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LightSquared blames ‘legacy’ GPS for interference
LightSquared, the company whose proposed mobile network has raised widespread concerns about interference with GPS signals, has responded to its critics with a report that said GPS receivers must do a better job of “rejecting” other signals. In the report, submitted to the Federal Communications Commission after five months of analysis, LightSquared acknowledged that its planned use of electromagnetic spectrum would “adversely affect a significant number” of “legacy GPS receivers.” However, LightSquared disowned responsibility for the interference, arguing that the receivers' designs were the cause of the problem. “That LightSquared is trying to blame it all on the GPS community for following rules that LightSquared is now trying to change is unfathomable,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “They are clutching at straws.” Read more >>
Related stories in this issue of AOPA ePilot:
Cirrus Aircraft announced the completion of its merger with China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA) Co. Ltd., forming what the firm described as a worldwide general aviation enterprise. Brent Wouters, Cirrus president and CEO, said the merger would benefit Cirrus customers and its business because the firm will have “the resources that will allow us to expedite our aircraft development programs and accelerate our global expansion.” AOPA reported Feb. 28 that the merger, under negotiation for 20 months, would leave Cirrus in operation in Duluth, Minn., and Grand Forks, N.D. Read more >>
Obama vilifies aircraft, praises GA manufacturers
President Barack Obama on June 29 assailed businesses and individuals who use aircraft to support their business even as he praised the industry that makes those aircraft. The president claimed that accelerated depreciation, which makes it more cost-effective to purchase a new aircraft, is too generous—that owners can afford to pay more. Accelerated depreciation is one of the tools that the aircraft manufacturing industry has used to dig out of the recession. “Imposing higher taxes on GA aircraft by lengthening depreciation schedules is inconsistent both with sound economic principles and with the promises of support made by the President's own Secretary of Transportation just a few months ago during a speech in Wichita,” AOPA President Craig Fuller said. Read more >>
Icon Aircraft has raised $25 million in equity funding in June—enough to finish its ongoing engineering development program and begin production of the A5 amphibious light sport aircraft. “That we were able to successfully raise funds in this time of economic uncertainty demonstrates Icon’s unique and compelling market appeal,” said Kirk Hawkins, Icon founder and chief executive. Icon said it has received orders for more than 500 aircraft valued at a total of $85 million. Read more >>
Is using standardized phraseology like “tree” for “three” and “fife” for “five” helpful and courteous or just bureaucratic foolishness? AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne argues that if carried overboard, standardization can wreck both common sense and long-established practice, and in some cases may compromise safety. Even though you might feel like a dweeb uttering “tree” and “fife,” AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman says controllers will appreciate your clarity and effort to do things right, and perhaps even reward you with preferential routing. Whose side are you on? Read more and vote >>
While you’re debating the merits of fifes and niners, your passengers may be wondering what it all means. The Aviators tackles the dizzying world of ATC terminology for nonpilots in its upcoming season. Get a sneak peek online.
Deteriorating visibility on a long cross-country leaves a VFR pilot with limited options: Risk flying into IMC, or divert to a nearby airport where there may be no ground transportation or fuel? Terrafugia's Transition roadable aircraft aims to take the pressure off pilots by offering another way: Fold the wings and continue by road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration agreed the craft would increase safety and serve the public and has granted Terrafugia's petition for temporary exemption from four federal motor vehicle safety standards requirements for the Transition. Read more and watch AOPA Live® >>
Paris Air Show wearing green
Springtime in Paris was a little greener at the forty-ninth Paris Air Show this year as manufacturers demonstrated environmentally friendly biofuels, diesel power, and electric power. A Boeing 747-8 arrived using a blend of 85-percent Jet A and 15-percent biofuels based on the camelina plant—a cattle-feed supplement—to power all four engines during a flight from Seattle to Paris. Other companies demonstrated or announced their plans for alternative fuels and propulsion systems at the airshow. Read more >>
Solar Impulse turns heads in Paris
The Solar Impulse HB-SIA floated quietly over airliners and military jets at the Paris Air Show June 26 in a demonstration of the solar-powered electric aircraft. Solar Impulse blogger Bernard Schopfer said the aircraft “provided a poetic, scientific, environmental and human climax” to the show. The aircraft, which weighs 3,500 pounds and has a 208-foot wingspan, lifted off at 10 a.m. in less than 10 seconds, the Switzerland-based team said. Watch a video of the flight on the Solar Impulse website.
