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today’s top stories
Fuller, other international leaders call for united front
Collaboration among aviation groups has proven effective in the United States and it can help strengthen general aviation in Europe too, international officials declared during the first day of the AERO 2010 aviation show in Friedrichshafen, Germany. AOPA President Craig Fuller reminded attendees at a press conference sponsored by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association that collaboration helped present a united front against user fees in the United States, causing the notion to be withdrawn from consideration for probably at least two years. Read more >>
SSRI policy gives six months to come forward
Pilots who failed to disclose their antidepressant use on past medical applications to the FAA have six months to come forward without fear of prosecution. Read more >>
Road and Runway Rally: Southbound, loaded up and flyin’
Sometimes the most memorable of events can happen en route to the destination, rather than at the destination itself. While this year’s Sun ‘n Fun will be hard to top, AOPA has decided to rally down from Frederick Municipal Airport in Maryland to Lakeland, Fla., for the official start of the fly-in. It’s the Road and Runway Rally, pitting a Smart car against AOPA’s 2010 Sweepstakes Remos GX. Get a preview of the excitement in an AOPA Live video that shows the two vehicles gearing up for the competition, and the Remos making a low pass over the Smart car. Watch the video >>
Thousands of spectators watched as the all-electric Solar Impulse, a forerunner of a design that is expected to circle the world using solar power, made its first flight from Payerne, Switzerland, April 7. Solar Impulse HB-SIA slowly climbed to 4,000 feet. For the next 87 minutes, test pilot Markus Scherdel familiarized himself with the prototype’s flight characteristics. “This first flight was for me a very intense moment!” Scherdel said. Read more >>
D.C. airspace off-limits for nuclear summit
General aviation pilots may not fly through the Washington, D.C., special flight rules area April 12 and 13. When 45 heads of state converge on the nation’s capital for a nuclear security summit, security measures for the event include the virtual shutdown of the 30-nm radius of airspace surrounding the district. Read more >>
U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Michael Blair is learning to fly in AOPA’s 2010 Fun to Fly Remos GX. He fought in some of the fiercest battles in Iraq during two deployments in 2004 and 2006, and he was severely wounded when the Humvee he was driving struck a roadside bomb there. Now, Blair (nicknamed “Bulldog”) has passed the sport pilot knowledge test and made rapid progress in flight training. He said a flight in a Cessna 172 with his daughter was the highlight of his training so far. Read more >>
Flight for the Human Spirit gets off the ground
Sport pilot Michael Combs has learned yet another lesson that longtime pilots know well: “Time to spare, go by air.” Combs was set to launch on April 5, but high winds and then a rainstorm delayed his launch until April 8. Read more >>
FAA approves SSRIs for medical certification
Pilots taking certain types of common antidepressants may soon return to the air, thanks to a change in FAA policy announced April 2. Following a multi-year evaluation and one of the most interesting debates among civil aviation medical certification specialists, the FAA announced that it will allow special issuance medical certification for pilots who take four common medications for certain types of depressive disorders. For several years, AOPA has advocated for allowing pilots with conditions well-controlled by this type of medication to fly. Read more >>
Save on a jet rating on eBay
If you are a multiengine rated pilot, have 500 hours total time, and have a valid medical, you might want to bid on a rating in a Citation CE-500 that opens the door to eight other models. Proceeds of the winning bid will be donated to the National Intercollegiate Flying Association. The rating is offered by Texas company PrestoSIM. Read more >>
NTSB report on glass cockpits leaves unanswered questions
An NTSB study released March 9 that concluded glass cockpit aircraft were no safer than conventional instrument aircraft and recommended the FAA implement numerous training requirements falls short, according to AOPA. The study stated that of the 8,000 aircraft analyzed, glass cockpit aircraft had a higher fatal accident rate than conventional aircraft. However, that study did not take into account the type of mission the aircraft were being used for, making it difficult for such a generalization to stand. Read more >>
FAA provides help to first responders
Technologies such as airbags and ballistic recovery parachutes can help keep pilots and passengers safe in the event of an accident. But those same technologies could pose a hazard to first responders if they haven’t deployed in the crash. The FAA small airplane directorate addresses these and other considerations in a Web-based training presentation for first responders to a small aircraft or helicopter accident scene. Read more >>
Thielert AD proposed by FAA
The FAA has proposed an airworthiness directive concerning blow-by oil separators on Thielert engines. There are 250 Thielert engines installed on airplanes of United States registry. No problems have occurred, but the European Aviation Safety Agency is concerned that the outlet of the separators is so small it could cause high pressure of the gases in the crankcase. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Strong attendance at AEA 2010 Convention
Aircraft Electronics Association President Paula Derks said attendance is strong and there’s a “positive vibe” among avionics manufacturers and technicians at this year’s annual AEA convention despite a disastrous 2009. Read more >>
