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Fog and rain filled the mountain-ringed bowl of Jackson Hole, Wyo. A bus with 30 bicycles on its roof rack pulled under the auto port of Jackson’s Wyoming Inn to pick up Japanese tourists headed 90 minutes north to Yellowstone National Park. To get there, they’d pass through Grand Teton National Park. Flood warnings abounded as AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton K. Marsh and Senior Photographer Mike Fizer tackled a weather-dependent schedule of glider rides, paraglider photography, balloon rides, and air-to-air photo shoots above Yellowstone and “The Grand,” the name locals give the tallest peak. They were there to meet the “pilots of the parks.” Among them: a glider pilot who will sing you an aria, a balloonist with tales about bull elk and billionaires, and paraglider pilots who leap from a mountain and fill the sky with color. Read more >>
Gulfstream Aerospace, located in Savannah, Ga., confirmed the crash of a Gulfstream G650 flight test aircraft at Roswell International Air Center, N.M., April 2. Two Gulfstream pilots and two Gulfstream flight-test engineers died in the crash. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who were lost,” said Gulfstream Aerospace President Joe Lombardo. Read more >>
New Cub on its way
You can never have too many models of the venerable Cub first built by Piper. American Legend is adding a more powerful model to its two-place light sport lineup, one called the Super Legend with a 115-horsepower Lycoming 233 engine, beefy flaps, and 32 gallons of fuel. The company promises that the 115-hp engine will perform the same as a 150-hp Piper Super Cub, thanks to the light weight of the Super Legend. Read more >>
The Twin Bee featured in the March issue of AOPA Pilot was damaged by a storm in Bartow, Fla., during a day of bad weather March 31 that wreaked havoc at Sun ’n Fun in nearby Lakeland, Fla. Repairs are started and should be completed in 30 days, although the aircraft will not be available for the Tavares Inaugural Seaplane Fly-in on Saturday, April 16. The amphibious aircraft lost its left landing gear and sponson. Read more >>
Sun ’n Fun reopens after tornado
Sunny skies greeted Sun ’n Fun attendees in Lakeland, Fla., as the show reopened April 1 following a severe storm that damaged dozens of aircraft, caused minor injuries, and temporarily shut down activities the previous day. Crews, volunteers, and local health and safety officials worked through the night to ensure that the show grounds were safe and ready to open first thing Friday morning. Read more >>
Team RV rebounds from storm damage
Team RV, a formation and aerobatic display team, is back at full strength after two of its airplanes were destroyed and others damaged by the March 31 tornado in Lakeland, Fla. The event was to have been the 12-airplane team’s national debut. “It wasn’t exactly the way we meant to start our airshow season—but we’re absolutely not going to allow an event like this to slow us down,” said Mike “Kahuna” Stewart, Team RV leader. Read more and watch footage of the team >>
Reporting Points: An EF1 for LAL
The supercell thunderstorm complex that hit the grounds at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport spawned an EF1 tornado on the field. AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Thomas A. Horne explains the “enhanced Fujita” scale and how much damage you can expect an EF1 tornado to cause. Read more >>
Train whistles echo through town, announcing vintage steam-powered locomotives that still carry passengers along the famed Durango-Silverton route; Colorado’s San Juan Mountains offer vistas worth more than the precious metal mined from the mountains years ago. Durango, Colo., is a diamond in the rough, an example of Victorian splendor in the heart of the American frontier. Learn how to fly there and what to do 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.
