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Today's Top Stories
Doug White was having a tough week. He and his family were returning home to Monroe, La., from Marco Island, Fla., where they had just attended his brother’s funeral. White, 56, a private pilot with about 230 hours flight time in single-engine Cessna 172s, sat in the right seat of a chartered King Air 200 with his wife and two teenage daughters in the passenger cabin. White had learned to fly in 1991 but set flying aside until this year when he logged 150 hours in preparation for an instrument rating he plans to earn this spring. “I’d only been in the King Air once before,” said White. Read AOPA’s exclusive interview with White and listen to audio of the event >>
Ending up on top: Beck Weathers exclusive
After a near-death experience on Mt. Everest, Beck Weathers began looking for new outlets to replace climbing, and he thought flying could help fill the void. “I didn’t decide to learn to fly because I felt I had something to prove,” said Weathers. “I wasn’t trying to make a point to myself or anyone else. I learned to fly because I really wanted to fly.” In 2001, after nearly a dozen reconstructive and cosmetic surgeries, Weathers went to a Dallas flight school and sat in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk to find out whether he could manipulate the controls. Read more in this AOPA Pilot feature and watch a video of the interview >>
Textron board members under fire
Two longtime Textron board members could be voted out April 22 at a shareholders meeting for supporting the personal use of business jets made by their own subsidiary, Cessna Aircraft Co. Textron countered that both personal and business uses support Cessna, and plans a letter-writing campaign to save the two board members. The complaint against the two comes in a report from RiskMetrics Group, a firm with revenues of $300 million a year and 1,000 employees that advises institutional investors. Read more >>
NTSB calls for grounding of Zenair LSA
Lacking the authority to ground aircraft itself, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has urged the FAA to ground the Zodiac CH-601XL light sport aircraft (LSA) made by Zenair, citing six in-flight breakups from 2006 to 2009. The NTSB cited four accidents in the United States and two in Europe in which catastrophic structural failure due to aerodynamic flutter is suspected. All the accidents were fatal, killing a total of 10 people. NTSB investigators believe they have found a problem with the design of the flight-control system that makes the aircraft susceptible to flutter. Read more >>
Lake Tahoe goes green
In its quest to become “the number one green airport in the country,” Lake Tahoe Airport in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., is proving that environmental and economic concerns do not have to be at odds. The relationship between the airport and environmentalists has been a decades-long journey from conflict to cooperation. Legal battles related to the environmental impact of operations at Lake Tahoe drove the airfield to the brink of closure before the city council and airport manager decided the only way to move forward was to work together with former foes toward environmentally responsible economic growth. Read more >>
AOPA makes progress on confusing Florida tax law
A bill to remove the use tax on visiting out-of-state aircraft in Florida cleared another legislative hurdle this week, but no change will come in time to allay the fears of owners of new aircraft headed to Sun ‘n Fun April 21 through 26. Under current Florida law, pilots landing in the state with an aircraft purchased within the six months prior to their visit could be forced to pay up to a 6-percent tax on the aircraft’s sales price. The tax is not designed to apply to visitors who fly in for Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Fla. Read more >>
A controversial Transportation Security Administration security directive that would impose new security badge requirements and background checks on general aviation pilots based at commercial service airports has drawn the attention of the governor of Montana, who recently expressed his concerns about the directive to the Department of Homeland Security. In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer called the directive, known as Security Directive 8F, an “unfunded mandate, without clear rationale or justification.” Read more >>
AOPA representatives, state officials work to protect GA
Each year, AOPA’s 12 regional representatives come together to sharpen their skills and coordinate with the association’s headquarters. This year, the representatives also used the meeting as an opportunity to reach out to state aviation agencies, coordinating a joint meeting with the National Association of State Aviation Officials in Washington, D.C. Read more >>
Investor who tried to save Eclipse is bankrupt
The Dutch businessman who tried to save Eclipse and had great success in the 1990s leading technology firms such as Unix Systems Laboratories and Tandem Computer is himself in need of saving. The investment firm ETIRC (European Technology and Investment Research Center) established by Roel Pieper, former head of Eclipse Aviation, declared bankruptcy April 7. Read more >>
Sikorsky's X2 expected to conduct speed trials in Florida
The Palm Beach Post reports Sikorsky Aircraft will soon move its experimental X2 helicopter prototype to the company's flight center near West Palm Beach, Fla., for further trials. Currently the aircraft is located at the Sikorsky-Schweizer Hawk Works near Elmira, N.Y. The Sikorsky Aircraft Development Flight Center has provided an economic boom to the Palm Beach region. According to General Manager Pete Ladyko, “As many aerospace companies laid off workers in 2008, the center actually increased its ranks by 365 workers, to a total head count of 878.” Read more >>
Avidyne’s new attitude-based autopilot
Avidyne has developed an attitude-based autopilot for Cirrus SR20 and SR22 aircraft equipped with Avidyne’s soon-to-be-released Entegra Release 9 integrated avionics suite. The DFC100 autopilot is a direct replacement for S-Tec Fifty Five X autopilots currently installed in most Cirrus aircraft. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Two and a half years ago, smoke billowed from a New York City high rise and aircraft debris littered the street below, rattling the nerves of a city still recovering from the tragic events of 9/11. Unlike the devastating terrorist attacks that used airliners, the small aircraft, a Cirrus SR20, involved in this accident “bounced off” the building and fell to the ground, according to the NTSB. The only fatalities were the two pilots on board: New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor. Take a fresh look at the lessons learned—and watch an NTSB animation of the flight's final moments against a video of the impact—in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Getting back into flying? AOPA has what you need
It’s been two years since you stepped into a cockpit. Or five years. Or 15 years. No matter. The sky is waiting for you, and your pilot certificate never expires. But before you get some stick time, do some planning—just as any good pilot would. Read more >>
King Schools offers tailplane icing course
King Schools now offers an Icing Operations online course that trains pilots to recognize and react to tailplane stalls. Tailplane icing can occur when ice accretes on the leading edges of a horizontal stabilizer or stabilator. The result is a loss of the tailplane’s “negative lift,” which is necessary to counterbalance the lift produced by the wings. Recovery from a tailplane stall requires aft stick pressure, instead of the forward pressure used to recover from wing stalls. Read more >>
Join the Airport Support Network today
Ensuring the health and vitality of your airport is up to you—incompatible development and economic and political pressures can restrict your flying. Every day, more than 2,000 Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers work with AOPA headquarters to help save their airports, but we need more. Below is a link to a list of the airports where an ASN volunteer could make a difference.
To nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer, use the Airport Support Network Volunteer Form.
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit the ASN Web site.
Air Safety eJournal: Light sport breakups
The NTSB’s request that the FAA immediately ground the Zenair CH601XL, a special light sport aircraft (S-LSA), is a sobering development in the burgeoning LSA market. The NTSB pointed to flutter and control forces as areas of interest. But more needs to be learned. Read more >>
AOPA Now: A vision for aviation, too
President Barack Obama on April 16 announced his vision for high speed rail in America—a vision that includes efficiently moving people and goods between large population centers, and a vision that calls for an investment of $13 billion in federal general fund spending over the next five years. “I’d like to see the president embrace a similar vision for a proven transportation system—aviation,” wrote AOPA President Craig Fuller in his latest blog entry. Read more >>
Sun ’n Fun features variety of evening programs
After the sun goes down at Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., April 21 through 26, the lights come up at the AOPA Pavilion located adjacent to the Florida Air Museum. The evening programs are followed by a movie each night in the AOPA Pavilion. See AOPA Online for the pavilion schedule and other events. Visit the Sun ’n Fun Web site for airshow times and details on the more than 400 programs, forums, and workshops included in your Sun ’n Fun admission.
Watch for UAS ops on way to Sun ‘n Fun
Pilots flying to Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., April 21 through 26, should beware. If you will be flying along Florida’s east coast watch for a rotary wing unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The Navy will be testing the UAS in a portion of Warning Area 157A from April 20 through 24 and May 4 through 9. The operations will take place below 1,500 feet msl. If a UAS diversion is necessary, the aircraft will enter W-159A, W-158E, and the Mayport Low Military Operations Area and may climb to a slightly higher altitude, in which case a chase aircraft in communication with ATC will be used. Pilots should avoid flying through the warning area and establish radio communications with ATC. UAS operations within warning areas do not require chase planes, temporary flight restrictions, notices to airmen, or other notification. See AOPA Online for a graphical depiction of the warning area.
Excitement in Tampa this November
Are you ready for AOPA Aviation Summit? It’s a completely new take on AOPA’s annual convention. “We want to help you connect to the reasons that you fly so you can maximize the value you get from your personal aviation experience, whether you fly for business, pleasure, or both,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. AOPA Aviation Summit will still offer the great experiences attendees have come to expect: more than 500 exhibits and an exciting aircraft display. The exhibit hall will be energized with events and a new layout; even the social events will have a new look and feel. Plan now to be a part of the first-ever AOPA Summit and celebrate the association’s seventieth anniversary. You won’t want to miss it! Read more >>
Flight Path series gives student pilots a lift
Working on getting your pilot certificate? AOPA has launched a new program to see you through the process, providing helpful information every step of the way and celebrating each important milestone. The Flight Path series guides students through each stage of development toward a pilot certificate. Read more >>
Fuller to moderate panel at U.S. Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit
AOPA President Craig Fuller will be featured at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit and Showcase this year in Washington, D.C. The summit brings together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry, keeping a focus on U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace. Fuller will be moderating the April 29 panel “Spreading our wings: Will infrastructure and capacity challenges inhibit growth?” The newly launched Aviation Showcase at the event will feature a flight simulator sponsored by AOPA. More information is available 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: How do I apply for and get the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award?
Answer: The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award recognizes pilots who have demonstrated professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise by maintaining safe flight operations for 50 or more years. You can print an application from the FAA. Send the application to your local flight standards district office.
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].
Learn about the accident that has NASCAR and Cessna embroiled in a lawsuit; visit a Vermont airport frequented by balloonists, glider pilots, and powered-airplane pilots; and celebrate AOPA’s 70 years of history. It’s all in the May 2009 issue of AOPA Pilot, which will be in your mailbox soon. For a sneak peek, see AOPA Pilot Online.
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 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 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