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today’s top stories
Fuller dubs 2010 ‘year of engagement’
It takes more than associations speaking up to teach opinion leaders and decision makers about general aviation. It takes individual members stepping up and becoming actively engaged with their community leaders. “As I see it, some of the top issues for the coming year and beyond must include protecting our nation’s airports, ensuring that air traffic modernization accounts for the needs of all system users, and building the pilot population,” AOPA President Craig Fuller said Feb. 11 during his address at the South Carolina Aviation Association’s annual conference in Myrtle Beach, S.C. “In order to make real progress on these issues, I will be asking every one of AOPA’s more than 415,000 members to get personally engaged in protecting and promoting general aviation.” Read about the announcement and find out what you can do to get engaged.
Hawker Beechcraft unveils 2009 financials
Hawker Beechcraft Corp. (HBC) has published its 2009 financial results, and the news isn’t good. HBC reported 2009 sales of $3.2 billion and an operating loss of $712 million for the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2009. Compare that to 2008’s financials, when HBC made sales of $3.5 billion and had an operating income of $140.3 million. The poor sales were affected by the lower volume of transactions in the company’s business and general aviation segment, a statement said. Read more >>
Michael Graves of Grass Valley, Calif., thought the camera crew at his home airpark was there to film the Songbird III Cessna 310 from the 1950s TV show “Sky King.” He had no idea that the Cirrus SR22 landing after the Songbird III was about to become his own. AOPA President Craig Fuller turned over the keys of the AOPA Let’s Go Flying Sweepstakes SR22 to Graves on Super Bowl Sunday. Watch the reveal and join Graves in the cockpit for his first flight in the Cirrus. “It's a freedom machine,” Graves says. Watch on AOPA Live >>
Winter blast hits Dulles Airport
The first of two winter blasts on Feb. 6 collapsed the roofs of hangars next to Dulles Jet Center at Dulles International Airport. Jets inside appeared to be in rotation for liftoff after the building collapsed on their tails. Dulles was closed Feb. 10 by the second snowstorm, this one complicated by high winds and blizzard conditions. Photographs reportedly taken by a firefighter responding to the scene show the toll of the record-breaking snowfall. Watch the slideshow >>
GA a major player in Haiti relief effort: Get involved
In the wake of the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, general aviation pilots immediately sprung into action. According to disaster relief coordination officials, GA comprises 40 percent of the relief flights operating at Port-au-Prince, while 30 percent are military and 30 percent international. However, untold numbers of GA flights are operating from smaller airports, grass strips, and roads in Haiti. If you are interested in getting involved in the relief efforts, see the AOPA Online resource page for some tips to help you get started.
Haiti relief: Online system helps pilots pay it forward
Bahamas Habitat has established an online system for pilots flying Haiti relief missions to raise funding for their aircraft fuel. The new system is called Pilots Pay It Forward. Read more >>
Tuskegee Airman Lee Archer dies at 90
When Tuskegee Airman Lee A. Archer Jr., last spoke with an AOPA Pilot editor he had but one request: “Call me a black pilot. There are kids in the cities that need to know it was a black pilot who did these things,” Archer said. Archer has been credited with four victories as a P-51 Mustang fighter during World War II, but he always maintained he had five victories. That would have made him the only ace among the Tuskegee Airmen. During his service he won the Distinguished Flying Cross with an amazing 18 oak leaf clusters. The decorated pilot has died at the age of 90. Read more >>
Business jet shipment totals are forecast to continue the current decline well into 2011 before increasing, Textron officials told an investors’ Web conference Feb. 9. Textron is the parent company of Cessna Aircraft Co. In the meantime, Cessna is preparing upgrades to current models and working quietly on new models that will enter the market when economic conditions improve. It is expected the $8.75 million Citation CJ4 will be certified in February, allowing deliveries to begin in the spring or early summer. Read more >>
Kansas governor declares support for aviation
He came to support aviation in the "air capital of the world," but Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson surprised his hosts at the Wichita Aero Club luncheon Feb. 10 by formalizing that support with a proclamation declaring this February "Aviation Appreciation Month." WAC Executive Director Dave Franson invited the governor to speak at the luncheon, and he suggested the proclamation in a conversation with Kansas Director of Aviation Ed Young before the event. "The proclamation really is a tangible way of underscoring the importance and value of aviation to Kansas. It gives us something we can refer to when other politicians make ill-advised and uninformed comments that disparage the role of general and business aviation aircraft," Franson said. Read more >>
