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Today's Top Stories
President’s budget keeps user fees in sight for 2011
Additional information on the president’s proposed budget released May 7 defers aviation user fees for another year but does not rule out the imposition of the fees in 2011. The information released by the White House Office of Management and Budget maintains the current funding structure for the FAA through fiscal year 2010. It leaves unresolved, however, the issue of a footnote in the budget overview from February that proposed replacing aviation excise taxes with “direct user charges” starting in 2011. Read more >>
The senior members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its aviation subcommittee spoke in favor of raising funds for the FAA with a combination of taxes and a General Fund contribution in lieu of user fees in a House Ways and Means Committee hearing May 7, citing support from AOPA and other general aviation organizations. Read more >>
GAMA reports drop in sales
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) first-quarter 2009 shipment report posted deliveries of 462 general aviation airplanes. That’s a 41.1-percent drop from the same period last year, according to GAMA. Billings fell 18.2 percent, to $4.34 billion. The hardest-hit segment was piston-powered aircraft, which with 179 deliveries was down 55.1 percent from the first quarter of 2008, when 399 airplanes were delivered. Business jet deliveries, at 191 airplanes, were off 35.7 percent from last year’s first quarter figure of 297 airplanes. Read more >>
New caucus educates lawmakers on GA issues
A new congressional caucus to help ensure the future of general aviation, founded and co-chaired by Reps. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) and Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.), is picking up steam, as members of Congress in key aviation-related committees add their names to the ranks of those supporting GA. The General Aviation Caucus, formed to educate lawmakers about the importance of GA to our economy and transportation system, has 39 members so far, including House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.). "When people understand the true value of general aviation, they want to protect it and help it grow," said AOPA President Craig Fuller. "This caucus will help draw attention to the issues affecting GA while giving lawmakers the opportunity to learn more about how GA benefits their constituents." Read more >>
Research board focuses on future GA growth trend
During the Seventh National Aviation System Planning Symposium May 3 through 5 in Pacific Grove, Calif., general aviation industry leaders, government officials, association representatives, and university officials looked beyond the currently bleak GA and economic circumstances to focus on the future. And the future looks promising. Read more >>
Fuller updates Alaska pilots on GA issues
General aviation serves all Americans, and nowhere is that truer than in Alaska, AOPA President Craig Fuller told attendees at the Alaska Aviation Trade Show and Conference as he brought them up to date on AOPA’s new General Aviation Serves America Campaign to educate decision makers and the public about the true value of GA. During a May 2 address in Anchorage, Fuller talked about the many challenges facing general aviation today, including onerous security proposals that could shut down GA airports or put aircraft operators out of business. Read more >>
American Capital says it made $31 million on the sale of Piper Aircraft to Imprimis, although both parties have agreed not to reveal the actual sale price. American Capital first invested $20 million in 1998 and then $34 million in 2003 when it bought Piper. Read more >>
406-MHz ELTs not required for flights to Canada, for now
For the time being, pilots who fly to Canada don’t need to worry about being forced to upgrade to a 406-MHz emergency locator transmitter in order to continue flying in that country. Canadian Minister of Transport John Baird suspended the controversial rule that would have required all aircraft flying in Canada to be equipped with the 406-MHz ELT starting this year. Read more >>
Honoring WWII women pilots
It was an unconventional job for women at the time. But for Rosa Lea Fullwood Meek Dickerson, flying was a way of life. She began flying in her early teens at her father’s flight school in McAllen, Texas, and helped out with the flight school operations, doing work in the office and even gassing up airplanes when needed. By her early twenties, she had made history as part of the first group of women to fly military aircraft for the United States, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Read more >>
California group sets new helicopter speed record
On the morning of April 20, the World Record Helicopter Team departed from Brown Airport in San Diego in an R44 helicopter en route to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Georgia and back. Despite the obstacles, the team landed at Brown Airport 59 hours and 19 seconds after they departed, setting a new world record that was more than 10 hours faster than the old record. The National Aeronautic Association and Federation Aeronautique Internationale will be investigating the paperwork and, if approved, the record will become official. Read more >>
N.C. flight school booming
Even in these tough economic times, the Aviation Management and Career Pilot Technology Program at Lenoir Community College (LCC) in Kinston, N.C., has seen a 50-percent increase in enrollment from August 2007 to January 2009. Program Head Richard Corman attributes that to the long-standing tradition at LCC. Read more >>
Honda Aircraft Company, Inc. says that because of late deliveries of critical components, its HondaJet project will experience delays. The target for first flight is now set at January 2010. First customer deliveries are expected in the fourth quarter of 2011. Read more >>
Air Journey plans trips to Cuba
Flying adventure specialists Air Journey, LLC announced that they have begun accepting registrations to escort a limited number of American general aviation pilots to Havana, Cuba. The trip comes after an offer from Cuban aviation authorities to conduct seminars on aviation safety and rules in Cuba. As attendees of educational seminars, American participants will be able to secure permission from the U.S. Treasury Department to visit Cuba. One stipulation—that no money be spent in Cuban territory—is being dealt with via prepayments. Full payment in advance of the trip for meals, transfers, accommodations, and sightseeing will be handled by a Spain-based company.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Never Again Online: Fuel almost gone
Assuming that a new airplane’s fuel gauges are infallible can put you in a bad spot, as a pilot learned in the latest installment of Never Again Online.
