Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today

Epilot (21)Epilot (21)

AOPA ePilot Volume 12, Issue 21 — may 21, 2010

In This Issue:
Airplane thief could spur copycats
Customs to pilots: We hear you
Deadly pressure

GA News   |   Safety & Proficiency   |    member benefits   |   Quiz Me



Click here to view this week's custom content online.


Serious about safety: New tool for risk assessment

Air safety doesn’t just happen. It’s the result of careful planning and preparation. Part of that preparation is evaluating any risks associated with every flight—and now the AOPA Air Safety Foundation has developed a risk evaluator tool for general aviation pilots. Complete with videos and animation, the ASF Flight Risk Evaluator highlights the factors pilots need to consider and provides an intuitive interview-style tool for assessing risks for each flight. Read more >>


Airplane thief could spur copycats

The actions of a young thief in the Pacific Northwest, who is suspected in at least four airplane thefts—and hundreds of other crimes, including burglary, theft, and credit-card fraud—are giving Colton Harris-Moore a cult following. The accompanying attention in regional and national news media is elevating his actions to folk-hero status and could inspire others to attempt similar thefts, AOPA cautions. Read more >>

Collegiate competition concluding in Indiana

The National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s 2010 Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference—better known as Safecon—wraps up May 22 at Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field in Terre Haute, Ind. Think of the event as collegiate aviation’s Final Four, but with airplanes instead of basketballs. Read more >>

300-hp Waco approved

Waco Classic Aircraft Corp., located in Battle Creek, Mich., has won FAA approval for its 300-horsepower Waco YMF 5-D model, a 25-hp boost over the previous model. Read more >>

Customs to pilots: We hear you

Pilots have been complying with Customs and Border Protection’s Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) since it launched a year ago May 18—and they have also shared their dissatisfaction with the system, letting customs know their thoughts about how procedures could be improved. Because of the tremendous compliance record, customs officials are listening to pilots’ suggestions and developing an easier-to-use online filing application. Read more >>

‘I got to fly the plane!’

Nothing sparks the interest in general aviation more than someone taking his or her first flight. About 30 aviation enthusiasts received first flights at Frederick Municipal Airport, home to AOPA in Frederick, Md., on May 15, International Learn to Fly Day. Children rushed to their parents, exclaiming, “I got to fly the plane!” after their flights through EAA Young Eagles and in private aircraft. Adults had similar reactions. “That’s the biggest rush I’ve had since skiing down a black diamond in Colorado or Europe,” said Karen Young, president pro tem of the Frederick Board of Aldermen. Read more >>

Sporty’s awards sweepstakes airplane

Sporty’s Pilot Shop awarded its sweepstakes Cessna Skycatcher May 15 as part of its annual fly-in and open house. The lucky winner was Alan Horowitch of Yuma, Ariz. The call to Horowitch was only one of many highlights on a day filled with a beautiful blue sky and lots of airplanes. Read more >>

Celebrate aviation at Summit: Register today and save!

Don’t miss out on the greatest aviation celebration of the year— AOPA Aviation Summit in Long Beach, Calif. Registration is open, offering up to 25-percent savings to those who register early. Enjoy educational forums, captivating speakers, the hottest aircraft on the market, and special events at Summit this year. Read more >>

FAA seeks comment on Detroit Class B expansion

The FAA is inviting pilots to comment on a proposal that would expand the boundaries and raise the ceiling of the Detroit Class B airspace. The initial proposal calls for raising the ceiling of the airspace from its current 8,000 feet to 10,000 feet. AOPA has recommended against the raised ceiling, pointing out that other Class B designs have successfully incorporated lower ceilings to allow general aviation traffic to pass above the busy airspace. Read more >>

G3X: Now with synthetic vision

Garmin recently added synthetic vision as a free option on its G3X system for Experimental and light sport aircraft. AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman flew with it for the first time last week, and looking through the haze at a landmark 20 miles distant was the next best thing to X-ray vision. Take a look at the colorful, GPS-derived view of the outside world from a technology Hirschman calls “a game changer.” Watch AOPA Live >>

Pacific to Atlantic, nonstop

There were no world records, no acclaim except for that of 50 of his friends, just a long-held dream. On April 29 Jonathan Paul flew his 1966 Mooney from San Diego to Savannah, Ga., nonstop in less than 13 hours. “I’ve always admired the long distance flyer. It was a personal venture,” Paul said. He waited from January to April for the right winds that at one time boosted his 115 knots true airspeed to a groundspeed of 213 knots. Read more >>

