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Today's Top Stories
Fuller meets D.C.’s aviation leaders
AOPA President Craig Fuller this week held two days of meetings with nearly a dozen members of Congress and administration officials who hold sway over U.S. aviation policy. “The poor state of the economy is as big a factor for general aviation as it is for the country at large,” said Fuller. “It is vital that Congress understand that pilots and the aircraft they fly are important to the economy. Federal investments and policies should expand opportunities for businesses to use general aviation.” Read more >>
FAA releases transcript of Flight 1549 ditching
Ever since the ditching of US Airways Flight 1549, pilots have applauded Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger for his successful Jan. 15 landing on the Hudson River, but some have asked why he didn’t land at La Guardia when a bird strike shortly after departure left him with two dead engines. The FAA released audio and print transcripts of the event, which give pilots a glimpse at the decisions Sullenberger had to make in a matter of seconds. Read more and listen to the audio >>
AOPA on Feb. 5 joined three other general aviation associations in formally requesting that the Transportation Security Administration halt its work on a plan to impose airline-like security on GA and form a rulemaking committee that would allow the TSA to work directly with the industry to identify effective, less burdensome security enhancements. The TSA's proposed Large Aircraft Security Program would require anyone who operates an aircraft with a maximum weight exceeding 12,500 pounds to, among other things, perform criminal background checks on all flight crew members; vet all passengers, even family members, against terrorist watch lists; and submit to biennial reviews of their security arrangements by a third-party auditor. Read more >>
GA manufacturers, airport supporters cap Fuller's Midwest tour
AOPA President Craig Fuller's General Aviation Leaders Tour wrapped up last week with a tour of Garmin and meetings with the Aircraft Electronics Association and Cirrus Design. Fuller also took time out from his tour to spend with the airport leaders and advocates at Lee's Summit Municipal Airport in Missouri. AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Gary Fox met Fuller for the first time during a breakfast gathering on Jan. 30. After an informal chat, Fox said he walked away feeling like he had just had breakfast with a friend. "He's very easy to talk to, and I think that's probably one of his major attributes," Fox said of AOPA's new president. Read more >>
Fuller to testify on FAA funding
The new Congress is in session and turning its attention to unresolved issues from the last Congress. One of those issues is funding for the FAA. On Feb. 11, AOPA President Craig Fuller will testify before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. It will be the first time members of the 111th Congress have held a hearing on the issue. Look for details of his testimony in next week’s AOPA ePilot.
Airport thrives after being saved from closure
Just a few years back, Smith Field, the general aviation reliever airport for Fort Wayne, Ind., was in a fight for its life. In fact, in 2003 the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority announced its decision to close the field. But local pilots and AOPA resolved not let that happen—and they didn't. Today, the field is thriving. It boasts a new AWOS and self-serve fuel pumps, has a steadily increasing number of operations, and is home to an A&P training school. The turnaround has been remarkable, but it wouldn't have been possible without the commitment and dedication of the airport's users and supporters. Read more >>
Plan to oust center meteorologists a bad idea
The FAA is planning to consolidate and reduce the number of meteorologists in air route traffic control centers. AOPA believes National Weather Service meteorologists offer a "safety-based value" and need to stay on board at the facilities. Read more >>
Hawker Beechcraft lays off 2,300
Hawker Beechcraft Chairman and CEO Jim Schuster has notified employees that the company will reduce its workforce by 2,300 employees before the end of the year. The action follows similar layoff announcements throughout the aircraft manufacturing industry. Schuster said he can't commit to his employees that this is the final action, given the "extreme volatility in the marketplace." Read more >>
Fifteen pilots, including three from the United States, are ready to begin the Red Bull Air Race World Championships starting April 17 in Abu Dhabi. The three American pilots are Kirby Chambliss, Mike Mangold, and Mike Goulian. Chambliss won the series in 2006. The race series, conducted over a tight, low-altitude racing course marked by inflatable 60-foot-tall pylons, consists of six races at locations worldwide. The pylons are designed to come apart when an aircraft hits them. The race comes to San Diego on May 9 and 10. The 2009 series will conclude Oct. 3 and 4 in Barcelona. The Races generally draw hundreds of thousands of spectators, and in 2006 the Barcelona race drew 1 million fans. The race will be shown on the Fox Sports Network in the United States, and also shown on television in 40 countries.
