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While across the county students were trudging back to school Aug. 23, 17-year-old Nate Foster launched on the trip of a lifetime. He is flying a 1975 Piper Super Cub from Maryland to California. The trip was inspired by Rinker Buck’s autobiography, “Flight of Passage.” It is the story of two brothers, 15 and 17, who flew across the country in the summer of 1966 in a Piper Cub they had rebuilt themselves. The story resonated with Foster, who is the same age as Kernahan Buck (Rinker Buck’s brother) when he acted as pilot in command of that ‘60s-era journey. And, like the Bucks, he got his hands dirty rehabbing N7469L under the supervision of family friend Andrew McFall, an A&P with hundreds of hours of pipeline patrol experience flown in Super Cubs in Alaska. Read more >>
Red Bull pilot dies during airshow training
Spanish race pilot Alejandro (Alex) Maclean, one of the few elite pilots of the Red Bull Air Race, was killed while practicing near Madrid for an airshow. The Red Bull Air Race season ended Aug. 8. His aircraft struck the ground while practicing in an aerobatic box at Casarrubios del Monte Airport in central Spain. The 41-year-old pilot, father of two children ages 7 and 11, was a favorite of many Red Bull Air Race fans. Read more >>
President's position: Building for the future
AOPA has always been a forthright and forward-looking organization. And as AOPA President Craig Fuller looks to the future he is committed to increasing the value AOPA offers. Together we will strengthen the general aviation community, protect airports, grow the pilot population, and advocate for GA at all levels of government. To do all this, and do it well, AOPA needs two things: the continued involvement of members and the money to fund the association’s work. In order to ensure that AOPA can continue to provide the utmost value to members, the association will raise the annual dues to $45 beginning in September. Read more >>
Scaled Composites said in a statement Aug. 19 that the “mechanical problem” with the left gear on that date was a “minor incident.” WhiteKnightTwo was on its thirty-seventh test flight and has flown since December 2008. The aircraft, a carrier for a commercial suborbital air-launched rocket called SpaceShipTwo, was seen in an Aviation Week photo leaning heavily to its left after landing. The spaceship was not aboard. The eight-passenger commercial rocket was carried aboard WhiteKnightTwo on a previous test flight. Read more >>
Chihuahua becoming aerospace center
You’ve seen news stories from time to time about aviation manufacturers who are moving jobs to Mexico. Specifically, many of the jobs go to Chihuahua, Mexico, a booming new center for aerospace where Cessna Aircraft Co. opened a fourth building at its single plant in June. Cessna isn’t alone. Honeywell Aerospace, Labinal, Zodiac, Lockheed Martin, Hawker Beechcraft, SGI ElectroSwitch Corp., FMC Technologies, Capsonic Aerospace, and Cambrian Industries all have facilities there. The state of Chihuahua has 20 percent of Mexico’s aerospace jobs. Read more >>
Embry Riddle to seek Swift fuel approval
The Flight Research Center at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., will submit a certification plan to the FAA in October for use of Swift fuel in a Cessna 172 equipped with a Lycoming IO-360 engine. Both the engine and the aircraft must be approved. The move represents the mid-point of a program to receive a supplemental type certificate (STC) for Swift fuel. Earlier steps involved testing the Swift Enterprises fuel in a Piper Seminole. Read more >>
FAA reports on Swift Fuel endurance data
The FAA recommended Swift Enterprises proceed with further testing of its unleaded aviation gasoline this week after endurance tests produced some encouraging results and identified areas for further research. After 150 hours of testing in a six-cylinder Lycoming engine, the FAA reported that the engine experienced normal levels of engine wear and that combustion, oil, and fuel deposits were light. Read more >>
Skycatcher program moving forward
Delivery delays in the Cessna Skycatcher program appear to be ending. Seven of the two-seat light sport aircraft were in final assembly at one time. They arrive in crates from China and are reassembled and tested by technicians at Yingling Aviation in Wichita, Kan. The firm is one of the reassembly points for the Cessna 162 Skycatcher. The Skycatcher is Cessna's entry in the LSA category and is priced at $112,250. Read more >>
Robinson Helicopter founder retires
Robinson Helicopter President Frank Robinson, who founded the company in 1973, retired Aug. 10. The company’s board of directors elected Kurt Robinson, who joined the company in 1987, as the new president and chairman the same day. According to the company, the 80-year-old had planned to retire in January but wanted to remain at the helm until the Robinson R66 Turbine was complete. FAA certification of the helicopter is “imminent,” the company said. Robinson Helicopter also manufactures the R22 and R44 rotary-wing aircraft.
