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Today's Top Stories
States ready with GA projects for stimulus dollars
The $787 billion economic stimulus bill signed by President Barack Obama this week includes $1.1 billion for airports, and the states are ready and waiting to take advantage of the funding with lists of “shovel ready” projects to improve the nation’s general aviation airport infrastructure. As the stimulus plan was first being developed by the administration and congressional leaders late last year, AOPA sprang to action, urging state and local officials across the country to identify, organize, and present GA airport projects that would qualify for infrastructure funding through the stimulus plan. Read more >>
No Plane, No Gain
In an effort to counter the onslaught of negative news surrounding business aviation, the National Business Aviation Association and General Aviation Manufacturers Association have teamed to launch a joint advocacy campaign called, “No Plane, No Gain.” Announced on Feb. 17 during GAMA’s Annual Industry Review and Market Outlook Briefing, the campaign targets policy makers with a four-part message: Business aviation creates jobs; it is the lifeline to small communities; it increases productivity; and it encompasses humanitarian and emergency service flights that save lives every day. Read more >>
Business jet manufacturers fight to remake image
Two major business aircraft manufacturers also launched ad campaigns this week to counter negative publicity that has cast the business jet as a symbol of excess rather than a tool of industry. Cessna Aircraft Company and Hawker Beechcraft Corp. have both launched campaigns aimed at companies feeling pressure to abandon their fleets. Read more >>
Pilots aren’t threatening; they’re not begging. But they are being frank with the Transportation Security Administration in their comments about how the proposed Large Aircraft Security Program would affect their flying. The common response: They would be forced to stop flying for business and pleasure. “I realize it's the responsibility of the government to protect the citizens of this country, but at some point it becomes intrusion,” wrote AOPA member Howard Miller of Texas in his comments. Miller echoed other pilots’ comments when he wrote that such costly and burdensome regulations would make his passion “unaffordable and completely out of my reach.” Read more >>
Eclipse furloughs workers, closes plant
Struggling very light jet pioneer Eclipse Aviation on Feb. 18 furloughed its workforce of 800 employees. An Eclipse spokesman said this week's payroll had been paid, but the Eclipse board of directors ordered the furloughs in order to reduce expenses while the company awaits funding to keep it operating. Employee benefits will continue to be paid for the foreseeable future, but the spokesman would not speculate on how long the furlough might last. Read more >>
New aircraft shipments down
Strong general aviation aircraft billings in 2008 were tempered by a decrease in the number of new aircraft delivered worldwide, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) announced Feb. 17. "We all know that the deteriorating economic situation is a severe thunderstorm that's affecting our flight path," said GAMA Chairman Mark Van Tine, president and CEO of Jeppesen. The industry is feeling a significant impact from the slowing worldwide economy, he said. Billings for new aircraft delivered worldwide during 2008 set an industry record of $24.8 billion, 13.4 percent more than the previous year's $21.9 billion. However, the number of GA airplanes shipped last year decreased for the first time in five years—to 3,969, a drop of 7.1 percent from 2007. Read more >>
Aviation industry unites to address environmental issues
Twenty aviation organizations, including AOPA, have united to produce a joint industry paper establishing principals and guidelines for addressing environmental issues. The signatories to the paper, titled "Aviation and Climate Change: The Views of Aviation Industry Stakeholders," represent all aspects of aviation from light aircraft to the airlines and from airports to air traffic controllers. Read more >>
AOPA works to prevent ban on experimental aircraft at North Las Vegas
The controversy over permitted activity at North Las Vegas Airport moved to the state capitol this week as AOPA met with Nevada lawmakers on Feb. 17 to prevent a ban on experimental aircraft at the airport. The association acted quickly last week to delay a hearing on the ban. The delay allowed more time for AOPA to work directly with the bill sponsors and Clark County officials on a positive plan of action to improve safety at North Las Vegas Airport without an overreaching preemption of FAA regulations. Read more >>
GM fires 49, dumps flight department
General Motors was forced to terminate 49 employees from its now-eliminated corporate air operations department as one of the terms for winning emergency funding from Congress. All seven aircraft in the GM fleet are parked at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport waiting to be sold. All of the aircraft are leased; however, they can't be returned to the financing companies without stiff penalties. GM spokesmen were not at liberty to disclose the penalties. Read more >>
Tax 'em like fur coats and jewelry!
