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How do you celebrate the seventy-fifth birthday of an airplane as iconic as the Douglas DC-3? About 30 DC-3s—including many C-47 military transport versions, a C-41 military VIP transport, and a rare DC-2—gathered in Illinois this summer for a reunion dubbed “The Last Time.” One C-47, which had flown in the D-Day invasion of Europe during World War II, flew in from Texas—carrying one of the pilots who flew it during the war, and the family of another pilot. Owner Scott Glover planned a business interior for the refurbished aircraft until he learned the airplane’s rich combat history. Hear Glover’s story, watch the aircraft depart for a formation flight to Oshkosh, Wis., and learn about the rich history of the airplanes that arrived for the celebration. Read more >>
Hurricanes are notoriously difficult to predict, but this year Weather Services International (WSI) made it look easy. As the 2010 hurricane season officially ended on Nov. 30, WSI announced a near-perfect tropical forecast record. Earlier this year, in May, WSI predicted there would be a total of 18 named tropical storms, 10 hurricanes, and five major hurricanes. As it turned out, there were 19 named tropical storms, 10 hurricanes, and five major hurricanes. Read more >>
New company to build diesel engine
This may be the first time you have heard of Engineered Propulsion Systems, formed in 2006 in New Richmond, Wis., but it won’t be the last. The firm has raised funding to begin development of a diesel aircraft engine for general aviation aircraft and helicopters. A patent filed by the company shows an engine with a “hybrid” crankcase, meaning that it is made of varying materials. It has a ferrite load-bearing skeleton, and a non-ferrite exoskeleton. Read more >>
Roadable airplane developer Terrafugia has joined a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program to develop a military vehicle that combines Humvee ground capabilities with the advantages of a helicopter. The Transformer program aims to provide the military with operational flexibility by developing a four-person ground vehicle that can transform into an air vehicle with vertical takeoff and landing capability. DARPA awarded contracts to AAI Corp. and Lockheed Martin Co. for the vehicle, intended to travel 250 nautical miles by land or air, or any combination, while carrying up to 1,000 pounds. Read more >>
Gerd Berchtold is the new CEO of Diamond Aircraft, responsible for design, production, and customer support. He will report directly to Diamond owner Christian Dries. Marketing, distribution, and aircraft finance will continue to report directly to Dries. The company is focusing on emerging and high-growth markets, including Russia and China. With the traditional retail markets having shrunk over the last several years, the company is shifting more attention to aircraft that have commercial applications, such as the flight training and aerial sensor markets. Read more >>
Avidyne describes new DFC100 autopilot
Avidyne’s new DFC100 autopilot is expected to be certified by the end of 2010 for Cirrus aircraft that have the Entegra Release 9 glass cockpit system. The company recently detailed new features of the $14,990 DFC100. The DFC100 provides full-time flight envelope alerting, coupled VNAV during descents and missed approaches, fail-safe dual attitude heading reference system (AHRS) inputs, flap position input, enhanced mode selection logic, support for the optional Cirrus Roll Servo, and integrated FMS Vectors capability. It also includes the straight-and-level button found on the DFC90 autopilot. Read more >>
The FAA has certified the Robinson Helicopter R66, a five-place turbine helicopter. In addition to the type certificate, the FAA amended the company’s production certificate, allowing deliveries of the R66 to begin. Design of the helicopter began in 2001; however engineering did not ramp up until 2005 when Rolls-Royce began development of the RR300 turbine engine, a derivative of the Rolls-Royce 250 series. Company officials said the slow pace of the program allowed them to refine and optimize the design. Read more >>
NATA’s Coyne reflects on challenging year
In wrapping up the seventieth anniversary year of the National Air Transportation Association, President Jim Coyne on Nov. 30 looked back at some of the highlights of 2010 and at some challenges of the year to come. At a meeting with Washington, D.C., area news media, Coyne described the weeks after the Big Three automakers separately flew business jets to Washington, D.C., to plead for funding in late 2008 as the darkest days in his more than 30 years in aviation. Read more >>
Quest Aircraft’s Kodiak single-engine turboprop cargo aircraft, designed to help missionaries haul heavy loads to unimproved bush country airstrips, has FAA approval for the TKS ice protection system. CAV Aerospace makes the system. The TKS system is now on three Kodiak aircraft and allows for flight into known icing. “Since receiving our type certification in 2007, we have continued to work on enhancements and improvements to the Kodiak,” said Paul Schaller, Quest Aircraft’s president and CEO. Read more >>
Air Transport Association taps new chief
