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today’s top stories
When the pilot of a Velocity was stuck on top of an overcast cloud layer, trying to land at Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, and running low on fuel, Potomac Tracon controller and CFII Louis Ridley stepped in to talk the pilot through the clouds to a safe landing at a nearby airport with friendlier terrain. He and 16 other controllers were honored for their remarkable efforts to assist pilots last year during the National Air Traffic Controllers Association’s Archie League Medal of Safety Awards banquet on March 22. Read about Ridley’s remarkable assist and listen to ATC recordings.
Controllers honored for role in keeping skies safe
AOPA Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg on March 22 helped pay tribute to air traffic controllers and the life-saving role they can play for pilots in distress, presenting 10 Flight Assist commendations to controllers from around the country. Read more >>
Senate passes long-term FAA reauthorization bill
The Senate on March 22 unanimously approved an FAA reauthorization bill, setting the stage for the next-to-last step before it can go to President Barack Obama to be signed into law. General aviation supporters in the Senate worked to ensure that the final bill would include benefits for GA. Read More >>
Sport glass: Loop and roll with the G3X
The Garmin G3X, a one-, two-, or even three-screen PFD/MFD, brings unheard-of capability and sophistication to experimental and light sport aircraft. Get the view from the cockpit as AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman does loops and rolls with the new avionics in his RV-3. Watch the video >>
Doolittle raiders to be honored by B-25 formation
The remaining living Doolittle Tokyo Raiders will be honored April 16 to 18 during ceremonies at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. Included in the ceremony is a flyover and static display of 20 or more North American B-25 bombers like those used in the raid on Japan. Read more >>
L-3, Cirrus in dispute over rumors
A lawsuit filed last week by Cirrus Design against L-3 Avionics Systems of Grand Rapids, Mich., alleges L-3 spread rumors among Cirrus suppliers that Cirrus is heading toward bankruptcy. The suit filed by Cirrus last week and reported in the Minneapolis Star Tribune alleges L-3 urged suppliers to end their relationships with Cirrus Design, and comes at a time when Cirrus is seeing a spike in orders compared to 2009. Read more >>
Will you one day fly in an electric or hybrid gas and electric airplane? The Lindbergh Foundation hopes you will and is offering prize money to advance electric airplane technology. The Creative Solutions Alliance, a nonprofit organization founded by Erik Lindbergh, grandson of the famous aviator, is offering the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize. Read more >>
Fuller meets with Long Beach mayor to promote Summit
City officials in Long Beach, Calif., have pledged to work with AOPA to make Aviation Summit 2010 a resounding success for pilots and the local area. AOPA President Craig Fuller met with Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster and other city officials to discuss plans for Aviation Summit. Fuller explained the importance of general aviation and the value that it brings to the city. Aviation Summit 2010, set for Nov. 11 through 13, is shaping up to be the blockbuster event of the GA community. Read more >>
Virgin Galactic rocket ship completes ‘captive carry’
A two-year test program leading to commercial service of passenger spacecraft began March 22 with a captive carry of Virgin Spaceship Enterprise aboard its carrier aircraft, Virgin Mothership Eve. The ultimate goal is to prove the safety of the craft, clearing the way for passenger flights. Read more >>
Road and Runway Rally: Take part in the fun!
