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Dec. 31, 2010, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletterDec. 31, 2010, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletter

AOPA ePilot

In This Issue:

VOLUME 12, ISSUE 53 — December 31, 2010

Electromagnetic catapult tested
Accident Case Study: icing dangers
Coast-to-coast successes capped 2010
Quiz Me: Equipment codes


Safety >>

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect >>


AOPA Live >>

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Rare Twin Mustangs preparing for flight

Feature Two North American Twin Mustangs are expected to be returned to flying condition by their owners and go on display at EAA AirVenture 2013. The aircraft got its name from the design, which looks like two North American P-51 Mustang fighters attached side by side. One is powered by the famous Rolls-Royce Merlin engine and was the first Twin Mustang to fly, the XP-82-NA. It is owned by Tom Reilly of Douglas, Ga., who is performing the work with friends under a company called B-25 Group, LLC. Twin Mustangs emerged from the factory too late for World War II, but were flown in the Korean War and were later used for ramjet testing and icing research in the 1950s by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, succeeded by NASA. Read more >>

Introducing: Our best pilot headset ever. NEW A20™ Aviation Headset

The A20™ headset provides significantly greater noise reduction than currently available. It also features improved comfort, clear audio, Bluetooth® connectivity, auxiliary audio input and priority switching. Learn more >


Tangier Island doctor’s legacy lives on

Dr. David B. Nichols discovered his mission early in life. As a young medical student in Canada, Nichols toured Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay while visiting his parents who had moved to the nearby Virginia mainland. While there, Nichols learned that the remote island had no reliable medical care. From that moment, he decided to earn his medical degree so that he could provide care to people who lived on the island. He completed his residency in Virginia and earned his pilot certificate. For 31 years, he faithfully flew to the island nearly every Thursday. Nichols, 62, died in his Virginia home Dec. 30 after a short battle with cancer, but he is still serving that small community. Read more >>

Electromagnetic catapult tested

The old steam catapult used on aircraft carriers is approaching the end of its capabilities as new-technology aircraft grow heavier. That’s why the Navy is testing an electromagnetic aircraft launch system. It works. An F/A-18E Super Hornet was launched during a ground test of the system at Naval Air Systems Command in Lakehurst, N.J. The Navy has used steam catapults for decades to launch aircraft from aircraft carriers. The new system is a complete carrier-based launch system designed for Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) and future Ford-class carriers. Read more >>

FAA approves Garmin’s ESP, automatic descent for Cirrus

Cirrus has become the first piston aircraft manufacturer to win FAA approval for two Garmin safety enhancements: ESP (electronic stability and protection) and automatic descent. ESP is designed to prevent pilots from losing control of their aircraft while hand flying. ESP recognizes when pilots exceed pitch, bank, and airspeed limits and nudges the controls to bring the airplane back from the edges of the flight envelope. Read more >>

WSI: Talking about the weather

Nothing meets the description of “a mixed bag” better than a winter aviation weather forecast. Icing, turbulence, strong winds, and wind shear associated with the more southerly, lower seasonal location of the jet stream in the atmosphere all can influence in-flight conditions or the essential go/no-go decision. Clear, calm winter days demand just as much care. So, what’s the outlook for the winter of 2010-2011? Andover, Mass.-based Weather Services International (WSI) recently released a seasonal forecast that heralds a season with La Niña exerting its influence. Read more >>

Enshrinees chosen for Hall of Fame

The National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton will enshrine four new members in July 2011 who made significant contributions in aviation. They will be enshrined during a July 16 ceremony in Dayton. The four enshrinees are the late Capt. Iven Carl Kincheloe Jr., Col. Charles Edward McGee, S. Harry Robertson, and the late Gen. Thomas D. White. Read more >>

Gulfstream G200 business jet Gulfstream G200 sets records

A Gulfstream G200 business jet set two city-pair speed records this year, connecting Savannah, Ga., to Keflavik, Iceland, and Keflavik to Vnukovo, Russia. The large-cabin, mid-range G200 flew 2,915 nautical miles from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport to Keflavik International Airport with an average speed of Mach 0.75. It also flew 1,827 nautical miles from Keflavik to Vnukovo, near Moscow at Mach 0.80. Read more >>