New notam system must have pilot's needs in mind
As part of the FAA's previously announced plan to update the U.S. notam system, AOPA has recommended to the FAA that it consider pilot access, ensure pilots receive only applicable notams, and make sure the transition does not require additional pilot education. AOPA sent the FAA a letter to ensure the agency had pilots' needs in mind as it continues its lengthy overhaul of the notam distribution method. Read more >>
Robinson Helicopter sets 2008 production record
The downturn in the economy late last year didn't seem to hurt the momentum Robinson Helicopter established earlier in 2008. The company broke its own production record, manufacturing 893 helicopters in 2008, 70 more than it made in 2007. Robinson credited its record to the R44 Raven series. The R44 comes in two models, the Raven II, which accounted for 60 percent of the production, and Raven I, which made up 20 percent. The Raven II cruises at 117 knots and has a maximum range of 348 nautical miles (no fuel reserve) and maximum operating altitude of 14,000 feet. It is touted as a more powerful version of the Raven I, which cruises at 113 knots. Read more >>
Adam Aircraft halts test flights
The Adam A700 business jet, now owned by a group of Moscow investors under the name of AAI Acquisition, is no longer making test flights while new investment money is sought. AAI Vice President Steve Patrick said the company is open to either acquiring a new partner or selling the company outright. Read more >>
FAA reminds Cessna operators to comply with seat AD
The FAA this week issued an urgent reminder to Cessna owners, inspectors, operators, and maintenance technicians to inspect their airplanes' seat tracks and make repairs as needed. Read more >>
Fly into ski paradise
Maybe you'll meet Tom Cruise or Kelly Ripa at this exclusive ski resort located high in the mountains of Colorado. Telluride Regional Airport is served by a 6,870-foot paved runway, which is situated on a mesa. Join AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton K. Marsh as he visits Telluride and picks out the best places to see and be seen in AOPA's new destination portal, Plane Fun. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
On Feb. 3, 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper were killed in an aircraft accident in Iowa. Learn from the accident in this NPR interview with AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg. For an in-depth look at the accident, read Landsberg’s “Landmark Accident” article and latest blog entry.
Don’t stress it: Treadmill tests are your heart’s friend
“Listen to your heart” may be a line from a pop song, but paying attention to your heart is crucial for pilots. And, as February is American Heart Month, now is the best time to evaluate your lifestyle habits. Are you exercising and eating properly? Does cardiovascular disease play a role in your family’s history? If so, you need to pay close attention to what your heart may be telling you. AOPA Media Relations Director Chris Dancy, who has been flying since 1999, recognized the warning signs of cardiovascular disease and was able to stave off a heart attack by taking action. Read more >>
Asleep at the yoke
Fatigue is a subtle but insidious condition that can degrade vision and coordination, dull memory and concentration, and alter mood and judgment. In its most pronounced form, fatigue causes an overwhelming desire to sleep—a dangerous condition for someone at the controls of an airplane. On July 8, 2004, with little sleep the night before, the pilot of a Piper Warrior II ate a heavy meal and departed around midnight on the third leg of a long cross-country flight. He dozed off at 4,500 feet msl, and awoke to the sound of the left wing being sheared off during ground impact. Read more in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Great Lakes Conference an important stop for AOPA
When aviators gathered at Great Lakes International Aviation Conference last week in Novi, Mich., AOPA was there to help educate pilots and listen to their concerns. Jennifer Storm, director of the AOPA Airport Support Network, said incompatible land use was a hot topic for pilots at her seminar on “Proactive protection: Promoting your airport.” The presentation covered the importance of pilots being on the lookout for development proposals, land rezoning, and property transfers. Read more >>
County agrees to work with North Las Vegas pilots, AOPA
