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today’s top stories
AOPA restructures senior management
AOPA on Dec. 3 announced a significant redesign of its upper management structure, adding for the first time a chief operating officer (COO) to oversee the day-to-day running of the association, creating a new position to lead the AOPA Foundation, and filling the top spot in the association’s government affairs division. Read more >>
AOPA seeks to expand changes to FAR Part 61
While the FAA is proposing 16 changes to FAR Part 61, AOPA is working to ensure that the changes do not negatively affect pilot training or certification and is recommending additional changes that could benefit the GA community. Several of the proposed changes pertain to complex aircraft. Other proposals call for the requirement of 10 hours of complex time for the commercial pilot certificate, single- and multi-engine class ratings, to be replaced with 10 hours of advanced instrument training. Read more >>
No more polished frost, says FAA
The FAA has published a final rule that changes preflight procedures for flights in wintry conditions. Effective Feb. 1, 2010, pilots of large general aviation aircraft, air taxis, and on-demand operations may no longer polish frost accumulations before takeoff; they must now remove all frost from critical surfaces. Frost-polishing is accomplished by scraping or buffing frost accumulations so as to obtain a smooth surface. Read more >>
Solar Impulse, an aircraft developed in Switzerland to eventually fly on solar power both day and night, made its first test hop on battery power alone in early December. The solar panels were disconnected for the test flight at Switzerland’s Dübendorf Airfield. The plan is to complete testing, make ocean-spanning flights, and one day use a follow-on aircraft to circle the globe on nothing but solar power. Batteries will store energy for flight at night. Read more >>
Suzanne Asbury-Oliver and Steve Oliver are celebrating 30 years of aerobatic performing and writing in the sky. Think about that for a moment. What would your friends say if you quit your job to be a skywriter or nighttime aerobatic performer? The two are amazed at their luck. “It works because we have the same interests,” said Steve. “Everything clicked for us from the start. It’s like everything was meant to be.” Read more >>
Flight Design CT wins approval in China
The Civil Aviation Administration of China has awarded a type design approval to Flight Design for its CT light sport aircraft. The award allows Flight Design to deliver the first CT to the Chinese general aviation market. Flight Design claims to be the first company in the world to obtain LSA approval in China, and the first company outside of China to hold a Chinese type design approval and production certificate. Read more >>
Seventy years later, still flying
Vern Foster took his first flying lesson on Dec. 3, 1939, in an Aeronca Chief at $6 an hour dual. “I had saved $20—my total savings—and I said, ‘This is the day I’m gonna put a nickel in the city bus and drive out to the Wichita Municipal Airport,’” Foster said. Seventy years later, Foster is still flying. Read more >>
Florida museum prepares new exhibits
Kissimmee Air Museum has completed a series of new exhibits showing the rise of air power from the predictions of Billy Mitchell in 1924 that Pearl Harbor would be attacked on a Sunday morning to the actual attack in 1941 … on a Sunday morning. Read more >>
Annual gift transport needs pilots, aircraft
Santa needs lots of helpers at this time of year, and he really needs Ohio and Michigan pilots for a special mission on Saturday, Dec. 5. Michigan’s “Operation Good Cheer,” an annual tradition for area pilots who help transport gifts to children in foster care, needs at least 40 airplanes and pilots to help make the holidays brighter for more than 4,000 children in foster care, group homes, and residential treatment. The mission: Join a group of volunteers to carry gifts to 16 airports in Michigan, where they will be distributed to the children’s homes. Read more >>
Piper adds G1000 to two models
Certification is complete to add a Garmin G1000 glass cockpit option to the Piper Mirage and Piper Matrix models. With the addition of the two models, the G1000 is now available on all of Piper’s PA-46 models. The new avionics suite includes the Garmin GFC 700 autopilot. The combination of the two integrated systems means you can fly fully automated from shortly after takeoff to shortly before landing. Read more >>
Gulfstream enters flight testing
The ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G650 has completed its first flight. The G650 took off from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport and achieved an altitude of 6,600 feet and a speed of 170 knots. Read more >>
Dealer finds customer-friendly location
A Baltimore, Md., dealer of high-end personal aircraft, Skytech Inc., has expanded to more convenient facilities outside of its area at a time when many dealers are hunkered down and waiting for the recession to blow over. The expansion could be good news for smaller airports near large cities that offer a haven from complicated airspace and procedures. Read more >>
Safety videos take you through D.C. airspace
