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After logging his 4,600th landing, airline pilot Peter A. Bedell looked back at the difficult ones—from braving gusts in a Cessna 172 to landing a Boeing 737-800 in a torrential Texas downpour. One day with howling winds down the runway at his departure and destination airports, Bedell pushed his Skyhawk to Stevensville, Md., in record time. But as he turned 90 degrees to the wind to clear the runway, a gust lifted the right wing up and the airplane balanced on its nose and left main tires. More recently, a Boeing 737 crew, with Bedell in the co-pilot seat, took all the necessary precautions for landing the airliner on a rain-soaked runway. What Bedell never considered was that his windscreen may not have been treated with rain repellent—or it had worn away. Read more >>
Brent Taylor hopes that years of court battles he waged in a bid to keep antique aircraft flying are finally over. He’ll know for sure in about two months. Meanwhile, Taylor and other antique aircraft devotees are cheering a Jan. 19 Federal District Court decision that struck down an argument that the FAA had used in “blanket refusals” to make old aircraft type certificate information available to antique aircraft owners and restorers. Read more >>
The lady loves taildraggers
Judy Birchler has loved tailwheel aircraft since she learned to fly in an Aeronca Chief 38 years ago. She wanted to know if there were other women who felt the same way. So she set out to create a like-minded community with the Ladies Love Taildraggers website. When she launched the site in 2009, Birchler expected only to find a few lady taildragger pilots who were interested in $100 hamburger flights. Read more >>
Aviation charity nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Wings of Hope, a St. Louis-based aviation charity that implements poverty reduction strategies to help those in need attain self-sufficiency, has been nominated for a 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, the organization announced Feb. 2. “This is a great honor to all of our volunteers and donors,” said Wings of Hope President Doug Clements. “They are the ones who see the humanity of our fellow men and who seek to extend the hand of human kindness to them.” Read more >>
The Texas comptroller has objected to the sale of Emivest Aerospace, the former Swearingen firm that builds the SJ30 business jet in San Antonio, Texas, because of failure to pay back taxes. The firm still owes $836,000, and a payment of $65,000 on that amount is past due. Greg Abbott, the attorney general of Texas, has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to delay the sale to a “mystery buyer.” Read more >>
Lightspeed Foundation accepting grant nominees
Pilots can nominate aviation charities for a Lightspeed Aviation Foundation grant through midnight Feb. 11. Aviation charities can receive a grant from the foundation based on the number of online votes from the pilot community or by consumers who designate a portion of their purchase of Lightspeed Aviation headsets to an aviation charity of their choice. Voting is not yet open. Read more >>
Pilots fly above disabilities
There’s nothing unusual about two pilots enjoying spectacular scenery above a thin cloud layer on a moonlit night, except these pilots both are disabled by spinal injury. Heather Schultz, 26, is a quadriplegic although she can walk with a cane and electronic devices, while Sean O’Donnell, 32, has lost the use of his legs. They flew in a Sky Arrow 600 two-seat light sport airplane fitted with hand controls on a 1,000-mile Freedom Flight to raise awareness that flight-training scholarships are now available for wounded veterans. The two took time to talk about the journey with AOPA Live®. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
Analyst: Aerospace sales to spring forward
Aviation industry analyst Brian Foley, formerly in marketing at Boeing and Dassault Falcon Jet, says the recession is over and the industry can expect a growth spurt, followed by slower, more traditional growth. Foley is president of his consulting firm, BriFo. Read more >>
Lindbergh Foundation leads Aviation Green Alliance
The Lindbergh Foundation is leading the Aviation Green Alliance, a new program that brings stakeholders together to address aviation’s environmental challenges. John and Martha King of King Schools in San Diego will direct it. Read more >>
Eclipse Aerospace has completed an equity investment by Sikorsky Aircraft that was first announced in the fall. Under the agreement, Eclipse will call upon the infrastructure of Sikorsky, including global supply chain support, global parts distribution, and various production restart resources. No dollar amount was given. The move is key to restarting the production of the twin-engine Eclipse 500. Located in Albuquerque, N.M., Eclipse Aerospace provides engineering, service, and support for the fleet of roughly 260 Eclipse 500 jets. Read more >>
Road and Runway Rally to air on ‘MotorWeek’
Last April, as part of the 2010 Fun to Fly Sweepstakes, AOPA pitted its Remos GX light sport aircraft in a race against a Smart fortwo car, in a rally to Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla. All bets were on the aircraft, but, as fate would have it, one of the tires blew before takeoff. And that began an odyssey down the East Coast for two teams—Team Wilbur and Team Orville. The teams spent four days in the air and on the road, visiting general aviation airports, staying at fantastic and unusual hotels, and meeting supporters and friends. MotorWeek will air "Over the Edge: Smart vs. Plane" on its PBS stations beginning Feb. 12. The segment will appear on Discovery HD Theater beginning Feb. 22, and will be available online starting Feb. 28.
