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Imagine flying the gorgeous Alaska Mountain Range, sharing spectacular views of Denali Park with your passengers. Then, just as the stunning panorama of Mount McKinley spreads out before your eyes, something goes terribly wrong with the airplane—the aircraft becomes uncontrollable at 11,000 feet. The pilot has only seconds to take corrective action when the exhilarating journey turns into a nightmare. Witness how this tour operator’s scenic flight unfolds. Listen to the pilot describe how he managed the almost impossible task of flying his aircraft while alleviating his passengers’ fears in “Mayday at Mount McKinley,” the latest installment in the Air Safety Foundation’s popular Real Pilot Stories series. Log in to watch actual footage of the developing dilemma, and take away important lessons learned from this pilot’s incredible journey. Experience the flight >>
Hawker Beechcraft union warns of job loss
Hawker Beechcraft’s union has posted a letter warning of a bleak future based on a mid-July meeting with company leaders. Company officials have not commented on the union letter. “The picture we are getting is of a Hawker Beechcraft that will shrink almost immediately by 75 per cent or more within two years, without a guarantee of even the last few jobs staying,” the statement said. The letter referred to past issues in which the company sent work to Mexico to make wire harnesses. Read more >>
Piper CEO Kevin J. Gould resigned suddenly July 20 and was replaced, on an interim basis, by Geoffrey Berger of the parent company, the Imprimis investment fund backed by the government of Brunei. Geoffrey Berger, managing director of Imprimis' Brunei operations, took over “effective immediately,” the company said in a statement. Piper has launched a “global search” for an executive to lead the company. Read more >>
Sikorsky Innovations develops electric helicopter
Sikorsky Innovations officials say they are developing an all-electric helicopter technology demonstrator. The Firefly Technology Demonstration Aircraft will appear at EAA AirVenture July 26 in the Aviation Learning Center, along with other state-of-the-art commercially available and prototype electric aircraft. Read more >>
Viking Air announced that its new Series 400 Twin Otter has received its Canadian type certificate. The Series 400 Twin Otter, dubbed the DHC-6-400, may resemble its 60-year-old predecessor, but that’s where the similarities end. The Series 400 incorporates more than 800 changes that modernize and improve upon the original production models. Among the biggest upgrades are the airplane’s Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34 engines, the use of composite materials, the lightweight interior, LED lighting systems, and improved de-ice and air conditioning systems. Read more >>
New kit airplane may be offered
A new kitbuilder from Florida has entered the scene with a design that may be on the market one day. V-Raptor Aircraft is apparently not taking deposits as yet, but has completed a prototype of its Orion model. No price has been determined for the “four or five” seat aircraft. There was no information on what engine most customers might prefer to use with the aircraft. The piston-engine, pusher design features a canard wing and twin vertical stabilizers. Read more >>
Autonomous chopper flies formation
Sikorsky Innovations has flown a full-scale Black Hawk helicopter in formation with a lead Black Hawk without pilot intervention. The feat was achieved June 4 using a modified Black Hawk from the U.S. Army Aeroflightdynamics Directorate. It flew in formation with an unmodified Black Hawk. Read more >>
Scott Crossfield teacher award named
Lt. Col. Bill Powley, a retired Air Force officer and mentor to thousands of Air Force Junior ROTC cadets, is the winner of the twenty-fourth annual A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year Award. Powley, a 1967 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, has flown supersonic fighters, has 347 combat missions, and is twice a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross. Read more >>
If only humans could lose weight as easily as the Skycatcher just did. McCauley Propeller Systems, owned by Textron as is Cessna Aircraft Co., got its composite propeller for aircraft approved. It is four pounds lighter, improving the payload by the same amount. It is a two-blade, fixed-pitch propeller that Cessna had hoped would be ready when deliveries started. The metal prop that originally came with the aircraft made it four pounds heavier than Cessna had promised. Read more >>
FAA updates TCM magneto AD
The FAA has notified AOPA it will issue changes to airworthiness directive (AD) 2002-13-04 for select Slick Magnetos in various Teledyne Continental Motors engines. The AD corrects a typographical error in the serial numbers of applicable engines so that it will now apply to serial numbers of 99110001 through 99129999 inclusive. The new AD will also note that the affected magnetos have also been installed in certain Rolls-Royce engines. No additional action is required for owners who have already complied with AD 2002-13-04. Download the related service bulletin >>
Kansas State awarding scholarships at Oshkosh
Kansas State University in Salina, Kan., will hold seven daily drawings for $2,000 scholarships—one on each day of EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., July 26 through Aug. 1. Recipients must be a high-school junior or senior during the 2010-2011 academic year, be a transfer student, or start earning a bachelor’s degree at Kansas State’s Salina campus within the next two years. Read more >>
