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Kalebra Kelby has lots of titles. She’s lead singer in the band “Big Electric Cat,” she’s a co-founder and managing partner of Kelby Media Group, which includes the National Association of Photoshop Professionals and Kelby Training, and she’s a mom. But her newest title—the one she had dreamed of since she was little—is pilot. “I guess, as I got older, I put things like that aside while I got on with the business of life,” the Tampa, Fla.-area resident said. Then, a little over a year ago, Kelby and her family were playing a road trip game, and the question was asked, “If money wasn’t an object, what would you buy?” “I said, 'A 747.'” Her family joined in the fun until she said, “You know what would be really cool is if I could fly that plane.” The car went silent. But she didn’t let it go. Over the course of a year, Kelby mastered a Cessna 172 with a Garmin G1000 avionics suite and survived a checkride with an examiner she imagined would have “fangs and glowing yellow eyes.” Read more >>
Bonanza G36 owners now have the opportunity to make their airplanes certified for flight into known icing (FIKI). CAV Aerospace announced April 11 that its weeping wing ice protection system allows owners to gain FIKI approval through a supplemental type certificate. Read more >>
Aero Friedrichshafen: Europe’s take on GA
Every year at this time, the general aviation faithful from around the world—but mostly those in Europe—flock to Aero Friedrichshafen, which is located in the city of the same name in extreme southern Germany. The Aero show is one of the world’s few events that focus solely on general aviation—showcasing ultralights, sailplanes, motorgliders, light sport aircraft, piston singles and twins, helicopters, and light turboprops and business jets. The show displays innovations that often then make their way to U.S. shores. Read more and watch AOPA Live® >>
Sporty’s website supports flight training initiative
The people at Sporty’s Pilot Shop and Sporty’s Academy know flight training. The company claims a student dropout rate of less than half the national average, and through innovative programs and resources, they are seeing their business grow. Now Sporty’s Academy is supporting AOPA’s Flight Training Student Retention Initiative with a new website addressing student retention. Sporty’s founder Hal Shevers attributes the school’s success to its ability to get students to a goal that is both cheaper and quicker than the traditional private pilot route. Read more >>
One week after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, AOPA-Japan began relief flights into Fukushima Airport near the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant to provide food and medical supplies. According to a report from AOPA-Japan, all aircraft at Sendai Airport were destroyed by the tsunami, including a Malibu owned by two brothers who are members of the organization. Wanting to contribute to the relief effort, the two brothers used their other aircraft, a Mooney that was based at Honda Airport, to deliver food to Fukushima. During the aftermath of the natural disasters, AOPA-Japan also learned of the death of one of its members at Sendai Airport. Read more and view a slideshow >>
Flight Design’s four-seat C4 debuts
A mockup of Flight Design’s latest design—the four-seat model C4—made its entrance April 14 at the Aero Friedrichshafen exposition in Germany. With a max takeoff weight of 2,640 pounds and a max cruise speed of 160 KTAS, the C4 is anything but LSA-like, even though Flight Design earned its spurs as a the builder of its popular CT-series of light sport aircraft. Flight Design plans to certify the airplane in two variants. Read more >>
New Emivest owner moving assets to Utah
Both the Martinsburg, W.Va., and San Antonio headquarters of the former Emivest Aerospace, manufacturer of the SJ30 (Swearingen) business jet, will be closed, according to a Northbrook, Ill., real estate firm that is handling the transfer of the properties. The new owner, Metalcraft Technologies, will move the assets to its headquarters in Cedar City, Utah. Read more >>
Tecnam breaks the mold, offers regional twin, four-seater
Think of Tecnam as a manufacturer solely of light sport aircraft? Think again. At this year’s Aero Friedrichshafen show, Tecnam announced three new airplanes destined for higher certification levels. In a surprise move, one of the new announcements was of the company’s new P2012 Traveller, a nine- to 11-seat regional airplane destined for service in Part 135 charter and air taxi operations. The P2012 came about with what the company called an “expression of interest” request from Cape Air, a short-haul regional airline with routes in the Northeast. Read more >>
