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today’s top stories
Top executives in the aircraft manufacturing industry are cautiously hopeful that the economic downturn has reached the bottom; most anticipate 12 to 18 months of stability before the industry sees any appreciable growth. Challenges include FAA funding and implementation of the NextGen air traffic control system. And outsourcing is here to stay as aircraft manufacturing embraces the global economy. That’s what they told 350 people at the Wichita Aero Club’s monthly luncheon on Dec. 15. Read more >>
AOPA again responds to ‘USA Today’
When USA Today ran two articles on Dec. 14 questioning FAA expenditures at general aviation and small commercial airports, AOPA President Craig Fuller responded immediately. “Priority and value are not necessarily the same thing,” Fuller wrote in a letter to the editor. “A project that receives a low priority at a national level may be of inestimable value to a local community.” Read more >>
Bundled in colorful coats, mittens, and caps, about 40 children braved the cold Dec. 12 on Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay near mainland Virginia to greet Santa Claus. They jumped and waved excitedly as Santa rolled up to the tarmac on Tangier Island Airport in AOPA’s Cessna Caravan, escorted by nearly 30 other general aviation aircraft. The entourage, ranging from a Tecnam light sport aircraft to a Mooney, also delivered holly to the islanders to decorate their houses as part of the annual Tangier Holly Run. Read more >>
FAA to preserve needed ground-based approaches
The FAA recently announced that it will defer canceling 22 ground-based instrument approaches based on comments from AOPA and pilots. AOPA’s Pilot Information Center gathered input from pilots on 154 instrument approaches that were on the chopping block, analyzed each, and recommended that the FAA keep 22 of the approaches based on pilots’ needs. In addition to individual approaches, the FAA also granted AOPA’s request to retain instrument procedures at four airports. Read more >>
Aero Club celebrates 100 years
The Aero Club of Pennsylvania celebrated its 100-year anniversary at a reception at the Desmond Hotel outside of Philadelphia Dec. 15. AOPA President Craig Fuller joined the more than 150 guests marking the event—and delighted in joining in the salute to 1909. In addition to “guests” such as Benjamin Franklin, Amelia Earhart, and Arthur Atherholt (the first president of the Aero Club of Pennsylvania), Fuller tried his hand at piloting the Wright Flyer simulator by Ken Hyde. Read more >>
Transportation funding in appropriations omnibus
The House and Senate have voted to fund transportation programs for 2010 in an omnibus appropriations bill combining six funding measures. The House approved the omnibus Dec. 10, and the Senate approved the bill Dec. 13. The legislation, which combines the transportation, housing, and urban development appropriations bill with five others, provides funding for FAA operations, facilities and equipment, the Airport Improvement Program, and research and development for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2010. Read more >>
Swift Fuel prepares for flight tests
Swift Enterprises announced Dec. 14 that it will begin large-scale tests of its unleaded, renewable fuel that it hopes to offer as a drop-in replacement for avgas. The Indiana-based company uses biomass such as sorghum and switch grass to produce a high-octane fuel that it says could replace leaded avgas in piston-engine airplanes. The fuel has been tested in FAA and independent laboratories and flown in a few experimental-category airplanes. Read more >>
NASA drops helo to test airbag
In an effort to protect pilots and passengers involved in helicopter accidents, NASA engineer Sotiris Kellas developed a high-tech honeycomb airbag known as a “deployable energy absorber.” The device is made of Kevlar and has a flexible hinge design that lets the honeycomb be packaged tight and remain flat until deployed. Kellas initially came up with the idea as a way to cushion the next generation of astronaut-carrying space capsules, but soon realized it had other possible applications. Read more >>
HBC: NetJets cancellation will have ‘no material impact’
Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) announced that struggling fractional operator NetJets has canceled a “significant” but unspecified number of orders for business jets. The orders, numbering “more than 20” according to HBC, consist of some 11 of HBC’s Hawker 4000 and an unspecified number of Hawker 900s. The cancellation will reduce HBC’s current order backlog by about $2.6 billion, according to a press release. That leaves HBC with a projected year-end backlog worth about $3.5 billion. “I want to emphasize that these cancellations will have minimal effect on our liquidity, earnings, and deliveries in 2009 and 2010,” Boisture said in a teleconference addressing the marketplace’s reaction to news of the cancellations. Read more >>
Air camping association launches
Don Abbott’s fond memories of aerial camping trips with his daughter long ago have led the Florida-based entrepreneur to launch a new venture: the American Air Campers Association. Abbott, a 46-year AOPA member, said few pilots realize that 900 U.S. airports and 160 seaplane bases allow camping, and 1,500 state, local, and national parks are in close proximity to general aviation airports. He has started a Web site, which he plans to make a clearinghouse for air camping information around the country. Read more >>
World War II sub chaser goes west
Col. Edmond I. “Eddie” Edwards, a Civil Air Patrol sub chaser and the first to spot and report the position of a Nazi U-boat off the U.S. East Coast in 1942, died Dec. 5 at age 96. Edwards also won an Air Medal for heroism for helping rescue a downed aviator off the Maryland coast and received the award from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the White House. Read more >>
Premier IA carries message of hope for military families
