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Ask any pilot for a list of nightmare scenarios, and a cockpit fire is bound to rank pretty high. It’s also extremely unlikely—but statistics are cold comfort when you’re trying to land an airplane with your feet on fire and a cockpit full of black smoke. How would you react if it happened to you? Could you keep the airplane under control while searching for a field, starting an emergency descent, and sticking your head out the door just to see and breathe? Ride along with flight instructor Jade Schiewe as a routine training flight becomes a desperate struggle for survival in the latest installment of the Air Safety Institute’s Real Pilot Stories series.
FAA Chief Counsel and acting Chief Operating Officer David Grizzle has been appointed COO of the agency’s Air Traffic Organization, the FAA announced July 7. A former Continental Airlines executive, Grizzle has been acting COO of the Air Traffic Organization since his predecessor Hank Krakowski resigned in April. Grizzle had been chief counsel for the FAA since 2009, leading the agency’s 300-person legal team. Read more >>
Cirrus CEO speaks out on Chinese ownership
In an exclusive AOPA Live® interview, Cirrus Aircraft CEO Brent Wouters talks about what his company’s merger with a Chinese firm means for the aircraft manufacturer, vendors, jet position holders, Cirrus owners, and jobs in America. Wouters, never short of words or opinions, recounts why the U.S. investment community shies away from investing in aviation companies and why countries like China are snapping them up. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
Despite its Chinese ownership (and the fact that an investment group in Bahrain has owned a significant percentage of Cirrus since 2001), CEO Brent Wouters insists Cirrus is still a U.S. company that uses American workers and American vendors to build products for the United States and world market. Still, some have criticized the move as a selling out of U.S. leadership in aviation. What do you think? Are U.S. aviation companies not trying hard enough to find American investment before selling out to foreign buyers, or is the U.S. investment community too short-sighted in its strategies? Or, does none of it really matter in this global economy? Share your thoughts >>
When you think of an aircraft being intentionally flown into bad weather to gather scientific data, images of a P-3 Orion flying around in the eye of a hurricane come to mind. Add the German light sport Flight Design CT to the list of aircraft unusually suited to a specific research mission. For the second consecutive year, researchers have flown the aircraft into a volcanic ash cloud to find out if the cloud’s extent and density matched predictions. Read more >>
Avidyne DFC90 autopilot for Piper Matrix, Mirage
Avidyne has begun marketing its attitude-based DFC90 autopilot to owners of Piper PA-46 Matrix and Mirage aircraft. The digital autopilot has been rapidly adopted by 25 percent of the owners of Entegra-equipped Cirrus aircraft, and Avidyne is hoping for similar adoption rates among PA-46 owners. The DFC90 offers “envelope protection” from autopilot-commanded stalls and overspeeds as well as a straight-and-level feature that can right the aircraft from an unusual attitude. Read more >>
Duluth, Minn.-based Cirrus Aircraft has issued a statement confirming that it will sell 25 SR20 aircraft to the U.S. Air Force Academy at a total price tag of $6.1 million. The academy’s Powered Flight Program will receive the aircraft, designated as T-53A trainers in a customized configuration, starting this summer and continuing through 2012, the company said. The aircraft will be based at the academy’s airfield in Colorado Springs, Colo. Read more >>
Gebhart joins HAI leadership
Former AOPA executive Karen Gebhart has been named vice president of business development and expositions at Helicopter Association International (HAI). Gebhart served in executive roles at AOPA for more than 16 years, overseeing such areas as membership growth, communications initiatives, and the AOPA Foundation. Read more >>
Flying for good: Awards honor volunteers, motivators
Volunteers and organizations that take patients to medical care, transport athletes to the Special Olympics, and motivate students to succeed will receive the 2011 National Public Benefit Flying Awards from the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) and Air Care Alliance. The awards honor volunteers and organizations involved in using flying to help others. This year’s awards recognize efforts at Angel Flight Central, Wings of Hope, Wright Flight Inc., and Cessna Aircraft Co. Read more >>
Students in the Able Flight training program at Purdue University now have two aircraft at their disposal: the tandem-seat Sky Arrow 600, which was used in 2010 during the program’s inaugural session, and a side-by-side-seat Flight Design CTLS. “We had such success with our joint flight training program at Purdue in 2010 that the university asked us to send more students this year,” Able Flight Executive Director Charles Stites said in a news release. Read more >>
SPA welcomes new executive director
When Steven McCaughey formally takes over as the new executive director of the Seaplane Pilots Association (SPA) on July 15, projects from coast to coast will invite him to dive right in on behalf of the organization’s nearly 9,000 members. Maybe that’s what SPA Chairman Walter Windus meant when he described both the man and his mission in one short sentence: “Seaplane advocacy is near the top of his list.” The SPA noted that McCaughey and his wife, Mary, “were married in-flight, aboard the same HU-16 Albatross in which he received his G-111 type rating.” Read more >>
Did you enjoy some aspect of flying on Fourth of July weekend? AOPA President Craig Fuller shares some backcountry flying photographs and encourages pilots to celebrate their freedom to fly. Read more >>
Reporting Points: High-altitude parachute jump to proceed?
