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Today's Top Stories
If the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had any illusions about how strongly the aviation community feels about their proposed Large Aircraft Security Program, those illusions were dispelled nearly half an hour before a Jan. 6 public hearing—the first of five—ever began. The hearing room, with seating for more than 100, was filled to standing-room-only capacity. AOPA Northeast Regional Representative Craig Dotlo told the TSA that AOPA has some significant concerns with the proposed rule, including outsourcing security oversight (an inherently governmental function), applying commercial standards to general aviation, establishing an arbitrary weight threshold, and leading to the possibility that the program would expand to all GA aircraft and airports. Read more >>
Lynne Osmus to become acting FAA Administrator
Career FAA executive Lynne A. Osmus will become acting FAA Administrator when the current acting administrator leaves at the end of the Bush administration Jan. 20. Acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell just named Osmus Acting Deputy Administrator on Jan. 6. "This speaks very well to the transition planning," said AOPA President Craig Fuller. "Lynne is the FAA's liaison with the Obama transition team, and she has served as special assistant to former administrator James Busey and chief of staff to administrators David Hinson and Jane Garvey." Read more >>
‘Safe skies, good neighbors’ key to North Las Vegas airport
After two fatal accidents in August 2008 near Nevada’s North Las Vegas airport, AOPA, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, and the local general aviation community came together to address local concerns about aviation safety. AOPA and the foundation are continuing that effort. On Jan. 14, the foundation will host a special seminar “Safe Skies, Good Neighbors” to educate pilots about the special considerations of flying in urban areas like North Las Vegas. Read more >>
GPS routing increases airspace efficiency
Pilots flying aircraft equipped with IFR-certified GPS receivers can enjoy hassle-free routing around, or even through, many congested areas in the United States. Area navigation (RNAV) routes, also called T-routes, are based on GPS navigation. The routes can offer lower altitude minimums for Victor airways that are limited by ground-based navigation systems, which is beneficial for general aviation pilots flying IFR. The lower altitudes could allow IFR pilots to fly below freezing levels. Houston is the latest area to receive a route, and one is in the works around Chicago's airspace. Read more >>
Learn more about the association's new president on the AOPA President's Page. It features Fuller's aviation and professional biographies, regularly updated blog entries, his monthly AOPA Pilot column, and news about ongoing outreach efforts on behalf of AOPA members. An avid aviator, an accomplished political strategist, and a proven leader, Fuller brings a wealth of experience and a unique point of view to the President's Office.
AOPA bolsters advocacy presence in D.C.
With a new administration getting ready to take office, AOPA is seizing a key opportunity to educate new White House staff and cabinet members, as well as members of Congress and their staff, about the value of general aviation. So, the association is creating a powerhouse in its Washington, D.C., lobbying office. Lorraine C. Howerton, AOPA’s new vice president of legislative affairs, will work with AOPA President Craig Fuller and AOPA Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Andy Cebula to bring general aviation infrastructure—airports, navigation network, air traffic control modernization—to the forefront of discussions regarding funding, research, and regulation. Read more >>
Piper delays incentive payment
Despite a pre-Christmas announcement from Piper Aircraft that it will delay a second payment of incentive money from the state of Florida and Indian River County, progress on the PiperJet remains unaffected. Piper is closed for the holidays until Jan. 12. Piper spokesman Mark Miller said that the company has not yet spent all the $10.667 million from the first payment. The county and state offered Piper a $32 million incentive package in three installments keyed to employment. The second installment is based on the employment of an average 1,166 workers by the end of 2009. Piper currently employs about 1,000 workers and has an annual payroll of $50 million. Read more >>
Cessna warns of more layoffs
A sharp downturn in business jet orders in late 2008 has convinced Cessna Aircraft Company officials that more layoffs are required in addition to those announced last year. Cessna Aircraft Company officials say they will know in the next two weeks how many more workers will be laid off in response to economic conditions. The company saw a sharp downturn in Citation business jet orders at the end of the third quarter of 2008. Read more >>
Superior in Chapter 11
Superior Air Parts has filed for protection under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy law, but only to facilitate a sale of company assets to a Textron subsidiary that is already in progress. When Thielert Aircraft Engines, the diesel engine manufacturer based in Europe, ran into financial difficulties, court-appointed trustees decided it would be best to sell Thielert's subsidiary, Superior Air Parts. A buyer, Avco Corp., was found, but the sale was contingent on Superior filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Read more >>
Lake Aircraft for sale
The iconic Lake Aircraft plus the equipment needed to build it is for sale by Revo, Inc., after 35 years of ownership. The new owner would get the rights to the FAA-certified Lake Renegade, Seafury, and Seawolf aircraft. There are 1,300 Lake aircraft flying in 50 countries. "The sale of Lake Aircraft is a rare opportunity to quickly set up manufacturing operations and continue production of the successful line of amphibious airplanes," said Armand Rivard, president of Revo Inc., the Lake Aircraft holding company. "In the worldwide general aviation market, the Lake amphibian has no FAA-certified competition in production today." Read more >>
MT composite prop now available on Cessnas
Flight Resource announced this week it had gained supplemental type certificate (STC) approval for the installation of a composite MT propeller on numerous models of Cessna aircraft. The approved model list includes most airplanes from the Cessna 180 through the Cessna 210. Aircraft with most STC-modified engines are also included. Read more >>
Plan your trip to D.C. for the presidential inauguration
Planning to fly into the Washington, D.C., area for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama? AOPA’s home airport, Frederick Municipal, is a convenient fly-in destination for the event. Located in central Maryland only 50 miles northwest of Washington D.C., it’s the perfect place for you to fly in, avoid the sensitive airspace restrictions, and then travel by ground to the heart of the nation’s capital. See our special event planning page to learn about the airspace restrictions and find links to information about lodging and transportation from Frederick to Washington, D.C.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Never Again Online: Holy Toledo
An unexpected encounter with icing left a newly rated instrument pilot and his wife praying to get down on the ground safely. Read more in the latest installment of Never Again Online.