There is a special place in Santa Claus’ heart for America’s military families. In fact, Santa took some time out from last-minute toy-making at the North Pole this week for a trip to spread holiday cheer at military facilities from coast to coast. With the reindeer home at the North Pole resting, Santa and his elf climbed aboard a Beechcraft Premier IA Dec. 14 to visit veterans and their families at military bases and medical facilities throughout the week. They stopped at locations across the United States with gifts for wounded veterans and their children, going door-to-door in hospitals and visiting bases and rehabilitation centers. The charity Santa’s Traveling Workshop organized the trip, and Hawker Beechcraft Corp. provided the jet for the flight. Read more >>
Four CPCs get FAA approval for sport/private training regimen
Four Cessna Pilot Centers have gained FAA Part 141 approval to use a new sport/private pilot training curriculum, Cessna announced Dec. 14. The four flight schools are Air Fleet Training Systems Inc., Fairfield, N.J.; Pensacola Aviation Center, Pensacola, Fla.; Snohomish Flying Service, Snohomish, Wash.; and Trade Winds Aviation (doing business as Skyworks Inc.), San Jose, Calif. Many other CPCs are in the approval process to add the course to their training programs, Cessna said. The new curriculum was developed in conjunction with King Schools Inc. Read more >>
Intro flights reach nonpilots, future pilots
The gift of an introductory flight can introduce a nonpilot to a world of opportunity. With the Let’s Go Flying! initiative, AOPA has been reaching out year-round through local media and gift guides to encourage people to give the gift of flight, and those efforts have drawn potential pilots to flight schools in different parts of the country. David Pressy of St. Charles Flying Service spread the message of Let’s Go Flying! on the St. Louis, Mo., NBC affiliate Dec. 13, and since the segment aired, the school has received 30 calls and sold about 20 flights. Other outreach efforts encouraging giving an introductory flight this season have resulted in Poplar Grove Airmotive Inc. in Poplar Grove, Ill., and P&N Flight School in Marion, Iowa, selling dozens of introductory flights.
G250 has three-hour first flight
Gulfstream Aerospace announced that its new super mid-size G250 business jet had its first flight Dec. 11. The three-hour, 21-minute flight took place at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport. The G250 was flown to 32,000 feet, and cruised at speeds as high as 253 knots. Read more >>
Liberty having door-buster sale
Liberty Aerospace has a deal for you. The aircraft manufacturer based in Melbourne, Fla., is selling its eight demonstrators for tens of thousands of dollars below retail, and all are equipped for IFR flight. Read more >>
Enhanced vision for Challenger 605s
Bombardier’s new enhanced vision system (BEVS) and a head-up display have been FAA approved for installation in the Challenger 605 large-cabin business jet. The BEVS, developed in cooperation with Rockwell Collins, uses an infrared camera to generate imagery in conditions of low light or poor visibility. The SureSight camera is mounted on the upper portion of the 605’s nose, which Bombardier says puts the camera in position for a pilot’s-eye view of the situation ahead. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
GA serves america
Feeding the delta
The sun hasn’t quite crested the flat horizon, but agricultural pilot Dennie Stokes is already strapped into the cockpit preparing for a marathon workday that will keep him and his turbine-powered Thrush swooping over the Mississippi delta until well beyond sunset. The farmers that are his neighbors, customers, and lifelong friends depend on Stokes and his company to sow and fertilize their crops and protect them from weeds, insects, and disease. “Agricultural aviation is absolutely essential to the farm economy in this region,” said Stokes, who has flown more than 30,000 hours since founding his business, Stokes Flying Service, 31 years ago. Read more >>
Descending ceilings, rising terrain sandwich pilot
On Jan.17, 2007, a Cessna 182 departed Hunt Field Airport in Lander, Wyo., at 4:35 p.m., about 15 minutes before sunset. Just before 6 p.m. it arrived at Gillette-Campbell County Airport in Gillette, 167 nautical miles to the northeast. There is no record of the 3,000-hour VFR-only pilot having received a weather briefing before takeoff, and he made a quick turnaround after landing. Within 20 minutes, he had picked up a passenger, topped off the tanks, and headed back to Lander. Weather on the outbound flight had been VFR, with 10 miles visibility under a 9,000-foot overcast ceiling. But back to the west, conditions were getting ugly. Read more >>
Answers for Pilots: Selling an aircraft across the border
The process of selling an aircraft can be challenging enough, but when you add exporting that aircraft to a buyer across the border, or across the ocean, the task can seem especially daunting. A host of government agencies may become involved, and one must comply with laws regarding exporting aircraft, avionics, and related parts. AOPA can guide you through a few of the most important aspects of the exporting process, including the export certificate of airworthiness, deregistering the aircraft, and options for transporting the aircraft. The association also can provide specific information for exporting an aircraft to Canada. Read more >>
Map plots takeoffs gone wrong
A crucial part of every flight is simply getting off the ground. Don’t take your takeoff for granted: Poor planning, bad judgment, configuration errors, lack of proficiency, and other pilot errors cause general aviation takeoff accidents almost every other day, on average. About one-sixth of those prove fatal. See where takeoff accidents have happened with an interactive map from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. The Google-based map plots accident locations, displays summaries of the crashes, and provides links to additional resources. Filters allow you to select the specific time frame and make/model of aircraft involved.
