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Jan. 14, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletterJan. 14, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletter

AOPA ePilot

In This Issue:

VOLUME 13, ISSUE 2 — January 14, 2011

Dogfight: Pattern entry
‘Flying Wild Alaska’ premieres
FCC halts pursuit of 121.5 ELT ban
Quiz Me: Nonaeronautical events


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Picture Perfect

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Feature Dogfight: Pattern entry

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. After taking on the topic of crosswind landings in August, the two face off again over pattern entries. In a plea for pattern sanity, Horne argues for the time-tested 45-degree-entry onto the downwind. Flight instructors teach it for a number of good reasons—all of them based on safety considerations. Sometimes the standard entry is the most expeditious method, but sometimes it’s not, counters Hirschman. When it’s not, he says abandoning the 45-degree entry is in everyone’s best interest. What do you think? Read more and cast your vote >>

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Piper to terminate PiperSport sales

Citing differences in business philosophies, Piper Aircraft is ending its relationship with Czech Sport Aircraft, the manufacturer of the PiperSport light sport aircraft. The aircraft was marketed prior to January 2010 as the SportCruiser. Piper has entered a transition period to end the business association. Orders already in the pipeline will be filled, officials said. PiperSport importer and distributor Don Ayres, president of U.S. Sport Aircraft of Fort Pierce, Fla., said he will continue to sell the aircraft, although perhaps under a different name. Read more >>

LSA Cub lands in 69 feet

A CubCrafters 180-hp Carbon Cub light SS sport aircraft has landed in 69 feet and taken off in 64 feet to win a takeoff and landing contest in Valdez, Alaska, using the company’s 3X3 landing gear modification kit just approved by the FAA. There was no wind. The extended gear places the wheels three inches forward and three inches lower, transferring the aircraft’s weight further aft. It allows the pilot to brake aggressively after landing. Read more >>

Volunteers parachute from a C-47 TV special highlights dramatic Haiti rescue missions

When the January 2010 Haiti earthquake disaster cut off victims in a village far from roads, medical care and clean water, a volunteer group based in Tennessee had the unique resources to get help where it was so urgently needed. And although one of the logistical challenges was that there was no airport nearby, well, that’s no longer the case. Some astonishing—and courageous—acts of service by those volunteers made for dramatic television viewing on Jan. 9. Read more >>

Gulfstream tests electric control system

Gulfstream Aerospace test pilots and flight-test engineers recently flew a Gulfstream G650 flight-test aircraft for the first time using only an electrically powered, fly-by-wire backup flight-control actuation system. Test pilots Jake Howard and Gary Freeman, along with flight-test engineers Bill Osborne and Nathaniel Rutland, evaluated the fly-by-wire system in electric backup actuation mode for more than two hours. Read more >>

'Flying Wild Alaska' to air Jan. 14 Discovery’s ‘Flying Wild Alaska’ premieres

It’s not just the spectacular scenery, the crazy flying weather, or the everyday natural hazards that will thrill television viewers who tune in to the new Discovery Channel show about the other-worldly brand of aviation pilots must practice in Alaska. No doubt, there’s a ton of that kind of action packed into the 10-part series Flying Wild Alaska premiering Jan. 14. But each flight tells a story of people whose every connection on the human level is made with the help of airplanes. Read more >>

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Airworthiness bulletins stress Piper corrosion inspections

The FAA has issued five special airworthiness information bulletins (SAIBs) to address potential corrosion problems on a variety of Piper aircraft. Each SAIB highlighted specific problem areas on the Pipers, but all the bulletins urged owners and operators to “increase their focus on inspections” provided in the aircraft service manuals. The average aircraft in the general aviation fleet is 30 years old—but age alone does not tell the story of an aircraft’s susceptibility to corrosion or other problems. Read more >>