Drivers in the southern states may see, in the next few days, a flatbed truck carrying the wreckage of a Curtiss SB2C-4 Helldiver. It was recovered from the bottom of Lower Otay Reservoir in San Diego County, Calif., and is headed for the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla. The wings remain in a temporary facility owned by the San Diego Air and Space Museum at Gillespie Field in El Cajon, Calif., where mud will be cleaned from the wreckage prior to the Naval Aviation Museum picking it up. Read more >>
Pioneering federal air surgeon left lasting legacy
While his tenure as the FAA federal air surgeon lasted only three years in 1980s, Dr. Frank H. Austin Jr.’s legacy still benefits thousands of pilots who hold medical certificates. Austin, a visionary who saw the FAA’s medical standards as overly conservative and bureaucratic, died June 22 in Arlington, Va., at the age of 86. Read more >>
Mountain State University, ATP offer bachelor’s degree
Students attending West Virginia’s Mountain State University have another degree option to consider. The school is teaming with Airline Transport Professionals (ATP) to offer a Bachelor of Science in airline transport professional pilot operations. Students will receive flight training from ATP while completing Mountain State University’s coursework online.
Reporting Points: Your chance to land on the Edwards lakebed
Have you ever dreamed of landing on the expanse of Rosamond Dry Lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base—or even just flying over the historic site? This may be your chance. The Air Force Flight Test Center will host its first-ever GA fly-in on Oct.1. The center will give 100 civilian pilots the opportunity to fly themselves into Edwards’ airspace—and land on the lakebed—for the 2010 Flight Test Nation Lakebed Fly-in. Read more >>
Few things focus the mind better than an approaching deadline. Writers know this, and apparently, so do Marines. When Sgt. Michael “Bulldog” Blair learned that his flight instructor, AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman, had scheduled his sport pilot checkride 10 days out, he took to the books with vigor. The irrepressible Blair quickly learned to handle the AOPA 2010 Sweepstakes Fun to Fly Remos GX with confidence and aplomb. He passed his checkride with flying colors. Blair shares about being wounded in Iraq and how he learned to fly in AOPA’s Remos in this AOPA Live® video. Blair will be featured at AOPA Aviation Summit, which takes place in Long Beach, Calif., Nov. 11 through 13. For more on Blair, watch AOPA Live >>
AOPA addresses pilot questions in CA events
Pilots in southern California had the opportunity Aug. 20 and 21 to find out more about AOPA’s work on general aviation issues that matter to them—including the effects of costly flight school regulations, the transition to an unleaded avgas, and a potential airspace redesign in the Los Angeles basin. AOPA President Craig Fuller hosted a General Aviation Serves America community event with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) at Oceanside Municipal Airport and a pilot town hall meeting at Long Beach/Daugherty Field. Read more and watch the Oceanside event. Watch AOPA Live >>
When Gao Ying (Laura) moved to the United States in 2008, she didn’t know how to drive. But she quickly mastered the road and didn’t stop there. She started flight training in December 2009 and earned her private pilot certificate in April. In June, she was part of Team Wild Mama, winner of the 2010 Air Race Classic. Find out how Gao found inspiration from an encounter with training notable Martha King at AOPA Aviation Summit and became the first Chinese woman to be on an Air Race Classic winning team. Watch AOPA Live >>
Healthy eating tips with chef Wisniewski
A healthy diet can help extend your flying years. In this interview Steve Wisniewski, executive chef at a hospital group, discusses how sugary drinks can add to your waistline, how aspartame affects your heart, and how an on-site garden may help solve the issues with hospital food. Watch AOPA Live >>
NAFI exec gives tips for students, instructors
Learn about the potential that light sport aircraft bring to the flight training environment and how to pass a checkride in this AOPA Live interview with National Association of Flight Instructors Executive Director Jason Blair. If you like the tips he offers, be sure to check out his forum, “How to pass any checkride,” during AOPA Aviation Summit, Nov. 11 through 13, in Long Beach, Calif. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Be prepared for a change in ATC terminology expected to take place on Sept. 30. Instead of the familiar phrase “taxi into position and hold,” the tower controller will issue “line up and wait” instructions to indicate that you may taxi onto the runway and wait for a takeoff clearance. Just like “taxi into position and hold,” the new phrase is used when a takeoff clearance cannot immediately be issued. This change brings the United States in line with standard International Civil Aviation Organization phraseology. Find out more >>
Steer clear of the clag with ‘WeatherWise’ course
It may come as a surprise, but low ceilings and restricted visibilities are aviation’s most lethal weather phenomena. Insidious in nature, they lure unsuspecting pilots farther and farther into deteriorating conditions—until finally there’s no escape. Don’t stumble into the trap: Take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s WeatherWise: Ceiling and Visibility online course and learn to recognize and avoid the conditions that create it. Take the course >>
A safe pilot, you are a big believer in using the POH performance charts, and that is good. But do you really understand what the numbers mean? Here’s something to mull over before you tackle that obstacle at the runway end: If your performance charts tell you it will take 1,310 feet to clear the FAA’s proverbial 50-foot obstacle, how many feet above it will you be when you’ve reached the 1,310-foot distance? Go find out with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s latest safety quiz, “Aircraft Performance”, underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency.
