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AOPA ePilot Volume 11, Issue 29 — July 17, 2009

In This Issue:
Morgan Freeman touts GA Serves America
AOPA to give away Goodyear Blimp Adventure
Film crew captures density altitude crash

GA News   |   Safety & Proficiency   |    Member Benefits   |   Quiz Me



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Today's Top Stories

FAA reauthorization measure introduced in Senate

From the beginning of the year, AOPA has urged the adoption of an FAA reauthorization measure to ensure the stable funding needed for important modernization efforts to move forward. Now, legislation in the Senate would fund the FAA for two years. Read a special message from AOPA President Craig Fuller >>

Subcommittee members assess GA security measures

Collaboration with general aviation stakeholders is improving recent Transportation Security Administration security measures, members of the House Homeland Security Committee's transportation and infrastructure protections subcommittee said in a hearing July 15. Subcommittee chairwoman Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) expressed concern and questioned existing GA security measures. The questions were based on a 2007 Houston television news story in which reporters were able to gain access to three local GA airports. In May 2009, the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General released a report that examined the TSA’s role in GA security. The report concluded that the threat posed by GA was limited. Read more >>

GA News

Morgan Freeman adds his voice to GA Serves America

Pilot/actor Morgan Freeman is joining Harrison Ford as a spokesman for the GA Serves America campaign to educate the public and decision-makers about the important role GA plays in the national economy and transportation system. AOPA recently taped a TV ad with Freeman in his hometown of Clarksdale, Miss. (birthplace of the blues). He also talked about flying with AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Tom Haines. Watch the interview, the TV ad, and a behind-the-scenes look at why Freeman volunteered for GA Serves America.

GA Serves America: Cowboy Cadillac

It takes more than an hour to drive from Glasgow (population 3,253) in northeastern Montana to the Nelson ranch (population six) next to the Canadian border. Travis and Cindi Nelson, both raised on ranches, consider themselves residents of Opheim, Mont., a town of 75 buildings 20 minutes south of their home. The town’s well-kept grass airport is home to Nelson’s 1964 Cessna 172—the family’s go-to-town airplane. The 1958 Aeronca Champ—a work airplane Nelson calls his Cowboy Cadillac because it’s used like a flying pickup truck—stays 15 miles north on the ranch. Nelson’s Champ goes for morning checks on water tanks, cows in trouble during calving season, and crops. Ride along with Nelson in this AOPA Pilot feature and accompanying video >>

States have power to protect GA, AOPA tells lawmakers

State lawmakers can help protect the vital general aviation industry, AOPA Vice President of Airports and State Advocacy Greg Pecoraro told members of a national association of state legislators July 15. Pecoraro addressed Transportation Committee members at the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Atlanta, Ga., with a talk entitled “General Aviation Serves America: How States Can Protect and Promote this Critical Industry.” He discussed the challenges aviation faces at the state and local level and examples of how good and bad state legislation can affect the industry. Read more >>

AOPA worked to try to ensure fair CBS story

A recent CBS News story on stimulus spending at general aviation airports criticized the funding of "little-used airports or ones catering to recreational flyers, corporate jets, and remote communities." AOPA was made aware of the story by the president of the Williamson Flying Club, who was included in the CBS story, and worked with him in advance of the interview, providing him with statistical information to help explain the value of GA airports and the importance of infrastructure improvements at smaller airports. The association also reached out to the producer of the CBS story, offering the association’s assistance, but CBS chose to interview the Department of Transportation (DOT). Read more >>

Will the Commander rise again?

There’s hope yet, with only one possible catch, that the Commander single-engine aircraft will re-enter production. European banker Ronald Strauss, now living in Montreal, has purchased Commander Premier Aircraft—located in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Strauss said he plans to modernize the four-seat Commander with a larger engine and modern avionics. He described his future plans to AOPA Pilot in a telephone interview from Montreal. Read more >>

Textron confirms Columbus cancellation

Textron informed the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 9 that it will write off $43 million in expenses on Cessna’s large Citation Columbus development program. Overall, Textron has invested $50 million in tooling and facility costs related to the Columbus program. Read more >>

Funding bills differ on loran, but not on GA security

The Senate on July 9 passed an appropriations bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2010. A conference committee will now work out the differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill, including whether to continue to fund the loran (long-range navigation) system as a potential backup to GPS. Meanwhile, the Appropriations Committee reports on both the Senate and House versions of the bill included language commending the TSA for working with stakeholders to develop a modified rule for its Large Aircraft Security Program. Read more >>