Stratos 714 personal jet Stratos building wind tunnel model

Stratos Aircraft engineers in Bend, Ore., have done the math and believe they have the right design for the Stratos 714 single-engine personal jet, but they want to confirm those computations in the wind tunnel first. A wind tunnel model should be ready for testing by summer. The wind tunnel testing, which could be completed two weeks after it begins, is the final step before the company approves a prototype, serial number 1. The aircraft will be conformable to the final production model of the 400-knot jet. Read more >>

Flight Design lowers glass cockpit price

Flight Design has lowered the price on an avionics package that comes with two 10-inch Dynon Skyview screens with synthetic vision and a Garmin big-screen 696 GPS. The package includes traffic information service (TIS) via a Garmin GTX 330 Mode S transponder, and is now offered at $12,075 installed, down several thousand dollars from the previous price. Read more >>

Unmanned aircraft to fly at Kansas airport

Forty- to fifty-pound unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), both fixed-wing and helicopter models, will soon fly from Captain Jack Thomas/El Dorado Memorial Airport, Kan., under two certificates of authorization from the FAA. A company called Flint Hills Solutions will build and operate UASs at the airport, and train customers on their use. FAA spokesman Les Dorr said other airports also have UAS operations, but he wouldn’t identify them. Read more >>

FAA seeks to bring more PA-46 aircraft under AD

The FAA has published notice of its intent to supersede an airworthiness directive (AD) issued in May 2000 on certain Piper Aircraft Inc. models PA-46-310P and PA-46-350P airplanes equipped with a Lewis or Transicoil turbine inlet temperature gauge and associated probe. The proposed AD would retain the actions required by the prior AD and add some PA-46R-350T airplanes to the list of affected aircraft. Read more >>

“Seriously” Isn’t it time!!! How often have the clouds held you back?

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NTSB addresses airbags in GA aircraft

The National Transportation Safety Board has adopted a study suggesting that general aviation airplanes equipped with airbags provide additional protection to occupants in accidents involving survivable forward impacts. The NTSB made several recommendations to the FAA on the installation and use of airbags in aircraft, and to assure that airbags can protect people of all sizes. NTSB recommendations are nonbinding. Read more >>

‘Aviation Week’ recognizes TSA GA manager for outreach

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official who “alleviated a climate of distrust and contempt” in the agency’s relationship with general aviation is a finalist for Aviation Week’s 2011 Laureate Award for business and general aviation. TSA General Manager for GA Brian Delauter assumed his position in 2009, when GA groups and the TSA were locking horns over such controversial security initiatives as the Large Aircraft Security Program and Security Directive 8F/8G. Read more >>

Year-over-year turbine activity increases

Aviation industry service provider ARGUS International of Cincinnati has released its December 2010 business aircraft activity figures. ARGUS tracks month-to-month and year-over-year data, and this year the company states that turbine business flying increased across all categories when comparing December 2009 with December 2010 activity levels. The biggest winner was in the turboprop fractional group. Read more >>


Arctic Lodges video on AOPA Live ‘Taste of the north country’

Far from any roads, harbors, or settlements, the Malcolm Island Airstrip covers the entire length of a low, tree-lined outcropping at Reindeer Lake, a massive, 200-mile stretch of pristine water in northern Canada that offers some of the world’s best lake trout and northern pike fishing. “When they talk about fresh fish, there’s nothing fresher than the one that’s been in the water five minutes ago,” said 50-year AOPA member Don Bates. Watch AOPA Live® >>


For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.


iATIS™ is a revolutionary new app for recording up to 14 key data points on your iPad or iPhone. It not only displays the relationship between the wind and active runway, but calculates the cross-wind component automatically and warns of a tailwind situation. Available now from iTunes—search iATIS, or through No mobile device? … Visit for kneeboard edition.
5% of proceeds will be donated to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.