Missionary pilots share stories, backcountry flying tips
Glen Ferguson had just departed a Brazilian airstrip to pick up a young missionary family from a remote village when a bad mag forced him to turn around. Good thing: When Ferguson was scheduled to land in the jungle, a neighboring village attacked the one where the family was stationed. Pilots who visited the mission aviation exhibit at Sun ’n Fun heard stories like Ferguson’s; got an up-close look at a Helio Courier, Robinson R44, and twin-turbine Embraer Bandeirante; and tried landing a simulator on a dirt strip with a 19-percent slope. Read more >>
Redbird announces integrated simulator training tool
Since the company’s inception, Redbird Flight Simulations has striven to provide innovative simulator solutions to the lower end of general aviation. Now the company is taking the technology to the next level by integrating full training scenarios in partnership with King Schools. Read more >>
Claims of top cruising speeds are sometimes just that, a claim. But Honda Aircraft Co. in Greensboro, N.C., has delivered on its promise of 420 KTAS by flying a conforming aircraft at 425 KTAS during a test flight. The speed was attained at 30,000 feet. The aircraft was FAA-conforming, meaning it has the identical specifications to aircraft that will be delivered to customers. The speed test was flown March 11, but was not immediately announced. Read more >>
Former Swearingen company sold
A federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware has approved the purchase of the assets of Emivest Aerospace, the former Sino Swearingen manufacturer of the SJ30 business jet, by Metalcraft Technologies of Cedar City, Utah. The company made the tail section of the SJ30, according to a report in the San Antonio Express-News. Read more >>
Lucky CFI wins King Schools sweepstakes
Rodney Mullinax of Texico, Ill., is on his way to Alaska. Mullinax, a CFI and airplane owner, is the winner of the Thirty-fifth Anniversary King Schools Sweepstakes. As part of the prize, Mullinax will receive a seaplane rating from Alaska Floats and Skis in Talkeetna, Alaska. John and Martha King stopped to see Mullinax and his wife, Jana, on their way to Sun ’n Fun to deliver the prize. Prior to the stop, John explained to Mullinax that he wanted to ask him about risk management and get feedback on their courses. The hook was set. Read more >>
Epic Aircraft located in Bend, Ore., passed an important test with the FAA in recent weeks when it proved that its single-engine kitbuilt turboprop meets the FAA requirement that the owner complete 51 percent of the aircraft. The FAA awarded two type certificates for two aircraft, after finding that the owners completed more than 60 percent of the aircraft. Read more >>
Pilots rally GA at Sun 'n Fun
More than 2,300 pilots pledged to help rally general aviation during Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Fla. Pledges ranged from taking someone flying to making donations to the AOPA Foundation. Roger Caram-Andruet with Skyspot Advertising helped spread the “Rally GA” message during Sun ’n Fun by illuminating the message on the side of his aircraft while flying around the show at night. Skyspot Advertising’s specially equipped Cessna 172 displays lighted messages under the wings and on the fuselage.
Extra making last effort to establish factory in Montrose
Extra Aircraft, which had hoped to assemble EA500 business turboprops in Montrose, Colo., may decide to look for a new home in Colorado. The company has not been able to get the lease it had expected from the county. Read more >>
Hawker Beechcraft joins green alliance
Hawker Beechcraft Corp. has become a founding member of the Aviation Green Alliance started by the Lindbergh Foundation. The alliance is aimed at addressing aviation emissions, noise, efficiency, and other environmental concerns. Foundation Chairman, President, and CEO Larry Williams said a number of other manufacturers and groups are in various stages of joining the alliance. Bill Plucker, Hawker Beechcraft advanced design program manager, said his company’s association with the green alliance helps advance its environmental goals, as well as those of the alliance. The company will send a representative to the Lindbergh Foundation board.
AOPA renews platinum-level sponsorship for Sun ’n Fun 2012
In the wake of a powerful storm that swept through the grounds of the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In, AOPA President Craig Fuller on April 1 announced that the association has signed on to be the Platinum Sponsor of Sun ’n Fun for 2012. It will be the fourth year in a row that AOPA has sponsored the show at that level. Read more >>
Belite wins top Sun ’n Fun ultralight prize
The Belite SuperTrike ultralight aircraft has won the “Best Commercial Ultralight” award following judging during the recent Sun ’n Fun Fly-In. The aircraft comes as a kit or factory built. The factory-built model sells for between $26,995 and $38,885, depending on options. It comes with a 45-horsepower Compact Radial engine, or a 28-hp Hirth engine. A company official said she finds many customers prefer tricycle gear over the company’s tailwheel models. The SuperTrike has carbon-fiber wings and cruises between 50 and 62 mph. It has a castering nosewheel and a five-gallon fuel tank. Folding wings are standard. With an optional Trike upgrade, owners can reconfigure the aircraft into a conventional tailwheel aircraft.