Illinois State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford (D-8th district) has introduced legislation that classifies general aviation airplanes costing more than $500,000 as "luxury items," and proposes an additional 5-percent sales tax—on top of the 7.25-percent sales tax already in effect. Read more >>
Listen to Matt Kenseth, who recently won the Daytona 500, talk about his flying experiences in our "Let's Go Flying" interview. "I got into flying during the off season and I was somewhat bored," Kenseth said. "I wanted to find something constructive to do. I've always been real interested in airplanes, riding to the races and all. I thought I'd take up flying and see if I liked it." Then learn about other NASCAR drivers who are also pilots. Read more >>
Career service AIR, Inc. shuts down
The struggling economy has claimed AIR, Inc., an aviation career information service based in Atlanta. AIR, Inc.'s Web site offered information on airline job openings, career fairs, and résumé services. The site also provided information on pilot hiring to AOPA Flight Training , which published the month-by-month hiring data in its "Career Pilot" section. Read more >>
Bird strike possible cause of helicopter crash
The NTSB is focusing on a bird strike as the cause of the Jan. 4 crash of an S76 helicopter in the Gulf of Mexico. The helicopter was transporting Royal Dutch Shell workers to an offshore oil platform in clear weather. The NTSB quickly ruled out most of the more common causes such as fuel starvation or mechanical failure. The reason for the crash puzzled investigators, causing Shell to temporarily ground its entire fleet of S76 helicopters. Read more >>
Plane Fun: Where are you flying this weekend?
OK, it's the height of the ski season and you're looking for something different. How about South Lake Tahoe (TVL) where you can fly into this 8,544-foot runway and be perfectly situated to take advantage of the resort's February special—20 percent off all lodging and restaurants? Or, better yet, make your ski (or snowboard) experience a little richer—join a USDA Forest Service ranger on a tour of Heavenly Mountain. The tour covers the natural and cultural history of the Lake Tahoe Basin. AOPA Pilot spent a day at TVL last year as the resort marked its fiftieth anniversary. Check it out on our newest destination portal on AOPA Online—it's just Plane Fun.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Weather-linked GPS systems can be an invaluable safety tool in the cockpit, but the technology shouldn't replace common sense, especially for a noninstrument-rated pilot in IMC. On June 22, 2007, a VFR-only Bonanza pilot spent an hour going over newly installed avionics before departing on a cross-country flight—without getting a weather briefing. Conditions deteriorated, and the pilot told ATC he was "kinda in the soup." He spent the next three minutes discussing how his onboard weather data didn't match the reality outside his window. A witness saw the aircraft emerge from a 500-foot overcast in a 200-knot dive. Read more in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Then find out when the foundation's free GPS safety seminar will be near you.
Pacemakers: When your heart needs help
It’s a device about the size of a pocket watch. It can be implanted with minor surgery. It helps to regulate your heartbeat. If you said, “What is a pacemaker?” you might be a “Jeopardy” champion. Or perhaps you’re a pilot with a pacemaker, like Jim Zieman of Robards, Ky. A pacemaker may be implanted to help control your heartbeat, to make sure it is not beating too fast, too slow, or irregularly. Zieman, 66, received a pacemaker approximately five years ago to correct a too-slow heart rate. Read more >>
Flight instructor with a passion
Within the past five years, the Liberty University School of Aeronautics in Lynchburg, Va., has grown from four students to more than 250 in its accredited, FAA-certificated aviation program—with around 125 students actively participating in flying instruction—to become one of the two largest Christian university aviation programs in the United States. One of the secrets to the school's success is a passionate senior staff with more than 180 years of flight experience in all areas of the industry. Take Kurt Reesman, assistant professor of aviation, for example. "This is all I know. My gift is teaching," said Reesman, who was near retirement when he became the first full-time professor to be hired into the program. Read more >>
Answers for Pilots: Pilot's Guide to Taxes
With tax time upon us, you may want to take a look at AOPA’s Pilot’s Guide to Taxes to see if your flying activity might qualify for a deduction. Read up on tax concerns that affect aircraft owners, particularly those who use their aircraft for business purposes. Some flight training expenses may qualify for a tax break if they are trade or business related. Read more >>
Pottstown pilots face navigation hazard
Construction is proceeding full speed on a shopping center near Pottstown, Pa., despite the FAA’s determination that it is a hazard to operations at Pottstown Municipal Airport. AOPA has stepped in to urge that it be stopped. Read more >>
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 nearly 2,000 Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers are working 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: Tail Stall?
