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Today's Top Stories
Craig Fuller has taken the controls as president of AOPA—only the fourth president in the association's nearly 70-year history. Fuller became president following an orderly three-month transition leading up to outgoing president Phil Boyer's retirement on Dec. 31, 2008. "I see a year of challenges, but I also see a year of opportunities," Fuller said in a New Year's video greeting to members. "Much work has already begun with the new Obama administration. We've met with the transition team, and those officials have been concerned about the issues that concern all of us." Read more and watch an introductory video on AOPA Online.
Tell TSA what the Large Aircraft Security Program means to you
The Transportation Security Administration wants to impose new security regulations that would treat larger general aviation aircraft just like the airlines, and AOPA members are urged to file comments telling the TSA how the rules would affect them. The proposed Large Aircraft Security Program, or LASP, would impose a whole range of expensive and burdensome requirements on Part 91 operators of aircraft weighing more than 12,500 lbs. Those requirements include criminal history record checks for crew members, matching passengers to TSA watch and no-fly lists, checking passengers and baggage for dangerous weapons or prohibited items, and paying for biennial third-party audits. That last item amounts to outsourcing security oversight, an inherently governmental function. Read more and submit your comments.
Pilots usually think of airplane flight performance in terms of gallons per hour—not miles per gallon. AOPA member and aeronautical innovator Klaus Savier, owner of Light Speed Engineering based at Santa Paula Airport in Southern California, has been setting speed and efficiency records for two decades in his experimental, Rutan-designed Vari-EZ. He has altered his Vari-EZ and its Continental 0-200 engine to get Prius-like 50 miles per gallon at 190 KTAS. If he slows to extend range, Savier's mileage approaches 100 miles per gallon. Read more >>
Optimistic signs for 2009
Think how your 401k balance here in early 2009 might be different if at this point last year you knew what you know now. But as investor billionaire Warren Buffett once said, “In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” So, what might the rearview mirror say about 2009? “It was a challenging year”? No doubt it will be, but as in every case where there is a challenge, some will find an opportunity. For those with cash or good credit, 2009 may well be the year that they become an aircraft owner or that they upgrade to a newer or higher performance airplane. Read more >>
D.C. airspace restricted during presidential inauguration
The Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone and Flight Restricted Zone will be closed to general aviation aircraft on Jan. 20 for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. From 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Jan. 20, no VFR or IFR GA flight operations will be permitted to transit the ADIZ. Only GA aircraft on an active IFR flight plan departing or arriving at Washington Dulles International, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall, and Manassas Regional airports will be permitted during that time period. Read more >>
AD for alternate static air source selector valve on Cessnas
The FAA has issued an airworthiness directive (AD) that will take effect on Jan. 5 and require the inspection of the alternate static air source selector valve. The valve must be inspected to determine whether the part number identification placard obstructs the alternate static air source selector valve port. If it does, the placard should be removed, and the FAA should be notified. The AD affects certain Cessna 172, 175, 177, 180, 182, 185, 188, 206, 207, 208, 210, 303, 336, and 337 series aircraft. The AD is intended to prevent erroneous indications from the altimeter, airspeed, and vertical speed instruments.
Rulemaking committee closer to recommendations for small UAS
The work of the FAA's Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which includes AOPA, continues as the panel develops recommendations for how best to regulate and integrate small unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System. The group, which is examining everything from flight crew requirements and operations to system certification and integration into the airspace system, has been meeting regularly since May 2008 to develop a set of recommendations for the FAA.
Expedition E350 awarded certification
The Expedition E350, a four-place utility aircraft built by Expedition Aircraft, received FAA certification late last week. The E350 is an updated version of Ontario-based Expedition Aircraft's Found Bush Hawk-XP. Certified as a tricycle-gear airplane on wheels and straight and amphibious floats, the E350 will soon be available in tailwheel configuration as well. Read more >>
Plane Fun: Where are you flying this weekend?
The holidays are over, and it's time to chill. How about a weekend trip to Sedona, Ariz.? "Red Rock Country" is a four-season playground for everyone—whether you're into history and archeology, arts and culture, power shopping, outdoor sports, or the spiritual and metaphysical—imagine all of this amid a backdrop of some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. This picturesque city and its airport are surrounded by red-rock monoliths and a breathtaking chasm. Escape the chaos of life, kick back, relax, and just be…in Sedona. Check out our newest destination portal on AOPA Online—it's just Plane Fun.