EASA approves G1000 for King Air 200s

The European Aviation Safety Agency approved the installation of G1000 integrated avionics suites in the King Air 200 and B200 models, Garmin officials announced. “We’ve gone to great lengths to make sure customers who upgrade to this panel have the same leading-edge technologies they would find in a jet, while also enjoying the utility and affordability of their King Air,” said Gary Kelley, Garmin vice president of marketing. Read more >>

Airline Training Solutions launches first officer program

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Airline Training Solutions has introduced a professional flight training program directly aimed at meeting new, tougher training requirements for airline first officer candidates. The curriculum includes multi-pilot, high-altitude, and poor weather training, and all training is delivered in a two-pilot cockpit concept that simulates the airlines, according to the company. A 2009 crash involving a regional jet outside Buffalo, N.Y., prompted intense scrutiny of air carrier hiring and training practices. Read more >>

Flight Design enters firefighting service

A Flight Design CTLS light sport aircraft (LSA) has entered service providing aerial support to firefighters from a base high in the Ecuadorian Andes mountains. The Air Volunteer Fire Department of Basin (Bomberos de Cuenca), Ecuador, will fly the LSA from the Mariscal Lamar Airport, field elevation approximately 8,300 feet mean sea level. Hugo Cobo, leader of the fire department, estimated that the aircraft would fly about 25 hours per month. Department pilots received five hours of training at distributor Sebring Aviation in Sebring, Fla., and five hours at Cuenca. Read more >>

Bahamas open to LSAs LSAs tackle the Bahamas

A fleet of light sport aircraft made a trek to the Bahamas earlier this month in recognition of the fact that LSAs are now permitted to fly there. The first International Light Sport Flyout departed from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and landed at Grand Bahamas International Airport. The 17 airplanes were welcomed by the Bahamas Department of Tourism, greeting them with drinks and fresh conch fritters. The group spent three days enjoying the island, and many returned to the airport to participate in flights around Freeport and some of the other islands. Read more >>

Top 10 stories of 2010

Pilots continue to turn to AOPA for the latest aviation news, from reports on mistaken identities to tragic accidents and flying techniques to new technologies. Based on readership, check out the top 10 online articles that captivated AOPA members this year.

FAA resolves Kings issue

Spin myths

AOPA reaches out in wake of Austin crash

New mayor, new Meigs?

Flying the PiperSport

Agents question Bonanza pilot, search for ‘dope and cash’

Controller dons CFII hat, talks pilot through the clouds

Red Bull pilot safe after accident, water rescue

How will the iPad change the GA cockpit?

‘Impossible turn’ saves one pilot twice

BlogsHover Power: Flying Santa

During much of December, stories of pilots giving Santa a lift popped up on newsstands and broadcast stations across the country. But where did the tradition start? “Hover Power” blogger Tim McAdams shares his research: “The flying Santa tradition began in 1929 when floatplane pilot Captain William Wincapaw wanted to show his appreciation for lighthouse keepers and their families along the isolated Maine coastline.” Read more >>

BlogsReporting Points: Tales of a logbook

An end-of-year tradition for AOPA Director of eMedia Alyssa Miller includes a close look at her logbook to analyze the type of flying she did during the previous 12 months. This year, the tradition brought back memories of earning a new certificate, the death of a colleague, and experiencing flight in new ways. What were your highs and lows in aviation this year? And, most importantly, what do you hope to add to your logbook in 2011? Share your thoughts >>

Record the Correct ATIS Information Every Time With iATIS™—Now Only $2.99

iATIS™, a revolutionary new app that allows the user to input ATIS information and see a graphic display of airport conditions, including runway, crosswind component and weather information. Available NOW on iTunes … search iATIS, or through Available soon for Android. No mobile device? Visit for a kneeboard copy. 5% of proceeds will be donated to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.


AOPA Live evolves into powerful online video platform

AOPA Live With its first full year of live streaming broadcasts under its belt, AOPA Live ® has evolved into a powerful platform providing pilots with virtual access to aviation events and aircraft—anytime, anywhere. Pilots have watched thousands of hours of videos this year ranging from technique tips to news interviews to aircraft reviews. AOPA Live brought Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., and AOPA Aviation Summit in Long Beach, Calif., right to pilots’ computers with real-time streaming video. Read more >>

Most Popular AOPALive videos

Spin myths

Crosswind landings

Bird strike!

