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Today's Top Stories
A Nevada resolution that would have asked Congress to award precedent-setting authority to a local aviation agency to preempt the FAA and ban any general aviation flight activity deemed “high risk” at North Las Vegas Airport has been reworked. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Clark County Aviation Association, key state legislators, and AOPA, the Nevada Senate’s Energy, Infrastructure, and Transportation Committee instead unanimously passed a resolution on April 8 to support a stakeholders group of FAA officials, AOPA staff, local pilots, and the Clark County Department of Aviation to develop meaningful solutions to improve safety at the airport. Read more >>
Layered security measures bring peaceful ending to rogue flight
A naturalized Canadian citizen from Turkey, Adam Leon, stole a Cessna 172 on April 6 from the Ontario flight school where he was a student and flew south to Missouri before landing on a road later that night. Fighter jets were dispatched and escorted the stolen aircraft shortly after it crossed the Canada-U.S. border. North American Aerospace Defense Command monitored the situation and determined that the student pilot did not show hostile intent, precluding the use of lethal force. “We commend U.S. and Canadian security and defense officials for bringing a conclusion to the rare and unusual event involving a stolen aircraft,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. The incident highlights the importance of AOPA’s Airport Watch Program and other GA security guidelines currently in place in the United States. Read more >>
Pilots unhappy with TSA security directive
As reports of new security badge requirements and background checks continue to surface at airports across the country, pilots have cried out to AOPA, expressing their concerns over the surprise requirements and demanding answers from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). One concerned member recently wrote to AOPA, saying "…the bigger issue is the TSA/DHS and the ‘secret’ security directives being implemented with very little publicity." The lack of publicity is a result of the directive’s classification as “sensitive security information.” Read more >>
GA is not a ‘luxury item’
By reaching out to educate state legislators about the importance of general aviation to the economy, AOPA has stopped a damaging bill in Illinois that would classify GA airplanes as “luxury items” and impose an additional tax on them. But fundamental misperceptions about the role of GA persist across the country. That’s the case in Oregon, where state legislators recently proposed a similar tax that classifies airplanes as luxury items, along with purchases such as fur coats, cosmetic surgery, and even expensive artwork. Read more >>
New chart distribution method coming
The National Aeronautical Charting Office is planning to change the way it distributes aeronautical charts on Oct. 1 in order to meet its budget goals. AOPA staff members are working to assure that any new plan affects the availability and price of charts as little as possible. Read more >>
TSA, GA industry open dialog on security proposal
Transportation Security Administration officials met April 6 with AOPA and other general aviation industry representatives to begin to discuss concerns about alternatives to the Large Aircraft Security Program proposal. “This meeting was a good first step toward coming up with more appropriate ways to handle general aviation security concerns,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “But we still have a lot of work to do to come up with a viable solution.” Read more >>
Avionics industry: ‘We don’t give up easy’
Avionics firms introduced an all-time high 31 new products at the Aircraft Electronics Association’s annual convention in Dallas this year, and 138 exhibitors showed up despite the gloomy economy. The avionics industry has long been aviation’s fastest changing, most dynamic market, and the rate of innovation appears to be accelerating—despite all the good excuses for hunkering down. New products for the general aviation fleet include a variety of glass-panel retrofits, which promise safety and situational awareness benefits that airliners would envy. Read more >>
Eclipse future could be decided this month
Owners of the 259 Eclipse Aviation Corp. jets now flying are getting a clearer picture of where the company’s bankruptcy proceedings are heading: Any new owner will offer maintenance and aircraft upgrades, but chances are slim that production will resume until the economy improves. An auction for the type certificate and assets by a Delaware federal bankruptcy court may occur this month, an observer said. Read more >>
Scarce financing threatens record Liberty orders
In the past 60 days Liberty Aerospace received the highest number of orders for any 60-day period in the company’s history—20 aircraft—with one glitch. The customers, most of them flight schools, can’t find financing. Read more >>
Have you ever wanted to fly an AOPA sweepstakes airplane? Now is your chance. Karoline Amodeo, winner of the 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer, is offering the aircraft for rent through Richmor Aviation at the Dutchess County Airport in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The Archer features an Aspen Avionics EFD1000 primary flight display, giving those who are considering purchasing the new PFD a perfect opportunity to try it before buying it or having it installed. The EFD1000 is coupled with two Garmin GNS430Ws and an S-Tec Fifty Five X autopilot with altitude preselect. Renters also will get better situational awareness with the Avidyne EX500 multifunction display with datalink weather, charts, and an L-3 Communications Avionics Systems WX500 stormscope. The airplane is available for solo rental with a checkout from a Richmor instructor. The current rate is $129 an hour wet.
