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today's top stories
FAA, NWS consolidation plan faces ‘significant challenges’
An ongoing effort by the FAA and National Weather Service to consolidate 20 of the 21 center weather service units into two faces significant challenges, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Sept. 9. One of the main challenges is ensuring that services provided to pilots do not degrade as a result of the consolidation. Others include developing a feasible transition schedule that allows stakeholder input and ensuring that the new structure will work in the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System. “Unless and until these changes are addressed, the proposed restructuring of aviation weather services at en route centers poses new risks and has little chance of success,” the report says. Read more >>
While it’s hard to celebrate being at the bottom of a recession valley, Textron senior management says indicators show the downward plunge has stopped. Textron Chairman and CEO Lewis Campbell said, “Cessna is fighting through the most difficult down cycle in the history of the business jet industry.” Read more >>
A welcome lift for wounded vets
After a roadside bomb ripped through his knees on a mission in Iraq, Sgt. Michael Blair was rushed by helicopter to the al Asad medical facility. "And he's gonna keep his legs, right doc?" Blair recalls his colonel saying to the surgeon at al Asad—it was a command, not a question. Now, after more than 60 surgeries to replace and repair the bone, muscle, skin, and tendons destroyed in the blast, Blair walks with the help of crutches. This spring, an aircraft owner grateful for the service of men and women in uniform offered his jet to help Blair, his wife, and his daughter with transportation through the Veterans Airlift Command. Read more >>
Harrison Ford: Make your voice heard at Summit
Fellow pilot Harrison Ford is encouraging you to make your voice heard and protect general aviation by coming to AOPA Aviation Summit in Tampa, Fla., Nov. 5 through 7. Ford has volunteered his time and talent to speak out in support of GA through AOPA's GA Serves America campaign, and he expressed an interest this summer to broaden his support of and participation in the campaign. Watch this personal invitation from Ford, and join leaders and decision makers at Summit to share your passion for flying and discuss important issues for aviation in America now and in the future.
Safety seminar to review Hudson corridor procedures
The recent midair collision over the Hudson River was a rare tragedy, but it points to an issue that deserves attention—flying safely in crowded skies. A special safety seminar sponsored by AOPA, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, and the FAA will be offered Sept. 15 in Newark, N.J., and on the Web to address the accident, collision avoidance, and the future procedures of the Hudson River Class B exclusion zone. Read more >>
Senator gets a taste of GA in New Mexico
Aspen Avionics showed off the latest in general aviation technology and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility to Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) last week. The senator stopped at the Albuquerque, N.M., facility as part of a tour of businesses in the state. Udall also met with members of the New Mexico Aviation/Aerospace Association, a group formed in January in an effort to provide a unified voice to aviation companies in the state. Read more >>
Reconditioned Eclipse jets to enter market
Eclipse Aerospace will refurbish 26 Eclipse 500 jets returned to the former Eclipse Aviation by DayJet, the bankrupt Florida air taxi company. In addition, upgrades for flight into known icing conditions have begun for aircraft already in the hands of owners. When Eclipse 500 owners Mason Holland and Mike Press purchased Eclipse Aviation from the Delaware federal bankruptcy court, they also acquired the former DayJet fleet. Read more >>
Hawker Beechcraft’s 2009 layoffs top 2,600
Since February, Hawker Beechcraft has notified the Kansas state government of pending layoffs, which now total 2,662 workers, 10 times. The most recent round, of 118 workers, was posted Aug. 31. Read more >>
Military aero club has strong ties to GA
The Wright-Patterson Aero Club is easy to overlook at the sprawling U.S. Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio, that’s known for its unparalleled museum and rich aviation history dating back to the Wright brothers. But the 300-member flying club there has long been a prolific producer of general aviation pilots, and the club is growing and adding new aircraft despite hard economic times for much of the GA industry. “Our students are earning new ratings at a pace of about two a month,” said Ben Schleis, 34, an Air Force master sergeant, aero club volunteer, and owner of a Grumman Cougar that he leases to the club for multiengine training. Read more >>
