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Today's Top Stories
The Bellanca Decathlon flown by Steve Fossett on the day he disappeared in September 2007 has been found in California, rather than in Nevada where past searches have concentrated. Late Oct. 2, NTSB investigators said that a small amount of human remains was found in the aircraft, adding that it would be enough for a coroner to examine. The aircraft was discovered well across the California border in Madera County, a mountainous region with terrain above 9,000 feet, according to a tour operator in the area. A hiker exploring an off-trail area near Red's Meadow Oct. 1 found cash, a pilot's certificate with Fossett's name on it, a Soaring Society of America membership card with Fossett's name, and a badly weathered sporting license issued by the National Aeronautic Association. Read more>>
No user fees this year
On Sept. 30, the very day that FAA funding was set to expire, President Bush signed the "Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2008," which means the FAA has the money to continue operating until March 31, 2009. "We've won the battle against user fees for now," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "This extension means that aviation fuel taxes remain at their current levels, and the FAA can't charge any new fees for the length of this act." Read more>>
AOPA strong in changing times, Boyer tells Bonanza pilots
General aviation took off in popularity in the 1920s with barnstormers, and since then, the industry, its aircraft, avionics, and pilots have evolved greatly. But the organization at the heart of it has withstood the test of time without changing its mission to protect GA, AOPA President Phil Boyer explained to pilots Sept. 27 at the American Bonanza Society Convention's banquet in Lexington, Ky. Boyer told of one of the association's earliest battles: After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the government sought to ban GA from the skies. Read more>>
GAO says no to user fees
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the FAA's plan to auction landing rights at New York-area airports is illegal. The GAO's opinion reinforces an earlier rebuke from Congress, which had already told the FAA that its "slot auctions" proposal violated the law and the intent of Congress. Read more>>
Almost one year after the FAA released its implementation plan for replacing today's radar system with a satellite-based surveillance system known as ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast), the aviation rulemaking committee formed to review the proposal has called for sweeping changes that reflect many of AOPA's earlier recommendations. The committee reviewed thousands of comments from pilots and recommended 36 changes that AOPA plans to use to educate lawmakers and leaders about the issues facing GA. Read more>>
Changes to 51-percent rule unnecessary, AOPA says
AOPA is asking the FAA to enforce existing policies for amateur-built aircraft rather than creating new rules that could negatively affect homebuilders. In comments filed Sept. 30 with the FAA, AOPA argues that proposed changes in the rules would add unnecessary complexity and place an unreasonable burden on the individual amateur builder. Under current rules, amateur builders must complete the majority of the work on their aircraft, a requirement known as the 51-percent rule. The FAA has proposed changing the rule to specify that amateur builders must complete at least 20 percent of the assembly and 20 percent of the fabrication of the aircraft with the remaining 11 percent falling into either category at the builder's discretion.
Don't limit local zoning authority on cell towers, AOPA says
AOPA is urging the Federal Communications Commission to deny a petition that would limit local communities' zoning authority when it comes to sites for cell towers and antennas. The petition, presented by CTIA, the trade association for the cell phone industry, asks that the FCC create a "shot clock" of 45 or 75 days for action on wireless antenna or tower zoning applications. Under the plan, applications would automatically be granted if local governments miss that deadline. AOPA strongly encouraged the agency to deny the petition, warning that a stopwatch can't be placed on safety, and tight time restrictions are not in the best interests of the aviation community or the public. Read more>>
AV80R is bright, colorful, capable
Bendix/King, long missing from the handheld GPS market, has other handheld manufacturers looking over their shoulders with its recently introduced AV80R, a touch-screen, handheld GPS that can be connected to an XM receiver. The AV80R can be used both on the road for turn-by-turn directions and in the air, providing flight planning and moving map navigation—including a look-ahead contour presentation and the ability to overlay datalink weather. Read more>>
Drifting on course: First-timer
Sitting across the desk from his IOE captain, Jeremy King could hardly believe that he was merely one hour away from becoming an airline pilot. The long road that led to this moment weighed heavily on his thoughts. His dream would soon become reality. Read more in the final installment of King's six-part series.
Turbine Edition: Fly your own
What do actor Harrison Ford, retired cable television executive Gordon Rock, and inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, have in common? They are turbine pilots who redefine what it means to take control. From exotic vacation destinations to spur-of-the-moment business trips, these pilots enjoy the fun and flexibility that only general aviation can offer. Read more>>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Takeoff distraction dooms Citation
A relatively minor in-flight distraction can quickly lead to disaster if the pilot forgets to fly the airplane. On Jan. 12, 2007, a Cessna 525 CitationJet crashed shortly after takeoff in Van Nuys, Calif. The copilot failed to lock a front baggage door, which flew open during climbout and distracted the pilot—a 38,000-hour ATP. Several witnesses also thought they saw dark objects fall from the airplane and enter one of the engines. When NTSB investigators examined the wreckage, they discovered a page from a Jeppesen manual protruding from one of the fan assemblies. Read more>>
In July 2003 a wonderful new era began for aviation. That was when WAAS capability was added to GPS navigation. And that meant that GPS navigation accuracy improved by five times over plain-Jane GPS navigators. Today, someone with a WAAS-enabled GPS receiver can shoot instrument approaches to altitudes as low as 200 feet above the runway's elevation, thanks to the extreme accuracy of the WAAS GPS signal. Learn about flying the different WAAS approaches.
