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CONGRESS PUNTS FAA FUNDING ISSUE INTO 2009
Call it the Washington, D.C., version of kick the can. With the latest extension of the FAA funding bill set to expire at the end of September, Congress wrangling over a $700 billion bail-out bill for U.S. financial institutions, and legislators wanting to get out of town to campaign, Congress decided the FAA funding issue could wait until next year. "That means we can declare victory in the battle against user fees, at least in 2008," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. On Sept. 23, the House and Senate passed a bill that extends the current aviation taxes on fuel and airline tickets until March 31, 2009. It also gives the FAA the authority to spend nearly $7.9 billion over the next six months. Read more on AOPA Online.
WHITE HOUSE HEARS PILOTS' CONCERNS ABOUT CBP PROPOSAL
During a Sept. 17 meeting with White House officials, AOPA voiced members' concerns about a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) proposal that would require pilots to electronically provide advance notice and passenger manifests for general aviation aircraft arriving and departing the United States. The White House Office of Management and Budget is reviewing the CBP proposal that garnered more than 3,000 public comments. The final rule is expected within the next few months. "While the idea of telling Customs who is on the aircraft prior to entering the United States is OK with members," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs, "we reinforced the fact that the requirement to do this electronically would significantly impair GA operations." Read more on AOPA Online.
FAA RESCINDS KNOWN ICING INTERPRETATION AT AOPA’S REQUEST
After two years of waiting, the FAA has finally acceded to AOPA’s request to rescind a letter of interpretation on known icing, saying it was published in error. But even with the old interpretation invalidated, the agency says it will be at least another month before pilots can expect new guidance. Read more on AOPA Online.
FAA AWARDS DUAT CONTRACTS TO EXISTING PROVIDERS
Pilots who use DUAT online weather and briefing services will have uninterrupted access to the service thanks to an FAA decision to award new contracts to the two existing providers. The contracts, awarded Sept. 17 to DTC and CSC, are set for one year with the option to renew for up to four additional years. AOPA applauded the FAA’s decision to initiate the five-year contract process earlier this year because the agency had been renewing the existing DUAT contract for only six- to nine-month periods, leaving the long-term future of DUAT availability in doubt. “DUAT is an important briefing tool for many pilots,” said Randy Kenagy, AOPA chief of staff for government affairs. “That is why we have pressed for its continued availability.”
SEAPLANE ACCESS TO LAKES RESTORED
The efforts of AOPA and numerous seaplane groups have paid off. Seaplane pilots will once again be allowed to access lakes managed by the Bureau of Reclamations. The revised rule that was issued this week took effect Sept. 24 and reverses an earlier ruling. In 2006, the Bureau of Reclamations ruled that seaplanes could not use lakes managed by the agency unless it could be proven that seaplanes were using the lake prior to the rule. AOPA sent a letter outlining its concerns to the bureau commissioner, opposing the ban and arguing that the rule was unreasonable. The Seaplane Association, Washington Seaplane Association, and the Washington State Department of Aviation also actively opposed the rule. Members who wish to comment on the new rule have until Nov. 24 to do so.
SOME INSTRUMENT PROCEDURES NOT IN LATEST JEPPESEN UPDATE
Because the FAA published an unprecedented number of changes and new approaches in a single update cycle, Jeppesen was unable to completely update its charts and databases in time for the current charting cycle deadline, the company told AOPA Sept. 25. As a result, some new procedures (mostly RNAV approaches) that appear in the FAA’s instrument approach plates are not included in the Jeppesen GPS database. Jeppesen says it expects to have resolved the issue in time for the next database update cycle.
SKYCATCHER TO UNDERGO SMALL DESIGN CHANGES
The crash of the Cessna SkyCatcher prototype on Sept. 18 during flight-testing will result in only small modifications where appropriate, a Cessna Aircraft Company spokeswoman said. The aircraft will become Cessna’s entry into the light sport aircraft market. A spokeswoman said the project engineer reports the aircraft entered a nose-down, normal spin. At the time the spin was entered, the test pilot had performed a power-on, cross-controlled “spin test.” Read more on AOPA Online.
WORK UNDER WAY ON NEW GA AIRPORT IN AUSTIN, TEXAS
In an exciting development for pilots in Texas, workers will soon be breaking ground, literally, to enhance Bird's Nest Airport in Austin, and make it a vibrant general aviation field. Last week, the Austin Zoning and Platting Commission granted the variance approval needed to begin moving dirt for construction of the new 6,025-foot runway at Bird's Nest, which is owned by Ron Henriksen. AOPA Regional Representative Shelly deZevallos attended the meeting to show AOPA's support. "Pilots essentially lost two GA facilities—Austin Executive and Robert Mueller Field—which were homes for about 800 aircraft at the end of 1999," explained AOPA Vice President of Local Airport Advocacy Bill Dunn. "After many frustrating attempts to foster a new airport, this is the first viable replacement, and AOPA will work to see it through to fruition." Read more on AOPA Online.
