|GA News | Safety & Proficiency | Shop Talk | Quiz Me|
Click here to view this week's custom content online
today's top stories
In the wake of last month’s midair collision over New York’s Hudson River, AOPA President Craig Fuller on Sept. 16 went to Capitol Hill to dispel misunderstandings about the exclusion zone and so-called “uncontrolled” airspace. Testifying before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's aviation subcommittee, Fuller noted that no airspace in the United States is truly uncontrolled—there are well-defined rules and regulations that govern operations in all of it. “The rules that govern visual flight, instrument flight, and operations through airspace corridors are established precisely to maximize operational safety,” said Fuller in his prepared remarks. Read more >>
NATA president addresses Hudson midair in hearing
National Air Transportation Association (NATA) President James Coyne expressed support for FAA and NTSB recommendations to improve safety in the Hudson River Class B exclusion zone before the Senate Commerce Committee's aviation subcommittee Sept. 15. Coyne also encouraged the adoption of new technologies for airspace management and outlined industry efforts to improve aviation safety. Read more >>
‘USA Today’ slants coverage to favor airlines
USA Today on Sept. 17 published a slanted, one-sided, front-page story designed to whip up negative sentiment against general aviation and to perpetuate public misconceptions about GA. NBC’s "Today" show did a companion story that also ran on the MSNBC cable news outlet which was equally as negative, although it was somewhat more balanced in its presentation. AOPA’s media relations staff learned of the story a week before it was published and had a lengthy conversation with the USA Today reporter, but was not included in the article. Read more >>
Revised LASP proposal in the works
During a Sept. 10 aviation security advisory committee meeting (ASAC), government and industry officials received an update on the proposed Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) that was forced back to the drawing board earlier this year. The Transportation Security Administration is developing a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) for LASP that seeks to enhance general aviation security while incorporating the feedback received from pilots, airport officials, and others during the program’s initial public comment period. The SNPRM will have a 60-day public comment period for the aviation industry to weigh in with their comments. Read more >>
NextGen report calls for better access, services for GA
The FAA should implement more precision-based approaches and departures and expand surveillance services to best take advantage of existing capabilities in the air traffic control system, a NextGen air transportation system task force report recommended Sept. 9. AOPA participated in the government-industry task force charged with recommending near- and mid-term improvements to the system. Just days after the recommendations were released, AOPA President Craig Fuller spoke at "NowGen NEXT," a conference held to present the recommendations, saying that a modernized air traffic control system can improve safety and efficiency for all system users, and that general aviation pilots will be willing to adopt new technologies if the price is reasonable and the benefits clear. Read more >>
CBP announces changes to eAPIS
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has made changes to its Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) to improve online filing of reports for traveling into or out of the United States. AOPA members had reported problems and concerns with the filing system, and AOPA worked with CBP to identify issues and improve functionality in eAPIS. The improvements to the system are meant to streamline the process by eliminating redundancies and unnecessary information. Read more >>
Fuller, Tuthill named to AOPA Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees for AOPA on Sept. 11 elected two new members to the Board: AOPA President Craig Fuller and James G. “Jay” Tuthill III, chairman and CEO of the Tuthill Corporation. The vote took place during the Board’s annual meeting at AOPA’s headquarters located on the grounds of Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md. “In the eight months since Craig took the controls at AOPA, he has urged the Board to take some bold steps,” said Board of Trustees Chairman Bill Trimble. “We look forward to his continued insight during our discussions.” Read more >>
Vicki Cruse memorial scholarship announced
The legacy of Vicki Cruse, the aerobatic pilot who died Aug. 22 while representing the United States at an international aerobatic competition, will be celebrated through a memorial scholarship. The Vicki Cruse Memorial Scholarship will be administered through the International Association of Women Pilots (The Ninety-Nines) Amelia Earhart Scholarship Fund. Funds will go toward providing financial aid to women pilots for emergency maneuver and aerobatic training. The scholarship was announced on Sept. 12 during a memorial service for Cruse, held at Santa Paula Airport in California. Read more >>
Cessna is celebrating the 40-year anniversary of the maiden flight of the first prototype of the Cessna Citation. The flight took place at Wichita Municipal Airport (now the Mid-Continent Airport) on Sept. 15, 1969. That’s when pilot Milt Sills and co-pilot J.L. LeSueur took the airplane up for a one-hour-and-45-minute flight. Flight testing continued until the Citation—originally called the Fanjet 500—was certified in September 1971; deliveries began in January 1972. Back then, the Citation sold for $695,000, and many were skeptical of the airplane’s prospects. But since then more than 6,000 follow-on Citations have been sold. Now there are seven Citation models in production, and an eighth—the Citation CJ4—is set to enter service in 2010.
