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Today's Top Stories
AOPA President Craig Fuller told Congress that AOPA members strongly support the new FAA funding bill just introduced in the House of Representatives. Testifying in the sixth week of his presidency, Fuller reminded the House aviation subcommittee that he has flown for 42 years and understands first-hand what it means to be a general aviation pilot. "The bottom line for us is that we support the measure, we support the use of aviation fuel taxes as a means of support from our segment of the aviation community," Fuller said in his testimony Feb. 11. Read more and watch a video of the hearing >>
Proposed GA security reg criticized in Congress
The Transportation Security Administration's proposed Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) also took fire at the Feb. 11 congressional hearing about FAA funding. Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), a pilot and AOPA member, asked AOPA President Craig Fuller about the impact of the security program on general aviation. And Boswell opined on the unnecessary hassles and expenses LASP would impose. "We don't see any threats of the kind that are being imagined that produced this regulation," said Fuller. LASP would impose airline-like security procedures on any aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds. Read more >>
AOPA helps balloon operator hit with $8,000 tax bill
When Howard County, Md., tried to charge an area balloon operator a local "amusement tax," the balloonist and AOPA got together to fight the county—and won. Ron Broderick, owner of the Friendship Hot Air Balloon Co., was charged more than $8,000 in back taxes after the county audited his business and determined he should be paying a local amusement tax. But Broderick and AOPA argued that because balloon flights are federally regulated, they are not subject to local amusement taxes. County council member Gregory Fox agreed and introduced legislation exempting hot air balloon operators from the tax. Read more >>
NTSB examines the air medical industry
According to the NTSB, 35 people have died in air medical helicopter crashes since February 2008. Through Feb. 6, the board took testimony from industry experts and operators with the goal of making safety improvement recommendations to the FAA. Some of the issues that were discussed were poor weather decisions by pilots, outdated technology, and insufficient training. Also discussed were solutions to help reverse the alarming accident trend. Terrain awareness and warning systems, night vision goggles, and better flight-risk evaluation methods were among the top suggestions. Read more >>
Pilot's license plate makes statement against D.C. airspace
If you're driving down the road reading vanity plates and see "FTSFRA," you can bet AOPA member Ed Levine of Leesburg, Va., is behind the wheel. His vanity plate isn't so vain. It stands for "Fight the Special Flight Rules Area," the new name for the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone. The ADIZ will be replaced by the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) starting Feb. 17. AOPA had urged the FAA to postpone the D.C. SFRA, arguing that it fell within President Barack Obama's order that federal agencies stop and review all regulations issued by the previous administration that had not yet been implemented. After conferring with the Department of Transportation, Department of Defense, and White House officials, the FAA on Feb. 6 denied AOPA's request to postpone the Feb. 17 changeover. Read more >>
Continental Motors recalls 9,600 cylinder heads
Continental Motors is making a voluntary recall at its own expense of 9,600 cylinder heads used on Continental 520-, 550-, and O-470 series engines. The recall was made when inspections of aircraft with 400 or more hours were found to have cracks on top and at the spark plug locations. All the engines affected are six-cylinder engines. Continental will pay for parts and labor and replace the cylinders over the next year. Read more >>
Aviation task force examines NextGen strategy
As the implementation strategy for NextGen—the modernized air traffic control system—starts to take shape, AOPA is heavily involved to ensure general aviation pilots' needs are met. The association has joined a task force of industry leaders to study the FAA's NextGen implementation plan. The group was created by RTCA, a not-for-profit corporation that develops consensus-based recommendations for the aviation industry. AOPA President Craig Fuller currently represents pilots and aircraft owners as an RTCA board member. Read more >>
Quick pilot action keeps TSA in check
AOPA members have expressed concern about reports that Transportation Security Administration officials stopped and screened general aviation pilots and their passengers at a fixed-base operation in Nashville, Tenn., before they could access their airplanes. That incident, combined with recent changes to security badge requirements at commercial airports and the TSA's proposed Large Aircraft Security Program, has left many pilots wondering if this is an all-out assault on GA by the TSA. Read more >>
Textron CEO Lewis Campbell told an investor group that his company "probably" will not have to sell one of its prime assets, either Cessna Aircraft Company or Bell Helicopter, to meet a cash shortfall through 2010. However, he asked listeners to note that he used the word "probably." The most likely to go on the chopping block might be Bell, since Cessna has suffered a decline in orders and is less attractive to buyers, observers suggest. After the speech, a Textron spokesperson called the sale of Bell "improbable," using a much stronger word than Campbell. Textron has reached the end of its $3 billion in bank credit and has a plan in place to raise an additional $1 billion, but another $1 billion to $2 billion is needed. The banks need to know there is cash available to pay back the $3 billion in loans, and that is why Campbell entertained the possibility of a sale.
