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Dec. 30, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletterDec. 30, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletter

AOPA ePilot

In This Issue:

VOLUME 13, ISSUE 52 — December 30, 2011

A year of breaking barriers
IFR Fix: Ready or not
Five fronts from GA’s memorable 2011
Quiz Me: Flight review


Safety >>

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect >>


AOPA Live >>

Sponsored by:

Click here for this week's custom content.


A year of breaking barriers

Feature A human-powered helicopter built by university students and a hybrid flying car designed by Burt Rutan were among the highlights of a year of aviation innovation. AOPA contributor Dan Namowitz recaps a busy year for those who dare, including Yves Rossy, who cruised at 190 mph above the Grand Canyon with a jet engine, stubby wings and a parachute strapped to his back. Speaking of speed, 160 knots was long believed to be the speed barrier no helicopter could break until Sikorsky Aircraft engineers left that limit in the dust (and earned a Collier Trophy) with the revolutionary X2. While they set the record in 2010, the helicopter toured the United States in 2011 and made an appearance at AOPA Aviation Summit. Airframe and power plant merge into one with the FanWing, a design by Patrick Peebles under development in the United Kingdom that creates a true marriage of lift and trust. Read more >>

Bose® A20® Aviation Headset

The best we've ever made
Bose was the first to introduce active noise reducing headsets to aviation more than 20 years ago, forever changing the way pilots fly. Today, we continue to set the standard with the Bose A20 Aviation Headset. The headset provides acclaimed noise reduction, with a comfortable fit and the clear audio you expect from Bose. It also features Bluetooth® connectivity, an auxiliary audio input and priority switching Learn more >


GA News

Earhart: 'This is what I must do’

A Denver TV news reporter with a distinctly aeronautical name is reaching for a future in aviation modeled on an ancestor’s historic past. KUSA-TV 9News reporter Amelia Rose Earhart says she “knew” after taking a first flight lesson in 2004 that she and her famous ancestor had more than a name in common. Now a private pilot training for an instrument rating, Earhart launched Dec. 26 on the first leg of a flight designed to recreate some of the milestones that led up to Amelia Mary Earhart’s 1937 attempt to circle the globe. Read more >>

Changes at the top marked 2011

There were changes in latitude, attitude—all sorts of changes as longtime general aviation leaders disappeared from the scene. In some cases, personnel changes were driven by the economy, but for others, it was personal misfortune. Unfortunately, the most recent event is always the first remembered, so we lead off with the departure from the FAA of Administrator Randy Babbitt, who resigned after a long and productive career in aviation following a charge of driving while intoxicated. Read more >>

Winter may be snowbird’s delight

Icing severity map from NOAA Aviation Weather Center Knock on wood, but if fall in the Northeast was any indication, maybe winter won’t be worth getting frosted about this year. That’s what some people are saying, anyway. Will their whimsy be warranted? Or will they be walking in a winter wonderland? For an answer—or anyway, for clues—it is customary this time of year to turn to Andover, Mass.-based Weather Services International for its seasonal outlook in six regions of the country. In all regions except the Southeast and South-Central, WSI expects a colder-than-normal January and February. Read more >>

Your IFR rating in 10 days at your location … IFR finish-up in as little as 3 days!

Professional teachers, specialized curriculum. IFR specialists for 30+ years. Whether flying G1000, Avidyne Entegra, Aspen, Cirrus Perspective or analog instruments, our instructors have the experience. Put “Instrument Rated” on your calendar NOW. 800-435-9437. Already Rated, but rusty? Our IFR Safety Course will get you current and make you a safer pilot.

Corporate Angel Network marks 30 years of service

A Gulfstream V lifted off from New York’s Westchester County Airport on Dec. 22 with a special passenger on board, a girl bound for cancer care in Florida. The landing in Palm Beach marked 30 years of donated aviation orchestrated by Corporate Angel Network, with more than 40,000 flights—and counting. Read more >>

Fly like a fighter: Down we go

Aside from drag devices, fighters also have the option of performing a low-power but high-G descending spiral to keep the airspeed under control while making a rapid descent. Alas, not all of these options are available in general aviation airplanes. From cruise at 8,000 feet to 12,000 feet msl, would you consider ripping your throttle to idle to expedite your descent? Retired Air Force pilot Larry Brown discusses his unconventional method of descending from 20,000 feet in a hurry on a T-38 training flight—and alternative methods of descent for piston GA aircraft. Read more >>

GA accident, fatality rates down in 2010

General aviation accidents and fatalities declined in 2010 for the fourth consecutive year, according to National Transportation Safety Board data released this month. In total number, the 1,435 GA accidents marked a 20-year low, even as estimated total flight hours began to climb for the first time since the Great Recession began. There were 450 GA accident fatalities in 2010, down from 478 in 2009. Read more >>


High flying videos of 2011

AOPA Live® put viewers in the cockpit of the world’s smallest twin, the fastest helicopter that ever flew, and a pair of amphibians during a busy 2011. A how-to guide to the impossible turn and a lesson from an aerobatics instructor also landed on the list of most popular views.

