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Flying the Rockies, the top of the world, can be one of the most sublime experiences in general aviation … when it is done correctly. Done incorrectly, it can be deadly. Folks from the flatlands who have never flown the Rockies often think about mountains as things that are under them. Not so. In a light airplane in the Rockies, you will be a gnat flying by the face of God, in an airplane near its ceiling, subject to winds and downdrafts that can be vicious if you let them surprise you. Novelist Stephen Coonts writes about crossing the Continental Divide and advises flatlanders on surviving the Rockies. On a summer day in Leadville, Colo., density altitude routinely exceeds 12,000 feet. Can your single- or twin-engine airplane take off at max gross weight at 12,000 feet? 10,000 feet? Do you know? Read more >>
COPA asks Cirrus owners to take training
Recent accidents involving Cirrus Aircraft have led the company and the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association to ask all owners to take recurrent training. A special curriculum was created for the training flight, which should take less than two hours. “The recent spate of accidents have not been shown to have a consistent cause, but made us feel that energy management during approach and landing contributed to problems,” said COPA official Rick Beach. Read more >>
Hawker Beechcraft reduces property holdings
Two indicators of tough times in the aerospace industry recently come from Hawker Beechcraft in Wichita, Kan. Property held by the firm since World War II was sold, and union talks on job locations started anew. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers reopened negotiations this week on job locations. The company plans to move work to an as-yet undetermined location in the South, but the union would like to keep as many jobs as possible in Wichita. Read more >>
Quest Aircraft, maker of a single-engine utility turboprop aircraft, has slowed production to match the uncertainty both in the economy and in the banking industry. The firm once had nearly 340 employees, but after layoffs, that number has dropped to 155. The company found that a handful of its customers had hoped to get a bank loan and repay it with funds now in stocks once the market recovers. However, bankers now have tougher rules and are facing uncertainty over how those rules will change, through either regulation or congressional mandate. Read more >>
Pilots of Haiti relief flights honored
The National Aeronautic Association and Air Care Alliance will honor volunteer pilots who helped with the Haiti relief effort in the wake of the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake with the 2010 National Public Benefit Flying Awards on Sept. 16 during the “Above and Beyond” ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. “All volunteer pilots and other volunteers conducting flight in support of the Haitian relief efforts” will receive the Teamwork Award, according to the two organizations. Read more >>
'Fifi' on the sick list, won't make concert
The Boeing B–29 bomber Fifi successfully got back in the air Aug. 5 and was ready for a glamorous concert tour in Denver this month with Aaron Tippin, but won’t be able to make it. Fifi is calling in sick. Read more >>
L-3 Trilogy standby instrument with backup power gets TSO
L-3 Avionics Systems has received FAA certification for its all-in-one standby attitude instrument with a backup power source. The Trilogy ESI-2000 shows aircraft attitude, altitude, and airspeed (and optional heading) on a 3.7-inch glass display, and it can operate up to four hours on its own power after an aircraft electrical failure. Read more >>
ARGUS: Fractionals up, Part 91 down in July
Cincinnati-based Aviation Research Group/U.S. (ARGUS) reports that July 2010 business flying was up slightly from June 2010 levels. In all, flying increased by 0.6 percent over the previous month. Fractional turboprop activity was the busiest sector, with a 15.2-percent increase over June 2010 flying; small-cabin fractional flying was up 12.6 percent. As for FAR Part 91 operations, the picture is more subdued. Read more >>
Flight continues west after AirVenture appearance
