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July 22, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletterJuly 22, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletter

AOPA ePilot

In This Issue:

VOLUME 13, ISSUE 29 — July 22, 2011

User fee talk returns
Joplyn leaves Joplin, lands new home
How do I request VFR on top?
Quiz Me: Blue seal


Safety >>

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect >>


AOPA Live >>

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Take action: User fees proposal lurks in debt-reduction talks

Feature User fee threats are lurking just below the surface on Capitol Hill, as the federal government looks for ways to reduce the deficit and find new revenue streams. The administration’s bureaucrats “have elected to put back on the table a user fee that would be attached to flight plans or to aircraft operations. Some say it’s $25, some say it’s $100, some say it only applies to jets,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller in an exclusive announcement on AOPA Live®, in which he also provides background information on user fees and an insider look at what’s going on in Washington, D.C. “So we need you to write your congressman and we need you to write to your United States senator and let them know you oppose user fees.” Fuller said GA should continue to pay its share “at the pump” in the form of the tried-and-true aviation fuel tax. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>

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Don’t fund bureaucracy at GA expense

The prospect of general aviation user fees has reared its head again, this time in debt-reduction negotiations. GA groups are urging members of the House and Senate to reject this “resoundingly discredited approach to raising revenues.” Over the past five years Congress has overwhelmingly rejected the introduction of new user fees, which would add costs for GA operators and a new layer of federal bureaucracy, the groups wrote. Read more >>

BlogsAOPA Now: User fees back on the table

In the midst of the budget negotiations to avert the debt ceiling crisis, Obama administration officials placed on the table a private aircraft user fee proposal for discussion with congressional leaders. Most reports suggest that no decisions have been made; but on the heels of recent hot rhetoric about the use of private aircraft, GA has much to worry about, writes AOPA President Craig Fuller. Read more >>

Joplyn and Annie prepare for the last leg of their trip home Joplyn flies out of Joplin, lands new home

Nothing captured the devastating impact of the extreme weather that hit the nation’s midsection this spring like TV news coverage of the EF5 tornado that roared through Joplin, Mo., on May 22, killing more than 150 people. Quickly on the scene that day was The Weather Channel’s Mike Bettes, who became overcome by the devastation he was reporting. Bettes met some of the survivors about a month later, when he stopped at the Humane Society to do a story on animals left homeless after the tornado; he decided to adopt Joplyn, one of the pets left fending for themselves after the tragedy. Joplyn received a lift from Pilots N Paws volunteer Jim Carney. Read more >>

Your IFR rating in 10 days at your location … IFR finish-up in as little as 3 days!

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SimCom poised to buy 14 FlightSafety training programs

AOPA Online has learned that SimCom Training Centers in a pending deal will acquire up to 14 flight simulators from FlightSafety International. According to Wally David, president of SimCom, FlightSafety was planning to issue a two-sentence statement about the deal late July 20: “FlightSafety and SimCom are in discussions regarding the possible transition of some of FlightSafety’s training programs to SimCom. A formal announcement will be made if and when a final agreement is reached.” David said he expects the deal to close within 30 days. Read more >>

Training initiative gains frontline perspective at regional meetings

A series of regional meetings that AOPA is hosting as part of its Flight Training Student Retention Initiative began in May and continues in August, as the aviation community works to increase the success of pilot trainees and address the decline of the pilot population. With an estimated 70 to 80 percent of those who begin flight training not succeeding in earning a pilot certificate, and the pilot population declining, the objective of the meetings and of the collaborative Flight Training Student Retention Initiative is to build real-world solutions by developing resources and programs that improve the flight training experience—ultimately strengthening general aviation. Read more >>

Flying the same airplane without incident for 12+ months?