Police arrest John and Martha King

Garmin G3X

New taxi procedures

Avidyne DFC90 autopilot

PiperJet Altaire

Sean D. Tucker

Jet sailplane pilot Bob Carlton


For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

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Safety & Proficiency

Accident Case Study: Airframe Icing Accident Case Study highlights dangers of icing

Of all the weather hazards we face as pilots, ice is one of the most treacherous. Accident Case Study: Airframe Icing puts you in the cockpit of a Cirrus SR22 as its pilot struggles to escape unforecast ice high above the Sierra Nevada. It’s a gripping look at the perils that sometimes lurk in the clouds and a lesson in the importance of decisive action for pilots who venture into them unprepared. Listen to the story >>

The cold truth

There have been numerous avoidable accidents on takeoff as a result of wing contamination by snow, frost, and ice. A few simple steps during preflight could have easily prevented these accidents. So what do you look for? Download the Air Safety Institute’s Cold Facts: Wing Contamination Safety Brief for life-saving tips. The two-page safety brief is a quick but important read. Stow it in your flight bag during cold season operations.

Do you fly SPIFR?

What’s SPIFR? Find out when you take the Air Safety Institute’s Single Pilot IFR (SPIFR) course. Flying solo in the IFR system can be a challenge for even the most experienced pilots. This interactive course asks the right questions to coach you before launching SPIFR. You’ll learn about risks and how to manage workload with no co-pilot aboard. But most important—it helps you recognize how to stay safe. This course qualifies for AOPA Accident Forgiveness and the FAA Wings program. Check it out >>

Ageless wonder

Wanted: Mature adult to take flying lessons. No aviation experience required. Must be able to meet basic medical standards, and be motivated to pursue a lively course of ground study and flight lessons culminating in a pilot certificate. Applicant can expect to learn multiple fascinating subjects and skills, make friends, and enjoy an unmatched sense of accomplishment. If those words sound unlikely as an ad for student pilot recruitment, think again. Read more >>

BlogsAir Safety eJournal: The ‘Alpha’ measurement

Sometimes an accident hits so close to home it causes pilots to question the fundamentals. “A friend lost some business acquaintances landing a Bonanza at his private strip when the 5,000-hour pilot inexplicably stalled and they spun in. He began to wonder if an angle of attack (AOA or Alpha) indicator would have helped and why they weren’t installed on many more aircraft. I’ve wondered myself,” writes AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg. Read more >>

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

Jan. 8 and 9

Long Beach, Calif.

San Antonio, Texas

Jan. 15 and 16

Jackson, Miss.

Portland, Ore.

Jan. 22 and 23

Baltimore, Md.

Detroit, Mich.

Charlotte, N.C.

Jan. 29 and 30

San Jose, Calif.

Sevierville, Tenn.

Bellevue, Wash.


For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Can’t make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.

Jan. 10

Mesa, Ariz.

Reno, Nev.

Jan. 11

Tucson, Ariz..

Sacramento, Calif.

Jan. 12

Milpitas, Calif.


Jan. 13

Santa Rosa, Calif.




Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.


Coast-to-coast successes capped 2010 at state level

AOPA wound up an active year in the halls of state government from Florida to Washington state by savoring victories on issues ranging from defeating onerous aircraft taxes to keeping dangerous structures away from airports and aircraft. Efforts to work with state government bought more time for reforming regulatory proposals, thus sparing flight schools and students from crippling bureaucratic burdens in California, and ending those concerns in Arizona. AOPA, allied with regional pilots associations and national and state aviation associations, went to work to counter a variety of aviation tax initiatives—in each case pointing out the economic harm that could arise from a state’s attempts to impose onerous levies on pilots and aircraft. Read more >>

Save Up to $3,500 on the Garmin G3X™

Change your perspective with Garmin’s G3X flight display system for experimental/kit planes. Purchase a qualifying G3X system before the end of the year and you could earn up to $3,500 via mail-in rebate. Learn more.