Michael Combs and the Flight for the Human Spirit continue to make their way west this week, completing stops in New Mexico, Nevada, and Arizona. Since launching in April, Combs has flown a Remos GX light sport aircraft named Hope One to 43 states, making 117 stops and traveling more than 16,600 miles. Flying over spectacular vistas near Las Vegas, Combs took photos and shared them with his Facebook fans. Read more >>
Aviat’s Husky can now fly with a three-blade MT propeller, according to Flight Resource, a Wisconsin firm that obtained a supplemental type certificate for the new prop it claims is lighter, smoother, quieter, and offers more ground clearance than the metal two-blade props. “As a Husky owner and seaplane pilot myself, I’m always looking for ways to get the most performance out of my planes,” said Larry Schlasinger, a founding partner at Flight Resource. “This upgrade hit all the marks, and it looks good on this airplane.” Read more >>
Cessna lays off 75 Mustang workers
Cessna Aircraft managers will lay off 75 workers on the Mustang entry-level jet at Independence, Kan., due to softness in Mustang orders. An air taxi company in Europe canceled a large order. Notices were given to employees on Aug. 18. Cessna has reduced its 2010 Mustang order outlook to about 70 aircraft and made layoffs to adjust to the lower production plan. Read more >>
Pilots who join the newly formed Catalina Aero Club will be able to land on the California island as often as they like for a year without paying the $20 landing fee. The membership is $150 per year. “I am thrilled to see the pilots who make Catalina one of their most popular destinations want to redefine their commitment to the protection and recreation of the Island through their membership in the new Catalina Aero Club,” said Conservancy President Ann Muscat. Read more >>
US Aviation takes over training contractMore than 60 flight students from China have been given a reprieve, thanks to Denton, Texas-based US Aviation. The students previously had been left without a school after Wright Flyers Aviation in Hondo, Texas, closed. As part of the deal, US Flight Academy, a subsidiary of US Aviation, will purchase the assets of Wright Flyers Aviation, and use the former school’s facilities in Hondo. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Will no-lead avgas cost $10 a gallon?
A lead-free, ethanol-free alternative to 100LL will be available in five to eight years, but it will cost $10 a gallon, a diesel engine consultant concluded in a recent survey. Manufacturers will begin equipping piston-engine aircraft with diesel engines, the prediction goes, and many aircraft owners will switch to mogas. Is that the truth, or a dream found in a PowerPoint presentation on the floor of a diesel engine company board room? Read more >>
Hover Power: Collective control
The T-bar cyclic control in the Robinson series helicopters is a departure from the typical flight-control design; however, its collective control conforms to industry standards. Read more>>
Whether over city skylines, mountains, or plains, pilots have the privilege of an unequaled view of America’s landmarks and landscapes. National Aviation Day Aug. 19 paid tribute to Americans’ freedom to enjoy stunning views, create memorable experiences, and support their business in the nation’s airspace. As a reminder of some of the reasons why we fly, AOPA has compiled a presentation of the beautiful scenery across America as seen from a pilot’s eye. Watch AOPA Live® >>
Fly well: An ounce of prevention
Many medical problems that keep pilots from returning to the air may have been preventable, says AOPA medical consultant Dr. Jonathan Sackier. In this AOPA Live interview, Sackier discusses steps pilots can take to stay healthy and flying. Find out why supplemental oxygen isn’t just for very high altitudes, how being a pilot affects your chances of skin cancer, and more. Watch AOPA Live >>
Piper Executive Vice President Randy Groom talks about how the PiperSport “gets back to the foundation of flying that’s really so important to all of us,” and gives a status update on the PiperJet in this AOPA Live interview with AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Tom Haines. Groom reveals that the proof of concept jet has racked up 400 hours and hints at some coming refinements to the aircraft that will be announced at the National Business Aviation Association annual conference this fall. Watch AOPA Live >>
Ready to camp?
