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Today's Top Stories
Town votes to save airport
Voters in Plainville, Conn., elected to "save Robertson Field" by voting yes on a March 31 referendum that allows the town to purchase the airport, a move that will ensure its continued operation as an airport. The 1,432-to-791 vote authorizes the town to spend approximately $96,396 to purchase the airport from the current private owner; the rest of the $7.7 million purchase price will be paid with federal and state funding. Read more >>
FAA forecasts start of GA recovery in 2010
General aviation in the United States will begin to recover next year after taking a hit along with the overall U.S. economy, the FAA said this week in its annual forecast. In spite of an expected contraction of the economy over the next year, the FAA projects steady, long-term growth for American aviation, including average yearly increases of 1.8 percent in general aviation hours flown. The active GA fleet is expected to increase an average of 1 percent per year over the 17-year forecast period, growing from an estimated 234,015 in 2008 to 275,230 aircraft by 2025. Read more >>
Teledyne Continental Motors and Hawker Beechcraft have joined forces to move the search ahead for an alternative to 100LL by testing a 94-octane “no lead” aviation gasoline in flight. A Beechcraft G36 (Garmin G1000-equipped) Bonanza flew several flights, the longest to date lasting one hour, with 94 unleaded fuel that was specially blended for aviation purposes. Although this was heralded by Continental President Rhett Ross as another of his company’s impressive aviation firsts, there may still be a long road ahead in the alternative fuel search. Read more and watch the Bonanza’s first flight with unleaded fuel >>
Bill postpones FAA funding debate
President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill authorizing an extension of funding for the FAA through the end of the fiscal year. The extension gives Congress another six months to pass an FAA reauthorization bill by extending the current aviation taxes and the FAA’s authority to spend money. AOPA supports the proposed Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2009, which would authorize nearly $70 billion for the agency for four years. Read more >>
AOPA, states must work together, Fuller says
During a keynote speech at the annual Washington, D.C., conference of the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) on March 30, AOPA President Craig Fuller talked about the mounting threats to general aviation and how AOPA is fighting back through the GA Serves America campaign. “Lately I find myself thinking that general aviation must look like an easy target, because everyone seems to be targeting us,” Fuller told the audience of approximately 75 state aviation directors from throughout the nation. “But we wouldn’t be such an easy target if lawmakers, decision makers, opinion leaders, and the public understood just how much general aviation does to serve every American, whether they fly or not.” Read more >>
Former pilots’ union chief tapped for FAA administrator
The White House announced March 27 its nomination for FAA administrator: Randy Babbitt, an experienced pilot, aviation and labor relations consultant, and former president of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). “AOPA welcomes the announcement of Randy Babbitt as President Obama’s choice to head the Federal Aviation Administration,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. Read more >>
Few industries have been harder hit by the current economic downturn than aircraft manufacturers—and Cirrus Aircraft has made drastic changes to adjust to the new economic realities. In a wide-ranging interview with AOPA editorial staff, Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters said the company, based in Duluth, Minn., has moved aggressively to slash costs. At the same time, its high-profile Vision single-engine jet program is moving forward—and the distinctive V-tail jets are likely to be priced well above the $1 million mark that Cirrus long hinted was its target. In related news, Cirrus also announced this week that it selected Garmin and its G1000-based Perspective integrated avionics suite for the Vision jet. Read more >>
Cessna slows production to a crawl
You’ve heard several reports of an improving economy and stock market in past weeks, but aviation generally lags behind the economy as a whole, Cessna Aircraft Co. Chairman and President Jack Pelton recently told his employees. Because of that, another round of unspecified layoffs is coming, and as an additional cost-cutting measure the company will shut down from July 6 to 17. Read more >>
Subcommittee leaders caution TSA on LASP rulemaking
The Transportation Security Administration should consider alternatives to its proposed Large Aircraft Security Program, said leaders of the homeland security subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations. In a March 31 hearing, subcommittee Chairman David E. Price (D-N.C.) and Ranking Member Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) expressed concerns with the proposal, which would impose airline-style security regulations on general aviation aircraft. Read more >>
Detroit-bound for Final Four? Don’t be called for ‘delay of game’
Pilots arriving in and departing from towered airports in the Detroit area this weekend could face 15- to 30-minute delays because of congestion related to the men’s college basketball Final Four. Delays are anticipated between Friday, April 3, and Tuesday, April 7, with the longest likely Saturday morning and afternoon, prior to the North Carolina-Villanova and Michigan State-Connecticut semifinal games that evening, and late Monday night, following the championship game’s conclusion. All three games will be played at Ford Field downtown. The FAA expects the event to draw up to 200 additional airplanes daily to four area airports: Oakland County International, Coleman A. Young Municipal, Willow Run, and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County. The FAA is preparing for the additional traffic and is planning to use traffic management initiatives as needed. Pilots operating at airports in the area also should be careful about the increased traffic.
