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Crossover Classic makes public debut
Until this year’s AOPA Aviation Summit, the association’s 2011 sweepstakes airplane—a 1974 Cessna 182 it’s calling the Crossover Classic—had been tucked away at Air Plains, a renowned engine conversion shop at the Wellington, Kan., airport. There, it received the first of its many upgrades, namely a 300-hp Continental IO-550 engine, Hartzell three-blade propeller, and Flint Aero wingtip fuel tanks. It was up to sweepstakes project manager Tom Horne to fly the Crossover Classic from Wellington to Long Beach, Calif. Once at the big show, the re-engined Skylane got its chance to strut its stuff in front of AOPA members who may actually win this completely refurbished airplane—at next year’s Summit in Hartford, Conn. Granted, the restoration project is still in its infancy, but did AOPA Live® reporter Natasha Stenbock really have to call the airplane “ugly”? Please Natasha, suspend your judgment until six months from now! Watch AOPA Live >>
An agreement has been reached by parent company Teledyne Technologies on a proposed sale of Continental Motors and Mattituck Services to AVIC International Holding Corp. of China. AVIC had $6 billion in sales in 2009 and has substantial business operations in aviation. The company is to be sold, under the proposal, for $186 million in cash. The 80-year-old company would retain its service centers in Fairhope, Ala., and Mattituck, N.Y. The sale is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011. Read more >>
Will newest evidence finally find Amelia?
Researchers who have made multiple trips to a remote Pacific island in search of the final landing spot of Amelia Earhart’s 1937 attempt to circumnavigate the globe may finally get some answers—in a university DNA laboratory. Searchers from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery found a bone fragment—possibly from a human finger—on the remote atoll of Nikumaroro. The island in the western Pacific now belongs to the Republic of Kiribati. In Earhart’s day it was a British Crown colony and known as Gardner Island. Read more >>
Embry-Riddle hypoxia training open to pilots
Until recently, if a pilot wanted to learn how he or she reacted to the effects of hypoxia, it meant signing up for a shot at the military’s few hypobaric altitude chambers scattered throughout the country. Now Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., has its own normobaric “altitude chamber” that’s open to the public. ERAU’s normobaric High Altitude Lab doesn’t reduce air pressure like a hypobaric version does. Instead, it simply removes oxygen from the air to simulate the lack of oxygen at altitude. Read more >>
Extra Aircraft has appointed Extra Aviation Australasia as the distributor of the Extra 500 Spirit for the Asia Pacific Rim. Based at Brisbane’s Archerfield Airport in Queensland, Extra Aviation Australasia will introduce this first-to-be-certified carbon fiber turboprop to the Australian market and support the aircraft with a service center in each major capital city of Australia. The Extra 500 Spirit powered by a Rolls-Royce turboprop is a six-seat pressurized aircraft designed for business travel. Read more >>
Hawker 400 upgrade development starts
Hawker Beechcraft Services has acquired the first test aircraft and initiated design engineering on its $2.24 million high-performance upgrade for Hawker 400XP and Beechjet 400A aircraft. “Based on strong customer interest, we are speeding up the pace of the 400XPR development,” said Christi Tannahill, HBC vice president for customer support. “Our design and engineering team is already modeling and evaluating winglet shapes and other aerodynamic improvements, along with preliminary powerplant considerations. The market is ready for a factory designed and supported performance enhancement of this proven light jet.” Read more >>
Pratt & Whitney makes $1 billion R&D investment
Pratt & Whitney Canada will invest more than $1 billion in research and development over five years to develop the next generation of high-performance aircraft engines. Much of the work will focus on reduced fuel consumption, lower emissions, and less noise for all engines in the company’s product line. Read more >>
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) brought its Dragon capsule down safely from low-Earth orbit Dec. 8, making it the first commercial company to re-enter a spacecraft from orbit. The company launched the unmanned Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 10:43 a.m. The unmanned capsule orbited the Earth at speeds greater than 17,000 miles per hour, re-entered the atmosphere, and parachuted back to earth, SpaceX announced. Read more >>
Evektor delays turboprop
Evektor, the Czech Republic company, has put its newest project—a twin-engine turboprop—on hold, citing administrative difficulties. The EV-55 Outback will be certified in Europe and the United States. Petr Grebeníček, the company’s marketing manager, responded to a question from AOPA Pilot in an e-mail. “Unfortunately, I must inform you that the first flight of the new twin-engine aircraft EV-55 Outback is postponed. According to the original plans, the first flight should have been performed (at) the end of the third quarter of 2010.” Read more >>