Never Again Online: How I spent my 45th birthday
Toby Lynch’s birthday party was held at Ted’s Montana Grill. He’s been told it was a great outing. He spent the afternoon in a soybean field. Lynch went gliding to celebrate his birthday, and at about 4,000 feet agl had enough altitude to do some sightseeing. The next time he looked at his altimeter, he was at 2,100 feet agl, and it was time to find some rising air. Find out what happened next in the Never Again Online Podcast.
As the calendar rolls into September, colleges across the country commence fall classes and students turn their attention to their studies. For pilots, basic and advanced flight training and proficiency flights traverse the academic calendar, but if you are looking for career opportunities in the aviation industry, there are a variety of opportunities to add an aviation degree to your list of qualifications. AOPA’s Aviation College Database allows you to choose your field of interest and desired degree and search for colleges that offer just what you’re looking for. Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: Clueless and harmless?
Last week significantly more than a few VFR pilots blundered into the presidential TFR over Martha’s Vineyard as the first family was taking vacation. This was even after significant effort was made to lessen the inconvenience to the flying public to accommodate vacation season. One person described a pilot who recently violated a TFR as “clueless and harmless.” The first part of the comment is correct. Read more >>
Part 61 flight schools are not subject to the regulations and fees intended for “private vocational programs,” the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education decided at a meeting Aug. 26. The board considered reinterpreting current Arizona law in a way that would classify Part 61 flight schools as vocational programs, making them subject to regulatory requirements and fees similar to those in a controversial new California law. It decided that the regulations do not apply. AOPA Western Regional Representative Stacy Howard testified before the board. Read more >>
California flight school reg delay clears Senate
A bill that would delay the implementation of costly new requirements for flight schools in California passed the state Senate Aug. 24. Assembly Bill 1889 would delay the flight school regulations from the California Private Postsecondary Act of 2009 until July 1, 2011, to allow time for the legislature and aviation industry to work out a more reasonable solution. AOPA has been communicating with lawmakers about the unintended consequences of the regulations and supporting all the possible legislative vehicles for giving the state time to revisit the law. Read more >>
BMW aims to shut down Munich GA airport
German carmaker BMW is making no secret of its desire to eliminate general aviation operations at the Fürstenfeldbruck airport. Fürstenfeldbruck—better known as “Fursty”—once served as a joint US-German NATO fighter/bomber/reconnaissance base in the Cold War but is now a joint-use airport that has a GA flying club. It was also the site of the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes during the Summer Olympics. BMW, a major employer in Bavaria with considerable political clout, wants to use the airport as a test track and close the 9,000-foot-long runway. Read more >>
AOPA advocates for continued seaplane access to Ross Lake
Limiting seaplane access to the northern and southern edges of Ross Lake in northern Washington is too restrictive, AOPA wrote in formal comments to the National Park Service (NPS). The NPS is developing a management philosophy to guide decisions regarding the Ross Lake National Recreation Area for the next two decades. But one portion of the proposal lists several restrictions to seaplane access, including limiting the access to the northern and southern parts of the lake or completely banning access. Read more >>
Unmanned aircraft added to accident reporting requirements
The NTSB will require operators of unmanned aircraft to notify the board of accidents involving the craft effective Oct. 25. The new rule, published Aug. 25 in the Federal Register, requires reporting of accidents involving unmanned aircraft in which a person is killed or seriously injured, or the aircraft has a maximum gross takeoff weight of 300 pounds or greater and sustains substantial damage. AOPA supports the collection of this data so that the industry can better understand the impact of introducing unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System. Read more >>
Proposed Detroit Class B expansion unjustified
The FAA’s proposal to increase the Detroit Class B airspace ceiling to 10,000 feet msl and expand much of the airspace from 25 nautical miles to 30 nm lacks justification, AOPA wrote in formal comments Aug. 23. The agency has provided no data regarding safety or containment concerns that justify the expansion in these areas. Read more >>
Card access is last hurdle for GA at new Florida airport
The only remaining delay before Panama City, Fla., pilots can move into general aviation facilities at the new Northwest Florida-Panama City Airport is installation of the card access reader for the GA hangar areas, airport officials told AOPA Vice President of Airport Advocacy Bill Dunn during meetings Aug. 18 and 19. Airline service started at the new airport three months ago, but delays in the completion of GA facilities left GA operators languishing at Bay County without instrument approaches, weather services, fuel, or maintenance as they wait to relocate. Read more >>
Revised D.C. SFRA notam takes effect Sept. 1
Two revised notams for the Washington, D.C., Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) go into effect Sept. 1; the changes will have little impact on general aviation. One notam will clarify that all VFR aircraft within 30 nautical miles of DCA fly at or below 180 knots. The other notam provides clarification for approved aircraft operating to and from Andrews Air Force Base and Davison Army Airfield, as well as for aircraft that cannot maintain radio contact with ATC while departing the D.C. Flight Restricted Zone. Find out more in the AOPA Online article “FAA replaces DC SFRA notam.”