You’re entitled to 10% claims free credits your first year with Avemco—15% your second! Also receive up to 10% off your annual premium with Avemco’s Safety Rewards. Learn more >>

China seeks shared aerospace work worldwide

China Aviation Industry Corp. (AVIC) officials are in discussions with several business jet manufacturers, including Cessna Aircraft Co., regarding production of business jets in China. The AVIC officials have issued a request for information to which Cessna has responded. “At this point the discussions are exploratory,” Cessna spokesman Robert Stangarone told AOPA. During the Paris Air Show, a branch of AVIC signed a memorandum of agreement for long-term cooperation in research and development with the National Aerospace Laboratory in the Netherlands, and the German Dutch Wind Tunnels. Read more >>

GA pilot makes historic flight in China Into China: Historic GA flight a success

How do you fly your own general aviation aircraft in China? It depends. And your mileage may, quite literally, vary. Yinjie Jason Zhang recounts his flight across China in a TBM 700 with Memphis, Tenn., businessman Wei Chen. During the flight, the two initially expected a 475-nautical-mile detour around restricted military airspace. “We figured about half way through we could ask to cut across from one way point (PADNO) on the north bound leg to another (OKVUM) on the southwest leg. And so we did. ‘Continue to TaiYuan,’ the controller replied with no delay. ‘Okay,’ we thought. … But then another transmission (in Chinese) came in through the headset, ‘N168CW turn left heading 270. Join G212 then direct to OKVUM.’” Read more >>

Gulfstream renames new bizjet

Gulfstream has announced the renaming of its super midsized G250 jet as the Gulfstream G280 in a move “prompted by the company’s sensitivity to the varied cultures of its international customer base,” as demand grows for business aircraft. Read more >>

Dr. COPTR jetAviva: Demand rising for light jets

Light jet sales and training firm jetAviva reports that the market for light jet sales is heating up, with used light-jet sales leading the way. While the market for new aircraft in 2011 has largely been driven by demand for large-cabin jets from developing nations, jetAviva says it’s seeing an uptick in light-jet demand coming from relatively established markets. Read more >>

GIII speeds medical charity’s expansion

The Airborne Lifeline Foundation, provider of regularly scheduled air medical service in Africa, will expand its operations into the nation of Malawi following the donation of a Gulfstream III business jet by a New York real-estate developer known for supporting medical philanthropies. Read more >>

BlogsReporting Points: Sikorsky X2 coming to Oshkosh, AOPA Summit

Dr. COPTR Soon you will read in AOPA Pilot about the Sikorsky X2 twin-rotor helicopter that was flown in excess of 250 knots true airspeed in level flight, and 263 knots in a one-degree dive. The aircraft will be on display near ConocoPhillips Square (formerly AeroShell Square) at EAA AirVenture in a few days, and then on display again at AOPA Aviation Summit in September. After 18 months of victory tours in its special truck, the history-making helicopter is on its way to the Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles International Airport, Va. Read more >>

Jam sessions, performances to fill the air at Oshkosh

Pilots of the Flying Musicians Association will be sharing their love of music at AirVenture with nightly jams and performances July 25 through 29. Attendees can catch scheduled performers, special guests, open mic performances, and open jams at the first “FMA AirVenture MusicJams” from 7 to 10 p.m. each evening in Honda Forums Plaza Forum Building 9. See the MusicJam schedule and other FMA presentations on the AirVenture website.

BlogsReporting Points: Visiting an old friend, wondering why

Sliding into N152MP was like meeting an old friend. The bright white Mooney with its bold red, yellow, and blue strips looked like most any other late 1980s Mooney until you looked inside or walked around front. There, the tightly cowled nose gave a clue as to what powered the composite three-blade prop—a Porsche engine. The Mooney PFM was familiar to AOPA Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines because shortly after he started working at AOPA in 1988, the association purchased one of the unusual airplanes. Read more >>


Dr. COPTR AirVenture!

It’s the largest gathering of general aviation airplanes and pilots in the world. And there is nothing else like it. It's EAA’s AirVenture, although most pilots call it Oshkosh. AOPA Live will be there—live, of course—next week to bring you some of the excitement. Until then, here’s The Aviators' view of a previous show. And if you want to see more about Virgin Galactic's White Knight, check it out online. Can’t get enough of The Aviators? See the season two world premiere party at EAA AirVenture on Tuesday, July 26, at 9 p.m. at the Theater in the Woods.

