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In This Issue:

VOLUME 12, ISSUE 42— October 15, 2010

GA’s supporters on Capitol Hill
Too close for comfort
IFR challenge: The next level
Quiz Me: Filing an alternate airport


Safety >>

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect >>


AOPA Live >>

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GA’s supporters on Capitol Hill

Feature General aviation continues to face threats in Washington, D.C. There still is a need to remain vigilant on the matter of FAA funding, and other issues also require that GA have friends on Capitol Hill. For example, the EPA would like to see lead removed from 100LL avgas. While the EPA acknowledges that aviation gasoline formulation is an FAA issue, the FAA needs funding to test and evaluate a number of potential 100LL replacements. Then there’s the matter of funding for the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen); how much of that cost should be paid by GA? On Nov. 2, Americans have the opportunity to make their voices heard at the voting booth. Find out where your federal candidates stand on issues affecting GA as you decide how to cast your vote. Read more >>


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GA News

Freefall record attempt put on hold

First it was cancellation of the 2011 Red Bull Air Race, and now the Red Bull Stratos freefall record attempt has been canceled until further notice because of a court case filed in Los Angeles. Daniel Hogan claims the project was his idea, which he alleges Red Bull stole while assigning skydiver Felix Baumgartner to break the record. It was to be a “mission to the edge of space” to break the freefall parachute jump record of 102,800 feet set in 1960 by Col. Joe Kittinger of Orlando, Fla. Read more >>

Piper makes way for PiperJet

Like a family preparing for a new baby, Piper Aircraft has hired a contractor to modify factory space for completion of the PiperJet, now in the detail design phase of its development. Local subcontractors will be used for the multimillion-dollar project that will require 30 workers. Summit Construction will provide architectural design and construction management services to upgrade an existing 75,000-square-foot building on Piper’s manufacturing campus. Read more >>

Aspen releases new digital autopilot adaptor

Aspen Avionics has developed an FAA-certified adaptor, the EA100, which enables the air data computers that drive its primary and multifunction displays to communicate with a range of attitude-based autopilots. Aspen PFD and MFD customers now have the option of replacing aging mechanical gyros with new attitude-based systems that provide greater accuracy, additional capabilities, and reliability. Read more >>

Introducing: Our best pilot headset ever. NEW A20™ Aviation Headset

The A20™ headset provides significantly greater noise reduction than currently available. It also features improved comfort, clear audio, Bluetooth® connectivity, auxiliary audio input and priority switching. Learn more >

Virgin Galactic ‘Enterprise’ completes glide test

Space Shuttle <em>Atlantis</em> The suborbital commercial tourist spaceship VSS (Virgin Space ship) Enterprise—also known as SpaceShipTwo—owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company completed its first unpowered glide test Oct. 10. The spacecraft was released from its launch aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo (also known as Eve), at 45,000 feet and spent 11 minutes testing systems (including the release mechanism), making a practice approach at a high altitude and landing at Mojave Air and Space Port in California. Read more >>

FAA clarifies aircraft registration expiration dates

The FAA issued a clarification Oct. 12 explaining when aircraft registration certificates will expire under the new three-year renewal rule. Once owners have transitioned to the new registration, the new certificates will expire three years from the month in which re-registration was accomplished, the FAA said. If an owner whose registration expires March 31, 2011, renews in October, for instance, the three-year registration will display an expiration date of Oct. 31, 2013. Read more >>

Garmin seeks G600 RVSM approval

Garmin expects to obtain FAA approval for reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) early next year for some G600-equipped aircraft. Garmin and industry partners AeroMech of Everett, Wash., and Corporate Aircraft of Fresno, Calif., are seeking an STC for RVSM approval in the Cessna 441 Conquest II. If successful, Garmin expects to seek G600 RVSM certification in other high-altitude turboprops. Read more >>

SIUC holds career day for students

Southern Illinois University Carbondale held an aviation career day on Oct. 9 that featured an aircraft and pilots from American Airlines. The sixth annual event drew 110 Chicago-area high school students who came out to learn more about SIUC’s aviation program. The AA MD-80 was flown in and staffed by employees who are also SIUC alumni, the school said. Read more >>

FAA seeks broad new rules for air ambulances, others

Space Shuttle <em>Atlantis</em> The FAA, citing the need to better protect passengers, patients, medical personnel, and pilots, has proposed broad new operating rules for air ambulances and other helicopter operators. Numerous provisions would impose new VFR visibility requirements in Class G airspace, change communications and training standards, and add on-board safety equipment. The proposal would require operators to use “the latest on-board technology and equipment to avoid terrain and obstacles.” Flying in difficult weather, at night, or landing at remote locations would mandate use of “enhanced procedures.” Read more >>

Balloon pilots celebrate wins, mourn loss

The 2010 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta concluded Oct. 10 after a week of exceptionally good weather. Bryan Hill of Arizona, flying BasketCase, earned the highest score and took home the first-place prize, a one-person Cloudhopper hot air balloon. But Balloon Fiesta—and especially the America’s Challenge gas balloon event—was dampened by the presumed loss of American pilots Richard Abruzzo and Carol Rymer-Davis, whose gas balloon disappeared over the Adriatic Sea, off the Italian coast, Sept. 29. Read more >>

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Lockheed Martin makes gift to Challenge Air

Lockheed Martin Corp. has made a financial contribution to Challenge Air for Kids & Friends, a Dallas-based organization that works to build the self-esteem and confidence of children and youth by giving them the opportunity to experience flight, as well as to participate in educational aviation programs. "We're proud to support an organization that opens up the world of aviation to so many kids," said Jim Derr, director of Lockheed Martin’s Flight Service Program. Read more >>

Extra plant approved for Colorado site

Space Shuttle <em>Atlantis</em> County officials overcame risk concerns and have approved a deal that allows German-based Extra Aircraft to assemble EA-500 six-passenger single-engine turboprop aircraft in Montrose, Colo. The fuselage halves and completed wing will be made in Germany and shipped to Montrose. The molds will remain in Germany. The county will build a 25,000-square-foot hangar and other improvements—estimated in one report as costing $2 million—on existing land at Montrose Regional Airport and lease it to Extra. Read more >>

Three honored with Pathfinder Award

Entrepreneur Clay Lacy, aerospace executive William E. Boeing Jr., and Boeing’s first female test pilot, Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann, have received the Pathfinder Award from the Museum of Flight in Seattle. Pathfinder Award honorees are selected by the museum’s board of trustees from among candidates nominated by the museum, the Pacific Northwest section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and representatives of leading aviation and aerospace organizations. Read more >>

If you fly a plane you don’t own,

insurance carried by FBOs or owners protects their interests—not necessarily yours. Avemco ® has reduced premiums on Renters insurance for SE aircraft while doubling aircraft damage liability options. Get more for less!

Online auction offers training deals

Whether you are interested in earning an instrument rating or getting a type rating in a King Air or Citation Jet, or need recurrent training in a King Air, Beech Baron, or Cessna 300/400 series aircraft, you might find a deal in the AOPA Foundation online auction. FlightSafety International, Redbird Flight Simulations, Accelerated Flight and Instrument Training, SimCom Training Centers, and Aviation Ground Schools have donated for the foundation’s auction. All of the money raised will help the AOPA Foundation with its educational initiatives to support general aviation. Bidding ends Nov. 13 at 10 p.m. Eastern time. Place your bid >>

BlogsHover Power: Max performance take-off

A maximum performance takeoff is used to climb at a steep angle to clear barriers in the departure flight path. To perform this maneuver successfully a pilot must consider the wind velocity, temperature, altitude, gross weight, center-of-gravity location, and other factors affecting performance of the helicopter. Read more >>

BlogsReporting Points: For the joy of flight

A short, local flight on a clear autumn day in Maryland serves as a reminder of the freedoms pilots enjoy in the United States. For two experienced pilots in Russia, preparing for each flight is a 24-hour process. Read more >>


Out of space

Space Shuttle <em>Atlantis</em> “Houston, Atlantis is in the roll.” Space shuttle Commander Ken Ham announces that the orbiter has just started its trademark maneuver, made during every space shuttle launch shortly after leaving the launch pad. NASA’s space shuttle program will come to an end with the final mission of Endeavor, scheduled to launch in February—marking the end of an era where stick-and-rudder piloting skills are as important as the massive systems management skills everybody must learn. Take a peek into the cockpit as the crew of Atlantis goes through ascent simulations. Watch AOPA Live >>

A way with winglets

In some circles, it’s become fashionable to refer to the Hawker Beechcraft Corp. King Airs as dated and dowdy looking. True, King Airs have been around since 1964, and comparisons with sleeker, newer light business jets do invite judgment. But the market has had its say: King Airs remain the most popular turboprop twins. That’s especially true of the 90-series, which has benefited from continual upgrades over the years, and has racked up more than 2,400 total sales. New features of the C90GTx include winglets and a gross weight increase of 385 pounds. Fly along with AOPA Live >>


For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

Safety & Proficiency

Too close for comfort

Two private pilots, with no formal formation flight training, decide to take off and fly a low pass over an airport in Louisiana—in formation—in Cessna 150s. The result? A severed vertical stabilizer, a collapsed right wing, two fatalities, and multiple injuries. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.

Aerodynamics made easy

Essential Aerodynamics course Ever wondered why a wing stalls at a higher airspeed during maneuvering flight? Or what it means to be on the back side of the power curve? Or how so many pilots end up in stall/spin accidents despite all the practice in flight training? If so, be sure to check out the Air Safety Institute's free online course Essential Aerodynamics: Stalls, Spins, and Safety. With the help of plain-language explanation and innovative animation, Essential Aerodynamics walks pilots through basic aerodynamic concepts while emphasizing connections with real-world issues. Check it out >>

Tips for submitting medical records to the FAA

Following any medical treatment, especially involving hospitalization and surgery, the FAA will require your medical records. These records are critical parts of the FAA evaluation, and failure to provide them will slow the issuance of your medical certificate—keeping you on the ground longer. Learn how to get your paperwork in order.

Get cash back on Garmin Traffic Systems

Gain an extra set of eyes and save on the Garmin GTS™ series of traffic systems. Save up to $2,500 when you add a GTS 800, 820, or 850 to your aircraft by October 31. For details, visit our promotions page.

‘Cemetery Crash’

Gordon Webster had a slight feeling that something was not quite right. So he decided to make a precautionary landing at McGhee Tyson airport in Knoxville, Tenn. But when his Beechcraft Bonanza’s engine failed to cooperate he had to regroup. Listen and learn valuable lessons as the pilot retells his unexpected encounter with tombstones in the “Garden of The Apostles.”

Aircraft inspections 101

Aircraft inspections

Inspection requirements differ with the various uses of aircraft. For example, aircraft being used for compensation or hire must have a thorough inspection every 100 hours. Most aircraft, including those used for compensation or hire, are required to have a complete inspection every year. Check out this AOPA Pilot Information Center subject report for more information on each kind of inspection, and an explanation of when each should be done, which aircraft it applies to, and what it should involve.

Enterprise 5% off offer:

The Road Calls, and So Do The Savings. When you’re ready to go, Enterprise makes it easy with great cars and great deals. Take advantage of your AOPA membership and enjoy a discount on our everyday low rates. Click here to learn more.

BlogsAir Safety eJournal: Robo-plane?

Television networks and blogdom are abuzz about Google’s “robo-car” that is being tested in Southern California.  The auto world is in the early stages of thinking machines drive better than humans, and the ineptitude on the nation’s highways makes the theory plausible. We in the aviation business have had autopilots for at least half a century and the later models can handle about 98 percent of the flight. Could we go that last 2 percent to make it totally automatic? There’s a new moniker—the optionally piloted vehicle. Read more >>

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

Oct. 23 and 24

San Jose, Calif.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Nov. 6 and 7

San Diego, Calif.

Albuquerque, N.M.

Austin, Texas

Nov. 20 and 21

Anchorage, Alaska

Atlanta, Ga.

Ashburn, Va.

Dec. 4 and 5

Denver, Colo.

Orlando, Fla.


For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Can’t make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.

Oct. 18

Ypsilanti, Mich.

