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today's top stories
FAA, stakeholders discuss New York airspace congestion
The FAA on Sept. 24 hosted a meeting near New York’s LaGuardia Airport to discuss proposed changes aimed at reducing ripple-effect delays caused by congestion in the Northeast, especially into and out of the New York Class B airspace. AOPA President Craig Fuller, who attended the meeting with other AOPA representatives, said that although general aviation traffic in the New York area is down 30 to 40 percent in recent years, GA pilots are willing to do their part. Fuller told Krakowski, “If the FAA will aggressively pursue equipment certification and take full advantage of the technology by publishing precise GPS-based approaches that give more airports all-weather capability, then GA pilots would have alternatives to landing at the three main New York airports.” Read more >>
AOPA sticks up for GA in ‘USA Today’ opinion piece
Just a week after USA Today ran a one-sided article generating negative sentiment against general aviation and perpetuating public misconceptions about GA, the newspaper is adding fuel to the fire. This time, it is an editorial. But, this time, USA Today has given AOPA the opportunity to rebut. AOPA President Craig Fuller set the record straight with the facts. Read Fuller’s opinion piece in its entirety >>
Short-term FAA funding extension awaits president’s signature
A temporary funding extension for the FAA is awaiting President Barack Obama’s signature. The House and Senate this week passed extensions by voice vote that would grant FAA authorization through Dec. 31. The FAA has recently been operating under a series of short-term authorizations, the latest of which was set to expire Sept. 30. These short-term extensions keep the FAA operating while Congress lays out a longer-term plan for the agency. The House passed a three-year reauthorization of the FAA in May, and the Senate version, which authorizes the agency for two years, has yet to reach the Senate floor. The House passed a three-year FAA reauthorization bill in May, and the Senate bill, which authorizes the agency for two years, has yet to reach the Senate floor.
Ford encourages pilots to join GA Serves America Rally
Make your voice heard and protect general aviation! “Our freedom to fly is under attack by people who don’t understand how important general aviation is to our nation,” said Harrison Ford, who is volunteering his time and talent to speak out in support of the industry through the GA Serves America campaign. “We need to tell them.” You can start by participating in the GA Serves America Rally at AOPA Aviation Summit in Tampa, Fla., Nov. 5 through 7. The rally will take place Thursday, Nov. 5, at noon in the Tampa Convention Center exhibit hall. Watch this special message from Ford >>
A new surveillance system introduced in Colorado allows air traffic controllers to track aircraft in areas not covered by radar. The new system, called Wide-Area Multilateration (WAM), requires no new equipment for aircraft and uses a network of relatively small sensors on the ground to pinpoint the location of aircraft in remote, mountainous regions. The sensors send out signals that are received and sent back by aircraft transponders. Read more >>
Youngest pilot wins Unlimited Gold at Reno
Steven Hinton, 22, flew the P-51D Mustang Strega to a first-place finish in the Breitling Unlimited Gold Race at the Forty-Sixth National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nev., on Sept. 20. Hinton, who led the field throughout the eight-lap, 67-mile race at an average speed of 491.822 mph, became the youngest pilot to win Reno’s premier air race. John Penney, flying the F8F-2 Bearcat Rare Bear, placed second in the Unlimited Gold race with an average speed of 479.088 mph. See the slide show >>
First production SkyCatcher takes flight in China
Last July, Cessna SkyCatcher project engineer Neal Willford promised only that the first production Cessna 162, the SkyCatcher, would fly by the end of the year. The first copy of the two-seat trainer beat that by more than two months by flying in China Sept. 17. The airplane is the first 162 fabricated and assembled on production tooling in Shenyang, China, the main location for SkyCatcher production. Read more >>
Aspen Avionics has received FAA certification for its full line of primary flight displays (PFDs), multi-function displays (MFDs), and weather receivers. The Albuquerque, N.M., firm can now provide full glass-panel retrofits and new avionics installations for a broad range of general aviation aircraft. Prices range from about $9,500 for a single PFD to $17,985 for a complete, three-screen avionics suite (excluding installation). Read more >>
