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For 2011, AOPA has announced a departure from its last two sweepstakes. Next year’s sweepstakes will be a refurbishment project that transforms a plain-Jane 1970s-era Cessna 182 into a fire-breathing, STOL-equipped, thoroughly modernized airplane—complete with Garmin G500 avionics, top-of-the-line traffic- and weather-avoidance technology, and L-3’s Trilogy electronic standby instrumentation. The past two sweepstakes projects involved recent-model or new airplanes, but this project takes the sweeps back to its roots. The “Crossover Classic” concept refers to this airplane’s unique equipment package. AOPA is replacing the airplane’s stock 230-hp Continental engine with Continental’s IO-550 of 300 hp. Mate that with Sierra Industries’ Robertson STOL kit, a full brace of Garmin avionics, and more, and the airplane will be as comfortable mixing it up with the big boys in busy terminal airspace as it is operating out of unimproved strips in the backcountry. Read more >>
Helicopter demonstrates 250 knots
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.’s X2 Technology demonstrator reached its goal in mid-September, a speed of 250 knots true airspeed in level flight. The speed is an unofficial speed record for a helicopter, the company claimed in a statement. The demonstrator also reached 260 knots in a very shallow dive during the flight. “The aerospace industry today has a new horizon,” said Sikorsky President Jeffrey P. Pino. Read more >>
Wings with a purpose
A 1-year-old boy from Greenville, S.C., has enough flight time in general aviation aircraft to earn his pilot certificate, so to speak. The baby, battling retinoblastoma, receives regular transportation from Angel Flight East volunteer pilots who fly him between South Carolina and Pennsylvania for treatments. Theresa Germano, a volunteer based at Wings Field near Philadelphia, Pa., has transported the child in her Piper Saratoga and said he “gets in and falls asleep.” Angel Flight East volunteer pilots shared stories like this Sept. 11 with the more than 3,000 spectators who attended the Wings ’n Wheels event at Wings Field. Read more >>
Race fans descend on Reno
Air racers, and air racing enthusiasts, have been arriving in Reno, Nev., for the forty-seventh annual National Championship Air Races. The races officially began Wednesday, Sept. 15, with a qualifying period and heat races. Reno features racing by six classes of aircraft. The fastest, in the Unlimited and Jet classes, reach speeds of more than 500 mph. The event also boasts a large static aircraft display. Daily airshows, featuring the Canadian Forces’ Snowbirds demonstration team, Kent Pietsch, David Martin, Greg Poe, and others—as well as military flight demonstrations—also are on the schedule. Read more >>
Embraer market share grows, forecasts robust jet market
Brazilian manufacturer Embraer says it will command some 50 percent of the entry-level and light jet market just two years after it rocketed into that marketplace with its Phenom product line. Meanwhile, the company issued a forecast that projects 10,000 business jets in the next decade worth some $190 billion, besting the industry’s performance over the last decade in both deliveries and billings. However, Embraer’s recent successes at the light end of the market have come mostly at the expense of Cessna. Read more >>
After a harrowing plunge, the market for piston singles and twins stabilized in the second quarter of 2010 while prices for turboprops and jets continued to trend downward. Vref, the authoritative source for aircraft valuation and provider of AOPA’s Aircraft Valuation Service, delivered those conclusions in its most recent quarterly newsletter and attributed the precipitous drop in the turbine market to some of the same factors as the housing crunch—loose credit that led to rampant speculation and an unsustainable surge in prices. “Easy money flowed into the airplane market,” the Vref report said. Read more >>
Cirrus officials shopping for investors
Cirrus Aircraft President and CEO Brent Wouters says the company is looking for investors to finish the Vision SF50. Wouters said he had expressed a need for extra funding prior to 2002 when he became president. It is an ongoing process that is expected to continue for some time, he said. It will take $60 million to $80 million to complete the jet and build the tooling, but only $30 million to $50 million is needed from an investor, Wouters added. Read more >>
Glasair 30th anniversary fly-in held at Flabob
The thirtieth anniversary of Glasair was commemorated last weekend with a fly-in at Flabob Airport in Riverside, Calif. The event began on Friday, Sept. 10, and by midday Saturday more than 50 Glasairs, GlaStars, and Sportsman aircraft were parked on the Flabob ramp. Aircraft flew in from as far away as Florida; two Glasair owners even came commercially from Iceland. Tom Hamilton and Ted Setzer, the company’s founders, recalled their decision to give up careers as dentists to begin designing and testing airplanes. Read more >>
FAA cautions on Cessna 402C gear assembly
Incorrect assembly of landing gear hardware caused a Cessna 402C twin to veer off a runway on landing, said the FAA in a special airworthiness information bulletin that alerts owners, operators, and maintenance personnel to two new caution statements to be included as supplements to the aircraft maintenance manual. The caution statements “stress the criticality” of proper handling of washers that are part of the torque link center pivot attaching hardware during assembly. Read more >>
Sierra to offer Garmin glass for early Citations
Sierra Industries of Uvalde, Texas, has announced another program in its long list of legacy Citation upgrades. The company says it is developing a two-tube glass panel for retrofit to Cessna’s Citation 501 airplanes. Dubbed the G501SP, the modification will include primary and multifunction display screens adapted from Garmin’s popular G1000 avionics suite. Read more >>
Hartzell Propeller has developed a three-blade Top Prop for Cessna 180, 185, 210, and 205 aircraft. The aluminum prop uses scimitar airfoils. This is the first time Hartzell has offered a propeller for Cessna 185 owners who have a Continental IO-470 engine, and is the first three-blade prop offered for early Cessna 210 and 205 models, the company claimed. Read more >>
PBS to air ‘The Aviators’
Pilots who think there’s “nothing good to watch on TV” might want to check their PBS listings. PBS has started to air “The Aviators” in certain markets around the country and will expand to more as the year progresses. “The Aviators” was developed by pilots and features topics ranging from “new aircraft designs to the latest GPS technologies, accident and safety awareness, airline profiles, and remote fly-in getaways,” according to the show’s website. The show targets “everyone who has ever gazed skywards” and has content to interest pilots and nonpilots alike. For more information about the show, visit the website; check your local listings to see if it will air in your market.
To Alaska and back: Combs completes rigorous leg in epic flight
Touching down in Ketchikan, Alaska, last week, Michael Combs and the Flight for the Human Spirit finished one of the most challenging parts of the epic journey. Combs and co-pilot Bob Warner flew into the northern territories in Canada to make their way along a 1,200-nautical-mile segment to Ketchikan. “Alaska was a big, big piece of this puzzle, and to touch down in Alaska was fantastic,” Combs said in his podcast. Read more >>
Hover Power: Robinson R66—First flight
Aviation blogger Tim McAdams spent two days flying Robinson Helicopter’s new light turbine helicopter, the R66. Although it is still in the Experimental category, FAA certification is expected in the next 30 days as Robinson and the FAA work out some final details. Having a couple of thousand hours in the Bell 206 light turbine series helicopter made for an easy direct comparison. Read more >>
Wing-off at Wings Field
Seeing the sunrise from a general aviation aircraft for the first time was a helpful incentive for a pre-dawn departure to fly to Wings Field near Philadelphia. AOPA Online Managing Editor Alyssa Miller lifted off under the dark, starry sky, admiring the splotches of city lights and a few patches of fog floating by underneath. She was on her way to the Wings ’n Wheels Old ’n New event to show off AOPA’s 2010 Sweepstakes Remos GX—and judge hot wings for the fundraiser. Read more >>
Pride of WWII
Distraught by the attack on Pearl Harbor and a series of defeats in the Pacific, America desperately needed a victory during the early months of World War II. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt wanted no less than a bombing raid on Japan. Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold asked Lt. Col. James “Jimmy” Doolittle what American airplane could take off from a 500-foot-long, 75-foot-wide runway with a 2,000-pound bomb load and then fly 2,000 miles with a full crew. Doolittle replied that only the North American B–25 Mitchell could do that. Find out how to fly it >>
Bad weather … worse decisions: a gripping tale to be released courtesy of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
The appeal of easy access to remote and beautiful places via backcountry strips is hard to deny, but it’s prudent to approach them with caution. On June 28, 2009, witnesses saw a blue-and-white Cessna 172 approach the grass runway at Tieton State Airport in southwestern Washington state. Mountains rise immediately off the departure end of Runway 2, which also slopes sharply uphill, so standard practice is to approach over the lake regardless of winds. Two people who had flown in earlier that day saw the Cessna come in over the lake and thought its approach looked high and fast. Read more in this special report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Share the sky
Between 500 million and 1 billion birds migrate over the United States each year—and some of them meet their end at the leading edge of an airplane wing. Before you take to the sky again this migratory season, learn areas to avoid and how to keep control in the event of a collision in this subject report on bird and wildlife strikes. “In addition to offering online resources, AOPA has technical specialists available to answer your questions weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time at 800/USA-AOPA,” said AOPA Pilot Information Center Vice President Woody Cahall. Find out even more in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s safety brief.