On April 10, four adventurous contestants will embark on AOPA’s Fun to Fly Road and Runway Rally, and you can be a part of the action! Two teams, each with a pilot and a driver, will dash from Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md., to Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., with stops along the way. Help get our competitors in the zone by suggesting team names. Tweet your ideas with hash tag #Fun2Fly or comment on the Fun to Fly blog. Read more >>
Civil Air Patrol supports flood response in the Dakotas
Civil Air Patrol (CAP) wings are lending a helping hand in the air and on the ground in North and South Dakota and Minnesota. CAP members have helped fill more than 1 million sand bags and have flown aerial survey missions. According to a press release from the CAP, 75 members of the North Dakota and Minnesota wings spent more than 750 hours providing support last week. Read more >>
Politicians & Planes: From CAP cadet to governor
South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds' entrée into aviation came with the discovery of a hand-written advertisement while he was in junior high school. "I'll never forget what it said. It said, 'Learn to fly, be a Civil Air Patrol Cadet,'" he said. Rounds took his first airplane ride through the CAP, soloed at 16, and earned his private pilot certificate on his seventeenth birthday. Now, in the seventh year of his governorship, he has instrument and commercial single- and multiengine ratings and continues to study for his air transport pilot certificate. Read more >>
Two legendary pilots die
Elinor Smith Sullivan, a record-setting pilot and contemporary of Amelia Earhart, got her first recognition at age 17 for flying under all four of New York City’s East River suspension bridges on a dare. Maj. Gen. Robert M. White was the first pilot to take the X-15 to 4,093 mph (six times the speed of sound) and 59.6 miles above the Earth—10 miles above the atmosphere. The two legendary pilots died this month. Read more >>
Michael Combs taking epic flight preparations in stride
About two weeks before he departs on a 50-state trip in a light sport aircraft, Michael Combs is consumed by details: a final inspection of the Remos GX he will fly; sponsor decals to attach to the airplane; last-minute adjustments to his itinerary. And yet, he’s taking it all in stride. Read more >>
Youth travels out of state to solo on birthday
Cormac Siegfried wanted to solo a glider on his fourteenth birthday; after all, his sister did. So did his father. But the weather in Palo Alto, Calif., wouldn’t cooperate. So, father Rand Siegfried, a pilot and flight instructor, moved the training operation to Pleasant Valley Airport in Peoria, Ariz., where it was chilly and cloudy, but flyable. The family jumped into the Twin Beech to support the effort. Read more >>
Sikorsky flies new S-76D
The first flight of Sikorsky’s second S-76D has been completed in Florida. The aircraft is the latest upgrade of the popular S-76 helicopter. Sikorsky Chief Test Pilot Greg Barnes and pilot Tom Davis conducted the test flight at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center in Florida. Read more >>
Daniel Webster College shutters flight program
Daniel Webster College is closing the doors on its flight training program, according to sources at the school who learned of the decision in a meeting on March 24. The college is one of the largest flight training providers in the Northeast and began in 1964 as the New England Aeronautical Institute. Read more >>
CORRECTION: In the March 19 edition of AOPA ePilot, we incorrectly stated the date of the GA Serves San Bernardino County event. The event took place March 17.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Half of all general aviation accidents occur during takeoff, climbout, and descent to landing. Make sure you know the proper procedures to stay safe during these phases of flight—and avoid getting caught in the wake of another aircraft. Take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation quiz “ Takeoffs, Landings, and Wake Turbulence.” The quiz, underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency, tests your knowledge of how to compensate for gusty conditions, assess risk, and avoid dangerous wake turbulence.
Chart your return to flying
If the clear, blue skies of spring are beckoning you after a long break from flying, you may be wondering what it will take to return to the cockpit. Find out in the AOPA Pilot Information Center subject report about getting back into flying. “Most pilots who have been away from aviation for a while realize they will need a current medical certificate and a current flight review to fly as PIC, along with required recent flight experience if they will be taking passengers,” said Woody Cahall, AOPA vice president of the Pilot Information Center. “However, returning pilots may not realize they also need a plastic pilot certificate.” The subject report explains this requirement and other regulatory changes that may have occurred since you hung up your headset—whether it was a year or 20 years back.
How to fly in to the fly-in
For one week in April, Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Florida becomes one of the busiest airports in the world for Sun ‘n Fun; it’s no surprise that questions about getting there safely may come up. Which frequencies should I monitor? Should I stop on the runway or not? How much fuel should I carry in reserve? Find out the answers in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation Webinar “Flying to Sun 'n Fun Safely.” AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Tom Haines will lead a discussion of arrival, ground, and departure procedures April 1 at 8 p.m. Eastern time. Register now >>
Mexico grants another extension to 406-MHz ELT requirement
Mexico’s Dirección General De Aeronáutica Civil has granted another extension to the April 2, 2010, deadline that would have required all aircraft flying in Mexico to be equipped with 406-MHz ELTs. With the new extension, the DGAC is differentiating between commercial and private aircraft operations. Pilots with aircraft used exclusively for private flights now have until Dec. 31, 2011, to replace their 121.5-MHz ELT with a 406-MHz model or until their existing 121.5-MHz ELT needs to be replaced, whichever comes first. Read more >>
Appeals court sides with California pilots
The city of Watsonville, Calif., violated state law when it approved a plan to eliminate safety zones around Watsonville Municipal Airport to develop the area, an appeals court affirmed March 15. The decision demonstrates that cities and counties cannot ignore the protections the state has put in place for airports—and affirms the power of local aviation groups in protecting airports. Read more >>
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit ASN Online.
