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Wilson Bar, Idaho: Restored gem of the backcountry
A one-way strip with a blind approach and no go-around, Wilson Bar is the only public airstrip on 120 miles of wild river. The challenging Idaho backcountry airstrip lies two miles inside the Frank Church—River of No Return Wilderness Area and once was erased from aeronautical charts when the U.S. Forest Service dubbed it unused and hazardous. But pilots fought to regain access to the strip, and now canyon flyers can enjoy a wide, rolling swath of land with tall trees, lush grass and plenty of room for camping, walking about, and enjoying the rushing waters of the Salmon River flowing by. Learn tips for flying there in this selection from Pilot Getaways magazine, available to members for a limited time on AOPA Online. Check out more Pilot Getaways destinations and exclusive member discount pricing in this special offer.
There’s something reassuring about running an engine rich of peak when cruising at 75-percent power—at least to AOPA Editor at Large Tom Horne. Even with the precisely calibrated fuel injectors and engine analyzing gear that make safe lean-of-peak operations possible, there’s a danger in misinterpreting temperature indications, he argues. But questions about the benefits of lean-of-peak operations have been asked and answered, Senior Editor Dave Hirschman counters: During the past 10 years, general aviation engines have safely logged millions of flight hours running lean of peak. Read more and watch AOPA Live® >>
Jetman to fly the Grand Canyon
Public relations specialists for Grand Canyon West have announced that a flight above the Grand Canyon will be made May 6 by Jetman, the name used by Swiss pilot Yves Rossy when he flies with a jet-powered wing on his back. Each flight ends by parachuting to the ground (or in one case, water). Grand Canyon West is the name given to Grand Canyon recreational assets owned by the Hualapai Indians, including the Grand Canyon Skywalk jutting from a cliff 4,000 feet above the canyon floor. Read more >>
MT’s newly FAA-certificated four-blade propeller for the Cirrus SR22 is proving quite popular with customers around the world—and for different reasons. Larry Schlasinger, managing partner at Flight-Resource LLC, the Wisconsin firm that led the certification program, said the new prop is in exceptionally high demand among SR22 owners. “It’s quieter, and that’s a major consideration in some parts of the world,” he said. Read more >>
Offer to keep Cirrus American on hold
The organizer of an effort to make a counter offer for the purchase of Cirrus Design said investors have decided to see what happens before preparing a purchase package. The investors, according to aerospace consultant Brian Foley, feel an offer from the China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. could be approved as early as May. Foley, formerly in marketing for Boeing and Dassault Falcon Jet, said the process of organizing an investor group has led to the discovery of others outside his group who are also interested in keeping companies like Cirrus in American hands. Read more >>
Bahamas and Caribbean Guide now available on iPad
The 2011 Bahamas and Caribbean Pilot’s Guide is now available on Apple’s iPad. The guide, which has been published continuously since 1979, offers some nice features on the tablet. In addition to the large photographs and airport, customs, and travel information that the guide has become known for, the iPad version also has a robust search capability. Read more >>
It’s a seven-hour drive from Greenville, N.C., to Greenville, S.C. Shannon and Travis Glisson were planning to make the long trip to bring their 2-year-old son, William, to the doctor. William suffered a stroke during birth, which has caused developmental complications. The same trip takes two hours in Matt Kappel’s 300-horsepower Piper Lance. So on the morning of April 25, Kappel, a Greenville, S.C., attorney and volunteer pilot with Angel Flight Soars Inc., set course for the North Carolina city, where he picked up William and his parents, and flew them south. Read more >>
New York instructors offer free ground school
In an effort to get more people interested in aviation and lower the barriers to entry, two flight instructors from New York are offering a free ground school. Zachary Barrett and Jay Van Essendelft are running the school, which begins May 14 and will run every Saturday for 12 weeks. “The goal of the course will be to spread the word about general aviation, educate new pilots, help individuals towards passing the FAA written exam, as well as help current pilots boost their knowledge levels,” Barrett said. Read more >>
An invitation to the local airport may be the difference between dreaming of flying and signing up for lessons. International Learn to Fly Day on Saturday, May 21, provides an opportunity for pilots to tear down the perceived walls at airports and get future pilots up in the sky for their first flight. Check out AOPA’s online resource to learn how to participate in an event near you or plan your own. The page includes such resources as “Six steps to a successful orientation flight” and a special offer to help new student pilots kick-start their training.