Stay healthy, stay flying

Learn how to navigate the world of aviation medicals—and get yours faster—with seminars and educational sessions at AOPA Aviation Summit Sept. 22 through 24 in Hartford, Conn. Was it something you said? Many deferrals are avoidable, so find out “10 Stupid Things Pilots Do to Sabotage Their Aviation Medical” Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. A panel moderated by Dr. Jonathan Sackier and including Federal Air Surgeon Dr. Fred Tilton, astronaut physician Scott Parazynski, NASA Chief Medical Officer Rich Williams, and others will explain how you can prevent an unnecessary deferral. Read more and watch AOPA Live>>


For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

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Safety & Proficiency

Ask ATC: How do I request VFR on top?

Ever wonder what's the best way to request VFR on top when getting an IFR clearance? Like most things with air traffic controllers, it never hurts to ask. Listen to Ask ATC as a controller explains how to request a VFR-on-top clearance, and what it means to you once you receive it. Watch AOPA Live >>

Controllers to give tips at AirVenture

Be sure to tune in to AOPA Live during AirVenture July 29 and 30 at 11 a.m. Central time as the Air Safety Institute interviews controllers from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA). See the presentations in person at the AOPA Live stage in the AOPA tent (Booth 193 through 195).

Have sectional, will travel

Despite advancements in avionics, the ability to read a map is a skill that should never go out of style. One day you may find yourself in a situation without any means to find your way other than a sectional chart and a clean windscreen. How will you fare? Will you be able to discern how much the terrain rises next to your destination airport before you get there? How about whom to call for weather updates over an airport along your route? Test your map-reading skills by taking the VFR Sectional Review safety quiz from the Air Safety Institute, sponsored by the AOPA Insurance Agency. Take the quiz >>

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Convenience: The 5,500ft runway has 4 approaches, pilot controlled lighting, maintenance and FBO. Fly in 24/7.
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Forging a chilling accident chain

Enter the cockpit of a Piper Seneca II on an ill-fated flight from Chicago to Raleigh, N.C., in the Air Safety Institute’s Accident Case Study: Cross-Country Crisis . Using actual ATC audio and dramatic Microsoft Flight Simulator re-creations, Cross-Country Crisis has you ride along with the pilot and his five passengers as marginal VFR conditions give way to IMC, and the Seneca is low on fuel. This gripping video tale examines the pilot's actions, hoping to help others avoid dangerous decision making by sharing lessons learned from this frightening accident.

Hurricane preparedness tips for pilots Answers for Pilots: Hurricanes

We’re right in the middle of the Atlantic hurricane season, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook predicts a 65-percent chance of an above-normal season. For aircraft owners who live on or near the Atlantic coast, the Gulf of Mexico, or the Caribbean, having a hurricane plan for your aircraft is essential. Read more >>

BlogsLeading Edge: Lapsing into the trees …

A few weeks ago a Cessna 182 pilot suffered an engine stoppage after takeoff. Airplanes don't run well without fuel and the fuel selector was set to the “off” position. How could such an event happen? Easy! The aircraft had been in maintenance and the technician personally told the pilot that the selector was off. It was the pilot's personal aircraft and he always left the selector on “both.” In running the checklist by rote, the pilot had a momentary lapse. Read more >>

Aspen Avionics Rebate—Power Your Panel.

Aspen celebrates Air Show season with a $1000 consumer rebate on the versatile and flexible Evolution Flight Display system—the industry’s best value in EFIS technology. Click for details… .

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

July 23 and 24

Newark, N.J.

Pittsburgh, Pa.

August 6 and 7

Atlanta, Ga.

Fort Worth, Texas

August 13 and 14

Long Beach, Calif.

Allentown, Pa.

August 20 and 21

Champaign, Ill.

Reno, Nev.



For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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

July 27

Oshkosh, Wis.


July 28

Oshkosh, Wis.

September 12

Wichita, Kan.

Germantown, Tenn.

Houston, Texas

September 13

Bethany, Okla.

Nashville, Tenn.

