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Pilot Briefing

Weekly show, The Aviators, begins The Aviators was a hit at the PBS Annual Meeting held in May in Austin, Texas, and is expected to air on many of the 356 Public Broadcasting Stations across the United States starting this fall. Check your local listings to see if your PBS station is carrying the show.

Weekly show, The Aviators, begins

The Aviators was a hit at the PBS Annual Meeting held in May in Austin, Texas, and is expected to air on many of the 356 Public Broadcasting Stations across the United States starting this fall. Check your local listings to see if your PBS station is carrying the show.

“We’re thrilled by the number of stations across the country eager to air the show,” said Executive Producer Anthony Nalli. “There’s obviously a demand for intelligent, entertaining aviation television, and stations
and viewers are excited that it’s
finally here.”

The Aviators is produced by a Canadian-headquartered company, and can be seen on Saturday mornings on Canada’s Global Television Network as well as Wednesday and Saturday nights on Chek-TV. Talks are in progress to broadcast The Aviators in Europe and Asia in early 2011.

Previews for The Aviators can be found online. AOPA and EAA have cooperated with the show’s producers to provide content.

AOPA vice president dies in sailplane competition

Chris O’Callaghan, AOPA vice president of eMedia, was killed August 4 in a midair collision between two sailplanes in Uvalde, Texas, at the Soaring Society of America’s 15-meter national championship. O’Callaghan had just completed an aerial contest circuit and was returning to the airport when the Schempp-Hirth Ventus-2bx sailplane he was flying and that of another competitor collided. O’Callaghan’s aircraft crashed while the other pilot was able to land his damaged aircraft safely.

Affectionately known as “OC” (he raced as call sign Oscar Charlie and included the initials in the registration number on his glider), O’Callaghan was an active member of the Mid-Atlantic Soaring Society, a member of the Soaring Society of America board, participated in national and international competitions, and logged more than 6,000 hours in more than 30 kinds of sailplanes. He joined the AOPA staff in 2008. He led the association’s initiatives aimed at improving AOPA Online; upgrading the AOPA Airports online directory; increasing the utility of the AOPA Internet Flight Planner; creating; and launching AOPA Live streaming video on the web.

“Chris had a passion for life and for aviation that inspired all around him,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “He contributed much to AOPA and kept us on the leading edge of technology and communication. He will be missed by family, friends, and colleagues.” O’Callaghan is survived by his wife, Laura. He was 51. A scholarship will be created in his name at the association.

Pay for your flying and an airplane

Marge Beaver of Muskegon, Michigan, has faced obstacles and overcome them, which is why she owns her own airplane and has a self-employed job she loves. She’s an aerial photographer with three books published and plenty of customers.

Many of us share a dream of an unlimited flying budget, or purchasing an airplane, but the need for food and shelter intervenes and the dream fades, but not hers.

She had already learned to fly and was checked out in a Cessna 150 and a Cessna Cardinal at her flying club when her big break came: her son-in-law’s factory burned down. She hopped in the 150, since the windows wouldn’t open on the Cardinal, took photos of the smoldering ruins, and gave prints to her son-in-law who showed them to his boss. His boss ordered 125 8x10-inch prints and hired her to photograph the reconstruction of the factory. That little cartoon light bulb went off over her head and she asked the club if she could use the Cessna 150 for her first contract. The obstacle? The club said no, they couldn’t be involved in a commercial enterprise. So she bought her own Cardinal.

She had saved money for years from retouching negatives for local portrait photographers, but it wasn’t enough for an airplane. Then she remembered there were hardwood trees on her property. She sold enough of them until she had, back in 1982, the funds for a 1973 fixed-gear Cardinal. Did she feel bad about the trees? “I wanted an airplane awfully bad,” she said. “You’re supposed to thin them out anyway, according to environmental people.” (Today she and her husband get a tax break on the remaining trees because they are in a forestry management program.)

Her business— Photography Plus—grew from that and she won a contract to map counties so local officials could assure that farm subsidies were correctly paid. She had no training as a photographer, but taught herself what she needed to know. As the business grew, her husband insisted on taking care of the family’s financial needs. “I was lucky in all this. My husband was the chauvinistic type and didn’t think the wife needed to be supporting the family. I could plow anything I made back into the business,” she said. “A word of wisdom. If you want to do this, have another source of income,” she added.