Top 10 videos of 2011, brought to you by United Technologies:

The Impossible Turn

Sun ‘n Fun storm damage

Last flight of the Sikorsky X2

Garmin’s iPad Killer

SBD Dauntless Glider

Challenge—Twin Bee Amphib


Garmin GTN

Teaching Aerobatics

Flying the Beaver


For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

You didn’t get where you are today by standing on the sidelines when opportunity knocks.

And opportunity is knocking right now at Cirrus on the world’s leading personal aircraft. There are incredible time sensitive tax incentives that can offer you up to 100% depreciation in Year I based upon your business use of the aircraft. But you have to act this year, before December 31, 2011 to take advantage of this capital preservation opportunity.

Safety & Proficiency

IFR Fix: Ready or not

IFR Fix: Ready or not A leisurely flight for hamburgers and picture-taking can get hectic if weather deteriorates. Low clouds and fog haven’t reached your destination yet, but they’re moving in fast on a wet south breeze. Inbound pilots are commenting on it, and your passengers are starting to ask questions. At least you can “pick up a clearance,” as the hangar philosophers always prescribe. Read how the scenario unfolds, and weigh in on whether you’d classify the flight as a success.

Is there a right way to change transponder codes?

For some pilots, switching transponder codes means putting their transponder in standby mode before making the change, then going back to active mode once the new code is entered. But as it turns out, that may not be the preferred method. While it may seem like a small procedural difference, there is a reason behind the answer. Listen to the latest installment of the Ask ATC series from the Air Safety Institute as a controller explains how, and why, pilots should change transponder codes. Watch AOPA Live >>

Enough fuel to get there should never be in question

Fuel Management Safety Spotlight Making an unplanned fuel stop on a cross-country flight may be inconvenient, but imagine the inconvenience of making an emergency off-airport landing because the airplane’s fuel tanks are empty. While it seems like an unreasonable outcome, the reality is that fuel mismanagement continues to be one of the top causes of accidents. It is nearly always an avoidable cause. Learn more about fuel management at the Air Safety Institute’s Fuel Management Safety Spotlight, which features an interactive map of fuel-related accidents.

ForeFlight Mobile for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch

Introducing version 4.3: Measure, Manage, Log, and Share
The latest update adds a dynamic map ruler, online account management, logbook exporting, and flight sharing via Twitter or email. Available for download from iTunes App Store.

Fly Well: Was that for me?

Sometimes there’s too much chatter; sometimes, traversing the wild blue, one simply misses a radio call. Sometimes it’s something else. According to the National Institutes of Health, about one-third of folks over age 65 have some hearing loss, rising to 50 percent at 75. If you’re not hearing well you may not be flying well, representing a threat to yourself and others. Read more >>


Flying single-pilot IFR (SPIFR) can be rewarding, but it requires a careful preparation and an honest evaluation of your proficiency level. After all, without a co-pilot or cabin crew, you have a lot on your plate: aviate, navigate, communicate, and program avionics—and if you have passengers, you’ll be their flight attendant as well. Before your next solo IFR flight, take the Air Safety Institute’s Single-Pilot IFR online course and be prepared to constantly balance risks with skills, equipment, and knowledge.

Enjoy a little extra peace of mind.

Add a FliteLevel Select Extended Warranty™ for your Garmin Avionics Equipment.
Get the protection you need at the price you can afford. Give your aircraft the safety-net and cost-controlling advantages of complete system-wide maintenance protection from cockpit displays to remote LRUs. Learn more.

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

Jan. 7 and 8

Baltimore, Md.

Ypsilanti, Mich.

Portland, Ore.

San Antonio, Texas

Jan. 14 and 15

Long Beach, Calif.

Jackson, Miss.

Charlotte, N.C.


Jan. 21 and 22

San Jose, Calif.

Bellevue, Wash.

Jan. 28 and 29

Sevierville, Tenn.


For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Can’t make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.

Jan. 9

Mesa, Ariz.

Reno, Nev.



Jan. 10

Tucson, Ariz.

Sacramento, Calif.

Jan. 11

Milpitas, Calif.

El Paso, Texas

Jan. 12

Santa Rosa, Calif.

Albuquerque, N.M.


Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

AOPA Life Insurance—low rates, exclusively for pilots.

Finding quality, affordable insurance to meet your personal needs can be challenging. That’s why AOPA has done the legwork for you and developed a comprehensive offering of products with low rates and great benefits. Call today! 888-785-8376 ext. 8559.