Red Bull officials quietly announced that a lawsuit charging Red Bull with stealing the idea for a record-setting high-altitude jump has been settled. Was there a payoff? Was the case dropped? Is jumper Felix Baumgartner still trained and ready? No one was talking July 2. A Red Bull spokesman only commented that “The next steps will require careful evaluation of the project across all areas.” Read more >>
Charles Stites says his dog Sophie helped save his medical certificate, if not his life. “It wasn’t as dramatic as her running home barking out a message that I had fallen down a well. It was far more subtle and gradual than that, and with coronary artery disease, that’s often part of the problem,” Stites writes. A realization from his regular walks with Sophie led to a just-in-time heart procedure and an education on how to get an airman medical certificate back in the shortest time possible. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
LightSquared, GPS face off
Who knew a broadband communications network proposal could stir up such controversy that Congress, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Transportation get involved? That’s the case with a LightSquared proposal that would disrupt GPS signals. “At 800 meters from a LightSquared transmitter, its signal is four billion times stronger than a GPS signal. GPS receivers are just not designed to exclude such strong signals, something that was never contemplated before the LightSquared waiver,” said Garmin Vice President of Aviation Engineering Phil Straub during a June 23 congressional hearing. LightSquared claims that GPS receivers can be retrofitted with filters, but Straub said the industry has not yet seen a filter that has worked. Watch AOPA Live >>
ATC the Canadian way
Aviation is a universal language. It has to be, as airplanes are no respecters of national borders. This week, The Aviators goes behind the scenes with a Nav Canada enroute air traffic controller, but what you see and hear there will be very familiar to U.S. pilots and controllers. And pilots flying between the United States and Canada are handed off seamlessly as they fly from an FAA center airspace to Canadian airspace. Just remember that “out” is pronounced a little differently in Canada. Watch AOPA Live >>
Make your choice for Lightspeed grants
Here are the last of the finalists vying for $10,000 grants from the Lightspeed Aviation Foundation. The aviation charities include Angel Flight East and Aviation Exploring. You can view all of the finalists online. And remember, your vote helps determine which charities will get a grant.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Headed out for a weekend flight? Don’t forget to check notams. Flying unwittingly into a TFR can put your certificate at risk and damage general aviation’s reputation: A few GA pilots recently had their holiday flying spoiled when they strayed into TFRs and ended up with a military aircraft on their wing. AOPA reminds pilots to stay vigilant in their preflight planning.
Fly Well: 60 at 60
A 59-year-old pilot visits his doctor. He’s an executive, travels extensively, and works long hours. The verdict? Heart, lungs, guts, joints, and neurons all working well. Just one issue—he is carrying unwanted belly ballast. And now the reveal: This executive is AOPA President Craig Fuller. Fuller committed to slim down, and suggested AOPA document his efforts so that it would inspire others to follow his lead. “I am about 60 pounds overweight and as I have just hit the magical birthday, why don’t we call this ‘60 at 60’—and I will change my life and habits to get into shape,” he said. Read more >>
Most of the time, instrument approaches are pretty straightforward: a quick scan of the layout, a review of the numbers, and you’re off to the races. Sometimes, though, things are more complicated, and you need to look closely or risk missing critical information. The Air Safety Institute’s latest safety quiz, sponsored by the AOPA Insurance Agency, looks at one of the latter situations—a localizer back course with a couple of tricks up its sleeve. Are you up for the challenge? Take the quiz >>
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.