AOPA Internet Flight planner available, upgrade coming soon
AOPA has been advised by its flight planning partner, Jeppesen, that the online flight planning methods employed by the AOPA Internet Flight Planner, which is powered by Jeppesen, do not infringe on the patent recently awarded to FlightPrep. FlightPrep has notified entities that provide online flight planning, including AOPA and Jeppesen, that it would like to meet to discuss the FlightPrep patent. The FlightPrep patent is apparently on very specific methods of online flight planning, which Jeppesen has determined are not used in its flight planning products. Read more >>
It started with an open house and a lot of high hopes. Three years later, a blossoming success story is attracting widespread media attention and bringing new growth to thriving Sugar Land Regional Airport, located 17 miles southwest of Houston, Texas. It was the summer of 2007 when Sugar Land Airport’s open house gave thousands of Houston-area residents a chance to inspect the first stages of the Houston Hobby reliever’s redevelopment. Read more >>
Van’s reaches 1,000 RV-7s
Van’s Aircraft reached another milestone this month with the 1,000th customer-completed RV-7. Van’s Aircraft has sold more airplane kits than any other firm, and more than 7,000 of the Oregon company’s numerous designs have been completed and flown. The RV-7, a two-person aircraft with side-by-side seating, was introduced in 2000. At least 3,000 more RV-7s are under construction. RVs range from single-seat RV-3s to four-seat RV-10s—and they’re all low-wing, metal, fixed-gear airplanes.
Commander facility may close
The new owner of the Commander Premier Aircraft company located in Cape Girardeau, Mo., has not yet purchased the factory’s 52,000-square-foot building, a deal breaker that could result in the company being forced to move. European banker Ronald Strauss, living in Montreal, has tried to complete the building purchase since 2009. Read more >>
November 2010 IFR activity down, except for large-cabin jets
Compared to October 2010, November 2010’s business aircraft activity was down 3.8 percent, according to Cincinnati-based Argus International Inc. In its analysis, Argus split the activity among four categories: turboprop, small-cabin jet, mid-size cabin jet, and large-cabin jet. Then those categories were further analyzed by type of operation: Part 91, Part 135, and fractional. Among the combination of groups, fractional turboprop activity was down the most, by 7.3 percent from October. Read more >>
One of the world’s best utility airplanes just got a lot more useful. Aviat Aircraft has begun offering Airglas Cargo Pods on Husky aircraft allowing the rugged, backcountry aircraft to carry more cargo in and out of remote airstrips. The pods weigh 25 pounds each and hold up to 170 pounds of gear. With a supplemental type certificate, the pods can be fitted to any model Husky, and they take about 10 minutes to attach or remove. Read more >>
Aviation Hall of Fame seeks executive director
The National Aviation Hall of Fame has launched a nationwide search for an executive director, said the chairman of the Dayton, Ohio-based organization. Board of Trustees Chairman Alan Hoeweler said the new executive director “will be instrumental in helping us fulfill several near-term objectives in the areas of education, development, and visibility.” Read more >>
FAA releases advisory for Super Bowl TFR
The FAA has released a flight advisory informing pilots of its intention to establish a temporary flight restriction (TFR) on Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas, during Super Bowl XLV. The advisory briefs pilots on restrictions to be in effect within the 10-nautical-mile-radius inner ring of the TFR and the 10- through 30-nm-radius outer ring, as well as operations permitted at fringe airports. It also lists restrictions and prohibitions on operations for the entire TFR. Pilots are cautioned that the advisory is an overview of the proposed notice to airmen (notam) for the TFR that will be in effect. Pilots should consult notams frequently throughout the event for changes.
GAMA urges swift passage of bipartisan tax cuts
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association is calling on Congress to swiftly pass President Barack Obama’s bipartisan tax agreement, which contains provisions seen boosting aircraft production and restoring industry jobs. The package would let businesses depreciate 100 percent of capital investments made in 2011, and 50 percent of capital investments made in 2012. Aircraft engines, avionics, and other components would be eligible. Read more >>
Aviation maintenance organizations participating in the National Air Transportation Association's (NATA) new Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Employer Award program can submit applications until Jan. 30, 2011. Each spring NATA honors individuals and organizations that make positive contributions to general aviation. In 2011, NATA will honor maintenance organizations showing strong commitment to AMT training. The program is open to full-time aircraft, components maintenance, or repair businesses, and many other organizations that perform aviation maintenance. Applications may be faxed to 703/845-8176 or e-mailed.