After lead: Searching for the new avgas

The effort to switch the general aviation fleet to a lead-free fuel is a marathon, not a sprint, AOPA is reminding pilots and aircraft owners. And, the association encourages pilots to keep in mind the project’s overarching threefold mission. First, the effort must ensure that a continuous supply of the existing aviation fuel is available, assuring the utility of the piston-engine fleet. Second, a process must be established that, working with the FAA, develops and implements a comprehensive program to facilitate the qualification of an unleaded avgas replacement for 100LL. Finally, a timeline must be established that allows adequate time for transitioning to an unleaded solution. In 2011, AOPA will intensify its outreach to pilots, explaining how fuel supplies will be secured in the short and long term. The association also will work to help pilots find the information their specific needs require for future planning. Read more >>

Avgas replacement effort Defining the challenge

Just as nonpilots are surprised to learn that aviation fuel still contains tetraethyl lead (TEL) long after it was removed from auto fuels, some pilots are just now learning that lead will be gone from avgas one day in the not-too-distant future. They all have questions—and, for now, the answers are different, depending on what you fly. Read more >>

Why is this happening now?

The Environmental Protection Agency’s advanced notice of proposed rulemaking that was published last spring (filed in response to a petition from an environmental group) made many in the industry realize that the beginning of the end was at hand for 100LL even though work exploring unleaded fuels has been ongoing. Read more >>

Stay informed

Make sure you are up to date on the latest research and information on the progress of the search for an unleaded aviation fuel by signing up for AOPA ePilot Special Report: Getting the Lead Out . AOPA will periodically publish the special report to update those who have opted to receive news about the developments on this issue. Check out the archives and sign up today.

AOPA Aircraft Financing Program offers NEW lower rates

Our goal is to get pilots into the aircraft of their dreams. To help make aircraft ownership more attainable, we just lowered our rates to make monthly payments more affordable. For more information, or to have a representative call you to discuss financing, go to

Member Benefits

Are your insurance policies overdue for their annual inspection?

As another year comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to review your insurance policies. A lot can happen in a year, and your coverage needs may have changed. You may even find that it’s time to shop around for better rates. If so, as a pilot, AOPA should be the first stop for you. AOPA offers great rates on term life, accidental death and dismemberment, aircraft, auto, and motorcycle insurance. And since they are AOPA certified, you won’t have to pay higher rates just for being a pilot. Make sure when you take your first flight of 2011 you can relax and enjoy the flight knowing that you’re covered by AOPA’s Insurance Services.

FREE Video Tip! — Courses for Beginner to Pro!

Click for a Free Video Training Tip and find a course to achieve your next goal, or to make your flying safer and more rewarding. Not sure? Call us at 800-854-1001 and talk to one of our pilot training advisors.

AOPA Career Opportunities

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a vice president of new product development and interactive marketing, business analyst, financial analyst, and IT project architect. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.


Picture Perfect

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!

Picture Perfect

Membership Forums: Theoretical go/no-go situation

Would you "dive and drive" on the approach? Check out this forum entry and decide whether you would shoot an instrument approach based on this METAR: “KMCI 272053Z 24011KT 7SM OVC005 M07/M09 A3030.” Join the discussion >>


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Engage in Aviation

Check out user-submitted events from your region. To include an event or to search all events in the calendar, visit AOPA Online. AOPA does not endorse the events listed below, nor have ePilot editors edited the submissions. AOPA assumes no responsibility for events listed.

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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: On a recent IFR flight I experienced loss of RAIM capability on the GPS. I promptly notified ATC, and they requested a new equipment code. My aircraft has DME and a Mode C transponder, but I couldn’t remember the code! Where can I find that information?


Answer: In your case, the equipment code would have been slant alpha (/A). Refer to table 5-1-2 in the Aeronautical Information Manual for other aircraft equipment suffixes.

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/USA-AOPA (800/872-2672), or e-mail to [email protected].

AOPA ePilot Team
ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown Contributors: Alyssa Miller
Jill W. Tallman
Warren Morningstar
Alton K. Marsh

Dave Hirschman
Tom Horne
Ian J. Twombly
Dan Namowitz

Production Team: William Rockenbaugh
Lezlie Ramsey
Melissa Whitehouse
Mitch Mitchell

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