Portland, Ore.


Oct. 19

Cleveland, Ohio

Seattle, Wa.

Oct. 20

Columbus, Ohio



Oct. 21

Indianapolis, Ind.



Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.


FAA considers report on air carrier flight-hour requirements

Much press and public attention has been focused on the qualifications necessary to become a safe and efficient flight crewmember for air carriers. Although the National Transportation Safety Board did not cite first officer qualifications as a contributing factor in the accident involving Colgan Air Flight 3407 near Buffalo, N.Y., on Feb. 12, 2009, the issue has been debated in the news media and in Congress since that time. A rulemaking committee has turned in a report to the FAA with recommendations for additional training areas for first officers. Read more >>

Pilot meetings set for Seattle Class B airspace redesign

Aircraft inspections The FAA will hold three informal meetings with pilots on the redesign of the Seattle Class B airspace in December. The proposed changes are intended to improve containment of traffic arriving and departing from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport within the Class B airspace. Pilots will note some unusual design features in the airspace plan, such as the airspace's varying ceiling heights. Most of the airspace will extend vertically to 10,000 feet mean sea level. But extensions north and south of the airport will rise only to 7,000 feet msl. Read more >>

Salt Lake reliever airport defended against threats

AOPA has responded promptly to comments by two Utah public officials who questioned the future of a Salt Lake City reliever airport that supports an estimated 1,220 jobs, serves as a general aviation gateway to the region, and enables millions of dollars in economic activity. Citing encroachment by development and safety concerns about South Valley Regional Airport, West Jordan, Utah, Mayor Melissa K. Johnson enlisted the aid of U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz who initially said he favored closing the airport, according to a Sept. 18 report in the Deseret News. Read more >>

Stay healthy, fly longer.

Enroll in the AOPA Medical Services Program and gain access to numerous resources designed to keep you in the air. Plus, receive assistance from our Medical Certification Specialists for FAA related medical issues.

Pilots: City officials complicating move to new Utah airport

AOPA is urging city officials in St. George, Utah, to heed the concerns of local pilots facing hardships in the transition to the city’s new airport, which is set to open in January 2011 and replace the existing St. George Municipal. 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 Aircraft Financing Program offers NEW lower rates

Our goal is to get pilots into the aircraft of their dreams. To help make aircraft ownership more attainable, we just lowered our rates to make monthly payments more affordable. For more information, or to have a representative call you to discuss financing, go to

Peak experience: AOPA aviation summit

Aviation Summit pushes AOPA’s former Expo to full throttle

Aviation legends? Check. Latest aircraft from manufacturers? Check. Educational forums? Check. Technical gadgets and gizmos for the cockpit? Check. AOPA Aviation Summit brings all of that—and more—to one location this November: Long Beach, Calif. AOPA Aviation Summit is a new twist on the association’s annual convention known as Expo. It takes the convention’s hits, like its educational forums and airport static display, to a higher level. Read more >>

Fly in for breakfast, stay for barbecue at Airportfest

Airportfest Pancakes at the airport—what better way to start your day? Except maybe an early-morning flight in the crisp November air along the Long Beach, Calif., skyline. Fly in for a pancake breakfast and mingle with fellow pilots and AOPA members at Airportfest at Long Beach/Daugherty Field on Saturday, Nov. 13. The Airportfest Pancake Breakfast runs from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and will feature Rod Machado’s “Learning to Fly” presentation on the Airportfest Main Stage. Read more >>

IFR challenge: Take your proficiency to the next level

Practicing approaches under the hood is one thing—flying in hard IMC is another. But some of the new equipment and technologies make it a little simpler to fly in the system and maintain a high level of precision. For example, GPS is accurate to about 110 feet laterally and Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) to 10 feet laterally, according to the Air Safety Institute. So how can you take your IFR skills to the next level? Read more >>

As an AOPA member, you have numerous ways to save…

…(both time and money) on your next rental car from Alamo. Receive up to 20% off, a free additional driver and unlimited mileage…plus valuable coupon offers!

