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Today's Top Stories
President Barack Obama’s proposed budget is calling for aviation user charges starting in 2011. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the proposal Feb. 26, and although there is not much detail, the document makes it clear that the administration wants to replace some of the aviation excise taxes with “direct user charges.” “It is often said the devil is in the details, but even with only a few details, we are concerned,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. Read more >>
Security proposal infringes on citizens’ rights
The Transportation Security Administration’s proposed Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) is a threat to American citizens’ rights of privacy and freedom of travel. It is an unreasonably expansive and intrusive response to an undocumented and unproven security threat. The LASP could force one quarter of the reliever airports in the United States to ban aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds. And the TSA has underestimated the cost of the program to citizens and businesses by a factor of six; LASP could cost the general aviation community some $1.2 billion a year. Those are just some of the onerous requirements AOPA pointed out in its detailed analysis of the LASP notice of proposed rulemaking. Read more >>
Investors pull the plug on Eclipse
Eclipse Aviation closed its doors for good Feb. 24, awaiting a sale of its assets under Chapter 7 of the federal bankruptcy code. Hundreds of employees at the Albuquerque, N.M., plant learned in a final e-mail that they will not get their March 5 paycheck and no accrued vacation pay is available. Read more >>
Pilots concerned about badge requirements at commercial airports
The Transportation Security Administration has extended the deadline for a controversial security directive that would require security badges and background checks for all general aviation pilots based at air carrier airports. The TSA will meet with industry representatives to consider alternatives and to find solutions better suited to GA. “Pilots are very concerned about the TSA action,” said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. “The TSA must realize that pilots have a vested interest. Our goal is to work with the TSA to ensure pilots’ need for access at commercial airports is addressed.” Read more >>
‘Better times will return’
AOPA President Craig Fuller on Feb. 21 told pilots gathered at the Northwest Aviation Conference in Puyallup, Wash., that the general aviation industry is ready and able to rebound once the broader economy pulls out of the current downturn. Delivering the keynote address to well over 600 attendees, Fuller said, “What we must do now is prepare for the economic turnaround.” Read more >>
Discarded ELTs could prompt massive search
The Civil Air Patrol and AOPA are teaming up to remind pilots to properly dispose of their old emergency locator transmitters (ELTs). Because many pilots are upgrading to newer, more capable 406 MHz ELTs—even though 121.5 MHz ELTs still meet the FAA’s regulatory requirement—the possibility exists that the old 121.5 MHz ELT will be set off and prompt a search if not discarded properly. As part of the program, each CAP squadron is being given access to a poster that reminds pilots, mechanics, and FBOs to disconnect the ELT battery and send the ELT and battery to the local electronics waste facility. Read more >>
Last dealer-sold Bonanza delivered to Cutter
Cutter Aviation accepted delivery recently of the last dealer-sold Bonanza from Hawker Beechcraft. The manufacturer said it decided to end its dealer network of what it calls the Executive Beechcraft line (Bonanza, Baron, and King Air C90) in order to maintain more control of the process. The Bonanza delivery marked the end of a 63-year relationship between the FBO chain and Beechcraft. Hawker Beechcraft will continue to sell Bonanzas, Barons, and King Airs through the company's sales representatives. Read more >>
Piper to close an extra two weeks
Piper Aircraft will shut down operations for one week in May and another week in June, in addition to the previously announced closings of one week in April and one week in July. The shutdowns are without pay and affect all employees in the company. Read more >>
Turbine owners get more say in aircraft maintenance
A new FAA interpretation of 14 CFR 91.409, which requires multiengine turbine jets, multiengine turboprops, and turbine helicopters be enrolled in a current maintenance program recommended by the aircraft manufacturer, gives aircraft owners more say—and more responsibility—in the maintenance of their aircraft. Read more >>
Landsberg appointed to accreditation board
AOPA Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg was recently appointed to the board of trustees of the Aviation Accreditation Board International. AABI is one of the only sources of accreditation for collegiate flight training programs. Landsberg, who has served as the head of the foundation for 17 years, said AABI seeks to promote excellence and self-improvement in collegiate aviation programs, and to establish uniform minimum educational quality standards. Earning AABI accreditation means the college has been evaluated by a third party and meets rigorous academic standards. Check to see if the school you are interested in has AABI accreditation with AOPA’s college directory.
