For generations of pilots, a lack of accurate, up-to-date weather information was one of the major challenges of cross-country flying. Then, seemingly overnight, datalink weather came along and changed everything—except the weather. Thunderstorms, icing, and low ceilings are as dangerous as ever, and even though in-cockpit weather has made things better, it's still possible to get in way over your head. The Air Safety Institute's newest course, IFR Insights: Cockpit Weather, is meant to help pilots avoid that fate. Part online course, part video, and part interactive scenario, it aims straight for the things you need to know in the real world: What's this radar image telling me, and not telling me? What other sources of information do I need to consider? What's the "big picture" here? In short: How can I use datalink weather to complete more trips and minimize my risks? Find out >>
Boeing’s Dreamliner, ‘Fifi’ unite
Boeing's first 787 Dreamliner—the largest experimental aircraft at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis.—got a warm reception from the airshow crowd on July 29. The futuristic, highly efficient passenger airliner orbited the airport, and then made a low pass before landing and taxiing to a crowd of several thousand people that awaited at the center of the ramp. There, it parked tail-to-tail with a Boeing of another generation, Fifi, the world's only flying B-29 of World War II fame. Read more and climb inside the cockpit with Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and AOPA Live®.
Aerostar jet pays a visit to Oshkosh
The Aerostar Aircraft Corp. brought its new jet conversion of an Aerostar 601P to this year’s EAA AirVenture and drew crowds of the curious. The company mounted two Pratt & Whitney PW615F engines of 1,460 lbst—the same engines used in the Cessna Mustang—under the Aerostar’s wings and has been testing the design at its Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, location. Aerostar Aircraft Co-founder Jim Christy said the airplane has logged 15 hours of flight time. Read more >>
AOPA scholarship deadline approaching
There are just a few weeks left to apply for the two $5,000 flight training scholarships offered by AOPA. The deadline to apply is Aug. 19 for either the AOPA scholarship or the Erral Lea Plymate Memorial Scholarship. Funds may be used in pursuit of a sport, recreational, or private pilot certificate. For complete eligibility rules or to apply, see the website. Recipients will be announced during AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford, Conn., Sept. 22 through 24.
Young Eagles fundraiser totals $2.2 million
How would you like a 624-horsepower-supercharged Mustang that rides on a custom suspension and stops on specially designed brakes? Oh, and it has some $80,000 worth of silver to create a unique paint finish that is themed on the Navy Blue Angels. That drew the top bid in this year’s Gathering of Eagles. The dinner included a silent and live auction as well as lively interaction with a number of celebrities, including actor and pilot Harrison Ford and filmmaker George Lucas. Bidders pushed the total take of the fundraising dinner to $2.2 million. Get a closer look at the gleaming Blue Angels Mustang and read more >>
WomenVenture creates ‘sea of green’
Hundreds of women pilots converged at EAA AirVenture’s ConocoPhillips Plaza on July 29 to participate in WomenVenture. The fourth annual gathering of women pilots at AirVenture was sponsored by Women in Aviation International. Women pilots from around the United States and throughout the world assembled a few hundred yards from the massive Boeing Dreamliner, which had landed just 90 minutes previously. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
Reporting Points: Thanks, Harriet
On Aug. 1, 1911, Harriet Quimby became the first U.S. certificated female pilot. What challenges did she have to conquer to earn that title? Let’s start with the clothes. Read more >>
Relive the excitement through a photographer’s lens
EAA AirVenture showcases some of aviation's biggest stars. From an Interstate Cadet coming in for a landing on the roof a recreational vehicle to the smoke trail of an inverted biplane Prometheus, AOPA photographers caught some moments on film from the jaw-dropping performances that made thousands of fly-in attendees stop and stare. Watch a slideshow of airshow routines. Then check out some of the shiny, pampered aircraft on the flight line. These aircraft could make any pilot weak in the knees.
