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Today's Top Stories
House passes FAA authorization, no user fees
The House of Representatives on May 21 passed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2009 (H.R.915). The bill is a four-year authorization that would fund the FAA through 2012 with aviation fuel taxes, ticket taxes, and a general fund contribution. “H.R.915 relies on the time-tested system of funding that has served our nation well during good and difficult times: aviation fuel taxes, ticket taxes, and a healthy contribution from the general tax fund,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “This is the best way to pay for the nation’s aviation system without stifling general aviation and introducing a costly new bureaucracy.” Read more >>
Fuller speaks to new bi-partisan GA Caucus
For the first time, general aviation has an organized group of supporters in Congress, and AOPA President Craig Fuller was among the first to speak to them at the inaugural meeting of the House of Representatives’ General Aviation Caucus on May 21. The caucus, created and co-chaired by Reps. F. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) and Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.), is made up of pilots, members in whose districts GA figures significantly, and those who want to learn more about GA issues. So far, 45 representatives have joined the caucus. Fuller used the opportunity to make clear the challenges facing GA from AOPA’s perspective. Foremost on the list at the moment is dealing with the lack of understanding about the value of GA. Read more >>
Delays in the development and launch of new satellites could lead to interruptions in GPS service as early as next year, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. The report warns that many of the older satellites currently in use could reach the end of their operational life faster than they can be replenished, resulting in a drop below the number of satellites needed to meet some GPS users’ needs. Read more >>
TSA security proposals need balance, committee says
Balance. That’s the message members of Congress are sending to the Transportation Security Administration regarding its proposed Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP). During a May 14 House Homeland Security Committee meeting on the TSA Authorization Act (H.R.2200), members of Congress expressed their concerns about LASP. Rep. Pete DeFazio (R-Ore.) stressed the need for the TSA to work with the GA industry to “develop reasonable security policies and procedures that strike the appropriate balance between security and the movement of goods and commerce.” Read more >>
Fuller takes GA Serves America message to Illinois
AOPA President Craig Fuller on May 20 complimented Illinois state aviation and airport officials for their support of general aviation as a key component of the state’s transportation system and economy. Speaking at the annual Illinois Aviation Conference in Peoria, Ill., Fuller said the group already understands the key message of AOPA’s GA Serves America Campaign—that GA is vital to the nation’s economic health. Read more >>
College hopes to attract students, economic development
While the economic outlook for students today can seem gloomy, an aviation career day in one Illinois community this month showed area teens a way to rise above. Cairo Regional Airport drew 1,200 students to a May 7 event that promoted a new partnership between Shawnee Community College (SCC) and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC). Organizers hope that the partnership will make aviation careers more accessible while also attracting economic development to the area. Read more >>
GA groups concerned about security directive
Leaders of aviation trade associations recently said that Security Directive 8F (SD-08F) could adversely affect GA operators and limit GA pilots’ access to aircraft and certain airports. The TSA should withdraw the directive and initiate the appropriate rulemaking process for a change of that scope, the groups said. Read more >>
FAA releases small UAS regulatory recommendations
Operators of small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) will be required to fly the craft within line of sight and undergo training to integrate into the national airspace system if recommendations recently proposed by the Small Unmanned Aerial Systems Aviation Rulemaking Committee go through as written. The rulemaking committee, a diverse cross-section of industry, advocacy groups, and government agencies, was convened by the FAA to provide recommendations for the integration of small UAS into the national airspace system. The FAA will now consider the committee’s recommendations when writing a special federal aviation regulation. Read more >>
AOPA members who use an Apple iPhone or iPod touch can have direct access to AOPA’s Airport Directory on their devices. AOPA has partnered with ForeFlight, a leader in aviation applications for the iPhone and the iPod touch, to offer the complete directory as a download that is free to AOPA members. The application, called AOPA Airports, is available for download from the iTunes App Store. “The iPhone and iPod touch are tremendous platforms with exciting capabilities that make them ideal for aviation-related applications,” said Chris O’Callaghan, AOPA vice president of ePublishing. “And there is no one who exploits those capabilities better than ForeFlight.” Read more >>
Cessna, Hawker hit by economic setbacks
Cessna has suffered more than 150 order cancellations and deferrals this quarter, while Hawker Beechcraft employees brace for another 150 layoffs this week. Cessna customers who have dropped orders include NetJets and those who had ordered the now-suspended Columbus business jet, according to a report in Bloomberg News. Textron Chief Executive Officer Lewis Campbell said that the company, which owns Cessna, Bell Helicopter, and other firms, is cutting 8,300 jobs. Hawker Beechcraft had announced 2,300 layoffs in February, with the latest 150 job reductions affecting mostly salaried positions, The Wichita Eagle reported.
