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Few sights in nature thrill the soul like a V formation of Canada geese winging overhead, their chorus of voices a harbinger of winter or the first proof of spring. But if those geese take up residence near a country airport, what started out as a vision of nature's majesty becomes a peril for pilots flying in the vicinity. AOPA member Philip C. Whitford, a biologist, professor, and 1,200-hour pilot, has been on a decades-long wild goose chase that is producing promising results in clearing out unwelcome goose populations. He hatched a theory: If you could warn Canada geese of danger with enough emphasis, they would depart and not return. Day after day, he studied Canada goose behavior, certain that if he learned their language—“They just honk, how hard can it be?”—he could capture and record their alarm call. Seven years later, Whitford deciphered the language, and now he’s created a device called the Goosebuster. Read more >>
With a preliminary report expected soon on a Thanksgiving-eve accident that claimed six lives near Phoenix, Ariz., the National Transportation Safety Board planned to examine whether changes made to Phoenix’s Class B airspace in 2007—and challenged in court by AOPA as unsafe—contributed to the crash. On Nov, 23, all six occupants, including three children, died when a twin-engine Rockwell Aero Commander 690 struck a mountain shortly after departure from Falcon Field, in Mesa, Ariz. Read more >>
Honors sought for earliest CAP members
As observances began for the Civil Air Patrol’s seventieth anniversary, a bid to honor its earliest members was making its way through Congress. House Resolution 719 would award the Congressional Gold Medal in honor of the World War II members of the CAP, who flew as civilian defenders of the nation’s coastlines. The pilots, flying missions for the Coastal Patrol, as it was then named, at the request of the Office of Civilian Defense, were credited with helping to stop U-boat attacks on supply ships outbound from U.S. ports. Read more >>
Jetman falls into formation
Yves Rossy’s press notices are fond of saying that for decades the stunt pilot known as Jetman wanted to fly like a bird. By now it’s probably safe to say that he has turned the tables. Proving the aviation adage that the greatest feats of aeronautical daring succeed best when pilot and machine seem as one, Rossy, 52, has flown his wing—fortified with four jet engines—in aerobatic formation with two L-39C Albatros jets above some seriously altitudinous European mountains. Read more and watch a video >>
Reality check: New TV series seeks ‘bush pilot’
When is someone going to search for a rugged, outdoorsy general aviation pilot to play a part in a TV reality show? Someone has. You may be just the pilot the casting crew is looking for, and you might even get to fly an airplane on TV. The call has gone out to cast a bush pilot—loosely defined—to become one of 12 people who will be brought together “in a remote area of Alaska,” where they will rely on their own resourcefulness while collectively building a homestead in a new television series tentatively called The Frontiersmen. Read more >>
Indianapolis airports prepare for Super Bowl 2012
Super Bowl XLVI is a little more than two months away and teams are still vying for a spot in the big game, but the Indianapolis Super Bowl host committee already is preparing surrounding airports for the influx of traffic that will come with the Feb. 5 event. The Super Bowl XLVI Indianapolis host committee website includes a section dedicated specifically to general and corporate aviation. Read more >>
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne and Senior Editor Dave Hirschman have a lot of things in common: lots of ratings, lots of experience in lots of airplane models—and lots of opinions. In the November 2011 issue of the magazine, they debated NDB approaches. However, this month the two veteran aviation writers put down their dueling pens and—in the spirit of the season—agreed to focus on what they both appreciate about general aviation. See if you agree with them >>
FAA updates Washington, D.C., flight rules course
After changing ingress and egress operations at Virginia’s Leesburg Executive Airport inside the Washington, D.C., Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA), the FAA has updated its online training course that is required for pilots operating within a 60-nautical-mile radius of the DCA VOR/DME. Read more >>
Holiday store to benefit Build A Plane projects
Build A Plane, the organization that promotes aviation and aerospace education, invites you to find the perfect pilot holiday gift by shopping at its new online store. Items currently available on the eBay site include an opportunity to fly Build A Plane’s flagship Glasair Sportsman with its founder, Lyn Freeman. Read more >>
AOPA Now: Taking off and giving thanks
There’s a lot to be thankful for at 5,500 feet. A Thanksgiving-morning flight gave AOPA President Craig Fuller the opportunity to reflect on the landscape below and the freedoms that afforded him the view. The next day, when retail stores were abuzz, he climbed above it all and learned how one piece of infrastructure tells the story of an area from the Civil War through the Great Depression and beyond. And on “Small Business Saturday” Fuller shopped in the relaxed environment of an independent retailer—Sporty’s Pilot Shop.
Hover Power: Bell’s corporate helicopter
In 1979 Bell Helicopter certified the Model 222 helicopter to target the corporate market. Although it had a sleek corporate look, the helicopter struggled to find acceptance in the business world because of reliability problems with the Lycoming LTS101 engines and the two-blade rotor design that could not achieve an acceptable level of smoothness. As a result, Bell began working on a new helicopter that would use advanced technologies to improve the engines, rotor system, and cockpit. Read more >>
Attention professional pilots: Has your military service or flying job ever kept you away from home for the holidays? AOPA ePilot wants to know what’s made the season a little brighter when you couldn’t be with family. Email us your photo and your methods for keeping in touch or carrying a piece of home with you; we’ll highlight members’ stories in the Dec. 16 ePilot.