Rockwell Collins introduces touch-screen capability
Avionics manufacturer Rockwell Collins revealed its latest technology for what will be a retrofit avionics suite for turboprops and light- to mid-sized jets. Future Pro Line Fusion cockpits will come with touch-screen interactivity, the company said. The motivating idea is to keep pilots more heads-up in the cockpit. Read more >>
Say again? ATC sim could ease communication training burden
The benefits of simulation for pilot training are well understood, and simulators are beginning to be adopted more widely in the training industry. But air traffic control has remained an elusive training component. A small company based in New Jersey is aiming to change all that. PilotEdge is live, virtual air traffic control that will allow students and certificated pilots around the world to combine the best of flight simulation technology with the interaction of a live traffic environment. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
Minnesota man wins introductory flight
Gary Joachim and his wife, Georgia, came to AOPA’s Learn to Fly seminar at AirVenture in search of a cool spot and some solid information about what it takes to earn a pilot certificate. They got all of that, and Gary got something more—a free introductory flight at the flight school of his choice. Read more >>
Lancair Evolution offers EFC900X avionics package
Lancair Evolution kits will come with the same avionics package in the future: Garmin G900X integrated avionics suites, GFC 7X autopilots, and L-3 Trilogy glass-panel standby displays. "These are fully digital glass panels with no analog instruments at all," said Lancair’s Doug Meyer, announcing the standard avionics package the company calls EFC900X (for Evolution Flight Control 900X). Read more >>
‘Where the rubber meets the road’ for aviation’s future
More than 200 people—including a teacher who flew his class’s project from Alaska to Wisconsin for the event—shared ways to get kids involved in aviation at the third annual Teachers Day at EAA AirVenture July 26. The day focused on equipping teachers to incorporate aviation into the classroom, particularly related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Read more >>
GA Awards honor 2011 national winners
The General Aviation Awards Program honored four national recipients for excellence in flight instruction, aviation maintenance, avionics, and flight safety during EAA AirVenture. All four of the recipients are pilots, which is unusual, according to Sandy Hill, a spokesman for the program. Read more >>
Instructors gather for SAFE dinner
More than 100 instructors and flight educators gathered at the Oshkosh, Wis., Wittman Regional Airport terminal on July 27 for the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators’ (SAFE’s) annual member dinner during EAA AirVenture. SAFE, which announced the approval of its nonprofit, charitable organization status, had much to celebrate from the past year, including the group’s training symposium, held in May in Atlanta. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
Recently, AOPA has seen a spike in the number of members who have a six-year authorization with their special issuance medical that allows an aviation medical examiner to reissue their certificate, but instead send their records to the FAA. AOPA Director of Medical Certification Gary Crump gives members this advice: “If you have the luxury of a six year authorization, use it.” Read more >>
AOPA Now: Just back from AirVenture
AOPA President Craig Fuller reflects on a fantastic week in Oshkosh, Wis., at EAA AirVenture. “We always come back from this experience rejuvenated after spending time with so many members and other aviation enthusiasts!” he writes. Read more >>
Reporting Points: What ever happened to …
AirVenture is a great place to catch up. Back in December, Matt Pipkin’s Commit 65 project—an endurance flight in which he and his father will seek to remain aloft 65 days nonstop—was just starting to gather steam. AOPA Associate Editor Jill W. Tallman met with Pipkin at AirVenture to find out where the project stands now. Tallman also caught up with Clay Presley, a passenger on “Miracle on the Hudson” US Airways Flight 1549 who later decided to learn to fly. Presley had some big news to share.
