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Today's Top Stories
At a defining moment for general aviation in the United States, AOPA on April 20 launched one of the largest, most important campaigns in its 70-year history: General Aviation Serves America. GA Serves America is an AOPA-sponsored educational initiative whose goal is to protect our valuable asset by educating policymakers, opinion leaders, and the public about the economic value of GA to all Americans, whether they fly or not. “General aviation is so often defined for what we’re not,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller in a Washington, D.C., press conference. “We have to begin to define who we are and what we do and our value across the country. It’s up to us to define ourselves. It’s up to us to tell our story.” Read more and watch a video message from Fuller >>
Deal to privatize Midway Airport goes bust
A deal to privatize Midway Airport in Chicago has fallen through because investors failed to raise the necessary money, city officials said this week. Midway would have been the first major airport to privatize under an FAA pilot program that allows up to five public airport sponsors to sell or lease an airport. While the program began in 1997, it was met with little interest until recently, when some states saw the Midway privatization as a model for obtaining short-term injections of cash to address budget shortfalls. Read more >>
AOPA extends alliance with Embry-Riddle
The presidents of AOPA and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) have extended the alliance between their organizations, signing a five-year agreement during an April 23 ceremony in Daytona Beach, Fla. AOPA President Craig Fuller and Embry-Riddle President Dr. John P. Johnson toured the school’s Daytona Beach campus before signing the agreement, which reaffirms a partnership that has been in place for more than a decade. “We are excited to be extending our alliance with Embry-Riddle and nurturing the next generation of aviation professionals,” said Fuller. “These students are the future of general aviation, and AOPA membership can help them achieve their goals.” Read more >>
Telling GA’s story
Visitors to Sun ’n Fun have been stopping by AOPA’s GA Serves America tent and sharing their stories of how general aviation has played a critical role in their businesses and their lives. Bill Bailey of Cape Coral, Fla., an AOPA charter member, shared how GA played a key role in the success of his business. Read more >>
Piper CEO says general aviation under assault
Jim Bass, chief executive at Piper Aircraft, lashed out at the U.S. government April 21 for vilifying general aviation, an industry that offers high-skill, high-wage U.S. jobs, billions of dollars in annual exports, and improved economic efficiency. “The government’s assault on general aviation is wrong,” he said. “It’s guilt by association. In their minds, private aircraft equal corporate excess. Washington has made a sound bite of our industry. It’s class warfare. The government is vilifying our industry and not looking at the facts.” Read more >>
LAMA audits sport aircraft manufacturers
The dizzying variety of manufacturers offering airplanes for the light sport aircraft (LSA) market has convinced the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) to audit the firms and offer its own seal of approval. About 70 manufacturers are offering 97 aircraft models in the LSA category, and LAMA wants potential buyers to have a way to know manufacturers are following proper industry practices. Read more >>
Cirrus announced April 21 that it won approval for its known-ice package for the SR22, just a few months after the product was announced. The manufacturer also said at its Sun ’n Fun press conference that all research and development work is now being directed toward the SF50 Vision jet, effectively halting the development of the SRS light sport aircraft.
Kitfox offers S-LSA
Kitfox, an Idaho manufacturer of experimental kit airplanes for 25 years, will offer its popular two-seat, Rotax-powered, STOL airplanes as factory-built special light sport aircraft (S-LSA). The factory-built Kitfoxes will be available with nose- or tailwheels, and avionics will range from basic VFR instrumentation to full electronic flight information system displays. Read more >>
Former adversaries, now old pals
Except for their oversized watches, the two men seemed to have little in common. But Dan Cherry, 70, and Nguyen Hong My, 65, first met in the skies over Vietnam in 1972 when Cherry, flying an F-4 Phantom, shot down My’s MiG-21. My was badly injured but survived. The two met again last year when Cherry traveled to Vietnam to meet his former adversary. The two hit it off, and now My has come to the United States as Cherry’s guest. They've spent some time together at Cherry’s home in Bowling Green, Ky., and flew together in Cherry’s Cessna 172. Read more >>
Sporty’s teams with EAA to bring youth to aviation
Sporty’s Pilot Shop and EAA are teaming up to provide youth with the resources necessary to become pilots, according to Sporty’s Chairman Hal Shevers. When young kids take an airplane ride through EAA’s Young Eagles program, Sporty’s will provide the rider with free access to its full online private pilot course. The offer is being extended to all children under 17 who have ever taken a Young Eagles ride or who will take one in the future, according to Shevers. Riders will also receive a Young Eagles logbook. EAA Chairman and President Tom Poberezny said more than 1.5 million children have gone up thus far as a result of the program.
Members talking up AOPA programs, advocacy efforts
AOPA’s Big Yellow Tent at Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., this week is a like a miniature AOPA headquarters, if questions and comments from members are any indication. Between the sweepstakes airplane, membership renewals, advocacy efforts, and AOPA Air Safety Foundation courses, the famous yellow tent is a meeting ground for all things general aviation. Read more >>
More Sun ‘n Fun News
Sun ‘n Fun video
Couldn’t make it to Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland, Fla.? Check out our video coverage of the show. We’ve captured everything from new products to attendees camping out under the stars. Then see what folks are saying on Twitter.