A charitable nonprofit organization, Aviation Safety Videos, is providing videos on its Web site to help improve safety. Three of the group’s videos, which are shot from the pilot’s perspective, focus on the Washington, D.C., Special Flight Rules Area: What to do, what not to do, and how to fly in the Leesburg, Va., maneuvering area. Watch the videos >>
Summit performer’s group nominated for Grammy
Daryl Hall and John Oates, the forces behind the pop duo Hall and Oates, were nominated for a Grammy award this week for their hit “Sara Smile” from the “Live at the Troubadour” album. Pilots and Tampa, Fla., residents got a taste of the pop band’s hit songs when Oates performed a concert Nov. 6 for AOPA Aviation Summit attendees. Read more >>
Honeywell’s KFD 840 gets STC
Honeywell International has just earned supplemental type certificate approval to install its new KFD 840 primary flight display on more than 50,000 general aviation aircraft. The approved model list includes virtually all Beech, Cessna, and Piper singles and light twins. Mooney models M20L, M20M, M20S, and M20R are also included. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
GA serves america
Getting teens flying: Program for at-risk youngsters expanding
Back when he taught ROTC at an inner-city Jacksonville, Fla., high school, retired Marine Corps Col. Jack Howell took over a foundering magnet program that wasn’t getting much attention or support and turned it around. He taught students the basics of aviation, and got them time in a trainer. Howell is now president of Teens-in-Flight, a program aimed toward kids who come from a low-income or high-risk background, or whose parents were killed or wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan. Read more >>
When his Mooney’s engine failed soon after takeoff, Dave Keller needed to land immediately. But rather than seek a landing spot straight ahead or off to the side, he chose to execute the “impossible turn” back to the airport, a maneuver no pilot should ever attempt. With aerial footage captured by Keller’s own panel-mounted video camera, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s latest Real Pilot Story: The Impossible Turn puts you in the right seat as the event develops.
Windscreen ice cuts short flight shorter
Never underestimate the power of a little bit of ice. On Dec. 13, 2007, a Beech B55 Baron took off for a 10-minute flight from Harrisburg to Lancaster, Pa., for scheduled maintenance. An airmet was in effect for light to moderate icing in freezing drizzle, and the ceiling was at 4,300 feet—high enough to retain visual contact with the ground while flying IFR. The airline transport pilot had 10,000 hours, and the Baron was equipped with deicing boots; but the aircraft’s windscreen anti-ice plate had been removed. Read more in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Resource clarifies eAPIS customs requirements
Any general aviation aircraft arriving or departing the United States—even for a short hop to Canada, Mexico, or the Bahamas—must submit flight information to Customs and Border Protection through the Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS). Noncompliance could cost you thousands, so clear up any confusion about the system before takeoff. AOPA has compiled a list of frequently asked questions to clarify the requirements and address members’ concerns. For more information, take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s interactive course, Understanding eAPIS: A Pilot’s Guide to Online Customs Reporting , and cross the border penalty-free.
Head in the clouds? Course addresses low ceiling, visibility
Don’t let attention to higher-profile winter weather hazards such as ice, snow, and frost blind you to the danger lurking in the clouds: Low ceilings and visibilities rank as the most deadly weather hazard to pilots. Learn how to minimize the risk these conditions pose in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation free online course Weather Wise: Ceiling and Visibility . The course, which takes about 45 to 60 minutes to complete, gives you the tools you need to prepare for changing weather and to cope with two of the most challenging weather phenomena known to pilots.
Court to hear AOPA on Santa Monica jet ban case
AOPA was granted permission Nov. 29 to participate as a friend of the court in an appeal by the city of Santa Monica, Calif., of an FAA decision that the city could not ban certain jet traffic at Santa Monica Airport. City officials adopted an ordinance in March 2008 to ban Category C and D jets from operating at the airport. When the FAA ruled that Santa Monica had no authority to ban jet operations, the city appealed the decision. AOPA requested permission from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to participate in the appeal because the ruling could have far-reaching implications for airports nationwide. The association supports the FAA ruling that the city has no authority to ban jets at the airport. Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: If you see an aircraft on the runway…
Some may be tired of hearing about runway safety, but from 2003 through 2008 there were between 24 and 32 Category A and B incursions annually. A and B incursions are the bad ones where exceptional skill, luck, or likely a bit of both prevented a catastrophe. Read more >>
Hover Power: Gross weight
Some helicopter pilots don’t think too much about gross weight. If it can hover, it will fly fine, they would say. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Calling all kids … Hello?