The Air Transport Association (ATA) named Nick Calio as its new president and CEO Nov. 29. Calio replaces Jim May, who led the airline trade association for eight years. “On behalf of AOPA, I welcome Nick Calio to the aviation community,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “I have known Nick for many years and am certain his high integrity and experience combined with his ability will ensure that he makes many important contributions to the policy questions before us.” Read more >>
‘Fly it forward’ challenge promotes women pilot centennial
Men and women across the world are celebrating the Centennial of Licensed Women Pilots this year by giving introductory flights to girls and women. As the year draws to a close, Delta Air Lines A330 pilot Karlene Petitt is putting up $100 for a drawing to motivate pilots to take a woman flying before the end of the year. Participants must take a nonpilot girl or woman flying and write up a flight report with photographs of their logbook and passenger. Read more >>
Early expiration set for Atlanta TAC, sectional
Pilots are advised to discontinue using edition 82 of the Atlanta Terminal Area Chart and edition 85 of the Atlanta Sectional Chart on Jan. 13, 2011, despite a published March 2011 expiration date for both charts. New charts—edition 83 of the Atlanta Terminal Area Chart and edition 86 of the Atlanta sectional—will become effective Jan. 13, 2011, and will expire Aug. 25, 2011. Read more >>
The Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) recently announced its search for an executive director. “This is our next logical step,” RAF President John McKenna said in a news release. “The organization is growing rapidly and needs a dedicated individual who can respond to and manage the various opportunities that are coming our way.” Read more >>
AOPA’s Haines to receive Bahamas travel writer honors
AOPA Senior Vice President and Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines has been named Bahamas Travel Writer of the Year by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation. Haines’ award is in a category of the fourteenth Cacique Awards, hosted by the tourism ministry “to recognize the outstanding support of our partners in the travel industry.” Haines was praised for AOPA’s coverage of the Bahamas’ attractiveness as a destination for general aviation pilots, as well as for helping pilots discover the ease of planning and making flights to the 700-island chain. The awards ceremony will be held in January in the Bahamas.
Airport fences no barrier to social media
The entrance to the aviation community isn’t always a hangar door. More than ever, pilots, student pilots, and potential pilots are connecting through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. “As the airport fences get higher, and it gets tougher for people interested in aviation to find mentors in traditional ways, social media channels have opened up new ways for people on the outside to connect to people inside the aviation community,” said Rod Rakic, co-founder of aviation social network site myTransponder, who hosted a panel discussion at the meetup area at AOPA Aviation Summit. Watch AOPA Live >>
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Safety & Proficiency
Flying next to power lines is one of the trickiest types of aerial work, but essential. Safety inspections require operating close enough to the wires to have a good view while still moving fast enough to cover long runs efficiently. The work requires attentiveness and rigorous training. On Jan. 22, 2009, a Hughes OH-6A helicopter crashed into an open field after striking the ground wires of a high-tension transmission line near Monroe, N.C., during a practice inspection. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
Unless your particular airplane model and system has been certificated for flight in icing conditions, the answer is “No.” Read more about ice protection systems in the Air Safety Institute’s Aircraft Deicing and Anti-icing Equipment Safety Advisor and find out what the difference is between FAA-certificated systems for flight in icing conditions and so-called “non-hazard” systems. Do you know if your airplane is approved for flight in icing conditions? Download the advisor >>
Know the regs on giving, sharing love of flight
During the holidays, many pilots realize they would like to share their love of aviation with others throughout the year. Charitable flying offers that opportunity. Members call AOPA's Pilot Information Center asking how they can sponsor or participate in a charitable flying event such as providing sightseeing flights at local airports to raise funds for civic groups, churches, or youth groups. The FAA revised the rules for these kinds of events in 2007 by creating a new section of regulations, FAR 91.146. Learn what they are in a Webinar Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. Eastern time. Sign up online >>
The ultimate cause of many (if not most) aircraft accidents is poor judgment. That’s why the Air Safety Institute developed Do the Right Thing: Decision Making for Pilots, an innovative online course to help you make better choices in the cockpit. Starting from the premise that good decision making boils down to a few simple steps, the course offers a wealth of practical advice, as well as video scenarios that let you “choose your own adventure,” making choices for fictional pilots and seeing where they lead. Take the course >>
Air Safety eJournal: Kid car seats aboard aircraft?