Today, some 12,000 pilots with heart disease are flying on all three medical certificate classes. Larry Pennington of Suffolk, Va., is one of those pilots. Pennington, now 56, suffered a heart attack in 2003 while flying a Cessna 206 from Suffolk to Raleigh/Durham, N.C. Amazingly, he was able to maintain control of the aircraft—there was no autopilot—and land. He’d never felt such pain. “It (was) like someone had a fish hook in my chest and was trying to pull my heart out of my chest,” Pennington says. He opened the 206’s roll-up door to get more oxygen, doused himself with water, descended from 6,500 to 2,000 feet, and focused on the instruments—airspeed, altitude, heading, attitude—until he landed at Raleigh-Durham. Read more >>
New format for AOPA’s annual convention
AOPA has a new plan for its annual convention and exposition, which will take place in Tampa, Fla., Nov. 5 through 7: AOPA Aviation Summit. “It is all our convention has offered and more. The Summit’s collaborative and hands-on environment is designed to bring together pilots, aircraft owners, aviation businesses, students, enthusiasts, and policy makers, and to give all of them—all of you—new power to shape your future and the future of general aviation. And for the first time we will be reaching outside the aviation community to welcome the public into all that general aviation has to offer,” said Fuller during his keynote address at the Northwest Aviation Conference in Puyallup, Wash., on Feb. 21. Read more >>
Take AOPA’s eAPIS survey
Attention international fliers! Have you used the Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) to provide flight information and passenger manifests to Customs and Border Protection? Take our online survey to tell us about your experience filing information for international flights to and from the United States. Give us your comments and suggestions, and let us know of any problems. Mandatory compliance begins May 18. AOPA will use the survey to provide better feedback and insight to Customs and Border Protection staff who work with the program; we are also planning to develop a user’s guide for eAPIS, and the feedback will help us answer members’ questions about the system.
Auburn University aviation program a key ‘transportation link’
As part of AOPA’s efforts to reach out to a larger community, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Andy Cebula participated in Auburn University’s Aviation Management Advisory Board on Feb. 20 and 21. The advisory board is working with the school to develop, among many other things, a world-class general aviation airport in partnership with the cities of Auburn and Opelika. “The university’s airport is an important transportation link for the growing economy of eastern Alabama,” said Cebula. Read more >>
Penelope Pilot encourages girls to take to the sky
Aisles of toys and books are dedicated to transporting young girls to a land of fairy tales and princesses, but one organization is launching a character this spring that encourages them to aim for the sky. The Penelope Pilot Project, part of the organization Girls With Wings, is designed to capture the imagination of girls with the character Penelope Pilot, a commercial airline pilot. “Instead of encouraging our girls to wait for their knights in shining armor, how about encouraging them to explore the night in their shiny airplane?” reads the Ohio-based business’s Web site. Read more >>
Some glider pilots were sitting on the deck of the clubhouse reliving the day’s flights. One gave a detailed description the 325-mile flight he made. A recently certificated pilot celebrated her Silver Badge distance flight of 32 miles. Another just smiled and recalled the afternoon spent flying from cloud to cloud, soaring with the hawks. No one was thinking about the cost of the flight. No one needed to worry about it. Read more in the latest installment of the " Joy of Flight."