Online store lends helping paw to shelter animals
HelpFourPaws, a nonprofit animal transport rescue organization, has opened an online store to raise funds for its cause. The store includes men and women's apparel, headwear, and accessories. Each item sports the HelpFourPaws logo, and ships directly to the consumer. The organization uses many modes of transportation—including general aviation—to move animals from shelters where euthanasia is imminent, preferring to place animals in foster-care or adoption. In a release, the organization says that a "significant portion of every dollar goes right to HelpFourPaws.”
Hover Power: Heroism
Blogger Tim McAdams learned to fly helicopters in the early 1980s. Back then he read a story about a helicopter pilot who rescued an airplane pilot who had crashed on the ice of Lake Erie. The helicopter pilot was flying along the shore of the lake in a Hughes 300C when he heard on the radio that the Coast Guard helicopter had turned back because of weather. He decided to head out over the lake and look for the downed pilot. Read more >>
CORRECTION: In the Dec. 10 edition of AOPA ePilot, we incorrectly identified the purpose of an endurance record set in 1959. That flight was made to raise money for cancer research.
Wearing a white-fur-trimmed set of fatigues and forgoing his usual mode of transportation, "America’s Santa" stopped at AOPA’s headquarters Dec. 13 aboard a Cessna Citation—callsign “St. Nick One”—on his way to Walter Reed Medical Center outside Washington, D.C. It’s all part of the Spirit of Liberty Foundation’s Operation Christmas Spirit, designed to bring holiday cheer to America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines recuperating from injuries. “America’s Santa” and Spirit of Liberty Foundation founder Richard Rovsek spoke to AOPA about bringing the spirit and magic of Christmas to America’s troops. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
The hazards of winter flying aren’t limited to in-flight icing and slippery runways. In warm, moist regions like the Gulf Coast, fog becomes more likely in the cooler months as overnight temperatures drop toward dew points that stay relatively high. About 10:20 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2009, a Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche crashed into the Laguna Madre, the narrow body of water separating the Texas mainland from South Padre Island. The airplane was destroyed and both men on board were killed. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
When it comes to flying, sight is one of the most important senses. Because of that, pilots’ vision is thoroughly tested during every visit to the aviation medical examiner. Whether you have a question about color vision, glaucoma, monocular vision, lens implants, cataracts, contact lenses, or procedures like LASIK, AOPA offers an online guide with information to read before going to the AME or before having a procedure done. Read the subject report >>
Take the guesswork out of risk assessment
As pilots, we make decisions about risk all the time. Some flights are clearly low-risk (think “local jaunt on a calm, clear day”), while others have obvious issues (think “moderate icing in a Piper Cub”). But things aren’t always so clear-cut—which is why the Air Safety Institute developed its Flight Risk Evaluator. The innovative free program lets you input the details of a flight and get an objective assessment of the potential risks. Try it out before your next flight!
If you’re thinking of seizing the day and purchasing an aircraft while prices are low, arm yourself with the tools to make smart buying decisions. The AOPA Pilot Information Center offers resources to help you determine the best aircraft for you, calculate the cost of ownership, and navigate the required inspections and paperwork. Listen to a recorded Webinar on purchasing an aircraft or read about the process in the Tips on Buying Used Aircraft subject report.
’Tis the season for giving safety
The Air Safety Institute, a division of the AOPA Foundation, wants to reduce—if not eradicate—preventable accidents through new pilot safety education programs in 2011. And you can be part of this critical mission by donating to safety today. It needs your support! In 2010 the Air Safety Institute reached a whopping 480,000 online course takers, while pilots tested their safety savvy accounting for more than 413,000 quiz completions. Well-known for its safety Webinars and seminars, the institute registered 13,000 and 33,000 attendees, respectively. Your tax-deductible contribution to the AOPA Foundation will help preserve life-saving online courses, programs, and products you and so many other pilots rely on. Donate now >>
Air Safety eJournal: Allow some pad for the iPad
The iPad is not only taking the consumer world by storm, but has found its way into cockpits. There have been several reports recently through NASA’s Aviation Reporting System that indicate that the GPS navigation and geo-referencing function on the iPad may not be quite up to aviation standards. Environmental factors may also be a problem. There are multiple apps and hardware is being added constantly, so it’s possible that with an external antenna and the right application the “pad” would work just fine for VFR flight. Read more >>
AOPA’s Airport Support Network passed a major milestone recently and now has more than 2,200 volunteers helping keep tabs on what’s happening at airports all across the country. More than 300 new volunteers joined the program in 2010 alone. The network is made up of volunteers who pass along information about their local airports to AOPA’s airports and state affairs staff in Frederick, Md., so that AOPA can, in turn, provide support and materials that help the volunteer be an effective community advocate on behalf of the airport. Read more >>