Catalina offer extended for members

Catalina Island Conservancy officials know a good thing when they see it and have extended a previous two-day offer to waive the $20 Catalina Island landing fee for AOPA members during AOPA Aviation Summit. Now, the fee is waived for four days, Nov. 11 through 14, to cover the entire Summit. Response to the original offer was strong, so Conservancy officials decided to extend the offer. Just show your AOPA membership card once you land on the island, and the fee is waived. Not only that, but you get 20 percent off the Wildlands Express shuttle service, normally a $17 charge. Read more >>

Focus with AOPA’s photographers

AOPA photographer tips

Ever wonder how AOPA photographers produce those stunning images in AOPA Pilot magazine every month? Well, it’s time to get the inside story from the photographers who have made aerial images their professional specialty. During AOPA Aviation Summit, Mike Fizer, AOPA’s chief photographer, and Chris Rose, a staff shooter and graphic artist, will talk about how they approach each new subject, plan aerial photo missions, and use still and video equipment. Read more >>

Don’t miss the AOPA Member Products aisle at Summit

Stop by the AOPA Pavilion to visit the association’s certified partners and learn more about its financial, insurance, and pilot services. Find out how you can protect your pilot certificate, apply for a credit card, and score great discounts on everything from FAA computerized testing to car rentals. Looking to buy an aircraft? AOPA Member Products can help you to perform a title search, finance your purchase, and insure your airplane—all in one place. Have legal questions? Speak to one of AOPA’s panel attorneys who specialize in aviation. Read more >>

Member Benefits

AOPA has your travel needs covered—economically

Taking a cruise? Need to fly commercial? AOPA can still provide assistance. Through an arrangement with Orbitz, you benefit from travel discounts while AOPA gets a portion of the revenue when you spend on hotels, airfare, cruises, and rental cars. Just by using Orbitz through AOPA’s website, your travel planning is simplified. Your AOPA membership benefits you even further when it comes to rental cars. You have your choice of rental car companies: Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, and Hertz. Each of these companies also offers deals in addition to a discount. For example, Alamo waives the extra driver fee, while Hertz enters you automatically in its #1 Club Gold Program. Plan your next trip.

FREE Video Tip! — Courses for Beginner to Pro!

Click for a Free Video Training Tip and find a course to achieve your next goal, or to make your flying safer and more rewarding. Not sure? Call us at 800-854-1001 and talk to one of our pilot training advisors.


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. Your favorite aviation images from AOPA Pilot are still available online through this new gallery. Take a look, and submit your own photos!

Picture Perfect

PiReps: Hear ye, hear ye

Have a trip you want to share? A tip or a flight training hint? Share it with AOPA PiReps.

Membership Forums: Hail damage big lesson of the day

Looking to buy into an aircraft share, or looking to buy or rent an airplane? Ask the magic question, “Is there any hail damage?”


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Engage in Aviation

Check out user-submitted events from your region. To include an event or to search all events in the calendar, visit AOPA Online. AOPA does not endorse the events listed below, nor have ePilot editors edited the submissions. AOPA assumes no responsibility for events listed.

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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 am a private pilot training for the instrument rating practical test. This weekend I am flying an IFR cross-country trip with my instructor. How am I supposed to determine whether or not I’ll need to file an alternate airport if the destination airport does not have a TAF?


Answer: Part 91.169(a)(2) requires that a pilot include an alternate airport in an IFR flight plan unless the ceiling will be at least 2,000 feet above the airport elevation and the visibility will be at least 3 statute miles for at least one hour before and for one hour after the estimated time of arrival. The aviation area forecast (FA) is the only forecasting tool available at airports that do not have terminal forecasts. The area forecast covers a region which generally includes several states. FAs are issued three times a day for six specific areas in the United States. They are 12-hour forecasts with an additional 6-hour outlook. Remember that FAs give cloud heights in msl rather than agl.


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/USA-AOPA (800/872-2672), or e-mail to [email protected].

AOPA ePilot Team
ePilot Editor:
Sarah Brown
Alyssa Miller
Jill W. Tallman
Warren Morningstar
Alton K. Marsh

Dave Hirschman
Tom Horne
Ian J. Twombly
Production Team:
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Lezlie Ramsey
Mitch Mitchell

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