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today’s top stories
SkyCatcher deliveries delayed
Cessna SkyCatcher customers have learned in a letter from Cessna Aircraft Co. that deliveries will be delayed six to 10 months from promised dates. The factory in Shenyang, China, must be retooled to accommodate changes made to the aircraft to improve spin recovery performance. “Production ramp up is a complicated process with thousands of parts being fabricated and moved into place for assembly,” said Cessna spokesman Doug Oliver. The process was further complicated by redesigns stemming from the two spin accidents, he added. “This airplane is going to be around for decades, and we’d prefer to get it absolutely right rather than rush it into production to save a few months.” Read more >>
Less than a year after Reps. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) and Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) formed the House General Aviation Caucus, more than 100 members of Congress have joined the group. The caucus launched in April last year with the purpose of educating elected officials on Capitol Hill of the value of GA to the economy and national transportation system. Throughout the year, members of the caucus took a stand for GA on security issues, FAA funding, and public perception. The Senate GA Caucus, which was formed after the House caucus, has already grown to 23 members. Read more >>
The State of the Union for GA
President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech Jan. 27 laid out where he hopes to lead the country over the next year. AOPA President Craig Fuller shares his thoughts in a podcast and blog about the speech’s implications for aviation and how the administration’s good intentions about creating jobs and supporting small businesses should translate into concrete actions and hard numbers. “For the aviation community, the true test will be in the details of the federal budget proposal we expect to see on Monday,” Fuller says.
Pilatus sets sales record
The economy may be on shaky ground, but for Swiss manufacturer Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. the news couldn’t be better. The company recently announced that in 2009 it delivered 100 of its PC-12 NG single-engine turboprops to customers worldwide. “Achieving 100 deliveries in a single year is a significant milestone for Pilatus and the PC-12 NG production program,” said Ignaz Gretener, Pilatus vice president of general aviation. Read more >>
Haiti relief: Quest Kodiak headed for Haiti
A new Quest Aircraft single-engine turboprop Kodiak headed for Haiti shortly after Mission Aviation Fellowship received it new from the factory. The missionary group previously dedicated three aircraft to the relief effort. It is the first Kodiak to join the fleet of general aviation aircraft helping to provide aid to Haiti. Read more >>
Tradewind Aviation based in Connecticut is providing Cessna Caravans for delivery of supplies to Haiti. A lack of small airports means a country road must double as a runway. The Caravans are part of a program called Corporate Aircraft Responding in Emergencies (CARE); there are 24 aircraft flying to Haiti from Florida under the program. The aircraft deliver food, water, medical supplies, and doctors to the Leogane area of Haiti by landing on the stretch of road up to eight times a day with two of Tradewind’s Caravans. Read more >>
FAA should work with users on navaid decommissioning plan
The scheduled decommissioning of many ground-based navaids starting this year puts GPS on course to supplant long-range navigation (loran) and VOR equipment in general aviation cockpits. AOPA is asking the FAA to work closely with users on a decommissioning strategy that aligns with the deployment of new technology and takes into account many pilots’ current use of VORs for navigation. Read more >>
GA groups share plans for 2010
The general aviation industry entered 2010 with plenty of challenges: securing long-term funding for the FAA, fighting the prospect of user fees, facilitating air transportation modernization, recovering from a recession, and correcting public misconceptions about the value of GA. The heads of leading industry associations came together Jan. 26 to rise to the challenges with cooperation and a broad base of support. The associations have worked together more than ever before over the past year. “We cannot forget what we did in 2009 when it comes to standing up for GA,” AOPA President Craig Fuller said. “… The fact is that by working together a lot has been accomplished, and we got more people to the table to discuss our issues.” Read more >>
Carbon Cub SS: Light sport brute
When the air traffic controller requested that the Carbon Cub SS make an “immediate departure,” the airplane didn’t just comply: It redefined the term. The 180-horsepower light sport aircraft leapt off the ground in about four airplane lengths carrying two people and more than 20 gallons of fuel skyward at 1,700 feet per minute and 60 MIAS. Built by CubCrafters in Yakima, Wash., the carbon-fiber rocket ship proves that LSAs don’t have to be boring. They can offer stellar, pulse-quickening performance. Fly along with AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman.
