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Fair or not, like it or not, your skill at landing an airplane is your most heavily judged piloting task. You might be a great flight planner, a maestro at fuel management, or a whiz at understanding weather, but all that takes a back seat to your competence when rubber meets the runway. The AOPA Pilot staff takes a look at some of the more prominent landing challenges in this sneak preview of the August edition of Pilot, due in mailboxes soon. Do you have the finesse for a flawless soft-field touchdown, or the precision to nail a landing on a short field? Tackle the challenges of crosswind landings, crack the code of taildraggers, and decide whether flying a Cessna 172 like a 1960s jet is a savior or a menace. Read more >>
Delays, mishaps plague Red Bull Air Races in 2010
In the latest of a series of setbacks for the Red Bull Air Races, the company announced July 13 that it will cancel its race in Budapest, Hungary, scheduled for Aug. 19 and 20, citing “lengthy delays in the permissions process.” The announcement comes on the heels of axing the final race in Portugal because of delays in negotiations in that country. With the two final races cut from the schedule, the Red Bull Air Race World Champion will be crowned at the next race, set for Aug. 7 and 8 at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz in Germany. Read more >>
Wells Fargo sues Langa Air
Consider this a cautionary tale for putting money down up front for flight training. Wells Fargo Bank filed suit last week against Langa Air and its principals for breach of contract after the school went out of business almost a year ago and took student deposits with it. When the school closed without warning, many students were out tens of thousands of dollars, and now Wells Fargo is suing on their behalf for more than $172,000. Read more >>
Aircraft comparison tools make debut
Two aircraft research and valuation firms have revealed new products aimed at making comparisons more complete. Consultants Conklin & de Decker announced the release of its 2010/2011 Aircraft Performance Comparator software, which the company says will allow customers to compare aircraft interiors and exteriors—as well as performance data from manufacturer-approved flight and performance manuals. GlobalAir.com has also rolled out changes to its Aircraft Exchange website, which offers a multitude of comparison variables that prospective buyers will find useful. Read more >>
Aspen PFD now certified on bigger airplanes
Aspen Avionics has received FAA approval to install a version of its popular EFD1000 primary flight displays in aircraft weighing up to 12,500—a significant addition to its market. Most King Airs, 400 series Cessna twins, and Piper Navajo and Cheyenne models are among the FAA Part 23 Class III aircraft now cleared to fly with the small, lightweight, and robust Aspen PFD. More than 900 kinds of fixed-wing aircraft are now approved for the Aspen PFD. Read more >>
Tecnam has announced a new four-seat single-engine model called the P2010. Known mostly as a light sport aircraft manufacturer in the United States, Italy’s Tecnam has also recently rolled out a twin and other LSA models. The P2010 will be the company’s first certified single. The aircraft will be a high-wing with carbon-fiber construction over the fuselage and metal wings. It will feature a Lycoming IO-360-M1A rated to 180 horsepower. It is expected to cruise at 133 knots at 75 percent power. Read more >>
WingX expands iPad offering
Hilton Software’s WingX is now approved for the Apple iPad with some new features. WingX was initially approved for the large tablet in mid-June, but since then Hilton Software has added additional functionality to its $99 offering. Among the improvements are geo-referenced approach plates. With this addition, WingX now offers a moving map, weather and flight planning tools, AOPA Airports data, and GPS-like features. According to the company, the software is configurable so that the user could follow both the moving map and an approach plate on the same split screen. Read more >>
Bombardier Aerospace reports that it has completed the first all-composite manufacturing validation unit (MVU) for the Learjet 85’s fuselage pressure section. The MVU, built at Bombardier’s Montreal factory, is constructed using actual production tooling that will be used to build production Learjet 85s. The MVU will be used to validate the design concepts, manufacturing processes, and quality behind assembly of the airplanes’ pressure vessels. Read more >>
Former FedEx captain new leader at Flying
Retired FedEx captain Michael Maya Charles, an occasional contributor to AOPA Pilot, is the new editor in chief of Flying magazine. Maya Charles replaces J. Mac McClellan, a 30-year veteran of the magazine. Bonnier Corporation, parent company of Flying, made the announcement July 13; McClellan will leave the magazine effective July 23. Maya Charles was a columnist for Flying into the 1990s before leaving to pursue other writing opportunities in addition to his airline career. He is the author of the book Artful Flying and also previously wrote for AvWeb. Read more >>