Quest gets production certificate for Kodiak
The FAA has presented a production certificate for the Quest Kodiak to the company at its headquarters in Sandpoint, Idaho. The tough, single-engine turboprop aircraft was originally designed for missionary work but has attracted a variety of buyers and potential buyers, including backcountry airlines and private individuals. “Achieving this final step in the process of designing, producing, and delivering a brand new aircraft is an important milestone for Quest,” said Paul Schaller, Quest Aircraft’s president and CEO. Read more >>
Tour shares story of Michigan’s airports
At the first Michigan Air Tour, held in June 1929, 42 pilots flew to 32 Michigan cities. On Sept. 11 through 13, the event marked its eightieth anniversary, and among the 28 participating aircraft was a Cessna 172 flown by Bill Blake, AOPA’s Great Lakes regional representative. “We had the best flying weather I think I’ve seen all summer,” said Blake, adding that one of the air tour’s eight scheduled stops—in Owosso, Mich., on Saturday—had to be skipped because of local ground fog. He shared the flying with his wife, Nancy, who is an instrument-rated private pilot. An objective of the Michigan Air Tour, which follows a different route and visits different airports in the state each year, is to demonstrate to communities the economic importance of their airports. Read more >>
Heroism award presented to helicopter crew
Rotor & Wing magazine’s Helicopter Heroism Award was presented to the Maryland State Police AS365 Dauphin crew for swift-water rescue. The public service award was presented to pilot Jim MacKay and trooper flight paramedic Nate Wheelock during the Rotor & Wing 2009 Search and Rescue Summit in Reston, Va. Read more >>
Conference highlights efforts to secure aviation’s future
Aviation officials from around the country expressed support for AOPA initiatives and discussed their efforts to partner with industry stakeholders at a National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) convention Sept. 12 through 16. State aviation directors from around the country voted to officially partner with AOPA to advance the GA Serves America campaign at the Seventy-Eighth NASAO Annual Convention and Trade Show, held in Tucson, Ariz. At the event, AOPA discussed the association’s work to promote GA and represent pilots, and officials talked about their efforts to seek input from industry groups. Read more >>
Honeywell working for EVO, lower landing minimums
Honeywell is working on new visual displays intended to allow lower landing minimums. The displays have been in testing at Honeywell’s Deer Valley, Ariz., facility, and incorporate synthetic vision plus infrared sensor input. By merging the two image inputs on the company’s Primus EPIC “SmartView” primary flight display, the combined imagery is meant to enable equivalent visual operations (EVO). The infrared imagery can be toggled by the pilot, allowing him or her to dial in the best mix of synthetic terrain and infrared imagery. Read more >>
CT LSA racks up more than 13,000 landings
A Flight Design CT light sport aircraft that has been operating daily at a German airfield has logged nearly 3,000 hours and more than 13,000 landings. This particular model, a 2003 CT2K registered D-MGAC, was the first-generation model of the CT. The log indicates that the aircraft has been flown daily as a basic trainer at Jesenwang airfield. It’s on its second Rotax engine and has logged 13,268 landings. Read more >>
FAA issues AD for certain cylinders on Teledyne engines
Because of reports of cracks in 35 EQ3 cylinders from Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM), the FAA has issued an airworthiness directive (AD) that requires initial and repetitive inspections of TCM EQ3 cylinders installed on TCM O-470, IO-470, TSIO-470, IO-520, TSIO-520, IO-550, and IOF-550 series reciprocating engines. The AD, which goes into effect Oct. 7, also requires eventual removal of all EQ3 cylinders. The cracks were reported on cylinders that had between 400 and 1,300 hours. TCM determined that its EQ3 configuration cylinder head casting tool used in the manufacturing process created an area of reduced wall thickness. Read more >>
Midwest LSA Expo set for Oct. 1 through 3
Mount Vernon Airport (KMVN) in Illinois is the home of the first-ever Midwest Light Sport Aircraft Expo, set for Oct. 1 through 3. The event will bring a wide variety of LSA manufacturers and U.S. distributors to the airport and aims to educate visitors and pilots about LSAs. Read more >>
Maverick Helicopters enhances Web site