Oshkosh in brief
Bring your daughter to aviation … New non-owned insurance policy … Able Flight grads get new headset … Flying High Coffee fuels AirVenture. Get the scoop on these and more >>
In his new movie, Cowboys & Aliens, actor Harrison Ford battles intruders from the sky. But in real life, Ford, a pilot, is working to protect general aviation and the skies in which we fly. Ford sat down with AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines at EAA AirVenture to discuss his passion for aviation, how his history as a carpenter relates to his attitude toward flying, and commuting to the set of Cowboys & Aliens in his Bell helicopter. Watch AOPA Live >>
Able Flight grads get their wings at Oshkosh
The newest class of pilots to earn their sport pilot certificates through the organization Able Flight got their wings July 26 at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. Able Flight, which awards flight training—and now aviation maintenance—scholarships to people with physical disabilities, presented the wings and one framed wrench to four scholarship recipients. “When you’re in the airplane, there is no ability or disability,” Sean O’Donnell, a former Able Flight scholarship recipient who makes his Sky Arrow available for training, told AOPA. “There is just the pilot in the airplane.” Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Passenger briefing course to guide GA pilots
In response to a recommendation from the NTSB, the AOPA Foundation’s Air Safety Institute is developing a short training video to coach general aviation pilots on how to give an effective passenger briefing on emergency communications and survival equipment. The NTSB recommendation was a result of the board’s investigation into the August 2010 accident in Alaska that claimed the lives of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and four others, including the pilot. AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg said the eight-minute safety video “will include knowing basic VHF radio operation, personal locator beacon operation, the use of cell phones and the cockpit ELT switch” in addition to egress procedures. Read more >>
AOPA receives numerous questions about matters of the heart. Heart disease is common and serious. Most non-medical types think of heart attacks and heart disease as synonymous, but this is far from true. To a physician, “heart disease” refers to numerous problems. Dr. Jonathan M. Sackier describes the different types of heart disease and urges pilots to watch for symptoms. Read more >>
Old and bold
Like most clichés, the adage about there being “no old, bold pilots” overstates things just a bit. A pilot of venerable age can still be a little too confident. On Nov. 30, 2010, a Maule M5 approached a grass strip on the pilot’s property near Emory in northeast Texas. A witness saw it bounce twice attempting to touch down in gusty crosswinds, and then begin to climb out as power was increased for the go-around. At about 100 feet above the ground, the airplane apparently stalled. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
Apple, Android app beta testing: Volunteers wanted
The Mitre Corp. Center for Advanced Aviation System Development is looking for beta testers of an app designed to mitigate runway incursions. If you are an active pilot who flies out of a towered airport and own an iPhone, 3G-enabled iPad, or Android device, you may be eligible. Participants should fly at least four times a month and have logged at least 500 hours. The three-month test will begin in August. Find out more or apply to be a beta tester online.
What will the weather do?
Weather is the most critical and complex variable affecting your flying. And an official weather briefing is indispensable to good flight planning. But can you read between the lines? Get a crystal-clear picture of what happens when frontal boundaries collide; take the Air Safety Institute’s WeatherWise: Air Masses and Fronts online course to make better preflight and in-flight decisions and to qualify for AOPA Accident Forgiveness and the FAA Wings program.
Leading Edge: Flying to standard
If all pilots consistently flew to the practical test standards, the accident rate would plummet faster than a piano in a Laurel and Hardy movie, writes AOPA President Bruce Landsberg. The problem, as he sees it, is not the standard on the practical test, but more with maintenance of pilot skills and abilities. Read more >>
Congressional leaders agreed Aug. 4 to reauthorize FAA operations through Sept. 16, putting 4,000 agency employees and about 74,000 idled private-sector workers back to work after a two-week layoff. The agreement marked the end of a partial FAA shutdown that began July 23 and cut off collection of aviation fuel taxes, reducing revenue for aviation programs by hundreds of millions of dollars. Congress is in adjournment until Sept. 6, but approval of the pact was expected Aug. 5, when the Senate, in pro forma session, will pass H.R. 2553 by unanimous consent. “We are pleased that Congress has restored funding for the FAA, putting thousands of Americans back to work and allowing important construction and repair projects to go forward,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “At the same time, we must recognize that this is a temporary solution at best. We strongly urge Congress to move swiftly to reach agreement on a long-term funding measure that will give the FAA the stability it needs to best serve the aviation community and the traveling public.” Read more >>
FCC asked to halt GPS-jamming network
