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Rolling inverted, diving, pulling 4 Gs in a split second, the split-S sends adrenaline flowing and blood pumping as full left aileron and rudder deflection rolls the 1975 Citabria upside down, momentary forward pressure stabilizes it, and back pressure forces the occupants of the tandem taildragger against their seats while plunging toward the earth. Watching aircraft dance across the sky at airshows in ways one wouldn’t think possible can give the impression that aerobatics are complicated. However, an aerobatic workout of loops, hammerheads, rolls, Immelmans, Cuban eights, snap rolls, spins, and the split-S demonstrates that many of the maneuvers are built from the basic loop and roll—and can be mastered with practice, just like any other skill in aviation. Still, for beginners, sights of the ground, horizon, and sky flash by seemingly as quickly as tumbling in an orbitron ride. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
In a conference call Jan. 13, the 13 PiperSport dealers in the United States agreed to form the U.S. SportCruiser Dealers Association, using the previous name of the Rotax-powered aircraft before Czech Sport Aircraft and Piper Aircraft joined forces in January 2010, said Tom Ellery of San Diego Sport Flyers. Piper announced Jan. 12 that it was ending its relationship with light-sport-aircraft builder Czech Sport Aircraft. Hear more from the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
Czech company answers Piper
Officials of Czech Sport Aircraft say it was a dispute over how to market the PiperSport that led to he termination of a marketing agreement between Piper Aircraft and the Czech firm. Czech Sport Aircraft officials wanted to market it worldwide, not just in the United States, a press release from the company indicated. Piper Aircraft has previously cited only a difference in philosophies between the two firms. Read more >>
After about 30 years in hibernation, Great Lakes biplanes are going back into production this year with the first deliveries scheduled for 2012. Waco Classic, manufacturer of high-end Waco YMF biplanes, will build the much smaller and lighter Great Lakes models at its production facility in Battle Creek, Mich. “Construction techniques for the Great Lakes are almost identical to what we do now,” said Peter Bowers, Waco Classic president. Read more >>
Women pilot centennial tallies 1,600-plus intro flights
Pilots around the world introduced 1,647 girls and women to flying in 2010, the centennial of the first certificated female pilot, the Centennial of Women Pilots campaign announced. The introductory flights, registered and tracked through the Centennial of Women Pilots website, took place in 29 countries on four continents—in balloons, sailplanes, ultralights, airplanes, floatplanes, and helicopters, the organization said. Read more >>
The fractional aircraft ownership industry at large has been a strong catalyst for improvements in aircraft, service, and support systems that benefit both the business and general aviation communities. Alpha Flying Inc. launched the PlaneSense aircraft fractional ownership program in 1996 with two Pilatus PC-12s. Today, it has 32 aircraft, making it one of the largest PC-12 fleets in the world. The company completes more than 20,000 flights annually. Read more >>
Love flying? He has an app for that
Software developer Adam Fast is always thinking about his next project. Since he’s also a pilot, he likes to create Web-based applications that involve flying. And because he’s a generous guy by nature, he shares these applications with the aviation community. Fast learned to fly with the Joplin Flyers Club in his hometown of Joplin, Mo., and is still an active member of the club. Read more >>
‘Corporate angels’ transport 3,000 patients in 2010
Companies offered up empty seats in their business aircraft to transport a record 3,021 cancer patients to treatment through the Corporate Angel Network (CAN) in 2010. Even as business aviation flight hours have been slow to bounce back to pre-recession numbers, companies rallied behind CAN’s cause and added to their business flights a charitable purpose. The network has now flown more than 36,000 patients since its founding in 1981. Read more >>
Godsend or gadget?
If an aviation company offered a moving-map GPS with a 10-inch display, a nation’s worth of charts and approach plates, flight planning, weather, a full aviation library, and the basic functions of a computer all for around $630, every pilot would own one. That’s just what the Apple iPad is offering. So why doesn’t every pilot have one? Like every new product with lots of hype, there’s more to the story. Read more >>
Las Vegas chapter dubbed ‘most active’ IMC club
The IMC Clubs, a network of clubs designed to help instrument pilots build proficiency, has given its Las Vegas chapter the “Most Active Chapter” award for the fourth quarter of 2010. Chapter members, who call themselves the “IMC Musketeers,” fly many types of airplanes and range in age from 18 to 80, the organization said in a press release. “No words can express my admiration about how much dynamism and contribution to aviation safety this group was able to develop,” said IMC Clubs President Radek Wyrzykowski. “Besides an involvement in the local aviation community, they were able to cultivate a unique friendship and energy.”