Sun ’n Fun president Burton to lead Florida Air Museum
Sun ’n Fun President John Burton has been named president of the Florida Air Museum, located at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. In his new role, Burton will be responsible for “raising the profile and prestige of the Florida Air Museum (FAM) at the local, regional, national and international levels,” museum officials announced April 22 in a news release. Read more >>
Several years ago aviation blogger Tim McAdams ferried a Eurocopter AStar helicopter from Dallas, Texas, to Los Angeles, Calif. What made this a little different than other ferry flights was the helicopter’s paint job: It was painted like the American flag. It seemed that at every controlled airport where he stopped the tower controller commented on the paint scheme. After that trip he started noticing more helicopters with a stars-and-stripes paint job. Take a look >>
The Diamond DA50 Magnum will be powered by a six-cylinder, 280-horsepower turbocharged diesel engine, Diamond Aircraft Industries announced at the Aero general aviation show in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Diamond CEO Christian Dries showed off a prototype and talked to AOPA Editor at Large Tom Horne about the liquid-cooled, Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) engine’s reliability and fuel efficiency. The engine still needs to lose some weight, but Dries said he has a goal of finishing the DA50 project in 18 months and putting it on the market. Watch AOPA Live >>
An engine manufacturer’s take on avgas
What is the general aviation industry looking for in a fuel? Lycoming Senior Vice President Mike Kraft explained the challenges of transitioning to an unleaded solution for piston GA, as well as industry efforts to address other environmental concerns for piston and turbine aviation, in this backgrounder presentation to a European GA audience during Aero Friedrichshafen. Watch AOPA Live >>
Swift Enterprises, one of the public frontrunners in the quest to develop a high-octane unleaded replacement for 100LL, is running its fuel in an unmodified Beechcraft Duke in southern Germany. The fuel can be made from biomass, and Swift is looking into deriving it from corn, sorghum, switch grass, and kudzu so the price isn’t dependent on one product, Swift Vice President of Renewable Fuels Jon Ziulkowski told AOPA Live at Aero. Find out about hot and cold starts, the economics of large-scale production, materials compatibility, and more. Watch AOPA Live >>
Learning to fly: Tips for achieving the dream
Know someone who might be interested in learning to fly? Air Safety Institute Chief Flight Instructor JJ Greenway talked on AOPA Live at Sun ’n Fun about career and training opportunities in aviation, and offered tips for making the most of training hours—and dollars. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
What if during your instrument scan a set of beady reptilian eyes stared back at you from behind the altimeter? Would you have the wherewithal to grab the slithery critter by the neck and remain composed while it wrapped around your arm? The Air Safety Institute’s “Real Pilot Story: Snake in the Airplane” puts you in the cockpit, snake and all, while the pilot relates lessons learned from his uncanny encounter.
Selling an aircraft 101
Knowing how to sell an aircraft is important. All too often, aircraft owners selling an aircraft are unaware of important procedures and subsequently end up in a legal mess. The AOPA Pilot Information Center outlines steps in this subject report to help make selling an aircraft simple and hassle free.
If you think thunderstorms are dangerous, you’re right. But dangerous weather doesn’t just mean lightning and turbulence. Low ceilings and poor visibility continue to top the list of weather-related accident causes and often have fatal results. The numbers in the METARs mean more than just the difference between VMC and IMC. Learn more about the science behind the numbers in the Air Safety Institute’s WeatherWise: Ceiling and Visibility online course.
Air Safety eJournal: We have it pretty good but…
High prices and bureaucracy constrain general aviation in many places outside the United States. Avgas, when you can get it, goes for $10 to $15 a gallon. Many cities discourage GA with large landing and handling fees. Flying IFR in Europe makes the U.S. Northeast corridor look like a walk in the park, even though U.S. traffic density is generally much higher. On the positive side, the dream of flight is as alive as ever. One thing is crystal clear—effective advocacy is essential. Read more >>
Massachusetts pilot Steve Kahn can breathe a sigh of relief. After four years of fighting a nearly $26,000 tax bill from the Maine Revenue Service, the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine on April 26 vacated the ruling of a lower court, ordering the state tax assessor “to reverse all use tax and interest assessed” on Kahn. Read more >>
Bill could fix California flight training fiasco
When the California legislature passed the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009, one of the unintended consequences of the bill threatened to devastate the state’s flight training industry. The act required new fees and reporting requirements that “would put most flight training businesses and independent CFIs out of business,” according to AOPA California Regional Representative John Pfeifer. Aviation groups worked with the state legislature in 2010 to delay the act’s implementation for the flight training industry until July 2011. But another, more permanent fix is in the works. Read more >>
Lead air quality review should wait for current data
The EPA shouldn’t decide whether to change the air quality standards for lead until it can evaluate data from the most recent tightening of requirements, the General Aviation Avgas Coalition told the agency April 28. The EPA requested comments on a draft integrated review plan for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for lead. But monitoring stations are still being implemented to evaluate the effects of the last change to the standards, a tenfold reduction in lead levels that took effect in 2009. Read more >>