Pilots who fly for at least three hours and visit at least three airports in Georgia this July can enter to win a multiengine rating and other prizes in the Georgia Air Challenge. The challenge kicked off July 1 and has earned the endorsement of pilot and former Gov. Sonny Perdue. “Many in our state rely on aviation for employment and this challenge helps recognize their efforts while stimulating the economy in this important business sector,” he said. Pilots must register online before starting the challenge.
Eclipse certifies new fire extinguisher system
Eclipse Aerospace announced it has earned FAA certification of a new canister for the PhostrEx fire suppression system used in the company’s EA500 twinjet. The canister stores the fire suppressant gas at a lower pressure. This eliminates the leakage problems associated with the Eclipse’s earlier fire bottles. Read more >>
What do you get when you combine a two-headed mop with a liquid cleaning wax? A superior wash product, according to Aero Cosmetics and WashWax.com, the two companies that are working together on the Wash Wax Mop. The mop is a microfiber head with two sides mounted on an extendable pole that goes from three feet to six feet. Read more >>
AOPA Now: RAF fly-in was the place to be
The Recreational Aviation Foundation’s annual fly-in brings pilots to Ryan Field, a grass airstrip that sits just outside of Glacier National Park in Montana. AOPA President Craig Fuller really could not have imagined just how fantastic the two days would be with fellow aviators who share a strong passion for flying. Read more >>
Your vote matters in aviation grants
So hard to choose. Twenty worthy aviation charities, but only a handful will receive Lightspeed Aviation Foundation grants. And it's up to you to choose. This week AOPA Live profiles Angel Flight/Mercy Flight Southeast, Experience Aviation, JAARS, Angel Flight West, and Women in Aviation, International.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
On June 19, 2010, a Robinson R44 helicopter crashed on a cattle ranch in the Aleutian Islands, killing the 48-year-old commercial pilot. A witness told the NTSB that the pilot had attempted to herd a bull that had become entangled in plastic wrapping material, then land on the trailing plastic so that others could tackle it, and then pick up the bull by hooking the skid under the plastic. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
Fireworks, airplanes don’t mix
Enjoy the fireworks from below this Fourth of July, but remember: Fireworks are prohibited from being transported by air. They are classed as explosives and pyrotechnic devices. Find out more about what you can and can’t take on board your aircraft in AOPA’s Transportation of Hazardous Materials subject report.
Fuel is the lifeblood of your engine. It only makes sense to pay close attention to what is going in your tanks before it becomes a problem. A quick glance at the color and amount of fuel in your airplane before you crank the engine may not be sufficient to avoid a fuel-related accident: What you see in your sample may not be an adequate indicator of what’s in your tanks. Learn how you can help avoid misfueling problems with this safety brief from the Air Safety Institute.
Pump up your pneumatics knowledge
When you hear the word “pneumatics,” you may be more likely to think of balloons and bicycle pumps than airplanes—but in fact, pneumatic systems are critical components of many aircraft. They drive gyroscopic flight instruments and pneumatic de-icing systems, and smart pilots have at least a passing familiarity with how they work and (more importantly) what happens when they don’t. To that end, the Air Safety Institute’s Pneumatic Systems online course is a great way to get the need-to-know facts. Take the course >>
AD orders turbocharger inspections, cleaning
The FAA, declaring that an unsafe condition requires immediate action, will adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) mandating inspection of some Lycoming and Teledyne Continental Motors reciprocating engines with certain Hartzell Engine Technologies LLC turbochargers installed for debris from the machining process that could cause the turbochargers to seize. Affected turbochargers with no more than 50 hours time in service on the effective date of the AD must be disassembled, and their center housing and rotating assembly cavities cleaned. Read more >>
Air Safety eJournal: Airports—the media gets it right!