It’s always (or never) too early to speculate on accident causes before the NTSB comes out with a final report. The buzz on the Continental Q-400 crash in Buffalo, N.Y., sure looks like icing and possibly tail plane icing. Read more >>
Let’s Go Flying: ‘A Pilot’s Story’
Wilco Films is producing the next big aviation documentary film called A Pilot's Story. The film will feature Aviation icons, Hollywood pilots, astronauts, aerobatic champions, commercial and corporate pilots, and a select number of general aviation pilots. Read more >>
AOPA’s Hover Power: Money in the Bank
When Tim McAdams tells people that he flies helicopters, they usually respond: “Isn’t that dangerous? If something happens to the engine, you can’t glide like an airplane.” But, helicopters do glide, explains the 10,000-hour-plus helicopter pilot in his recent blog entry. McAdams also is covering the helicopter industry for AOPA Online. "It is refreshing to read a helicopter-specific article from AOPA. Let's keep this going,” commented one member. Look for more coverage online as McAdams joins AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines and Senior Editor Dave Hirschman at the Helicopter Association International convention in Anaheim, Calif., next week.
Fuller to unveil surprise at Northwest Aviation Conference
Going to the Northwest Aviation Conference in Puyallup, Wash., this weekend? Don't miss a big announcement from AOPA President Craig Fuller on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 1 p.m. Pacific time! Can’t make it in person? We’ll have the details on AOPA Online at 4 p.m. Eastern time.
Open an AOPA personal checking account and receive $100
At a time when every penny counts, an extra $100 in your checking account can really come in handy. And that’s exactly what you’ll get if you open a new qualifying AOPA personal checking account from Bank of America by April 30. You’ll enjoy key features like free online banking with bill pay, plus mobile banking on your cell phone. Best of all, get automatic savings when you enroll in the Keep the Change service—where each check card purchase is rounded up to the next dollar and the difference is transferred from your checking to your savings account. What’s more, you’ll be supporting AOPA with every check card purchase. These contributions are used to fund AOPA’s mission to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation. To open your AOPA checking account and receive $100, visit your neighborhood Bank of America or go online today. Use offer code SPEP100.
The best in general aviation news
Looking for the latest news on general aviation aircraft, avionics, and pilot products? Check out our GA News page. It’s updated multiple times throughout the day, Monday through Friday, in order to bring you up-to-the-minute news you can trust. Bookmark the page so that you can check it out as often as you like.
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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: Several required placards are missing from my standard category aircraft, and I'd like to replace them. What are the specifications for placards? Can I print them up on my computer, laminate them, and tape them in place?
Answer: Replacing a placard on your standard category airplane is not one of the 32 items that can be performed by an aircraft owner or operator under preventive maintenance. You will need to contact your mechanic for guidance on replacing these missing placards. The mechanic will then reference Section 2 (Limitations) of the Pilot’s Operating Handbook or the appropriate type certificate for specifications about the placard. Some placards are issued with part numbers and may need to be ordered from the manufacturer (Piper aircraft, for example). A mechanic also would need to make the appropriate entry in the aircraft maintenance logbook after the placards are replaced.
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].
Fly the Cessna Caravan; find out what World War I aircraft are still flying today; and learn about Mexico’s best-kept secret that is also a haven for pilots. It’s all in the March 2009 issue of AOPA Pilot, which will be in your mailbox soon. For a sneak peek and interactive features, see AOPA Pilot Online.
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, and an Aviation Technical Specialist. 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 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 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