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, visit AOPA Online.
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit ASN Online.
Air Safety eJournal: Call the cockpit when I land
Once in a while something pilots do doesn’t work with ATC and we’re asked to call the tower or other facility upon landing. The tables were turned on a recent flight when the pilot of a Hawker jet asked for the facility phone number. Read more >>
Cirrus owner and pilot Rick Beach has compiled a storehouse of knowledge about SR20/SR22 accidents during years of thoughtful inquiry—and his conclusions about what causes the accidents, and how to avoid them, are at times surprising and of great potential value to all general aviation pilots. Read more >>
Ensure your love of flying will never be forgotten
Gift planning is a personal and meaningful experience. The AOPA Foundation's office of planned giving's expert knowledge and deep understanding of the process can show you how to give a gift that is good for general aviation and financially beneficial for you. You can lock in an annual payout rate that is often higher than CD rates, while ensuring your love of flying will never be forgotten. Contact Diana Roberts at 301/695-2231 or by e-mail to see how a charitable gift annuity, deferred gift annuity, or bequest can help both you and GA.
No hotel change or cancel fees with AOPA Online Travel
Take the worry out of travel. Book through AOPA Online Travel and take advantage of the “No Change or Cancel Fees” offer on hotels. Travel changes can and do happen, and you shouldn’t be penalized for it. The AOPA Online Travel program, powered by Orbitz, offers increased flexibility if your travel plans change. Plus, a portion of all the revenue generated is returned to AOPA, which allows the association to continue its efforts to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation. Book your hotel today.
Aviation-themed holiday gifts
The holidays are right around the corner. If you're looking for gifts for pilots, check out AOPA's Holiday Gift Guide to find aviation gear and gadgets, including leather pilot jackets, flight bags, simulator software, and more. For the nonpilot on your list, share the gift of flying with an introductory flight at a nearby flight school. And help that pilot-to-be learn what flying is all about—and get inspired for the journey—by pointing him or her to the free resources available through AOPA’s Let’s Go Flying! Web site.
Wish you had a better understanding of the regulations when talking to your mechanic or the avionics shop? Aircraft Electronics Association Vice President of Government/Industry Affairs Ric Peri answers your frequently asked questions.
Question: What is a “type design”?
Answer: Type design is defined in 14 CFR 21.31, which states that the type design consists of:
(a) The drawings and specifications, and a listing of those drawings and specifications, necessary to define the configuration and the design features of the product shown to comply with the requirements of that part of this subchapter applicable to the product;
(b) Information on dimensions, materials, and processes necessary to define the structural strength of the product … Read more >>
Submit your own question via e-mail.
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 was told the other day by my flight school that the paper pilot certificate I have held for more than 30 years will be invalid for use soon. They say I need to upgrade to a plastic certificate. Is this true?
Answer: Yes. Recent changes to Federal Aviation Regulation 61.19(g) state that the holder of a paper pilot certificate issued under Part 61 may not exercise the privileges of that certificate after March 31, 2010. Airmen must request and be issued a plastic airmen certificate from the FAA, either online or by mailing in the proper form. There is a $2 charge for each certificate issued. This regulation does not apply to student pilot certificates or temporary certificates. The $2 fee is waived if at the same time you request your Social Security number be removed as your certificate number.
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 career opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a Director of Product Development, Director of Development, and Director of Legislative Affairs. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
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 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 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