Puttering along over California’s Salinas Valley in a pristine 1946 Piper J-3 Cub with the doors removed wasn’t what Tanya Trejo had in mind last year when she bid for a day of aerobatic training with Sean D. Tucker in the A Night for Flight auction online. Then again, neither was she expecting a dinner with the Tucker family while being serenaded by a seven-piece mariachi band, nor three flights for her husband. These were just gravy. Flying the Extra 300L with its 220-knot never exceed speed and 340-degree-per-second roll rate hooked the Seattle-based student pilot on loops, rolls, hammerheads, and spins. It was her second flight with Tucker, with whom she initially flew during a promotional ride in Seattle in 2010. The reaction wasn’t surprising for Tucker, who said the Extra delivers “a delicious experience.” Read more >>
With more than $100 million in infrastructure investment at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C., Honda Aircraft Co. is on schedule to certify its unusual HondaJet by the end of 2012. Company officials showed off the pristine new facilities to media representatives July 12 and allowed an up-close look at its first conforming flight test airplane. Honda has long dabbled in aviation with a dream of producing airplanes, said Honda Aircraft Co. President and CEO Michimasa Fujino. Read more >>
Cleared to land: Beijing touchdown a first for GA in China
The Memphis businessman attempting to become the first Chinese citizen to fly around the world in a single-engine airplane has landed at Beijing Capital International Airport—the first single-engine general aviation airplane to obtain clearance to do so. Wei Chen, a private pilot, is flying his TBM 700 around the world, crossing through Chinese airspace. The feat has required significant logistical support from AOPA-China and the Chinese government: Obtaining a clearance to take off with a single-engine airplane can normally take days or even a week, and the landing at Beijing Capital International is unprecedented. Read more >>
What is general aviation? The Mooney Ambassadors took that question on the road, taping man-on-the-street interviews with the public. The responses are surprising. “Like Southwest Airlines,” one man responded, while another explained the term as “everybody who flies all the big airplanes.” One defined GA as “homegrown pilots,” but perhaps the winning definition—for creativity, not accuracy—was a man who replied, “Like a general in the Army, a general that flies.” See the responses >>
AOPA to pilots: Check notams before flight
By midday July 10, general aviation pilots had violated the prohibited airspace (P-40) over Camp David in Maryland three times while President Barack Obama was in residence. “We don’t know the particulars of the three violations yet, so we don’t want to pass judgment,” said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of security and international operations. “But we do know that every bust makes it that much more difficult when we go to the security agencies and urge them to make restrictions less burdensome.” Find out more about the airspace and how you can avoid having a Black Hawk off your wing. Read more and Watch AOPA Live® >>
AOPA Now: Avoid intercepts!
As troubling as it is to hear about pilots receiving an F-15 escort to an unplanned landing, it is also unfortunate to learn that some pilots do not enjoy the opportunity of flying in the Frederick, Md., area because they believe it is too “complicated,” writes AOPA President Craig Fuller. He shares his own techniques for avoiding P-40 while flying VFR in the area. Read more >>
Deadline approaching for May aircraft registrations
Pilots whose aircraft were registered in May of any year must apply for re-registration by July 31 to submit online. As part of an effort to update its aircraft registry, the FAA is requiring pilots to re-register their aircraft on a specific schedule. The latest group should have received a letter from the FAA that contains the re-registration notice, along with the code to use when re-registering online. If an owner with a May registration misses the July 31 deadline, he or she could risk being grounded when the aircraft’s current certificate expires Sept. 30. Read more >>
Combs, on 50-state mission, claims LSA record
Watch out, Hawaii. Michael Combs is coming. On his quest to fly to all 50 states, Combs took a detour to fly from Fort Worth, Texas, to Branson, Mo., to set an aviation record for time over a distance in his aircraft class. Read more >>
Wing Nuts fly-in a celebration of GA
Arrive enthused, depart entertained and informed: That’s what thousands of pilots and friends of aviation did on the weekend of July 9 by dropping in at Gould-Peterson Municipal Airport in Tarkio, Mo., for the Wing Nuts Flying Circus, which is held at the field every other year. Activities included a barbecue dinner, airshow, and town hall meeting attended by about 150 pilots, in which AOPA President Craig Fuller and leaders of other aviation associations joined Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) to share the latest news on the big issues facing general aviation. Read more >>
Collegiate team wins weather-shortened Air Race Classic
A team from Jacksonville University won the Air Race Classic women’s long-distance competition after thunderstorms and instrument conditions over part of the course shortened the day-VFR-only race by five legs. The race, scheduled to take racers on an almost 2,400-nautical-mile course starting in Iowa City, Iowa, June 21 and concluding in Mobile, Ala., June 24, started a day and a half later in Alliance, Neb., cutting the distance by almost half. Read more >>
Find the ‘Path to Pilothood’ at EAA AirVenture