Maryland’s Trooper 2 honored for heroic rescue
On Dec. 23, 2008, multiple news helicopters hovered near River Road in Bethesda, Md., to film a heroic rescue by pilot Jim MacKay and flight paramedic and hoist operator Sgt. Nate Wheelock under challenging conditions. Trooper 2, a Eurocopter Dauphin AS-365, was dispatched from its hangar at Andrews Air Force Base to the scene—a break in a 66-inch water main that caused 150,000 gallons of water a minute to flow down a steep road, trapping at least seven vehicles in the three- to four-foot-deep, swiftly flowing water. The crew helped to save three lives and was recently honored for their work. Read more >>
CAP squadron named for George H. W. Bush
The Texas Wing of the Civil Air Patrol named its newest squadron the “George H. W. Bush Composite Squadron” at a ceremony in College Station, Texas, at the end of March. “We were delighted that President Bush has agreed to lend his name to our fledgling squadron,” said Lt. Col. Don Wheeler, squadron commander. One other CAP squadron bears a president’s name. The Independence Composite Squadron in Independence, Mo., was renamed the Harry S. Truman Composite Squadron in 1973. CAP’s 52 wings consist of more than 1,600 units nationwide. The George H.W. Bush Composite Squadron will use a new unit emblem that incorporates elements taken from events in the life of President Bush.
Father, daughter share flight training experience
When Rob Krajcik of Springfield, Mass., was deciding how to help his 20-year-old daughter Marissa develop some outside interests, his first thought was to take her flying. Now, they are both hooked on aviation and are working their way through training together. Read more >>
Fly the Goodyear blimp
Wide-eyed airplane pilots will reach for the armrests when the Goodyear blimp pitches down 30 degrees, filling the windscreen with beach and surf. See for yourself in this video as Marty Chandler, chief pilot at Goodyear's Pompano Beach, Fla., blimp port describes airship operations and a day in the life of a lighter-than-air pilot. AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Tom Haines flew the lumbering blimp with Chandler for a story in the May issue of AOPA Pilot as part of our coverage of the 100th anniversary of Goodyear Aviation. Chandler's video is an advance look at the magazine article, which should be in your mailbox in the next couple of weeks (including details of the Goodyear Inflatoplane). Hang on tight! Watch the video >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Aero Friedrichshafen wrap
Future power, under the microscope
A panel discussion at Friedrichshafen, Germany’s Aero show focused on the opportunities and challenges of the proposed alternative propulsion systems of the future. AOPA Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Andy Cebula participated in the discussion, saying, “AOPA is trying to defend the use of existing fuels as we watch and assist companies like Swift Enterprises, which is making a biomass-based fuel.” Cebula also said that room must be made for innovation and that organizations such as AOPA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association must take the leadership on behalf of the users of any future fuels. Read more >>
Greening of GA?
Is green the next big thing for general aviation? AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne takes a video look at electric engines and other environment-friendly aviation trends from Germany’s Aero show. Watch the video >>
GA on the front of technology
Check out a new hybrid engine from Flight Design, learn about the solar-powered Sunseeker, and take a peek inside the hangar where the Zeppelin NT is housed. It’s all in this exclusive video report from AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne at Aero Friedrichshafen. Watch the video >>
Landsberg reviews TAA safety
AOPA Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg addressed an audience at Friedrichshafen, Germany’s Aero show about accident trends involving technologically advanced aircraft (TAAs). While TAAs and conventional airplanes may have similar dimensions and performance characteristics, Landsberg said that the situational awareness, systems redundancy, weather, airspace, and terrain aspects of flight are unaffected by fancy new glass cockpits. Read more >>
Aero show in pictures
This year’s Aero show emphasized green technology in a hall dubbed the “e-flight-expo.” New forms of propulsion were on display at the show, including new-generation lithium-ion batteries, solar power, and hybrid gas/solar engines. A solar-powered glider, an American design called the Sunseeker, that has racked up 500 flight hours, also was on display. Take an abbreviated photo tour Europe’s biggest all-general aviation trade show. Watch the slide show >>
A blustery day creates a hazardous situation for a banner-towing pilot in the latest installment of Never Again Online. Enjoy the lessons you learn from these pilots' first-hand accounts? Listen to more stories in AOPA's Never Again Podcast directory brought to you by the AOPA Insurance Agency.