Online passenger manifests required for international flights
On May 18, pilots who fly internationally will have to provide passenger information to Customs and Border Protection using a new electronic reporting system called the Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS). Pilots must register for an online account and allow one week for the account to be approved. Passenger manifests must be filed at least one hour before departing or arriving the United States; however, they can be filed further in advance from home or wherever you have convenient Internet access. Arrival notification and coordination with the port of entry can be done over the phone. More about how the system works is available online and in AOPA’s issue brief. You also can call the experts in AOPA’s Pilot Information Center at 800/USA-AOPA.
Could your allergy medicine keep you on the ground?
With allergy season in full swing, pilots can find out which allergy medications they are allowed to take and still fly by searching AOPA's Medication Database. By choosing "allergies" from the available list of medical conditions, pilots can view a list of allergy medications by trade name and see at a glance whether the FAA allows them. For instance, Ceconsal and Claritin are both allowed, but a pilot who has taken Actifed must wait 12 hours before flying. Other medications, such as Benadryl and Durahist, are not allowed.
Test your knowledge of the aircraft you fly
Flash cards are a great way to learn about complex topics and to test your knowledge. Now, increase your knowledge of aircraft speeds, profiles, systems, and emergency procedures with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s updated Aircraft Flash Cards. The flash cards, which are designed to help new, seasoned, and transitioning pilots, now have expanded tips on the back, offering suggestions and guidance for operating your aircraft safely.
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
A public service to your fellow pilots
“Never Again” has always been AOPA Pilot’s most popular and useful feature. By sharing first-person accounts of hard lessons learned, pilots can help their peers avoid similar situations. It’s often said that good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment. So share your flying experience with fellow AOPA members. We’ll all thank you for it. Submit your story to AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman. Your story should be written in the first person, be about 1,200 words long, and contain at least one practical lesson learned that fellow pilots can use to make their own flying safer and more enjoyable.
The challenges that face general aviation today—user fees, onerous security regulations, pressure to close airports, and the notion that small aircraft are toys for the rich—are all being driven by a misperception and misunderstanding of the industry. In order to protect this segment of aviation and airports, it’s important for the industry to work together, Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs, told the Southeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives on May 5 in Reston, Va. Read more >>
Nevada lawmakers make progress on airport safety solutions
A Nevada resolution that urges the FAA to work with stakeholders to improve safety at North Las Vegas Airport was reported favorably out of a state assembly committee this week—a step that further removes the state legislature from an earlier effort to ban certain general aviation aircraft at the airport. Read more >>
Don’t abandon Horace Williams
The University of North Carolina’s recent decision to abandon efforts to save or replace Horace Williams Airport would waste public funds and harm area health care services, AOPA told the state legislature last month. Given significant budget shortfalls in North Carolina, “we find it absurd that UNC would invest public funds in developing new facilities at (Raleigh-Durham) to replace a perfectly good airport,” wrote AOPA Vice President of Airports and State Advocacy Greg Pecoraro in a letter to State Rep. Joe Hackney, Speaker of the House. 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.
Let’s Go Flying SR22 gets AmSafe airbag seatbelts
Seatbelt-mounted air bags have become standard equipment in many new airplanes—including new Cirrus SR22s. But AOPA’s 2009 Let’s Go Flying SR22 didn’t have them. A visit from the folks at AmSafe, the world’s leading seatbelt supplier, changed several minds at AOPA about the safety value of airbag seatbelts. Now, the Let’s Go Flying SR22 is getting a new set of seatbelts, with airbags, when Landmark Aviation, a Cirrus service center in Frederick, Md., installs them in June. Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: Airways vs. waypoints
AOPA Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg recently was flying IFR in a busy terminal area, using GPS to navigate to a flight plan waypoint when ATC requested he intercept Victor airway and then proceed on course. “While I was wallpapering the cockpit with chart, the controller very politely and efficiently suggested a heading of 030 to get on with it,” he recalled. Read more >>
Hover Power: Protecting your tail
Not visible from the cockpit, a helicopter’s tail rotor is perhaps the most vulnerable component to striking objects in a hover. Read more >>
Reporting Points: An LSA experiment to watch
The light sport aircraft community, admittedly off to a slow start these past four years, ought to watch an experiment by the flight department at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) in Melbourne, Fla. Director of Flight Training Nick Frisch has purchased two Remos light sport aircraft to join his fleet of 41 trainers. He is challenging a “significant unknown,” in his words, and that unknown is the public’s general acceptance of light sport aircraft. Read more >>
AOPA Online Travel can make your vacation more affordable
A family vacation doesn’t need to break the bank. AOPA Online Travel has removed booking fees for all flights through May 31. You’ll receive a guarantee that if a customer books the same flight for less, the difference automatically is refunded to you. Plus, a portion of all the revenue generated is returned to AOPA, which allows us to continue our efforts to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation. Book your vacation 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 fly a King Air C90 professionally, but I would like to go to a flight school and rent one of their Cessna 172s. If I have performed three takeoffs and three landings in the King Air, am I also current to carry passengers in a Cessna 172?
Answer: No, FAR 61.57 requires these takeoffs and landings to be performed in the same category, class, and type (if required). Because the King Air is a multiengine airplane and the Cessna 172 is a single-engine airplane, your landings in the King Air would not count toward your recency to carry passengers in the Cessna 172. You will need to review your logbook and verify that you have three takeoffs and three landings within the preceding 90 days in a single-engine land airplane or complete the required takeoffs and landings in such an aircraft before you carry passengers.
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]a.org.
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 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