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Today's Top Stories
Customs and Border Protection officials listened, in part, to general aviation pilots' concerns regarding the agency's proposal for advance information on private aircraft arriving and departing the United States. In its final rule, the agency mitigated some of the concerns that were raised, but it still imposes new security requirements. The final rule requires that flight information and passenger manifests for aircraft arriving and departing the United States be filed online, but the agency will work to accommodate pilots in remote locations without Internet access. Read more >>
Chertoff hears pilots' top security concern
AOPA members don't mind letting Customs and Border Protection officials know when they are planning a border-crossing flight, but they need reasonable options in order to comply, AOPA Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Andy Cebula told Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Cebula made his comment following Chertoff's Nov. 17 speech on general aviation security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Read more >>
Obama transportation transition team in place
President-elect Barack Obama's Department of Transportation transition team will be developing policy documents and information on positions of interest to the new administration, which will be important as selections are made for secretary of the departments of transportation and homeland security and for FAA administrator. AOPA will keep you up to date on the transition and what the key cabinet selections mean to GA. Read more >>
Executive order supports ATC modernization
President Bush has issued an executive order in support of efforts to modernize the nation's air traffic control system and reduce air traffic congestion through the Next Generation Air Transportation System, commonly called NextGen. It is unclear what the order, or the NextGen program, will really mean for aviation. "AOPA is positioned to work with the incoming administration to define what NextGen really means and determine how to implement it in a way that delivers real benefits to GA," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. Read more >>
Lockheed to focus on 'flight service experience'
When Lockheed Martin began modernizing the flight service system in early 2007, pilots experienced an array of issues, including lost flight plans and long hold times. But for most of 2008, Lockheed has met its performance standards for briefers to answer phone calls within 20 seconds, answer radio calls within five seconds, and file flight plans within three minutes. In addition, Lockheed Martin indicates that it is emphasizing the quality of the briefings and expanding the knowledge base of its briefers. Read more >>
Major win promises millions for embattled airport
In a 4-1 vote, the Oceanside, Calif., City Council has approved a 50-year "development lease" by Airport Property Ventures. The Los Angeles-based company, which includes former executives of the agency that runs Los Angeles International Airport, has promised to spend $21 million on airport improvements over the next 25 years. Read more >>
Four rookie pilots, one only 24 years old, will join the ranks of those competing for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship title in 2009. The youngest of the new pilots, Canada's Pete McLeod, says his goal is to win the title before he is 30. Also joining the air race circuit are Japan's Yoshihide Muroya, the first Red Bull competitor from Asia; Matt Hall, Australia's first contender for the title; and Matthias Dolderer of Germany. Read more >>
Eclipse meets its payroll
Eclipse Aircraft paid employees this week after failing to meet its payroll obligations on Nov. 13, and very light jet production is continuing at the company's Albuquerque, N.M., plant. Read more >>
Colorado Eclipse jet owner watches, awaits fate of company
Pilot Marc Arnold was one of the first to order an Eclipse 500 jet almost 10 years ago. He's put about 100 hours on the jet since he took delivery of it in March, but now he's caught in the economic turmoil surrounding the company. Read more in "Colorado pilot stuck between a jet and a hard place" on Examiner.com.
Diamond offers 'economic stimulus package'
With news of layoffs and production slowdowns dominating the general aviation industry, Diamond Aircraft has taken a different approach, using the down economy to try to sell airplanes. On Nov. 17, Diamond launched its so-called economic stimulus package, dubbed "Fly for Free." Now, you can't really fly for free, but the company is offering incentives to help cut ownership and operating costs. Read more >>
Stick and Rudder Flying Club turns 60
AOPA President Phil Boyer made a special trip to give the keynote address at the Stick and Rudder Flying Club's sixtieth anniversary celebration at Waukegan Regional Airport in Illinois on Nov. 15, but the group ended up giving him a special honor. Club President Kenneth Jeep presented Boyer with a special lifetime membership award for his service to general aviation. The flying club was established by Tom Booth in October 1948; flights cost $3 per hour, and membership cost $30 plus monthly $2 dues. Read more >>
Avidyne brings satellite weather to international customers
Satellite weather has become essential equipment for many U.S. pilots—and Avidyne's MLX770 two-way datalink transceiver is meant to deliver similar capabilities overseas. Avidyne announced that it has received U.S. and European regulatory approval to install its Iridium-based transceivers in about 700 general aviation aircraft ranging from piston singles to pressurized turboprops. Read more >>
Pilots bring toys to needy children
Pilots across the country are doing their part to bring holiday cheer to needy children, and they're inviting you to join them. Barnes-Westfield Airport in Westfield, Mass., is holding its Sixth Annual Toys for Tots Fly-In on Dec. 6. Pilots who bring an unwrapped toy will get a 20-cent-per-gallon fuel discount and 20 percent off a meal at the Runway Restaurant. For those a little further south, the Virginia Chapter of the Ninety-Nines is hosting a toy airlift. Pilots are encouraged to put donation boxes at their airports. Volunteers will then fly all the new toys to Chesterfield County Airport on Dec. 13, where they will be collected by the National Guard for distribution to the families of military personnel and wounded veterans. Want to spread the word about toy lifts in your area? Got an idea for how you can use your airplane to spread holiday cheer? E-mail the details to [email protected].
FAA extends parachute packing interval
Pilots who use parachutes for various flight operations will need to have them repacked a little less often under a final rule issued by the FAA on Nov. 19. Under the new rule, which AOPA supported, parachutes with canopies, shrouds, and harnesses made of nylon, rayon, or other synthetic material will need to be repacked every 180 days, instead of the current 120 days. The decision to lengthen the interval was based on data from the parachute industry and will reduce the cost of maintaining a parachute by eliminating one packing interval each year. The new rule takes effect Dec. 19.