Next week the NTSB will hold hearings on a pending recommendation that car seats be required on board aircraft. Since the interior of general aviation aircraft are similar, but not identical, to cars, car seats are helpful for securing children too small to sit comfortably and safely under a seat belt. With car seats in four passenger aircraft, you won’t be able to wedge another munchkin in and will have to upgrade to a larger flying machine. Read more >>
A Minnesota airport manager whose job faces elimination in a budget-cutting effort is finding that the aviation community he serves is willing to dig deep to keep him working. Glenn Burke, the manager of South St. Paul Airport, has held the job since 1994. During a recent budget session, the South St. Paul City Council included his position among several municipal jobs to be cut or scaled back. Local pilots were shocked at the news. They offered to raise $42,000 to fund Burke’s salary for 2011. Read more >>
Barrow to replace Boyd on GA Caucus
Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) will join Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) as co-chair of the House General Aviation Caucus in 2011. Reps. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) and Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) formed the caucus in April 2009 to educate elected officials on Capitol Hill of the value of GA to the economy and national transportation system; they served as co-chairs as the caucus grew to 121 members but will not return to Congress in January. Ehlers announced that Graves would take over as the Republican co-chair during an interview with AOPA President Craig Fuller on AOPA Live. Barrow succeeds Boyd as the Democratic co-chair. Read more >>
Don’t block GA at new Utah airport
With opening day for a new Utah airport—and the closing of the one it will replace—only weeks away, AOPA is calling for a “meeting of the minds” to quickly iron out differences between city officials and general aviation pilots over the impact of the changeover. To date a continuing dialog between pilots and officials in St. George, Utah, has done little to relieve concerns of airport tenants about possible dislocation when St. George Municipal Airport closes. The terms of hangar leases and unique construction challenges at the new airport are also in dispute. Read more >>
The Wichita Aero Club’s “On-Air Summit” Nov. 30 brought together senior executives from the major general aviation associations to tackle the pressing issues of the day: growing the pilot population, the changing political landscape, the challenge of transitioning to an unleaded avgas, and more. AOPA Vice President of Communications Andrew Broom represented AOPA on a panel that included heads of the National Business Aviation Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, and National Association of State Aviation Organizations. Read more >>
FAA grants extension to study IA certification change
The FAA has granted AOPA’s request for an extension of the comment period on a proposed revision of the policy the FAA uses to qualify aviation mechanics for inspection authority (IA). The new deadline for comments will be Jan. 17, 2011. Read more >>
The cool, crisp December air means one thing—it’s time to think about some serious downhill action. Book your ski vacation now and save up to 40 percent at the best ski resorts. Cruise the slopes at Breckenridge, experience the powder at Crested Butte, or hit the après-ski scene at Aspen. Explore special, early-season ski deals across the Rockies and beyond. Book by Dec. 5 and save! Plus, a portion of all the revenue generated is returned to AOPA, which allows the association to continue its efforts to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation. Book your vacation >>
Hertz offers savings of up to $40 off weekly, weekend rental
Save $10 per day, up to $40 on your weekly or weekend rental at the airport when you include PC#151034 in your reservation of an economy or higher class car at Hertz. This offer is valid for pickup Nov. 1 through Jan. 31, 2011. Plus, a portion of all revenue generated will be returned to AOPA and reinvested to support the association’s daily efforts to protect general aviation. Reserve your car today!
Doug Wiles had a lifelong dream of learning to fly, but he couldn’t get to it until later in life. “You might say I am a late bloomer when it comes to aviation,” he said. He found a flight instructor in St. Augustine, Fla. There was one setback, however. Diagnosed with sleep apnea more than 10 years ago, Wiles had no idea that the condition would cause a problem for his medical. His AME believed the sleep apnea might hold up the medical for a few weeks, but shouldn’t be a problem. “After two months, nothing had happened,” Wiles said. Read more >>