COMMENT DEADLINE NEARS FOR CHANGES TO '51-PERCENT RULE'
Pilots who are or plan to build experimental aircraft should take note of the FAA's effort to clarify its existing policy, also known as the 51-percent rule, which governs the homebuilt aircraft segment. The FAA is proposing revised guidance that they feel is necessary to ensure that an amateur builder completes the majority (51 percent) of fabrication and assembly of an aircraft. Read more on AOPA Online.
DAYJET GROUNDS FLEET
DayJet recently grounded almost its entire fleet. In May, the company had grounded half its fleet because it failed to find $40 million in needed funding. A report on SunSentinel.com said the air taxi company, with service to Florida and southern states, informed the FAA on Sept. 19 that it would ground all of its aircraft but one. The one aircraft will be used for executive travel as the company fights for needed funding. Read more on AOPA Online.
ECLIPSE RECEIVES FUNDING FOR PLANT IN RUSSIA
Eclipse has received the full $205 million it needed to build a factory in Ulyanovsk, Russia, where it will assemble the Eclipse 500. Funding came from the Russian State Bank Vnesheconombank, where Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs the supervisory board. Production in the factory located at the Ulyanovsk-Vostochny International Airport is expected to begin in 2010. The factory's ultimate capacity is projected to be 800 jets per year. Read more on AOPA Online.
MAN WHO SURVIVED FIREY CRASH RETURNS TO AIR, INSPIRES PILOTS
AOPA members' response to Logan Flood's battle back to the left seat after an aircraft accident left him burned, with only a 13-percent chance of survival, has been unanimous: pure inspiration. "What an inspiration to all who read this story. Logan's grit and determination is a high-bar example and incredible comeback. Well done, Logan," one member wrote. Read his remarkable story, listen to Logan recount the events, and watch a slide show in this special AOPA Online feature.
JOY OF FLIGHT: FLYING THE NEW YORK HUDSON RIVER CORRIDOR
Flying the New York Hudson River Corridor for a private skyline view of Manhattan is on many pilots' must-do list. Follow AOPA member Egbert Woelk's flight, and see what he did to prepare to fly through the narrow corridor in the latest installment of the Joy of Flight.
DRIFTING ON COURSE: ENGLISH PROFICIENT
A CRJ is quite a bit different than a Cub, and so are the checkrides in those aircraft. "The fire bell rang, and red lights flashed on the glareshield. I glanced left to the engine gauges and saw an engine spooling down. The brick slid right, then some right rudder pressure brought things in line. 'What have we got?' The captain stirred to life. 'Left engine fire,'" Jeremy King recounts of his CRJ checkride. Read about the experience and the paperwork snafu that momentarily threatened his certificate in this fifth installment of King's six-part series.
TURBINES AROUND THE WORLD
What's your idea of the dream adventure of a lifetime? It probably involves flying a high-performance, luxury airplane to exotic lands on a leisurely schedule, staying at five-star hotels along the way. And what about having agents set up your flight plans, secure overflight permits, provide your meals, and give you tours of scenic and historic locations as well? A lucky few got to experience that dream through Air Journey. Read about the adventure and view a slide show on AOPA Pilot Online.
VISIT THE WRIGHT BROTHERS MEMORIAL AND AOPA PILOT FACILITY
The Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills, N.C., where the brothers made their first powered flight, is a treasured landmark for general aviation pilots. With another month or two of moderate Outer Banks weather remaining, there's still time to visit the newly remodeled memorial. While visiting the memorial, be sure to drop in at AOPA's Pilot Facility, which is monitored by AOPA member and National Park Service volunteer Kenneth Pagurek. At the facility, pilots can take advantage of free access to state-of-the-art flight planning and weather briefing computers as well as phone lines for communication with a flight service station briefer or for use in flight plan filing. The AOPA Pilot Facility at First Flight honors the legacy of the Wright brothers while serving many future generations of visiting pilots.
NEW LOOK FOR 'AOPA ePILOT' COMING SOON
Stay tuned to future issues of AOPA ePilot. We'll unveil a new look soon. Don't worry, we'll still deliver the best news, including AOPA advocacy efforts, GA industry updates, and more.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Safety & Proficiency |
A PLACE FOR PAPER IN AN ELECTRONIC WORLD
If you're lucky enough to fly behind the latest in glass-cockpit technology, then you already know how much information is available to you at the push of a button. Even if the only "glass" in your panel is a GPS, you have a tremendous information resource at your fingertips. But that doesn't mean traditional tools, like VFR charts, are obsolete. In fact, keeping paper charts at the ready during your flight is always a good idea. "Charts are always there for you," says Woody Cahall, AOPA vice president of the Pilot Information Center. "They don't need batteries, they keep working if your electrical system goes down, and they are a great way to learn more about what's passing beneath your wings." Read more on AOPA Online.
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF FLYING'S UPS AND DOWNS
If there's one thing that student pilots, CFIs, and high-time veterans all have in common, it's a susceptibility to takeoff and landing mishaps. Mastering fundamental takeoff and landing skills requires attention to detail and a healthy respect for the limitations of airplane and pilot. Is the runway long enough? Will you clear obstructions? What is the density altitude? How do you compensate for a crosswind? When should you go around? Test your knowledge with the latest Safety Quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. For expert tips and techniques, join fellow pilots at the foundation's free live safety seminar, " Mastering Takeoffs and Landings."