Sun ’n Fun was, to say the least, a memorable event, blogs AOPA President Craig Fuller. You can read about the fly-in and access AOPA Live® videos in the current issue of First Monday , Fuller’s short email newsletter. Subscribe online to get these monthly updates.
Reporting Points: 3-D audio is HD for the ears
High-definition television transformed the marketplace: Who wants standard-definition television when you can have such high resolution? Now, the audio world is offering an HD experience for your ears. Garmin set up a demonstration center at Sun ’n Fun for its digital audio panel that has 3-D audio processing. AOPA Director of eMedia Alyssa Miller tried it out to see if it was really that spectacular. “It is,” she writes. Read more >>
Get involved, make a difference
AOPA’s theme for 2011 is “Rally GA.” “With the economy beginning to show signs of improvement, let’s everybody who’s part of this community get behind general aviation and show some enthusiasm—fly a little more often, bring people out to the airport, give them the chance to experience flight,” AOPA President Craig Fuller said in this interview. Fuller talked about how AOPA advocates for pilots’ freedom to fly, and how the association is working to help student pilots complete their training. Watch AOPA Live >>
Mike Goulian’s aggressive aerobatics and pylon flying have impressed crowds across the globe. The airshow star took a break from loops and rolls to sit down with AOPA Live at Sun ’n Fun and talk about pulling Gs, life on the road, and the friends you make on the airshow circuit; watch some clips of Goulian’s aerobatics and learn about his perspective on flight training. “Think about the journey,” he said. “… Every flight is an adventure.” Watch AOPA Live >>
Redbird full-motion sim provides virtual GA experience
Redbird Flight Simulations' FMX full-motion simulator with wrap-around visual screens pitches 25 degrees up or down, banks 20 degrees left or right, and 30 degrees to either side for yaw. Redbird stationed a simulator in AOPA’s tent as part of the Learn to Fly Center at Sun ’n Fun to give prospective students and pilots a chance at the controls with an instructor by their side. Watch AOPA Live >>
Engineering a future
Segway inventor and pilot Dean Kamen has a plan for getting children excited about science and technology. Kamen’s FIRST Robotics competition challenges teams to build and program a robot to face off in what FIRST calls “the varsity sport for the mind.” Students build far more than the robot, said Kamen, who received the 2011 Lindbergh Award for his medical innovations: “What these kids build in six weeks is self respect, self confidence. They build serious relationships with serious adults. They realize what’s possible if they exercise the muscle that’s hanging between their ears, the only one that’s gonna give them a career.” Watch AOPA Live >>
Don’t let high blood pressure get you down
One of the most common ailments affecting pilots—and their medical certificate—is hypertension. AOPA Pilot Information Center Specialist Marianne Hays shares some tips to help pilots who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure breeze through the medical certification process. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Spring has arrived at last, bringing with it warmer temperatures and considerably more volatile weather. Thunderstorms rank high on the list of threats, so before you launch into potentially convective conditions, why not be prepared? The Air Safety Institute’s WeatherWise: Thunderstorms & ATC course is full of need-to-know facts about the limitations of ATC weather radar, common (and dangerous) assumptions pilots and controllers sometimes make, and general tips on making the system work better for you. Take the course >>
‘Buying an aircraft’ Webinar can answer your questions
There is a lot to consider when deciding whether to buy an aircraft. How much is the aircraft really worth? Are there hidden costs, and what are they? What financing is available? What about insurance? Is a prepurchase inspection a good idea and how is one arranged? AOPA's aviation technical specialists will answer these questions and more in a Webinar discussing the aircraft purchasing process April 20 at 3 and 9 p.m. Eastern time. Space is limited, so sign up today.