Lithium batteries to provide emergency power supply
The huge advancements in lithium battery technology that have improved consumer products ranging from cell phones and laptop computers to electric cars will soon arrive in aircraft. Mid-Continent Instruments recently certified an emergency power supply known as the MD835, which is designed to keep electric attitude indicators and other critical avionics working when the aircraft systems that power them fail. Read more >>
Extra to offer Avidyne Release 9 in EA-500
Avidyne has landed its first new aircraft manufacturer to offer its innovative Release 9 avionics suite as standard equipment. Extra Aircraft will offer Avidyne's R9 system in its EA-500. Avidyne also is developing a series of new products designed for the retrofit market. Read more >>
Aspen expands Evolution flight display system
Aspen Avionics will add synthetic vision and an engine monitor to its Evolution flight display system, the company announced April 8. GPS-derived synthetic vision is scheduled to appear on Aspen displays during the first quarter of 2011, and the engine monitor will be offered this year. The company also is taking aim at the last vestige of electro-mechanical instruments in glass-cockpit aircraft with its Evolution Backup Display. Read more >>
Jeppesen announces FliteDeck Pro
Jeppesen now offers the FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag application, developed through extensive operational testing and design coordination with pilots and flight operations staff in the commercial and military aviation industries. Read more >>
PS Engineering unveils audio panel with Bluetooth
PS Engineering introduced a new, FAA-certified audio panel known as the PMA8000B. It is equipped with Bluetooth, cell phone connections, and a "monitor" mode that automatically mutes the standby frequency whenever someone transmits on the primary frequency. Read more >>
Diamond’s OPV makes pilots optional
Diamond revealed that a new follow-on design of the DA42M twin, the DA42M-OPV, will have its first flight sometime in September at the Manassas, Va., airport. The DA42M-OPV is a surveillance platform equipped with video cameras, advanced radar capabilities, and proprietary electronics and software. The “OPV” stands for optionally piloted vehicle. Read more >>
Diamond surviving, big plans on horizon
Diamond President and CEO Christian Dries expanded on several ambitious programs his company is pursuing during AERO Friedrichshafen in Germany this week. The more Dries expanded on his vision of the future, the more it sounded like he was counting on unbridled success in the short term. Read more >>
Daher-Socata cautiously optimistic about sales
A strong used market, a large order backlog, and a not-so-bad 2009 give Daher-Socata reason to be cautiously optimistic about the company’s future sales performance. As of April 1, 190 TBM 850s have been delivered, and orders for 216 more have been taken. Read more >>
Cessna piston sales to strengthen in mid-2011
If wishing could end the recession’s impact on piston-engine aircraft sales, it would have gone away in mid-2009, but Cessna Aircraft officials do not expect “substantial” growth until mid-2011. In a press release, Cessna officials said they “remain optimistic, but cautious about the predicted rebound in general aviation’s piston segment.” Read more >>
AOPA Now: Behind the scenes at AERO
On a behind-the-scenes tour at AERO Friedrichshafen, AOPA President Craig Fuller got to take a look at helicopters, an electric airplane, and more as the empty exhibit hall transformed into a shopping mall of aviation. Read more >>
sun 'n fun
Unite for GA at Sun ‘n Fun
Sun ‘n Fun is celebrated as the first great fly-in of the year for pilots, and it’s also a place where the aviation community can join together for a cause: protecting general aviation. In recent years, AOPA’s Big Yellow Tent has been the focal point for pilots to join the association’s efforts to protect GA. In 2007, thousands of pilots signed AOPA’s petition against user fees. User fees are off the table right now, but, as AOPA President Craig Fuller is quick to point out, that doesn’t mean the GA community can sit back and relax. Read more >>
Kick off AOPA Day early with Fuller
Start celebrating AOPA Day a day early with AOPA President Craig Fuller’s speech on Thursday, April 15, at 6:30 p.m. in the AOPA Pavilion behind the Florida Air Museum. Find out what’s going on in the industry, what the association is doing to protect GA, and more importantly, how you can get involved. Fuller is encouraging all pilots to get engaged in helping to protect their freedom to fly. The public can enter the Sun ‘n Fun grounds for free after 5 p.m. and make their way to the pavilion. AOPA Day, Friday, April 16, will feature a $5 discount off admission for members, and AOPA will be offering a chance to win a Bose Aviation Headset X at its Big Yellow Tent.
AOPA Live to capture highlights of Sun ‘n Fun
Ever wonder what it’s like to fly with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds? Go to AOPA Live (or stop by AOPA’s Big Yellow Tent) at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, April 15, for an interview with Captain Kristin Hubbard, the first female pilot to fly position No. 8 for the Thunderbirds. On Friday, April 16, tune in at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. for a discussion of medical certification issues. And see what it’s like to be an air traffic controller at Lakeland Linder Regional during Sun ‘n Fun from Joe Pawelkop at 10:30 a.m. that day. Learn how to encourage others to learn to fly at 11 and 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 17. AOPA will be broadcasting live from the show April 15 through 17 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so be sure to check out the events online.