Her one-woman company became self-supporting in 1986, and has done so well she has time for special projects like publishing coffee table books including, Above the North, Above West Michigan, and her newest book, Above the Lighthouses; Lake Michigan.

To save printing costs during a recession, her publisher wanted to cut 80 pages. The commercial and instrument-rated pilot bought back the rights and published it herself, meaning she now had to market it herself.

Her Cardinal has a photo port in the belly under the pilot’s seat to avoid the exhaust stack. She flies from the right seat. The belly port became a necessity when she got a contract from a local plant that wanted stereo mapping of its timberlands. “I had no idea how to do it when I accepted the job, but I learned quickly.”

For those of you interested in taking photos from the air, she uses a sophisticated Canon EOS 1DS Mk III camera with a 70-300mm zoom lens, a 24-70mm zoom, and a 28-135mm zoom. She considers the 70-300 her best lens and the 28-135mm lens problematical because it isn’t sharp in the corners. The high-end camera has so many features it can be difficult to learn. “I just mastered the parts of it that apply to what I do,” she said.

Currently, she has a contract to take aerial photos for the book series Ports O’ Call published by Lakeland Boating.

“I don’t recommend doing it alone. I have 7,000 hours in my plane. I know what it is doing. If you are a low-time pilot, I don’t recommend it. If you are flying in busy airspace, you want another set of eyes in the plane.” Her standard answer when asked how she does it is, “Very carefully.”

MT adds a blade to its Husky props

Flight Resource, a Wisconsin firm, and MT Propellers of Germany have joined forces to produce a three-blade, Scimitar-shaped prop for the Aviat Husky.

“I thought the new MT blade design would work real well on the Husky, and I was willing to take a chance on it,” said Larry Schlasinger, managing partner for Flight Resource.

The new prop promises a greater climb rate, lower cylinder-head temperatures, and a gain in cruise speed of five knots, according to company tests.

The three-blade prop carries a retail price of $13,300 (including spinner, STC, and mounting hardware). Flight Resource plans to offer it as a retrofit for existing airplanes as well as an option on new Husky models. —Dave Hirschman

Say Again?

Test yourself with these aviation quiz questions

By AOPA Pilot staff

  1. Why are most composite aircraft painted white?
  2. True or false: Flights above all national parks should be a minimum of 2,000 feet above the ground.
  3. Saburo Sakai, Japan’s leading ace during World War II, was blinded in one eye and nearly shot down by a crewmember on this type of U.S. Navy aircraft:
    a. Hellcat
    b. Avenger
    c. Corsair
    d. Dauntless
  4. A Beechcraft Bonanza is in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum for setting which world record(s)?
  5. True or false? The eruption of Mount St. Helens was documented only with synthetic aperture radar imagery captured by a NASA Martin-General Dynamics WB-57F aircraft flying at 60,000 feet agl.
  6. What did parachute jumper James Clark do for the first time on October 27, 1926?

Click here for the answers.

Attend AOPA Summit from your computer

If you can’t attend AOPA Aviation Summit November 11 through 13 in Long Beach, California, let AOPA Live bring you the broadcasts from the convention floor. If you are working during the broadcasts, they are recorded and available 24 hours a day on AOPA Online. You can also follow AOPA Summit on Twitter and Facebook.

King Schools owners detained at gunpoint

Where would you want to fly if you lived in beautiful San Diego? Martha and John King decided they would travel in their leased Cessna 172S to the even more beautiful Santa Barbara north of Los Angeles. On August 28, the owners of King Schools were ordered to come out of the aircraft with hands up after landing at Santa Barbara Municipal Airport.

A Cessna 150 stolen from McKinney, Texas, in 2002 had the same N number that was deregistered in 2005 and given to Cessna Aircraft Company in 2009. When a Cessna Pilot Center regional manager picked it up from the factory in Independence, Kansas, and flew it to Wichita in 2009, he, too, had been greeted by police.

The El Paso Intelligence Center operated by the Drug Enforcement Administration had warned police departments in the McKinney and Santa Barbara cases, eight years apart. The FAA said a few days later the Kings’ aircraft has been removed from the National Crime Information Center database maintained by the FBI for law enforcement agencies, so there should be no more trouble.