AOPA Now: Back to the future
WACO Classic airplanes merge the past and future into an airplane that is both nostalgic and capable. These open-cockpit beauties owe a lot to the planes of a generation or two ago, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the instruments—panels full of glass with all the latest technology. Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: Goin’ to Sun ‘n Fun
It’s time for aviation’s spring break. Many pilots are coming out of hibernation and may be a bit rusty, so practice before heading south. Read more >>
Fun to Fly 2010 Sweepstakes: Are you ready to rally?
Spring training: Baseball players head to the field; other athletes sweat it out in the gym; pilots take to the sky. Guest blogger Alyssa J. Miller is grateful to be a pilot as she spends time in the Remos GX to shape up for AOPA’s Road and Runway Rally. Read more >>
Fuller to help pilots get engaged in aviation at Sun ‘n Fun
With user fees off the table for now and elections coming up in November, the general aviation community has a unique opportunity to seek change through a positive agenda. AOPA President Craig Fuller will provide tips for pilots to get engaged in building a better future for GA during his April 15 speech at Sun ‘n Fun. Fuller’s talk will take place in the AOPA Pavilion behind the Sun ‘n Fun Air Museum at 6:30 p.m. The speech also will serve as the kickoff to AOPA Day, April 16. AOPA members can receive a special $5 discount off the cost of admission that day and enter for a chance to win a Bose Aviation Headset X at AOPA’s Big Yellow Tent (booth 8). For more information, see AOPA’s Sun ‘n Fun Web page.
AOPA Credit Card offers solutions for today’s economy
In tough economic times, building your bank account becomes priority No. 1. The AOPA Credit Card from Bank of America is offering a new WorldPoints enhancement to help you save. With the AOPA Credit Card, you can redeem your points for cash and now have that cash deposited directly into your checking or savings account. This new feature is easy to set up and will allow you to access cash through your personal accounts when you need it most. Visit the Web site and click on the “get cash now” option to sign up and start saving today. Plus, each use of the AOPA Credit Card delivers valuable revenue to AOPA, which is reinvested to fund the association’s many advocacy efforts. The AOPA Credit Card is a primary source of funding.
Enterprise offers weekend savings to AOPA members
Planning a weekend road trip? Rent your car from Enterprise and receive rates as low as $9.99 per weekend day when renting from one of the company’s many neighborhood locations. From now until May 24, AOPA members can take advantage of this money-saving offer. Plus, each time you rent a vehicle from Enterprise you are supporting AOPA. All rentals generate revenue that is reinvested to support the association’s many advocacy efforts, and to fund its expanding campaign to popularize flying and to grow the number of general aviation pilots.
Here’s a question asked by an AOPA member who contacted our aviation services staff through the AOPA Pilot Information Center. Test your knowledge.
Question: I heard that the NTSB changed some of the reporting requirements under Part 830. Is this true?
Answer: Yes. Recently 49 CFR 830.5 was revised with some additional immediate reporting requirements. In addition to some new requirements for turbine and air carrier operations, the following incidents were added to the list: release of a propeller blade in flight, a complete loss of information of more than 50 percent of glass cockpit equipment, airborne collision and avoidance system (ACAS) resolution advisories under certain conditions, and damage to helicopter tail or main rotor blades. You can read the full description on the last page of the rule.
Got a question for our aviation services staff? The AOPA Pilot Information Center is a service available to all members as part of the annual dues. Call 800/872-2672, or e-mail to [email protected]. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to [email protected].
AOPA’s online photo gallery allows you to upload your own aviation photography as well as view, rate, and comment on others’ photos. Your favorite aviation images from AOPA Pilot are still available online through this new gallery. Take a look, and submit your own photos!
Aviation Events & Weather
Want something to do this weekend? Planning an aviation getaway? See your personalized online calendar of events . We’ve enhanced our calendar so that with one click, you can see all of the events listed in the calendar regions you selected when personalizing ePilot. Now you can browse events in your region to your planning easier. You can also bookmark the personalized calendar page to check it as often as you want. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.
Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in San Diego, Calif., Cincinnati, Ohio, and Ashburn, Va., April 10 and 11; Denver, Colo., Boston, Mass., and Salt Lake City, Utah, April 17 and 18; Tampa, Fla., Atlanta, Ga., and Indianapolis, Ind., April 24 and 25. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Can’t make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Brooklyn Center, Minn., March 29; Clayton, Mo., and Pittsburgh, Pa., April 5; Springfield, Mo., and New Cumberland, Pa., April 6; Allentown, Pa., April 7; King of Prussia, Pa., April 8; Lynchburg, Va., April 13. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Got news? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].