White House to nominate L.A. airport official to lead TSA
President Barack Obama on Sept. 10 announced his intent to nominate Los Angeles airport police official Erroll G. Southers as head of the Transportation Security Administration. Southers, the assistant chief for the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department’s Office of Homeland Security and Intelligence, would assume the post of assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security and oversee the TSA. "Filling the top job at the Transportation Security Administration is crucial because of the integral role the agency plays in determining the rules that govern general aviation and all of America’s transportation sectors," said AOPA President Craig Fuller. Read more >>
Air races take off in Reno
The Forty-Sixth National Championship Air Races began Wednesday, Sept. 16, at Reno/Stead Airport, north of Reno, Nev., and continue through Sunday, Sept. 20. Defending champion Bill “Tiger” Destefani of Bakersfield, Calif., won the Unlimited Breitling Gold race last year flying his P-51 Mustang, Strega, at an average speed of 483 miles per hour. The event, held annually since 1964, features racing by six classes of aircraft. Read more >>
Pilot honored for volunteer work
Mack Secord, 77, of Atlanta, was honored by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) and Air Care Alliance for his 26 years of service to Angel Flight. He provided transportation to those with medical needs in his 1975 Cessna Skylane 182P. He was named Distinguished Volunteer Pilot as part of the 2009 National Public Benefit Flying Awards. Secord is a former U.S. Air Force pilot who flew North American Aviation F-86 Sabre jets for 10 years and later transferred to the Lockheed C-130 transport aircraft. Read more >>
SKY Helicopters makes list of fastest-growing companies
SKY Helicopters lnc., a commercial helicopter operator and provider of high-definition newsgathering services based in Garland, Texas, has been named the forty-first fastest-growing privately held company in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area by lnc Magazine. The fast-growing companies, based on revenue growth, are recognized in the annual ranking of the “Inc 5000,” published in the September 2009 issue. SKY Helicopters is the only helicopter company to be ranked in the nationwide list of emerging companies. Read more >>
Club helps pilots master instrument navigation
Instrument-rated pilots looking for a way to increase their proficiency and confidence in flying in instrument meteorological conditions have a new resource: the IMC Club. The club, based in Norwood, Mass., is opening its free membership nationwide and encouraging pilots to start chapters in their area. The IMC Club offers bi-weekly meetings to allow instrument students, pilots, and flight instructors to discuss instrument flying, stay engaged in the aviation community, and maintain and hone their instrument-flying skills. For more information about the club or to form a chapter in your area, see the Web site.
AOPA revamps Airport Directory Online
In October, AOPA will launch a new version of its popular Airport Directory Online. “The first change members will notice is the directory’s new, cleaner look,” said AOPA Airport Directory Online Manager Jennefer Price. Extensive research, including focus groups, interviews, and surveys shaped the redesign of AOPA’s Airport Directory Online. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
ga serves america
Pilot uses GA for a higher calling
When editorial writers for some of the nation’s largest newspapers decided to scold business aviation for its excess in the down economy, chances are they weren’t referring to Richard Allen. In fact, it’s a good bet most didn’t know of pilots like Allen, who uses his Mooney as an indispensible tool to find the best candidates for some of the country’s most prestigious institutes of higher learning. Allen owns RPA Inc., an executive search firm that serves colleges, universities, and the non-profit sector. By using general aviation, Allen was able to base his business in Williamsport, Pa., an area severely underserved by the airlines but rich with talent and cheap real estate. Read more >>
Chopper saves disabled veteran
Helicopters play unique roles, and one of their most valuable is in medical evacuation. But on Oct. 8, 2008, the Fairfield, Conn., Police Department added search-and-rescue functions to its helicopter mission. Fairfield uses a 1968 Bell UH-IH (“Huey”)—dubbed “Eagle One”—based at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in nearby Stratford, Conn. The Huey is flown by volunteers, and the costs of operating it are covered by the non-profit Nelson D’Ancona Foundation. When word came down that a 62-year-old disabled veteran and former hunter had been missing for two and one-half days, “Eagle One” came to the rescue. Read more >>
Airport brings economic development to Sebring
Bob Wood’s passion for aviation has resulted in an economic shot in the arm for his community of Sebring, Fla. While the public often points to private pilots as “just hobbyists,” this one plays a major role in the economic health of his town. Read more >>
Foggy night turns tragic for helicopter pilot
Helicopters can do things airplanes can’t. Their ability to take off and land in confined spaces is vital during rescues and attractive to charter operators, who can offer clients the nearest thing to door-to-door convenience. But unless they’re properly trained and proficient in flight by reference to instruments, helicopter pilots are just as susceptible to spatial disorientation as their fixed-wing counterparts, and the results are just as ugly. On Dec. 16, 2006, a Bell 407 crashed shortly after taking off in foggy conditions. Read more in this special report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
You wouldn’t run a marathon and add layers of clothing at each water stop. That’s about how much sense it makes to fly into icing conditions—none. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation has created a new Pilot Safety Announcement (PSA), “It’s a drag,” to illustrate how ice can accumulate on your aircraft to rob it of performance and even result in an accident. Check out the new PSA >>
Test your towered airport ops knowledge
Every year, there are more than 40 million arrivals and departures at controlled airports. Nearly half of these are general aviation operations. Flying into, out of, or near towered airports presents some unique challenges—especially if you do most of your flying to and from nontowered airfields. Are you up on your towered airport operations knowledge? Find out with the latest safety quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Answers for Pilots: Logging time
Logging time is usually straightforward. But occasionally, there are unique circumstances. Consider this scenario: Pilot A wants to accompany Pilot B on a cross-country flight in a single-engine, high-performance aircraft. Pilot A is rated for the airplane but does not have a current medical, high-performance endorsement, or current flight review. Pilot A will be practicing simulated instrument flying, wearing a view-limiting device, and will be sole manipulator of the controls during the en route portion of the flight. Pilot B meets all the requirements to be PIC and has agreed to be PIC and safety pilot during the flight. Who can log the time? Find out on AOPA Online >>
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.