Over Africa: GA helps stop poachers in Africa
Kenneth Ochieng remembers the call well. His security commander was on the line from Nairobi. Their comrades in the Kenya Wildlife Service were deep in the bush and under fire—pinned down by heavily armed poachers. Ochieng was dispatched to the scene in his Piper Super Cub to provide air support. The Cub circled the shootout scene at treetop level—dodging bullets as Ochieng tried to find the one surviving poacher who had the rangers pinned down and was shooting at him. Read more in this AOPA Pilot feature by freelancer Miles O’Brien.
FAA urged to postpone effective date of Cessna AD
AOPA has requested that the FAA postpone the effective date of an airworthiness directive (AD) that would require Cessna 150 and 152 aircraft be fitted with a rudder modification kit or have a placard installed stating that it is not to be used for intentional spins or aerobatic maneuvers. The association believes that the FAA needs to justify why it issued an AD for an aircraft with an exceptional safety record and type certificates more than 30 years old. Read more >>
We have a winner: Sporty’s 2009 Skyhawk sweepstakes
Skies may have been cloudy and rain may have poured at Batavia, Ohio’s Clermont County Airport on May 16, but spirits were high at Sporty’s Pilot Shop’s fifth annual fly-in. The event was topped off by an award ceremony that gave away a brand-new 2009 Cessna Skyhawk—complete with a Garmin G1000 avionics suite featuring synthetic vision technology. The lucky winner was Stephen Brenneke, an orthopedic surgeon based in Portland, Ore. Read more >>
Pentagon cancels new presidential helicopter
On May 15, the Pentagon issued a stop-work order for the new VH-71 presidential helicopter. The undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, Ashton B. Carter, signed an acquisition decision memorandum canceling the program. The prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, was notified to cease work at its plant in Owego, N.Y., and to halt flight testing being done at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. The original plan was to replace the aging fleet of VH-3 and VH-60 helicopters now used with 23 VH-71s. The cost of the program had increased $4.4 billion to $11.2 billion.
Avidyne delivers first Release 9 to Cirrus
Avidyne announced May 19 that it delivered the first Entegra Release 9 to a customer with a Cirrus SR22. The announcement came less than a month after the company earned certification on its advanced, integrated avionics system. Read more >>
Hall-of-famer soars to U.S. record
After decades of pioneering the sport of soaring, Tom Knauff is still breaking new ground. Knauff, a member of the Soaring Hall of Fame, set a U.S. multiplace motorglider record for out-and-return speed over a goal-and-return course of more than 500 km on May 10. The record must be verified by the Soaring Society of America and the National Aeronautic Association. Knauff flew his Schempp-Hirth Duo Discus T high-performance sailplane 423.042 miles at an average speed of 97.56 mph with copilot Jack Goritski. The flight began and ended at Ridge Soaring Gliderport in Julian, Pa., with a pre-declared turnpoint near Mountain Grove, W.Va.; it also qualifies for a distance record in a new category that allows up to three turnpoints. Knauff, who still holds multiple soaring records, owns a gliderport and catalog business with his wife, fellow hall-of-famer Doris Grove.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Airship tether severs Cessna wing, killing three
On the night of April 20, 2007, a Cessna 182 Skylane took off from Key West International Airport bound for Leesburg, Fla. While attempting to pick up his IFR clearance from ATC, the pilot wandered into the restricted airspace surrounding an aerostat radar facility. Invisible in the darkness was 8,000 feet of cable stretched taut between the building and the unmanned airship. A video camera captured the Cessna approaching and striking the tether, which sliced through the wing and sent the airplane spinning out of control. Read more in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Safety outreach raises fuel awareness
What has caused 1,700 accidents in the past decade and is nearly 100 percent preventable? That's the question the AOPA Air Safety Foundation recently posed to 300 of the nation's most active flight schools. The answer is fuel mismanagement, which causes two pilots to crash every week, on average. In an effort to raise awareness, particularly among student pilots, the foundation mailed its Fuel Awareness Safety Advisor to the flight schools and made additional copies available free by request. The campaign also directed recipients to the foundation's online fuel management resources, which include courses, publications, videos, and an interactive, Google-based map that plots fuel-related accidents.