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Robinson talks about R66, succession plans
One of the most anticipated events at any HAI convention is Robinson Helicopter founder Frank Robinson’s annual briefing—as the standing-room-only crowd at this year’s Feb. 22 gathering attested. Robinson candidly and colorfully held forth on his company’s turbine-powered R66 program, the credit crisis, and succession plans—or rather the lack of them—at his privately held firm. “We’d hoped to have the R66 done by now,” the silver-haired CEO said of the four-seat, Rolls-Royce-powered helicopter that’s flown more than 100 hours in testing. “But (FAA certification) is still going to take the better part of a year. The aircraft flies very well, and it flew very well more than a year ago when I flew it.” Read more >>
MD Helicopters reports profitable 2008
MD Helicopter owner Lynn Tilton said she will replace the henna tattoo on her back bearing the company logo with a permanent one if the Arizona-based firm meets her goal of winning the top customer service ratings in the helicopter industry. Tilton said MD Helicopters delivered 52 aircraft in 2008, was profitable, and expects to deliver more than 70 aircraft this year. Read more >>
Acquisition moves RotorWay toward certification
RotorWay International moved one step closer to its goal of building a certified two-place turbine helicopter on Feb. 17 when it announced its acquisition of PMC, Inc., a Phoenix-based manufacturer of helicopter parts. Chandler, Ariz.-based RotorWay has been building kitbuilt helicopters for 45 years; about 2,400 of the various models have flown, although only about 60 percent are in flying condition at any one time. Read more >>
10-year outlook looks good for Rolls-Royce
Turbine engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce is predicting an overall 10-year improvement in the helicopter market, but with a slight dip in production in 2009. However, 2010 deliveries are projected to surpass 2008 numbers. Overall, the company anticipates 15,800 turbine helicopter deliveries in the next decade, 9,600 of them worth $27 billion in the civil market; the balance of 6,200 into military markets, worth $104 billion. The deliveries will account for 25,000 engines worth $12 billion. Read more >>
Fuller samples helicopter flying
Wrapping up his West Coast industry tour, AOPA President Craig Fuller visited the booming Heli-Expo in Anaheim, Calif. The annual convention for the Helicopter Association International seems an oasis of good news among the economic turmoil in so many other parts of aviation. The bustling show was on track to rival last year’s record-breaking attendance of 17,300. Fuller’s discussions with exhibitors and AOPA members alike reported robust traffic and cautious optimism for the helicopter market, partly a result of the diversity of operations performed by rotorcraft. Fuller, an admitted helicopter enthusiast, “flew” a helicopter in a Flyit simulator. “This could be dangerous,” Fuller declared, “to my wallet. I enjoyed it so much, I may have to now start helicopter lessons.” Read more >>
For more Heli-Expo coverage, see AOPA’s GA News page.
Never Again Online Podcasts: Lost dances
Two pilots’ excitement turned into a nightmare on their 1,400-mile journey in a 1958 Cessna 180 on Edo 2700 amphibious floats when the engine suddenly went silent. “A power-off glide in an amphibious Cessna 180 is akin to a pheasant shot in midair,” wrote Loren A. Bauman. Listen as the emergency preparations unfold and they land in a small lake in this Never Again Online Podcast brought to you by the AOPA Insurance Agency.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation's new interactive, graphics-rich Safety Quiz format was a big hit when it debuted two weeks ago: More than three times the average number of quiz-takers put their knowledge to the test. This week the foundation follows up with a brain-tickler on emergency procedures. Knowing what to do in an emergency—and practicing those procedures regularly—can mean the difference between surviving a mishap and becoming a statistic. See how much you remember about Mayday ops by taking the latest Safety Quiz.
‘Mountain Flying’ 2.0
Mountain flying provides adventures—and challenges—that most flatlanders will never know. Tricky winds, mountain weather, density altitude, and unforgiving terrain are just a few of the risks covered in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's newly redesigned and updated Mountain Flying course. The popular free course has a fresh look, new features, and challenging interactive exercises. Could you safely turn around in a box canyon? Pick your airspeed, control the turn with your keyboard, and let's go flying. The course also includes dramatic, real-life video footage of the dangers of high density altitude—important lessons for pilots flying over any type of terrain.
Brush up on preventive maintenance
By performing routine maintenance on your aircraft, you can save money, become better educated about the equipment you fly, and feel the pride that comes with a job well done. Don’t be intimidated by preventive maintenance; performing tasks like oil changes and simple repairs can help you understand your aircraft better and make you a smarter and safer pilot. Consult AOPA’s Guide to Preventive Maintenance to make sure you understand your privileges and responsibilities. You also can test your knowledge with this Air Safety Foundation Safety Quiz.
Training needed for flying close to Washington, D.C.