PEAK EXPERIENCE: AOPA AVIATION SUMMIT
One voice: GA unites at Summit
What makes general aviation such a vital part of the nation’s economic and transportation infrastructure? Find out from the leaders of top aviation organizations representing pilots, aircraft owners, women, manufacturers, businesses, FBOs, and others. These leaders will join AOPA President Craig Fuller on Thursday, Nov. 5 from 9 to 9:45 a.m. to kick off AOPA Aviation Summit with a frank discussion of the issues that affect the future of general aviation. Read more >>
Has ‘autoland’ landed?
Glass cockpits, once a technology new to general aviation aircraft, have filtered into all types of aircraft, from business jets to light sport aircraft. And if you thought glass cockpits were cool, wait until you see what new technologies are on the horizon. Synthetic vision, enhanced vision, automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), autoland, and digital parachutes are some of the emerging technologies that AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines will discuss with industry leaders at AOPA Aviation Summit on Friday, Nov. 6, during the morning Summit Session in the Tampa Convention Center. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Taking a tumble
You might remember from your training that your attitude indicator can tumble if the aircraft pitch angle exceeds the gyro’s limits. What does that look like and why should you care? Take a look in this video blog >>
Hover Power: Stuck pedal
For a helicopter pilot, one of the more difficult anti-torque system failures to deal with is when the tail rotor thrust becomes fixed or limited to a certain amount. Read more >>
Wish you had a better understanding of the regulations when talking to your mechanic or the avionics shop? Aircraft Electronics Association Vice President of Government/Industry Affairs Ric Peri answers your frequently asked questions.
Question: Can an A&P install avionics? And can an IA supervise and sign off a radio installation by an uncertificated person?
Answer: Maybe. But he or she must be fully trained and qualified (something that most A&Ps and IAs are not). Part 65, Section 65.81 allows a certificated mechanic to perform or supervise the maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alteration of an aircraft or appliance, or a part thereof, for which he or she is rated. However, section 65.81 specifically prohibits the mechanic from performing “any repair to, or alteration of, instruments.” Autopilots and other “electronic devices for automatically controlling an aircraft in flight” are instruments by definition. Read more >>
Submit your own question via e-mail.
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 own a 1977 Cessna 172N and do regular oil changes as preventive maintenance. I am a private pilot, but not a mechanic. My co-worker also happens to own a 1977 Cessna 172N and overheard me talking about this, and he asked me to complete an oil change on his aircraft. Am I authorized to do this?
Answer: No. While you are authorized as a private pilot to complete a number of tasks listed as preventive maintenance without holding an FAA mechanic certificate, FAR 43.3(g) states that in order to do so you must be the owner or operator of the aircraft you are working on. Read more about this in a recent article from AOPA Pilot that discusses this task and provides helpful tips for pilots looking to cut costs.
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 pi[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 Baltimore, Md., and Richmond, Va., Sept. 19 and 20; Colorado Springs, Colo., and Seattle, Wash., Sept. 26 and 27; San Jose, Calif., and Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 3 and 4; Wichita, Kan., and Corpus Christi, Texas, Oct. 10 and 11. 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 Rochester, Minn., Fort Worth, Texas, and Reno, Nev., Sept. 21; Sacramento, Calif., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Houston, Texas, Sept. 22; Milpitas, Calif., Bellevue, Neb., and San Antonio, Texas, Sept. 23; Santa Rosa, Calif., Olathe, Kan., Sept. 24; Mesa, Ariz.; Clayton, Mo.; Blue Bell, Pa., Sept. 28; Tucson, Ariz., Boise, Idaho, Kansas City, Mo., Allentown, Pa., Sept. 29; Springfield, Mo., Grand Forks, N.D., Santa Teresa, N.M., New Cumberland, Pa., Salt Lake City, Utah, Sept. 30. 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