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today’s top stories
Cessna Aircraft is restarting its midsize Cessna Citation Sovereign business jet production line and will recall 180 workers over the next three weeks. Company officials urge caution that this does not mean the recession is drawing to a close for the business jet industry. “There were always Sovereigns in the production plan for 2010, but the line had been dormant for some months. A couple of additional orders came in and we started the line back,” Cessna spokesman Doug Oliver said. Read more >>
Fatal NASCAR C310 accident leads to safety guidance
The FAA has issued recommendations designed to prevent a problem that NTSB investigators say may have led to the fatal crash of a Cessna 310 owned by NASCAR in June 2007. The aircraft crashed in a residential area, killing both pilots and three people on the ground, after the breakout of an in-flight fire. In its findings, the NTSB ruled that the decision to fly without resolving a problem that had tripped a circuit breaker the previous day probably led to the accident. In a special airworthiness information bulletin (SAIB) in December 2009, the FAA recommended that pilots be more selective as to which circuit breakers they reset and when. Read more >>
Pieces of a 1911 Vickers monoplane, the first model ever built by the famous English company, were discovered in Antarctica this month by a research team from the Mawson’s Huts Foundation. By 1911 public interest in Antarctica had dwindled and something was needed to renew the excitement. Australian explorer Sir Douglas Mawson decided an airplane might do the trick. Read more >>
‘General Aviation Appreciation Month’ opens 2010 in W.Va.
West Virginia is ringing in the new year with a salute to general aviation. Gov. Joe Manchin III, who is also a pilot and AOPA member, signed a proclamation dubbing January “General Aviation Appreciation Month.” Aerospace is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the state’s economy, according to the proclamation. “Governor Manchin and the state of West Virginia are committed to aviation,” said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of airports and state advocacy, who attended the proclamation signing Jan. 7 in Charleston, W.Va. Read more >>
Former deputy sheriff to receive his wings through Able Flight
A law enforcement officer who lost his legs in an accident while he was assisting a stranded motorist is the newest recipient of a pilot scholarship from Able Flight with assistance from Bombardier. Deputy Sheriff Dan Hodess is the first recipient of the Bombardier-Able Flight scholarship. Able Flight is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to help people with disabilities learn to fly. On April 15, 1998, Hodess was on his way to work when he stopped to help a motorist on I-95 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. While he was out of his cruiser, another car struck him and pinned him between the two vehicles. The 61-mph impact severed his legs. He spent several months in recovery and rehabilitation with new prosthetic limbs. Hodess recently passed the sport pilot knowledge test and is training at Orlando-Gateway Sport Pilot Flight Training Center in Kissimmee. Read more >>
Proposed Piper AD would affect 42,000 aircraft
The FAA should narrow the scope of a proposed airworthiness directive that would affect close to 42,000 Piper aircraft, AOPA told the agency Jan. 5. The proposed AD would require an inspection of the control wheel shaft for both the pilot and copilot sides and, if necessary, replacement of the shaft in Piper PA-28, PA-32, PA-34, and PA-44 series airplanes. In comments on the proposal, AOPA asked the FAA to limit the scope of the AD and realistically determine the cost of compliance. Read more >>
Baby steps: Long way to go on presidential TFRs
Pilots have been navigating around large presidential temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) for nearly a decade now. While the FAA and Secret Service have made changes to the TFRs to grant pilots more access to the airspace, the latest two-week TFR over Hawaii for the Obama family’s vacation proves there’s still a long way to go. The 30-nautical-mile-radius TFR included a small cutout over Dillingham Airfield to allow flight training operations, but it shut down those operations at four other airports. Read more >>
Tecnam P2008 combines metal, composites
The first Tecnam light sport aircraft to use both carbon fiber composite material and metal is expected to arrive in the United States this month from the factory in Italy. Tecnam officials in Richmond, Va., said using carbon fiber for the fuselage and metal for the wings and stabilator on the Tecnam P2008 will continue to make the aircraft easy to repair, yet take advantage of carbon fiber for the fuselage. Previous models have been all-metal designs. Read more >>
Repossessions lower than in 2008
You’d think, during a recession, that aircraft repossessions would increase. Actually Nick Popovich, one of the busiest repo men in the country, is turning down business and that, in turn, kept the number of repossessions in 2009 lower than in 2008. Although Popovich performed 30 repossessions of turboprop and jet aircraft in the last six months of 2009, he turned down an additional 12 to 15 clients. Popovich warns banks and loan companies that aircraft are below market value at present. A repossession means the bank must hold it until the market improves, and pay to keep the aircraft current and in repair. Read more >>
First Phenom 300 flies away
Embraer finished 2009 by delivering the first of its newly certified Phenom 300 business jets. The airplane went to Kansas City, Mo.-based Executive Flight Services, a subsidiary of fractional operator Executive AirShare. The Phenom 300 is a swept-wing, 453-knot, 1,971-nm-range airplane that can be configured with up to 10 seats. Read more >>
Flight 1549 ditching revisited
The successful ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in January 2009 launched Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger into the national spotlight for his skill and aplomb getting all 155 on board to safety. A year later, “ Brace for Impact: The Chesley B. Sullenberger Story” will retrace the flight and the critical decision Sullenberger made to put the Airbus A320 down in the Hudson. The actions of Sullenberger and the flight’s first officer, Jeffrey Skiles, offer lessons that general aviation pilots can take to heart. The program, narrated by actor and GA Serves America spokesman Harrison Ford, will air on TLC Jan. 10.