Pioneering Alaskan company reclaims its name
Anyone familiar with Alaskan flying history will remember Ryan Air before it changed its name to Arctic Transportation Services. The company, still owned by the Ryan family, said it is naming itself Ryan Air once again. The announcement came at an event honoring legislators and cargo air carrier founders who built the Alaskan bush transportation system that today sustains entire native villages. The group was honored as “the toughest people on Earth.” Some of them are Alaskan natives such as Holger “Jorgy” Jorgensen, who, with one good eye, landed a Douglas DC-3 in the Aleutian Islands with an engine out and 6,500 pounds of dynamite on board. Read more >>
Jewel in the crown
Cessna, Cirrus, Piper, Waco. High-wing, low-wing, V-tail; one engine, two engines. The variety of aircraft that have starred in AOPA’s sweepstakes reflects the spectrum of general aviation itself. This year’s airplane is yet another standout. For the 2010 Fun to Fly Sweepstakes prize, AOPA has chosen its first-ever light sport aircraft. The brand-new airplane represents the best of what this burgeoning new segment of GA has to offer: fun and utility in one smartly designed package. Read more >>
Al Ain Aerobatics Show to be broadcast live
Airsports.tv will stream a live, online broadcast of the Al Ain Aerobatics Show Jan. 29 and 30 from 4 to 9 a.m. Eastern each day. The aerobatics show, which will be held at Al Ain International Airport in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, will feature more than 23 international teams of top pilots from Croatia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the United States, and more. Ramping up the adrenaline for this year’s event, the South African Goodyear Eagles Aerobatic Team will attempt a synchronized inverted parachute drop while three aircraft perform a formation loop. Read more >>
Aviation’s living legends named
Aviation honored its own Jan. 22 at the Seventh Annual Living Legends of Aviation awards dinner in Beverly Hills, Calif. The event, an intersection of aviation and Hollywood glitterati, is a fundraiser for the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy. Aerobatic star Sean D. Tucker was the emcee for the evening’s black-tie event, which included some 1,000 guests. Read more >>
Cirrus updates customers on Vision Jet
Cirrus Aircraft officials say the company’s financial strength has improved to the point that it is capable of attracting development capital to fund completion of the Vision Jet. For now, development is being funded with internal cash flow and will concentrate on design issues. Read more >>
Cessna anticipates recovery in late 2010
Cessna Aircraft’s parent company, Textron, said aircraft sales would improve in the second half of this year, although totals will fall below 2009 levels. Cessna’s revenues decreased $642 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with the corresponding period of 2008, because of lower volumes. Cessna will increase research and development spending on upgrades to existing models, and even work on unannounced models to be introduced when the market improves. Read more >>
Layoffs continue in Wichita
Three companies have announced layoffs in Wichita, Kan., but one of them was part of a broader announcement made last year. New layoffs include Hawker Beechcraft, which laid off 15 employees in late January, and Boeing’s Wichita operation, which laid off seven workers. Bombardier laid off 100 at its Learjet plant, but those were part of a larger group of 820 announced last year. Read more >>
Plastic pilot certificate deadline approaches
The deadline for switching to plastic pilot certificates is weeks away. Paper pilot certificates will no longer be valid after March 31; don’t let procrastination ground you. The cost for a new certificate is $2. Temporary and student pilot certificates are not impacted by the rule. The steps for the process are provided on the FAA Web site.
Students restore airplane for flying lessons
For the past two years a group of seven California high school students has gathered at a small hangar on Flabob Airport at Riverside, Calif., to restore a 1963 Skycoupe. Designed by Ray Stits, the Skycoupe was one of the earliest designs offered to homebuilders and members of the Experimental Aircraft Association. When it was dug out of the rafters of an old hangar at Flabob, project leader Al Gester said it looked like it had been in a wreck, though closer examination showed it just suffered from many years of neglect and rough handling. Read more >>
Olympic TFR affects U.S., Canadian airports
Even though the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games are in British Columbia, Canada, pilots flying in the Northwest United States will have to work around a temporary flight restriction in place from Jan. 29 through March 24. Flight restrictions in place in Canada for the games extend into the Seattle, Wash., area and from the surface up to 17,999 feet msl. Because of the lengthy duration, AOPA worked with the FAA to ease the restrictions for pilots flying to and from the U.S. airports impacted by the TFR. Read more >>
HAI announces award recipients
For 49 years the Helicopter Association International has recognized outstanding achievements in the international helicopter industry with the Salute to Excellence awards. There are several different awards that cover many areas of the industry. Each year at HAI’s annual convention (HELI-EXPO) the winners are recognized at a banquet and awards ceremony. This year’s winners will be honored at HELI-EXPO 2010, from Feb. 21 through 23 in Houston, Texas. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Hartzell to supply Hawker Beechcraft
If you buy a new Hawker Beechcraft propeller-driven airplane in the next five years, a Hartzell propeller will be pulling you through the air. Hartzell recently signed an exclusive agreement with Hawker Beechcraft to supply its entire line of commercial piston and turboprop aircraft with constant-speed propellers. Read more >>
Garmin adds to G3X system
The big avionics news at last year’s U.S. Sport Aviation Expo was Garmin’s introduction of the G3X, a one- or two-screen PFD/MFD suite for Experimental and light sport aircraft owners. This year, in an echo of that announcement, Garmin added an engine information system (EIS) to the G3X that allows the all-in-one system to graphically depict engine rpm, manifold pressure, oil pressure and temperature, cylinder head temperature, and other data. The EIS is designed for aircraft with Continental, Lycoming, Jabiru, and Rotax engines. Read more >>
Shell Aviation announces product for two-stroke engines
Shell Aviation introduced a new lubricant Jan. 20 designed specifically for two-stroke engines. AeroShell Oil Sport PLUS 2 is a dedicated two-stroke engine oil developed for light, very light, and ultralight two-stroke engines such as the Rotax air- and water-cooled series engines. Read more >>
More Product News
Would you recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning? If you stop a climb and feel as if you’re tumbling backward, will you trust your instruments or your inner ear? Knowledge of aeromedical factors—health factors and physiological effects that can be linked to flying—keeps pilots from succumbing to spatial disorientation or flying while impaired, and it could prevent in-flight emergencies. Test your knowledge of aeromedical factors in this quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency.