Too many times the local newspaper or TV station sensationalizes a story about aviation accidents. This week, an unusual thing happened. After a Piper Saratoga clipped the top of a blast fence on approach to landing at Sikorsky Airport in Bridgeport, Conn., the Connecticut Post offered this editorial. Read more >>
AOPA President Craig Fuller joined Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) in calling on the Federal Communications Commission to thoroughly test LightSquared’s proposed nationwide wireless broadband network that threatens GPS before approving the project. The proposal would transmit signals immediately adjacent to, and much more powerful than, the signals from GPS satellites. Several initial studies have shown that the plan would cause severe widespread interference with the GPS signal. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
Rep. Charlie Bass is turning up the heat on the Federal Communications Commission, writes AOPA President Craig Fuller. Pilots know how critical GPS is to safety, to all-weather access to thousands of airports, and to the FAA’s NextGen modernization program, Fuller writes. But apparently, the FCC doesn’t get it. Read more >>
Members of the Venice, Fla., airport community are ready to get down to the business of improving their airport now that the city council has approved a revised airport layout and capital improvements, in votes that overcame years of grant-freezing political resistance. In an action hailed by local news media as “a new chapter in the history of the Venice Municipal Airport,” the city council followed up a final public hearing June 28 with a 6-1 vote to approve a compromise airport layout plan. Read more >>
Calif. flight training reg fix advances in legislature
A permanent fix for onerous requirements for California flight instruction cleared a legislative hurdle June 28 when the Assembly Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection Committee voted unanimously in favor of a bill that would exempt flight instructors from the requirements. AOPA California Regional Representative John Pfeifer was present and testified in support of the bill, which will move to the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee. Read more >>
AOPA speaks out for members in the halls of Congress, in statehouses, and in communities across the country. So let your voice be heard: Tell AOPA what you think about critical issues affecting general aviation in this 2011 AOPA Political Action Committee survey. And when you complete the survey, consider contributing to the AOPA Political Action Committee to help AOPA make elected officials stand up and take notice of what matters to pilots and aircraft owners like you. Find out more and contribute online.
France announces private pilot instrument rating
French private pilots now have the option to earn an instrument rating similar to that in the United States. To earn an instrument rating under pan-European rules, pilots must enroll in a professional flight training school, spending more than 20,000 euros and studying such topics as the hydraulic systems of airliners and calculations of Mach number, according to AOPA France. The new rating, announced at the Paris Air Show June 24, is designed for private pilots’ needs and operations. Supporters hope that it could be adopted by other European countries. Read more >>
More magnetos would be replaced under proposed AD
The FAA has proposed an airworthiness directive (AD) that would correct the applicability of an existing AD requiring replacement of some magnetos installed on some Teledyne Continental and Rolls-Royce Motors engines. The proposed AD would supersede a June 17, 2002, AD that requires replacement of specified magnetos, inspection of the removed magnetos to verify that the stop pin is still in place, and, if the stop pin is not in place, inspection of the engine gear train, crankcase, and accessory case. Read more >>
Voluntary guidelines set for marking meteorological towers
The FAA has released its guidelines for the voluntary marking of meteorological evaluation towers in an effort to make them more visible to pilots conducting agricultural and other low-level operations in their vicinity. AOPA has supported the FAA’s proposal to set voluntary procedures for marking and lighting the towers that are used to gather weather data, are constructed in rural or remote areas, and stand less than 200 feet agl. The association had noted that the proliferation of such towers posed a “significant hazard to many types of aeronautical operations.” Read more >>
Avgas transition group presses forward
Initial steps toward finding an alternative to leaded avgas moved forward in a recent meeting of the FAA’s Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC). The government-industry group took steps toward establishing a framework and implementation plan for the transition in discussions during the group’s second meeting, which the FAA posted June 21 on its aviation gasoline issue Web page. The agency said it extended the ARC’s charter, set to end July 31, another six months in recognition of the effort’s importance. Read more >>
Savings made easy with the AOPA Car Rental Discount Program
Pocket some savings with the AOPA Car Rental Discount Program. If you’re renting a car from Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, or Hertz, be sure to use your AOPA discount code and save up to 25 percent. Plus, with money-saving coupons such as free rental days and upgrades, you can’t go wrong. Take advantage of this members-only benefit and you could see your AOPA membership pay for itself. Read more >>
Win this airplane: Life members get 10 extra sweeps entries
The Crossover Classic Cessna 182 has a shiny new paint job, a powerful new engine, advanced avionics, and a luxe interior—and it’s almost time to give it away. Did you know that if you’re a current AOPA Life member on July 31 when the sweepstakes closes, you get 10 additional entries? AOPA Life members also receive a lifetime waiver of the annual membership dues, a special embossed identification card and lapel pin, their name displayed in the AOPA Foundation Philanthropy Report, and a $2,000 charitable tax deduction for their $2,500 gift. Find out more >>
2011 AOPA CROSSOVER CLASSIC SWEEPSTAKES
Before long, AOPA will hand over the keys to the Crossover Classic Cessna 182 to the winner of its 2011 sweepstakes. The association found a solid airframe in 2010 and went to town, outfitting it with a new engine, avionics, interior, and more. The resulting aircraft has the ability to fly fast or slow, high or low, short trips or long, and yet take off and land on short strips like a Skyhawk. Take a look back at the aircraft’s 11-month transformation. It could be yours in September. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an application support engineer, Dot Net developer, and electronic advertising manager. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.