Safety & Proficiency

Private Pilot Checkride quiz Take on the checkride with Air Safety Institute quiz

If you’re preparing to take your private pilot checkride or ready to demonstrate your practical knowledge for advanced ratings you have likely studied the Practical Test Standards publication. Here’s another great way to smooth the flight and reduce pre-ride jitters. Take the Air Safety Institute’s Private Pilot Checkride quiz, underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency, and test your checkride savvy. Good luck and enjoy! >>

Looking for change

Scan! Scan! Scan! That’s the mantra of every flight instructor—scan, scan, scan the instrument panel, checking each gauge on each scan. But what are you looking for? Are you really checking the oil temperature in degrees, the manifold pressure in pounds or the electrical gauge in amps? Probably not. But then what are you checking? As is typical, an old CFI straightened aviation speaker and writer Ralph Hood out on that subject. “What you look for,” he said, “is change.” Read more >>

Answers for Pilots: Flying by the numbers

In the United States, 74 million people—one out of three adults—have been diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure). The risk factors are almost as diverse as the individuals affected: Age, race, weight, and lifestyle top the list. Pilots, unfortunately, don’t escape the statistics, and an airman with uncontrolled hypertension may have a problem at the next FAA medical exam. FAA policy requires aviation medical examiners (AMEs) to defer applicants whose blood pressure exceeds 155/95. Hypertension, however, doesn’t have to ground you. Read more >>

Get to the Fun Faster with Weekend Rentals from $20 a day at Alamo®.

Alamo is offering weekend rentals from $20 a day for AOPA members, January 2nd through February 6, 2011. All you need to do is reserve an economy to premium car at participating US or Canada locations and keep it over a Saturday night. A 4-day maximum rental applies and you must return the car by Monday, or higher daily rates apply. Click here for more details.

GPS for IFR Operations course Get up to speed on IFR GPS

GPS is everywhere these days, but for pilots who have never needed anything beyond “direct-to,” using an IFR-certified receiver as a primary means of navigation can still be a pretty big leap. That’s why the Air Safety Institute developed its GPS for IFR Operations online course. Meant to help pilots get up to speed on the basics of en route, terminal, and approach operations, the free course is a great jumping-off point for a receiver-specific course. Check it out >>

Improve your safety by learning from others

Gain valuable knowledge about flying safely by learning from the mistakes of others. Using your ePilot personalization preferences, like "piston single-engine" or "turbine," the Air Safety Institute’s Accident Database generates a list of accidents that have been added to the database in the past 30 days. If you haven't personalized your newsletter, select your aircraft preferences from the "types of aircraft" section on the ePilot personalization page.

BlogsAir Safety eJournal: A bad roll and equally bad commentary

Good instructors strive to create realism while not creating an actual emergency that they or the student may not be up to handling. Last June a Beech Duke crashed on takeoff as it collided with trees adjacent to the airport. The 49-year-old owner, a commercial pilot of some 20 years, was taking an instrument proficiency check with a CFI. According to the NTSB report, “The pilot reported that after liftoff, about 200 feet above the ground, the flight instructor retarded the left throttle at 85 to 88 knots.” Read more >>

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

Jan. 22 and 23

Baltimore, Md.

Detroit, Mich.

Charlotte, N.C.

Jan. 29 and 30

San Jose, Calif.

Sevierville, Tenn.

Bellevue, Wash.

Feb. 12 and 13

Sacramento, Calif.

Louisville, Ky.

New Orleans, La.

Fairfax, Va.

Feb. 19 and 20

Melbourne, Fla.

Nashua, N.H.

Las Vegas, Nev.


For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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

Jan. 24

San Diego, Calif.

Fort Worth, Texas

Jan. 25

Costa Mesa, Calif.

Houston, Texas


Jan. 26

Ontario, Calif.