Medical helicopters dedicated to Winter Olympics
Two Sikorsky S-76 helicopters will be providing air ambulance services during the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. Richmond’s Helijet International has been awarded the contract to provide the helicopters by BC Ambulance Service. Read more >>
Flight school attracts mall shoppers with LSA
Parking an airplane in a mall during the busy holiday shopping season proved fruitful for a flight school in Texas, which sold nearly 170 introductory flights and also gathered leads on 130 possible aircraft partnerships. US Aviation parked a Remos GX light sport aircraft inside the Vista Ridge Mall in Lewisville the day before Thanksgiving and removed it the day after Christmas, staffing it each hour that the mall was open. Read more >>
Hawker Beechcraft to charge for service inquiries
Hawker Beechcraft Corporation has a new service policy that affects owners and operators of a huge range of older Beechcraft and Hawker airplanes. Called the Classic Legacy Aircraft Service and Support (CLASS) program, it charges for research, serial number requests, publications, troubleshooting assistance, drawings, diagrams, technical and field service support, and other service requests. Read more >>
Piper picks Aviall for parts distribution
Piper Aircraft has chosen Aviall Services as its global parts distributor for both dealers and individual customers. Aviall Services, based in Dallas, manages parts for the aerospace, defense, and marine industries. Read more >>
Cook Children’s Medical Center gets new helicopter
The Cook Children’s Medical Center Teddy Bear Transport in Fort Worth, Texas, has taken delivery of a new EC145 helicopter. Outfitted by Air Methods Corporation (a large provider of air ambulance services), the new helicopter will allow the hospital to take advantage of modern technology available to assist in transporting children. Adults and children came out to greet and see the $7.1 million helicopter as it landed on the grounds outside the hospital. Read more >>
FAA expands ECi cylinder AD
The FAA is superseding a previous airworthiness directive (AD) for ECi reciprocating cylinder assemblies with a new one that expands the population of assemblies impacted by the directive because of additional cylinder head separations. The AD still requires initial and repetitive visual inspections and compression tests to detect cracks at the head-to-barrel interface, replacement of cracked cylinder assemblies, and cylinder assembly replacement at a reduced time in service. Warranty coverage may be available through ECi. Aircraft owners who have not had their engine overhauled since new or had a cylinder assembly replaced do not need to comply with the AD. For more information, download the AD.
Jeppesen Webinar to explain VFR+GPS charts
Jeppesen’s VFR+GPS charts are a legal alternative to the FAA’s sectional charts, but what sets the two types apart? On Friday, Jan. 22, at 4:30 p.m., Dave McClean of Jeppesen will conduct a Webinar, “Getting to know Jeppesen VFR+GPS charts.” Pilots will be able to ask questions about Jeppesen’s VFR+GPS charts, and get answers straight from the source. The 30-minute Webinar will feature a presentation detailing the charts' alignment with actual VFR flights, workload reduction features, and the modern GPS technology behind the charts. To register for the Webinar, visit the AOPA Webinar page.
Continental won’t increase prices
Sometimes no news is good news. Teledyne Continental Motors says 2010 prices for new and rebuilt engines will not increase. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
A routine flight in good weather gets interesting in a hurry when the Bonanza’s instrument panel suddenly goes completely dark. The experienced pilot prepares to lower the landing gear manually, only to find the handle has been made inaccessible—at least temporarily. Find out what caused the problem, and how the pilot avoided a gear-up landing. Read this installment of Never Again Online or listen to the podcast. 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.
What other pilots do wrong
An impatient pilot rushes out onto the runway with an aircraft on short final. A chatterbox treats the CTAF like a party line. Some lost soul announces he’s 10 miles out when he’s really about to enter the downwind. We all have our pet-peeves about other pilots. And behaviors that drive pilots crazy aren’t just breaches of etiquette; they can cause safety hazards. Air your grievances, and get a new perspective on your own imperfections, at the new AOPA Air Safety Foundation seminar “10 Things Other Pilots Do Wrong.” Find out when the seminar will be coming to a location near you.