Four Special Olympics athletes, one coach, and one Maryland Special Olympics delegate will arrive at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport with anticipation July 17. They’re heading to Lincoln, Neb., to compete in the 2010 USA National Games. But they won’t be standing in any security lines at the airport. AOPA President Craig Fuller is giving them a lift in the association’s Cessna Citation Jet as part of the Citation Special Olympics Airlift. This will be the first year AOPA has flown in the airlift, joining nearly 170 participating companies. Read more >>
Search for teenage fugitive ends in Bahamas
Colton Harris-Moore, the 19-year-old fugitive suspected in numerous crimes, including thefts of cars, boats, and airplanes, is in police custody in the Bahamas. Harris-Moore, known as the “barefoot bandit” because of bare footprints he is accused of leaving at the scene of several crimes, was wanted by police for two years. During that time he is suspected of committing at least five airplane thefts and many other crimes. Bahamas police said he was apprehended early July 11 following a boat chase. Read more >>
After 80 years, blimps are getting a revival from the military. A U.S. Navy blimp built by the same company that built Snoopy for MetLife is currently spotting oil in the Gulf of Mexico. When its job there is done, it will be fitted with a DeltaHawk turbo diesel engine for testing. The engine, already mounted in a pod and ready for installation, was built at the factory in Racine, Wis. If successful, the Navy may buy additional engines for blimp surveillance. Read more >>
Universities explore need for weather technology in cockpits
The University of North Dakota, University of Alaska, and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University are conducting a research project, Weather Technology in the Cockpit, to “determine what general aviation pilots’ needs are in the cockpit for weather including: how to implement and educate pilots on the use of such technology.” To better understand the technology needs, the University of North Dakota is conducting a survey to gather pilots’ opinions. The online survey is anonymous, according to the university.
Education secretary visits Aviation High School
U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan heaped praise on Aviation High School in Des Moines, Wash., during a visit there last week. Duncan drove a student-designed robot, discussed the math and science curriculum, and asked students about their education. Read more >>
L-3’s Trilogy—a glass-panel standby instrument that provides attitude, altitude, and airspeed information—will soon come with its own backup battery. L-3 has applied for FAA approval to add a lithium-ion battery to the Trilogy that could allow it to function for four hours on its own power. The Trilogy has a bright, 3.7-inch display and is approved for use in airplanes and helicopters. Owners can add optional heading and turn coordinators to the standalone units. Read more >>
AOPA Now: Three decades of service
AOPA President Craig Fuller had the privilege recently of spending time with two individuals who have dedicated their lives and careers to making GA, and GA pilots, better. He visited the Southern California headquarters of John and Martha King, founders of King Schools, and saw their operation in action. The husband-and-wife team started with simple, in-person classes, but now offer dozens of courses that take advantage of the latest technologies to make learning easier, more enjoyable, and more convenient. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Riding the wake on a Rotax
A recent experience on a “personal watercraft” (PWC) gave AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines new appreciation for wake turbulence in 2-D. Riding a PWC on Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland, he found the craft being sucked into the wake of boats when riding parallel to the wake, as airplanes do when flying in formation. Read more >>
Hover Power: Helicopter ATP
A few companies have started putting a helicopter air transport pilot prerequisite into their employment requirements, and some have offered to pay for their existing pilots to obtain the certificate. However, the vast majority of helicopter pilot jobs do not require an ATP by regulation. So what are the advantages of an ATP for helicopter pilots? Read more >>
Lights, camera, Oshkosh! AOPA Live will come to EAA AirVenture for the first time ever. Filming July 28 to 30, AOPA will interview those who are making headlines in general aviation. Confirmed headliners include Team Oracle airshow performer Sean Tucker and Terrafugia Chief Operating Officer Anna Mracek Dietrich. You can expect interviews from aviation groups such as the American Air Campers Association, the National Business Aviation Association, and Women in Aviation. Manufacturers Cessna and Cirrus will also be interviewed. Don’t know what to expect? Check out AOPA Live from Sun ‘n Fun.