Looking for an airport with a campground—and shower facilities? Want to know what kind of gear to pack in your aircraft for the getaway? The American Air Campers Association (AACA) offers information on 600 airports with camping in every state except Rhode Island and Hawaii. AACA President Don Abbott told AOPA Live, “Everything you need to camp, we put together for you.” Watch AOPA Live >>
Mooney Ambassadors ‘share the passion’
Anyone can become an ambassador for general aviation, say Mooney Ambassadors co-founders Jolie Lucas and Mitch Latting. At fly-ins, many Mooney Ambassadors open their aircraft to curious members of the public. “Folks look like we did when we learned how to fly and got the bug, just that spark in their eye and that idea that, ‘I might be able to do this.’ So we’re making general aviation accessible to the public,” says Lucas in this interview. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
It’s tempting to think of VFR-into-IMC flight as the province of low-time pilots, but evidence says otherwise. Over the past 10 years, one third of all VFR-into-IMC accidents involved commercial or airline transport pilots. Eighty percent of these accidents were fatal. One spectacular example took place on Feb. 8, 2008, near Grand Meadows, Minn. A 21,000-hour airline captain was killed trying to fly a 1948 Cessna 140 from New Richmond, Wis., to a planned fuel stop in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Read more in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
AOPA offers graphical TFR map, ends weekend e-mail alerts
Temporary flight restrictions loom large in every pilot’s mind—during pre-flight planning, weather briefings, and even en route. That’s why AOPA provides TFR information to members through its website. The association has examined its e-mail TFR alert process and has worked to make it more efficient. AOPA will no longer send e-mail alerts of TFRs initiated on weekends and will not maintain a separate listing of textual notams. Members will continue to receive e-mail TFR alerts during the work week, and can find more up-to-date information at a glance on AOPA’s automated graphical map. Read more >>
Whether you want to make your business flying more efficient or leave the runway behind and land on water, an additional rating or endorsement may be the key to a new kind of flying. “The FAA requires training and testing, or an endorsement by an authorized instructor, to add a category, class, or operating privilege to your credentials,” said Woody Cahall, vice president of AOPA’s Pilot Information Center. “If you’ve had your eye on a taildragger or a high-performance airplane, make sure you have the proper endorsement to take the controls as pilot in command.” Find out what you need >>
Feed weekly safety web poll with your opinion
This week's topic is about "buzzing." What's your take on daredevil low-level maneuvering flight? The AOPA Air Safety Foundation wants to know! Share your thoughts and view results >>
You’re cleared direct to ‘GPS for IFR Operations’
These days, GPS is so ubiquitous that many pilots wonder how they ever got along without it—especially under IFR. Still, using it effectively “in the system” is hardly a no-brainer. Whether you’re new to the game or just looking for a refresher, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s free GPS for IFR Operations course is a great way to get up to speed on certification requirements, flight planning, approach procedures, and lots of other need-to-know facts. Check it out >>
Air Safety eJournal: Heresy on 406 ELTs
The news cycle continues regarding the crash involving former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens and several others. There have been numerous newspaper remembrances of the other big Alaska crash in 1972 that resulted in the loss of Reps. Hale Boggs and Nick Begich. That aircraft was never found, and Congress mandated that all aircraft henceforth should be equipped with emergency locator transmitters (ELTs). Ironically, in this accident the ELT failed to activate! Read more >>
Fuller talks engine technology, avgas outlook with TCM head
With the prospect of a transition to an unleaded avgas on the horizon, many prospective aircraft buyers are taking a renewed interest in what’s under the cowling. AOPA President Craig Fuller met with officials at Teledyne Continental Motors in Mobile, Ala., Aug. 18 to get a firsthand look at the engines and discuss how the manufacturer is planning for an unleaded future. TCM President Rhett Ross, a private pilot and AOPA member, shared with Fuller how his company is adapting to a changing marketplace. Read more >>