Five fronts from GA’s memorable 2011

In the spirit of the aviation mnemonic that uses “the five Ts” to remember what comes next on an instrument approach, you could say that taxes, technology, training, tetraethyl lead, and tracking of aircraft by Internet users highlighted a checklist of issues facing general aviation in 2011. Don’t be surprised if a few of them make it back on the list again next year. Read more >>

Keeping the taxman at bay

Keeping the taxman at bay When budget shortfalls plague states—they faced an estimated total budget gap of $41 billion this fiscal year—many introduce tax proposals aimed squarely at general aviation in hopes of finding a quick fix. But unfair tax proposals can put pilots, mechanics, and other industry workers out of work—and still not help a state’s bottom line. AOPA fought many well-intentioned, yet ill-advised tax proposals in 2011 and looks ahead to challenges in 2012. Read more >>

AOPA Aircraft Financing Program offers NEW lower rates

Our goal is to get pilots into the aircraft of their dreams. To help make aircraft ownership more attainable we just lowered our rates to make monthly payments more affordable. For more information, or to have a representative call you to discuss financing, go to

Online aircraft registration deadline approaches

Miss this deadline and your aircraft will be grounded. The FAA requires all aircraft registered prior to Oct. 1, 2010, to re-register, and online applications from owners of aircraft registered in July of any year are being accepted through Jan. 31. Owners of aircraft with July registration should have received a letter from the FAA with a code to be used when re-registering online. Read more >>

Member Benefits

Did you get an iPad over the holidays?

If one of your holiday gifts was an Apple iPad, you can use it to read your AOPA magazine online. First, become a digital subscriber to AOPA Pilot and/or Flight Training magazine. Follow the instructions in your confirmation email to activate your subscription. Then, view the video and download the free AOPA Mags app. After you log in, you can download your magazine(s) for effortless offline reading—and videos and other extended content are just a tap away. Questions or problems? Read our frequently asked questions >>

Are your insurance policies overdue for their annual inspection?

As another year comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to review your insurance policies. A lot can happen in a year, and your coverage needs may have changed. You may even find that it’s time to shop around for better rates. If so, as a pilot, AOPA should be the natural first stop for you. AOPA offers great rates on everything from term life insurance to accidental death and dismemberment insurance to aircraft insurance to auto insurance, and more. Because they are AOPA certified, you won’t have to pay higher rates just for being a pilot. Make sure when you take your first flight of 2012 you can relax and enjoy the flight knowing that you’re covered by AOPA’s Insurance Services.

FREE Video Tip! — Courses for Beginner to Pro!

Click for a Free Video Training Tip and find a course to achieve your next goal, or to make your flying safer and more rewarding. Not sure? Call us at 800-854-1001 and talk to one of our pilot training advisors.

AOPA Career Opportunities

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a director of corporate finance, 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.


Picture Perfect

AOPA’s online photo gallery allows you to upload your own aviation photography as well as view, rate, and comment on others’ photos. Your favorite aviation images from AOPA Pilot are still available online through this new gallery. Take a look, and submit your own photos!

Picture Perfect

Forums: Whom do you trust?

Are you looking for a stop along the way on a long cross-country, or looking for someplace to get your aircraft checked out before your winter flying really kicks off? Get some local knowledge from AOPA’s new regional forums. The new forums offer a chance to recommend a mechanic or FBO in your area, or connect with other pilots nearby.


Twitter Follow AOPA Online

Facebook Become a fan

RSS feed Subscribe to the RSS feed

Rally GA

Check out user-submitted events from your region. To include an event or to search all events in the calendar, visit AOPA Online. AOPA does not endorse the events listed below, nor have ePilot editors edited the submissions. AOPA assumes no responsibility for events listed.


My MembershipMy Membership


Here’s a question asked by an AOPA member who contacted our aviation services staff through the AOPA Pilot Information Center. Test your knowledge.


Question: I’m in the process of getting back into flying after a five-year hiatus. I just received my third class medical and am preparing for a flight review. I am a single- and multiengine airplane, and helicopter-rated private pilot without an instrument rating. If I do my flight review in a helicopter, will I also be current with my fixed-wing privileges?


Answer: Yes, FAR 61.56 states that a pilot can satisfy the requirements for acting as pilot in command by having “Accomplished a flight review given in an aircraft for which that pilot is rated by an authorized instructor.” Simply put, a successful flight review, given in a helicopter in this case, renews all of your pilot privileges for another 24 calendar months. The flight review can be done in any aircraft for which you hold privileges. Keep in mind that the flight review can also be accomplished by getting a new rating such as a seaplane rating, or by adding instrument privileges to this certificate. Learn more about the flight review online, and use this guide to prepare for your flight review.


Got a question for our aviation services staff? The AOPA Pilot Information Center is a service available to all members as part of the annual dues. Call 800/USA-AOPA (800/872-2672), or email to [email protected].

Rally GA Try something new. Challenge your skills by visiting a new airport. AOPA’s online airport directory can help you find the perfect destination for a $100 hamburger, camping under the wing, visiting cultural attractions, or just about any other activity you and your family and friends enjoy.

AOPA ePilot Team
ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown Contributors: Alyssa Miller
Jim Moore
Jill W. Tallman
Warren Morningstar
Alton K. Marsh

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Dan Namowitz

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Mitch Mitchell
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