PILOTS PRAISE FORMAT OF NEW AERODYNAMICS COURSE
Aerodynamics is a critical subject for pilots to grasp, but the traditional textbook approach can make this topic a mind-numbing snoozer. That's why the AOPA Air Safety Foundation took a decidedly different tack, creating a graphics-rich learning experience in its recent online course, Essential Aerodynamics: Stalls, Spins, and Safety. "A picture is indeed worth (at least) a thousand words, and the dynamic, interactive graphics were a marvelous aid to comprehension and learning, especially for this sometimes difficult topic," wrote pilot and AOPA member Todd Johnson in a recent note to the foundation. Todd and his wife took the 60-minute online course together and described the multimedia format as "fantastic." Try the course today.
TESTING THE EDGES OF THE ENVELOPE
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg discusses the Sept. 18 Cessna SkyCatcher prototype accident and explains some lessons that can be learned from it in his latest blog, " Poking the bear."
| Inside AOPA |
AOPA EXPO: GENERAL SESSIONS FEATURE FAREWELL TO PHIL
General sessions at AOPA Expo offer a unique opportunity for attendees to get the latest news affecting general aviation through panel discussions with aviation insiders. The opening general session, "The Day Before Yesterday: What the Election Could Mean for GA," on Thursday, Nov. 6, will feature a panel discussion with former FAA Administrator Jane Garvey, National Air Transportation Association President James Coyne, and other key aviation representatives. Members of AOPA's executive management team will lead the general sessions on Friday, Nov. 7, and Saturday, Nov. 8. Friday's session will focus on key activities AOPA has undertaken since Expo 2007. Saturday's session will focus on identifying the AOPA services and GA issues and opportunities that will affect us all over the next decade. The discussion will also feature insights and parting words from AOPA President Phil Boyer.
WRIGHT FLYER III REPLICA WINS MONTHLY PHOTO CONTEST
You can't go wrong with the Wright Flyer III replica, built by Mark Dusenberry of Dover, Ohio. That is exactly what John Lane thought when he took this captivating photo at daybreak on Oct. 5, 2005, during the 100-year celebration of the Wright brothers' first practical flight at Huffman Prairie in Dayton, Ohio. Lane started the Lebanon Warren County Airport in the early 1950s and received the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic and Wright Brothers Master Pilot awards. See a large image of the winning photo and the other monthly winners on AOPA Online. Voting for finalists and the 2008 grand prize winner will begin online Oct. 10.
ANSWERS TO YOUR AIRPORT-RELATED QUESTIONS A CALL AWAY
Have a problem at your airport? AOPA Pilot Information Center Senior Technical Specialist Tom Zecha is the man to call. He's the lead on airport issues, but he also can answer all your pilot-related questions. Zecha joined the Pilot Information Center team in October 2005. He holds a bachelor's degree in geography with a concentration in cartography from Frostburg University in Frostburg, Md. Zecha has logged more than 6,500 hours and has given more than 2,000 hours of flight instruction in his 18 years of active flying. He is an instrument-rated commercial pilot and also has CFI and advanced ground instructor certificates.
AOPA’S HIGH-TECH FLIGHT PLANNER READY FOR BETA TESTING
At AOPA Expo 2008, AOPA will launch its new, high-tech Internet flight planner. The program is currently in beta testing. AOPA Internet Flight Planner (AIFP) will be accessible to members through AOPA Online from any computer, anywhere in the world. AIFP features include a route planner that computes distance, time, and fuel usage based on cruising speed and type of aircraft; real-time weather and temporary flight restrictions; and enhanced terrain images. For each planned route, AOPA’S Airport Directory information will be displayed with links to fuel prices, terminal procedures, and local weather. Members can automatically update their navigation log and file an online flight plan directly to the FAA. AIFP will replace AOPA’s Real Time Flight Planner following beta testing.
| 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: Does Class F airspace exist anywhere in the world?
Answer: Class F airspace exists in other countries, such as Canada, but does not exist in the United States. Canada uses the Class F designation for what U.S. pilots consider special-use airspace. The International Civil Aviation Organization's classification for Class F airspace allows operations to be conducted under IFR or VFR, and ATC separation is provided to aircraft operating under IFR in Class F airspace.
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 |
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS 208GG?
Over the past few weeks, we've taken advantage of the Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer being parked in the hangar to go in-depth on some of the airplane's advanced equipment. But this week, your sweepstakes airplane is on the move. Read this week's sweepstakes update to find out where the Archer is today.
| Aviation Events & Weather |
Looking for something to do this weekend? Want 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 or to search all events in the calendar 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 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 Clayton, Mo., Plymouth Meeting, Pa., and Greenville, S.C., Sept. 29; Decatur, Ga., Sedalia, Mo., and Bethlehem, Pa., Sept. 30; Springfield, Mo., and New Cumberland, Pa., Oct. 1; Huntsville, Ala., and Pittsburgh, Pa., Oct. 2. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.