The Experimental Aircraft Association’s fifty-eighth annual AirVenture fly-in at Wittman Field in Oshkosh, Wis., promises once again to deliver aviation’s unmatched thrills and excitement to thousands of pilots and other onlookers from July 25 to 31. For the many would-be aviators drawn to the displays and airshows who wonder how they can find their own way into the skies, AOPA will be on the scene to provide answers through the association’s exhibit in the EAA Learn to Fly Discovery Center. Read more >>
Fuller: Threats mount against GA, groups unite
Addressing a standing-room-only audience of more than 200 at the Wichita Aero Club’s July luncheon, AOPA President Fuller provided a synopsis of general aviation's condition in a slow-growth economy that has defied predictions with its long duration. Challenges facing aviation range from threats to GPS to budget pressures that could scale back funding of airport improvement projects and hinder progress on the Next Generation Air Transportation System. GA organizations, however, have "used the time wisely," he said. Read more >>
Mid-Continent Instruments breaks ground, expands workforce
Expansion of Mid-Continent Instruments True Blue Power line of power products comes with a bigger facility and a plan to add 24 employees over the next five years. True Blue Power produces general aviation aircraft inverters and emergency power supplies. Read more >>
Hover taxiing is the most common of the three basic ways a helicopter can move around an airport. By definition this is operating below 25 feet; however, most is done from the surface to about 10 feet. When deciding how high to hover taxi,one must hover high enough to minimize the danger of catching a skid on a small sign or other low object, but not too high so that a hovering autorotation can safely be performed in the event of an engine failure. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Diamond withdraws from major shows
Diamond Aircraft will not exhibit at several major consumer shows this year as a cost-savings measure, the company said. The company will continue to exhibit at law-enforcement and government security shows to demonstrate its special mission aircraft. Read more >>
It's hotter than the turbine inlet temperature of a PT6 in many parts of the country right now. So this week, The Aviators cools things off a bit by talking about TV's Ice Pilots NWT. The reality show follows renegade Arctic airline Buffalo Airways and the quirky family that runs it. Ice Pilots appears on the National Geographic Channel in the United States. Watch AOPA Live >>
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Safety & Proficiency
Find answers to this hot debate in the Air Safety Institute’s new Aerodynamics Safety Spotlight. As you become reacquainted with the concept of why an airplane can stall at any airspeed or pitch attitude, you’ll really get to understand why when you discover the true meaning of “Alpha” and “critical AOA” in a recently recorded Webinar. Further boost your knowledge with the Air Safety Institute’s Essential Aerodynamics: Stalls, Spins, and Safety online course, Safety Advisors, quizzes, and Pilot Safety Announcements.
No way forward
The fatalities keep piling up, year after year. Bad things can happen fast while trying to squeeze an airplane between descending ceilings and rising terrain. About 10:30 a.m. on May 9, 2010, the left wing of a Piper PA28-235 clipped a tree on a hillside northeast of the Livermore, Calif., Municipal Airport. The pilot never made a distress call or requested assistance from ATC. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
We know the basics of a good radio transmission: Who you are calling, who you are, where you are, and what you want. Simple, concise, informative. But there’s a lot more involved with effective aviation communication. Knowing how to use your radios, where to place your microphone, and what to say when things aren’t going well all play a part in making you a master of the airwaves … and a safer pilot. Brush up on your knowledge of radio communication with the Say It Right: Mastering Radio Communication online course from the Air Safety Institute, sponsored by Lightspeed Aviation. Take the course >>
Status reports: What you need
After you’ve submitted medical records to the FAA, the agency may ask for a “detailed status report from your treating physician.” A status report should include basic comments about your medical history: the medical condition being treated, when it was diagnosed, limitations on your activities, and the length of those restrictions. Even if the records you’ve already submitted provide the same information, the FAA requires this to be in a separate report. Read more >>
After the tower denies his request for a low pass, Maverick in Top Gun does it anyway, resulting in some spilled coffee and a lecture. The question came up the other day regarding the legality of low passes. It’s not as straightforward as you might think, writes AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg. In Landsberg’s Leading Edge blog you’ll find discussions of the same sort of safety-of-flight issues, procedures, techniques, and judgment that you found in his Air Safety eJournal, plus commentary on other issues critical to the future of general aviation. Read more >>
ERRATUM: Question No. 3 of the Air Safety Institute Instrument Approach: College Station safety quiz initially contained an error related to the use of an HSI on localizer back course approaches. The original answer was incorrect, and the explanation should have stated that an HSI will reverse-sense on a back course unless the needle is set to the reciprocal of the final approach course. The Air Safety Institute regrets the error.