Development proposal near N.C. airport withdrawn
A developer has withdrawn plans to build 232 apartment units below the traffic pattern of the Moore County Airport in North Carolina. The decision was announced April 12, and followed rejection of the planned residential and commercial development by both the town council in Southern Pines, N.C., and the planning board on two occasions in January and February. Airport supporters continued to make their presence felt, appearing at April’s monthly town council session prepared to point out again that the proposal threatened to encroach on the airport and was an incompatible land use. Read more >>
AOPA has notified the FAA that the association is pleased with the proposed modification of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Class B airspace, but recommends changes to a confusing “alleyway of airspace” over a satellite airport that could create the potential for accidental incursions. That airspace could be made easier and more efficient to use with a “more consistent Class B floor” established in the airspace overlying and on three sides of Stanton Airfield in Stanton, Minn., AOPA said. Read more >>
Fuller meets with Friends of Santa Monica Airport
In the wake of the Los Angeles City Council’s decision to seek legislation to close flight schools at Santa Monica Municipal Airport and alter departure paths at the airport, AOPA President Craig Fuller met with the airport support group Friends of Santa Monica Airport on April 20. “Santa Monica and this group represent the hope for general aviation,” Fuller told more than 100 group members at Santa Monica Aviation. “…When we fight hard, define clear objectives, and stand together, we will protect the freedom to fly.” Read more >>
Do you like to fly to backcountry airstrips? AOPA is reminding pilots interested in preserving backcountry airstrips and using the ones located in the national forests to submit comments by May 16 on the proposed revision of the U.S. Forest Service planning rule. The draft rule was released in February following a year of national and regional roundtables and other public meetings in which AOPA participated, as did representatives of other aviation organizations. Read more >>
NY bill proposes liability protection for private airstrips
AOPA is supporting the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) in its effort to pass legislation in New York state to indemnify private airport owners from civil liability in connection with recreational use of their airfields. The RAF is advocating a measure introduced by state Sen. James L. Seward to expand existing law to include noncommercial aviation among activities for which owners are shielded from liability exposure. Read more >>
Experts and leaders from the aviation industry gathered for the tenth annual Aviation Summit at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., April 27. AOPA President Craig Fuller moderated a panel, “The state of airports: What is needed and how it can be achieved,” and demonstrated general aviation in action with a flight simulator. "This event is a wonderful opportunity to bring a cross section of business and aviation leaders together," Fuller said of the summit. Read more >>
FAA reducing re-registration backlog
With the FAA’s mandatory aircraft re-registration program now under way, AOPA is urging owners to check their registration status and avoid becoming grounded due to processing delays or failure to comply with the rule. To check your registration month or status of your registration, visit the FAA aircraft registry website. If your existing aircraft registration was issued in the month of April of any year, you have until the end of April 2011 to submit re-registration information online, and to ensure that your new registration is received before expiration of the current registration. Read more >>
Bank of America offers benefits for AOPA members
One of the benefits of securing an aircraft loan through AOPA’s partner, Bank of America N.A., is the pre-approval process. According to Bank of America Senior Vice President for Aircraft Financing Jennifer Giampietro, prospective owners often reverse the process. First they find an airplane; then they see if they qualify for the loan. She suggests that buying an airplane is far easier if you start with the loan approval process. Read more >>
Are you covered as a pilot?
You’ve worked hard to ensure the financial future of your family, but did you know your current life insurance might exclude general-aviation-related activities? Not all insurance policies protect VFR and IFR pilots. Sometimes you pay higher rates or have a special rider that excludes flying. AOPA Aviation Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance offers guaranteed protection exclusively for members. Coverage is available up to $300,000, no medical exam is required, and there are no rate increases due to age or changes in health. Read more >>
Airport information available via iPhone, iPod touch
Information about more than 5,300 public-use landing facilities; 7,000 FBOs and aviation-related businesses; and more than 55,000 restaurants, hotels, and transportation services is available to AOPA members with an iPhone or iPod touch on the AOPA Airports app powered by ForeFlight. Visit Apple’s App Store to download this exclusive member benefit.
AOPA 2011 Crossover Classic Sweepstakes
Elvis—er, the Crossover Classic—has left the building. The Air Mod building that is. The interior has been completed. Everyone dwells on the major components of an interior overhaul, but don’t forget the detail items that may not be immediately apparent: beat-up, faded plastic parts. Would yellowed plastic panels on the doors or A-, B-, and C-pillars show up against the backdrop of a brand-new leather interior? You bet they would! Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an application support engineer and member services representative. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.