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It isn’t exactly a flying car, more like a powered car-a-chute. The I-TEC Maverick Sport Model was developed for use by missionaries in remote areas of the Amazon to use roads—as far as they go—and to fly the rest of the way over the jungle canopy to indigenous people. The Maverick, the result of seven years of research and development by the Indigenous People's Technology and Education Center (I-TEC), is in testing and awaiting a final inspection to qualify for certification under the light sport category. I-TEC founder Stephen Saint grew up among the Waodani Indians of the Amazon, and the vision for the nonprofit organization grew out of his experience among the people. Read more >>
Diamond Aircraft Industries and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) have teamed to fly a Diamond DA42 NG on algae-derived biofuel. The DA42 NG, which is equipped with a pair of Jet-A-burning Austro Engine AE300 engines, was recently flown at the ILA 2010 airshow in Berlin using the new fuel. The result, Diamond and EADS say, was performance equal to that experienced using Jet A fuel—but a reduction in fuel burn of approximately 1.5 liters per hour. Read more >>
If you already own a Centurion diesel (jet fuel) 1.7 piston engine and want to upgrade to the 2.0, Centurion Aircraft Engines has a deal for you. Owners can get money back for unused flight hours if they upgrade to the next-generation Centurion 2.0 by Aug. 31. After receiving a supplemental type certificate for the installation of 155-hp Centurion 2.0s engines in the Cessna 172, the company launched this current campaign, the upgrade program for pilots with Centurion 1.7 engines. Read more >>
The thirty-fourth annual Air Race Classic concluded its cross-country race from Florida to Maryland on June 25, bringing more than 50 airplanes and more than 100 women pilots to Frederick Municipal Airport. Florida pilots Terry Carbonell, Ellen Herr, and Laura Ying Gao won the 2,200-nautical-mile event, flying Carbonell’s Cessna 182RG. Their team was also the first airplane to arrive at Frederick Municipal on Friday, although that is not necessarily an indicator of performance. Read more >>
Garmin is offering rebates up to $3,500 on its G3X single or dual screen system for Experimental and light sport aircraft until Dec. 10, the company announced. The G3X is a primary flight display, multi-function display, and engine monitor that is virtually identical to the G300, the centerpiece of the instrument panel in the Cessna 162 Skycatcher. (Watch the avionics’ performance through loops and rolls in this AOPA Live video.) Garmin also said it will make a major expansion to its display area at EAA’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., and add a G3X area to it. The G3X borrows much of its technology from Garmin’s popular G1000 avionics suites and offers similar high-end features such as GPS-derived synthetic vision; an integrated autopilot interface; terrain, obstacle, and traffic warnings; and satellite weather.
The government of the Dominican Republic has begun a free service for general aviation pilots wanting to fly to that nation. Dubbed the “Flying Ambassador” program, the service provides 24/7 personal assistance with flight planning, customs procedures, fuel availability, documentation, and other formalities. Read more >>
Gulfstream G150 approved for WAAS
The FAA has approved WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) for the Gulfstream G150 aircraft. It can be installed either on new aircraft as part of the manufacturing process, or can be retrofitted to existing G150 aircraft. WAAS improves the accuracy of the GPS signals. WAAS receivers throughout the United States evaluate the quality of the GPS signal, relaying it to master stations. Those stations transmit improvements to geostationary satellites, which then broadcast correction signals to WAAS-capable satellite receivers. WAAS also provides localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches, allowing pilots to fly into approved airports using a pseudo-glideslope.