According to year-end data from federal authorities, pilots strayed into restricted airspace more than 330 times in 2008, resulting in more than 120 military intercepts. And while the number of intercepts is down about 50 percent over the past two years, that's small consolation when a fighter jet appears off your wing tip. Staying out of trouble means checking notams and avoiding temporary flight restrictions—the leading cause of violations. Test your TFR knowledge with the latest AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Quiz. Then learn more about restricted airspace and intercept procedures in the foundation's Know Before You Go: Navigating Today's Airspace online course.
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.
Looking to become a sport pilot?
Whether you've had a medical reason to let your medical expire or are looking for a pilot certificate that doesn't require a flight physical, check out the sport pilot certificate. Already certificated pilots need no additional training to switch to sport pilot. It allows you to carry one other passenger onboard the aircraft. Just switch to a new market of aircraft—called light sport aircraft—and follow the regulations for the sport pilot certificate. Some familiar airplanes, like the Piper J-3 Cub and Aeronca Champ, are considered light sport aircraft. You don't need to have a current medical, just a driver's license. The only catch is that your previous medical can never have been denied. For more information, see our Sport Pilot Regulatory Brief, or call the experts in AOPA's Pilot Information Center at 800/USA-AOPA.
The bird always loses, but…
Bird strikes are one of those things that, seemingly, pilots can do little about. However, those flying turbine aircraft have good reason to be wary as a bird in the engine(s) can be catastrophic. Read more in AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg's latest blog entry.
AD&D Insurance coverage now available up to $250,000
Pilots have unique needs when it comes to purchasing insurance. Will it cover me when I'm flying? Do I need to be pilot in command? Is a medical exam required? These are all common questions, and AOPA Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance has the answers. AOPA AD&D Insurance offers coverage while you are flying as a pilot or passenger in a GA or commercial flight. There are no health questions asked, and as an AOPA member you are guaranteed acceptance. Now we offer coverage up to $250,000. So even if you already are taking advantage of this crucial coverage, now is the time to upgrade. Visit us online to enroll or upgrade today.
More than 200,000 enjoy hassle free AOPA membership renewal
The fastest, easiest way to renew your AOPA membership is through our Automatic Annual Renewal program. And now, more than 200,000 members—nearly half of AOPA's membership—participate in the program. Enroll and you'll get a $4 discount on your initial AOPA membership dues and receive two extra entries into this year's sweepstakes. Plus, you'll stop receiving repeated notices in the mail to renew your membership. Your credit card will be charged automatically in your renewal month, and you'll receive an annual statement and new membership card. Your transaction is secure, and you can cancel at any time. Enroll online today, or call 800/USA-AOPA.
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 would like to travel to Mexico this spring in my Archer. Can you please tell me where I can purchase the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) "annual user fee decal" for my aircraft?
Answer: You can purchase the annual user fee decal for $27.50. This can be done by mailing in the application form or online through the Decal/Transponder Online Procurement System (DTOPS). If you are a new DTOPS user, then you will need to provide some personal information to register before purchasing the decal. Although the Web site states that applications will take two to four days to be processed, AOPA has recently confirmed that it is taking two to four weeks, so allow plenty of time to receive your decal. If you have any questions or concerns about your decal purchase, you can contact the CBP Finance Center in Indianapolis, Ind., at 317/298-1200 ext. 1245.
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!
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a Vice President of Media and Public Relations, Aviation Technical Specialist, and AOPA Air Safety Foundation Summer 2009 Intern. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
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 Detroit, Mich., Jackson, Miss., and Charlotte, N.C., Jan. 17 and 18; and San Jose, Calif., and Baltimore, Md., Jan. 24 and 25. 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; Tucson, Ariz., and Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 13; Milpitas, Calif., North Las Vegas, Nev., and El Paso, Texas, Jan. 14; Rohnert Park, Calif., and Albuquerque, N.M., Jan. 15; Raymond, Miss., Jan. 20; Baton Rouge, La., Jan. 21; San Diego, Calif., and Fort Worth, Texas, Jan. 26. 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