Cold weather precautions keep winter at bay
While you’re warming your fingers in the cockpit before your next winter flight, allow plenty of time for the engine to warm up, too. Cold oil is thick and slow, and metals expanding at different rates in the engine can cause wear. Don't consider taking off until the oil temperature has stabilized at least at the bottom of the green. And keep your options open. That means taking lots of fuel in case unexpected weather rolls in. Read more about cold weather operations in the AOPA Pilot Information Center “Winter flying” subject report, and check out additional resources in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s Winter Safety Spotlight.
Landing mishaps plotted
You may get away with a lapse of judgment or an unpracticed skill in cruise flight, but landings are less forgiving. Add to that unfamiliar conditions—a soft or short runway, a gusty day, high density altitude, or a heavy airplane—and even high-time pilots can botch a landing. With an average of eight per week, bad landings are the most common type of general aviation accident. Learn from the mistakes of other pilots in this interactive map of landing accidents created by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Just mouse over an accident marker and then click on the accident number to read the NTSB’s narrative of the accident.
Grant application moves forward for Ohio airport
Cincinnati-Blue Ash Airport is a diamond in the rough, but now it is a step closer to getting the polishing it needs. The city of Cincinnati, which owns the airport located nearby in Blue Ash, Ohio, has submitted its airport layout plan to the FAA. That was the one piece of documentation holding up the airport’s application for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding. Receiving AIP funding would require the airport to remain open for 20 years. The obligations attached to previous AIP funds the airport received expired a few years ago. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Ace and the movies
After 11,700 hours, “Ace” Beall deserves the nickname. As chief pilot for NASA, he flew the Boeing KC–135 “vomit comet” to give astronauts experience in weightlessness, taught astronauts to fly the Northrop T–38, and flew the Space Shuttle from California to Florida atop a Boeing 747. Last August, Beall teamed with movie photographer Dylan Goss to film aerial scenes for the film “Up in the Air.” Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: Soaring in LIT
Most of the time, powered aircraft and sailplanes coexist quite nicely. Rarely is there a collision, but it can happen if all the right factors line up in just the wrong way: In August 2006, a Hawker XP bizjet and a Schleicher ASW 27-18 sailplane collided as the Hawker was descending out of 16,000 feet. AOPA Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg went to the Soaring Society of America Convention in Little Rock, Ark., to discuss how airplanes and sailplanes can safely share the airspace. Read more >>
Fun 2 Fly 2010 Sweepstakes: On the road again
It seems like just a few weeks ago that AOPA Flight Training Associate Editor Jill W. Tallman was flying up the East Coast in your 2010 Fun To Fly Sweepstakes Remos. Last week, she once again found herself in the left seat flying from Maryland to Florida to show off the airplane at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring. A trip of that length, with two pilots in a light sport aircraft, requires a bit of strategic planning. Read more >>
Issues with your medical? AOPA can help
With so much hinging on a successful medical application, the process can be quite intimidating. The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. AOPA has developed a new program, the AOPA Medical Services Program, that will provide you with support from the association’s medical certification specialists. These specialists are in regular contact with the FAA aerospace medical certification division. They will act as your advocate and offer a thorough review of your complete medical record package before you send the file to the FAA. The specialists will even check the status of your application and provide you updates on its progress. 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 heard that the FAA releases new changes to the regulations throughout the year. Yet I only have my FAR/AIM that is printed once a year as a reference. How am I supposed to know what the new rules are?
Answer: Fortunately, you can periodically download a PDF file of the most recent changes to regulations from the major publishers of the FAR/AIM books. Both ASA and Jeppesen have downloadable files in their product update sections. This way you can specifically see which regulations have changed and have the current text at your disposal. Or if you prefer to use electronic media, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) maintains a current set of regulations on its Web site.
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 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; 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.
Got news? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].