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Today's Top Stories
Following a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit in Washington, D.C., April 29, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood expressed his commitment to moving forward with NextGen, saying that the Obama administration would work with Congress to get the best possible FAA reauthorization bill. Responding to a question about FAA funding asked by AOPA President Craig Fuller, LaHood noted that “longer is better” when it comes to a reauthorization commitment. Fuller led a panel discussion at the summit focusing on NextGen. Read more >>
Greenhouse gases threaten public health, says EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to find that six greenhouse gases—including some emitted by general aviation aircraft—threaten public health and welfare. The agency did not propose any regulations on emitters of greenhouse gases, but the finding could be a preliminary step toward the eventual regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, including those from engines. “Piston-powered aircraft account for approximately one-tenth of 1 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions,” said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. Read more >>
AOPA addresses threats to general aviation
Many of the current threats to general aviation stem from misperceptions of the industry, and AOPA is responding with its educational initiative GA Serves America, said AOPA Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Andy Cebula April 27 at the American Association of Airport Executives General Aviation Issues Conference in Addison, Texas. Cebula outlined top concerns for AOPA members in comments during a roundtable on the state of GA. Representatives from AOPA also spoke about GA security and protecting airports. Read more >>
Tax relief bill passes Florida House
Aircraft owners living in or flying to Florida just came a little closer to achieving important revisions to the Florida tax code. On April 27, H.B.51 passed the Florida state house of representatives. The bill would grant a 21-day reprieve from the current 6-percent state sales tax on out-of-state owners of recently purchased (in the last six months) aircraft visiting Florida. Currently, aircraft owners can be taxed from the time they first arrive in Florida no matter how long their stay. Read more >>
GA Serves America reaches out to D.C. opinion leaders
With the GA Serves America Campaign under way, AOPA has been reaching out to key policymakers and opinion leaders in the nation’s capital, highlighting the value of GA to all Americans in television commercials in the Washington, D.C., area. The spots, some of which feature actor and pilot Harrison Ford, have been airing on cable news channels and during Sunday news programs and will continue to air in the D.C. market. AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines spent a day interviewing and flying with Ford, who volunteered his services to support the cause, to bring you a behind-the-scenes look at how the famed actor infused his own passion for flying and everything GA into the commercials.
FAA withdraws controversial repair station proposal
A proposed rule that would have required every aviation repair station in the country to institute a quality control system to meet international standards will be withdrawn this summer by the FAA. If the rule had gone through as proposed, the FAA said it estimated it would have cost smaller repair stations around $34,000 to come into compliance. Read more >>
Bird-strike database open to public
The FAA’s bird-strike database, operated and maintained by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., is now open to the public and is undergoing changes to make it more user friendly. It is a database of reports made voluntarily by individual airports and may not contain all bird-strike incidents, or in some cases may contain no incidents for your airport. It depends on whether the incidents were reported. Read more >>
Airspace violations remind pilots to beware
In springtime, as clear skies and sunny days beckon, it is important for pilots to stay vigilant about airspace restrictions—particularly around security-conscious areas such as the nation’s capital. Two single-engine general aviation aircraft that wandered into the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ) April 24 underscore the importance of knowing the types of airspace that lie in your path before you leave the ground. The FRZ airspace violations led to brief security alerts in the capital area. Read more >>
AOPA attends national meeting of state legislators
As part of its ongoing efforts to address general aviation issues at the state level, AOPA met with key transportation policy influencers last week at a national meeting of state legislators in Washington, D.C. At the 2009 Spring Forum meeting of the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) April 23 through 25, AOPA Manager of State Legislative Affairs Mark Kimberling met with state legislators and legislative staff from all over the country as they discussed their experience shaping public policy and crafting laws—many of which have a significant impact on the viability of GA. Read more >>
Maryland senator visits AOPA headquarters
U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) toured AOPA headquarters during a recent visit to Frederick, which included visits to Frederick Municipal Airport and the Maryland State Police helicopter barracks, both adjacent to the association’s buildings. Cardin addressed gathered association staff members telling them he is “proud that you are here in Frederick.” He then said that the association staffers are the people who are out front on what’s happening in the economy, noting that the AOPA Pilot Information Center and Membership Services employ more than 50 individuals who respond to calls from all over the country. Read more >>
Cessna’s Columbus program suspended, layoffs announced
Cessna Aircraft Company has suspended work on its largest jet ever, the Columbus, in light of the continuing slump in the worldwide business jet market. In addition, Cessna officials announced a layoff of 1,600 workers, with an additional 700 to be laid off by mid-June. These are in addition to the 4,600 layoffs previously announced. Columbus deliveries were to begin in 2013, but right now company executives can’t predict the strength of the market that far ahead. Read more >>
Annual FAA general aviation survey under way
The FAA is conducting its thirty-first annual FAA General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey. The survey is the only source of information on the size and makeup of the general aviation and Part 135 fleets, the number of hours flown, and the reasons people fly. More than 82,000 aircraft—about one third of the active GA fleet—have been selected to participate. Information will be used only for statistical purposes, and individual results will be kept confidential. Aircraft owners who receive a postcard invitation or survey form in the mail can return the completed survey by mail or complete the survey online.