Check which medicines could ground you
If a seasonal illness gets the better of you this winter, you may feel fine after taking some medication. But can you fly? Even if you feel okay on the ground, symptoms like congestion may affect equilibrium or cause severe pain as you transition from higher to lower altitudes. And a medicine that doesn’t bother you at ground level may cause adverse side effects at even modest general aviation altitudes. FAR 91.17 prohibits the use of “any drug that affects the person’s faculties in any way contrary to safety,” so check AOPA’s medication database to find out which items in your medicine cabinet are FAA-approved for flight and which are prohibited. A cold doesn’t have to ground you, but you’re responsible for making sure you don’t fly with a disqualifying “medical deficiency.” If you’re wondering whether or not taking that flight is a good idea, it probably isn’t.
Guard against landing long
Land or go around? If you’re coming in high on a short field, delaying that decision could send you over the end of the runway and leave you with your nose in the grass—or worse. Pilots can guard against landing long by always landing in the first third of the runway, but some don’t notice they’ve passed that point until they touch down and it’s too late. John Cutcher, a designated pilot examiner at the FAA’s Baltimore Flight Standards District Office and pilot based at Lee Airport in Annapolis, Md., has proposed establishing runway markings to ensure that pilots always know when they’ve reached the decision point to go around. Watch a discussion of Cutcher’s proposal and advice on short field landings on the Aviation Safety Videos Web site.
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.
Lorain County closure would flout federal obligations
When an airport receives funding from the federal government, it agrees to certain terms. Chief among them: It must remain open to the public as an airport. Lorain County, Ohio, announced last month that it was abandoning that responsibility and closing Lorain County Regional Airport. The FAA’s response was a definitive “no.” The county still plans to move forward with closing the airport Jan. 15, in violation of its grant obligations. AOPA expressed its opposition to the planned closure Jan. 5, reminding the county that a projected deficit does not release it from its obligations and that the value of an airport is broader than what can be measured on a balance sheet. Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: The curse and blessing of glass
Over the holidays Bruce Landsberg took several nonpilot friends flying in a glass cockpit aircraft in superb day-VFR conditions. Despite his reminders to look outside for attitude, steering reference via landmarks, and other aircraft, his friends invariably returned to the glowing PFD. Read more >>
Be prepared to keep your medical
No pilot can predict when his or her medical certificate will be at risk. Even a routine visit to the doctor could quickly and unexpectedly turn to a situation where your medical is in jeopardy. AOPA provides a solution. Should a threatening situation develop, you can have a team of experts working for you. If you’re a member of the AOPA Medical Services Program, AOPA will inquire with the FAA to follow up on your case and keep it moving through the system. Enrollment in the AOPA Medical Services Program will provide you with access to numerous services designed to help you reach your health goals. There are two levels of membership: Comprehensive and Essential. Read more >>
AD&D insurance coverage now available up to $300,000
Pilots have unique needs when it comes to purchasing insurance. Will it cover me when I’m flying? Do I need to be pilot in command? Is a medical exam required? These are all common questions, and AOPA Accidental Death & Dismemberment insurance has the answers. AOPA AD&D insurance offers coverage while you are flying as a pilot or passenger in a general aviation or commercial flight. There are no health questions asked, and as an AOPA member you are guaranteed acceptance. And AOPA is now able to offer this coverage up to $300,000. Even if you are already taking advantage of this crucial coverage, now is the perfect time to upgrade. Go online to enroll or upgrade today.
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: Does an aircraft have a title of ownership document like a car?
Answer: No, there is no specific document that serves as a title of ownership for an aircraft. (Though for name information, an owner “registration card” is provided by the FAA which an owner must display in the aircraft.) Instead the FAA’s aircraft registration branch maintains a recording system for aircraft bills of sale, security agreements, mortgages, and other liens. When purchasing an aircraft, the bill of sale serves as your proof of purchase, but by law you are held responsible for knowing what is on file with the FAA, even if you haven’t checked. To secure their lien positions, almost all lien holders will file qualifying documents with the FAA, although it is not required by federal law. This is why it is vitally important to perform a title and lien search on an aircraft before purchase. See the following article that includes a story of one member who paid cash for a Bonanza and then lost it due to a preexisting lien. AOPA offers an affordable and thorough title and lien search through AIC Title Services.
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 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; 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, Teaxs, and Ashburn, Va., Feb. 27 and 28. 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; Oklahoma City, Okla., Feb. 2; Wichita, Kan., Feb. 3; Ocala, Fla., Feb. 8; Tampa, Fla., Feb. 9; Melbourne, Fla., Feb 10. 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].