Of the many electrically powered airplane designs that have appeared at Aero Friedrichshafen over the years, perhaps the new PC-Aero Elektra One shows the most promise. Designed and built by Romanian aeronautical engineer Calin Gologan, the Elektra One has already proven it can fly for up to three hours at a stretch, hit a max cruise speed of 86 knots, and fly for as much as 215 nm on a single charge of its lithium-polymer batteries. Read more >>
New SPOT Connect allows for remote communication
The original SPOT, used for tracking loved ones and search and rescue if things went badly, was simply a GPS chip linked to a satellite network. SPOT Connect takes that concept much further, allowing users to turn their smartphones into a satellite communicator. Read more >>
FAA to change light sport approval
The FAA plans an audit of all light sport manufacturers, including those overseas, and any new aircraft those companies might produce, said Dan Johnson, chairman and president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association. Johnson said the information of the planned audits was confirmed in a phone call from an FAA official. It was first announced in 2010. Read more >>
Downpours and chilly temperatures couldn’t keep Boy Scout troops from setting up camp behind AOPA’s headquarters at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md., April 8 for an aviation camporee weekend to work toward their aviation badges. Frederick Troop 1998 hosted the event. After pitching their tents in the rain, the scouts warmed up inside AOPA headquarters Friday night to watch movies with aviation themes. During the weekend, the scouts learned about gliders, fixed-wing piston-singles, helicopters, and jets and got the chance to fly AOPA’s flight simulator. Read more >>
FAA air traffic chief resigns
FAA Air Traffic Organization Chief Operating Officer Hank Krakowski has resigned. The announcement followed several incidents in which air traffic controllers fell asleep during their shifts. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said in a statement April 14 that “examples of unprofessional conduct on the part of a few individuals” over the last few weeks have raised safety concerns among the traveling public and that maintaining public confidence begins with strong leadership. Read more >>
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is the kind of place where you can enjoy the finer things in life without taking yourself too seriously: You can start your day with an off-road Hummer driving experience and end it at a AAA Five Diamond-rated restaurant. A 2,000-acre destination in the Allegheny Mountains of southwestern Pennsylvania, Nemacolin is practically its own little town. 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.
The efforts of 22 pilots and numerous other volunteers to introduce 185 girls and women to aviation on March 12 have earned the Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md., the title of Most Female Friendly Airport in the World for 2011 by the Women of Aviation Worldwide Week organization. Read more >>
Auction item donations can support GA initiatives
After the AOPA Foundation’s inaugural A Night for Flight auction raised $250,000 in 2010 to help fund efforts to enhance safety, grow the pilot population, protect airports, and improve general aviation’s image, the foundation is striving to build on that success. And there are two ways pilots can help: Donate an item to the auction and get others excited about the benefit. Items worth more than $500 can be donated online. The auction will open to bids Aug. 11 and culminate Sept. 22 at AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford, Conn. Donate an item >>
Hover Power: Watch this
Two helicopter pilots were flying together and talking over an air-to-air frequency. One of the pilots observed the other (operating as Sky 6) start a descent, which he estimated at 15 degrees nose down. The pilot then observed Sky 6’s nose pitch up to about 70 degrees. The helicopter yawed to the left, held there, and appeared to be sliding backward. The nose started to pitch down, and the tail boom separated. The helicopter descended and collided with the terrain. Sky 6’s final transmission was “watch this.” Read more >>
Reporting Points: The not-yet jetpack
The Martin Jetpack has now reached 100 feet, under radio control and with a dummy aboard, in New Zealand. When it was shown in 2008, it could rise only six feet. Read more >>
Time commitment is a common stumbling block for those learning to fly. Piper Aircraft believes it can condense the training to as little as three weeks through its Ready, Set, Fly program. Piper dedicates an instructor at its Florida headquarters to customers who purchase a new Archer LX. Piper Executive Vice President Randy Groom sat down for an exclusive interview with AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines. Watch AOPA Live >>
Storm takes toll on Piper aircraft at Sun ’n Fun