Corporate Angel Network affected by economy
Mergers and flight-department closures have reduced the number of corporate jets available to the Corporate Angel Network for transportation of ambulant cancer patients. Although the network has 566 corporations signed up to donate transportation, the ones lost were among those offering a large number of flights. Read more >>
Sallie Mae slashes flight training loan business
Responding to what it calls “difficult market conditions,” Sallie Mae announced via letter to select flight schools recently that it is significantly reducing the amount of flight training loans it generates. Read more >>
CAPT Program hits financial bumps
A Florida flight school catering to mostly Chinese students is fighting to stay in business after three months of financial turmoil. Known as the CAPT (Commercial Airline Pilot Training) Program operated by FTS (Flight Training Services) International, it trains mostly foreign students but has a half-dozen domestic students. Read more >>
When birds strike
In recent months, bird strikes have been garnering a lot of attention. Pilot Bob Behren survived being hit by a turkey vulture that smashed through the windshield of his Piper Aerostar in flight. Behren shares how he handled the emergency and provides tips for minimizing the risk of bird strikes in the April 2009 edition of AOPA Pilot. Read more >>
Helicopter world-record attempt
The World Record Helicopter Team from Southern California is attempting to break the world record for a flight from the West Coast of the United States to the East Coast and back. The standing record for the 4,000-nm trip is 70 hours and 19 seconds flown in a Robinson R44 Raven I, according to Chief Pilot Johan Nurmi. Joining him on this flight are Roy Sciortino, Tyler Kim, and Bill Laggner. Their plan is to depart Brown Field Municipal Airport in San Diego at 6 a.m. and fly basically non-stop, landing only for fuel and oil, to Savannah Hilton Head International Airport in Georgia. Read more >>
Glider pilot shares drive to soar farther
Doris Grove went to an FBO in Florida more than 35 years ago to achieve a dream twice deferred. Years earlier, she had shelved plans to be a flight attendant in order to raise a family. Then, after her sixth child went off to school, she had called a nearby airport to schedule flight lessons and found that the instructor refused to teach women. But Grove was determined. She wanted to fly. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Aero Friedrichshafen news
AERO show hints at hope
Spokesmen for Friedrichshafen, Germany’s AERO show, weren’t kidding when they told of record levels of exhibitors and pre-registered attendees, even though they made the announcement on April Fool’s Day. AERO is Europe’s biggest all-general aviation trade show. This year, there are 625 exhibitors from 27 nations—up 12 percent from the last AERO in 2007. Attendance is expected to top out well over 17,000 visitors. Formerly a biennial event, AERO has proven so popular that from now on it will be held annually at the picturesque location at the Friedrichshafen Airport on the shores of Lake Constance. Read more >>
Thielert/Centurion ponders the future
In a well-attended and contentious press conference, Thielert Aircraft Engines (TAE) bankruptcy administrator Bruno M. Kubler asserted that the future remained bright for the financially troubled company. Citing demand for replacement parts and engines for the 2,500 Thielert turbodiesels in service worldwide, he painted a cheery picture. Read more >>
Synthetic vision for many G1000 Cessnas
At AERO Friedrichshafen, Cessna announced it had earned FAA approval to install Garmin’s Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT) in all Garmin G1000-equipped Skyhawks, Skylanes, Stationairs, and Caravans. Read more >>
The Air Safety Foundation Joseph T. Nall Report is the most comprehensive look at aviation accident statistics. But what's really behind the numbers? Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg gives some pithy insight in this video.
Tragic turn at Sun 'n Fun ’07 kills two
The sound of impact was unmistakable—a startling boom above the din of arriving aircraft at Florida's Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. The stunned crowd of Sun 'n Fun revelers watched as black smoke rose from a nearby field. The April 2007 crash of an amateur-built Express aircraft left two dead and sent accident investigators down several paths, from improper boost pump use to a mysterious receipt for Jet A fuel purchased earlier that day in Georgia. In the end, the probable cause would be eerily similar to what doomed a Piper Comanche arriving at Sun 'n Fun a decade earlier. Read more in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Time to renew your TSA security awareness training?
Spring is in the air, and many of us want to get back into flying or start flying. For a flight instructor, spring begins a busy flying season. Don’t forget your paperwork responsibilities. The Transportation Security Administration recently increased its staffing and is more visible on GA airport ramps. It also is increasing flight school inspections. While CFIs and flight schools have most of the paperwork responsibilities, information also is needed from pilots. Read more >>
AOPA, ASN volunteers work together for California airports
A few of the more than 2,000 volunteers whose vigilance helps AOPA protect general aviation airports got a chance to review their airports’ progress with AOPA last week as Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of local airport advocacy, stopped at airports in California. Dunn met with volunteers of the AOPA Airport Support Network, a special group dedicated to promoting and protecting community airports. The volunteers reported progress and new construction for GA facilities at their home airports and continued to keep AOPA up to date on other developments that may threaten GA operations at the airports. Read more >>
To nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer, visit the Airport Support Network Web site.