Engine compartments, wheel wells, and tail cones may seem inhospitable, but to birds, mice, and insects, such areas look like perfect places to raise families. And this is the time of year when critters nest with gusto. A busy bird can set up a bachelor pad in an engine compartment in one day. And pilots won’t be able to spot the out-of-the-way nests with a peek through the oil door. Read more >>
Accident stats quiz finds safety in numbers
Which type of weather kills more pilots than all others combined? What fatal mistakes do pilots make again and again? Stark questions—but understanding accident statistics can help keep us from contributing to them. Take a practical look inside the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's new Joseph T. Nall Report, and test your knowledge of accident causes with the foundation's latest safety quiz. With interactive questions and graphics, the quiz pulls real-world lessons from the numbers and provides valuable safety advice.
Improve your safety by learning from others
Gain invaluable knowledge about flying safely by learning from the mistakes of others. Using your ePilot personalization preferences, like "piston single-engine" or "turbine," the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Accident Database generates a list of accidents that have been added to the database in the past 30 days. If you haven't personalized your newsletter, select your aircraft preferences from the "types of aircraft" section on the ePilot personalization page
Airport promotion vital in tough times
The current economic crisis represents a timely opportunity to reiterate general aviation’s contribution to local revenues, which AOPA Vice President for Airport Advocacy Bill Dunn did in addressing a Virginia forum. Building relationships “before something happens,” like the threat of airport closure, is key to advancing GA concerns, he said. 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.
Hover Power: Colorful characters
It seems that almost all industries and groups have their share of larger-than-life personalities. For some, the publicity is good, and for others it does not bode so well. Aviation has its share of colorful characters, and the helicopter industry seems to attract them. Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: A very sick canary
AOPA Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg made his first trip to the Friedrichshafen, Germany, Aero show last week and talked about technologically advanced aircraft and learned about European airspace and certification rules from Eurocontrol officials. Read more >>
AOPA Reporting Points: Goodbye, Bill
Bill’s sparkly eyes, messed up sandy hair, and friendly smile framed by years of wrinkles welcomed pilots to Jackson County Airport in Ravenswood, W.Va., for years. He was a jack of all trades: pumped the fuel, ran the counter, and mowed the grass. He lived on airport property, making sure the field was always secure. Read more >>
Stretch your vacation dollars at Sun ’n Fun
Are you looking for an affordable place to get away and have some fun? Look no further than Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., April 21 through 26. Included in your weekly or daily admission are evening programs, including AOPA President Craig Fuller’s talk on April 23; entrance to the Florida Air Museum, including lectures and Author’s Corner; forums, workshops, and seminars; the daily airshow and Friday night airshow; and access to the flightline. Children ages 12 and under are free. Choose from a variety of lodging options: hotels and motels, many of which offer special Sun ’n Fun rates; vacation rental homes; or Sun ’n Fun’s campground, where you can join nearly 12,000 other campers. See the Sun ’n Fun Web site for more information, and visit AOPA Online for a schedule of AOPA’s events.
Aircraft renters: Don’t fly unprotected
The cost of aircraft renters insurance is affordable for AOPA members, thanks to the efforts of AOPA and the AOPA Insurance Agency. A 5-percent discount on renters insurance policies allows members to obtain a comprehensive package for just $175 a year. “Because many pilots rent an aircraft when they take to the skies, providing affordable insurance products for the renter pilot was a major goal of the AOPA Insurance Agency and one we’re proud to have achieved,” said AOPA Insurance Agency Manager Brenda Jennings. The 5-percent discount applies to both new and renewing policies. Plus, members renewing their AOPA Insurance Agency renters policy can take advantage of an additional 10-percent discount if they were claim- and accident-free during the previous policy year. Call 800/622-2672 or visit the AOPA Insurance Agency 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.
Question: Can you explain the difference between a U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) “landing rights airport” and a “user fee airport”?
Answer: A “landing rights airport” is an airport (other than a designated airport or international airport) that will give permission for a flight from a foreign area to land. In addition to providing advanced notice of arrival, pilots must obtain specific permission to land at a landing rights airport. Landing rights may be denied if inspection service cannot be provided. A “user fee airport” is an airport designated by CBP where flights also need to request permission to land. Private aircraft landing at a user fee airport are required to reimburse the airport operator for the costs associated with processing their arrivals. The cost typically starts at $100. Designated airports of entry, including landing rights and user fee airports, are listed on AOPA Online.
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? Planning 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; Sacramento, Calif., and Kansas City, Mo., May 30 and 31. 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., 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; San Luis Obispo, Calif., and Lakeland, Fla., April 23; Lakeland, Fla., April 24 and 25; Boise, Idaho, April 27; Highland Heights, Ky., and Salt Lake City, Utah, April 28. 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