Several new Pipers were among the 50 airplanes damaged during the Sun ’n Fun tornado last month. In this AOPA Live interview Piper Executive Vice President Randy Groom describes what it was like to be there during the storm and how the airplanes were damaged. Watch AOPA Live >>
The only flyable Boeing B-29 Superfortress, Fifi, is on tour with country singer Aaron Tippin this year to raise awareness of the sacrifices of members of the U.S. military. Commemorative Air Force President Steve Brown talked to AOPA Live about the “Red, White, and Loud” tour, how CAF resurrected the aircraft from a boneyard and got it flying, and what it’s like seeing the original pilots and crew of some of CAF’s aircraft get a chance to climb back into the cockpit. “You can see them going back in time,” he said. “… Seventy years seem to evaporate right before you.” Watch AOPA Live >>
Ensuring GA’s future
AOPA Foundation initiatives aim to ensure a bright future for general aviation by keeping pilots safe, growing and nurturing the pilot population, preserving community airports, and improving GA’s image. AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg explained on AOPA Live at Sun ’n Fun how pilots can contribute to those efforts by inviting a friend to the airport or donating to the foundation, and he gave a preview of what’s ahead for the foundation in 2011. Watch AOPA Live >>
Erik Hildebrandt’s favorite aircraft is the next one he’s going to fly. “They’re all great, and I love them all, but it’s the next ride that leads me to get up every morning and figure out what’s going to make that day great,” he said. There’s always something new on the horizon for the aviation photographer and author of Fly Navy: Celebrating the First Century of Naval Aviation. For his work on the book, he got a letter from the Commander, Naval Air Forces authorizing him to fly in every type/model/series that the Navy is currently flying. Watch AOPA Live >>
PAR100EX targets Experimental market
PS Engineering is offering an audio panel that can control a communications receiver. The new product, called PAR100EX, uses 5 watts and is designed with two distinct halves for ease of use, PS Engineering Founder and CEO Mark Scheuer told AOPA Live. The left side contains the audio panel, intercom, and Bluetooth functions, while the right side contains the radio controls. The PAR100EX is aimed at the Experimental market and should save panel space, weight, and money, Scheuer said. Watch a demo on AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Take a Cessna Cardinal on a cross-country flight in solid IMC with the threat of thunderstorms along the route. Now add vacuum pump failure just one hour short of the recommended 500-hour replacement time and you’ve got a classic Real Pilot Story on your hands. Listen to actual transmissions between ATC and the pilot. Here to tell and show her predicament and that of her pilot-passenger is Dr. Donna Wilt explaining what happened, how she handled it, and what she learned. Experience her flight >>
Prepurchase inspections can be crucial. And it’s important to find someone who has the experience to know where to expect the unexpected. On Nov. 14, 2009, a Sonex homebuilt crashed near Burnet Municipal Airport in Texas while maneuvering for an emergency landing. The pilot, who had bought the Sonex almost two years earlier, was killed. Investigators found the carburetor jet needle gummed with an unknown substance, and the finger strainer at the outlet of the forward fuel tank was almost completely blocked by bits of a white substance—the same material that was found flaking away from the tank’s walls and bottom. Could this have been caught by a thorough prepurchase inspection? Read more in this special report prepared by the Air Safety Institute.
Tips for purchasing an aircraft
Buying an aircraft can be an intimidating process. Get tips for arranging a prepurchase inspection, learning how much an aircraft is really worth, identifying hidden costs, and discovering available financing and insurance options in AOPA’s Buying an Aircraft Webinar on April 20. Space is limited. Register for the 3 p.m. session or the 9 p.m. session. Times are Eastern Daylight.
Want to buy an airplane, don’t know what you want?
Do you plan to buy an airplane within the next six to 12 months, but aren't sure what to get? AOPA Pilot is looking for pilots currently evaluating possible aircraft purchases to interview for a future story. If this is you, please send us an email.
Not so fast: Is your aircraft airworthy?
Before you fly off into the sunset, are you positive you’ve checked everything to ensure the aircraft is airworthy? The FAA is very clear in its intent that only airworthy aircraft should be operated—and the pilot in command is responsible for making that decision. Review the requirements for determining if an aircraft is airworthy in this subject report.