Embraer still going strong
While the rest of the world’s aviation manufacturers are feeling the sting of the economic downturn, Embraer seems to be doing comparatively well. Embraer says it now has 850 firm orders, representing 44 nations, for its new Phenom 100 and 300 light jets. That’s up from a claim of 800 orders two months ago. Read more >>
Pratt and Whitney Canada cuts 1,000 jobs
Lawmakers who targeted business jets as the enemy of the economy have contributed indirectly to a reduction in business aircraft orders and 8,000 layoffs worldwide, most of them in Wichita. Pratt and Whitney Canada is laying off 1,000 workers in coming months who were involved in making business jet engines. The company had forecast it would make 5,000 engines in the coming year as recently as December but has reduced the forecast to less than 4,000 due to reductions in business jet orders. Read more >>
EPA to conduct lead study at Santa Monica Airport
Beginning this month and continuing through July, the Environmental Protection Agency will be taking air and soil samples at Santa Monica Airport and in surrounding neighborhoods to test for ambient lead levels. AOPA has asked the agency to provide the association with its full work plan for the study and information about exactly how the data collected will be used. Read more >>
New interactive map plots fuel accidents
Fuel-management accidents are among the most preventable types of general aviation mishaps, and yet pilots still manage to turn perfectly good airplanes into impromptu gliders at a rate of nearly two per week. In an effort to raise awareness and encourage sound decision making, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation has launched a new interactive resource—a fully scalable Google-based map that plots the location of accidents caused by improper fuel management. Pilots can roll over the map's plot points to see accident details, and a link provides additional information from the Air Safety Foundation Accident Database. Drop-down menus allow users to tailor details such as time frame or aircraft type. The map also provides a link to the foundation's fuel-awareness resources. Learn more in AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg's latest blog entry.
FAA to establish presidential TFR over Chicago
President Barack Obama will be returning to Chicago for the first time since being sworn in as president and that means pilots flying in the area will have to be aware of new flight restrictions impacting one of the nation's busiest chunks of airspace. Obama is expected to go to Chicago several times each year, so pilots should become familiar with the airspace restrictions in order to keep themselves out of trouble. His first visit is scheduled from Friday, Feb. 13, through Monday, Feb. 16. The FAA already has established a 30-nautical-mile-radius temporary flight restriction for this weekend. Read more >>
Calling all members: Has Florida tax affected you?
Florida's tax on recently purchased out-of-state aircraft continues to drive AOPA efforts in the state's legislature. On Feb. 4, AOPA Manager of State Legislative Affairs Mark Kimberling and AOPA Florida Regional Representative Nelson Rhodes met with Florida State Rep. Ralph Poppell on the issue. Poppell's new bill—H.B.51—follows up on last year's attempt at rejecting the out-of-state tax that passed the House but stalled in the Senate. Read more >>
Piper makes additional layoffs
Piper Aircraft spokesman Mark Miller said the company laid off 300 workers Feb. 10 after further deterioration in aircraft sales, leaving the company with a workforce of 650. In addition, Piper will shut down operations for two weeks without pay; one of the weeks is in April and the other is in July. The entire company, from executives to hourly workers, is affected. Read more >>
Diamond 'registers' employees being furloughed
Reports in the European aviation press have indicated that as many as 180 employees at Diamond's Wiener Neustadt, Austria, factory have been laid off. Not exactly true, says Diamond president Peter Maurer. "In Austria you can't just summarily fire people," he said. "The state makes you register any intended layoffs well before the actual layoffs occur." Such registrations have occurred, but exact numbers were not made public. Read more >>
Husky now available with glass cockpit
Aviat Aircraft in Afton, Wyo., can claim to be the first original equipment manufacturer to offer the option of the Garmin G600 glass cockpit, putting it in the popular Husky A–1C tandem-seat tailwheel aircraft. Along with the G600 comes a wider door on both the 180-horsepower and the 200-horsepower Husky models. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety Quiz gets extreme makeover
For years, pilots have enjoyed challenging themselves with online quizzes from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. The educational quality was always high, even though the presentation harked back to Scantron forms and #2 pencils. All that has changed with the latest Safety Quiz, "Airspace." Harnessing flash technology, the new quiz format is rich in graphics and highly interactive. The standard multiple-choice and true/false questions are augmented by drag-and-drop matching exercises, fill-in-the-blank brainteasers, and a "hotspot" question that requires pinpointing the correct answer on an interactive sectional chart. Try the new quiz today.
Never Again Online: Chicken sandwich
Two pilots decided to brave a direct 45-knot crosswind in a Mooney Bravo—all for a tasty chicken-and-avocado sandwich in Amarillo, Texas. Read about their landing in the latest installment of Never Again Online. Enjoy the lessons you learn from these pilots' first-hand accounts? Listen to more stories in AOPA's Never Again Podcast directory brought to you by the AOPA Insurance Agency.