AAMS helps public understand air medical helicopters
With 13 medical helicopter crashes claiming a record 29 lives in 2008, the air medical industry has come under intense public scrutiny. In response, the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) is conducting an educational campaign to help the public understand the importance of air medical transport in our nation, particularly in rural and other underserved areas. Read more >>
Seawind development to continue
It’s been a long road, but Seawind now has the funding for flight testing and certification and plans to deliver aircraft in 2010. Certification money came from the remaining 56 customers, while production ramp-up funding is covered in a letter of intent from a Pacific Rim country. A VFR model is $350,000. Company President Dick Silva said aircraft No. 2, partially completed at the Seawind plant in Canada when operations stopped in 2007, will be used for flight testing. Read more >>
American pilots placed seventh, ninth, and fourteenth in the first round of this year’s Red Bull Air Race series that started with a race April 18 in Abu Dhabi. Hannes Arch of Austria came from behind to win over Britain’s Paul Bonhomme (placing second) on a sizzling hot day in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Nicolas Ivanoff of France stormed onto the podium with third place, while Britain’s Nigel Lamb established himself as a force to be reckoned with this year, taking fourth. Among American pilots, Mike Mangold finished seventh, Kirby Chambliss finished ninth, and Mike Goulian finished fourteenth. In the race, pilots fly through a low level track made up of 20-meter-high (65 feet) inflatable pylons known as air gates at speeds reaching 230 mph. They pull as many as 12 Gs. They race next in San Diego on May 9 and 10, the only race in the United States this year.
Pilatus has record sales in 2008
Swiss manufacturer Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. reported record PC-12 sales in 2008. The company said that 97 PC-12s were delivered, and a total of 114 Pilatus aircraft of all types were delivered. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
New interactive quiz helps pilots quit stalling
Most pilots can state by rote the stall speeds of the aircraft they fly, but far fewer understand why most fatal stall/spin scenarios are encountered at airspeeds well above those magic numbers. What really causes an aircraft to stall? What's the key difference between a spin and a spiral? And what's the one thing that you should never forget when recovering from a spin? Find out in " Stalls and Spins," the latest interactive, Flash-based safety quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Answers for Pilots: Pilot certificates
If you’re confused about whether you need to replace your pilot certificate with a newer version, you’re not alone. Lately, many of the questions members ask when they call AOPA’s Pilot Information Center concern their pilot certificates. Pilots have heard about plastic pilot certificates or English-speaking endorsements, but don’t know the details, or whether the requirements apply to them. Here’s the scoop >>
No trick to good takeoffs, landings
Aviators in the FAA Production Studio at Sun ’n Fun listened attentively as Kathleen Vasconcelos, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s manager of safety education programs, presented “Mastering Takeoffs and Landings.” Filled with practical tips and informative video examples, the program teaches that there is not a magical secret to consistently making good takeoffs and landings—but it provides a wealth of tips that will help pilots achieve that goal. Read more >>
Washington State to consider comments on aviation plan
As the public comment period on Washington State’s Long-term Air Transportation Study (LATS) drew to an end, AOPA weighed in with a five-page letter of comments. Now, the state’s aviation planning council will consider the comments from AOPA and others at its final meeting May 7. In their comments, AOPA government affairs staff gave the plan mostly good marks. Proposed strategies that won praise from AOPA in LATS include strengthening the state’s grant assurances, emphasizing compatible land use, and seeking increased legislative authority to keep airports from closing. Read more >>
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Hover Power: Vortex ring state
One of the more confusing subjects for helicopter students to fully understand is known as the vortex ring state, also (correctly or incorrectly—depends on who you ask) referred to as settling with power or power settling. Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: Old twin, old pilot—a problem?
It has been a tough year for crashes in “congested” areas, as the FAA likes to refer to cities. The latest involved a 1974 Cessna 421B that went down while attempting a return to Fort Lauderdale Executive (KFXE) airport. The 80-year-old pilot, according to news reports, advised the tower that he was having difficulty. In some respect this accident is quite similar to the Navajo crash that happened in North Las Vegas last summer. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Bittersweet mission
Some folks have destinations all lined up for when they get their private pilot certificates (the beach! that great golf course! a fantastic ski resort!). Others are mission-minded. Angel Flight and animal rescue come to mind. AOPA Flight Training Associate Editor Jill Tallman shares a recent bittersweet trip: Flying her teenage daughter to check out a college. Read more >>
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: When is a 100-hour inspection required?
Answer: Federal Aviation Regulation 91.409 discusses the 100-hour inspection. The inspection is required when an aircraft is used for hire or when an aircraft and the flight instructor are provided by the same person or entity. A certificated flight instructor can instruct in an aircraft supplied by the student without a 100-hour inspection; only a current annual is required. The phrase "for hire" refers to the person, not the aircraft. If a person merely leases or rents an aircraft to another person and does not provide a pilot or instructor, the aircraft is not required to have a 100-hour inspection. See AOPA's subject report on inspections for a more detailed explanation.
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 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; San Jose, Calif., Charlotte, N.C., and Ashburn, Va., June 6 and 7; Phoenix, Ariz., and Minneapolis, Minn., June 13 and 14; Orlando, Fla., and Columbus, Ohio, June 27 and 28; Newark, N.J., July 11 and 12. 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 Boise, Idaho, April 27; Highland Heights, Ky., and Salt Lake City, Utah, April 28; West Lafayette, Ind., and London, Ky., April 29; Concord, N.C., May 2; Hickory, N.C., and Poughkeepsie, N.Y., May 4; Graham, N.C., and Cohoes, N.Y., May 5; New Bern, N.C., and Liverpool, N.Y., May 6; Rochester, N.Y., May 7; Madison, Wis., May 11; Milwaukee, Wis., May 12; Manitoc, Wis., May 13; Morristown, N.J., May 18. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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Editorial Team : ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller