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today’s top stories
‘USA Today’ attacks GA airports … again
USA Today launched another attack on federal funding for general aviation airports this week with two articles questioning funding for privately owned, public-use reliever airports. Airports designated as relievers are eligible for federal grants because they reduce congestion at commercial airports in metropolitan areas by giving GA users an alternative place to land. The newspaper published two stories Dec. 31 claiming that many privately owned relievers provide little benefit to the general public, and questioning whether the public funds should go toward supporting them. AOPA provided a statement to the reporter about the importance of reliever airports to the nation’s transportation infrastructure, but the newspaper chose not to include it. Read more >>
It’s been said that physical peril has a way of focusing the mind—and if that’s so, then Capt. Gabriel Glinsky’s U.S. Marines should make excellent students. Glinsky, a V-22 Osprey pilot currently deployed in Afghanistan, is teaching a private pilot ground school to a class of about 15 fellow Marines. The students, mostly enlisted Marines, are preparing for the FAA knowledge tests while they’re still in the war zone. That way, they’ll be prepared to start flying intensively once they return to the United States with a goal of obtaining civilian sport pilot and private pilot certificates. Glinsky asked AOPA to assist him with course materials, and the association happily started gathering them. Read more >>
AOPA Insurance Agency to help fund safety quizzes
The AOPA Insurance Agency, a wholly owned subsidiary of AOPA, is taking an innovative direction to help hold the line on aircraft insurance costs. The agency on Dec. 21 presented a check to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation to help develop and distribute the foundation’s safety quizzes, available online free of charge to all pilots. Read more >>
Aircraft stolen from hangar at Frederick, Md., airport
A homeless man who allegedly stole a Piper Super Cub from its hangar at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md., shortly after 2 a.m. Dec. 28 remained in police custody this week. The man, identified as Calvin Craig Cox, 51, fled the aircraft after its propeller struck the ground near Runway 30. GA aircraft theft is rare, according to the Aviation Crime Prevention Institute. Since 2006, the number of stolen GA aircraft per year has been in the single digits. “The Frederick airport, headquarters of AOPA, is a big proponent of Airport Watch,” said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of operations and international affairs. “AOPA will be following the developments of this investigation and will work to ensure future security practices prevent this type of act.” Read more >>
Air Show Buzz rolls out ‘Mike Da Mustang’
Getting children interested in aviation is one of the best ways to ensure a future pilot community, and Air Show Buzz is taking a different approach to teach kids about flying. Air Show Buzz has created a cartoon, “Mike Da Mustang,” which showcases a Mustang, a fighter jet, and a military jeep. In this episode, Mike helps his friend Axle (the jeep) explore the joys of flight. Watch the cartoon >>
The predominant experience of the 1930s in America was, of course, the profound economic depression. But at the same time, the airplane was emerging as a publicly accepted means of transportation. This combination of developments helped create an atmosphere conducive to government investment in aviation infrastructure. The Works Progress Administration was created in 1934 with the goal of building public roads, parks, bridges, buildings—and airports. In total, more than 700 miles of airport runways and 800 airports were built or improved during the WPA’s tenure from 1935 to 1943. Read more >>
Deadline approaches for plastic pilot certificate
Paper pilot certificates will no longer be valid after March 31, 2010, so make sure you’ve upgraded to a plastic certificate. The FAA mandated the change because it says the plastic certificates are more counterfeit resistant. Pilots can request the plastic certificate through the FAA’s Web site or by mail. The cost is $2, but if you change your pilot certificate number from your Social Security number, the switch is free. Temporary, student, and flight instructor certificates are not impacted by the rule.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Buzzing things on the ground is just a bad idea. It doesn’t matter how good a pilot you are or how quick and responsive your aircraft, extremely low altitudes leave no margin for error. Momentary distractions can be fatal; if something happens that you didn’t expect, there’s little or no time in which to react. Buzzing things below ground level is even worse. On July 24, 2008, an amateur-built Cozy Mark IV flew down into a limestone quarry near Midlothian, Texas. With cruise speeds in the 180-knot range, the standard Mark IV design is fast for a piston single-engine aircraft, and this particular example had a 220-hp engine instead of the recommended 180, leaving little time for reaction or room for error. Read more in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Challenge yourself in 2010
Make a New Year’s resolution to become a safer pilot in 2010. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation is challenging pilots to complete at least one of the foundation’s online courses each month in the new year. Courses can help you increase your knowledge of a wide variety of topics, including aerodynamics, radio communication, runway safety, and more. Accept the challenge and resolve to become a safer, smarter pilot in 2010.