High school students in Talkeetna, Alaska, are getting to work this year on a special project—refurbishing a wrecked Stinson 108-3. The Stinson was donated in connection with the Build-A-Plane program and the area school’s AeroScholars program. Read more >>
Michael Combs and the Remos GX he is flying for the Flight for the Human Spirit remained ground bound in Texas last week as they waited out a series of high-wind days along their proposed route. The flight recently celebrated a milestone: more than 13,000 miles and arrivals in 40 states. Read more >>
A French company, Cobalt Aircraft Industries, will display its Co50 five-passenger prototype at EAA AirVenture this year. The aircraft could be certified by 2012. The factory is located 20 minutes outside of Paris at Toussus-le-Noble Airport. “We’re very excited to introduce ourselves and the Co50 at EAA AirVenture,” said CEO David Loury. “The Co50 is a culmination of seven years of thorough design, prototyping, and stress testing.” The company claims it can survive even if it sells only two aircraft per year. Read more >>
The FAA has issued two revised notams for the Washington D.C. Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA); however, the new notams will have little impact on general aviation. Changes in the notams, which go in to effect Sept. 1, provide clarification for Department of Defense and federally owned aircraft and Ronald Reagan Washington National airport-approved carriers operating to and from Andrews Air Force Base and Davison Army Airfield. The FAA also provides clarification for aircraft that cannot maintain radio contact with ATC while departing the D.C. Flight Restricted Zone. Read more >>
Hear something new on the frequency? In this AOPA Live video, safety guru Bruce Landsberg explains what has changed in how air traffic control will give you taxi instructions. Bottom line, ATC must now give you a clearance to cross every intersecting runway on your taxi route. If you haven’t heard a specific clearance to cross, stop before entering or crossing any runway. Watch AOPA Live >>
Crosswind landings take some finesse, but which technique is best—the crab or slip? Flight Training Deputy Editor Ian J. Twombly uses a flight simulator to explore the basics of each crosswind approach. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
The pilot in command is responsible for avoiding obstacles. If darkness or poor visibility makes obstructions difficult to see, the only prudent choices are to climb to altitudes safely above them, or choose a route well clear of any obstructions you can’t get above. Just before midnight on Oct. 15, 2008, a Bell 222 helicopter hit a 734-foot radio tower in Aurora, Ill. The fatal crash prompted an unusual dissent from the NTSB vice chairman regarding the controller’s role in contributing to the probable cause. Read more in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
If the glass cockpit equipment in the aircraft you are flying malfunctions or fails, experiences abnormalities, or presents other safety issues, the FAA wants to know about it. The agency released an information for operators bulletin June 17 requesting that pilots voluntarily report these problems through the FAA’s Service Difficulty Reporting site. The move stems from an NTSB study that showed multiple instances in which malfunctions with glass cockpit avionics were not reported to the FAA. Tracking these glitches with glass cockpits, according to the bulletin, “will be increasingly important as light aircraft avionics systems and equipment continue to increase in complexity and variation of design.” Pilots already are required to report significant “display blanking” to the NTSB.
Some of the worst general aviation accidents have happened on the ground. In March 2000, a controller cleared a Cessna 152 for takeoff, and immediately thereafter cleared a Cessna 172 to “position and hold” at an intersection farther down the same runway. All four on board both aircraft died in the resulting collision. Learn what you can do to stay safe in the airport environment in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation Runway Safety interactive online course. The course has been updated to reflect terminology changes that took effect June 30.
Aircraft and fireworks don’t mix. If you’re planning to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend with sparklers or firecrackers, be sure to pick them up after you arrive by air. Fireworks are classed as explosives and pyrotechnic devices and are prohibited from being transported by air. Find out more about restrictions on the transportation of hazardous materials in the AOPA Pilot Information Center subject report.
Sunny, clear skies on a summer day are enticing conditions for a $100 hamburger. But the sweltering heat of summer can also usher in severe thunderstorms, high density altitudes, and visibility-reducing haze. Get safety tips, brush up on your weather knowledge, and test your skills with award-winning courses in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s summer weather Safety Spotlight.
Pella Municipal Airport manager Shane Vandevoort arrived at the Iowa airport the morning of June 21 and noticed something amiss: The doors that he had locked the evening before were unlocked. Airport staff discovered more evidence of a burglary and significant damage to the lock on the baggage door of a Cirrus SR22. A courtesy vehicle had been stolen. Law enforcement officials believe Colton Harris-Moore, the teenager accused of a rash of aircraft thefts and other crimes in the Pacific Northwest, may be headed east, leaving a trail of break-ins in his wake. Read more >>
There’s still hope for your 121.5 MHz ELT. The FCC on June 15 released notice of a rule that would prohibit the certification, manufacture, importation, sale, or continued use of 121.5 MHz ELTs, but AOPA reached out to the FCC, FAA, and several other affected organizations immediately to oppose the rule. The rule has not been published in the Federal Register (which would formalize the rule and set a deadline for equipage), and AOPA is working to keep it that way. Read more >>
A report from the Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General has identified 15 recommendations for improving the security of airmen's medical information and the process of identifying pilots with current medical certificates who are receiving disability pay. The report is the result of a two-year study to determine if airmen's personally identifiable information is properly secured from unauthorized use or access, and to assess the FAA's progress in establishing mechanisms to identify airmen with unreported medical conditions. Read more >>
Congress passes short-term FAA extension
The House and Senate have passed another short-term funding extension for the FAA. The bill, HR 5611, extends funding for FAA programs for one month with the goal of providing enough time for the House and Senate to work out a few unresolved issues in the long-term FAA reauthorization bill. The FAA has been operating under temporary extensions since its last long-term authorization expired in 2007. The current extension expires July 3, and the new extension is through Aug. 1.