San Antonio, Texas



Jan. 27

Austin, Texas




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

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ELT ban halted FCC halts pursuit of 121.5 MHz ELT ban

The Federal Communications Commission stayed a rule Jan. 11 that would have prohibited the certification, manufacture, importation, sale, or use of 121.5 MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELTs). The rule, if enacted, would have required the replacement of 121.5 MHz ELTs with 406 MHz ELTs at a direct cost to aircraft owners. It could also have caused a shortage of the 406 MHz ELTs, leading to the potential grounding of aircraft until units became available. Read more >>

Reps. urge no backtracking on aviation user fees

Reps. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) and Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), senior members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee both known for strong statements against general aviation user fees, are again championing a no-new-user-fee letter to President Barack Obama urging him to reject any user fee proposals in his Fiscal Year 2012 budget. “We want to reiterate that a user fee proposal would be a step backward,” said Costello in a statement released Jan. 7. Read more >>

GA not a ‘public menace,’ AOPA explains

After an article in The Atlantic magazine called GA aircraft a “public menace,” AOPA President Craig Fuller wrote to the publication to correct the writer’s misconceptions regarding GA. Most egregious was the “apparent assumption that a lack of physical security measures such as fencing or magnetometers somehow equates a complete lack of security,” Fuller wrote. Read the letter >>

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

IA certification renewal Clarity still lacking in FAA’s proposed IA cert. revision

AOPA is calling for the FAA to broaden the scope of a proposed inspection authorization renewal policy for aviation mechanics beyond a revision it offered last fall when attempting to explain the meaning of the qualifying term “actively engaged.” Not only does the proposal fail to remedy widespread inconsistency in how FAA inspectors grant inspection authority to applicants, but it may make things worse, AOPA told the FAA in formal comments. Read more >>

President signs G.I. flight training bill into law

President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that expands educational funding opportunities for active duty servicemen and -women, now including flight training in eligible programs, on Jan. 4. Both Houses of Congress passed the “ Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010” during the busy lame duck session of the 111th Congress. “This bill is a big step forward for both active duty members of the armed services and for veterans,” said Melissa Rudinger, AOPA senior vice president of government affairs. Read more >>

Caribbean Air Challenge: NOT A RACE!

Visit the Caribbean like no one has ever before! Bahamas-DR-Puerto Rico-Saint Martin-Martinique-Turks & Caicos. Starts March 19 FXE—Ends at Sun-n-Fun March 31—Exhibit N025. or [email protected]

WAAS satellite transmitting again, in test mode

The FAA says that technicians have regained control over a Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) satellite that began to malfunction last spring and was taken out of service last month. A series of tests is proceeding to determine when the Galaxy 15/CRW satellite’s signals may become usable again for navigation. Read more >>

S.C. panel urges aircraft tax reduction

A yearlong review of South Carolina’s tax structure found that the state levies comparatively low taxes but faces “structural deficiencies” that could threaten its ability to raise stable revenue in the future. The report by the South Carolina Tax Realignment Commission, released Dec. 7, said that “property taxes on private passenger airplanes are amongst the highest in the nation,” and recommended that lawmakers “consider lowering the Assessment Ratio on private passenger aircraft.” Read more >>

Garmin GTS™ Series: Advanced Traffic Tracking

With the Garmin GTS series of ADS-B enhanced TAS and TCAS-1 traffic systems, you’ll be able to pinpoint potential threats. ATC-like spoken alerts and onscreen visual cues help keep you safe even in crowded airspace. View the complete lineup.

FAA seeks comments on proposed Seattle Class B redesign

AOPA has submitted formal comments to the FAA supporting the proposed redesign of Class B airspace over Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington state. AOPA takes one exception to the design, however, and is calling for elimination of one Class B sector seen as an excessively restrictive way to accommodate traffic using Boeing Field—a Class D airspace airport just north of Seattle-Tacoma. Comments may be submitted on the airspace redesign until Jan. 31. Read more >>

Halt urged to Colorado power line project

AOPA is calling on the FAA to take “every available action” to stop an unapproved power-line construction project from creating obstruction hazards at Blake Field in Delta, Colo. Pilots are encouraged to submit formal comments to the FAA, which at AOPA’s request has agreed to extend the comment period until Feb. 8 on the project that would place transmission line structures 52 feet above ground level approximately six-tenths of a nautical mile northwest of the airport. Read more >>

The Road Calls, and So Do the Savings

When you’re ready to go, Enterprise makes it easy with great cars and great deals. Take advantage of your AOPA membership and enjoy a discount on our everyday low rates. Click here to learn more.