Lindbergh Foundation hosts auction
The Lindbergh Foundation, to support its grants program for environmental and technology research, has opened an online auction that includes a live segment during Sun ’n Fun. The grants are in amounts up to $10,580, the amount required in 1927 to build the Spirit of St. Louis. Read more >>
Sun ‘n Fun final approach
If you plan to fly in to Sun ‘n Fun, thoroughly review the arrival notam before you go. If you couldn’t make it to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation Webinar on the subject, you can look at the presentation online. Download the notam >>
The Cessna pilot’s decision to gently set his airplane down on the lakeshore to enjoy a few moments of solitude went badly wrong when the airplane sank to its axles and came to an abrupt stop. Find out how the pilot got his airplane off the beach, and back into the air. 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.
Not just for daredevils
When they think of maneuvering flight, many pilots think of challenging tasks such as formation flying or aerobatics, or even hazardous operations such as buzzing. But maneuvering flight takes place every time you go flying, and flying low to the ground warrants extra precautions. Take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation quiz “ Maneuvering flight,” underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency, to make sure you’re staying safe through this important part of flight, whether you’re canyon flying or in the pattern.
Free AOPA Webinar to tackle airspace modernization
How will technologies like Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) change your flying? Join AOPA in a discussion of general aviation and NextGen April 21 to find out. Register for one of two Webinar sessions: either 3 p.m. or 9 p.m. Eastern time. Call AOPA at 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672) with questions.
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.
Still need a plastic pilot certificate?
While the deadline for flying with a paper airman certificate was March 31, there is no deadline for applying for a plastic one. You will, however, have to wait to fly until you have the plastic certificate in your wallet—unless you request temporary authority to exercise certificate privileges. Read how >>
Developer shuts door to pilots; they open door to community
A developer may have shut pilots out of a “public” meeting about his plan to close Oceano County Airport, but he can’t keep them out of the discussion. When developer Jeff Edwards of Los Osos proposed that San Luis Obispo County sell the property so that it can be put to other uses, California pilots, AOPA, and the county board of supervisors were united in opposing the plan. In spite of overwhelming opposition, Edwards continues to make a play for the land. Read more >>
Backcountry strips: Protecting an endangered species
The challenge and beauty of backcountry flying entice pilots to remote airstrips, and AOPA and the Recreational Aviation Foundation are working to protect these strips so that they remain open to pilots for generations to come. As part of their efforts, the two organizations recently attended a U.S. Forest Service forum to discuss the agency’s proposed planning rules for forest land. Read more >>
Fun to Fly 2010 Sweepstakes: Inside an AOPA photo shoot
They might be divided into Team Orville and Team Wilbur for the Road and Runway Rally, but Ian Twombly and Alyssa Miller paired up this week to fly the Remos for a photo shoot to promote the event. Read more >>
Reporting Points: See the F-35B fighter hover
The new F-35B fighter has hovered in mid-air as part of its test program. Read more >>
Come shop the AOPA store
You are no doubt aware that AOPA has shirts and caps with the AOPA Wings on them, but you may not know that there is an entire collection of items with the AOPA logo. A wide range of products from ties and T-shirts to tire gauges—all with the AOPA Wings—is available through AOPAStore.com. These products were selected by pilots for pilots, and the proceeds from every sale benefit AOPA’s work. 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: I know that commercial pilots are allowed to charge for services like ferry flights and banner towing, but I wasn’t able to find it in Part 61 with the other regulations for commercial pilots. Is it specifically listed in the regulations?
Answer: Yes. The allowable activities are found in 14 CFR 119.1(e). They are listed as exceptions to air carrier and operators for compensation or hire (Part 121 or 135 operations for example). The exceptions include activities like student instruction, ferry flights, aerial spraying, banner towing, aerial photography, firefighting, and pipeline patrol. See a full list of approved activities and limitations.
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 in your region to 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 Denver, Colo., Boston, Mass., and Salt Lake City, Utah, April 17 and 18; Tampa, Fla., Atlanta, Ga., and Indianapolis, Ind., April 24 and 25; Sacramento, Calif., May 1 and 2; Pensacola, Fla., and Houston, Texas, May 15 and 16; Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Kansas City, Mo., and Albany, N.Y., May 22 and 23. 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 Lynchburg, Va., April 13; Chavies, Ky., April 14; Lakeland, Fla., April 15 and 16; West Lafayette, Ind., and Timonium, Md., April 21; Blacksburg, Va., April 26; Danville, Va., April 27; Morris Plains, N.J., and Richmond, Va., April 28; Hampton, Va., April 29; Morganton, N.C., May 1; Jamestown, N.C., and Poughkeepsie, N.Y., May 3; Smithfield, N.C., and Cohoes, N.Y., May 4; New Bern, N.C., and Rochester, N.Y., May 5; Newton, Mass., and Madison, Wis., May 10; Windsor Locks, Conn., and Milwaukee, Wis., May 11; Manitowoc, Wis., May 12. 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].