San Antonio, Texas


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


FAA braces for shutdown

Congress failed July 21 to agree on a long-term FAA reauthorization measure, raising the specter of multiple program shutdowns and the furlough of up to 4,000 FAA employees as the July 22 expiration of the agency’s operating authority approached. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said the FAA continued to work diligently with Congress to avoid a shutdown—a scenario he described as a tremendous burden that would impose hardship on many FAA employees and their families starting July 23. Read more >>

Proposed advisory circular could limit EFB use in the cockpit Electronic flight bag crusher?

Use an iPad or other electronic flight bag (EFB) in the cockpit to pull up charts or instrument approaches? A proposed advisory circular could limit their use in the cockpit and stunt their growth potential under the Next Generation Air Transportation System. AOPA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) on July 13 voiced their concern about many points in the proposed circular and asked the FAA to go back to the drawing board. Read more >>

Share your thoughts on Aviation Headsets

What's important to you when choosing an aviation headset? Please take a few moments to complete an online survey. Help influence the headset industry. Go to survey

House GA Caucus to leadership: No tax hike on GA aircraft

Twenty-two members of Congress, all members of the House General Aviation Caucus, are urging House leaders to reject a tax proposal that could hinder one of the few manufacturing industries that provide a trade surplus for the United States. As lawmakers continue with debt-ceiling negotiations, the House members urged key players in the negotiations not to sacrifice aircraft depreciation deductions in the tax code, which spur “investment, domestic manufacturing, and economic growth.” Read more >>

Court denies motion for stay on GA privacy issue

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), AOPA, and Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) announced July 21 that, following a court’s decision not to suspend the government’s looming deadline for curtailing the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program, the three associations will move ahead expeditiously toward a full hearing on the matter. Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced its intention to disable the BARR program on Aug. 2. On July 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied a “motion for stay” filed by AOPA and NBAA to halt the DOT’s plan until the matter could be fully reviewed through the appellate process. Read more >>

Van Nuys airport needs independent management Independent management urged for Van Nuys

The Van Nuys, Calif., airport, once the busiest general aviation airport in the world, is not getting the management attention it requires from the embattled Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) organization, AOPA said. The association is urging the Los Angeles City Council to fully explore creating an independent board of airport commissioners for Van Nuys. Of the three airports owned and operated by LAWA, Van Nuys is the only exclusively GA facility, and has gotten “lost in the noise” of controversies about LAWA, AOPA wrote. Read more >>

garmin presents aviation innovators at oshkosh

Visit the Garmin Seminar Tent at this year’s AirVenture to hear from aviation's modern pioneers, including the legendary Burt Rutan. You’ll also find seminars and hands-on demonstrations of our latest glass cockpits, aviation portables and more—including the GTN touchscreen navigator. Learn more.

Icing: Educate, don’t regulate

After investigating twin-engine Cessna accidents and incidents attributed to icing, the FAA is proposing to address the safety issue with an airworthiness directive (AD), but AOPA says an educational campaign could be more effective. The proposed AD, targeting Cessna 310, 320, 340, 401, 402, 411, 414, and 421 twins, would require a 15-knot increase in approach speed in the case of inadvertent flight into icing conditions and two new placards in the cockpit: one stating that flight into known icing conditions is prohibited and another stating the increase in approach speed. Read more >>

Calif. avgas lawsuit to await federal court ruling

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) announced that producers, distributors, and sellers of leaded avgas targeted for legal action in California will not face state-level lawsuits before their request for an injunction is heard in federal court in October. NATA said July 19 that following the filing of a counter claim by the aviation businesses—arguing that federal action to remove lead from avgas pre-empts a state-level lawsuit—the Center for Environmental Health agreed to wait until Oct. 28 before pursuing its threatened lawsuit. Read more >>

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

Member Benefits

Add ‘shopping’ to your AirVenture list

Oshkosh bound? Put a visit to AOPA’s white tent on your must-do list. Check out the AOPA merchandise available at AOPA’s tent at EAA AirVenture, located west of Hangar C. You’ve seen the AOPA products online and in the pages of AOPA Pilot—now you can see them in person. Read more >>

Apply for AOPA World MasterCard credit card

If you think of the AOPA World MasterCard as the official credit card for AOPA members, you’re right—but there’s more. Of course, your use of this card benefits AOPA and helps fund AOPA’s ongoing efforts to protect your right to fly. But any way you look at it, the AOPA World MasterCard is a great card to use. First, there is no annual fee. There’s also a low introductory APR. Read more >>

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.