ForeFlight releases update
ForeFlight, the company behind AOPA Airports for iPhone and iPod touch, has released version 2.4 of its flagship product, ForeFlight Mobile for iPhone and iPod touch. The new version is now available for download at the iTunes App Store. To learn more about the release, visit ForeFlight’s Web site >>
Youngster’s flying future lies in the past
Kids are supposed to love glass cockpits, right? The thinking, at least in the marketing department of most large manufacturers, is that the younger generation grew up on computers, and glass cockpits seem natural to them. Foster W. Bachschmidt, 20, is the exception. This University of Texas senior completed a type rating earlier this year at age 19 for the Ford Tri-Motor 5AT. There are only three 5AT models still flying. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
ga serves america
When LeRoy Clementich arrived in Anchorage in 1993 to start a new job, his boss asked whether he was a pilot. Clementich said that he was. That delighted the boss, pilot Francis Hurley—Archbishop Francis Hurley. Flying in Alaska then was, and remains, vitally important because Alaska’s towns and villages lie far apart, and many places are inaccessible to automobiles. While Alaska is the country’s largest state, its population ranks forty-seventh, with a ratio of just one person per square mile. Read more >>
Gone with the wind
Some of dental hygienist Jamie Tanabe’s patients knew that she enjoyed flying as a hobby and wanted to become an airline pilot. One patient, the director of a large mortuary near Los Angeles, asked if she’d considered starting a business scattering cremated human remains from the air. The idea appealed to Tanabe on the spot—“I was picking my patient’s teeth and picking his brain at the same time,” she said. Read more >>
Airplane opens job horizons for pilot
When business fell off for Jack Horn’s construction company in the Denver area, his general aviation airplane made it possible for him to commute to a new job in Hobbs, N.M. Traveling by airline was not at all efficient, Horn said. He faced a 30-minute drive from his home in Erie, Colo., to Denver’s commercial service airport. He’d spend a couple hours at the airport before departing on the hour-and-a-half flight to Albuquerque, N.M, and then spend a night in a hotel before catching a shuttle to Hobbs. Other alternatives included a 10.5-hour drive, or a flight to El Paso, Texas, followed by a three-hour drive to Hobbs. Read more >>
2010 customs decals available online
Fly your general aviation aircraft internationally? Make sure there are no hiccups as you head into the new year by ordering your 2010 customs decal early. The decals are available online through the Customs and Border Protection’s Decal and Transponder Online Procurement System. In previous years, customs would automatically mail a paper application form, but this year, the agency will mail applications only to those who request one. Read more >>
An overconfident instructor and a trusting instrument student seek out some realistic training by flying in the clouds. But they get more than they bargained for when powerful thunderstorms with heavy rain, turbulence, and hail close in around them. Their flight ends with an unforgettable ILS approach into Atlanta’s DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, and the student learns some valuable lessons about flying—and misplaced trust—along the way. Read this latest installment of Never Again Online. Enjoy the lessons you learn from these pilots' first-hand accounts? Listen to more stories in AOPA's Never Again Podcast directory, brought to you by the AOPA Insurance Agency.
Helicopter accidents added to ASF database
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation Accident Database, for years the leading source of fixed-wing general aviation accident data, has added a new spin: rotorcraft. Database users now have the option of searching for fixed-wing or helicopter accidents dating back to 1983. The new helicopter search function can be further refined by selecting the specific make and model of rotorcraft. Encourage a safer aviation future by learning from the past: Try the new helicopter accident search feature today >>
Never too late
Everyone’s heard the old saw about old dogs and new tricks. But if the subject is learning to fly, the analogy just doesn’t work. As it turns out, age can work on the pilot’s side when it comes to flying lessons—as many older student pilots discover. It takes passion, good judgment, aptitude, and money to earn a pilot certificate. Turns out, many older student pilots have these qualities in spades. Read more >>
Improve your safety by learning from others
Gain valuable 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.