Aerospace, military projects among Collier nominees
The National Aeronautic Association on Feb. 2 announced nominees for the 2009 Robert J. Collier Trophy. The Collier Trophy is awarded annually “for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles,” as demonstrated over the previous year. The 2009 nominees represent accomplishments in space travel, military aviation operations, and aviation communications. Read more >>
Spring could herald knowledge test fee increase
Student pilots taking the FAA knowledge test after this spring could be hit with an extra $50 fee if testing services’ plan goes forward. Computer Assisted Testing Service Inc. and LaserGrade notified AOPA early this year that they would begin imposing the extra fee on test-takers effective April 1. The testing services said they would use the proceeds of the fee to comply with new requirements from the FAA. AOPA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the National Air Transportation Association, and the National Association of Flight Instructors are asking the testing services and the FAA to delay the planned increase and reevaluate the need for it. Read more >>
Young Eagles program helps Michigan teen pass knowledge test
Tyler Whitney of Fenwick, Mich., took a Young Eagles flight in June 2008, and the bug bit: He wanted to learn to fly. This week, he became the first Young Eagle to pass the private pilot knowledge test using free access to Sporty’s online training course. Sporty’s and the Experimental Aircraft Association announced a partnership in April 2009 to provide youngsters who take a Young Eagles flight with a free logbook and an access code that lets them take the Sporty’s online knowledge test course free of charge. Read more >>
Embraer gives Legacy 450, 500 status updates
Embraer has released updates on its Legacy 450 and Legacy 500 business jets, indicating progress in the definition phases of these designs. Work so far has focused on soliciting customers and pilots for input on issues relating to man-machine interface, developing test rigs and simulators for the airplanes’ fly-by-wire flight controls, and beginning the certification process. Read more >>
TSA repair station security proposal not feasible
The Transportation Security Administration’s proposal to implement security procedures at FAA-certificated repair stations in the United States and abroad is not feasible, oversteps its bounds, and is redundant, according to AOPA. The association filed comments Feb. 11 regarding the repair station security proposal, recommending that the rule be limited to foreign repair stations. Currently, the proposal would impact 4,227 repair stations in the United States, 3,000 of which are not located on an airport, and another 694 repair facilities abroad. Read more >>
Robinson's new R66 turbine helicopter now available
Robinson Helicopter Inc. is accepting orders for the new R66 turbine-powered helicopter. The company also has stated that the R66 will be sold through the Robinson dealer network, and it is currently accepting R66 dealer applications. The new helicopter, which first flew in 2007, is powered by a 225-hp Rolls-Royce RR300 turbine engine and marks the first turbine-powered helicopter in the company’s product line. It is designed to compete with the Bell 206, MD 500, and AS350 single-engine light turbines. Read more >>
Team demonstrates unmanned helicopter missions
Lockheed Martin Corporation and Kaman Aerospace Corporation (Team K-MAX) have successfully demonstrated to the U.S. Marine Corps the capability of the unmanned K-MAX helicopter to resupply troops at forward operating bases in Afghanistan. During a series of flights in subfreezing temperatures at the U.S. Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, the unmanned K-MAX demonstrated autonomous and remote-control flight over both line-of-sight and satellite-based datalink. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
The night arrival in Orlando was all going according to plan until the sparks started flying, literally, from underneath the Mooney 201’s instrument panel. Find out how a perfectly functioning aircraft suddenly lost all electrical power and how the pilot coped with the unanticipated situation. Read this latest installment of Never Again Online. Enjoy the lessons you learn from these pilots' first-hand accounts? Listen to more stories in AOPA's Never Again Podcast directory brought to you by the AOPA Insurance Agency.
Test your IFR chart knowledge
Part of being a competent instrument pilot is knowing what all those symbols in the IFR en route charts mean. But with everything from triangles to T-routes, it can get confusing. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation wants to help make sure you are on top of your game. Take the foundation's safety quiz on IFR en route charts, underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency. The quiz tests your knowledge of some common and some not-so-obvious gotchas we all face on the charts.
