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Today's Top Stories
AOPA President-elect Fuller reaches out to Obama
As AOPA President-elect Craig Fuller prepares to take the controls of the association on Jan. 1, he's already laying the groundwork needed for successful advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill. And he's started at the top, with a congratulatory letter to President-elect Barack Obama that explains the value of general aviation to the economy and its key role in the country's infrastructure. Fuller also pledged to work with the Obama administration to make GA the "largest, safest, most efficient air transportation system in the world." Read Fuller's letter to Obama >>
DOT transition team gets 'Top 5 AOPA Issues'
A new FAA administrator, FAA reauthorization, ATC modernization, airport investment and protection, and the environment topped AOPA's list of important general aviation issues during a Nov. 24 meeting with President-elect Barack Obama's Department of Transportation transition team. AOPA President-elect Craig Fuller, who will take the helm on Jan. 1, wasted no time setting the record straight on user fees. "There's no reason to reopen the user fee debate because members haven't changed their position," Fuller told members of the transition team. Read more >>
Eclipse filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware Nov. 25, simultaneously announcing an agreement for the sale of its assets for a combination of cash, equity, and debt to an affiliate of ETIRC Aviation S.a.r.l., Luxembourg, subject to higher and better offers. At the same time, the company sent letters to some of its customers outlining immediate consequences of the sale, including denial of warranty claims, an end to the JetComplete support program, and the likelihood that those who have made deposits or requested refunds will lose their money. Read more >>
Exxon expresses concern about jet fuel in diesel aircraft engines
Exxon is asking all FBOs that sell its jet fuel to sign and return an indemnity form before putting the fuel in piston diesel engine aircraft. About 200 aircraft in the United States operate with diesel engines. In a Nov. 17 memo, the company said it "does not support or endorse the supply of jet fuel (for) aircraft powered by diesel engines." Exxon has identified a number of technical reasons for its new stance. AOPA plans to raise concerns about this issue at an industry fuel standards committee meeting next month. Meanwhile, Diamond Aircraft reacted to the notice with surprise, saying that it was unaware of any jet-fuel related service difficulties in any Thielert-powered Diamond airplane. Read more >>
Airframe parachute firm cuts staff
Ballistic Recovery Systems Inc. announced Nov. 21 that it had temporarily laid off about 25 percent of its workforce, primarily at its South St. Paul, Minn., headquarters. Recent cutbacks by two major customers necessitated the move, BRS said in a press release. The company designs and manufactures whole-airframe emergency parachute systems for general aviation, light sport, and ultralight aircraft. BRS believes this layoff may last several weeks to months, depending on when its customers see their own sales improve. Read more >>
Cirrus cuts December production
Cirrus Design Corporation announced to its work force on Nov. 25 that aircraft production for the month of December would be significantly reduced. As a result, a number of employees will be furloughed at the company's Duluth, Minn., and Grand Forks, N.D., facilities. The Duluth News Tribune is reporting that 335 employees will be laid off in Duluth and about 165 in Grand Forks. Read more >>
FAA to change charting agent policy
In an effort to cut costs and make the National Aeronautical Charting Office's Chart Agent Network more efficient, the FAA has informed chart agents about its plan to raise the minimum sales threshold for chart agents. In order to remain a charting agent after Oct. 1, 2009, the business would need to have annual chart sales of $5,000, not the current $500. While NACO would no longer be supplying charts to those who can't meet the threshold, the FAA has said that it will allow large charting agents to sell large quantities of charts to individual FBOs. AOPA is concerned that this could make it more difficult for pilots to buy charts and will work with the FAA to determine the impact. The FAA will be hosting meetings on this proposal. For details, see the FAA's notice.
Man on a mission
When AOPA President Phil Boyer headed to his office on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, little did he know that the organization he had spent 10 years crafting would play such a pivotal role in protecting the rights of general aviation pilots during a time of national crisis. Like a suit of armor, the parts of the organization honed and fine-tuned for a decade coalesced that day to protect GA from those seeking to ground it permanently or demanding severe restrictions indefinitely on flying. That was just one of Boyer's many successes as AOPA's third president. Read more in this special AOPA Pilot feature >>
For most pilots, setting an official speed record would be a lofty enough goal in itself. But for Michael Nau and his father Dennis, that was only part of the plan. The two pilots decided to attempt a speed record between Blaine Municipal and Vista Field in Washington to draw attention to plans to close both general aviation airports. Read more >>
The perfect canvas
There's something inherently beautiful about general aviation and the places and people it touches. Take earth, water, or sky, add a sunset or a season, and mix in an aircraft, a person, or an event to portray its amazing culture. All year, ePilot readers have voted in the AOPA Pilot 2008 Photo Contest to pick the best aviation photograph that captures the culture. Take a look at the top rankings in each category (Aerial, Aircraft, Airports, Altered, and Pilots). See photos >>
Sennheiser introduces new headset
German audio company Sennheiser recently introduced a new active noise canceling headset called the HMEC 250. The headset features Sennheiser's NoiseGard 2.0, the company's active noise canceling system, as well as peak volume level protection, a foldable design, separate volume controls, and auxiliary audio input for music or cell phone. The HMEC 250 also has a new Sennheiser feature called TalkThrough that allows the wearer to hear others in the cockpit directly through the headset without taking it off. The passenger's voice is picked up through a small microphone in the headset that plays over the user's headset. Retail price for the new HMEC 250 is $549.