Pilots encouraged to conduct preflight RAIM checks

Pilots who use some GPS units without WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) capabilities are encouraged to add a new task to their preflight list—RAIM checks. The U.S. Terminal and En Route Area Navigation (RNAV) Operations, Advisory Circular AC90-100a, recommends that pilots check RAIM (receiver autonomous integrity monitoring) before flying area navigation (RNAV) standard instrument arrivals, departures, and obstacle departure procedures. It also suggests that RAIM be checked before flying RNAV routes known as Q and T routes (routes above and below 18,000 feet, respectively). Read more >>

Chandy Clanton dies during aerobatic practice

Airshow performer and three-time member of the U.S. Aerobatic Team Chandy Clanton was killed in the crash of her Edge 540 while practicing her airshow routine. The crash of the Lincoln, Neb., resident took place near Tarkio, Mo., while preparing for the Wing Nuts Flying Circus Fly-In near Tarkio in northwest Missouri. Read more >>

Politicians and Planes: From ejection seat to Senate seat

From flying combat missions in the Gulf War to supporting his state’s airports and aviation resources in the South Carolina legislature, state Sen. Phil Leventis has spent decades using his passion for and knowledge of aviation to serve his community. Leventis, a pilot for 44 years and state senator for 28 years, is so passionate about aviation and lawmaking that he didn’t hang up his flight suit to serve in the legislature. He continued to serve in the Guard, and in 1991 he volunteered for combat duty. He flew 21 combat missions in the Persian Gulf War, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross and other military honors for his service. Read more >>


For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

airventure PREVIEW

Finding AOPA at AirVenture

EAA AirVenture 2009 is just days away. If you plan to visit this year, make sure that AOPA is high on your to-do list. As you stroll through the gate and get your visitor’s map, look for AOPA’s Big Yellow Tent at a new location. You’ll find us at Booths 193 to 195 near Exhibit Hangar C. AOPA’s 2009 Let’s Go Flying Sweepstakes Cirrus SR22 will be prominently on display—and you’ll want to see the distinctive “GA Serves America” vinyl graphics. You won’t believe it’s a decal! Read more >>

AOPA to give away Goodyear Blimp Adventure during AirVenture

Stop by AOPA’s Big Yellow Tent during EAA AirVenture to enter our grand prize drawing for a Goodyear Blimp Adventure for two! The prize includes special guest certificates for a party of two to take an exclusive ride in the blimp along with all-expense-paid U.S. domestic travel and accommodations. The ride will take place at one of three Goodyear Blimp bases (Florida, Ohio, or California as decided by Goodyear). The grand prize is valued at $2,000.

Summer Fun: Don’t miss these AirVenture events

When the world’s largest aviation gathering kicks off on July 27, expect to see 750,000 pilots and aviation enthusiasts streaming through the gates or flying into the event itself, as well as hundreds of airplanes lined up on the grass parking areas. AirVenture is well known for having something for everyone, and this year is no exception. This year’s activities include a day set aside to spotlight women pilots and a special event designed especially for teachers and educators. Read more >>

Flight Design to offer electric ultralight

Flight Design USA reports that it has entered in an agreement with China’s Yuneec (Helang Electronics) to produce an electrically powered ultralight. The airplane, dubbed the “ e-Spyder,” will use a 27-hp electric motor powered by lithium polymer batteries. The airframe is based on the FlightStar ultralight, and has a carbon-fiber nose enclosure. As for performance, Flight Design President Tom Peghiny says that the e-Spyder will fully comply with FAR Part 103 ultralight regulations, which limits top speed to 55 knots and mandates a stall speed no greater than 24 knots. The e-Spyder will be on display at this year’s EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., and Peghiny says he may fly it at the show as well.


Safety & Proficiency

Film crew captures density altitude crash

During the hot days of summer, high density altitude can rob an aircraft of lift, thrust, and engine performance. Add to that an overweight airplane, rising terrain, and fickle takeoff winds, and tragedy is all but inevitable. On Aug. 30, 2007, an overloaded Beech A36 Bonanza lifted off from Cameron Air Park in California, encountered a sudden wind shift, and flipped violently after settling into rising, boulder-strewn terrain off the end of the runway. A television news crew captured the Bonanza's lumbering takeoff roll and subsequent accident on video, which accompanies this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.