For some nonpilots, flying in a light general aviation aircraft can be an anxiety-inducing experience. What if the weather goes bad, or the engine quits, or—worse—something happens to the pilot? The Air Safety Institute’s free Pinch Hitter online course is meant to help allay such fears. In about 45 minutes, the course takes nonpilots on a jargon-free journey through the basics of aircraft control, navigation, and emergency procedures, giving them the knowledge they need to overcome their fears. Know any nervous flyers? Send them here >>
Air Safety eJournal: Rating flight schools and CFIs
Rating products and services is all the rage these days. It’s big business. Consumer Reports can impact the sales of cars with their ratings and who hasn’t heard of Angie’s List? Plumbers, doctors, contractors, maybe even attorneys are all held up for scrutiny. Amazon and many other online stores allow people to rate the products they purchased. So here’s a question for you. Should the aviation industry set up a rating system for flight schools and CFIs? Read more >>
Ron Krohn doesn’t take long to explain how he became a point man in the successful campaign to include personal aviation in New Mexico’s law that limits landowner liability for recreational use of private property. “I guess I raised my hand,” he said. “Then it took off from there.” New Mexico’s pilots rallied to the cause, and when the amendment passed pilots groups celebrated the victory for its promise of opening numerous private airstrips in the mountains and high deserts of the Land of Enchantment to public enjoyment. Read more >>
Officials in Horsham Township, Pa., ignored an opportunity to welcome good jobs and enhanced safety services to their community when they passed a resolution denouncing aviation as a future use of the Willow Grove Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, AOPA said in a letter to the township’s council. AOPA Vice President of Airport Advocacy Bill Dunn appealed to the township council to reconsider language in the April 4 resolution that characterized “airports of any nature” as having “an adverse impact on the quality of life for the residents of the host community.” Read more >>
GPS testing in southwest prompts FAA flight advisories
The FAA has issued flight advisories for potentially unreliable GPS signals in a large swath of the Southwest because of GPS testing in April. While the testing is taking place near Truth or Consequences, N.M., and Fallon, Nev., GPS signals may be unreliable or unavailable in parts of New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah below 10,000 feet msl. The affected areas increase above that altitude. The FAA has shared the testing times and affected locations for New Mexico and Nevada. Pilots are encouraged to check notams frequently. Notams will be published at least 24 hours in advance of tests, but may change with little or no notice.
A little piece of paper, and a little information, could mean the difference between your aircraft being grounded or good to go for that next flight. It’s your aircraft registration certificate. The FAA is updating its aircraft registry and is requiring pilots to re-register their aircraft on a specific, pre-set schedule. If your aircraft registration was issued in April of any year, you must complete the re-registration paperwork online or submit a hard copy to the FAA by April 30. You should have received a letter from the FAA in January. Read more >>
Overhaul urged for homeland security regulations
A government-wide review of the efficiency and cost of regulations provides an opportunity to reverse economic hardships for three Washington, D.C.-area airports, simplify security-awareness training for flight instructors, reduce customs-related paperwork, and eliminate patchwork security rules, AOPA said in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). AOPA offered the recommendations in response to DHS’s March 14 request for user comments on the “continued validity” of its regulations. 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.
Is your medical certificate at risk? AOPA can help
Losing your medical certificate or experiencing a medical situation that could impact the validity of your medical is traumatic enough. Concern about how the FAA may rule on your particular case can mean days of worry as you await a decision. Let the experts in AOPA’s Medical Services Plan be your advocate. Read more >>
Have some awesome shots of your aircraft? Share them on AOPA’s official Facebook page, and your aircraft could be featured as AOPA’s profile picture for the month! It’s easy to enter. Just visit the AOPA Facebook page and become a fan if you haven’t already; then click on the photo icon on the top of the Wall and select “Upload a Photo.” Be sure to share with your friends too and get them to vote by clicking “Like!” The five photos with the most “likes” will face off to be chosen as AOPA’s profile picture for the month. Submit photos >>
AOPA 2011 Crossover Classic Sweepstakes
Sun ’n Fun aftermath: Blown alternator circuit breaker
The Crossover Classic survived the March 31 tornado event at Sun ’n Fun in fine shape, but there was a catch. On the last day of the show when the exhibit aircraft were waiting to taxi, the airplane started fine, but the 60-ampere alternator circuit breaker popped. AOPA Editor at Large Tom Horne was on battery, stuck in a conga line that wasn’t budging, and watching his battery indicator dropping through 11 volts. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an application support engineer and administrative assistant—office of the president. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.