Take care of your heart this Valentine’s
As your thoughts turn to affairs of the heart this Valentine’s Day, take stock of your heart health. According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 81 million Americans had some form of cardiovascular disease as of 2006. And not only could heart disease affect your quality of life; it could affect your flying privileges. Your aviation medical examiner can issue a medical certificate if you have high blood pressure (as long as it's under control and you submit the proper documentation), but other cardiovascular problems, such as a condition that requires a pacemaker, may require more paperwork—and some patience. Find out the FAA’s stance on heart and circulatory system issues, and how to get recertified after a cardiac event, from the AOPA Pilot Information Center. You can also enlist the help of AOPA medical certification specialists for your application by enrolling in the AOPA Medical Services Program.
Improve your safety by learning from others
Gain valuable knowledge about flying safely by learning from the mistakes of others. Using your ePilot personalization preferences, like “piston single-engine” or “turbine,” the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Accident Database generates a list of accidents that have been added to the database in the past 30 days. If you haven't personalized your newsletter, select your aircraft preferences from the “types of aircraft” section on the ePilot personalization page.
AOPA Now: Springing the trap!
AOPA’s own SWAT team arrived in Northern California on Feb. 5. In this case, SWAT stands for Sweepstakes Winner Announcement Team! Read more >>
Reporting Points: Performer adds twist to ‘drunken rube’ act
Kyle Franklin has added a twist to a routine done by many performers over the years as a “flying farmer” or a drunken spectator act. The idea is that someone untrained steals a Piper Cub during an airshow, in full view of the audience, and flies a wobbly routine. Franklin’s twist is to scrape both wingtips. Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: Terrain awareness
Midair collisions get a lot of media attention when they happen, but they are a small part of the general aviation safety picture. AOPA Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg wants to draw attention to a much bigger problem: flying VFR into IMC. Read more >>
Fun to Fly 2010 Sweepstakes: No-clamping zone
AOPA Pilot Associate Editor Jill W. Tallman muscled through primary training with a cheap headset that was probably just a little better than stuffing cotton in her ears. The winner of the 2010 Fun to Fly Sweepstakes Remos GX won’t have that problem: Sennheiser USA has contributed two HMEC 460 noise-canceling headsets that will go to the winner of the airplane in November. Read more >>
Have you checked your hull value lately?
You knew your aircraft hull value when you bought your airplane. What you may not have realized is that as much as 75 percent of your insurance premium is a direct result of the hull value for your airplane. If the value of your aircraft has fallen since you bought it, you could be paying too much for your insurance and possibly encounter a claim issue in determining between a partial loss and a constructive total. If the value has increased, you could find yourself with inadequate coverage when you need it most. Fortunately, AOPA members have an easy way to check the value of their aircraft using AOPA’s online aircraft valuation service, Vref. The service is free to AOPA members.
Jeppesen VFR+GPS Webinar gets an encore
An encore of Jeppesen's Webinar, "Getting to know Jeppesen VFR+GPS charts," will be held on Tuesday, March 2, at 7 p.m. Eastern time. With a different look and feel from the FAA’s sectional charts, Jeppesen’s VFR+GPS aeronautical charts offer an alternative that is meant to dovetail with the use of GPS for navigation. The charts are designed around common VFR flight paths and local operations, and they include features such as GPS waypoints. During the presentation, Jeppesen's Dave McLean will explain the features of and technology behind the charts, and answer questions submitted by Webinar attendees. Register to participate on the AOPA Webinar page.
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 always thought that airways and the associated VOR radials were supposed to be based on magnetic course. Recently while planning a cross-country flight, I noticed that many were off by as much as five degrees (even when taking magnetic variation into consideration). How can this happen?
Answer: When the VOR is constructed, it is physically oriented to true north, and then the signal is adjusted to provide reference to magnetic north. Over time, however, the earth’s magnetic field slowly shifts. Reorienting the VOR signal to magnetic north requires a complete shutdown. Since navaids are commissioned to be online 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the complete shutdown required for reorienting only occurs when the navaid is out of tolerance by at least six degrees. You can read more about this process online in the National Aeronautical Charting Office’s frequently asked questions section.
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 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 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.
Got news? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].