‘Sunday Morning’ pays tribute to Wright brothers
A segment on CBS News Sunday Morning paid tribute to the Wright brothers on Jan. 30, the anniversary of Orville Wright’s death. Orville was at the controls for the first powered airplane flight in 1903 in Kill Devil Hills, N.C.; the piece takes a look at the brothers’ careers beyond that monumental flight and the memorial that serves as “an earth-bound tribute to the brothers who made the rest of us no longer earth-bound.” Watch it online >>
We are working hard with the co-chairs of the General Aviation Caucus in the House of Representatives to bring half the members of Congress into this very important group, said AOPA President Craig Fuller. Recently, the House GA Caucus co-chairs sat down with AOPA Vice President of Legislative Affairs Lorraine Howerton for an AOPA Live interview. Watch AOPA Live >>
Reporting Points: The rest of the English-speaking world
The February “Dogfight” in AOPA Pilot about proper pattern-entry procedures at nontowered airports has generated quite a stir, and Senior Editor Dave Hirschman has been called all sorts of interesting names (“renegade,” “anti-authority,” and “anarchist” are his favorites) for questioning the efficacy of the FAA’s standard 45-degree entry. He points out that the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and the rest of the English-speaking world solved this problem long ago. Read more >>
Hover Power: Finding training money
One large problem facing the helicopter training industry is a lack of funding for students. When the credit crisis hit several years ago, lenders such as Sallie Mae and Key Bank stopped making educational loans for non-degreed programs like flight training. Although this affected both fixed-wing and rotary-wing schools, the higher cost of a professional helicopter program caused quite a drop in student enrollment. There are a few options available, although all have drawbacks. Read more >>
The year ahead: Exclusive Fuller interview charts 2011
AOPA started off strong in 2010 when the biggest legislative threat to general aviation—user fees—vaporized, said AOPA President Craig Fuller in Part 1 of this AOPA Live exclusive interview. That allowed the association to focus more attention on other pressing issues, including avgas, NextGen air transportation system modernization, and the growth of the congressional GA caucuses. What are the biggest challenges ahead for GA in 2011? Fuller discussed NextGen, the FAA budget, and more. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Heavy on experience: DPE, FAA inspector crash after takeoff
As pilots, we value experience. Quantity and diversity of flight time both serve to season our judgment, improve our understanding, and teach us to stay calm in the face of the unexpected. But there are no guarantees. On July 14, 2009, a Zenair STOL CH 701 floatplane crashed immediately after taking off from Kalmbach Lake in south central Alaska. Both the pilot and his passenger were killed. A neighbor found the burning wreckage in the middle of a dirt road and called 911. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
There’s never a good time for an engine failure, but there are some particularly bad times—dark nights over rough terrain, for example. How would you react to a total power loss during a night cross-country? Listen as Emanuel “Manny” Kanal recounts the dramatic tale of his own ill-timed engine failure in the Air Safety Institute’s Real Pilot Story: Engine Failure at Night .
An aircraft, like any metal object, is inherently prone to corrosion. Whether it’s the more widespread uniform surface attack or the uncommon but nasty intergranular corrosion, this force of nature will have its way eventually. But through proper care, you can fend off corrosion and extend the life of your airplane. Find out about the different types of corrosion, and how to recognize them, in AOPA’s Aircraft Corrosion subject report. For more on ensuring a long, healthy life for your aircraft, see the Air Safety Institute’s Aging Aircraft online course.
Change the channel to air safety on YouTube
Here’s a great way to connect with the Air Safety Institute and receive new video alerts: While browsing YouTube, visit the institute’s new page and subscribe to the channel. Many courses are now presented in video format, including the latest Bird Strike Real Pilot Story. View short, humorous Pilot Safety Announcement (PSA) videos and don’t forget to share them with your pilot friends. There’s more in store, so check it out!