As you may have heard, pilots flying within 60 nm of the Washington, D.C., VOR (identifier DCA) must complete an online training course. Here are two new bits of information regarding that course. Read more >>
Legislature weighs sale of Connecticut airports
AOPA, the Department of Transportation, and other organizations testified before the Connecticut legislature last week against the proposed sale of state-owned airports to private owners. Members of the General Assembly have introduced bills to investigate the feasibility of selling Bradley International Airport and five general aviation airports as a short-term fix to try to alleviate the projected budget deficit. Read more >>
To nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer, visit AOPA Online.
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit ASN Online.
Reporting Points: Fun, fun, fun on Maryland’s Eastern Shore
The winds were gusting to 30 knots at Bay Bridge Airport last Friday, and there wasn’t a whole lot of flying going on. Saturday, however, dawned calmer and clear, and pilots came out in droves. Read more >>
Let’s Go Flying: Pilot path—flight instructor
Flight instruction, by many pilots, is unfortunately seen as only a means to an end—just a way to build flight experience before moving on to the next rung on the professional pilot ladder. But for some instructors, they realize that becoming a certified flight instructor (CFI) is much more than just another line on a resumé, it is the key to sustaining general aviation as we know it today. Read more >>
Let’s Go Flying dubbed ‘Web site of the week’
TechNow TV viewers got an introduction to AOPA’s Let’s Go Flying Web site on Feb. 14, when it was dubbed the ‘Web site of the week’ on the San Francisco Bay area station. Take a look, and share the video with your friends!
Manage your membership for extra entry in AOPA’s 2009 sweeps
Don't miss out on an extra chance to win AOPA's 2009 Let's Go Flying Sweepstakes! Updating your membership information online will entitle you to one extra entry for this year's plane. Log on today and update your pilot info, your newsletter subscriptions, or your e-mail address, and you'll be automatically given one extra chance to win the 2005 Cirrus GTS.
Choose your life insurance company carefully
Quite often pilots can find themselves drawn to online ads and mailings from life insurance companies promising low-premium rates for pilots, only to find out later that they don’t apply to the type of flying you do. AOPA knows the importance of finding a reputable insurance company that understands aviation. That’s why we’ve been partners with Minnesota Life for more than 50 years. AOPA’s term life insurance programs, underwritten by Minnesota Life, offer pilot-friendly coverage at competitive rates, thanks to the group buying power of AOPA’s members. The group and individual programs are designed to insure virtually all types of flying, and obtaining a quote is simple. Call 888/879-2672 or go online today.
Does your auto insurance offer aviation enhancements?
Shopping around for auto insurance? Purchase AOPA Auto Insurance through 21st Century Insurance and you’ll receive great service, special rates, and exclusive aviation-related benefits. Up to $250 of the deductible is waived for a loss to a covered vehicle that’s parked in an airport parking lot while you are operating a personal aircraft that you own, rent, or lease for private pleasure purposes. And you can get free Roadside Assistance and Identity Theft Restoration Service at no additional cost. We’ll even provide transportation expense reimbursement (up to $900) if your aircraft malfunctions and leaves you stranded away from home. Visit us online or call 877/659-2446, ext. 4572 for your free quote today.
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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 recently moved to a new address. How long do I have to notify the FAA of my change of address?
Answer: According to FAR 61.60, the FAA must be notified within 30 days of your move; otherwise you may not act as pilot in command. You can make this notification online or through the mail. Unless you request a replacement certificate, the FAA will not send you a certificate with the new address. For more information, read this subject report.
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 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; San Mateo, Calif., March 28 and 29; Atlanta, Ga., Northbrook, Ill., Salt Lake City, Utah, and Ashburn, Va., April 4 and 5. 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 Northbrook, Ill., and Ypsilanti, Mich., March 9; Bolingbrook, Ill., Bedford, Mass., and Cleveland, Ohio, March 10; Peoria, Ill., and Whitehall, Ohio, March 11; Rockford, Ill., and Indianapolis, Ind., March 12; Birmingham, Ala., March 16; Marietta, Ga., March 17; Randolph, N.J., March 19. 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