Garmin offers biggest rebates ever
In an effort to jumpstart avionics upgrades, Garmin has begun offering its biggest rebate program ever—$5,000 off its dual-screen, G600 system for general aviation retrofits. Garmin obtained FAA certification of the G600 last year and has approval to install them on 785 new and used aircraft types. The G600 is typically driven by Garmin GNS 430/530 GPSs, and more than 100,000 of those units have been sold to date. The G600 retails for about $30,000, and installation costs vary widely. The $5,000 rebate offer is scheduled to expire June 30.
Bristow Academy acquires six more helicopters
Sikorsky Global Helicopters announced delivery of six S-300CBi helicopters to Bristow Academy, a Florida-based flight training school. All six aircraft will join Bristow's fleet of 48 S-300CBi helicopters currently used for flight instruction at the company’s three U.S. locations in California, Florida, and Louisiana. Read more >>
Breiling issues 2008 business turbine accident review
Robert E. Breiling Associates has published its 2008 review of business jet, turboprop, and turbine helicopter accidents. The 500-page comprehensive review contains synopses of 245 fixed-wing accidents and 180 helicopter accidents; 77 non-U.S. business jet and turboprop accidents are also identified by aircraft and operator. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Sun 'n fun wrap
Flying motorcycle’s design evolves
Samson Motorworks has been working on a flying motorcycle, the Switchblade, for two and a half years. The three-wheel motorcycle’s design features three lifting surfaces, like the Piaggio Avanti, and side-by-side seating for two people. “These are actually pretty exciting times for us,” Sam Bousfield, CEO of Samson Motorworks, said at Sun ’n Fun. “In the last two months we’ve seen options that reduce our weight by 200 pounds and increase the range by 50 nautical miles.” Read more >>
Tecnam gives airplane to ERAU flight team
The flight team at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach, Fla., campus received a brand-new airplane at Sun ’n Fun. The 2009 Tecnam P-92 Echo Classic, a light sport aircraft valued at $125,000, was donated by Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam Srl., manufacturer of the Tecnam aircraft line, and Michael and Lynne Birmingham, its U.S. distributors. The airplane was exhibited at Tecnam’s exhibit during the fly-in. Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach flight team will be the first in the nation to fly the model in a National Intercollegiate Flying Association competition. Read more >>
Night airshow illuminating
After the sun set April 24 on AOPA Day at Sun ’n Fun, the night sky came alive—with the day’s second airshow, a night airshow. Airplanes, a helicopter, and even the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team participated in the event, which is a Sun ’n Fun tradition. These nocturnal airshow acts employed a combination of pyrotechnics and special lighting so an appreciative audience could watch them pirouette across the sky. A fireworks display marked the conclusion of the night airshow. The accompanying slide show, photographed by AOPA Pilot Editor Mike Collins, shows the view from the Sun ’n Fun flight line. See the slide show >>
When former Aeroshell Team Leader Alan Henley was severely injured last year in a home accident, his flying friends quickly came up with the idea to raise money to offset his massive medical costs: an airshow. Read more >>
X-Air names Sportsplanes.com as exclusive distributor
X-Air LLC, makers of the X-Air LS Special Light Sport Aircraft, has named Sportsplanes.com as exclusive U.S. distributor. Sportsplanes.com’s network of 15 regional dealers will offer sales, training, maintenance, financing, and insurance of the X-Air, which is factory built in Bend, Ore. The X-Air LS is powered by a Jabiru 2200 engine, has a range of 300 miles, and has an economy fuel burn of 3.4 gallons per hour. Its useful load is 574 pounds. The cabin is 43 inches wide. The X-Air LS’s base price is $59,900.
Eight hundred feet above downtown Anchorage, Alaska, is not a good place for your engine to quit. Surrounded by buildings, the pilot of a Cessna 207 Skywagon saw hope: a sports complex with six flat, well-groomed playing fields. He maneuvered for the forced landing—only to discover all six fields were occupied. And in the press box of the minor league baseball stadium, cameras were rolling to capture it all. Play ball! Read more—and see the dramatic video footage—in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
What's that burning smell…?
Although rare, in-flight electrical fires can happen at any time—and they can be disastrous, as was the case in the July 2007 fatal accident involving a Cessna 310 owned by NASCAR. To help raise awareness, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation has produced a new Safety Brief that helps pilots recognize the symptoms and take action in the event of an electrical fire. Download the new brief, and then check out additional resources—including Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg's May 2009 Safety Pilot article on the NASCAR accident—on the new "Electrical System Know-How" Safety Hot Spot page.