Fuller to bring senators, representatives to pilots

The fact that users fees are off the table is an indication of how well general aviation’s message is received on Capitol Hill. And while there is strength in numbers, there is also power in personal interaction with members of Congress. That’s why AOPA is kicking off a series of GA community events to bring members of the House and Senate out to meet with pilots. The first will take place May 22 in Waterloo, Iowa, with Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). Read more >>

Pilot is DC-3 captain at 22

If the Gulf Coast oil leak ever gets plugged, it may be that Glen Moss, 22, and his aviation legend father, Frank, had something to do with it. They have delivered supplies by Douglas DC-3 since the oil rig exploded. Glen is a DC-3 captain and also a first officer on the Douglas DC-4G, the DC-6BF, and the DC-7B, flying for Florida Air Transport, based in the Miami area, and Great Southern Airways, based in Punta Gorda, Fla. Read more >>

Event addresses FSS, safety, and the human element

Even with advanced technologies today, there’s still no substitute for the human touch. General aviation pilots can access a lot of information electronically, but they contact flight service to talk with an expert who can help them in the decision-making process. AOPA emphasized the importance of this service to GA pilots at a Flight Services Safety Summit hosted by the FAA and Lockheed Martin May 13. Read more >>

Helicopter pilot sets eight records

Helicopter pilot Mark Young of Montrose, Colo., set eight world helicopter records last year that were recently ratified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, including speed records and a landing on Pikes Peak. The records were set in a Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter. He set five new records and broke three that had been in place for 50 years. The speed records range from 90 knots to 116 knots, while the altitude records were at 11,056 feet and 14,111 feet. Read more >>

Red Baron flick on DVD

The Red Baron, an independent film with big stars, opened in a few large cities this spring and is now available on DVD from and from the film’s distributor. The DVD is expected to be released June 1, although Amazon is taking pre-orders. Read more >>

NASA’s Virtual Skies offers ‘hands on’ challenges

NASA has updated its Virtual Skies website, featuring aviation modules on aeronautics, navigation, weather, air traffic management, communications, and airport design. Each module includes an overview and basic information about each topic. Then, users can test their knowledge in the “Take Control” section and apply what they have learned in the “You Decide” section, which presents real-world scenarios to solve. Read more >>

Enhancements made to AOPA Airports

AOPA Airports, the new online airport directory, was created with flexibility in mind. Since the directory’s launch, the AOPA Airports team has implemented several enhancements—including significant changes to the kneeboard format; a more prominent, red font to warn pilots that an airport is closed; the addition of AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer names and contact information to the airport pages; and more. Read more >>

Rocky Mountain high

Michael Combs and the Flight for the Human Spirit made some of the highest altitude treks of his journey this week as he traveled along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains. Read more >>

Airport vehicles get moving map

Airport vehicle operators will be less likely to drive onto an active runway in adverse weather conditions with a new alert system built by Garmin and I.D. Systems. Read more >>

For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

Safety & Proficiency

Deadly pressure

When you’ve got to get to your destination, it’s essential to have a Plan B. On Jan. 23, 2009, just before 7 a.m., a Cessna 205 departed Flagstaff, Ariz., taking two men to an important business meeting in Yuma. Flagstaff was reporting ceilings of 1,300 broken and 1,800 overcast; a briefer informed the private pilot, who was not instrument rated, that VFR flight was not recommended. But the Cessna took off and flew south, making it about 10 miles before flying into a hillside at 130 knots, killing both pilots. Read more in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.

Answers for pilots: Alaska!

By late May, flying activity is in full swing in Alaska. For those of us in the lower 48 states, flying there can be the adventure of a lifetime. If a trip of this magnitude is on your radar, get some practical information to help make that dream a reality. Flying safely in Alaska is challenging and requires careful planning and thoughtful preparation for contingencies. AOPA has a detailed Web page on what’s required for flying to and in Canada, but here are the basics. Read more >>

Going flying? Make sure you have a plastic pilot certificate

Have a valid plastic pilot certificate? If so, you’re good to act as pilot in command (assuming you meet all of the other FAA requirements to act as PIC). Some FAA letters intended for pilots who still have a paper pilot certificate were mistakenly sent to pilots who already have plastic certificates, causing confusion. Read more >>

Flying blind: Video opens eyes to IMC risks

Would you cruise on a motorcycle with hands over your eyes? Pilots who fly into low-visibility conditions without an instrument rating are exercising about the same amount of common sense. Get the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's lighthearted take on a serious topic in " Flying Blind," one of the foundation's Pilot Safety Announcements meant to raise awareness of common accident causes.

airport support

Washington airport’s future depends on new location

Sometimes, relocating an airport is a good move. That’s the case for Colville Municipal Airport in Colville, Wash. The airport is boxed in by development, and for years the FAA has refused to invest money in the airport at its current location. Instead of opting to close the airport, city officials are proposing to relocate the facility to an area where it can thrive. 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.