Keep to the right
You set out on a cross-country, but decide to divert from your originally planned destination. Does the new destination airport have right or left traffic? The FAA has placed a special notation on sectional charts. The letters "RP" with the runway numbers denote runways with right traffic. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation thinks that should be extended to the airport diagram section of instrument approach charts. What do you think? Share your opinion on Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg's blog.
Boyer advocates for GA and airports in Alaska
AOPA President Phil Boyer received standing ovations for his presentations to Alaskan pilots this week in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau. Boyer also spent a considerable amount of time lobbying on behalf of general aviation. Boyer addressed more than 150 state aviation officials at the annual convention of the National Association of State Aviation Officials. He reminded them of the importance of GA to their communities and of AOPA's strong support for GA airports. He urged them to continue to partner with AOPA to fight against the threats to airports, including residential encroachment and unwarranted security regulations. And he said airports need to be proactive in addressing environmental issues that will become more of a factor in the future. Read more>>
Houses and airports 'don't mix,' AOPA says
For the second time in a year, AOPA is asking officials in Sacramento County, California, not to allow development of 208 homes less than 700 feet from the runway at Rancho Murieta Airport. "Common sense tells you that houses and airports just don't mix," said Heidi Williams, AOPA senior director of airports. Read more>>
This week marks the final deadline for discounted AOPA Expo registration. Advance registration, which provides a savings up to 29 percent, will end on Monday, Oct. 6 (5 p.m. EDT). This year's AOPA Expo will be in San Jose, Calif., from Nov. 6 through 8. Expo provides an opportunity to chat with aviation experts, tour indoor and outdoor aircraft displays and exhibits, learn about new technology, attend safety seminars, and take part in fun social events. Register in advance online.
Protect yourself with AOPA Aircraft Title Services
Buying an airplane is a stressful endeavor. One must-do step along the way is a title search, which lets you know the lien status of the airplane as well as the incident/accident history, the database of major alterations or repairs, and the name and address of the current owner. Protect yourself with a title search and escrow services from AOPA Aircraft Title Services. Doing the deal in cash, face-to-face with no deposit probably doesn't necessitate an escrow. But if there's a lien, or if you're doing the deal from a distance, escrow is smart money. With AOPA Aircraft Title Services, a phone call and a few forms take all the guesswork and stress out of the deal. For more information call 800/711-0087, or go online.
When it comes to aircraft financing, experience is everything
Your local bank may see a few aircraft loans a year. The AOPA Aircraft Financing Program sees thousands and has experienced loan specialists ready to walk you through your aircraft purchase—whether it's a piston airplane, light jet, or light sport aircraft—and answer all of your questions. The program offers competitive rates, extended repayment terms, no pre-payment penalties, and a convenient and free auto-pay option, and your AOPA membership dues will be paid for the life of your loan. Your loan specialist will take care of all of the paperwork and ensure it is filed properly. This is the only Aircraft Financing Program endorsed by AOPA, and it helps to support general aviation. To apply, call 800/62-PLANE or go online.
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Here's a question asked by an AOPA member who contacted our aviation services staff through the AOPA Pilot Information Center. Test your knowledge.
I just passed my instrument checkride, and I now have a temporary pilot certificate. Am I allowed to fly internationally with a temporary pilot certificate?
Yes, you can fly internationally with a temporary pilot certificate (private or higher). However, if you are flying an aircraft with a pink-colored temporary registration, flights outside the United States are prohibited until you receive a permanent aircraft registration certificate from the FAA.
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
Installing a 406-MHz ELT
Among the many upgrades your 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer has is a new 406-MHz ELT made by Kannad. Although 406-MHz ELTs are still a new piece of safety equipment in the GA arena, they've been on boats for years. Satellite monitoring of 121.5-MHz ELT signals will end on Feb. 1, 2009, so now is a good time to look at the option of upgrading. Check out this week's sweepstakes update for more information on the ELT, how it was installed, and why we went with a 406.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a Web Production Editor, Manager of Aviation Security, Aviation Technical Specialist, Director of Development, and Associate Project Manager in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. To learn more about these and other career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
Looking for some really fabulous aviation photography? All the air-to-air photos and beautifully detailed ground images used by AOPA Pilot magazine over the years are yours at the click of a mouse button. Download your favorite images to use for wallpaper or send an e-postcard. For more details, see 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 San Jose, Calif., Indianapolis, Ind., and Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 4 and 5; Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Oct. 11 and 12; Windsor, Conn., Wichita, Kan., and Corpus Christi, Texas, Oct. 18 and 19. 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 Bolingbrook, Ill., and Madison, Wis., Oct. 6; Northbrook, Ill., Murray, Ky., and Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 7; Rockford, Ill., Frankfort, Ky., and Mantiwoc, Wis., Oct. 8; and Peoria, Ill., Oct. 9. 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