Air Safety eJournal: Taxiing the ‘Big Bus’
New flight students need reminders that they have typically 12 to 18 feet sticking out from each side of the fuselage, and “Big Bus” crews should have a bit more concern. Recently an Airbus A380 got an unexpected clipped-wing modification when it taxied too close to a building. This happened at the Paris Air Show—isn’t there always an audience? And none of us is immune to taxi mistakes. Read more >>
Hover Power: Simulator sickness
Simulator sickness is a form of motion sickness caused by physical and/or visual motion in a simulator. Compared to motion sickness, the symptoms tend to include more visual disturbances than gastrointestinal issues. What causes this is a conflict between the vestibular, visual, and proprioceptive senses and pilot’s expectations based on past flight experience. Any flight simulator has the potential to cause simulator sickness; however, rotary-wing simulators are known to cause higher rates of simulator sickness compared to fixed-wing ones. Read more >>
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) has proposed legislation designed to ensure pilots fairer treatment and more access to information in FAA enforcement actions, reform the appellate process, and create advisory boards to help improve the notices to airmen and medical certification processes. Inhofe outlined his Pilot’s Bill of Rights legislation, S. 1335, on the Senate floor July 5, invoking lawmakers’ responsibility to “prevent agency overreach.” Read more >>
Job opportunity: The state of Alaska is auctioning buildings and equipment at the Northway Airport along the Alaska Highway, following the failure of the airstrip’s fixed-base operation. Minimum bid: $10,000. Energetic and optimistic entrepreneurs might consider applying to run this remote FBO. Expect a challenge. The notice of the July 15 auction by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities marks just the latest chapter in a saga starting with earthquake damage that shortened the runway, and culminating in the loss of the airport’s ability to dispense—and therefore, sell—fuel, the lifeblood of an FBO. Read more >>
GA groups steadfast in fight for pilots’ privacy rights
In a full-court press against a Department of Transportation plan that would threaten pilots’ privacy rights by dismantling the Block Aircraft Registration Request program, the National Business Aviation Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, and AOPA filed a petition July 1, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit “to prevent the order from taking effect before it has ruled on the appeal.” The same day the associations filed the petition, the FAA extended the deadline for aircraft owners and operators to file the necessary paperwork to remain in the program to July 14. Read more >>
TSA names acting manager for GA
The Transportation Security Administration’s Executive Resources Council has named Kerwin Wilson acting general manager for general aviation, effective July 5, succeeding Brian Delauter, who left the post May 23. The TSA said Wilson will lead agency efforts to enhance security within the GA sector, working in partnership with industry “to develop and implement GA policies, programs, rules and regulations that increase security, create efficiencies and reduce burdens on operators.” Read more >>
FBOs, fuel distributors counter Calif. avgas lawsuit
The National Air Transportation Association has announced its backing of a lawsuit brought by fixed-base operators and avgas distributors in California to block enforcement actions that could result from legal proceedings threatened by an environmental organization in May. The coalition of FBOs and fuel distributors sued the state’s attorney general and the Center for Environmental Health in response to a notice of violation issued against coalition members for supplying and using leaded avgas. Read more >>
FAA clarifies GA seat belt guidance
The FAA, responding to a request from the National Transportation Safety Board, has published notice of a proposed clarification of how it interprets seat-belt and seating requirements of the federal aviation regulations for general aviation. The document also emphasized that the proper method of restraint for children during flight relies on the operational knowledge and good judgment of the pilot. Read more >>
Prizes, tips at AOPA Tent at AirVenture
Brush up on your safety knowledge, pick up official AOPA gear, and learn more about what the association has to offer at the AOPA Tent at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., July 25 through 31. Visitors who stop by the tent at Booth 193 through 195 (west of Hangar C) and enter the daily drawing will get a free hat. Read more >>
The lunch crunch
Let’s face it: The morning cup of coffee only gets us so far in the day. By lunchtime, our bodies need some good, healthy input to help us power through the afternoon and remain productive. Lunchtime is the perfect time to refuel both physically and mentally. Certified personal trainer Marci D’Alessio provides some “dos” and “don’ts” to keep in mind so that you can make this time work for you. Read more in this selection from the Medical Services Program newsletter.
Looking for some great deals on parts, accessories, and pilot supplies? When planning your trip to one of the large conventions, such as AOPA Aviation Summit, to take in the seminars and workshops, make sure to allocate a few hours to touring the exhibit floor. With products ranging from small replacement parts to state-of-the-art avionics, it’s not only a convenient one-stop shop, but the deep discounts offered make it especially appealing. Here are a few pointers to avoid the pitfalls and help you make wise, educated decisions based on your needs. Read more >>
AOPA T-shirts perfect for summer
Business casual, semi-formal, resort casual—forget about it! It’s summer, and that means shorts and T-shirts. Outfit yourself and your family to show off your passion for aviation with an all-new AOPA T-shirt whether at the pool, strolling the mall, or camping. This T-shirt comes in gray or olive and shows not only the AOPA logo, but also that the association was established in 1939. The shirt makes a great conversation starter around the grill or on the beach. Read more >>
AOPA 2011 Crossover Classic Sweepstakes
Finishing touches, part deux
We’re still not done! Just when you thought that nothing more could possibly be added, still more tweaks and improvements have been made to the Crossover Classic. The airplane’s full-fuel payload amounted to a mere 353 pounds—as of a weighing that took place in May. You can thank the extra 24 gallons (worth 144 pounds) in the tip tanks for taking such a big bite out of the payload. To the rescue came Trolltune’s gross-weight increase supplemental type certificate. Read more >>
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.