Learning Pavilion offers interactive sessions at Summit

AOPA Learning Pavilion to debut at AOPA Aviation Summit Those attending AOPA Aviation Summit this year are in for an exciting new addition to the exhibit hall floor, the AOPA Learning Pavilion. Attendees can choose from a variety of fast-paced 30-minute interactive educational sessions such as Aviation Pet Peeves, Q&A with Northeast ATC, Getting ATC's Help to Avoid Hazardous Weather, Essential Radio Communication, Women in Aviation History, Your Airport Community—How to Promote and Protect Your Airport and Your Freedom to Fly, and many more. Read more >>

Freqs, diagrams at your fingertips

Members can quickly call up information about airports—frequencies, pattern altitude, diagrams, and more—on their Apple iPhone and iPod touch using the AOPA Airports application powered by ForeFlight. You can save your favorite airports for quick reference, and any airport you view is automatically added to your “Recents” list for easy recall. The app is free to AOPA members. Download it today >>

AOPA Insurance Agency offers the right coverage at the right price

We work with A-rated underwriters and offer the most coverage options to fit your needs for the aircraft you own or rent. Call 800-622-AOPA or go online for a free quote.

AOPA 2011 Crossover Classic Sweepstakes

New seat rails: Vital, but …

The infamous Cessna “seat-slip” accidents of the 1970s and early 1980s prompted a recurring airworthiness directive to inspect the seat rails for wear. If the holes in those rails were elongated from wear, then disaster could strike. The seat’s locking pins could slide out of the holes. This could produce fatal consequences on takeoff, when seats slid back as the airplane entered a climb attitude. The Crossover Classic was given new seat rails, thanks to McFarlane Aviation Products of Baldwin City, Kan. Read more >>

The FAA medical certification process can be a minefield for the unprepared—Don’t go it alone

The AOPA Medical Services Program can provide you with personalized, in-depth assistance from experts who understand pilots, paperwork, and the FAA. Plus, receive access to important tools that can help keep you flying. Enroll 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.


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

Forums: Resurrecting a really dead battery

What’s wrong with this member’s battery? “My trickle charger died and I was on business for about three weeks and the battery died. When I tried to start the plane nothing happened. The FBO tried to jump start it and still nothing.” Swing by the AOPA Forums and give it a charge with your opinion. Read more >>


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Rally GA

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.

My MembershipMy Membership


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 recently passed my private pilot airplane single-engine land checkride, and my new plastic certificate just arrived. The FAA seal in the upper right corner is blue, but I’ve seen other certificates with a black logo. Can you explain the significance of the blue seal?


Answer: Congratulations on passing your checkride! The FAA issues airplane pilot certificates with blue seals to applicants who have demonstrated a level of competence regarding flight with reference to instruments. Airplane pilot certificates that were issued since 1961 should bear a blue FAA seal for private, commercial, and air transport pilots who have demonstrated instrument proficiency, including during an initial private pilot checkride. Earlier private pilot-airplane regulations did not require instrument training or proficiency, and therefore those certificates have a black seal. For historical information regarding the blue seal, check out the article “Checkride: Flight Exams Past.” More details are available in the FAA Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS), Part 61 Certification Information, under section 5-320 “Blue Seal” Pilot Certificates.


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 email to [email protected].

Rally GA Get to know your elected officials. Elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels are key decision makers on issues that affect your airport and your ability to fly. It is vitally important that our leaders at every level of government are aware of the importance of general aviation to our economy and quality of life. Learn more about who represents you, and help them know more about GA.

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

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Ian J. Twombly
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