The Federal Communications Commission, now in possession of clear evidence that a proposed mobile communications network jams GPS signals, should recall approval it granted network venture LightSquared, and begin a full rulemaking process in the case, said AOPA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. LightSquared has “entirely failed” to solve interference problems, which threaten the future of a GPS-based air traffic system—and no technology exists to provide a remedy, they said in the joint filing. Read more >>
AOPA-China set to host its first General Aviation Summit
After granting permission for the first general aviation flight through Chinese airspace and GA landing at Beijing Capital International Airport to Tennessee businessman Wei Chen on his around-the-world flight in a TBM 700, the Chinese government sent a strong message to the world that it is embracing an industry that was once foreign to that country. Another step toward building the GA industry in China is the upcoming five-day AOPA-China General Aviation Summit in Beijing. Read more >>
No takers for Northway, Alaska, FBO
The future of the fixed-base operation, buildings, equipment, and a lodge at the gateway airport in Northway, Alaska, remained unclear after a state auction failed to produce a bidder for the facilities. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities “is still evaluating what our next course of action will be,” an official told AOPA. Read more >>
Busy summer for Airport Support Network
It has been a busy summer for the staff of the AOPA Airport Support Network (ASN) program, meeting with volunteers across the country, participating in aviation events, and spreading the word about ASN to keep the program running in high gear. Where will the ASN staff show up next? From the Arlington Fly-in and Sport Aviation Convention in Snohomish County, Wash., to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., and airports in Utah and Colorado, AOPA’s ASN staff and program volunteers have come together to discuss issues and plan for the future. Read more >>
AOPA Now: Incumbents, look out
As he has traveled around the country, AOPA President Craig Fuller has found it impossible to miss the concern Americans have for what is happening in Washington, D.C. Read more >>
AOPA 2011 Crossover Classic Sweepstakes
The Crossover Classic at EAA AirVenture
Judging by the response he’s seen, AOPA Editor at Large Tom Horne thinks that 2011’s sweepstakes Cessna 182 is perhaps the most popular of all the airplanes AOPA has given away. Horne can’t tell you how many members stopped by to ogle the airplane at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. All were stoked by the prospect of winning it. So what was the most common remark? The airplane’s max cruise speed (162 KTAS), of course. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
AmSafe’s airbag seatbelts
AmSafe airbag seatbelts were installed in the Crossover Classic just in time for EAA AirVenture. Read more >>
A Night for Flight auction expands offerings
Want to fly with pilot and actor Harrison Ford? How about a day of aerobatic training with Sean D. Tucker? Maybe you want a new aircraft or a training package. You can bid on all of these items and more in the AOPA Foundation’s A Night for Flight online auction, which opens Aug. 11 and runs through Sept. 22. The AOPA Foundation is still accepting auction packages if you would like to donate an item with a minimum value of $500. To make sure you don’t miss out on early bidding, register for an account online.
Make AOPA part of your summer travel
As you make plans for summer vacations, don’t neglect to check out the member benefits AOPA offers that can reduce your travel expenses and leave more money for fun. One of the main ways to save money is to use your member code when reserving a rental car. At AOPA, you’re not limited to one rental car company. The association offers member discounts at Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, and Hertz. Read more >>
Airportfest offers free family fun
Airportfest is fast becoming an AOPA Aviation Summit favorite, and for good reason. With more than 100 aircraft on display, live music, great food, and fun activities for the whole family, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience enjoyed by pilots and nonpilots alike. This free event is taking place at the Hartford-Brainard Airport each day of Summit. Read more >>
Fly Well: The beast with many names
Montezuma’s Revenge is a politically incorrect phrase, but (a) nothing political is correct and (b) you immediately know what Jonathan Sackier means: Traveler’s Diarrhea (TD). As one of 100 million people trekking to warmer climates outside the United States your gut is exposed to new bacteria and other organisms. TD is where one passes at least three unformed stools a day, indicating that the intestines now host the Symptom Super Bowl—nausea, vomiting, fever, and cramps. Read more >>
Night glow to highlight Rock ‘n Rally at Summit
The famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico is world-renowned for the hundreds of balloons that compete and millions of spectators that attend to watch this form of general aviation. AOPA will bring a taste of that experience to AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford, Conn., this September. Hot air balloons will display the lighter side of GA at Airportfest at Hartford Brainard Airport. A special highlight will be an intimate balloon glow on Friday night, Sept. 23, during the Rock ‘n Rally. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an application support engineer, Dot Net developer, electronic advertising manager, and manager of airspace and modernization. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.