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The FAA this week issued the final report on its call to action following the fatal crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 last February outside Buffalo, N.Y. The release came just days ahead of the NTSB’s determination of pilot error as the primary cause of the accident. But the NTSB’s findings, and subsequently the FAA’s actions, have gone further than the Colgan crash. The FAA is asking for recommendations to improve pilot qualification and training requirements. “Even an issue with the airlines can have far-reaching implications for general aviation pilots and flight schools,” said AOPA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Rob Hackman.
Sport pilot changes take effect April 2
The FAA has finalized revisions to the sport pilot regulations that will expand the operating window for sport pilots in mountainous terrain and allow Part 141 training programs to use light sport aircraft, among other changes. The agency proposed 22 regulatory changes in 2008 in an effort to align the requirements for sport pilots and instructors with those for other certificates. AOPA supported some of the changes, disputed others, and suggested further modifications. The final rule will go into effect April 2. Read more >>
No user fees in Obama budget
The general aviation community made it clear over the past year that user fees are not the best way to fund the nation’s aviation system, and President Barack Obama's budget request for 2011 showed that those voices were heard. The administration's Office of Management and Budget released a budget Feb. 1 that would hold the line on most aviation-related programs while investing more money in airspace modernization. The budget does not propose new aviation user fees, as last year's budget suggested it might. Learn more about the proposal from AOPA President Craig Fuller and find out details that affect general aviation from AOPA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Melissa Rudinger in these video messages.
Cessna’s Mustang, Bombardier’s 605 hit milestones
Are we easing out of the recession? Hope so. Here’s some more ammunition for the positive thinkers: Cessna has delivered its 300th Mustang, and Bombardier has delivered its 100th Challenger 605. Coming on the heels of Pilatus’ recent announcement of a record 100 PC-12 NG deliveries in 2009, there is evidence that the core market for these airplanes remains healthy. Read more >>
John Arnold was enjoying the Hershey Chocolatefest with his family in Pennsylvania Jan. 17 when he got the message—an urgent need to transport supplies from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Haiti. Less than eight hours later, he and fellow pilot Jim Adair landed a Pilatus PC-12 NG in Florida. They slept in chairs at Banyan Air Service at the airport and awoke early the next morning to load the Pilatus with 1,300 pounds of relief supplies—water, baby formula, soy milk, and rice. The plan was to return to Fort Lauderdale after dropping off supplies in Jacmel, but the two learned about aid in Santiago in the Dominican Republic that needed to be ferried. That’s when the adventure began. Read more >>
Airspace access a pillar of NextGen plan
The FAA plans to implement procedures and infrastructure to make general aviation operations in non-radar airspace and at small airports safer and more efficient, the agency said in a report Jan. 31. When government and industry groups came together last year to produce recommendations for modernizing the air transportation system, AOPA worked to include improved access to GA airports and non-radar areas in the final report to the FAA. The FAA responded to those recommendations, sharing its plan to develop more LPV approaches and deploy Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) infrastructure. The agency set a goal of developing 300 new Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS)-enabled LPV approaches per year through 2015. Read more >>
Inset charts available for New York City SFRA
The FAA has created inset charts of the Hudson River to make it easier for pilots to navigate the New York City Special Flight Rules Area. The charts, one of the SFRA and the other of the New York City skyline route, will be available free online to pilots starting Feb. 11. Read more >>
Photographer captured history of aviation
Photographer Howard Levy shot aviation photos continuously starting in 1936 with a few years off for World War II. Even then he was a photographer for the Army Air Corps. For one of his earliest stories, Levy got out his notebook and sat on a picnic table on Long Island to talk with Howard Hughes who, in that decade, was setting aviation records and becoming a public hero. The dedicated aviation photographer died Jan. 29 at his home in New Jersey at the age of 88. Read more >>
Singapore show watched for signs of recovery
The 130,000 attendees at this week’s Singapore Airshow are watching company announcements for signs that the recession is ending. So far, company executives have said it is indeed ending, but aircraft orders won’t return to normal until 2012. Military, government, and flight school orders appear to be the main source of new orders that soften the impact of the recession. Read more >>
Women in Aviation to take Disney by storm