AOPA Now: International Learn to Fly Day

What better way to spend a beautiful Saturday than taking to the air to enjoy a general aviation flight? AOPA President Craig Fuller brought along some friends to Sporty's headquarters in Batavia, Ohio, for International Learn to Fly Day and got to be there for the selection of the winner of the Sporty’s Skycatcher sweepstakes. Read more >>

Reporting Points: Saving the animals, one flight at a time

Flight Training Associate Editor Jill W. Tallman owns two rescued pets and two adopted from animal shelters, and she’s thankful for the volunteer pilot organizations that help to transport rescued dogs and cats to new homes. David Kenny of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation transported two English setters from Westminster, Maryland, to Columbus, Ohio, May 16. Read more >>

Air Safety eJournal: Not my fault, mon!

“Accountability” seems to be a most popular word these days, whether it refers to banks, government officials, oil company executives, or pilots. The NTSB is hosting a forum this week on pilot professionalism, which presumably will include a heavy dosage of accountability. Read more >>

member benefits

Thanks to AOPA WorldPoints credit card owners

You can redeem your points from the AOPA WorldPoints Rewards credit card for golf clubs, but you can also help save an airport. You’d be hard-pressed to find a credit card that works as hard as AOPA WorldPoints. In addition to earning points which are redeemable for cash, travel, and merchandise, using the AOPA WorldPoints credit card also helps general aviation. Read more >>

AOPA life insurance exclusively for pilots

When many insurance agents find out you’re a pilot, you can count on a hassle. What’s worse is to find out too late that the policy had aviation exclusions. With AOPA’s life insurance, just the opposite is true. AOPA’s life insurance policies are designed specifically with pilots in mind so that you are covered in the event of an accident during a flight. Read more >>

Quiz Me

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: Are FAA regulations the only laws that apply to me when flying my airplane?

Answer: No. Of course we are subject to other federal regulations like the NTSB and Transportation Security Administration sections, but additionally we are also subject to state laws. In fact, most state motor vehicle laws apply to operating airplanes. In the case of an airplane accident involving alcohol, injuries, or fatalities you may likely face the same penalties as when operating a car, including a jail sentence. Read more in this article from the AOPA Pilot archives.

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].

shop talk

Wish you had a better understanding of the regulations when talking to your mechanic or the avionics shop? Aircraft Electronics Association Vice President of Government/Industry Affairs Ric Peri answers your frequently asked questions


Question: Can I remove my transponder from my aircraft and send it to an avionics repair station for my biennial ATC transponder tests and inspections as required by 14 CFR 91.413?


Answer: No. This is assuming of course that you are acting as the holder of a pilot certificate ( § 43.3g) performing preventive maintenance and not as a mechanic (§ 43.3b) performing maintenance. Read more >>


Submit your own question via e-mail.

Picture Perfect

AOPA’s online photo gallery allows you to upload your own aviation photography as well as view, rate, and comment on others’ photos. AOPA members have uploaded more than 5,500! 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.

To include an event or to search all events in the calendar visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices, see AOPA Airports.

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Phoenix, Ariz., Orlando, Fla., and Minneapolis, Minn., June 5 and 6; Columbus, Ohio, and Ashburn, Va., June 12 and 13; San Jose, Calif., and Charlotte, N.C., June 26 and 27. 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 Oshkosh, Wis., July 28, 29, and 30; Germantown, Tenn., Aug., 30; Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 31; and Maryville, Tenn., Sept. 1. 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].

421 Aviation Way
Frederick, MD 21701
Tel: 800/USA-AOPA or

Copyright © 2010 AOPA.

To ensure that you continue to receive this newsletter, please add [email protected] to your address book.

ePilot Team
ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown
Contributors: Alyssa Miller, Jill Tallman, Warren Morningstar, Alton Marsh, Dave Hirschman, Tom Horne, and Ian Twombly
Production Team: Daniel Pixton, Lezlie Ramsey, William Rockenbaugh, Mitch Mitchell

Related Articles