Member Benefits

Digital edition of 'AOPA Pilot' Digital editions debut with February ‘Pilot’

AOPA members will soon have the option to experience their membership magazines with videos, quizzes, animation, and other interactive features. Starting with the February issue of AOPA Pilot and the March issue of Flight Training, members will be able to switch to a digital edition or add the digital edition to their print edition at a discounted rate—or to continue receiving print copies as they always have. Read more >>

Resolve to protect your certificate

It’s that time of year again and we’ve all made our New Year’s resolutions. There is one resolution that’s both essential and easy to keep—protecting your pilot certificate. The AOPA Legal Services Plan is available to all AOPA members and, at only $33 per year for most pilots, it’s a small investment that can not only save thousands of dollars in legal fees, but also help you respond most effectively to an FAA enforcement action. Read more >>

AOPA Foundation qualifies for CFC giving

If you are in the U.S. military or a federal employee and would like to donate to the AOPA Foundation through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), you can visit the Capital-area website or find your local headquarters at the national site. For additional information call 202/465-7200. The mission of the CFC is to promote and support charities through a program that provides all federal employees the opportunity to give to charities of their choice. 

Comprehensive airport info to take with you

As an AOPA member, you can access airport diagrams, information about FBOs, and more from anywhere using your Windows Mobile or BlackBerry device. AOPA Airports apps for Windows Mobile and BlackBerry are free to members. The applications were developed by Hilton Software, maker of the popular WingX product. Download one today >>

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 2011 Crossover Classic Sweepstakes

AOPA 2011 Crossover Classic The Mark Krueger story

Mark Krueger heads up Advantage Avionics. His shop came highly recommended by both Garmin and previous customers. Back in 1992, Krueger began working in a business you wouldn’t ordinarily associate with a career track in avionics. He installed car stereos and alarm systems. He knew nothing about airplanes back then, but the bug bit when the owner of a Piper Cherokee came by the shop. That job got him hanging around airports, and he developed an interest in learning to fly. By 1999 he’d earned his private pilot certificate, and then came his multiengine rating. Read more >>

AOPA Career Opportunities

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a vice president of new product development and interactive marketing, business analyst, financial analyst, IT project architect, and AOPA Foundation administrative assistant. 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

Membership Forums: You have $25,000 to buy an aircraft...

Purely hypothetical, of course: What type of aircraft would you buy and why? Read more >>


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Engage in Aviation

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.

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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 just read a notice to all airport tenants and users that announced a car race will be held at our airport next weekend. This airport is federally funded and should be available exclusively for aeronautical activities! Am I right?


Answer: An airport that has received federal funds can hold nonaeronautical events. The airport manager or authority must obtain approval (see FAA Order 5190.6B, Chapter 7, Section 21 ) from the FAA. Events such as parades, races, or fairs may be approved as long as there is not total closure of the airport. Safeguards must be established to protect the aeronautical use of the airport while nonaeronautical activities are in progress. Aeronautical events such as airshows may close the entire airport for brief periods. These closings should be publicized in advance by notams. These events can be viable ways for airports to remain financially self-sufficient and also a way to gain attention and support from the local community. Additional information on this subject is discussed in “ Temporary Airport Closure for Special Events.”

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 e-mail to [email protected].

Engage in aviation:

Back pro-GA candidates. The AOPA Political Action Committee (PAC) provides members with another collective tool to ensure the needs of general aviation are recognized by decision makers in Washington, D.C., and across the country.

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

Dave Hirschman
Tom Horne
Ian J. Twombly
Dan Namowitz

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Mitch Mitchell

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