Customs reaches out to help pilots avoid penalties
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has launched a newsletter that it hopes will help general aviation pilots avoid errors, and possible penalties, when completing electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) manifests for international flights. The December 2010 initial edition of what is expected to be a monthly newsletter addresses differences between eAPIS and APIS information requirements, and notes common errors pilots have made when entering data. The newsletter also directs pilots to online help. Read more >>
Aircraft registry no terrorism threat, explains AOPA
The FAA’s aircraft registry is out of date, not dangerous, AOPA explained to reporters Dec. 10 after media reports claimed that inaccuracies in the FAA’s aircraft registry “could be exploited by terrorists and drug traffickers.” The FAA began a process of re-registration in November in an effort to clean up the aircraft registry. An Associated Press story that received wide pick-up in other news outlets suggested that aircraft with “questionable registration” allow criminals to evade the authorities by using phony N numbers. Read more >>
Improved GA access seen for Hawaii TFR
When the expected temporary flight restriction goes into effect in Hawaii to accommodate President Barack Obama’s holiday travel, security will be tight but general aviation will have more freedom to operate than it did last year. As a result of long-term planning and cooperation between AOPA, Airport Support Network volunteer Joe Kiefer, the General Aviation Council of Hawaii, and several government agencies, most GA businesses will be able to continue operating during the approximately two-week presidential visit. Read more >>
Expanded lead monitoring limited at airports
An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule approved by the agency Dec.14 calls for a yearlong study of lead levels at 15 airports. The rule revises the monitoring requirements for lead emissions from a variety of sources to better assess if areas are complying with national air quality standards. For most lead emitters, such as quarries, manufacturing facilities, or power plants, it lowers the threshold of lead production that will require monitoring. But the EPA said it did not have enough information to determine if it should lower the threshold for airports and is requiring the study to gather data. Read more >>
Proposed marine sanctuary overflight rule a ‘slippery slope’
A proposed rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seeking to restrict low-altitude flights over four national marine sanctuaries appears to usurp FAA authority and set a dangerous precedent for future regulation of the National Airspace System. Because the proposed rule could have a substantial impact on general aviation, the current 30-day comment period, which expires Jan. 7, 2011, does not provide enough time for thorough study and analysis of the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), AOPA said in a letter requesting a 60-day extension. Read more >>
Arizona city says no to airport-encroaching development
An Arizona community has taken a stand against development that would have encroached on its general aviation airport. The Chandler, Ariz., City Council unanimously voted Dec. 9 to deny an extension of a rezoning that would have placed 15 residential units within 1,200 feet of the Chandler Municipal Airport’s terminal building. The zoning change lapsed when a three-year window for development expired. 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.
Digital edition iPad giveaway: We have a winner!
“You’re kidding!” That was Kevin Barnett’s reaction when AOPA called him a week ago to let him know that he’d won an iPad, which the association’s media division had on display at AOPA Aviation Summit in Long Beach, Calif., in November. “I remember you telling me I had to talk to you in order to win,” he said. During Summit, AOPA introduced enhanced digital versions of AOPA Pilot and Flight Training magazines to Summit attendees. Read more >>
Over the past year, the AOPA Foundation has continued its work by creating new and improved safety products, fighting to save community airports from decreased funding and closures, presenting the public with a positive image of general aviation, and more. This work is possible by pilot donations. As the year comes to a close, there has never been a better time to solidify your commitment to preserving GA's future. Thanks to a generous matching offer from a loyal supporter, your year-end contribution can go even further toward building a strong future for GA. Donate now to help the foundation continue this important work in 2011.
Safe shopping tips help protect your identity
The holidays are upon us. And while it's the season of giving, make sure you're not giving more than you bargained for. As you know, many retail transactions require your sensitive information. From credit card numbers and ATM PINs to home addresses and more, every checkout can leave your personal information vulnerable. Here are eight easy ways you can shop smart and help keep your identity safe this holiday season. Read more >>
Holiday shopping made easy
Don’t fight the crowds at the mall this holiday season; shop from the comfort of your own home with the AOPA Lifestyles Collection. Shop a vast selection of items from top retailers such as Best Buy, Harry & David, Wal-Mart, Bass Pro Shops, and Omaha Steaks, to name a few. You can even bookmark the page to make shopping even easier. Struggling for new gift ideas? Browse the featured links for great gift ideas, money-saving discounts, and special offers. Read more >>
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