Maverick Helicopters, a tour and charter operator based in Las Vegas, recently unveiled the redesign of its Web site. The focus was on making it simpler for visitors to find all the information necessary to choose a tour that best fits their needs and desires. Read more >>
Politicians & Planes: Lifting off to get down to business
Texas State Sen. Kel Seliger represents a district of 33,000 square miles—an area slightly smaller than the state of Indiana. The vastness of the district could pose a problem to someone like Seliger, who likes to meet with people in communities large and small throughout the area, but he has little trouble visiting the farthest corners of his district. The same Beechcraft Bonanza that helps him do business also enables him to fly into cities and towns for meetings, speeches, and other events throughout the district. As a pilot and as co-owner and executive vice president of Lake Steel, a steel service center, Seliger knows how aviation resources can help businesses and economic development in his state. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
ga serves america
Michigan pilot aids search for missing child
When Joseph Rivard drove to the airport on a bright Saturday morning, he had no idea he’d be asked to help on a hunt for a missing child. Rivard owns a 1965 Piper Cherokee that he keeps at Mount Pleasant Municipal Airport in Mount Pleasant, Mich. On Sept. 12, he headed to the airport after waiting for early fog to burn off. As he drove onto the airport, he noticed that the security gates were open. He knew that meant one of two things: Either snow and ice had caused the gates to malfunction—unlikely in September—or an emergency was in progress. Read more >>
Preflight RAIM checks for non-WAAS GPS receivers
As of Sept. 28, pilots utilizing non-WAAS-equipped IFR GPS units under instrument flight rules must perform a Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring check as part of their preflight requirements prior to flying certain routes and procedures. Read more >>
What’s so special about a special issuance?
The FAA created the special issuance authorization to provide more flexibility in granting medical certificates to persons with serious medical conditions. Part 67 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, the medical standards for airmen, identifies 15 medical conditions that are disqualifying “by medical history or clinical diagnosis.” If you have any of these conditions, the only way the FAA can grant a medical certificate is with an “authorization.” The FAA isn’t limited only to the 15 conditions, though. A special issuance can be granted for any medical condition that could progress adversely. Read more >>
Sign up for aging pilot study
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation and the University of North Dakota are seeking participants for a research study about the effects of aging on the flight performance of general aviation pilots. About 180 pilots of all ages will travel to UND in Grand Forks, N.D., for the two-day study, which will examine pilot performance under visual flight rules and whether time of day, existing cognitive skill, sleep, and nutrition influence age-related changes in flight performance. All participants must have a current FAA medical and have between 300 and 15,000 hours of total flight time. Sign up or request more information online >>
Safety Spotlight chips away at aircraft icing myths
A little bit of ice won’t spoil your flight, right? Think again: A layer of ice no thicker or rougher than a piece of coarse sandpaper can reduce lift by 30 percent and increase drag by up to 40 percent. Even aircraft equipped for flight into icing conditions are significantly affected by ice accumulation on unprotected areas such as antennas, flap hinges, wing struts, cowlings, etc. And, don’t think icing danger lurks during winter months only; ice can form any time an airframe encounters visible moisture in freezing temperatures, so beware in late fall and early spring seasons, too. Explore this chilling topic’s free resources conveniently gathered in one spot on the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s Web site. Learn from a reenactment of an actual airframe icing accident. Take award-winning courses and challenge your knowledge with safety quizzes. Check out this recently updated Safety Spotlight >>
Survey tracks weight-and-balance habits
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation is conducting a survey to find out if pilots perform weight-and-balance calculations, and if so when during the preflight planning process they do the calculations. Take the short survey to participate and offer valuable feedback.