Two sonic booms startled Seattle-area residents Aug. 17 when F-15 fighter jets rushed to intercept an airplane that had violated the presidential TFR—a dramatic reminder of the importance of checking notams. Calls to 911 related to the sonic booms overloaded the system, shutting it down temporarily, according to local news reports. “When one pilot makes the news for violating a TFR, it can set back progress we’ve made on improving access for the hundreds of thousands who haven’t,” said AOPA Vice President of Operations and International Affairs Craig Spence. Read more >>
The FAA took a giant step in its initiative to modernize the air traffic control system in late May when it issued a final rule requiring many aircraft to equip with ADS-B Out capability by 2020. Most FAA rulemaking is safety-related, but the agency acknowledges that the ADS-B Out rule will not significantly affect safety. What does the final rule mean to you? AOPA is unhappy with the imposition of a mandate without incentives, but the best news is you don’t have to do anything right now. Watch this animated illustration to learn more >>
Cessna alerts 402C pilots of hydraulic landing gear concern
After the nose gear on a Cessna 402C failed to fully retract after takeoff, Cessna officials released a special airworthiness information bulletin with temporary revisions to the model’s pilot’s operating handbook. The pilot of the incident aircraft declared an emergency and returned for landing after fumes and the appearance of smoke entered the cabin. The cause was a build-up of hydraulic pressure that melted through the reservoir sight tube and spilled into the nose baggage compartment. Read more >>
Amnesty for unreported SSRI use ends Sept. 30
The period of amnesty for pilots who failed to disclose their antidepressant use on past airmen medical applications is nearing its end. Effective April 5, 2010, the FAA began considering individuals for special issuance medical certification who are being treated for depression with one of four SSRI medications. The agency gave pilots who had not reported information about their condition on previous medical applications until Sept. 30 to come forward without fear of prosecution. Read more >>
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.
AOPA Weather version 2.0 launched on Aug. 12. Thanks to constructive feedback from members, several enhancements to the application have been made since its launch. Additionally, a Weather 2.0 tutorial video was released this week to assist members in the transition from the last version. Weather 2.0 was designed with emphasis on individual pilot personalization because feedback from earlier versions of the AOPA Internet Flight Planner made it clear that not all pilots prefer the same things. Read more >>
Satisfy your information needs at AOPA Airports
What are the flight schools at PDK? Is there a GPS approach at Cleburne Municipal? If I fly into AKH, will I be able to get a cab into town? Many pilots have come to rely on the information AOPA Airports provides for their flight planning. Recently redesigned, AOPA Airports is a tremendous member benefit, and access will continue for free online to AOPA members. However, some pilots still prefer a hard copy of the directory in the cockpit or to browse through at home. For those members, AOPA will print a limited number of AOPA Airports in book format. Orders are being taken now for AOPA Airports, the book, and may be made online. Read more >>
It’s been said that “a good pilot is always learning,” and this year at AOPA Aviation Summit held in Long Beach, Calif., you can choose from more educational forums than ever before. With topics ranging from “Fast Track to Your Pilot Certificate” and “Mastering Takeoffs and Landings” to “Engine Failure after Takeoff” and “Buying Your First Airplane,” the forums offer something for every skill level. So whether you’ve just passed your checkride or you’re looking for an exciting new place to fly, stop by one of the many forums held multiple times each day and listen to top aviation experts, ask that burning question you’ve always wanted to know, and take a step toward becoming a safer, more proficient pilot.
Glimpse the future at AOPA Aviation Summit
What will general aviation look like in 2020? Professional futurist, pilot, and former naval aviator John L. Petersen will take attendees on a tour of the horizon of GA in a keynote address at AOPA Aviation Summit in Long Beach, Calif., Nov. 13. Petersen, founder and president of the nonprofit, future-oriented The Arlington Institute, will talk about trends that are converging to redefine what we fly, how we fly, and where we fly. Find out how you can get a leg up on dealing with big changes ahead. Read more >>
Summit volunteers needed!
Experience this year’s AOPA Aviation Summit as part of the team that makes it happen! AOPA needs the help of volunteers from Nov. 10 through 13 to park the more than 1,000 aircraft that will be flying into Long Beach/Daugherty Field, direct the flow of traffic and people, and provide general guidance at Airportfest. If you work five hours or more, you’ll receive an AOPA Aviation Summit Forums & Exhibits pass (a $55 value)! Read more >>