Flag raising dedicates AOPA Foundation
Blue sky and chilly winds set the backdrop Nov. 25 for a special flag raising ceremony at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Md. The ceremony served as a dedication of the young AOPA Foundation. The foundation, announced at AOPA Expo earlier in November, is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. It was established to raise funds to increase aviation safety, educate the public on GA, preserve and protect community airports, and encourage more people to learn to fly. The AOPA Foundation has raised $26.5 million toward a $58 million capital campaign called "The Campaign for General Aviation—Our Freedom To Fly."
Flying motorcycle the next roadable airplane?
Samson Motorworks claims it has the utmost in roadable aircraft with its new SkyBike. The SkyBike is a three-wheeled, two-seat motorcycle with a telescoping main wing and a canard. Powered by a shrouded single propeller driven by a rotary engine, the vehicle will supposedly fly at 130 mph—although it hasn't flown yet. Read more AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Tom Haines' blog entry.
Joy of Flight: Small plane travel
Tired of flying to the same old destinations? Take a lesson from Bill Babcock in "Small plane travel" and explore those terra incognita areas of your sectional charts. Share your aviation adventures by submitting a story and photos. For more Joy of Flight stories, see AOPA Online.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
New quiz takes the chill out of winter preflight
Winter offers some of the smoothest air for flying, but the trick can be getting the airplane off the ground. In colder climates, ice, frost, and snow accumulate on wings and other surfaces when an aircraft is parked outside. The disrupted airflow can substantially alter flight characteristics—and every year accidents occur as a result. Think you've got winter preflight down cold? Test your knowledge with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's new quiz on wing contamination. Then chill out with previous Safety Quizzes.
Flying to grandma's house
If you're tired of long car rides with the kids, an airplane may be the perfect vehicle for getting to holiday celebrations with family. But don't forget to do a little planning ahead to ensure a smooth and safe trip. In addition to all the usual considerations, like packing snacks and entertainment, you'll want to think about a few extra items, especially hearing protection and proper safety restraints for little ones. Read more >>
A Lear 45 on approach to Mexico City crashed several weeks ago after it got too close when following a Boeing 767. Read about the accident and lessons that can be learned from AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg in his latest blog entry.
Pilots get pro-airport message to public
When you want to get to know your neighbors, you invite them over for a visit. So why not do the same for your airport? That was part of the reasoning behind the upcoming airport open house planned for Dec. 6 at North Las Vegas in Nevada. When a high profile accident at the field earlier this year tarnished its image and raised new safety concerns among its neighbors, local pilots realized they needed to take action to help the public understand the value of their airport. So AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Kathleen Snaper and the Clark County Aviation Association got permission to hold an open house and invite the public to learn more about their airport. Read more >>
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.
Save money, avoid delays with Avis eToll
Ever found yourself stuck in a long line of traffic inching your way toward a toll plaza, wasting time and gas? A recent study surveying Avis frequent business travelers has found that the amount of time spent waiting in cash toll lines has doubled since last year. Avoid the lines by driving through the electronic toll payment lanes with Avis eToll, an electronic toll collection program. This program allows you to skip the cash toll lines and reach your destination faster. The next time you need to rent a car, take advantage of Avis eToll and enjoy the ride. For a discount, use AOPA discount code A451348 and save up to 25 percent on your car rental. While you save money, you'll be providing valuable revenue to AOPA.
Gift ideas for the pilot in your life
Looking for something useful to give your pilot friends and family members? Check out AOPA's 2008 Holiday Gift Guide. See products that include GPS receivers, leather flight jackets, a fingertip oximeter, sunglasses, headsets, flight simulators, flight bags, and battery caddies.
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 fairly new CFI and last year I completed the Initial TSA Security Awareness Training Online Course. To meet the requirements for recurrent training, do I take that same course again?
Answer: No, you do not take the same online course for recurrent training. You must complete both the TSA Recurrent Training Module and the appropriate certificate of completion or logbook entry provided at the end of the document. Your flight school can also develop its own recurrent security awareness training by following these guidelines.
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
Archer loaded with accessories
There will only be one grand prize winner of AOPA's 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes. In addition to a beautifully refurbished, glass-equipped Piper Archer, the winner will get some other goodies as well. So while you dream of owning the Archer, don't forget to drool over the accessories too. See this week's sweepstakes update to learn about them.
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!
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 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