Let’s all go: Flying with the family
If flying is the second greatest thrill known to man (landing being the first), then flying with a loving spouse and the kids must be No. 3. Using an airplane for its designed purpose—to get from point A to point B—with the entire family is a joy that ground-pounders can’t comprehend and aren’t lucky enough to experience. But before you blast off to grandmother’s house, take some time to consider the ways in which flying with many vastly differs from flying by yourself. Read more >>
Maine pilot proves that one man can make a difference
Private landowners in Maine who don’t charge pilots to use their airstrips for recreational purposes would be protected under legislation signed by Gov. John E. Baldacci. In practical terms, the bill will give Maine’s private airport owners the latitude to open up their airports for increased public use. For AOPA member John Nadeau, it is an opportunity to continue to share aviation with everyone—something he has done since he purchased Old Acton Airfield in 1997. 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.
AOPA Now: A day at Sporty’s
AOPA President Craig Fuller was on hand at Sporty’s in Batavia, Ohio, to hear the winner of the company’s new Cessna Skyhawk announced. Read more >>
Let’s Go Flying: A ride in the T-6A Texan II
For many pilots, the initial thrill of aviation came from watching military encounters portrayed in the movies and on television. Curious about the flight experience, Let’s Go Flying blogger Steve Tupper signed up and experienced a flight in a T-6A Texan II, the Air Force's primary training aircraft. Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: NTSB confirms buzz job
The preliminary NTSB report on a Baron A55 that crashed after making three low passes over a work party in Minden, Nev., on May 9 confirmed it was a buzz. On the last pass, the aircraft was observed flying at 100 to 300 feet agl when the pilot pulled abruptly into a steep nose-up attitude and rolled left. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Members everywhere
During a recent flight on the airlines, AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Tom Haines got a special call from the captain. Of the encounter, Haines writes, “Captain Granville D. Lasseter II stepped out, his giant hand absorbing mine in a handshake. ‘I have a beautifully restored 1968 Piper Super Cub and I want to take more kids for rides. Any advice on how I can do that?’” Read more >>
Redeem your AOPA Credit Card rewards
With the AOPA Credit Card, you can easily redeem your reward points by phone or online. With a click of the mouse, you can redeem points for travel, gift cards, concerts, sporting events—you name it. You also can redeem your points for cash. AOPA Credit Card WorldPoints rewards experts are on hand to help when you call 800/434-8313, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time. Redeem rewards with as few as 2,500 points; the more you spend, the more valuable rewards you earn. Plus, you’ll earn double points for most aviation purchases.
Why take chances with your certificate?
Being a pilot requires compliance with more than 700 relevant federal aviation regulations. Violate any one of them, and you could face fines and penalties, including losing your pilot certificate. Take, for instance, these actual events related by fellow AOPA members. Luckily, they had the guidance and protection of the AOPA Legal Services Plan. It walked them through what needed to be done, saved them tens of thousands of dollars in fines, and even may have saved some their certificate. Now, more than ever, you need the AOPA Legal Services Plan on your side. Enroll today for only $29 for most pilots. As one AOPA member put it, “You’ll never imagine these things happening to you … until they do. I can’t say enough about the plan’s services and how they helped 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: If I am overflying Canada on my way from Michigan to New York, do I have to submit a manifest with the new Customs and Border Protection Electronic Advanced Passenger Information System (eAPIS)?
Answer: No, you will not have to submit a manifest through eAPIS. The electronic manifest is only required for private aircraft arriving in the United States from a foreign port or location or departing the United States for a foreign port or location. If you are not landing in Canada, you do not need to use eAPIS to file a passenger manifest. As with any Canadian border crossing, you will need to be on an activated IFR or VFR flight plan and squawking a discrete transponder code from ATC. For more information on this new customs requirement, view the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s online course, Understanding eAPIS: A Pilot’s Guide to Online Customs Reporting.
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].
2009 LET’S GO FLYING SWEEPSTAKES UPDATE
Andrews Air Force Base is only 44 nautical miles from AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Md., but it’s a world apart. Getting there begins with filling out a stack of military paperwork and online TSA applications. Getting permission to fly to the home of Air Force One, within Washington, D.C.’s most tightly guarded flight restricted zone, can be a saga in itself. Read more >>
Fly the Brazilian Phenom light jet; check out the Tecnam Eaglet light sport aircraft; and catch up on AOPA’s 2009 Let’s Go Flying Sweepstakes airplane in the June issue of AOPA Pilot. It’ll be in your mailbox soon. For a sneak peek and multimedia content, see AOPA Pilot Online.
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 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 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].
Editorial Team : ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller