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Sun ’n Fun News
Violent weather, including a possible tornado, touched down on the grounds of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport during the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In March 31, damaging or destroying dozens of airplanes and causing minor injuries. It was a severe blow to one of the nation’s most popular aviation events, and many AOPA members were affected. Many display aircraft were destroyed. Aviat Aircraft of Afton, Wyo., was especially hard hit. A new Husky on amphibious floats was tossed by the storm into several other display aircraft, causing severe damage. The grounds were flooded with torrential rain, tree limbs were scattered, and display tents were blown over. Many exhibitors had their displays damaged. A large tent in the light sport aircraft area collapsed. The show closed for the day, but was scheduled to reopen at 8 a.m. April 1. Read more and view a slideshow >>
XM weather soon available on iPad
iPad users rave about the tablet’s moving-map capabilities, its use of georeferenced approach plates, and the ability to flight plan. But what’s been missing when comparing the iPad to a more robust, dedicated GPS is XM weather connectivity. No more. Baron Services announced the development of a system that will enable XM weather to be displayed on the iPad. Read more >>
Clinging to a crab buoy, the pilot glimpsed far-away shore lights. Trying not to think of lurking predators as his airplane submerged into the depths of the Gulf of Mexico, he wondered if anyone would find them in the shrouding darkness. Could they survive the night? Enter the Air Safety Institute’s new Real Pilot Story: Ditching in the Dark, which debuted at Sun ’n Fun, as the Mooney pilot relives that moment when the engine failed, about 28 miles short of their destination. He wouldn’t be able to reach land. With only one option—ditch in the rough dark waters below—he briefed his two passengers to brace for impact. Did he prepare adequately for what was in store? Watch the video and listen to the pilot’s lessons learned >>
Daher-Socata offers G1000 retrofit
Daher-Socata now offers a G1000 retrofit for TBM 700A and 700B models, Nicolas Chabbert, president of Socata-North America, said on March 29. So far, two of the company’s earlier turboprop singles have had G1000s installed; one more TBM 700 is being prepared for the upgrade. In other Socata news, Chabbert reported that less than 8 percent of the 548-strong TBM fleet is up for sale. Read more >>
Cirrus Aircraft Chairman Dale Klapmeier defended the company's planned sale to a Chinese firm March 30 at Sun ’n Fun, saying it will be good for Cirrus employees and the U.S. aviation industry. “China is building airports as fast as they can,” he said. “They want to see general aviation grow, and we as a company will be front-and-center in that.” Klapmeier said the proposed sale will solidify Cirrus jobs at its manufacturing centers in the United States. The company will direct additional resources to its Vision jet program when it receives new funding, he added. Read more >>
Friends help with son’s memorial
Friends of Jim Tobul of Bamberg, S.C., helped remove the morning dew from his 1945 Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair to prepare it for restoration judging. The aircraft was fresh out of restoration and had flown only two weeks before entering competition for restored aircraft at Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., March 29. This was the aircraft’s second restoration. In 2002, the aircraft was destroyed in an accident that took the life of Tobul’s father. Read more >>
More Sun ’n Fun News:
Electric airplanes are getting more numerous, with the latest making its initial flight in Augsburg, Germany. The Elektra One, developed by Calin Gologan of PC-Aero, was flown by test pilot Jon Karkow. Since that flight, the aircraft has completed an additional three flights for up to 30 minutes. It will next be upgraded with a variable pitch prop and retractable landing gear. Read more >>
Diamond lays off 213 D-Jet employees
Diamond Aircraft announced March 28 that it is temporarily laying off 213 employees at its facility in London, Ontario, because of a lack of funding for its single-engine jet project. The company had expected a loan from the Canadian government early this month—a loan the company said was critical because it is a condition for similar funding already promised by the Ontario provincial government and private funding sources. Diamond said that it is temporarily suspending work on the D-Jet program. Read more >>
Once again the top aerial photographers in the nation have competed at the Professional Aerial Photographer’s Association in Las Vegas, and pilot Kevin Butts is among the top winners. The San Antonio-based photographer won in two of the five categories available. Butts is president of Red Wing Aerial Photography in Texas. He received the “Judge’s Choice” award for a photo entitled Mayan Riviera, depicting the Aventura Spa Palace Hotel near the Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. “Wispy Dawn,” depicting a low cloud layer moving in over downtown San Antonio, received a rare award of “Master Print.” Read more >>
Volunteer pilot event raises safety awareness
The AOPA Foundation’s Air Safety Institute joined with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Air Care Alliance March 25 to host more than 200 pilots who fly volunteer missions for a “safety stand-down” at the NTSB’s Training Center in Ashburn, Va. The event is the outgrowth of ongoing conversations between the three groups in the wake of several volunteer medical airlift accidents over a short period of time in 2008. Read more >>
The most popular $100 hamburger stop for Southern California pilots is probably the Airport in the Sky on Santa Catalina Island. But most pilots simply leave after lunch and miss out on unique experiences available year-round. You can relive the swinging Big Band Era as you dance and dine at a black-tie ball; see colorful fish in a pristine kelp habitat via scuba, kayak, or submersible; or stroll the quaint streets. Learn more in this selection from Pilot Getaways magazine, available to members for a limited time on AOPA Online. Find other fly-out destinations and exclusive member discount pricing for Pilot Getaways online.
Donations, messages accepted for injured airshow team
Attendees at the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In can show support for injured airshow performers Kyle and Amanda Franklin by making donations and sending messages at the Aircraft Specialties Services Inc. booth, the company announced. The International Council of Air Shows Foundation also is accepting donations for the performers. Read more >>
A new work of art on display in Milan showcases the distinctive design of the Piaggio P.180 Avanti II turboprop. A P.180 Avanti II, transformed into the celestial Cacciatore di Stelle (Star Hunter) work of art by contemporary artist Mimmo Paladino, is on display in downtown Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Paladino’s transformation of the canard twin pusher turboprop “recalls both the past and the future,” Piaggio Aero said in a press release. Read more >>
ATS touts Tecnam twin as cost-effective trainer
The Tecnam P2006T makes it possible for Airline Training Solutions to offer cost-effective flight training that prepares program graduates for the airlines, company representatives said March 29. “We needed a twin that is inexpensive to fly and inexpensive to maintain,” ATS Program Director Hayden Malone said. The Tecnam twin burns about 10 gallons per hour and is less expensive to fly than a Cessna 172, he said. Read more >>
As Charlie Gregoire pulls back on the yoke to initiate a stall/spin, a momentary “uh oh” runs through the mind. Seatbelts are not fastened. Too late. The nose pitches down violently as the spin rotation begins. Thankfully, that’s when the comfort and safety of sitting in a simulator sinks into reality. Gregoire is demonstrating the ability of Redbird Flight Simulations’ FMX full-motion simulator with wrap-around visual screens. The device makes the pilot feel as if he or she is doing the maneuvers in an actual aircraft—without pitch or roll limitations. Read more >>
Chartflier 2.0 released
Essential Flight Technology, maker of the electronic flight bag program Chartflier, announced this week the release of version 2.0. The new version expands on the company’s portable Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) weather and traffic solutions. Read more >>
Midwest LSA Expo set for Sept. 9 through 11
The third annual Midwest LSA Expo fly-in will be held Sept. 9 through 11 at Mount Vernon Outland Airport. This year’s event will have some changes in store, Midwest LSA Expo President Chris Collins said. As part of a dynamic flight showcase meant to inform the public about alternative methods to experience aviation, there will be exhibitors representing skydiving, powered parachutes, and ultralight aircraft as well as LSA manufacturers, he said. The 2010 Expo drew more than 50 makes and models of LSAs. In an effort to make the expo more convenient for weekend travelers, the dates were changed to a Friday-Saturday-Sunday format, he said.