Don’t be intimidated by towered airports
Structure is the name of this game. Flying into a towered airport can sometimes be easier than flying into a nontowered field, but only if you understand the procedures. Knowing what to expect from ATC (and vice-versa) is essential to a safe and successful flight. Are you ready for your next visit to a busy towered airport? Find out by taking the Air Safety Institute’s latest safety quiz, sponsored by the AOPA Insurance Agency.
Thinking of returning to flying after hanging up your headset for a while? Whether it’s been 20 months or 20 years since you last took to the skies, AOPA can help make your return fun, safe, and as economical as possible. The AOPA Pilot Information Center’s “Getting back into flying” subject report provides resources to help you find an instructor, reduce the cost of flying, and study up on new technologies and regulations. The content is divided into sections that cover major changes in aviation over a given period of time so you can pick up where you left off.
Improve your safety by learning from others
Gain valuable knowledge about flying safely by learning from the mistakes of others. Using your ePilot personalization preferences, like "piston single-engine" or "turbine," the Air Safety Institute's Accident Database generates a list of accidents that have been added to the database in the past 30 days. If you haven't personalized your newsletter, select your aircraft preferences from the "types of aircraft" section on the ePilot personalization page.
Air Safety eJournal: How bad could it be?
The afternoon before a tornado hit the Sun ’n Fun grounds in Lakeland, Fla., March 31, the skies had been threatening all day and the airshow was curtailed as a line of thunderstorms approached from the west. The airport was reopened and the exodus began. Dozens of aircraft were launching into an approaching squall line. Given the approaching squall line, IMC, and high-density VFR traffic, would you have departed? Read more >>
The House voted 223-196 to approve a bill that would reauthorize the FAA’s operations and programs for four years, at an overall funding level of $59.7 billion. The House bill essentially rolls back FAA spending authorization to 2008 levels, but requires the FAA administrator to identify significant cost savings without cutting activities critical to safety. The bill streamlines processes and provides funding for priority NextGen air traffic control modernization projects planned in the next four years. It sets deadlines and establishes metrics for evaluating progress. Read more >>
GA caucuses gain strength in new Congress
With issues such as FAA funding and NextGen being discussed in Congress, now is an important time to have informed legislators making decisions. To help members of Congress understand how general aviation works and its importance to the national economy, legislators are joining the GA caucuses in both houses to educate their colleagues. The House GA Caucus recently passed the 100-member mark, while the Senate GA Caucus is approaching 30 members. Read more >>
While FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt deals with issues such as agency reauthorization and NextGen modernization, he still finds the time to fly. “I want to actually go through these processes, actually shoot the approaches,” he told AOPA President Craig Fuller on AOPA Live at Sun ’n Fun. “I think I can be a much better advocate for the industry and general aviation, which was where I started anyway, if I’m familiar and actually doing it. It’s one thing to read about it. It’s another thing to do it.” Watch AOPA Live >>
Streamlining the federal aviation regulations and striking unnecessary requirements could save pilots and aircraft owners time, money, and headaches. AOPA submitted a list of recommended improvements to the Department of Transportation April 1 as part of a government-wide regulatory review. AOPA’s recommendations focused on areas that commonly affect members, such as medical and aircraft certification, training requirements, airspace restrictions, and paperwork. The DOT had requested recommendations to identify and improve “outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome” rules. Read more >>
FAA’s flight-tracking plan puts security, privacy at risk
AOPA is urging the FAA to reconsider plans to curtail pilots’ use of a program that shields information about their flights from public view. National security and personal privacy will suffer if the FAA proceeds with its plan to limit access to the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program, said AOPA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Melissa Rudinger in formal comments filed April 1. She described the FAA’s proposed revisions of BARR as “a solution in search of a problem that doesn’t exist.” Read more >>
Airport ‘drivers ed’ proposal lacks flexibility