Share your IFR experience
There’s nothing more crucial than being IFR proficient when you’re alone in the soup—especially when something unexpected happens that could turn into an emergency if not resolved properly. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation is producing an online course about IFR technology, and we need your input to make sure we cover the issues important to IFR pilots. Tell us what common problems or gaps you see in IFR initial and recurrent training. Have you experienced difficulties with transitioning IFR skills and techniques to technologically advanced aircraft, equipment, and avionics? Please send us an e-mail and share your knowledge with the foundation.
Join the club: Flying can be more affordable
In the current economic climate, aircraft ownership might seem more like a pipe dream than an achievable goal. And yet, you can become an aircraft owner of sorts—simply by joining a flying club. Flying clubs, which can range from a few members to more than 150, are quite simply the cheapest form of ownership going because the expenses are shared, as well as the ownership fun. Many pilots join flying clubs before stepping up to a partnership or sole ownership. Read more >>
Flight service 101
Warmer temperatures and VFR weather conditions calling you to the sky? Make sure you are up to speed on Lockheed Martin’s flight service system known as FS21. To reduce briefing times—and potential errors—you need to supply specific information at the beginning of each briefing. If filing a flight plan, follow the flight plan form. For pilots who want only a briefing, just nine items are needed (first half of the flight plan form, excluding airspeed). Print this quick reference card for the specific order. For more tips, take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's minicourse, A Pilot's Guide to Flight Service . After your briefing, you can let the FAA know your thoughts on the quality of the briefing by calling 888/358-7782.
Taken an AOPA Air Safety Foundation online course? View your completion transcript page.
Of the 17 elementary school teachers who gathered April 18 at Alabama’s Bessemer Airport, only one had flown in a small aircraft. By the time the teachers returned to the airport after hour-long flights in Cessnas, they couldn’t wait to do it again. The Shelby County educators participated in the Civil Air Patrol’s Fly-a-Teacher Program, which aims to reach the next generation of aviators—children—by turning on their teachers to flight. Read more >>
To nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer, use the Airport Support Network Volunteer Form.
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit the ASN Web site.
Reporting Points: When an ATC change isn’t really a change at all
The latest edition of the NASA ASRS Callback newsletter points out an annoyance surfaced by airline pilots but shared by those who don’t fly for hire—ATC route clearance changes that aren’t really changes at all. Read more >>
Let’s Go Flying: AOPA’s sweeps airplane draws a crowd
We expected enthusiasm. We expected sarcasm. And AOPA’s 2009 Let’s Go Flying Sweepstakes SR22 drew both during six days of nonstop attention at the annual Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In at Lakeland, Fla. Enthusiasm among AOPA members was obvious. Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: CBs—No reset
The rules regarding circuit breakers (CBs) have changed. In years past, if a CB popped the practice was to let it cool and reset once on the theory that it might be a transient fault. No more. If a CB pops, unless it’s flight critical, do not reset. Read more >>
AOPA credit card puts cash in your pocket
In tough economic times, building up your bank account becomes priority No. 1. The AOPA Credit Card from Bank of America is now offering a new WorldPoints enhancement to help you save. With the AOPA Credit Card you can redeem your points for cash and now have that cash directly deposited into your checking or savings account. This new feature is easy to set up and will allow you to access cash through your personal accounts when you need it most. Visit Bank of America online and click on the “ get cash now” option to sign up and start saving today.
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 am a private pilot and would like to fly light sport airplanes as a sport pilot. I plan to let my medical certificate lapse and use my driver’s license instead. Do I need to take a flight test with an examiner or fill out a new 8710 form?
Answer: Since you already hold a higher-grade certificate, you will not need to complete a flight test or submit any paperwork. You will simply limit yourself to sport pilot privileges and limitations (i.e. no flying at night). You will only be able to fly airplanes that qualify as light sport aircraft. As long as your most recent medical certificate has not been suspended, revoked, or denied, you can fly with a valid driver’s license under the sport pilot rule.
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? 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.
Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Albany, N.Y., May 16 and 17; Sacramento, Calif., and Kansas City, Mo., May 30 and 31; San Jose, Calif., Charlotte, N.C., and Ashburn, Va., June 6 and 7; Phoenix, Ariz., and Minneapolis, Minn., June 13 and 14; Orlando, Fla., and Columbus, Ohio, June 27 and 28; Newark, N.J., July 11 and 12. 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 Hickory, N.C., and Poughkeepsie, N.Y., May 4; Graham, N.C., and Cohoes, N.Y., May 5; New Bern, N.C., and Liverpool, N.Y., May 6; Rochester, N.Y., May 7; Madison, Wis., May 11; Milwaukee, Wis., May 12; Manitowoc, Wis., May 13; Morristown, N.J., May 18. 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