New college students explore careers in aviation
Students starting out at Birmingham Southern College (BSC) without a declared major had a hands-on introduction to opportunities in the field of aviation Aug. 31 at Shelby County Airport in Alabaster, Ala. The airport and members of the Shelby County Aviation Association (SCAA) hosted an event for incoming freshman that included presentations about what aviation has to offer and hands-on exposure to a variety of aircraft. AOPA provided SCAA members with information to inform the students about careers in aviation, including becoming a pilot, meteorology, airport operations, and aeronautical engineering. Read more >>
PEAK EXPERIENCE: AOPA AVIATION SUMMIT
Summit strikes up the band for GA
Dust off your boater hat and get ready for a hand-clapping, foot-stomping good time at AOPA Aviation Summit this November. A General Aviation Serves America rally—an old-fashioned, political-style rally to celebrate GA—will feature patriotic music and refreshments as you celebrate your freedom to fly and gear up to protect it. Read more >>
Put your security questions to TSA at Summit
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to talk about general aviation security with top officials from the Transportation Security Administration. TSA Assistant Administrator John Sammon will lead a discussion on Friday, Nov. 6, about various security initiatives and the TSA’s plans for GA. Read more >>
Air Force fighter pilot Brian Shul was flying close air support missions in Vietnam when his aircraft was shot down near the Cambodian border. He sustained severe burn injuries in the crash and was told his flying days were over, but Shul returned to flying jets two days after his release from the hospital and went on to become one of a select group of pilots to fly the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane. Now, Shul will share his story of triumphing over the odds at AOPA Aviation Summit. Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: Towers in flat terrain
A doctor flying with his wife, two of their children, and a physician friend were on their way to Dallas. They had been airborne for about eight minutes after departing Jones Airport in Tulsa, Okla., apparently betting on the flat terrain of the Sooner state to allow a quick trip to an Oklahoma University football game. Unfortunately, a tower that was only 150 feet AGL ended the flight. Witness noted very low clouds and fog in the area. Read more >>
Reporting Points: By the wings of angels
AOPA Vice President of ePublishing Chris O'Callaghan takes a closer look at Pilots N Paws 5000—a nationwide effort to transport five thousand discarded pets to new homes. Read more >>
Hover Power: NOTAR
A conventional tail rotor arrangement dates back to the first helicopters designed and produced. However, in addition to the added complexity of drive shafts, bearings, and gearboxes, tail rotors are noisy and susceptible to foreign object damage. In the 1970s engineers at Hughes Helicopters began working on concepts to eliminate the tail rotor for the U.S. Army. They used the acronym NOTAR for NO Tail Rotor. Read more >>
Check out AOPA’s Aircraft Financing Program
The AOPA Aircraft Financing Program, brought to you by Bank of America, is committed to making your aircraft purchasing experience as easy as possible. Whether you are financing a new or used aircraft, or refinancing or upgrading your existing aircraft, we have a team ready to assist you. We encourage you to read through the information online. The Web page includes links to frequently asked questions, “10 Tips to Aircraft Financing” for first-time buyers, a loan calculator to assist you in figuring out what loan fits into your monthly budget, and required financial information needed after applying for your aircraft loan. And best of all, you can apply right online. Once you have submitted your application, an associate from the Aircraft Financing Program will contact you the next business day. If you have any questions after reviewing the information online, call 800/62-PLANE or 800/627-5263.
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: My father recently died, and he owned an aircraft. We have a potential buyer at an airport nearby, but we need to fly the aircraft there. How long after his death is the aircraft registration valid?
Answer: According to FAR 47.41, the certificate of aircraft registration is valid until 30 days from the date of his death. Be sure to verify that the insurance policy covers the aircraft for this flight with a qualified pilot. After 30 days, the aircraft registration would have to be transferred.
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 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 Phoenix, Ariz., and Sacramento, Calif., Sept. 12 and 13; Baltimore, Md., and Richmond, Va., Sept. 19 and 20; Colorado Springs, Colo., and Seattle, Wash., Sept. 26 and 27. 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 Wichita, Kan., and Morristown, N.J., Sept. 14; East Hartford, Conn., and Oklahoma City, Okla, Sept. 15; Rogers, Ark., and Newton, Mass., Sept. 16; Little Rock, Ark., and Manchester, N.H., Sept. 17. 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