Answers for Pilots: Hurricanes

June 1 was the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, and activity typically peaks in August. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is expected. The forecasters predict a 70 percent chance of nine to 14 named storms (tropical storms are named when their sustained maximum winds reach 30 mph), with four to seven of those storms having the potential to become hurricanes. Read more >>


FAA ruling on Santa Monica jet ban upheld

The FAA has upheld an earlier decision by an FAA hearing officer to prevent the city of Santa Monica from banning certain types of jets from the municipal airport based on approach and landing speeds. In a 57-page opinion issued July 8, FAA officials rejected an appeal by the city of Santa Monica, which claimed it had the authority to ban certain jets for what it said were safety reasons. 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, more than 2,000 Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers work 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: 10 years after the JFK Jr. accident

It's been 10 years ago this week since John F. Kennedy Jr. took a fatal plunge into the waters off Cape Cod along with his wife and sister-in-law. The NTSB ultimately determined that spatial disorientation leading to a spiral was the probable cause. That accident was truly a landmark, not because it was particularly unusual but because of who was involved. Read more >>

Reporting Points: Moon talk released by NASA

NASA has digitized previously released tapes of what Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren said to one another while in the lunar model, the spidey-looking vehicle that landed on the moon. Read more >>

Hover Power: Force multiplier

In 1949, the New York City Police Department acquired a Bell 47 helicopter, launching the first air support division in the world. What started as a simple aerial observation platform has evolved into a high-tech police asset. Read more >>

member benefits

AOPA PiReps: Where pilots report everything about flying

Ready to give a pirep? Don’t tell us your altitude and the weather you’re encountering. Tell us about your adventurous flight as a whole! Our new AOPA PiReps is an area where you can publish your own stories and adventures right on AOPA Online—they’re in essence pilot reports about $100 hamburger runs, exotic destinations, safety tips for landing at your home base, and more. Check out the stories your fellow members have already submitted and rate your favorites. Then, submit your own AOPA PiRep.

Mark your calendar for AOPA Aviation Summit

AOPA's annual convention has undergone an exciting transformation to the all-new AOPA Aviation Summit. This premier aviation convention is taking place in Tampa, Fla., Nov. 5 through 7 and will feature new experiences, events, and opportunities to test the technology that's relevant to the way you fly and interact with other pilots. Plus we have made it even more affordable than ever to attend. Registration is now open with reduced package rates and exclusive pre-registration discounts designed to add more value to your Summit experience. Together with special family discounts and family-friendly social events, it's the ideal destination for aviation enthusiasts of all ages. Bring the family and enjoy all Tampa has to offer including beaches, shopping, and even a dolphin cruise! Register today!

Quiz Me

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 just received correspondence from my engine manufacturer that contained a service bulletin (SB). My mechanic gave me an estimated quote for the repair cost, but it isn't something that I can immediately afford. Am I required to comply with this SB?


Answer: Maybe. Service bulletins are distributed by manufacturers as a stronger notice to aircraft owners or operators than a service letter. Service bulletins are advisory in nature, yet can become mandatory in some situations, such as aircraft operated for hire in a Part 135 operation or a flight school with a progressive maintenance program; aircraft that are under progressive maintenance/inspection programs; or the maintenance required by the SB would change specifications listed on an aircraft's type certificate data sheet. If the FAA decides to mandate compliance for all aircraft, it will issue an airworthiness directive (AD). Many ADs will directly reference the SB when mandating compliance.


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].


Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for an Airport Support Network Director, a Director of Advocacy, an Aviation Technical Specialist, and a Fall Intern for the Air Safety Foundation. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

Picture Perfect

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? Planning 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 calendar 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.

To submit an event or to search all events in the calendar visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices see AOPA's Airport Directory Online.

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Pittsburgh, Pa., July 25 and 26; Costa Mesa, Calif., Atlanta, Ga., and Champaign, Ill., Aug. 15 and 16; Reno, Nev., and Allentown, Pa., Aug. 22 and 23; Fort Worth, Texas, Aug. 29 and 30; Phoenix, Ariz., and Sacramento, Calif., Sept. 12 and 13. 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 Oshkosh, Wis., July 29, 30, and 31; Germantown, Tenn., Aug. 31; Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 1; Maryville, Tenn., Sept. 3. 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].

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Editorial Team : ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller
Contributors: Jill Tallman, Sarah Brown, Warren Morningstar, Alton Marsh, Dave Hirschman, Tom Horne, and Ian Twombly
Summer Intern: Ethan Cirmo

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