With Valentine's Day on your mind, your heart might be fluttering at the thought of your beloved. Then again, that fluttering might signal something potentially more troublesome. A flutter, a rapid heartbeat, the sensation that your heart is "skipping a beat"—these are all indications of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. Other symptoms can include sensations of dizziness, shortness of breath, weakness or fatigue, chest discomfort, or even fainting. Millions of people are affected by arrhythmias each year. They can be triggered by certain medications, caffeine, tobacco use, or stress. Frequently, however, there is no obvious cause. Read more >>
Improve your safety by learning from others
Gain invaluable knowledge about flying safely by learning from the mistakes of others. Using your ePilot personalization preferences, like "piston single-engine" or "turbine," the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Accident Database generates a list of accidents that have been added to the database in the past 30 days. If you haven't personalized your newsletter, select your aircraft preferences from the "types of aircraft" section on the ePilot personalization page.
Charlotte Class B expansion threatens skydiving operation
Expansion of Class B airspace over Charlotte, N.C., as proposed by the FAA, would threaten operations at Chester Regional Airport, AOPA Air Traffic Services Manager Pete Lehmann has told the agency. The airport is home to the area's largest skydiving operation, which may be forced to relocate. Lehmann said in formal comments on the proposal that the FAA should instead change the arrival procedures into Charlotte International Airport to avoid an economic impact on Chester Regional Airport. Such changes are minor and would not prove more costly for airlines, he said. Read more >>
Airport documents key to revenue picture
AOPA members are concerned that the city of St. Clair, Mo., doesn't appear to be acting as a good steward of St. Clair Regional Airport, and the association intends to get to the bottom of the current situation, starting with a letter formally requesting eight important documents and statements from the city. Read more >>
AOPA's Hover Power: Standing on a basketball
Having both a fixed-wing and rotor-wing ATP, I have often thought about the different skill set required to fly each type of aircraft. The skills and traits that make a good VFR airplane or helicopter pilot are not necessarily the same. Read more from AOPA's new helicopter blogger Tim McAdams.
Let's Go Flying: Exploring the commercial maneuvers
After going two for five on planned flights in January, February is off to a much better start. I got up for 2.5 hours to have a look at the maneuvers I'd need to do if I pursued my commercial certificate. Read more from Let's Go Flying blogger Steve Tupper.
AOPA Internet Flight Planner gets an upgrade
Version 1.2.1 of the AOPA Internet Flight Planner (AIFP) will soon be released. This update adds an NDB chart overlay, features two new video tips (weather briefing and pan/zoom), and corrects a bug in how the application handles true airspeed calculations during descents from high altitude routes. New icons also have been added to the application. Throughout February, AOPA will implement additional upgrades. Read more >>
Fuller to speak at Women in Aviation Conference
Holding true to his promise to get out into the community and meet members where they live, AOPA President Craig Fuller will be speaking at the Women in Aviation Conference in Atlanta on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 9 a.m. Fuller will focus on challenges and opportunities in general aviation, specifically on growth opportunities in which women and minorities play a key role. During the conference, AOPA Air Safety Foundation Manager of Safety Education Kathleen Vasconcelos will present the “Top 5 Mistakes Pilots Make” seminar at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26. Also on Thursday, AOPA and the University Aviation Association will host a college/university student seminar and social. The conference will be at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. To register, see the WAI Web site.
AOPA to reach out to pilots at Northwest Aviation Conference
Want to learn the latest general aviation news, tips to become a safer pilot, and how to protect your airport? AOPA will discuss each at the Northwest Aviation Conference and Trade Show on Saturday, Feb. 21, and Sunday, Feb. 22, in Puyallup, Wash. AOPA President Craig Fuller will talk about “The State of General Aviation” on Saturday. On Sunday, at 10:15 a.m., find out why every public-use airport is better protected because of the AOPA Airport Support Network (ASN). ASN Director Jennifer Storm and AOPA Northwest Regional Representative Mike Ferguson will be on hand to address any specific airport issues attendees may have. In addition, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation will present safety seminars on both days. For details, including admission fees, visit the Washington Aviation Association’s Web site.
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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: I am familiar with the requirement to have the English Proficient endorsement on my certificate, but I still haven't made the request to FAA. When is the deadline?
Answer: The deadline is March 5, 2009. However, the endorsement is required only if you fly internationally. The good news is that your new certificate with the English Proficient endorsement is plastic and also meets the requirement to obtain a plastic certificate by March 31, 2010. Get the scoop on pilot certificates here!
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 pilot[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 Oklahoma City, Okla., Dallas, Texas, and Ashburn, Va., Feb. 21 and 22; Baltimore Md., and King of Prussia, Pa., March 7 and 8; Phoenix, Ariz., and Ontario, Calif., March 14 and 15; Orlando Fla., and Virginia Beach, Va., March 21 and 22. 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 Greenville, S.C., Feb. 16; Decatur, Ga., and Portland Ore., Feb. 17; Seattle, Wash., Feb. 18; Huntsville, Ala., Feb. 19; Puyallup, Wash., Feb. 21 and 22; Rochester, Minn., and Las Vegas, Nev., March 2. 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