Air Safety eJournal: We’re being watched
Big Brother is watching. Red light cameras are gaining credence in the traffic safety world. Washington, D.C., issued more than 85,000 citations and netted about $7.2 million in a one-year period while redeploying about 100 officers to crime fighting rather than traffic detail, according to a recently released study. So what does this have to do with aviation? Many new glass cockpit aircraft, which are the vast majority of deliveries these days, are equipped with flight data monitoring (FDM). Read more >>
Committee to advise on avgas transition
FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt has signed a charter establishing an aviation rulemaking committee (ARC) to advise the agency on the move toward an unleaded fuel. The ARC will be a joint government/industry committee tasked with identifying key issues relating to, and providing recommendations for, the development and deployment of an unleaded avgas. The move comes in response to a request by the General Aviation Avgas Coalition. Read more >>
Don’t let reports of economic recovery fool you: The year ahead will be difficult for state governments. In spite of modest revenue increases, the states will have to close budget gaps totaling $82.1 billion in 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Now years into the recession, many have exhausted one-time revenue sources and have already made several rounds of cuts to make ends meet. This year, cuts may be deep. Read more >>
Senate takes up FAA reauthorization bill
Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, has introduced a long-term FAA reauthorization and modernization bill. The $34.5 billion, two-year bill, which passed the Senate 93-0 last year, includes provisions to accelerate the FAA’s implementation schedule for components of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). Read more >>
AOPA Now: FAA reauthorization moves to Senate floor
After 17 short-term extensions, the Senate and the House are taking steps to advance the FAA reauthorization bill. AOPA President Craig Fuller joined a conference call Jan. 31 that included Democratic leaders from the Senate discussing the jobs the bill would create. The next day, discussion of the legislation lasted less than an hour before an amendment was offered to repeal elements of the federal healthcare program enacted last year. Read more >>
A temporary flight restriction (TFR) will be in effect in the Dallas, Texas, area on Feb. 6, from 3:30 p.m. CST to 11:59 p.m. CST during Super Bowl XLV, to be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Pilots should be sure to review the notam and to check frequently for updates during its effective times. Pilots also should review this amendment of the TFR flight advisory. Read more >>
Montana bill to cut aeronautics board tabled after outreach
A bill that would have disbanded the Montana aeronautics board was tabled Jan. 28 after the state aviation community reached out to the sponsor to explain the bill’s potential impact. Montana Sen. Kendall Van Dyk sponsored the bill, S.B. 181, which would have consolidated the nine-member volunteer board into one position on the state’s transportation board. Several aviation organizations and members of the aviation community called and wrote to Van Dyk, explaining the important role the board plays in advising the Montana Aeronautics Division and issuing airport loans and grants. Read more >>
Phase-in of new security alert system begins
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has announced that the familiar color-coded alerts of the Homeland Security Advisory System will be replaced by a new system to provide better terrorism-threat advisories to the public, government agencies, emergency responders, airports, and other transportation hubs. The new National Terrorism Advisory System will be phased in over a 90-day period that began with Napolitano’s Jan. 27 announcement. Instead of using colors, the revised alerts “will include a clear statement that there is an ‘imminent threat’ or ‘elevated threat.’” Read more >>
Mass. aircraft tax exemption repeal returns, now in legislature
After previous attempts to remove the commonwealth’s aircraft sales tax exemption were defeated in the legislature, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick opted not to include the proposal in this year’s budget. But the proposal is still alive in the state legislature, where a representative has introduced a bill to repeal the exemption. AOPA has reached out to Massachusetts Rep. Cory Atkins, who introduced a bill that would make aircraft subject to the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax, and is again working to make sure the exemption remains in place. Read more >>
Sanctuary overflight rule seen usurping airspace authority
A proposed rule that would impose penalties on pilots presumed to have committed airspace violations when overflying marine wildlife sanctuaries usurps the FAA’s authority to regulate airspace, improperly creates a new class of airspace restrictions, and would make it difficult or impossible for a pilot to defend against an alleged violation, AOPA said in formal comments on the proposal. AOPA has consulted legal counsel, met with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and requested a position statement from the FAA on the proposed rule that seeks to sidestep the normal rulemaking process and remove authority to regulate airspace from the FAA. Read more >>
Renters intro policy makes coverage more affordable
Selecting the right level of insurance for your needs can be daunting, especially if you’re a renter and unsure of the value of the aircraft you fly or the likely cost of repairs. How can you make the best decision while keeping your premiums affordable? The AOPA Insurance Agency has simplified the process for you by offering comprehensive packages starting as low as $99. Read more >>
Due to the overwhelming demand for the 2011/2012 AOPA Airports print edition, AOPA has printed additional copies for purchase. The association has shifted financial resources from the print directory to enhance the association’s online and mobile versions in response to preferences expressed by the majority of its members. However, AOPA recognizes that the print version still has high value to some of its members who have relied on it as a handy reference in the cockpit. The new 2011/2012 AOPA Airports print edition is your perfect flight-planning companion. Carry it in your flight bag and take it with you wherever you fly! You'll have the information you need at your fingertips. Order your copy now >>
Reporting Points: ‘AOPA Pilot’ goes digital
It’s been exciting to bring AOPA Pilot into the fold of magazines that offer digital editions in addition to printed copies. A digital edition is an electronic version of the magazine that you read online, or download to a portable electronic device. The February 2011 edition is available to read online now. The link will work on personal computers, Androids, and BlackBerrys. There’s a non-Flash version that should automatically be delivered to iPad and iPhone users—but don’t judge the digital edition based on that; you’ll want to wait for our apps to be completed and approved. Read more >>
AOPA 2011 Crossover Classic Sweepstakes
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne sat behind a Garmin G500 for the first time Jan. 27, and it was a bit of sensory overload: So much capability, so many functions! But the bottom line was that the first shakedown flight went well, for the most part. “When you do a big job like this, you can expect some glitches,” said Advantage Avionics’ Mark Krueger. “It’s kind of like open heart surgery.” The day started with a call to XM WX satellite weather's activation service. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an aviation education program developer, business analyst, financial analyst, IT project architect, program specialist—communications, and vice president of new product development and interactive marketing. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.