California flight schools could have an 18-month reprieve from financially burdensome new regulations—and a chance to plead their case to the legislature—if a new supported by several state lawmakers is passed. AOPA, NATA, and other members of the aviation community have explained that the financial burdens imposed by a new postsecondary education law could be insurmountable for many flight schools, and worked with lawmakers to propose legislation that would require the legislature to evaluate the potential implications of the law on flight instruction and aircraft maintenance programs. Read more >>
There is a hole in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s draft five-year plan. The plan, which covers the period from 2010 to 2015, almost completely ignores general aviation and its economic importance to the nation, AOPA found. “In its current form the plan places more emphasis on travel by bicycle than on general aviation,” wrote AOPA President Craig Fuller in comments on the draft plan sent to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Furthermore, the plan seems to reintroduce user fees as the preferred way to fund the FAA. Read more >>
The city of Santa Monica has no authority to ban certain jet traffic from Santa Monica Airport, AOPA told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia June 28. Santa Monica city officials adopted an ordinance in March 2008 to ban Category C and D aircraft from operating at the airport—a move that could pave the way for restrictions at and even closures of airports across the nation based on local complaints, without consideration of those airports’ role in the national air transportation system. Read more >>
A rule requiring aircraft re-registration is awaiting FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt’s signature and could go into effect this fall. Currently, there is a one-time aircraft registration with a $5 fee; the new rule would require that aircraft be re-registered every three years, and the fee for that is yet unknown. Exact details of the requirement and process won’t be known until the rule is published in the Federal Register. The rule, proposed in 2008, was intended to scrub the aircraft registry of invalid registrations. Read more >>
It sounded like the perfect additive. Researchers at the Ethyl corporation, a General Motors subsidiary, discovered in 1921 that adding a small amount of tetraethyl lead to fuel silenced the knock that could cause an engine to tear itself apart during operation. Tetraethyl lead made possible the development of powerful engines for such classic American aircraft as the P-51 Mustang and the B-29 Superfortress, powerhouses that contributed to the Allied victory in World War II. But the performance benefits of the additive came at a cost. Read more >>
Findings from a Transportation Security Administration survey of general aviation airports could lay the groundwork for developing a grant program for security enhancements at GA airports. The TSA met with AOPA and other associations June 23 to discuss the preliminary results of its Airport Vulnerability Assessment Survey.This survey is the first step in obtaining data for the TSA to determine how to develop a security enhancement-specific grant program for GA airports. Read more >>
The Senate voted unanimously June 25 to confirm the nomination of FBI Deputy Director John Pistole to head the Transportation Security Administration. Pistole will join the TSA from a 27-year career in the FBI, which included positions dealing with counterterrorism and security. The agency has been operating under the temporary leadership of acting administrator Gale Rossides. Read more >>
Recreational aviation and backcountry airstrips serve a vital role for emergency flight operations, fire fighting, wildlife management, and tourism, and members of the House of Representatives are calling on their colleagues to extend their support in protecting these airfields. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), along with House GA Caucus co-chairs Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) and Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), and Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho), have introduced a resolution that “recognizes the value of recreational aviation and backcountry airstrips located on the Nation’s public lands and commends aviators and the various private organizations that maintain these airstrips for public use.” Read more >>
Taking a cruise? Need to fly on the airlines? AOPA can still provide assistance. Through an arrangement with Orbitz, you benefit from travel discounts while AOPA gets a portion of the revenue you spend on hotels, airfare, cruises, and rental cars. Just by using Orbitz through AOPA Online, your travel planning is simplified. Your AOPA membership benefits you even further when it comes to rental cars. You have your choice of rental car companies: Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, and Hertz. Each of these companies also offers deals in addition to a discount. For example, Alamo waives the extra driver fee, while Hertz enters you automatically in its #1 Club Gold Program.
This week, AOPA Airports online added member-submitted comments to its list of features. These airport and airport business comments provide pilots with helpful, local-level knowledge that can contribute to safer, more enjoyable experiences—in the air and on the ground. As one of the more than 400,000 AOPA members flying in and out of airports across the country, you have valuable insight and knowledge that can help your fellow pilots. So take the AOPA Airports Member Comments Challenge and help reach a goal of 5,000 new member-submitted comments by Labor Day. Read more >>
AOPA members who use the WorldPoints credit card earn points that easily convert to cash and gifts. Savvy AOPA members routinely earn a big hunk of cash back on a regular basis, while their purchases benefit AOPA as well. Register for AOPA Aviation Summit now using your WorldPoints card, and you’ll be awarded double points for the registration fee. The AOPA WorldPoints card also earns double points when you use it at 4,000 qualified FBOs all over the country. Every time you use the card, a portion of the revenue goes right back to AOPA to help fund general aviation initiatives. If you’re not yet a cardholder, check out the details online.