GA serves America, from Athens to Capitol Hill
From a battle victory in the war against user fees to the quest to keep flying affordable, AOPA President Craig Fuller and Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) discussed the implications of public policy for pilots at a General Aviation Serves America community event in Athens, Ga., Aug. 18. Fuller and Broun addressed an audience of about 75 at Ben Epps Airport, explaining the importance of having officials in Washington, D.C., who understand and support GA, and discussing issues that face pilots today. Read more >>
A.E. Purcifull, an insurance agent in Frankfort, Ind., says the best part of joining AOPA’s Medical Services Program is, “It took the anxiety out of going in for the medical. I knew going in that I had a good chance of passing it.” Purcifull never lost his medical, but he grounded himself. However, like other pilots facing medical issues, his medical was up for renewal and he was concerned that he could not pass the medical exam. Read more >>
Get to the fun faster with discounts at Alamo
As a member of AOPA, receive up to 40 percent off your next rental at Alamo, now through Sept. 20. And, try the self-serve check-in, where you can skip the Alamo counter, check in at the kiosk, and drive away. All you need is a valid driver’s license and major credit card. Plus, Alamo is offering weekend rentals from $20 a day for AOPA members, now through Sept. 20. Read more >>
$100 hamburger made easy in AOPA Airports
Finding an on-airport restaurant nearby just got easier. AOPA Airports this week added a “restaurant on field” filter to its advanced search, making it simple to plan a one-tank lunch outing from wherever you are. Start searching >>
FAA re-registration process needs your full attention
For the first time in its history, the FAA is requiring that all aircraft be re-registered. The new registration rules are intended to remedy the inaccuracies of the current voluntary compliance-based system by requiring current information from all aircraft owners and then verifying this information every three years when registration is renewed. To ensure that your aircraft does not slip through the cracks, check the FAA website now and make sure the agency has accurate information regarding your aircraft. If you need assistance with the new re-registration process, please contact AIC Title Service to complete it for you. Read more >>
AOPA Airports offers info on the go
Download AOPA Airports, powered by ForeFlight, to your Apple iPhone or iPod touch to have more than 5,300 public-use landing facilities, 7,000 FBOs and aviation-related businesses, and more than 55,000 restaurants, hotels, and transportation services at your fingertips. Built with the iPhone in mind, the app is free to AOPA members as part of the association’s suite of mobile applications. Visit the Apple App Store to download this exclusive member benefit today.
Fun to Fly 2010 Sweepstakes: What’s next for Fun to Fly?
AOPA’s time with the 2010 Fun to Fly Remos GX is winding down. AOPA Aviation Summit in Long Beach, Calif., will be here before we know it. The little girl has been on a bit of a break since returning from AirVenture in Oshkosh. But she has a few more appearances before Summit, and if you’re in the area AOPA invites you to stop by and see her. Read more >>
AOPA Aviation Summit
Hijacking survivor to discuss ‘cockpit courage’
FedEx Capt. Jim Tucker was flying in the right seat of a DC-10 on a cloudless spring day in 1994, when the trajectory of his life was suddenly and violently altered. A suicidal coworker assaulted Tucker and two other crewmembers shortly after departure from Memphis International Airport, attempting to commandeer and crash the jet. Find out from Tucker how the crew fought back and eventually landed, though seriously injured, and how he later returned to the skies as pilot in command of a Luscombe, at AOPA Aviation Summit. Read more >>
Want a real inside view of AOPA Aviation Summit 2010 in Long Beach, Calif.? AOPA Live is looking for several experienced TV reporters to help with coverage of the exhibits, Airportfest, and other events. If you have live, on-camera reporting experience, contact Warren Morningstar, executive producer of AOPA Live, for more information.