Action: Go behind the scenes of AOPA Live
You may have watched the videos, but have you ever wondered how AOPA Live comes together? Simply, AOPA Live is video journalism. It provides AOPA staff another platform from which to tell a story, and some stories are better told visually. According to Warren Morningstar, executive producer and director of AOPA Live, at the core of every good video story lies a good human story, an emotional connection. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Commercial manufacturers take extensive precautions during flight testing to limit the risk to their aircraft and test pilots. Individual homebuilders don’t typically have the same resources available, so they are even more reliant on proceeding one step at a time, cross-checking everything, and taking nothing for granted. On April 17, 2009, a Glasair Sportsman GS-2 crashed into a residential neighborhood in El Dorado Hills, Calif., killing the solo pilot. According to the pilot’s wife, the accident occurred during the airplane’s sixth or seventh hour of flight testing. Just under an hour into the flight, two other pilots on the frequency heard Mayday calls: “Mayday! Mayday! I'm going down into the brush. ... I’ve lost elevator control.” Read more in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Find out and take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s Mountain Flying online course, packed to the brim with tips and helpful video clips to navigate terrain safely. As a flatlander pilot, don’t think, “That’s not for me.” You’re dead wrong! Summer’s high temperatures and humidity can turn a zero-foot elevation airport into a 3,000-foot high-density-altitude condition, robbing your aircraft of crucial climb and cruise performance. Pilots venturing into the mountains in search of cooler temperatures, take heed! Now is a good time to revisit high-density-altitude operations, performance considerations, and mountain weather. This course qualifies for AOPA Accident Forgiveness and the FAA Wings Program. Challenge yourself >>
Your medical: Tips to keep you flying
Regulations list 15 medical conditions as specifically disqualifying for an FAA medical certificate. But there’s hope for pilots with health concerns such as diabetes, heart issues, or others: Special issuance authorization medical certification may be an option to keep you flying. Learn about the 15 disqualifying illnesses and what is required to get your medical certification back in a Webinar July 20 at 9 p.m. Eastern time. Join AOPA Director of Medical Certification Gary Crump and Dr. Warren Silberman, FAA Manager, Aerospace Medical Certification Division, for an hour of detailed coverage of medical issues as they relate to flying, with a special emphasis on heart-related conditions. Register online >>
Share the cockpit with pinch hitter course
Planning to fly GA to your favorite vacation spot? Help your nonflying companion get more pleasure out of the trip by contributing to the flight. How? Have your right-seat passenger learn fundamentals of aircraft control and get a basic overview of instruments, radio communication, and emergency procedures with the foundation’s online Pinch Hitter course. Best of all: You gain a helpful crewmember to share the joy of flight. And aside from it being more fun, the course beefs up everyone’s safety in the unlikely event of pilot incapacitation. Share the course >>
Air Safety eJournal: How high?
The retirement of generations is always an interesting time. We are seeing it in the air traffic control system as Reagan-era controllers look to retirement. With the changing of the guard also comes a lack of experience and the wisdom of years. The most recent reminder came on a hot soggy afternoon as AOPA Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg was clawing his way up to 8,000 feet in search of cool, smooth air. Read more >>
The FAA has issued a notam for a two-day presidential temporary flight restriction over Bar Harbor, Maine. But this TFR has one major difference from its recent predecessor in Las Vegas: The lone airport in the traditional “GA no-fly zone” will be open to general aviation pilots who have undergone security screening. The Bar Harbor TFR establishes Bangor International Airport as a gateway facility for pilots flying into Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport, and the amount of advance time required to submit a waiver has been decreased from previous TFRs’ 72 hours to 48 hours. Read more >>
Avgas lead producer allays supply concerns
The only producer of tetraethyl lead for avgas this month reaffirmed its commitment to continue to manufacture and supply the additive for the aviation industry. The Environmental Protection Agency took an early regulatory step this spring that could ultimately result in emissions standards mandating general aviation’s transition to unleaded avgas. The step has prompted some concerns that lead producer Innospec might stop production of tetraethyl lead before the industry is ready to transition to an unleaded fuel; the company issued an information update to allay those concerns. Read more >>
AOPA represents GA on first officer rulemaking committee
The February 2009 Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash in Buffalo, N.Y., shined a spotlight on air carrier first officer pilot requirements. Those worried that possible changes to the requirements could discourage people from seeking aviation as a career and negatively impact the flight training industry can count on AOPA to represent those concerns. The association is representing general aviation on the first officer qualifications aviation rulemaking committee, which will create recommendations to address questions surrounding first officer and pilot training. AOPA has cautioned that changes should not create a barrier to entry into aviation careers.