Get a pirep, give a pirep
Also known as “pilot reports,” pireps are a great source of real-time, in-flight weather to fill in the gaps between forecasts and ground-based weather observations. Are you happy to get a sneak peek of what to expect but clam up when asked to provide one? SkySpotter: Pireps Made Easy takes the worry out of trying to remember the reporting sequence or how to estimate cloud heights and visibility and report turbulence and icing. This interactive online course qualifies for AOPA Accident Forgiveness and the FAA Wings program. Ready to copy? Take the course >>
TSA interprets ‘recurrent training’ rules
The Transportation Security Administration issued an interpretation on Sept. 13 excluding 11 “training events” from the definition of recurrent training under the Alien Flight Student Program. The announcement applies to foreign students training in aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds. Read more >>
You’re not alone up there
Sometimes, things just don’t go as planned. That 15-knot headwind you were counting on? Try 40. Or the clear-and-a-million weather you expected en route? More like pea soup. Coping with the unexpected is part of flying—but sometimes even the best pilots need to ask for help. But how do you know when? And whom do you call? The AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s Say Intentions Safety Advisor has the answers. Learn more >>
Air Safety eJournal: Hudson River recap
The NTSB had a public hearing Sept. 14 to report on one of last year’s most horrific accidents, the collision between a Piper Saratoga transiting the Hudson River corridor and a sightseeing helicopter. The FAA, AOPA, Air Safety Foundation, the New York helicopter community, and a number of other players wasted no time in convening a special working group immediately after the accident to assess and address shortcomings highlighted in the crash. This was complete only months after the crash, which serves as a model of responsiveness! Read more >>
In a rare move Sept. 14, members of the National Transportation Safety Board overruled the recommendation of their expert staff and cited the probable cause of the midair collision over the Hudson River on Aug. 8, 2009, as “the inherent limitations of the see-and-avoid concept, which made it difficult for the airplane pilot to see the helicopter until the final seconds before the collision.” Nine people died in the collision between a Piper PA-32R-300 and a tour helicopter. The original proposed probable cause focused on procedural failures based on a readback/hearback error and the frequency handoff between Teterboro Tower and Newark Approach. Read more >>
Heightened TFR awareness urged for election season
The coming of fall means that the 2010 election campaigns will soon be in full swing. For pilots, political campaigns pose the challenge of keeping track of a profusion of temporary flight restrictions (TFRs), some of them popping up in unlikely places, on short notice. Ahead of what is expected to be a very active season for TFRs, FAA and TSA officials met with representatives of AOPA and other general aviation stakeholders to share ideas on how to increase pilot awareness of TFRs. Read more >>
FAA proposes fatigue-fighting measures
All pilots are susceptible to fatigue and the diminished decision-making ability that flying in a fatigued condition can cause. The FAA, concerned about fatigue as a risk factor in airline accidents attributed to pilot error, is proposing to “amend its existing flight, duty, and rest regulations applicable to certificate holders and their flight crew members.” Although the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) applies to the air carriers operating under FAR Part 121, fatigue and its management are a vital concern to general aviation pilots as well. That makes the NPRM, published Sept. 14, worth perusal by any pilot. Read more >>
FAA working to eliminate non-RNAV departure detours
AOPA recently heard from members who have experienced excessive reroutes when departing San Antonio bound for the Houston area. Based on member input, AOPA contacted the FAA to get some background and understand the issue. As a result of air traffic procedural changes ongoing in the Houston airspace area, the FAA has made a number of changes ultimately resulting in nearly a 100-nautical-mile reroute for non-RNAV capable aircraft departing San Antonio eastbound. Read more >>
New Mexico Aviation Conference recognizes GA partnership
“Fly New Mexico!” was the theme of the New Mexico Aviation Division Annual Conference Sept. 7 through 9 in Santa Fe. AOPA is actively engaged in representing members’ interests with policymakers, and AOPA Vice President of Airport Advocacy Bill Dunn gave a presentation on national policy initiatives and state advocacy efforts before an audience of some 150 airport managers, pilots, and other participants. Read more >>
Mica, ERAU showcase NextGen in action
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member John Mica (R-Fla.) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University showcased the university’s Daytona Beach NextGen test bed Sept. 9 to demonstrate how satellite-based technologies will modernize the National Airspace System. The test bed is one of three locations in the United States dedicated to evaluating NextGen concepts and technologies using computer simulations of how the technologies will work in the real world. NextGen, or the Next Generation air transportation system, encompasses the transition from ground- to satellite-based navigation and surveillance. Read more >>
House voices support for backcountry airstrips
The House of Representatives on Sept. 15 passed a resolution expressing support for recreational aviation and backcountry airstrips, which serve a vital role for emergency flight operations, firefighting, wildlife management, and tourism. The resolution “recognizes the value of recreational aviation and backcountry airstrips located on the nation’s public lands and commends aviators and the various private organizations that maintain these airstrips for public use.” Rep. Denny Rehberg introduced the resolution with 10 co-sponsors, including AOPA members Reps. Allen Boyd, Vernon Ehlers, Collin C. Peterson, Sam Graves, and John T. Salazar. 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 is launching a series of limited-edition holiday ornaments that will become treasured family keepsakes. For the first year’s ornament, the 1939 Electra Jr. has been selected. Known by many as an aircraft similar to what Amelia Earhart flew on her infamous last journey, the Electra Jr. was a popular aircraft in 1939, the same year AOPA was founded. Measuring 2.5 inches tall by 3 inches wide, the AOPA Holiday Ornament is made of stamped metal and has a 3-D effect. As with all AOPA merchandise, the proceeds from the sale of the holiday ornament go toward protecting and championing general aviation. Visit the AOPA Store online to purchase yours today!
Time for your medical? Find an AME online
Looking for an aviation medical examiner? AOPA maintains a database of AMEs so that members can search by name or radius from a zip code. It will even tell you if the AME is a pilot. Start searching >>
AOPA Weather: Now on iPad
AOPA Weather has added full support for the Apple iPad. The association’s weather application, a longtime member benefit, gives pilots access to graphical and textual weather information. The iPad interface is almost identical to the desktop version to make it easier to use the same application from multiple devices. Pilots can use the device’s touch screen to drag the chart and scroll METARs, TAFs, and area forecasts. The application works best when holding the iPad in landscape mode, although it will also work in portrait. Read more >>
Aviation legends to talk shop at Summit dine-arounds
Whether they’re flying highly modified ex-military aircraft in the Unlimited class or getting the most out of 100 horsepower in the Formula One races, pilots at the Reno Air Races push their aircraft to the limit. Attendees at the “Meet the Reno Air Racers” dine-around dinner during AOPA Aviation Summit will have the opportunity to find out what it’s like to go for the gold. Racers Skip Holm, Dennis Buehn, and Will Whiteside will discuss the Reno experience at the dinner Nov. 11 from 6 to 8:30 p.m., one of several dine-arounds in downtown Long Beach, Calif. Read more >>
Dominican Republic invites AOPA members to island getaway
The Dominican Republic government has launched a campaign to attract AOPA members to the popular Caribbean tourist destination. Fees for general aviation aircraft have been eliminated at all 14 Dominican Republic airports, and a new, 24/7 English-speaking “Flying Ambassador” contact has been created to assist with private flights to the island's world class resorts. Pilots will also enjoy several mini-fly-ins to airports around the country to experience tropical wonders that most tourists never see. See details for the October fly-in online. Learn more about the Dominican Republic.
Hertz offers discounts on weekly or weekend rentals
Save up to $35 off a weekly or weekend rental from Hertz at airport and off-airport locations when you include PC#148396 in your reservation of an Economy through full-size car. The offer is valid on rentals booked now through Nov. 14 for vehicle pickup through Dec. 17. Plus, a portion of all revenue generated will be returned to AOPA and reinvested to support the association’s daily efforts to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation. Reserve your car today.
AOPA 2010 Fun to Fly Sweepstakes: Nonpilot magnet
To the nonflying public and prospective pilots, general aviation airplanes are fun to watch flying overhead or admire on the ramp, but they can be intimidating to climb into—the size, buttons, and dials all seem foreign. Light sport aircraft just might help bridge that barrier. At the Wings ’n Wheels Old ’n New event at Wings Field in Blue Bell, Pa., Sept. 11, more than 200 people hopped into AOPA’s 2010 Sweepstakes Remos GX. Read more >>