A new electronic logbook, Pilot eLog, seeks to give pilots information they need to know to stay current and comply with FAA regulations with just a few clicks. The logbook application, downloadable for PC and Macs, reminds pilots of their medical certification expiration, day and night currency, and instrument currency. Each reminder has links to the applicable federal aviation regulations. Read more >>
Hover Power: Wheels or skids?
When it comes to landing gear, helicopters have two basic types: skids and wheels. Skid gear is always fixed, and wheels can be fixed or retractable. Which one is better depends on the mission the helicopter is performing. Skid landing gear is simple and lighter weight, so it is the best choice for small helicopters as weight is always a consideration. Also, skid landing gear needs very little maintenance, but the drawback is that ground handling is more difficult. Read more >>
If you can’t make it in person to Sun ’n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., you can still be a part of the action. AOPA will continue broadcasting live seminars, interviews, and presentations from the AOPA tent April 1 and 2. Watch online between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time both days and connect with fellow pilots using AOPA’s Facebook chat. If you miss the live stream, check back after the show for archived videos.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Don’t become a case study
A well-chosen case study can help other pilots recognize weaknesses in their own thinking. In some cases—such as a Cessna 337 pilot who chose to take off at night with no usable fuel in the two right tanks and less than five gallons combined in the left—the mistakes were self evident. Other mistakes were more subtle but no less catastrophic. The Air Safety Institute’s David J. Kenny takes a look at several accidents highlighted in the 2010 Joseph T. Nall Report. Read more in this special report.
These days, GPS is so common that many pilots barely give it a second thought. Be that as it may, there’s more to using GPS well than just punching “direct” and following the magenta line. Whether you’re new to the game or just looking for a refresher, the Air Safety Institute’s free GPS for VFR Operations course will get you up to speed with great tips on flight planning, in-flight use, potential “gotchas,” and lots more. Get started >>
Air Safety eJournal: Second guessing extraordinaire
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story. Last week’s big excitement was an ATC supervisor/controller who fell asleep during the midnight shift at Reagan National Tower. Two airliners landed without incident as they were talking to approach control, who noted no airborne conflicts. But aviation always excites the media’s imagination. Andy Pasztor wrote in the Wall Street Journal about the divide splitting safety experts on whether the pilots should have landed at National while the tower snoozed. You can weigh in too. Read more >>
Medical Sense: Unintended consequences
In the inaugural installment of his new blog, Medical Sense, AOPA Director of Medical Certification Gary Crump writes that one scenario of government dictating “‘who gets what treatment and when’ has potentially serious implications for pilots who are under tighter FAA oversight of their medical certification.” Read more >>
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has published the formal notice of its stay of an order that would have prohibited the certification, manufacture, importation, sale, or use of 121.5 MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELTs). The FCC announced in January that it would stay the rule, which, if enacted, would have mandated replacement of 121.5 MHz ELTs with 406 MHz ELTs, the cost to be borne by aircraft owners. AOPA, other aviation groups, and the FAA had spoken out against the rule. Read more >>
Unfamiliar aircraft? FAA offers training guide
Whether it’s lighter on the controls or comes in steeper on final approach, each new aircraft in a pilot’s logbook handles a little—or a lot—differently from the last. A new FAA publication aims to keep those differences from catching pilots unawares. The FAA released an advisory circular, Airmen Transition to Experimental or Unfamiliar Airplanes, March 30 to help pilots prepare for differences in handling when they fly an aircraft for the first time, emphasizing safety considerations for amateur-built experimental aircraft. Read more >>
Presidents serve up lighter side of GA
Scents of pancakes and sausage sizzling on charcoal grills drew 200 hungry pilots—some who had been camping out and wanted a hot meal—to an appreciation breakfast March 30 sponsored by AOPA, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, and Sun ‘n Fun. The association leaders served pancakes and sausage before taking a break to update pilots on the latest events in the industry—including a GA rally in which more than 2,000 workers gathered to show Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood the importance of GA to the economy. Read more >>
AOPA Now: A pancake breakfast with a twist
AOPA President Craig Fuller, General Aviation Manufacturers Association President Pete Bunce, and Helicopter Association International President Matt Zuccaro served pancakes to members of their associations at an appreciation breakfast. “We couldn’t have enjoyed it more and I look forward to doing it again,” Fuller blogged. “I think with some practice I could get good at flipping pancakes.”