The Kings got to see what police departments call a “felony stop,” or “hot stop” usually reserved for stolen cars—and noticed that the officers could use additional training on handling aircraft cases.

Hmm, whom do we know who could provide aircraft training courses and has recent experience with a hot stop?

For more information on this story, visit AOPA Online.

New Products

Bose A20 review

Bose introduced its new A20 headset recently to much fanfare. The company has a full advertising plan in effect, as well as a series of press conferences, giving aviation journalists a first look at the $1,095.95 active noise reduction (ANR) headset. The hype was big, but how is the performance?

We tested the headset on a seven-hour flight back from Oshkosh, Wis., to Frederick, Maryland, in the very loud Fun to Fly Sweepstakes Remos GX. If you consider the ANR performance of a headset to be the most important quality, the A20 will impress you. The passive attenuation is markedly better than most ANR headsets we’ve tried, and the active noise canceling is in a class with few competitors. We have extensive experience with Lightspeed’s Zulu, a headset with superb ANR performance. Is the Bose A20 better? It’s tough to say because we did not do a side-by-side comparison.

Among its many upgrades from the Bose X, the A20 features Bluetooth technology for music and cell, although music can’t be wirelessly streamed from a cell phone, a feature of the Zulu. The headset is also supposed to have a better fit than the X, which was true on our tester’s head, but may not be true with others. Talking about fit with headsets is a bit useless. Every buyer needs to determine this for himself.

Battery life is reported to be an outstanding 40 hours on two AA batteries. Like the X, the A20 is available in panel-powered or battery modes.

Should you drop more than $1,000 to buy the new Bose A20? The answer depends on what you’re looking for in a headset. It has excellent ANR performance, a nice fit, and good features. However, there’s also a reason the company discontinued the X and its recent $850 price tag. Other than the additional Bluetooth capability, justifying the extra $250 would have been difficult for most buyers. Now if you want a Bose you have to get the A20. Not that that’s a bad thing. —Ian J. Twombly

EAA gets new president

Rod Hightower, a business manager and Stearman pilot and rebuilder, will become the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) third president since the organization was formed in 1953, EAA Chairman and President Tom Poberezny announced.

“There’s never a right time [to step down], but there’s a wrong time,” said Poberezny, who wanted to hand over management of the 160,000-member association while he was in good health and EAA was on solid footing. “We have to ensure the EAA’s culture, standards, and innovation remain intact.”

In a letter to Hightower, AOPA President Craig Fuller said he looks forward to forging a strong working relationship with Hightower and continuing to collaborate with Poberezny, who remains as EAA’s chairman.

Hightower learned to fly at 16, and currently owns and flies a Stearman biplane that he rebuilt beginning in 1988. Hightower keeps his vintage airplane at Creve Coeur Airport near St. Louis. He’s a director of the National Stearman Foundation and has been an EAA member for more than 20 years.

His business career has included sales and management positions in a variety of industries, and he was a vice president at Square D Corp. and York Corp., an air conditioning firm. Most recently, he was CEO of Public Safety Equipment, a supplier of emergency lighting with law enforcement and military applications.

“I’m not leaving the organization,” Poberezny said. “I’m changing my focus.” —Dave Hirschman

Say Again? Answers from page 44

1. Most composite aircraft are painted white to reflect as much sun as possible; UV rays, and high heat, can degrade the integrity of composite aircraft.

2. False. The minimum allowable altitude is 2,000 feet agl over most parks, but pilots near Jackson, Wyoming, are asked to fly 3,000 feet or higher above Grand Teton National Park.

3. B. On August 8, 1942, Sakai was seriously wounded while attacking a group of TBF Avenger torpedo bombers near Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. Although grievously wounded, he flew more than four hours to return to his base and nearly crashed upon landing.

4. Capt. William Odom set a nonstop world distance record for light airplanes on March 8, 1949, flying Waikiki Beech from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Teterboro, New Jersey. He covered the 5,273 miles in 56 hours and two minutes.

5. False. Geologists Keith and Dorothy Stoffel rented a Cessna 182RG and began taking important aerial photos when the eruption began on May 18, 1980.

6. During a descent of several thousand feet, Clark filmed the passing landscape using a motion-picture camera strapped to his chest.

Do you have suggestions for aviation quiz questions that will stump other pilots? Send your questions to [email protected].

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