GPS technology has revolutionized how pilots navigate, improving situational awareness and bringing instrument approaches to general aviation airports that had none before. But LightSquared’s proposed broadband communications network could threaten all of that because it uses more powerful signals in the spectrum next to GPS. That’s why AOPA and the Coalition to Save our GPS are calling on pilots to share their concerns about the proposal’s interference with GPS directly with the Federal Communications Commission. Get involved >>
DOT should defer changing BARR, reps say
Thirty-three members of Congress are urging Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to delay implementing proposed restrictions of the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program while Congress debates the issue. The House members, including many members of the House General Aviation Caucus, urged LaHood in a July 11 letter to yield to congressional action before moving ahead with proposed changes that would drastically limit GA operators’ ability to keep their N numbers and associated IFR flight information from being disseminated online by for-profit Internet flight-tracking services. Read more >>
Google Earth helps tackle Kansas airport obstructions
A new online tool that works with Google Earth is helping the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and airport advocates work to avoid the construction of structures that could prove dangerous to aviation. “One of the goals of the tool is to help developers of tall structures such as wind turbines visualize complicated airspace and, consequently, avoid unsafe conflicts between aircraft and obstructions,” said C. Edward Young, KDOT’s aviation director. Read more >>
GAO tells FAA to improve NextGen outreach
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says in a new report that the FAA should improve its efforts to harness resources of other agencies and the private sector as it moves ahead with development of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). A congressional oversight panel agreed with the conclusions published by the GAO in its July 8 report on FAA collaboration and technology transfer in programs for NextGen. Read more >>
Pilots can help give picture of GA activity
How much did you fly in 2010? If you received a notice requesting information for the FAA’s thirty-third annual General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey, your answers could help construct an accurate picture of GA activity. The survey is the FAA’s primary source of data about the size and activity of the GA fleet, said independent research firm Tetra Tech, which is conducting the survey for 2010. Read more >>
Proposed regulations by the Rhode Island Airport Commission threatened to put a damper on hot air balloonists. AOPA, however, weighed in requesting changes that the commission recently accepted. Instead of requiring pilots to comply with multiple regulations, the commission reinforced compliance with existing federal aviation regulations. Now the commission states that "Manned Free Hot Air Balloons shall meet 14 CFR Part 31 airworthiness standards" and that they “shall not free-fly during the period between sunset and sunrise, unless the craft is equipped with appropriate lighting in accordance with 14 CFR Part 31.65.” Read more >>
New Hampshire establishes aeronautical fund
A new law has gone into effect in New Hampshire establishing a dedicated aviation trust fund to help support airports that do not receive federal funding. The measure, which passed July 1, is seen helping to assure that 12 mostly privately owned, public-use airports will remain available for pilots’ use, and will continue to provide economic benefits to their communities into the future. The legislative process began in February 2010. Read more >>
Protect your airport by promoting it
The AOPA Airport Support Network program's Webinar “Protecting Your Airport by Promoting It” may now be viewed online. Panelists Jolie Lucas, Mitch Latting, and Jamie Beckett offer ideas for promoting your airport and working with local officials to tell its story effectively in the community. Try their suggestions at your airport—and let AOPA know when your promotional events are scheduled by adding them to AOPA’s aviation events calendar.
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.
Bank of America lowers costs for aircraft loans
Aircraft ownership may be closer than you think. The AOPA Aircraft Financing Program with financing provided by Bank of America has lowered its rates and closing fees. Bank of America makes the credit application process as easy as possible. You can apply online, and you’ll receive a quick decision. Before you apply, you can calculate your estimated monthly payment, or what you can afford, by using AOPA’s online loan payment calculator. Just input a few numbers and the calculation will be done for you. Read more >>
If you don’t think you can afford to own an aircraft, think again. Check out the Aircraft Partnership Program at AOPA’s tent (Booth 195, west of Hangar C) at AirVenture. Using a secure database management system, the AOPA Aircraft Partnership Program helps pilots and aircraft owners identify, match, and connect with other pilots interested in reducing the cost of aircraft acquisition and ownership. The process is simple. Read more >>
Eat well, fly well
Stimulation of our senses allows us to connect to the outside world and provides pleasurable experiences. The consumption of food energizes the senses, yet eating is so often a hurried afterthought; and poor eating habits can lead to all sorts of problems including obesity, bowel disturbances, and indigestion. At the upcoming AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford, Conn., Dr. Jonathan Sackier will co-host a health-related dinner at one of the town’s finest eateries. Read more >>
AOPA Airports: Mobile directory for busy pilots
Download AOPA Airports to your BlackBerry or Windows Mobile device to have airport, FBO, and services information right at your fingertips. Provided by Hilton Software and AOPA, the app allows members to one-touch dial telephone numbers. The directory can be downloaded and updated directly through your smartphone. Try it out today.
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.