Officials in Clark County, Nevada, have agreed to work with local pilots and AOPA to promote the safety and utility of North Las Vegas airport. During a series of meetings held Jan. 12 through 15, county aviation officials agreed to work with stakeholders, including AOPA, instead of pushing for federal legislation that would have given authority for safety oversight to the Clark County director of aviation. Read more >>
AOPA Now: A tour of the Midwest general aviation community
This past week, AOPA President Craig Fuller traveled throughout the Midwest meeting with leaders in the general aviation community. It was his first major trip since becoming president of AOPA, and he welcomed the chance to get out of the Washington, D.C., area. Read more >>
Reporting Points: The consequences of the sound bite
Congress and the media want to overlook the fact that general aviation spawns some 1 million jobs and contributes about $150 billion a year to the U.S. economy—and it has a positive trade balance. Read more >>
Frugal Flier: A light bulb goes on
Starting a cold-soaked piston aircraft engine can seem cruel and abusive. The battery protests, the starter groans, cylinders fire reluctantly, and the needle on the oil pressure gauge takes its time coming to life. One pilot has an old-fashioned desk lamp that he converted to an engine compartment heater. Read more >>
New daily newsletter complements ‘ePilot’
With the upcoming Feb. 9 launch of Aviation eBrief, the new daily e-mail newsletter sponsored by AOPA, members are asking what this means for AOPA ePilot. Written by pilots for pilots, ePilot will still be the once a week source of general aviation news, AOPA advocacy efforts, and safety tips. And, you’ll still receive it in your inbox every Friday morning. So, what’s the difference between Aviation eBrief and ePilot? Read more >>
Get expert help with AOPA’s digital products
These days flight planning, training, and even flying may seem to be as much about computer expertise as they are about compass, stick, and rudder. When you and your computer get stuck, AOPA has expert help. Eddie Tyeryar, an AOPA digital products support specialist, can answer questions and resolve technical difficulties with any of AOPA’s digital products, including Web sites, the online flight planner, Air Safety Foundation interactive courses, and more. And, with his insider knowledge of all these products, he’s the right person to steer you to any digital resources you may need. Eddie, who has been with AOPA since 2000, started out providing computer and network support for the entire association before joining the Pilot Information Center in 2007 and turning his attention from solving staff problems to answering member questions. “For me it really is all about the members,” Eddie said. “I love working for AOPA not only because of the people I work with, but the people I work for.”
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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: There is a spelling error on my VFR sectional chart. Whom can I contact at the FAA to notify them of this error?
Answer: If you have found an error on any government issued aeronautical chart, you can report it to the FAA National Aeronautical Charting Office (NACO) by calling 800/626-3677 or by sending an e-mail. NACO also answers frequently asked questions on its Web site.
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 Planned Giving and Director of Development for the AOPA Foundation, an Aviation Technical Specialist, and a part-time Data Analyst. AOPA also has 2009 summer intern positions available in various divisions of AOPA. For more information about the internships, e-mail AOPA Human Resources. For other career opportunities, visit AOPA 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? Wanting to plan 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 calender 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 Sacramento, Calif., Melbourne, Fla., and Nashua, N.H.., Feb. 14 and 15; Oklahoma City, Okla., Dallas, Texas, and Ashburn, Va., Feb. 21 and 22; Baltimore, Md., and King of Prussia, Pa., March 7 and 8. 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 Northglenn, Colo., and Tampa, Fla., Feb. 10; Colorado Springs, Colo., and Melbourne, Fla., Feb. 11; Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Feb. 12; Eugene, Ore., and Greenville, S.C., Feb. 16; Decauter, Ga., and Portland, Ore., Feb. 17; and Seattle, Wash., Feb. 18. 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