Government, industry talk aviation security
A roundtable discussion of aviation security July 13 brought representatives of general aviation and the airlines together with top officials from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Newly appointed TSA head John Pistole met with the stakeholders just two weeks into his tenure as administrator. AOPA attended the roundtable and said the presence of both Pistole and CBP commissioner Alan Bersin—and their receptiveness to industry input—bodes well for progress on security issues affecting GA, such as the improvement of procedures for the CBP’s Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS). Read more >>
A premature regulation of lead emissions from aviation fuel could have negative effects on the piston general aviation fleet across the nation. But GA-dependent communities in Alaska especially have a lot at stake, Senate General Aviation Caucus Co-Chair Mark Begich (D-Alaska) told the Environmental Protection Agency July 8. The impacts of a phaseout of lead from avgas would be magnified in Alaska, Begich wrote in a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. Read more >>
Taxes and funding: AOPA educates govs. on key GA issues
More than 40 governors attended the National Governors Association annual conference in Boston July 9 through 11, giving AOPA the perfect opportunity to discuss general aviation issues, including sales tax exemptions, excise taxes, and state aviation trust funds, with officials from across the nation. "Proactive engagement is especially important now as governors are preparing to grapple with even larger forecasted budget shortfalls because stimulus funding has run out," said AOPA Director of State Government Affairs Mark Kimberling. During the conference, longtime AOPA member West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III was appointed as chair of the governors association.
Lawsuit dismissal clears way for Willow Airport planning
An Alaska court has dismissed a lawsuit by a property owners group in Willow, Alaska, that had put planning for the local airport and seaplane base in jeopardy. The group had brought a suit against the Alaska Department of Transportation and the local air taxi service because of a 2008 lake use plan that separated aviation from nonaviation uses. The unresolved issue of the lawsuit had hampered the progress of a master planning project, which would address issues such as land use, safety surfaces, and capital improvements. Read more >>
How will the mandate of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out affect your flying and your wallet? Embry Riddle Aeronautical University student Capt. Gerardo Caballero is researching the implementation of the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System, specifically ADS-B Out, as part of his graduate capstone project. “This study is intended to assist in determining the overall feasibility of ADS-B while exploring any adverse impacts in general aviation,” he said. According to Caballero, the voluntary survey is anonymous and can be completed online.
Tenacity wins radar for Utah airport
Eleven years of tenacity, cheerleading, refusal to take no for an answer, and a team effort has produced a radar facility for the airspace around Provo, Utah, reports Greg Soter, AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer at Provo Municipal Airport. Construction of the Beacon Interrogator-6 Air Surveillance System started June 29. “We've been pushing for this badly needed system for 11 years, and we finally got it,” said Soter. Read more >>
Join the Airport Support Network today
Ensuring the health and vitality of your airport is up to you—incompatible development and economic and political pressures can restrict your flying. Every day, more than 2,000 Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers work with AOPA headquarters to help save their airports, but we need more. Below is a link to a list of the airports where an ASN volunteer could make a difference.
To nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer, visit AOPA Online.
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit ASN Online.
Make your travel plans early for AOPA Aviation Summit Nov. 11 through 13, and start saving today. Attendees flying into Long Beach, Calif., for Summit can take advantage of a 5-percent discount on JetBlue airfare for flights into Long Beach Airport, Los Angeles International, or Burbank by booking online with the AOPA discount code (see the website for details). For travel to all the exciting destinations within a short drive from Long Beach, AOPA’s car rental discount program is offering special savings from four companies. Read more >>
Your aircraft is insured—how about your hangar?
Working with the National Hangar Insurance Program, the AOPA Insurance Agency can secure property insurance for hangars. The National Hangar Insurance Program has been meeting the aviation property needs of insurance brokers and their clients in all 50 states. This insurance holds an A+ rating from A.M. Best, a rating which is considered “superior” in the industry. If you own a private hangar or are required to insure the hangar you rent or lease, call the AOPA Insurance Agency for a quote. Read more >>
The dreaded flight physical
The British “class system” includes royalty, the aristocracy, and to all intents and purposes, the rest, the “great unwashed.” On these shores we also have class systems—prom kings, homecoming queens, and the class system enacted by the FAA when granting medical certification. Dr. Jonathan Sackier explains why he’s proud to be a “lower-class citizen” with a third-class medical certificate, and the benefits of flight physicals, in this selection from the AOPA Medical Services Program newsletter. AOPA members enrolled in the Medical Services Program get tips like these—and much more—bimonthly.
Mobile directory puts airport info at your fingertips
AOPA Airports mobile applications bring association members the most up-to-date information about destination airports, all for no extra cost. Access information about airport services and FBOs, airport diagrams, and more—and call airport numbers easily with one-touch dialing—with AOPA Airports apps for Windows Mobile and BlackBerry. The Windows Mobile and BlackBerry versions were developed by Hilton Software, maker of the popular WingX product. All of AOPA’s airport directory mobile applications are free to members. Download one today >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career?