Ray Larner of Lapeer Pilot Center in Lapeer, Mich., got into aviation because of Sky King, Chuck Yeager, Bob Hoover, and World War II aces. How, he wonders, do we spark an interest in aviation among future generations? Read more >>
Hertz offers discounts to members
The holiday season is here, and for many that means it’s time to hit the road to visit with family and friends. If you’re planning to be one of them, Hertz has a special holiday gift for you: savings of up to $30 on a weekend or weekly rental. Just book your travel before Dec. 31, 2009, and use the coupon code PC#138622. Combine this with your AOPA member discount code of CDP#10232 and really see your savings add up. Take advantage of this special offer today.
Donor match doubles your support
How important is your freedom to fly? AOPA members are at the forefront of keeping general aviation alive and well, and one very dedicated supporter wants to double the opportunities that the AOPA Foundation has to protect general aviation. He has generously agreed to match donations made before Dec. 11 to the AOPA Foundation. This is a chance to help AOPA earn an additional $200,000 to provide life-saving safety resources and ensure the future of general aviation. Please help meet that challenge by making a tax-deductible gift today.
Aircraft purchase benefit is no ‘clunker’
Don’t forget that the original stimulus plan still allows for a benefit in a 2009 aircraft purchase with a business use—and it’s no “clunker” program! Even though an aircraft used at any percentage for business can take business deductions (see your accountant), the stimulus program allows for faster first-year depreciation as long as the aircraft is used in business at least 50 percent of the time. The big plus is that depending on the price of the aircraft, new or used, you may be able to deduct up to 100 percent of the cost in the year the aircraft is placed in service. New carry-back forward provisions may allow use of some of this deduction against profits. AOPA’s resources online provide extensive information about the various aspects of ownership and aircraft purchase, and AOPA Aircraft Financing is the perfect place to start when financing your aircraft purchase.
Get a free AOPA membership for 2010
Struggling with gift suggestions this holiday season? Then why not ask friends or relatives to renew your AOPA membership for you! It's a gift that you'll appreciate all year round with the many benefits your membership has to offer—including 12 monthly issues of AOPA Pilot magazine and exclusive members-only access to AOPA Online. Just copy and forward this link along with your AOPA membership number to a friend or family member to enjoy your next year of membership for free! You also can request that the gift-giver call 800/USA-AOPA.
Aviation-themed holiday gifts
The holidays are right around the corner. If you're looking for gifts for pilots or individuals who'd like to be pilots, look no further than AOPA's Holiday Gift Guide. The gift guide features a collection of aviation gear and gadgets, including leather pilot jackets, flight bags, simulator software, and more.
Share the gift of flight with holiday cards
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation's aviation holiday cards are now available. Choose from various designs. Imprinting is available, and you will also receive return address labels and decorative seals. Each box has 25 cards, and a portion of the proceeds from each box sold will help the foundation's mission of improving general aviation safety. To view the cards or to place an order, visit the Web site or call 800/308-4285.
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 am an active military instructor pilot and my service time is coming to an end. I would like to become a CFI/MEI after I have been discharged. What do I have to do to complete this?
Answer: Recent changes to Federal Aviation Regulation 61.73 allow current and former U.S. armed forces military instructor pilots to apply for and be issued an instructor certificate with the appropriate ratings, solely on the basis of their military instructor experience. FAR 61.73 (g) states that you must have first applied for and received your commercial pilot certificate and instrument rating on the basis of your military experience or other means, as well as pass the flight instructor knowledge exam appropriate to the instructor certificate sought. Military records outlined in the regulation need to be submitted to verify your military experience. These records can be submitted to a flight standards district office inspector for the issuance of this certificate.
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 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 Northbrook, Ill., Dec. 12 and 13; San Jose, Calif., Baltimore, Md., and Detroit, Mich., Jan. 9 and 10; Costa Mesa, Calif., Jackson, Miss., and Charlotte, N.C., Jan. 16 and 17; San Antonio, Texas, and Seattle, Wash., Jan. 23 and 24; Rochester, N.Y., Portland, Ore., and Sevierville, Tenn., Jan. 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 West Palm Beach, Fla., Dec. 7; Tampa, Fla., Dec. 8; Towson, Md., Dec. 9; Mesa, Ariz., and Reno, Nev., Jan. 11; Tucson, Ariz., and Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 12; Milpitas, Calif., Jan. 13; Santa Rosa, Calif., Jan. 14; San Diego, Calif., Jan. 25; Costa Mesa, Calif., Jan. 26; Ontario, Calif., Jan. 27; Burbank, Calif., Jan. 28; Little Rock, Ark., Feb. 1. 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: Sarah Brown