Hawker Beechcraft Corporation’s Global Customer Support announced that its King Air 200 and 300 fleet can now take advantage of a retrofit package that installs the Max-Viz EVS-1500 infrared enhanced vision system (EVS). This includes newly purchased models as well as aircraft currently in service. The EVS-1500 uses a thermal imaging camera that the pilot can toggle between wide angle and telephoto fields of view. Read more >>
G1000 retrofit certified for CJs
Garmin International has announced that its G1000 avionics suite has earned supplemental type certificate (STC) approval for installation in Cessna’s CitationJet. Some 360 of these early CJs—the first in the CJ line—were built between 1993 and 2000. The $385,000 ($405,000, with the synthetic vision option) STC does away with the CJ’s hodgepodge of Honeywell and Universal avionics, replacing the original panel with three large display units, a pedestal-mounted keypad, WAAS LPV capability, Garmin’s GFC 700 autopilot and flight control system, dual AHRS, Class-B TAWS, SafeTaxi and FliteCharts, plus many other standard and optional features. Read more >>
NavionX.org is a new group for Navion enthusiasts who want to compare notes or plan social gatherings. The group was organized by Chris Gardner of Sierra Hotel Aero, the type holder for the Navion. Sierra Hotel Aero plans to make archival documents available in an effort to promote the continued use, interest, and flying of the aircraft. They include old photographs, historical records, documents, parts lists, and products. Read more >>
North to Alaska: Combs ponders Canada route
By air or by road? Sport pilot Michael Combs is pondering the question as the Flight for the Human Spirit prepares to arrive in Oshkosh, Wis., for Combs’ appearance at EAA AirVenture. Combs has pledged to fly to or in all 50 states in a Remos GX. He had originally planned to fold the Remos’ wings and trailer it through Canada to Alaska—a trip of about 1,000 miles. Read more >>
DC-3 awakens in time for Oshkosh
Some of the Douglas DC-3 aircraft that will attend EAA AirVenture to celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the venerable airplane are waking up in the weeds like Rip Van Winkle. The blue and white DC-3 registered as N74589 lay dormant at Covington Municipal Airport in Oxford, Ga., for years, abandoned by its owner after a distinguished career. The aircraft towed a glider above the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, and then returned to Seattle where it was fitted for a life as a cargo carrier. Read more >>
Tammy Duckworth, a former U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk pilot severely wounded in Iraq in 2004, is now an FAA-certificated private pilot in fixed-wing aircraft. Duckworth passed her checkride July 19 at Manassas Regional/Harry P. Davis Field in northern Virginia, and she hopes, eventually, to return to helicopter flying. Her husband, Bryan Bowlsby, is an instrument-rated private pilot. “Tammy is a very rare person, and she was fun to teach,” said Ben Negussie, Duckworth’s flight instructor. Read more >>
NavWorx ADS-B transceiver receives FCC authorization
NavWorx Inc. has received Federal Communications Commission authorization for an Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) transceiver. FCC authorization is a significant step for the Texas-based company's ADS600-B Universal Access Transceiver. The unit allows pilots to see real-time display of traffic and weather on a variety of cockpit displays, according to NavWorx. It operates on the 978 MHz frequency, the ADS-B frequency expected to be most commonly used below Class A airspace. Read more >>
Garmin gives pilots a sixth sense
A system to detect unusual aircraft attitudes and initiate recovery is in development by Garmin International and will be offered soon under the marketing name “ESP.” It will spring into action if needed during the time the aircraft is hand flown. The electronic stability and protection system (ESP) will first appear on the G1000-equipped King Air 200. Read more >>
AMSTAT: Market ‘moving in the right direction’
The market research firm AMSTAT has come out with its report on second-quarter 2010 sales of business jets and turboprops—and ventures cautious optimism. Across the board, sales fell sharply in the first quarter, but picked up again in the second quarter, AMSTAT said. Read more >>
New transponder from Sandia
Sandia Aerospace has developed a new Mode C transponder with a built-in encoder that’s designed to take up minimal panel space. The small, lightweight STX 165 has a compact front bezel and requires about seven inches of panel depth. The STX 165 can be mounted away from the center stack so that prime real estate is available for other avionics. In addition to the transponder code, the STX 165 displays pressure altitude as well as three timer functions. Options include an OAT probe, density altitude display, and an ice alert. The STX 165 has a retail price of $1,700.
Cessna profits down, Textron recovering
Second quarter results show Textron, the parent company of Cessna Aircraft Co. and Bell Helicopter, is doing well despite continued losses at Cessna. Cessna's revenues decreased $236 million in the second quarter. Second quarter profits are up $153 million at Bell compared to 2009 and an identical $153 million at Textron’s Industrial segment. Read more >>
Fun to Fly 2010 Sweepstakes: Countdown to AirVenture
Are you heading to Oshkosh, Wis., for EAA AirVenture? AOPA will have the Fun to Fly Remos on display. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Flying in the U.K.
On a recent vacation to the United Kingdom, Fox Cutter of Redmond, Wash., took some time to locate the airport at Cardiff and find a flight instructor to take him up. Afterwards, he shared his impressions about flying “over there.” Read more >>
A group of Special Olympics athletes from Maryland boarded AOPA’s Cessna Citation Jet July 17 for their first flight in a general aviation aircraft. AOPA President Fuller used the jet to fly them to compete in the 2010 USA National Games. “I have to say, I am honored to take part. By working together we are helping athletes from all over the country fulfill their dreams,” Fuller wrote in his blog. “And it’s something many would be unable to do without our help. It’s a mission that GA is uniquely suited to accomplish and just one more example of general aviation serving the larger community.” Watch AOPA Live >>
Aviation legends to descend on Long Beach
AOPA Aviation Summit 2010 in Long Beach, Calif., will be offering some new and exciting social events this year to go along with traditional educational forums, exciting speakers, and the extraordinary exhibit hall. In this AOPA Live interview, AOPA Vice President of Marketing Michelle Peterson explains how you can have a stimulating dinner conversation with some of the notables of aviation, including airshow pilots Sean Tucker and Patty Wagstaff and astronaut Mike Melvill. Watch AOPA Live >>
GA awareness group reaches milestone
The Alliance for Aviation Across America recently reached a record number of members—5,500 groups and individuals who recognize the positive impact of general aviation on local economies. The alliance encompasses aviation and nonaviation groups. AOPA President Craig Fuller sat down with Selena Shilad, executive director of the alliance, to discuss the organization’s efforts to raise awareness of the value of GA. Watch AOPA Live >>
Mark your calendar for AOPA Live at AirVenture
AOPA Live will feature video coverage from EAA AirVenture on the AOPA Online home page from Wednesday, July 28, to Friday, July 30. Wednesday’s coverage will kick off with NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen talking with AOPA President Craig Fuller about the associations’ partnership on light business aircraft conferences at the upcoming NBAA show in October and AOPA Aviation Summit in November. On Thursday, EAA President and Chairman Tom Poberezny will share highlights from the AirVenture festivities. Friday’s lineup will include interviews with world-renowned airshow performer Sean Tucker and expert pilot-medical consultant Dr. Jonathan Sackier.
Safety & Proficiency
Once the sun has set and the night sky descends, you’re in for a mostly magical and peaceful time aloft. The air is usually smoother, and the view can be breathtaking over well-lit terrain. But night flying has its challenges, ones that call for additional planning and skills. That’s why you’ll want to take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s new Night Operations quiz. Quick: What is required to operate special VFR at night? Are you on a “graveyard approach” coming in over non-lighted terrain when runway lights are the only light source? Take the quiz >>
Amateur hour: 32 maintenance tasks you can do yourself
Most pilots are not mechanics by training or occupation, yet many of us derive satisfaction from tinkering with mechanical things, especially aircraft. Aircraft owners can perform 32 preventive maintenance tasks on their own aircraft, provided they do not involve complex assembly operations. Find out how your tinkering can reap rewards—in financial savings and personal pride—and when to leave a task to the professionals in the AOPA Pilot Information Center’s guide to preventive maintenance.
Close calls: Submit your own story
Have you ever had a close call in an airplane from which others can learn? Send us the details and we'll consider your story for an upcoming installment in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s Real Pilot Stories series. Each story is a true account of a good flight gone bad. Listen to pilots who really have “been there, done that” tell their harrowing tales in hopes of helping the rest of us become better pilots. All presentations contain audio narration, and some include video and even live ATC transmissions. Share your story >>
Air Safety eJournal: A very tough and diverse week
July 2010 started very badly, domestically, for general aviation pilots: thirteen fatalities in accidents during the first six days. All the accident reports are preliminary, so details may change, but the possible causal factors reflect the broad categories of flight operations that comprise GA and all the different things that we do with aircraft. Read more >>
A ban on 121.5 MHz ELTs? Not on the FAA’s watch. The agency has officially stepped in with a letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration requesting that the Federal Communication Commission withdraw its notice that would prohibit the “certification, manufacture, importation, sale, or continued use of 121.5 MHz ELTs.” The FAA is following all of the steps necessary to ensure that the FCC’s notice does not get published in the Federal Register. Without being published in the Federal Register, the notice cannot go into effect. Read more >>
The FAA has released its final rule requiring the re-registration of all civil aircraft over the next three years and renewal every three years thereafter. The FAA proposed a $5 re-registration and renewal fee, but the FAA reauthorization bill if enacted as passed by the House would authorize the agency to increase the initial registration fee to $130 and re-registration and renewals to $45. AOPA proposed an alternative in 2008 that would have allowed the FAA to achieve the same goals without the expense of reissuing aircraft registrations. Read more >>
W.Va. gov. announces bid for Senate seat
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III, a passionate pilot and AOPA member, has worked to promote general aviation in his state. Now he might get the opportunity to share his knowledge of aviation on Capitol Hill. Manchin announced July 20 that he will run for the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s Senate seat in a special election. Manchin had appointed Carte Goodwin, his former general counsel, to temporarily fill the seat. Read more >>
New rule strengthens protections for airports, airspace
An update to FAR Part 77 includes stronger protections for the National Airspace System and private airports. Part 77 governs how the FAA protects the nation’s airspace and airports from obstructions—thus ensuring continued access for all aviation users. A final rule published July 21 will allow for greater lead time in assessing tall structures and provide for protection of instrument approaches into private-use airports. Read more >>
Class C airspace over Long Beach not justified
The Los Angeles area contains some of the most complex and congested airspace in the country. Establishing new controlled airspace in the midst of it may harm, not help, flight safety in the area, the FAA said in a 1991 Federal Register notice. Nearly 20 years later, the FAA is proposing to change Long Beach/Daugherty Field’s Class D airspace to Class C. Read more >>
Shaw SUA proposals better, but additional changes needed
The Air Force has proposed three options for modifying the special use airspace over Shaw Air Force Base. Two of them would severely compress general aviation and restrict access to frequently used Victor airways, but one could address both the military and civilian pilots’ needs with certain changes, AOPA said in comments July 22. The Air Force has released its final environmental impact statement for the airspace training initiative over areas of South Carolina and Georgia. Read more >>
Engage in aviation with AOPA at Oshkosh
Stop by the Big Yellow Tent at this year’s EAA AirVenture and engage in aviation. Keep the spirit of flying alive by pledging your time to support general aviation—whether through taking someone up for an introductory flight, writing to your elected officials to tell them to support GA, volunteering at events at your local airport, or making a donation to an AOPA initiative. While you’re at the tent, learn more and enroll in AOPA member products and services. New for AirVenture 2010! Official AOPA logo merchandise will be on sale.
Airport proposal a step forward in Venice controversy
In this in-depth interview, AOPA’s John Collins talks with Venice, Fla., AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Chuck Schmieler about the latest proposal for the Venice Municipal Airport layout plan. This plan addresses concerns about safety by shifting Runway 13/31 to move houses out of the runway protection zone, minimizes impacts on the adjacent golf course while improving the safety areas around Runway 4/22, and maintains the utility of the airport, a key FAA concern. The Venice City Council is holding a public hearing on July 27 at 8:30 a.m. in city hall. Watch AOPA Live >>
AOPA Counsel Kathy Yodice wants AOPA members to remember that even the most judicious pilots can have an accident or incident involving their airplane. “It’s not that unusual to have a ground mishap—a hard landing, a taxi incident, a mechanic drops a tool, hangar rash. Or, your aircraft can have a mechanical malfunction. These may have little or nothing to do with the member’s skill in operation of an aircraft. Still, they could fall under the category of accidents triggering legal obligations to report the matter to the proper authorities,” she says. Read more >>
Buying a friend’s airplane made easy by AOPA
When a friend of Dave Ohser put his airplane up for sale, Ohser was not in the market to buy an airplane. But when the friend insisted that Ohser buy his airplane, he said yes but cautioned that he didn’t think he would be able to get financing for it. It wasn’t that he had bad credit—he had no credit history. Based on a preference for paying cash, Ohser did not believe he could get the loan. But he went to AOPA Online, filled out the aircraft financing form, and pressed “submit.” Within 24 hours, he was approved for the loan. Read more >>
Summit offers more educational forums than ever
It’s been said that “a good pilot is always learning,” and this year at AOPA Aviation Summit in Long Beach, Calif., you can choose from more educational forums than ever before. With topics ranging from “Fast Track to Your Pilot Certificate” and “Mastering Takeoffs and Landings” to “Engine Failure after Takeoff” and “Buying Your First Airplane,” the forums offer something for every skill level. Read more >>
Your favorite airports, a few clicks away
With the AOPA Airports application for Apple iPhone and iPod touch, airport data is only a few clicks away. You can save your favorite airports for quick reference, and any airport you view is automatically added to your “Recents” list for easy recall. Powered by ForeFlight, the app is free to AOPA members as part of the association’s suite of mobile applications. Visit the Apple App Store to download this exclusive member benefit to your iPhone or iPod touch today.
What is a status report?
If you've been treated for certain medical conditions, the FAA may request a “detailed status report from your treating physician” before it will issue you a medical certificate. A status report must be a separate report from the other records you may be submitting—and regardless of what it is written for, it should include basic comments from your treating physician about your medical history. What is the condition you are being treated for, and when was it diagnosed? What is the prognosis for your condition? Read more in this report from the AOPA Pilot Information Center.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career?