There are a handful of helicopter adventurers who have attempted the around-the-world speed record in helicopters. Simon Oliphant-Hope holds the current eastbound record. Based on the south coast of England, he is the owner and managing director of Eastern Atlantic Helicopters. In June 2004, he flew an MD 500E around the world in 17 days, 14 hours, 2 minutes, and 27 seconds, beating the previous record of 24 days, 4 hours, 36 minutes, and 24 seconds. Read more >>
Flight Training: Act like an owner
After 10 or so years of flying and who knows how many dollars paid to an FBO to rent an airplane, Flight Training Associate Editor Jill W. Tallman recently joined the ranks of aircraft owners. A few days ago she had one of those revelations: “I can’t ask the flight school for help anymore.” Read more >>
AOPA members now have a choice as to how they read their membership magazines. Both AOPA Pilot and Flight Training are offered in print and digital versions. You make the choice—and you can even choose to access the magazines both ways. Digital editions allow readers to access their magazines online or through any number of devices, including desktop and laptop computers, tablet computers such as the iPad, and smartphones such as the iPhone and BlackBerry. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Student pilots are drilled on slow flight, stall recovery, and spin avoidance throughout primary training, and for good reason: Understanding how the airplane handles at minimum controllable airspeed is a crucial survival skill. Still, pilots make fatal mistakes at low speed close to the ground. On Oct. 27, 2009, an Aeronca 7AC Champ spun in next to Interstate 75 in northern Michigan, narrowly missing a car driven by two off-duty state troopers. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
Don’t let this happen to you! Watch the Air Safety Institute’s Accident Case Study: Cross-Country Crisis, which examines a chilling, ill-fated flight from Chicago to Raleigh, N.C. Actual ATC audio and dramatic Microsoft Flight Simulator re-creations have you ride along in a Piper Seneca II as fuel becomes critical and the pilot struggles to maintain control of the aircraft in heavy snow in the mountains near Huntington, W.Va. Share this gripping video re-creation and lessons learned to help save lives. Watch now >>
An easier way to remember your ‘ABCs’
Does Class D airspace require an ATC clearance, or is that Class B? How about TRSAs—will you ever see one at a Class C airport? If it’s been a while since you’ve thought about airspace, odds are you’re rusty on a few details. Fortunately, the Air Safety Institute’s free airspace flash cards make reviewing a snap. The front of each card highlights a particular type of airspace, while the flip side has a summary of all the important facts. Download the cards >>
Ready for a flying challenge? Set a goal of adding a new category, class, or operating privilege to your credentials. Whether you want to be prepared “just in case” or will use your skills for business flying, an instrument rating can hone your skills and equip you with new capabilities for your aviator’s toolkit. Or, learn to fly the airplane you’ve dreamed of flying by obtaining a tailwheel or complex airplane endorsement. Find out what’s required for ratings and endorsements in AOPA’s subject report.
Air Safety eJournal: Precautionary landing or good luck?
There are days and nights when we just shouldn’t be flying and some of us try it anyway. VFR into IMC still claims too many lives. In the 2009 Nall Report there were 21 such accidents and 18 were fatal. A recent accident involved a Cessna 172 that crashed in a pasture near an airport around 10:45 p.m. The aircraft flipped over with the pilot apparently trapped inside. It was discovered the next morning. The area was said to be covered in dense fog. Read more >>
AOPA is urging the Federal Communications Commission not to allow any expanded use of radio spectrum for mobile-satellite services that could interfere with GPS and undermine the Next Generation air transportation system. “Due to the extensive reliance on GPS by the general aviation community, any interference source is perceived as a safety threat,” said AOPA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Melissa Rudinger in a Jan. 14 letter to the FCC. The FAA has also expressed concerns about the broadband-use proposal. Read more >>
SAIB aims at better V-speed understanding
Think you know your V-speeds? The FAA has released a special airworthiness information bulletin (SAIB) providing information to pilots after determining from a crash investigation “that many pilots have a misunderstanding of what the design maneuvering velocity (speed), V A, represents.” The investigation followed the Nov. 12, 2001, crash of American Airlines Flight 587, which killed all 260 people on board and five people on the ground after the vertical stabilizer separated in flight. Read more >>
Executive order directs ‘modern’ regulatory system
A new presidential executive order directs federal agencies to use the best available cost-benefit analysis techniques, and encourage private-sector participation in the creation of new regulations. The executive order may give general aviation a prime opportunity to help shape what President Barack Obama is calling a regulatory system for the 21st century—and the order comes in a year when AOPA is urging pilots to participate in an industry-wide effort to rally GA. Read more >>
FAA reports record laser incidents in 2010
Reports of lasers pointed at airplanes almost doubled from 2009 to 2010, the FAA announced Jan. 19. Reports rose from nearly 300 in 2005, when the agency first began keeping track, to 1,527 in 2009 and a record 2,836 in 2010. Read more >>
Join the Airport Support Network today
Ensuring the health and vitality of your airport is up to you—incompatible development and economic and political pressures can restrict your flying. Every day, more than 2,000 Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers work with AOPA headquarters to help save their airports, but we need more. Below is a link to a list of the airports where an ASN volunteer could make a difference.
To nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer, visit AOPA Online.
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit ASN Online.
With great rates on airfare, hotels, and cruises through AOPA Online Travel, you may find that you don’t have to sacrifice your vacation this year after all. You can even save on your car rental from Alamo, Avis, and Hertz with special AOPA discounts and members-only coupons for free rental days, dollars off, and free upgrades. With member savings like that, you can plan a dream vacation that fits your budget.
Fly Well: A rolling stone…
A rolling stone gathers no moss. Fast-moving stuff doesn’t get gunky; think engine oil or a swiftly moving stream. But what of bile? The liver makes a quart a day, which flows through bile ducts, tubes like tree branches, becoming a main trunk draining into our gut near the stomach. A side branch feeds the gallbladder, the villain of this article. This hollow, muscular, pear-shaped organ sits under the right ribs. Upon seeing, smelling, or tasting fatty food, bile stored and concentrated in the gallbladder squirts out, enabling digestion. 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, program specialist—communications, and aviation education program developer. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.