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit the ASN Web site.
Air Safety eJournal: Single-point failure
What single-point failures have you had? Did you add redundancy or change your flight operation to avoid the problem in the future? Read more >>
Reporting Points: Wiki on how to land an airplane
Ever read online wikiHows? Check out “How to Land an Airplane in an Emergency” and see what you think. Read more >>
AOPA Now: A trip to Oshkosh
AOPA President Craig Fuller recounts his recent trip to Oshkosh, Wis., to visit with EAA Chairman Tom Poberezny and his father, past chairman, president, and founder Paul Poberezny, who retired earlier this year. Read more >>
Hover Power: A cushion of air
Many times you will hear helicopter pilots refer to hovering in ground effect as resting on a cushion of air. Technically speaking, what they are referring to is the extra performance that hovering in ground effect (HIGE) provides versus hovering out of ground effect (HOGE). Read more >>
Fly to Sun ’n Fun and get exclusive benefits
Fly your airplane to Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., April 21 through 26, and you will be enrolled in the new “I Flew to Sun ’n Fun” club. The on-site and year-round benefits include an “I flew to Sun ’n Fun 2009” hat for the first 2,500 pilots (one hat per aircraft); a temporary card for special discounts on food, Sun ’n Fun merchandise, fuel, and other items sponsored by AOPA; entry into a drawing for prizes to be given away throughout the week; and entry into a grand prize drawing after April 26. After the fly-in, you’ll receive a discount card in the mail, valid until December 31 and good for year-round discounts on Sun ’n Fun’s online store and other partner- and sponsor-supplied discounts. Visit the Sun ’n Fun Web site for details, and see AOPA Online for a schedule of AOPA events.
Pilot Information Center: Don’t sleep on this resource
When Sean Collins was an aviation student at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts, he didn’t know the full extent of the resources available to him through the Pilot Information Center (PIC) at AOPA. “If I had known there was an AOPA department of pilots I could call with questions, I’d have gotten through school a lot faster,” he teases. Today, Collins is an aviation technical specialist with AOPA’s PIC—one of the voices who answer when you call 800/USA-AOPA—and he has a wealth of knowledge to share with members on topics including airspace obstruction evaluations and temporary flight restrictions. Read more >>
Hertz lets you drive out of Florida for only $3 a day
Winter is officially over, and it’s time for many snowbirds to leave the warm nest of Florida. It’s also the perfect time to take advantage of Hertz’s Florida Drive Out promotion. For only $3 a day ($14.99 per week), you can rent an economy vehicle for your one-way journey. Slightly higher rates apply for larger vehicles. Book your trip by April 12 for rentals starting April 13 through June 30, and mention “RQ 1Way.” Vehicles are available at many Florida locations including Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, or West Palm Beach. The car can be returned to any corporate location in most states. Use your AOPA discount CDP# 10232 for additional savings. A portion of all revenue generated will be returned to AOPA and reinvested to support our daily efforts to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation.
Erratum: In the April issue of AOPA Pilot, an editing error caused the publication of an incorrect answer in Barry Schiff's “Test Pilot.” The answer to question 5 should have read: “He can turn the altimeter-setting knob until the altimeter ‘indicates sea level.’ The ambient atmospheric pressure will be indicated in the Kollsman (altimeter-setting) window, and this is what the manifold pressure gauge should indicate when the engine is not running.” AOPA Pilot regrets the error.
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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.
Question: I recently got married and have changed my last name. How do I notify the FAA of this change and obtain a new pilot certificate?
Answer: A photocopy of a marriage license, court order, or other valid document that legally verifies the name change must be presented to an FAA Inspector. Therefore, to obtain a new pilot certificate that reflects your legal name change you will need make an appointment and appear in person at your local flight standards district office. Learn more on the FAA’s Web site.
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].
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 your personalized 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. You can also bookmark the personalized calendar page to check it as often as you want. 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., Indianapolis, Ind., and Cincinnati, Ohio, April 18 and 19; San Diego, Calif., Tampa, Fla., and, Boston, Mass., April 25 and 26; Pensacola, Fla., and Houston,Texas, May 2 and 3; Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Albany, N.Y., May 16 and 17. 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 Blacksburg, Va., April 13; Clayton, Mo., and Danville, Va., April 14; Warrensburg, Mo., and Richmond, Va., April 15; Springfield, Mo., and Hampton, Va., April 16; Concord, Calif., April 20; Fresno, Calif., April 21; Palmdale, Calif., April 22. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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Editorial Team : ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller