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The attempted hijacking of a FedEx DC-10 on April 7, 1994, changed the trajectory of Jim Tucker’s life and flying career. Tucker, flying right seat with Capt. David Sanders and Flight Engineer Andy Peterson, made a frantic call to Memphis Center after an attack by a suicidal coworker. “Center! Center! Emergency!” Tucker called, later adding, “I’ve been wounded. We’ve had an attempted takeover onboard the airplane.” The crew landed safely, but the blows Tucker sustained grounded his airline career. It wasn’t until the sport pilot rule passed 10 years later that he could return to the skies as pilot in command. Now, he flies a Luscombe. “It felt so good to be back in the air again,” Tucker said. “It was glorious.” Read more and watch a video that includes audio from the events that fateful day.
It was supposed to be a day celebrating legends of aviation at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., complete with a promotional fly-in of eight Stearman biplanes into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. But the event got some unintended publicity when the second Stearman touched down and immediately flipped forward onto its back. Washington Post reporter and front-seat passenger Ashley Halsey got the mishap on video. Read more >>
There’s at least one place in the country you can rent a Cessna 162 Skycatcher, and it is right across the airport from the Cessna factory. Kansas Aviation Inc., based in Yingling Aviation facilities at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, becomes the first flight school to offer the aircraft for rent—at $98 per hour. Operators interviewed in California last year also indicated they would try to stay around the $100 per hour rental charge, although some indicated they might charge $110 to $120. Read more >>
Cessna officials report that production of its Mustang light jet has been suspended since May 17, and that the shutdown at the Mustang’s assembly plant in Independence, Kan., will continue until the first week of July. The suspension was prompted by flooding at a supplier’s Rhode Island facility. Cessna would not reveal the name of the supplier or the affected parts. The shutdown prompted the furloughing of 200 workers. Read more >>
Desert Aerospace has completed certification test flights of the TST-14J BonusJet two-seat, self-launching sailplane. The BonusJet features a jet engine that can be retracted into the fuselage for high-performance cross-country soaring. The jet engine can be extended and restarted in flight. The start sequence is fully automatic, requiring only the flick of a switch by the pilot, reducing the cockpit workload during a critical ‘low-save’ situation while soaring. Read more >>
It’s already flying faster than the average helicopter, but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Sikorsky Aircraft’s X2 technology demonstrator achieved 181 knots true airspeed May 25, but it is designed to cruise at 250 KTAS. The helicopter achieved the speed during a test flight. It is designed to demonstrate that a helicopter can cruise comfortably at 250 knots while retaining such desirable attributes as excellent low-speed handling, efficient hovering, and a seamless and simple transition to high speed. Read more >>
CubCrafters has received a supplemental type certificate (STC) for its Part 23 certified Top Cub. The auto fuel STC is available from Petersen Aviation and is approved for all CC18-180/CC18-180A aircraft. The STC allows the use of ethanol-free fuel with a minimum octane rating of 91. Read more >>
The Gulfstream G250 super midsize business jet is on track for an April 2011 certification with deliveries in the fourth quarter of next year, but many challenges remain for the program. Ronen Shapira, chief test pilot for Israel Aerospace Industries, provided an exclusive briefing on the G250 project for delegates to the World Assembly of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations. The Israeli manufacturer builds the G150 and now the G250 under a partnership with U.S.-based Gulfstream Aerospace. Read more >>
Global economic conditions took another prisoner as Mistral Engines, based in Geneva, Switzerland, said it is forced to suspend development of its aircraft rotary engine. The company continues to seek additional investors to complete the final stages of FAA certification for the 300-horsepower, G-300 rotary aircraft engine. The Mistral Engine concept has been in development for 10 years. Read more >>
The integration into the National Airspace System of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) is the subject of research by the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center, in cooperation with Insitu Inc., of Bingen, Wash., and the New Jersey Air National Guard. Insitu Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing, will provide two ScanEagle aircraft to the FAA. The FAA will conduct research to guide development of recommendations for integrating UAS into the National Airspace System. Read more >>
Hawker Beechcraft Services announced that it is now taking orders to fit Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21-equipped King Air 200/300 airplanes with Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) upgrades. WAAS provides corrected signals to GPS navigation units, enabling more precise instrument approaches, approaches to lower minimums, and curved area navigation (RNAV) course guidance. Read more >>
Owners of older Gulfstream Aerospace aircraft can retrofit an infrared vision system to see better at night and in poor weather, similar to the one on newer Gulfstream jets. Gulfstream now offers the Kollsman General Aviation Vision System (GAViS) on the GV, GIV, and GIII aircraft. Mounted within the upper nose radome, the system supplies enhanced imagery of airports, air traffic, terrain, taxiways, wildlife, and runway conditions. Read more >>
Finnoff Aviation has developed an FAA- and EASA-approved supplemental type certificate (STC) that lets Pilatus PC-12 owners install five-blade composite propellers on their airplanes. The propeller, built by MT-Propeller of Atting, Germany, weighs 10 pounds less and has one more blade than stock PC-12 props, 1.75 inches more ground clearance, and yields performance advantages, Finnoff says. Among them are a 15-percent reduction in takeoff ground run, a 15-percent greater climb rate, a five-knot boost in cruise speed, and nearly vibration-free operations. Read more >>
Hawker Beechcraft exhibited its new King Air C90GTx June 4 to 6 at an airshow now in its fourth year, Eur-Avia in Cannes, France. The star C90BTx was promised in 2009 and is now ready for delivery. Key enhancements include an increase in gross weight and the addition of composite winglets to improve climb performance and further increase fuel efficiency. Read more >>
The Last Time organization will not arrive at EAA AirVenture this year as a mass formation of Douglas DC-3 aircraft, EAA officials have indicated. Instead, an EAA-organized mass formation called Max Effort will take place July 27, during AirVenture. The Last Time celebration will continue and will include a mass formation at Whiteside County Airport in Rock Falls, Ill. After the celebration is complete, it is hoped many of the participating aircraft will individually fly to Oshkosh. Read more >>
Garmin International, ever on the march in the turbine market, has introduced a G1000 retrofit for early model Cessna CJ light jets. The CJ, built between 1993 and 2000, racked up some 359 sales and most came equipped with Honeywell’s Bendix/King EFIS 40/50 ADI and EHSI package, a Universal UNS-1M flight management system, and a Honeywell SPZ 5000 autopilot. Those avionics became rapidly dated, along with the analog vertical-tape engine gauges and other panel equipment. Seeing a niche, Garmin is working on an STC to install its G1000 avionics suite in CJs. Read more >>
The Garmin G500 avionics suite is approved on the Daher-Socata TB20 Trinidad GT single-engine aircraft under a supplemental type certificate (STC) approved in Europe. A factory retrofit kit for use in the United States after FAA approval is under consideration. The retrofit received its European STC in April, providing a modern “glass cockpit” configuration for this category of aircraft. Read more >>
Korea Aerospace Industries plans to equip its four-place piston-engine KC-100 aircraft with Avidyne's Entegra Release 9 avionics system including dual displays. Additional details about the aircraft will be announced at EAA AirVenture this summer. The avionics system has a WAAS-capable FMS900w flight management system, 16-watt radios, and an option for a traffic alerting system. Lightning returns are displayed in color, and the MLB700/MLX770 datalink system is provided. Read more >>
Outstanding individuals from the areas of flight instruction, aviation maintenance, avionics, and safety will be recognized under the General Aviation Awards program for 2010. The FAA administrator will present the national awards during EAA AirVenture 2010 in Oshkosh, Wis. Read more >>
Two aviation bloggers from separate continents are banding together to fly a Cessna 150 across the United States starting this month to promote general aviation. American flight instructor Jason Schappert and Swiss pilot and software engineer Vincent Lambercy formed the Flying Across America project last year to raise money with a goal of embarking on a roundtrip flight from Daytona Beach, Fla., to Catalina Island, Calif. They are scheduled to take off June 21—just three days after meeting in person for the first time—and will travel as far as their funds can take them. Read more >>
Skirting thunderstorms in Chattanooga, Tenn., Michael Combs reached Atlanta in early June in the Flight for the Human Spirit. Combs and the Remos GX he is flying to all 50 states stopped at the Good Neighbor Day airshow and open house at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport on June 5. Poor weather and then high winds kept the airplane in Atlanta until June 7, but Combs then launched for Charlotte, N.C. Read more >>
Visitors to the Frederick, Md., Festival of the Arts this past weekend expected to see an array of painters, photographers, and sculptors displaying their wares. What they didn’t expect was to see an airplane positioned on Carroll Creek in the heart of downtown Frederick. “How’d you get that airplane in here?” many wanted to know. Watch as the AOPA Fun to Fly Remos GX arrives on a flatbed truck and spreads its wings to give visitors a close look at a light sport aircraft. Watch AOPA Live >>
A coalition of aviation and nonaviation groups in the Alliance for Aviation Across America are making the benefits of the industry known to small communities across the United States. Watch AOPA Live >>
Something’s brewing on the horizon from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Watch AOPA Live >>
Find out what AOPA is doing to move forward on the long path to a 100LL replacement. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
If you think not much changes in two years, think again. In just the past year, we’ve gotten a new special flight rules area in New York City and several proposed changes to Class B airspace, not to mention many smaller airspace changes across the country. Your flight review every two years is an opportunity to continue to update and expand your skills as a pilot, and gives you a chance to go over recent changes in airspace, technology, and procedures. Test your knowledge of the flight review in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation quiz, underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency.
If you're gentle with your aircraft, it may repay you—or at least save you on maintenance and parts. Making full-stall landings whenever weather permits can save wear and tear on your brakes and tires, and skillful crosswind landings reduce expensive tire wear. Flying at 65-percent power rather than 75 is easier on the engine and uses less fuel. Whether they rent or own, AOPA members can get money-saving tips—from buying block time at the FBO to using pressure-pattern flying to save on fuel—in the AOPA Pilot Information Center’s subject report.
You’re flying the downwind leg at a towered airport, and the controller has just cleared you for “the option.” Can you initiate a simulated engine failure abeam the numbers and execute a short approach to the runway? Not so fast. “If you intend to simulate an engine out/short approach please make the request with the tower so they can base their separation on your request,” read the answer in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation resource Ask ATC. The foundation has just added new questions and answers to the resource, so find more answers from real controllers and submit your own.
Since the IMC Club began establishing groups nationwide in November 2009, the organization has grown to 20 chapters with nearly 700 members. IMC Club President Radek Wyrzykowski told AOPA that the club focuses on proficiency in a “fun and enjoyable form that is encouraged and rewarded every time and shared as an experience with the community of pilots.” One of the goals is to equip less-experienced instrument pilots with the resources needed to gain confidence in flying in IMC. Read more >>
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.
Airspace around major cities will be getting a facelift this year, and pilots have the opportunity to decide what the new airspace will look like. The FAA will propose modifications to nearly half of the Class B airspace areas across the country. The agency biennially reviews airport operations and airspace needs to identify which areas need to be modified, but the task of modifying 14 Class B areas all at once isn’t the norm.“In the past 10 years, we’ve never seen this many airspace areas being modified at one time,” said Heidi Williams, AOPA senior director of airspace and modernization. Read more >>
AOPA represents general aviation pilots in every Class B and C modification process as part of an ad hoc user group. The group—which comprises about 20 individuals representing a cross section of airspace users—meets to examine the FAA’s proposal, analyze the impact it could have on aviation operations, and make recommendations. Read more >>
Pilots have the chance to shape the new look of Class B airspace—an opportunity anyone who flies in or near those areas would be remiss to disregard, especially now when so many locations are up for review. A change like lowering the floor of part of the Class B airspace over Atlanta might seem minor to the FAA, but it has a big impact on the busy GA airport beneath it, DeKalb-Peachtree Airport. Read more >>
When Silver State Helicopters went bankrupt in 2008, it left students on the hook for more than $100 million in loans. It’s not a common situation, but the event drew attention to the vulnerability of students in the case of a sudden flight school closure. A recently passed law in California is intended to protect the financial wellbeing of students, but AOPA thinks it may go too far—saddling flight schools with a financial burden that may be insurmountable for many, and possibly leading to closures. The association joined other members of the aviation community June 7 to explain the potential detriment of the law before the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education Advisory Committee. Read more >>
Sport and recreational pilots carrying a passenger in Ohio have been breaking the law for years, according to an outdated statute created in the 1950s. But AOPA worked to have the code amended. Ohio Code 4561.15 prohibited pilots who did not have a “private pilot or higher” certificate from carrying one or more passengers in the aircraft. Those in violation of the law could have been fined not more than $500, be imprisoned not more than six months, or both. Read more >>
An FAA assessment of 30 light sport aircraft facilities has concluded that many do not have the procedures in place to demonstrate their compliance with certain consensus standards. The nearly six-year-old light sport industry relies on FAA-accepted industry standards for the certification of aircraft. The industry is currently developing an audit standard to ensure that manufacturers have a clear path to establishing their aircraft’s compliance. Read more>>
Leaders from the general aviation and petroleum industries met recently and formed a coalition to work together and develop a process to reduce lead emissions from GA aircraft, balancing environmental benefit with aviation safety, technical feasibility, and impact upon the GA industry. The group wants to ensure that a stable aviation fuel supply exists in the near term while the long-term solution is identified, certified, and implemented. At this stage, all potential solutions, including lower octane fuels, higher octane candidates, and chemical or bio additives, remain possible options. Read more >>
During the twenty-fifth International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Association (IAOPA) World Assembly, hosted in Tel Aviv by AOPA-Israel President Yaron Efrat June 6 through 11, leaders of the IAOPA affiliates discussed issues facing general aviation worldwide and what can be done to protect the industry into the future. “The work we do here has the potential to set the course for general aviation around the world. And our efforts will have a lasting impact,” said IAOPA and AOPA President Craig Fuller. Read more >>
Cleveland-Hopkins International boasts one of the smallest Class B airspace areas in the country, and it will continue to hold that rank. The FAA’s proposed redesign of the airspace will keep its lateral dimension at a 20-nautical-mile radius, and its vertical limit will remain at 8,000 feet msl. Read more >>
NextGen modernization plans call for transitioning from ground-based to satellite-based navigation and surveillance in part to increase efficiency and capacity in the airspace system. A recent re-evaluation and change to restricted airspace in California demonstrates one way airspace can be modified to increase efficiency. Restricted Area R-2504 near Camp Roberts in San Miguel, Calif., will be divided into two separate restricted areas, allowing the Army to activate only the portion that is needed for operations. Read more >>
Give the airport the hangar you built and rent it for a higher rate, or move it at your own expense: That’s the choice leaseholders at the North Little Rock Municipal Airport could be faced with as their leases expire if an airport commission proposal goes forward. The airport commission has proposed changing the rules for long-term leaseholders by reverting ownership of hangars to the airport at the end of their lease term. AOPA wrote to the commission June 7 to oppose the proposal. Read more >>
The FAA’s annual General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey helps the agency determine funding for infrastructure and service needs, assess the impact of regulatory changes, and measure aviation safety. If you received a postcard invitation or survey by mail, AOPA encourages you to complete it online. The GA Survey is the FAA’s only source of information on the size and makeup of the GA and Part 135 fleets, the number of hours flown, and the reasons people fly. Read more >>
CORRECTION: In the June 4 edition of ePilot, we incorrectly identified the aircraft that flew near the Statue of Liberty. It is considered a light sport aircraft. We regret the error. AOPA reminds pilots to be extra cautious and provide a buffer when flying in sensitive areas.
Airshows, camping, pilot products, workshops—you name it and EAA AirVenture has it. AOPA will be bringing the action to you in real time through AOPA Live. For those traveling to Oshkosh, Wis., for AirVenture (July 26 through Aug. 1), stop by AOPA’s Big Yellow Tent (near Hangar C) to see the Fun to Fly Remos GX Sweepstakes aircraft and pledge how you will engage in aviation in 2010. Also, visit the AOPA Let's Go Flying/Flight Training exhibit in the EAA Learn to Fly Discovery Center on AeroShell Square to learn how to get others involved in flying. July 28 through 30, join AOPA President Craig Fuller and aviation notables for AOPA Live interviews next to the yellow tent. If you can’t make it to Oshkosh, log on to AOPA Live for the interviews.
When thousands of pilots, aircraft owners, and aviation enthusiasts flock to Long Beach, Calif., for AOPA Aviation Summit in November, many of those who fly in for the event will get help on the flight line from host FBO AirFlite Aviation Services. Long Beach Airport/Daugherty Field and AirFlite are hosting AOPA’s annual convention for the third time. AirFlite will provide FBO services for transient aircraft and support services for the second annual Airportfest, which includes activities for the whole family and a one-of-a-kind static aircraft display. Read more >>
Whether you’ve got a question about buying an aircraft or securing your medical, AOPA’s Pilot Information Center has specialists on hand to help. Members of AOPA can tap into the expertise of more than 30,000 hours of collective flight experience by calling or e-mailing the pilots and flight instructors in the Pilot Information Center. During the course of a given year, the association’s specialists respond to more than 200,000 member questions and thousands of e-mails and letters. Read more >>
AOPA members can have airport services, FBO information, airport diagrams, and more at their fingertips, all for no extra cost. As part of AOPA’s collection of mobile applications, AOPA Airports apps for Windows Mobile and BlackBerry, are free to members. You can download the entire airport database wirelessly and take it with you wherever you go. You can even file your VFR flight plan using CSC DUATS to store and retrieve flight plans for quick and easy repeat filing. The application was developed by Hilton Software, maker of the popular WingX product. Download it today >>