The “one size fits all” surface operations training requirements in an FAA proposal for Part 139 airports doesn’t account for the differing needs of a wide variety of airports, AOPA told the FAA April 4. The FAA proposal would change the Part 139 certification standards for general aviation and air carrier airports, including a provision that would require driver education for vehicle operation on ramps and aprons and annual recurrent training. Read more >>
Elevator spar cracks prompt Commander AD
The FAA has issued an airworthiness directive (AD) requiring a one-time inspection of elevator spars for cracks on the Commander 112 and 114 series of single-engine aircraft. The inspection must be performed within the next five hours of aircraft time in service following the AD’s effective date of April 4. If a crack is found, the AD requires either replacement with a serviceable elevator spar “that is found free of cracks, or repair/modification with an FAA-approved method” before further flight. Read more >>
Namibia joins IAOPA
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Namibia has joined the International Council of Aircraft Owners and Pilot Associations (IAOPA) as its sixty-ninth member worldwide and seventh in Africa. With a size slightly more than half the size of Alaska and a population of 2.1 million people, Namibia is one of the least densely populated countries in the world. The country’s size and popularity as a destination for international tourism make flying an indispensable mode of transport in Namibia, especially via general aviation. Read more >>
Hertz introduces new Adrenaline Collection
Inject some exhilaration into your vacation with the new Adrenaline Collection from Hertz—head-turning, heart-pumping specialty performance versions of three of the most popular muscle cars on the road today: Chevy Camaro SS, Ford Mustang GT Premium, and Dodge Challenger RT. Each model has modern body lines, colors, and designs reminiscent of classic hot rods from the ‘60s and ‘70s muscle era. Include your AOPA CDP# 10232 in all reservations and save up to 25 percent on Hertz rentals. For reservations and value-added offers, go online or call 800/654-2200. Hold on tight to that three-spoke racing wheel and enjoy the ride.
As a CFI you can be held liable for incidents of your students, even if you weren’t on board the aircraft at the time. This startling fact makes having the right insurance policy a necessity. The AOPA Insurance Agency understands that your needs as a CFI are unique, and without the right policy you could be putting your livelihood on the line. That’s why when you get your CFI non-owned policy through the AOPA Insurance Agency you can rest assured that you are personally protected during flight instruction. Read more >>
Medical check: Find out the FAA standards
Do you need 20/20 distant vision for a second-class medical? What about near vision? The FAA has different standards for first, second, and third class medical certification, so decide which class you need before you head to the AME. Then, check AOPA’s easy-to-use “Comparison of Classes of Medical Standards” chart to see what standards the FAA uses for attributes such as color vision, hearing, blood pressure, and more.
Thousands of AOPA members have already switched to the digital edition of AOPA Pilot or Flight Training magazine, or added one to their membership. AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines explained what these interactive versions of the magazine have to offer and gave a sneak peak at the upcoming iPad app on AOPA Live at Sun ’n Fun. Watch AOPA Live >>
AOPA 2011 Crossover Classic Sweepstakes
Sun ’n Fun feedback
While the Crossover Classic was on display at Sun ‘n Fun, AOPA had a chance to sample visitors’ opinions about the airplane. Most of the comments seemed to dwell on the paint job—the current paint job, that is. People pose their questions carefully; maybe they don’t want to offend. They say, “Is this the paint scheme you’ll be using?” or “Do you like the original paint scheme?” There is universal relief when they’re told that the airplane’s next stop is Boss Aircraft Refinishers, where a new paint job awaits. Read more >>
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne was working at his computer at Sun ’n Fun when a gust of wind blew open the back of AOPA’s tent right behind him. He had an in-person view of the torrential rain and monumental winds from the supercell thunderstorm complex that rolled through the grounds—and a thorough soaking. The Crossover Classic rocked a good bit during the storm, but the tiedowns held. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a manager of aviation security, application support engineer, administrative assistant—marketing, and administrative assistant—office of the president. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.