Be kind to your engine
Oh, the abuse pilots mete out on their poor, hard-working engines: impatiently taking off before the oil temperature rises, fouling the mags at full rich on the ground, shock cooling during descent. In this video, AOPA staff offer their tips on engine operation. Do you treat your airplane the way you would treat a beautiful woman? Does running your engine “over square” damage the engine? How quickly do you enrich the mixture on descent, and how could that affect your engine? Watch AOPA Live® >>
‘The Aviators’ tops 3.5 million households a week on PBS
The Aviators might be on to something when it comes to making the world of general aviation known to the public. Executive Producer Anthony Nalli recently announced the series’ ratings after its first season on PBS. The show reached an average weekly U.S. household viewership of 3.59 million, and it is expected to increase its viewership 10 percent in season two, he said. Season two kicked off in September. AOPA members can catch portions of The Aviators on AOPA Live.
Explore the lighter side of aviation: Ultralights
With strict weight regulations, ultralight aircraft are, well, light at an empty weight less than 254 pounds. They can fly a maximum of 55 knots, carry five gallons of fuel, and allow a single occupant (with some training exceptions). The Aviators takes a closer look at these aircraft. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Like it or not, pilots represent one another in the public mind; those who volunteer to introduce the public to aviation assume an especially heavy responsibility to reassure instead of traumatize. On April 23, a CubCrafters CC11-160 Carbon Cub stalled and spun in just after takeoff from the Everitt Airfield near Parker, Colo., killing the pilot and his passenger. The accident flight was a demonstration for a group of Girl Scouts, and the passenger was the father of one of the Scouts. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
A quiet, VFR flight from Okinawa, Japan, to Osan, Korea, quickly turned hectic as the weather deteriorated at fighter pilot Larry Brown’s destination. A mad scramble to review instrument approaches and set up the navigation radios gave a few lessons in planning ahead—something he does to this day in his Cessna P210. Read more >>
IFR Fix: Event planning
A wise saying of instrument training goes something like this: If you cross a fix at exactly 1500Z, you should have already crossed it mentally at 1458Z. It’s called “event planning” and means that when crossing the upcoming fix, it’s time to get ready for the next step in a known sequence. Say you broke out at minimums (448 feet agl) with the threshold of an 11,440-foot runway under the nose. That’s no time to be planning your future. Would you land straight in, with a 10- to 20-knot tailwind, or circle to land, making sure to remain in the clear? Read more >>
IFR real-world rules
Wading through the FAR/AIM instrument flight rules can be a time-consuming and daunting process. But with the Air Safety Institute’s IFR Insights: Regulations course, that task is made easier as it helps you understand what matters in the IFR world. Scenarios, quizzes, and practical tips pull together real-world knowledge to keep you legal and safe. And, if you like game shows, you’ll be in for a treat with the Air Safety Institute’s interactive 1970s-style game show. Whether you’re an instrument-rated pilot or looking to become one, take the course now to qualify for AOPA Accident Forgiveness and FAA Wings.
Turn passion into profit: Aviation enterprises
A commercial pilot certificate can help you turn your passion into a profit—but it can be hard to know where to start. AOPA is offering a Webinar Dec. 7 for aircraft owners who have, or want to start, an aviation-related business with their aircraft. AOPA Senior Aviation Technical Specialist Andy Sable and Raymond C. Speciale, Esq., CPA, will discuss aerial photography, leasing an aircraft, sightseeing flights, flight instructing in your own airplane, and other enterprises commercial pilots engage in under Part 91. Sign up for either 3 p.m. or 9 p.m. Eastern.
Second chance for 'Emergency Operations' Webinar
Did you miss last month’s Air Safety Institute Webinar on emergency procedures? If so, be sure to check out the recorded version, now available on AOPA Live. From the importance of distinguishing an “abnormal” situation from an emergency, to the best ways of handling engine problems and other specific troubles, you’ll get plenty of useful tips from Air Safety Institute Chief Flight Instructor JJ Greenway and air traffic controller Andy Marosvari. Check it out >>
Leading Edge: Never too early to speculate?
An accident involving the Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach and assistant coach on a recruiting mission attracted national attention in mid-November. The 1964 Cherokee went down in Arkansas with four fatalities. Pilots began speculating about the cause. Perhaps it’s human nature to guess about accident causes before there is evidence, but for what purpose? Read more >>
When it comes to medical certification and staying in the air, pilots want the best of both worlds. That’s why AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association’s request for an exemption to allow pilots to use their driver’s license and medical self-certification to fly certain aircraft recreationally is resonating with members. For some, the AOPA-EAA joint effort is a sign of hope that would allow them to continue flying. For others, it doesn’t go far enough. Read more >>
Survey polls pilots on data needs
What information would pilots want when accessing near-real-time FAA aeronautical, weather, and traffic-flow management information, and exchanging operational data? Pilots can participate in this FAA Aircraft Access to System Wide Information Management program 15-minute survey to determine user information requirements for supporting enhanced flight safety, security, economy, comfort, and convenience.
Year-end tax planning
Any business use of an owned or rented aircraft has always been tax deductible, but that’s not the only factor to keep in mind this tax season. In September 2010, and again in December 2010, Congress passed and the president signed into law small business jobs and tax bills that included provisions that may be additionally advantageous for aircraft purchasers whose aircraft will be used at least 50 percent for business. In addition, interest rates are near 40-year lows and prices remain in a buyer’s market. Read more >>
Four new discounts for AOPA members
Four more companies have joined the AOPA Lifestyles Member Discounts Program, a new, free core membership benefit available to all AOPA members. New offers include a 10-percent discount on a unique line of aviation-themed merchandise at Airspeed Junkie, a 15-percent discount on Ball watches through authorized dealers, and a 15-percent discount on tear-resistant sectional aeronautical charts from DuraCharts. Additionally, AOPA members and their families will qualify for free shipping within the United States plus $50 off select handheld storm and lightning detector models at Thunderbolt International. Just log in to the Lifestyles Web page and click on one of the 17 offers now available.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a manager of flight training programs, online product manager, AOPA Live producer/videojournalist, associate editor–Web/ ePilot, and aviation technical specialist. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.