Now that Florida’s infamous use tax for visiting out-of-state aircraft is history, the state legislature is considering a bill to expand the sales-tax exemption on aircraft parts and maintenance labor to boost the state’s once lucrative aircraft servicing industry. Senate President Pro Tempore Michael Bennett—with the support of AOPA and the Florida Aviation Trades Association—has introduced Senate Bill 1242 to lower the weight qualification for the exemption from 15,000 lbs to 2,000 lbs in order to better compete with other states with existing exemptions. Read more >>
FAA operating authority extended through May
With the FAA’s current funding authority set to expire March 31, the House and Senate approved a short-term reauthorization of the agency’s operations and programs through the end of May. Both the House and the Senate passed the extension measure on March 29, acting on the latest of a series of extensions that have kept the FAA operating since the last FAA reauthorization bill expired in 2007. Read more >>
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) failed to balance a communications network operator’s claim of public interest against the “massive problems” that expansion of its network could cause for the aviation industry and other GPS users, AOPA said March 29. The association, working with a multi-industry coalition, is urging the FCC to reverse a waiver it granted to operator LightSquared to “repurpose” a portion of the satellite spectrum neighboring that used by GPS. Concern has been growing about the threat to GPS in the aviation community and other industries since LightSquared applied for the waiver. Read more >>
Interested in paying your premium throughout the year?
Are you interested in paying your premium throughout the year instead of paying at policy inception? Well, the AOPA Insurance Agency (AOPAIA) has an option for you. AOPAIA is pleased to announce the endorsement of US Premium Finance as a premium finance option. US Premium Finance has become synonymous in its industry with white-glove, customer-centric service. Its corporate philosophy matches perfectly with AOPAIA's courteous and responsive customer service expectations. Read more >>
Pilots travel a lot. Sometimes it is just around the pattern at the local airfield, or maybe it’s a cross-country business trip, a vacation to sunny climates, or ferrying an aircraft across the Atlantic. When embarking on a trip, pilots make sure they have some spare oil, the appropriate charts, and cash. But there is something pilots are not terribly smart at preparing for—medical needs. Here are some pointers from Dr. Jonathan M. Sackier. Read more >>
Insurance group supports pilot safety
The AOPA Insurance Agency is supporting the AOPA Foundation’s efforts to increase pilot safety by sponsoring the Air Safety Institute’s popular safety quizzes, Real Pilot Stories, and Webinars for the year. “We feel these programs are important in the effort to educate and refresh pilots concerning safety issues,” AOPA Insurance Agency President Janet Bressler wrote to AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg, announcing the $400,000 sponsorship. Read more >>
AOPA 2011 Crossover Classic Sweepstakes
Crossover Classic arrives at Sun ’n Fun
It was a pleasure to fly the sweepstakes Cessna 182—fresh from its interior completion at Air Mod—to Sun ’n Fun, writes AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne. The seats are comfortable, and noise levels are low. The first portion of the first leg was marginal VFR, but by the time he was over West Virginia IFR had settled in over the entire mid-Atlantic, thanks to a persistent area of low pressure. That’s when a cockpit like the Crossover Classic’s really shows its worth. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an aviation technical specialist, manager of aviation security, application support engineer, IT department coordinator/help desk, administrative assistant—marketing, and administrative assistant—office of the president. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.