 1 of FAA Advisory Circular 150/5300-13: Airport Design.
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 |
DESIGNING THE PANEL
When it comes to refurbishing an instrument panel, one of the most important steps is scoping out the panel design. Depending on the aircraft, this is a fairly simple task that only requires consideration of equipment placement. But in an airplane like AOPA's 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer, there are a number of design challenges. They include everything from pilot interface to space limitations to certification considerations. See what we came up with for the Archer's new glass-equipped instrument panel in this week's sweepstakes update.
| 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.
| Weekend Weather |
| ePilot Calendar |
UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS:
Bridgeport, Conn. A Three Wing open house takes place May 10 at Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial (BDR). For more information, contact Christine, 203/375-5795 extension 101, or visit the Web site.
Point Lookout, Mo. A Welcome to Wings fly-in and open house takes place May 10 at M. Graham Clark-Taney County (PLK). For more information, contact Ben Fisher, 417/332-1545, or visit the Web site.
Modesto, Calif. A Modesto Airport Day airshow takes place May 10 at Modesto City-County Harry Sham Field (MOD). For more information, contact Jerry Waymire, 209/968-2613.
Columbia, S.C. Thunder at Fort Jackson takes place May 17 at Fort Jackson. For more information, contact Anna Amick, 803/772-2945, or visit the Web site.
Rome, Ga. An American Heroes Aviation and Public Safety Expo takes place May 17 and 18 at Richard B. Russell (RMG). For more information, contact Mike Grier, 404/451-2212, 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 Sacramento, Calif., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Albany, N.Y., May 17 and 18; and Orlando, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., and Reston, Va., June 7 and 8. 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 Madison, Wis., May 13; Milwaukee, Wis., May 14; Manitowoc, Wis., May 15; Danville, Va., May 27; and Richmond, Va., May 28. The topic is "Top 5 Mistakes Pilots Make." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.