Women in Aviation, International, will take Walt Disney World by storm this February. The Disney Coronado Springs Resort will host the Twenty-First International Women in Aviation Conference Feb. 25 through 27. The event’s theme channels what has been said throughout the economic downturn and the slow recovery: Aviation—It’s a Small World. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Flight instructors must walk a fine line, particularly with late-stage or certificated students. They have to let the student fly the aircraft, without displaying the conspicuous eagerness to seize the controls that can undermine a low-time pilot’s confidence. But the CFI also must be pilot in command. Bearing ultimate responsibility for the safety of the flight means staying watchful even with students who shouldn’t need any help, especially when there isn’t much margin for error. Just before noon on May 22, 2008, a Grumman American AA-1C with a student pilot and instructor on board entered an accelerated stall, crashed into a parked trailer, and caught fire immediately after takeoff from Northeast Philadelphia Airport. Read more in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Do-it-yourself maintenance cuts upkeep costs
Owning and operating an airplane can sometimes put a strain on the family budget, but you can save a substantial percentage of your annual costs by performing routine maintenance yourself. You don’t have to be an A&P to perform tasks like changing the oil and filter, servicing the landing gear shock struts, and replacing or cleaning spark plugs; and performing preventive maintenance can help you become better educated about the equipment you fly. Learn which simple tasks you can do yourself in the AOPA Pilot Information Center guide to preventive maintenance. Proactive inspection and maintenance can help extend the service life of your aircraft, so learn more about keeping your aircraft flying safely into its golden years in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation Aging Aircraft course.
They call it the impossible turn. It’s every pilot’s worst nightmare, the engine failing soon after takeoff. We’re all taught not to take the seemingly easy route out and turn back toward the airport. Instead, we’re supposed to land ahead, knowing that most airplanes and pilots can’t make the turn in less than 1,000 feet. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation examines the issue and presents an incredible video of one man’s attempt in the latest installment of the Real Pilot Stories series. More than 53,000 pilots have watched the video and learned why attempting the impossible turn is not a good idea. See for yourself!
Prop shop: Follow a prop through overhaul, learn to field dress
You can get a behind-the-scenes look at almost any job nowadays from “Dirty Jobs” or do-it-yourself shows, but rarely do you get a glimpse at the inner workings of aircraft manufacturing or repair. Aviation Safety Videos takes you inside Sensenich Propeller Manufacturing Company in Lancaster, Pa., to give you a first-hand look at a fixed-pitch aluminum propeller overhaul and dynamic balancing. Learn how nicks and gouges are repaired, the propeller blade pitch set, and weights placed to balance the prop. Then watch tips on how to field dress your propeller and get clues for when you should call the prop shop. Watch the videos >>
Calling all members: Tell us about your pilot, airport group
Are you a member of an airport or pilot group at your home base? If so, tell us about it. AOPA is compiling information on airport and pilot groups nationwide in order to build up grassroots advocacy efforts and engage pilots when their airport is under attack. The association will use the information to build a stronger relationship with pilots at the local level, increase the number of Airport Support Network volunteers, and help members learn how they can support general aviation at their airport. Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: Of flashlights and LSAs
The crash of a Tecnam light sport aircraft that killed a high school student and his instructor in Fort Worth, Texas, generated a lot of media attention and led some attorneys and their purported “experts” to speculate that LSAs are less safe than FAA-type certificated aircraft. Fast forward to the NTSB investigation, when a flashlight was found adjacent to the stabilator control linkage in the tail cone. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Not a 9 to 5 job
Here’s an item from the unusual aviation jobs folder. Cinematographer Michael Kelem has just returned from Antarctica where he flew in helicopters and Twin Otters to film a new documentary series, “Frozen Planet,” that covers the animals and climate of the polar areas. Read more >>
Fun 2 Fly 2010 Sweepstakes: More LSA fun in the Midwest
If you didn’t make it to Sebring, Fla., last week for the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, fear not: More LSA fun can be had in September. Simply point your airplane or car toward Southern Illinois. The Midwest LSA Expo will take place Sept. 23 through 25 at Mount Vernon Outland Airport. Read more >>
Hover Power: Low-G pushovers
A two-blade or semi-rigid rotor system (such as the Robinson or some Bell series helicopters) is susceptible to a phenomenon called mast bumping. To avoid mast bumping it is important to fully understand the limitations and performance capability of this type of rotor system. Read more >>
AOPA Airports for iPhone gets an upgrade
AOPA Airports, powered by ForeFlight, has been upgraded to version 1.1. The most notable additions introduced with the new version are traffic pattern direction, runway details (accessible from any airport's information page), glideslope indicator information, and runway edge lighting information. ForeFlight made improvements to surface condition information and added more detail for Canadian airport runways. Updated magnetic variation information also has been included. To download the latest version of AOPA Airports for iPhone and iPod touch, visit the iTunes App Store.