In an ongoing effort to stretch more flying out of our aviation dollars, AOPA is seeking your tips on frugal flying. Have you found creative ways to operate your aircraft more efficiently? Better manage maintenance, training, hangar, or insurance costs? Or buy aviation-related goods in bulk or at lower prices? Share your experiences with fellow members in print and online.
AOPA's Good As New 172 training pilots in Miami
Ever wonder where AOPA's sweepstakes airplanes end up a few years after the giveaway? AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton K. Marsh found the association's 1993 sweepstakes airplane being put to use as a flight school trainer at Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport in Kendall, Fla. Read more in his latest blog entry. Learn about AOPA's past sweepstakes airplanes in "The Lucky Ones" in the March 2008 AOPA Pilot.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
You've already heard about changes to the way the FAA asks aviation medical applicants about their driving records, but new medical application forms arriving at your AME's office also feature new questions and terms. Read more >>
Scud running leads to tower strike
As Thanksgiving approaches, many pilots are planning to fly to see family for the holiday. The pressure to get there and then return home on schedule can be strong, but it shouldn't compel pilots to exercise poor judgment. Flying home on Thanksgiving weekend in 2005, the VFR-only pilot of a Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee attempted to scud run below a 900-foot ceiling. The relatively flat Nebraska terrain was forgiving, but the 1,000-foot agl radio tower in his path was not. The collision sheared off both wings. Read more in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Verify, verify, verify
On the night of Sept. 19, a runway incursion resulted in a near-collision on Runway 6 at the Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, Pa. Mesa Air Shuttle flight 7138, a Canadair CRJ aborted takeoff at 120 knots skidding around a Cessna R172K that had just landed and was still taxiing on the runway. AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg points out some lessons that can be learned from the close call in his latest blog entry.
Join the Airport Support Network today
Ensuring the health and vitality of your airport is up to you—residential development and economic and political pressures can restrict your flying. Every day nearly 2,000 Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers are working with AOPA headquarters to help save their airports, but we need more. Below is a link to a list of the airports where an ASN volunteer could make a difference.
To nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer click here.
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit www.aopa.org/asn.
Pass on the new 'Let's Go Flying!' flier
Do you know someone whose eyes light up when you tell stories about flying? At AOPA Expo 2008, hundreds of excited attendees asked for multiple copies of the Let's Go Flying! Get Started flyer. The same brochure provided at Expo is available online. Help spread the word that Let's Go Flying! provides resources for nonpilots interested in GA. The brochure can be downloaded, printed, or e-mailed directly from the Web site. The Let's Go Flying! initiative is AOPA's outreach to the public to interest more people in learning to fly. With your help, Let's Go Flying! will ensure that GA moves in a positive direction, keeping heads in the clouds now and for generations to come.
Ready-made aviation presentations for schools, clubs
AOPA's dynamic aviation education program, PATH to Aviation, offers a variety of resources to pilots, at no cost, to help you share your enthusiasm and knowledge of flying with students or aviation enthusiasts. From flight training and aviation career information, to ready-made presentations on the types of GA aircraft and instrumentation, AOPA's PATH program provides tools for you to share with local schools, aviation clubs, and other groups. Read more >>
Heading home for the holidays?
AOPA offers great rates on airfare, hotels, and cruises through AOPA Online Travel. You can save on your car rental from Alamo, Avis, and Hertz with special AOPA discounts and members-only coupons for free rental days, dollars off, and free upgrades. With member savings like that, you could see your AOPA membership pay for itself. Plus, a portion of all the revenue generated is returned to AOPA and reinvested to fund our efforts to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation. If you're planning to head home for the holidays, be sure to book your travel through the only program that not only saves you money, but also supports general aviation. Book your trip today.
Spread the joy of flight with aviation-themed holiday cards
Share your love of flight this holiday season with aviation-themed holiday cards. A portion of the proceeds from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's holiday cards help the foundation provide free safety programs to pilots around the country. To order or view the cards, visit the foundation's Holiday Card Center.
Changing mailing or e-mail addresses? Click here to update.
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 am a student pilot under the age of 40, and my third class medical certificate is now valid for 60 calendar months. However, the student pilot certificate portion of my medical is about to expire because it is only valid for 24 calendar months. How do I get a new student pilot certificate when I do not need a new medical?
Answer: You can request a new stand-alone student pilot certificate (FAA form 8710-1) from any FAA Designated Pilot Examiner or by scheduling an appointment with your local flight standards district office.
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
Breaking down the sweepstakes pieces
After watching a year's worth of upgrades, fixes, and other general improvements on the 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Archer, you may have been inspired to make some modifications of your own. We've done it all, from a newly overhauled engine to new wheelpants. See this week's sweepstakes update to learn what many of the components cost and what it takes to install them on your airplane.
Postcards, AOPA's new online photo gallery, allows you to upload your own aviation photography as well as view, rate, and comment on others' photos. Your favorite aviation images from AOPA Pilot are still available online through this new gallery. Take a look, and submit your own photos!
AOPA CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a Vice President of Marketing, an Aviation Technical Specialist, a Business Analyst, and a Marketing Manager. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
Aviation Events & Weather
Want 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.
Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Anchorage, Alaska, Nov. 22 and 23; Denver, Colo., and Chicago, Ill., Dec. 6 and 7; and Orlando, Fla., Dec. 13 and 14. 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 Towson, Md., Dec. 2. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Got news? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].
Editorial Team : ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller | Contributors: Warren Morningstar, Alton Marsh