Take control with a new rating
Are you ready to take your flying to the next level? If you hope to take command of a seaplane, tailwheel, complex, or high-performance airplane, learn what training and testing you’ll need to get the necessary rating or endorsement. Adding a category, class, or operating privilege to your aviation résumé can be as simple as the few hours it may take to earn a tailwheel endorsement or as involved as the training required for an instrument rating. Whatever skill you hope to learn, AOPA’s Ratings and Endorsements subject report puts the requirements into plain language to help you take the controls as pilot in command of an aircraft you've dreamed of flying.
Fun to Fly 2010 Sweepstakes: Levitating LSA
Imagine riding upward on a Ferris wheel or lifting off in a helicopter. Now, combine the two for a sense of takeoff in a Remos. With a rotation speed of just 30 to 40 mph and a climb rate of 1,000 fpm, it seems as if it’s just floating off the ground. Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: Securing the hardware
This week an aircraft was stolen at a Maryland airport. The thief, not a pilot, got about 50 yards before tipping the tailwheel aircraft up on its nose. This seems like a good time to take stock of GA security. Read more >>
New AOPA life insurance program meets your needs
Finding quality, affordable insurance can be challenging. That’s why AOPA has done the legwork for you and shopped the insurance market, negotiated group rates, and developed a comprehensive offering of life insurance products to meet your needs. Unlike most other insurance plans, AOPA’s products have no aviation exclusions, which make them a great option for pilots. Choose from AOPA Group Term Life Insurance, AOPA Group Level Term Life Insurance, and AOPA Senior Term Life Insurance to get coverage that’s right for you.
A small price to pay for peace of mind
Protecting your pilot certificate is a wise investment. For as little as 10 cents a day for most pilots, you can protect yourself in case of an unforeseen emergency by enrolling in the AOPA Legal Services Plan. Most pilots don't think they'll need legal assistance because they're good, careful, and experienced pilots, or because they don't fly frequently. But the fact is the FAA initiates thousands of enforcement actions annually. With today's ever-changing and complex aviation regulations, violations can result from a simple miscommunication or misunderstanding. Enroll or renew your coverage online or by phone at 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672) to protect your certificate. See the plan description for complete coverages and exclusions.
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: Can a flight instructor with airplane single engine and instrument airplane ratings on his or her CFI certificate provide instrument instruction in a multiengine aircraft?
Answer: Yes. According to two letters of interpretation from the FAA, a CFII may give instrument instruction in a multiengine aircraft, as long as that person holds a multiengine class rating on his or her pilot certificate. However, the aforementioned CFII may not give instruction required for the issuance of a multiengine rating unless he or she holds a multiengine airplane rating on both the pilot and flight instructor certificate. Read more about flight instructor privileges and limitations on AOPA 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 Baltimore, Md., and Detroit, Mich., Jan. 9 and 10; Costa Mesa, Calif., Jackson, Miss., and Charlotte, N.C., Jan. 16 and 17; San Antonio, Texas, and Seattle, Wash., Jan. 23 and 24; Rochester, N.Y., Portland, Ore., and Sevierville, Tenn., Jan. 30 and 31. 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 Mesa, Ariz., and Reno, Nev., Jan. 11; Tucson, Ariz., and Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 12; Milpitas, Calif., Jan. 13; Santa Rosa, Calif., Jan. 14; San Diego, Calif., Jan. 25; Costa Mesa, Calif., Jan. 26; Ontario, Calif., Jan. 27; Burbank, Calif., Jan. 28; Little Rock, Ark., Feb. 1. 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].
Editorial Team : ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown