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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) June 15 released the notice of a rule prohibiting the “certification, manufacture, importation, sale, or continued use of 121.5 MHz ELTs.” The rule would suddenly make aircraft that are in full compliance with the federal aviation regulations in violation of federal communications law. “At this time, we caution anyone against purchasing a new ELT until this issue is resolved,” said AOPA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Rob Hackman. “… As verified by the FCC, the rule has not been published in the Federal Register, and thereby no effective date can be determined. This provides AOPA and the general aviation industry the opportunity to address our concerns with the FCC and potentially influence the outcome.” Read more >>
Cirrus Aircraft told its owners group June 18 that it will offer an SR22T with a 315-hp Continental twin-turbocharged TSIO-550-K engine. Deliveries start this month. (See “ Cirrus amps its turbo line in the July 2010 AOPA Pilot.”) The SR22T carries a base price of $475,000, and a well-equipped price of $525,900. The engine installation was co-developed by Continental and Cirrus Aircraft engineers, and is not currently available in any other production aircraft. The company claims improved takeoff and climb, quieter takeoff and climb noise levels, higher useful load, and better deceleration from high-speed. Read more >>
Airplanes, helicopters, antique cars, and beautiful weather made a winning combination at the sixth annual Become a Pilot Family Day on June 19 at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. At least 50 aircraft, including the 2010 AOPA Fun to Fly Sweepstakes Remos, were part of a static display outside the museum. Participating aircraft flew in to Washington Dulles—a busy airport in Class B airspace—guided by air traffic and ground controllers who shepherded them along nearly six miles of airport pavement to Udvar-Hazy. Read more >>
It was an honor both Kirby Chambliss and Michael Goulian wanted, a win or a podium appearance in the Red Bull Air Race. Only Chambliss was able to pull it off. Goulian had a minor error that cost him a penalty, dropping him to seventh when he was threatening to take the fourth-place finish. Chambliss got the third-place finish, and a spot on the podium, but was only three-hundredths of a second away from coming in second. Read more >>
Twin Commander Aircraft LLC is offering a $100,000 discount on re-engining upgrades for the Twin Commander 690A and 690B models. The upgrade replaces the standard-issue, 717-shp Garrett TPE331-5 engines with the more powerful, 1,000-shp Honeywell TPE331-10Ts. The price of the two-engine conversion is $530,000. Read more >>
The FAA boosted hopes of Terrafugia officials to market a roadable light sport aircraft (LSA) by granting a large portion of the weight increase the company requested. The FAA said it would allow the vehicle to weigh 1,430 pounds, the same limit already allowed for LSA seaplanes. The company’s request to increase the weight from the LSA standard of 1,320 pounds to a higher 1,474 pounds was denied. Still to come is approval from federal highway officials regarding non-waiverable highway crashworthiness standards. Without that, the vehicle can’t be marketed as a roadable vehicle. Read more >>
Mark Neal of Kensington, Md., loves aviation, and he particularly loves Douglas DC-3s. So it only made sense that Neal and his brother, a chef and longtime business partner, would name their newest restaurant after the fabled airplane. Next month Neal and brother Ty will open DC-3, a 20-seat eatery in Washington, D.C. The specialty will be hotdogs served with all kinds of regional toppings. And of course the décor will complement the name, according to Mark. Read more >>
The National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) have decided to end a 15-year relationship under which the two organizations shared office space and administrative functions. After an extended period of discussions, EAA and the NAFI board of directors agreed that NAFI will become a fully independent organization no later than March 1, 2011. Read more >>
Two pilots flying Flight Design CTs are back in Sion, Switzerland, after circling the globe—in formation—in 51 days. The Flight Design CT aircraft were modified to carry 120 gallons of fuel for the 17-hour legs over water. Read more >>
The future of general aviation lies in its future leaders, and in an effort to help boost the pilot population, AOPA Western Regional Representative Stacy Howard is introducing Girl Scouts to the world of flight through Discover Aviation Camp. “We explore both the history and the future of pilots, aircraft, and flight safety with an emphasis on fun and the limitless opportunities available for women in aviation,” said Howard, who serves as the coordinator for the Arizona Girl Scout Council’s Discover Aviation Camp. Read more >>
The Flight for the Human Spirit made a stop at the place where it all began for Michael Combs—his hometown of Denton, Texas. Combs spent Saturday, June 19 at Denton Municipal Airport meeting fans and visitors to the Denton Airshow. He moved to Denton from Colorado several years ago after learning that his health problems were aggravated by the thinner air in higher elevations. He learned to fly the Remos in Denton, training with US Aviation Group. Read more >>
Bonus depreciation, a tax provision praised for boosting sales of equipment and machinery including aircraft, would be extended through 2010 under a bill recently introduced in the Senate. The new measure was proposed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Also sponsoring the bill is Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). Baucus is working on a larger, bipartisan, small-business job-creation bill with the Small Business Committee and hopes to include bonus depreciation in that package. Read more >>
Fltops.com is hosting a career fair in Atlanta, and hiring airlines are expected to attend. Also featured will be a “focus on the future” session catering to pilots thinking about starting a career, or looking for information on various flight schools and academies. Read more >>
The FAA has received reports that spot-welded V-band exhaust couplings are failing in Piper PA-32R-310T and PA-46-350P aircraft and has proposed an airworthiness directive (AD) requiring that such couplings be replaced with riveted V-band exhaust couplings. According to the FAA, a failed V-band exhaust coupling could “cause the exhaust pipe to detach from the turbocharger,” which could lead to an in-flight fire. The FAA estimates that it will cost $884, including parts and labor, to replace the V-band exhaust coupling. Up to 596 aircraft of U.S. registry would be affected by the AD. For more information, see the AD.
Honeywell gets Citation X nod
Honeywell will provide its Primus Elite cockpit displays for Cessna’s Citation X aircraft beginning in 2011. Primus Elite converts the existing cathode-ray tube displays to LCD displays. The five panel LCD displays incorporate internal computing power, allowing operators to access functionality only available in newer aircraft. Honeywell’s Primus Elite will also be available as an optional service bulletin upgrade through the Cessna Citation Service Center network for in-service Citation Xs. There are approximately 300 Citation X aircraft in service around the world that are eligible for the Primus Elite upgrade. “New features will include XM graphical weather in the United States and southern Canada, Jeppesen electronic charts and maps with aircraft position displayed worldwide, and video displays through a cursor-driven, on-screen interface,” said Honeywell official Chad Cundiff.
Vision is one sense pilots can’t do without, so protecting and correcting it is top of mind. “Beyond the standard corrective lenses—eye glasses and contacts—there are other refractive procedures … pilots may choose to opt for to correct for their distant vision,” said AOPA Director of Medical Certification Gary Crump. In this AOPA Live segment, Crump sheds some light on the paperwork and wait times associated with getting your medical back after having LASIK surgery or mono-vision correction. Crump also discusses problems such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, medical flight tests, and statements of demonstrated ability. Watch AOPA Live >>
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Safety & Proficiency
Starting June 30, air traffic control will adopt some new lingo for issuing taxi instructions to cross runways. You’ll only hear “taxi to” if you are arriving at an airport and taxiing to a ramp or gate. But do you know what to expect when departing? Do you need to change the way you read back clearances? Test your knowledge in this AOPA Air Safety Foundation Runway Safety quiz sponsored by the AOPA Insurance Agency.
High density altitude can have a significant effect on aircraft performance: lackluster climb, longer takeoff and landing roll, and reduced net thrust. Pilots who underestimate how the hot day and high altitude will affect takeoff, climb, cruise, and landing risk joining like-minded aviators in the files of the NTSB. Before you fly at high-density-altitude airports this summer, calculate the aircraft’s performance carefully. Find out what you can do to keep high density altitude from getting the best of you in a subject report from AOPA’s Pilot Information Center.
The first time flying in the soup is something no instrument pilot will forget—it ranks up there with a student pilot’s first solo. But the nuances and preciseness of instrument flying can quickly fade from the memory. Challenge yourself and keep your knowledge fresh with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s series of IFR Chart Challenge online minicourses, VOR Approach , ILS Approach , and RNAV Approach .
The convective activity in thunderstorms can tear an aircraft to pieces. Air traffic control can help you steer clear, but it’s important to know what to expect. Join AOPA Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg and air traffic controllers to learn more about ATC radar limitations, making the system work better for you, and essential communications to help you avoid these deadly hazards in a live Webinar, “Thunderstorms & ATC: What You Need To Know,” Wednesday, June 30, at 3 and 7 p.m. Eastern time. Register online >>
The Environmental Protection Agency has granted a 60-day extension to the comment period for its advance notice of proposed rulemaking on lead emissions from piston aircraft. The extension, requested by a coalition of avgas stakeholders, allows the group more time to gather data that will help it develop the criteria for evaluating fuels and a plan for easing the pain of transition. CEOs and representatives of the groups met with the office of the FAA Administrator June 23 to discuss the need to form a public-private partnership/structure to work on the issue. Read more >>
If I put it in my gas tank, will my engine run? It’s a natural first question for any pilot evaluating a potential 100LL replacement, and it’s tempting to view it as the litmus test. But the future of avgas isn’t so simple. The coalition of avgas stakeholders laid out the complexities of the avgas issue—and the steps the group has taken to address them—in a Webinar briefing with the aviation press June 24. Read more >>
Now is the time to be looking at all avgas alternatives—not ruling any out—AOPA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association explained to a coalition of type clubs representing aircraft with high-compression engines during a meeting in Dayton, Ohio, on June 19. AOPA President Craig Fuller, along with AOPA and GAMA staff, met with the owners’ groups to discuss the issue. Read more >>
Florida Sen. Mike Bennett was in the copilot’s seat when the Cessna 210’s engine failed over the Everglades at night. He and the other men were at 6,000 feet on their way home from Miami, after returning on a commercial flight from a fishing trip to Venezuela. They agreed to leave the landing gear of the Cessna 210 up in case they had to land in the swamp, and it reduced drag as they looked for a landing spot in the darkness. “You know how dark it is out over the Everglades at night? There ain’t nothing out there,” Bennett said, recalling the incident. Read more >>
If the FAA moves forward with plans to implement a New York North Shore Helicopter Route, communities across the country could line up asking for similar routes to force pilots around the outskirts of their town limits. That’s because it appears the agency is proposing the new route based solely on a few noise complaints. AOPA wrote to the agency, saying such a precedent could soon restrict aircraft “from operating over all land masses and any populated areas.” Read more >>
When it comes to planning flights during major holidays, the first question that many pilots often—or should—ask is, “Where will the president be?” Because of the large 30-nautical-mile-radius temporary flight restrictions that follow the president, his vacation plans can throw a major kink in many pilots’ flight plans. Although the FAA, Transportation Security Administration, and Secret Service work closer together now to develop TFRs than they did in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, there is still much room for improvement, according to AOPA. Read more >>
Advocates for general aviation at Reno-Tahoe International Airport are digging in their heels for a long fight to keep GA from being forced out. On a recent trip to Reno, AOPA Vice President of Airport Advocacy Bill Dunn met with local general aviation advocates to provide advice and reinforcements for fighting to keep a foothold at the airport. Local support for GA at Reno-Tahoe manifested itself as a new local aviation association and a formal statement of support from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners. Read more >>
The Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association Migration in Dayton, Ohio, June 17 through 19, drew hundreds of Cirrus aircraft as well as AOPA President Craig Fuller and Canadian Owners and Pilots Association President Kevin Psutka to celebrate general aviation and discuss challenges facing the industry. Hot topics ranged from unmanned aerial systems to increasing the pilot population, and from security to finding a replacement for 100LL. Fuller stressed that pilots who are engaged in keeping GA strong are the key to success. Read more >>
Eligibility for state funding can be a powerful incentive for an airport sponsor to ensure compatible land-use practices near the field. Louisiana legislators are taking that route to help ensure the state’s airports receive the protection they need from hazardous obstacles and residential encroachment. In the final days of the legislative session, Louisiana House and Senate lawmakers passed legislation June 18 that would strengthen land-use planning around airports by requiring airport sponsors to ensure that they are in compliance with FAA and Department of Transportation guidance. Read more >>
The questions on FAA knowledge tests and the way they are taken could change over the next couple of years. In an industry meeting June 15 and 16 to review changes that have been and will be made to knowledge tests and practical test standards this year, the FAA said that it plans to expand its test-question bank from the current 15,000 to 20,000 questions, to more than 100,000 questions. Another goal is to make the written exams Internet based. Read more >>
The FAA is seeking comments on an Air Force proposal to change the times of use for the Brady Low Military Operations Area near Austin, Texas, from intermittent by notam to a set time of sunrise to 10 p.m. local, Monday through Friday, and as needed by notam. The shape, size, altitude, and activities within the MOA would not change. Read more >>
Despite a budget deficit, AOPA and aviation allies in Rhode Island were able to work through another challenging fiscal year with the sales-tax exemption on aviation parts, storage, and aircraft purchases still intact. The exemption has been threatened for the past three years—along with several other nonaviation exemptions—because it has not produced the expected increase in new jobs since it was enacted in 2004. The downturn in the national economy and general aviation industry contributed to the lack of new aviation activity. Read more >>
The AOPA Airports application for Apple iPhone and iPod touch, powered by ForeFlight, has reached the one-year anniversary of its launch. With nearly 70,000 downloads in its first year, the app has proven itself to be a highly valued benefit of AOPA membership. Still haven’t tried the app? Visit the Apple App Store to download it to your iPhone or iPod touch today. ForeFlight’s mobile aviation software delivers Preflight Intelligence and Inflight Intelligence to thousands of pilots around the world.
Ask Mark Bragg what he likes most about AOPA’s Legal Services Plan and he says, “I ask a question and I get a direct answer with no messing around.” Although Bragg has been an AOPA member for 30 years, it wasn’t until he bought his latest airplane, a Piper Chieftain, two years ago that he signed up for AOPA’s Legal Services Plan. “Legalities are such an overwhelming part of my business life. I need to have knowledgeable people and that’s why I count on AOPA,” he said. Read more >>
If you have had surgery or diagnostic tests, or been admitted to the hospital, you will need to gather some paperwork before your next flight physical. “These records are critical parts of the FAA evaluation, and failure to provide them will slow the issuance of your medical certificate,” according to AOPA’s online medical certification center. (See a list of the records you’ll need to gather.) AOPA’s medical certification staff also can help members of the Medical Services Program through the process and even review your records. The comprehensive plan, which includes the review of medical records, costs $99.
Maybe you’re thinking about taking advantage of a buyer’s market and purchasing your first airplane. Or perhaps you’re simply looking to save money and purchase a used headset. Whatever it is you’re looking for, AOPA’s classified ad page is the place to start your search. The classifieds include airplanes, gear, jobs, and more. You can search or post something for sale for free. It’s one of the many ways AOPA seeks to serve its members.