AOPA works to protect glider ops, airport land in California
California pilots are mobilizing to protect a half-century-old glider operation at Hemet and halt a land grab that would remove five acres at busy Palo Alto Airport. AOPA Vice President of Local Airport Advocacy Bill Dunn recently returned from a week in California where he met with pilots, FAA officials, and elected representatives to defend general aviation in Hemet, Paso Robles, and Palo Alto. Read more >>
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
AOPA has successfully negotiated price reductions at two of the official AOPA Aviation Summit hotels in Tampa, Fla. The Hyatt Regency Tampa and Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk have agreed to lower their prices for the AOPA Aviation Summit room block for a limited time—prices are guaranteed until Oct. 13. Read more >>
Go beyond the $100 hamburger at Summit
A general aviation flight can mean access to proper treatment for a sick child, life for an abandoned pet, or hope for victims of natural disasters. Join AOPA and public benefit flying organizations at AOPA Aviation Summit to find out about how you can use your passion for flying to help others. Air Care Alliance President Lindy Kirkland will moderate the forum “Beyond the $100 Hamburger: How to get involved in public benefit flying” Thursday, Nov. 5, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Summit in Tampa, Fla. Read more >>
Island hop from Summit on Bahamas fly-out
After you’ve experienced the excitement of AOPA Aviation Summit, just minutes from downtown Tampa, Fla., slow down for a relaxed vacation on the Islands of the Bahamas. AOPA’s first annual AOPA Aviation Summit fly-out to the Bahamas offers pilots the opportunity to reach places most tourists never see on an island-hopping adventure with their aircraft. Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: CFI pay
The truth is that good flight instruction is some of the most challenging flying there is, and we may have the whole pay scale in aviation upside down. The compensation of CFIs is abysmal in many cases. The worst case is the poverty level wage, with few, if any, benefits and then only when the engine is running—rainy days and Mondays are pretty depressing. Read more >>
Reporting Points: It’s a system
The airline complaint—propagated by NBC and USA Today—that airline passengers pay something toward general aviation airports, obscures what has been transportation tax policy for at least half a century. The federal government helps build a system connecting all parts of the nation, and users are taxed for the whole system, not just the part they use. Watch this video blog >>
AOPA Online no longer supports Internet Explorer 6
New enhancements to AOPA Online will no longer support Internet Explorer 6 or earlier, starting Oct. 1. Since the debut of Internet Explorer 6, many new technologies have emerged allowing AOPA’s ePublishing department to build powerful online tools like the AOPA Internet Flight Planner and enhanced weather interface. Currently, only 11 percent of AOPA Online visitors use Internet Explorer 6. As AOPA members continue to upgrade their browsers, operating systems, and hardware, this number will continue to decline. Everything currently on AOPA Online will continue to work in Internet Explorer 6, but new enhancements may not function properly without a modern browser. Read more >>
Members trust AOPA Insurance Agency
When Nina Ortega of Sebastopol, Calif., purchased her first airplane, she was concerned about being able to get insurance coverage. “But AOPA made the process easy and they were willing to insure a beginner pilot,” said Ortega about the AOPA Insurance Agency, which has worked hard to build a service organization that far exceeds any other in the general aviation community. Ortega has called upon her agent for a number of insurance-related reasons, including the addition of approved pilots to her policy, to change ownership, and to provide certificates of insurance. Read more >>
Turn good deals into great deals
Attention AOPA members: Add It Up is a new free benefit to members who carry an AOPA Bank of America credit or check card and are enrolled in Bank of America’s online banking. With Add It Up, you can earn up to 20-percent cash back from online purchases. Register your card in Bank of America’s Add It Up program and start earning cash back from hundreds of your favorite online retailers. There is no limit to how much you can earn, and every dollar is deposited directly into the eligible Bank of America checking or credit card account of your choice. Read more >>
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 CFI airplane certificate just expired, but I was just about to take my flight instructor instrument airplane exam. How can I quickly renew my CFI-A before my practical test?
Answer: To renew a CFI certificate that has expired, FAR 61.199 states that you may exchange the old certificate for a new certificate with the same ratings by passing a CFI practical test for any of the ratings listed on the expired certificate. Further, FAA Order 8900.1 states that the satisfactory completion of a practical test for an additional flight instructor privilege constitutes the renewal of all flight instructor privileges listed on the certificate. You can simply take your CFII practical test to renew all instructor privileges you held.
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 CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for an AOPA Air Safety Foundation 2010 Spring Intern, an Aviation Technical Writer, and a Communications Coordinator. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
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 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 Mesa, Ariz., Clayton, Mo., and Blue Bell, Pa., Sept. 28; Tucson, Ariz., Boise, Idaho, Kansas City, Mo., and Allentown, Pa., Sept. 29; Springfield, Mo., Grand Forks, N.D., Santa Teresa, N.M., New Cumberland, Pa., and 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