ATP reimburses fuel surcharge
Airline Transport Professionals, a national flight school dedicated to career pilot training, announced Dec. 30 that it had refunded up to $2,500 each in fuel surcharges to its Airline Career Pilot Program students. According to the company, the refund was possible because at the time the students enrolled, aviation fuel was more than $6 a gallon. Because aviation fuel prices lag behind other fuel sources, the rebate wasn't possible until fuel recently went below $4.50 a gallon, the company said. The rebate applies to all students who enrolled at mid-2008 pricing, and the course price has been lowered for those students who plan to start in 2009.
You're never too old to learn to fly
Perhaps you started flying years ago, but work and family concerns brought your aviation endeavors to a halt. Or maybe you've dreamed of being a pilot since you were a kid, but never had the time, money, or opportunity to make your dream reality. Either way, you're never too old to climb into the left seat, and AOPA can help. AOPA offers a whole range of resources for older pilots, whether you're entering the cockpit for the first time or returning after a long absence. Get information on medical issues, insurance concerns, and other topics of special interest in the Pilot Information Center's subject report, "Older Pilots." Still have questions or prefer to speak directly with one of AOPA's experts? Call the Pilot Information Center at 800/USA-AOPA for answers to all your questions.
Airport Support Network
New Year's resolution: Protect your airport
When it comes to promoting and protecting community airports, no one is more important than the people who use them. That's why the AOPA Airport Support Network has become so successful, with nearly 2,000 dedicated volunteers serving airports nationwide. "ASN volunteers truly lead the fight on behalf of community airports, one field at a time," said Jennifer Storm, director of the AOPA Airport Support Network. "Volunteers serve as our eyes and ears at airports across the country, and working with AOPA headquarters, they can help prevent and resolve problems." Read more >>
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit the ASN web site.
Predictions for aviation safety in 2009
The beginning of the new year just begs for some sage observation on what will happen in 2009. I'll wander out on the limb, and you're welcome to join me or stay close to the tree trunk. Find out what AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg predicts in his latest blog entry.
AOPA Pilot introduced a new column, "Frugal Flier," in the January 2009 issue to help pilots and aircraft owners cut some of the cost of flying. AOPA Online has created a special blog so that you can share your tips for saving as much as possible while flying. Check out AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman's blog on oil changes and add your thoughts.
Aboard the Honda Super Cub
You may know about the business alliance between Honda Aircraft and Piper Aircraft that allows Honda to tap into Piper's dealer network to sell the HondaJet. But did you know that Honda built Super Cubs? Read more >>
Join the record number of AOPA members already taking advantage of the automatic annual renewal program and enjoy the benefits of convenience and savings. Nearly half of all AOPA members—more than 200,000 people—now participate in automatic annual renewal of their AOPA membership. Program participants enjoy savings on their annual dues and the convenience of knowing their membership is always current. When you enroll in the program, you'll get a $4 discount on your AOPA membership dues and receive two additional entries into the AOPA sweepstakes, increasing the chances that you'll win the sweepstakes airplane—this year a Cirrus! Read more >>
Let's Go Flying! featured in the news
AOPA's Let's Go Flying! Web site was recently featured in the KAKE-TV news story, "Pilots Wanted." The story, which addressed the growing need for general aviation pilots, included a satellite interview with AOPA Media Relations Director Chris Dancy. With media exposure and help from AOPA's greatest resource—our members—the Let's Go Flying! initiative aims to inspire new generations of pilots and keep GA strong. Want to help? Please refer potential pilots to the Let's Go Flying Web site, where they can order a free learn-to-fly DVD.
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: Is there an FAA publication that can help me decode aviation weather products? I am particularly interested in figuring out what the symbols on weather charts represent.
Answer: Aviation Weather Services , also known as Advisory Circular 00-45F, is a document published jointly by the National Weather Service (NWS) and the FAA. This document contains useful information for textual and graphical weather products. Section 8 and Section 18 will help you with chart symbols.
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 Sevierville, Tenn., and Seattle, Jan. 10 and 11; and Detroit, Jackson, Miss., and Charlotte, N.C., Jan. 17 and 18. 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. 12. 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 | Contributors: Warren Morningstar, Alton Marsh