Hertz rentals to help Haiti relief efforts
AOPA members who rent their next vehicle from Hertz could help the Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund. Now through Feb. 28, members will save $25 and Hertz will donate $5 to the fund when promotional coupon #140825 is used for weekly rentals. Visit the Web site and click on the “Quote It” button, and your AOPA discount code CDP #10232 along with the offer number will automatically be applied to your reservation. This offer is valid on economy or higher class vehicles. Make your reservation today to take advantage of this offer and help support the relief efforts in Haiti.
New Aircraft Financing site simplifies loan applications
The AOPA Aircraft Financing Program has launched a new Web site designed to simplify the loan application process. Whether you’re purchasing a new or used aircraft, refinancing, or even upgrading your avionics, the Web site will help guide you every step of the way. Still trying to figure out how much you can afford? Use the online loan calculator and see what fits into your monthly budget. Then, start your journey to aircraft ownership by following the directions on the Web site. Read more >>
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: I know that the FAA issued a final rule for regulatory changes on Oct. 20, 2009, but I’ve also heard that FAA has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding issues like commercial pilot training requirements. What is the difference between a final rule and an NPRM?
Answer: The FAA rulemaking process starts with hearings, studies, and meetings to create an initial draft of a new rule or change to an existing rule. The FAA then issues an NPRM, which allows the public to comment and ask questions relating to the proposed rule or rule change. This enables the FAA to get feedback on possible unintended consequences or issues. Once the NPRM comment period closes, the FAA analyzes the comments and questions and amends the proposed rule if necessary, sometimes deciding to eliminate the rule altogether. When this process is complete the FAA issues the final rule that sets a date when we, as pilots, are required to conform to the new regulations. The FAA posts recently published rulemaking documents online.
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 800/872-2672, or e-mail to [email protected]. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to [email protected].
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!
Aviation Events & Weather
Want something to do this weekend? Planning an aviation getaway? See your personalized online calendar of events . We've enhanced our calendar so that with one click, you can see all of the events listed in the calendar regions you selected when personalizing ePilot. Now you can browse events listed two weeks to a few months out to make your planning easier. You can also bookmark the personalized calendar page to check it as often as you want. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.
Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Las Vegas, Nev., Feb. 13 and 14; Sacramento, Calif., Melbourne, Fla., Louisville, Ky., and Nashua, N.H., Feb. 20 and 21; Baton Rouge, La., Oklahoma City, Okla., Dallas, Texas, and Ashburn, Va., Feb. 27 and 28; Orlando, Fla., March 6 and 7; San Mateo, Calif., and Baltimore, Md., March 13 and 14; Ontario, Calif., March 20 and 21. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Ocala, Fla., Feb. 8; Tampa, Fla., Feb. 9; Melbourne, Fla., Feb 10; Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Feb. 11; Huntsville, Ala., Feb. 16; Decatur, Ga., Feb. 17; Greenville, S.C., Feb. 18; Puyallup, Wash., Feb. 20 and 21; Northglenn, Colo., Feb. 23; Colorado Springs, Colo., Feb. 24. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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