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Tom Apel came home from work one day last week to find a package sitting on the porch. It was the new windsock he had ordered the week before. Now he is busy making plans to build an airport around it. The package arrived May 25—one day after a monster tornado and several other powerful twisters touched down in central Oklahoma. The big one that struck in the vicinity of Edmond destroyed his older brother’s home, as well as three horses, six airplanes, two hangars, and an equipment barn on the family’s property in Cashion. Ten days later, one of the airplanes was still missing, except for some parts. Read more >>
GE Aviation executive Scott A. Ernest has been appointed president and CEO of Cessna Aircraft, parent company Textron announced May 31. A 29-year veteran of GE, Ernest most recently served as vice president and general manager, supply chain, for GE Aviation, and has served in a variety of general manager roles for the company, Textron said. His appointment is effective immediately. Textron Chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly had temporarily taken the reins since Cessna’s former president, chairman, and CEO Jack Pelton’s sudden retirement May 2. Read more >>
Wing walker Amanda Franklin dies
Airshow performer Amanda Franklin died late May 27. Doctors at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio had been treating her extensive burns, injuries, and ensuing infections since a March 12 crash landing and engine fire during a show routine. Amanda and husband Kyle Franklin were performing a wing-walking routine at Air Fiesta 2011 at Brownsville-South Padre International Airport when the engine of their Waco biplane lost power. Amanda climbed into the forward cockpit seat before the forced landing but was badly burned in a post-impact fire. Read more >>
When a year starts with heavy snows, and then moves on to a spring of killer tornadoes and historic flooding, it takes fortitude—with hurricane season coming—to ask what’s next. For those who dare inquire, Weather Services International of Andover, Mass., offers an answer. In a statement issued May 25, WSI forecast an “active-normal” hurricane season, with the Gulf Coast “under the greatest threat” from the storms making landfall. WSI predicted 15 named storms, eight hurricanes, and four intense hurricanes. Read more >>
AOPA media properties honored
AOPA was recognized June 1 during the Association Media and Publishing Thirty-first Annual EXCEL Awards Gala in Washington, D.C., for excellence in its media offerings. The association received six EXCEL Awards for published work in 2010. More than 1,100 entries were entered, representing 99 associations and nonprofit organization; judges granted 196 awards in Gold, Silver, and Bronze. AOPA was recognized for print and electronic publications, as well as a mixed media campaign and media kit. Read more >>
SIUC takes NIFA championship
The flight team at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) took home top honors at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s national Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (Safecon) in May. The Flying Salukis beat out the University of North Dakota by nine points. Rounding out the top five colleges were Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott, Western Michigan University, and Ohio State University, which hosted the event.
AOPA has launched a new program that helps pilots cut the total cost of ownership by 50 percent or more. 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. You can create a free, confidential “Partner Profile” that provides essential information about the aircraft you want, your budget, location, and more to help determine your compatibility with potential co-owners. Read more >>
States challenge pilots to fly, win prizes
If longer days and warmer weather weren’t incentive enough to get pilots in the air this summer, some states are offering prizes to pilots who fly to airports in the state. Participating pilots who fly for at least three hours and visit at least three airports in Georgia this July will be entered to win a multiengine rating and other prizes in the Georgia Air Challenge. Those who visit the most of 35 participating airports in a Kentucky challenge in June through July will be eligible for an iPad and other prizes. Read more >>
FAA issues AD on DA42 landing gear
The FAA has issued an airworthiness directive (AD) on Diamond Aircraft Model DA42 twin-engine airplanes, requiring replacement of aluminum main landing gear joints with steel joints. The AD supersedes a previous directive that called for inspection of the main landing gear joints for cracking. The FAA said that cracks had reportedly been found during standard maintenance on main landing gear damper-to-trailing arm joints. Read more >>
Reporting Points: G650 test flights resume
Gulfstream Aerospace has resumed testing of its new G650 flagship after the April 2 crash of a test aircraft that took the lives of the pilots and engineers aboard. Read more >>
Re-registration deadline looms for April certificates
Aircraft that were registered in the month of April of any year must be re-registered before the end of June. Re-registration applications for this group of aircraft will have to be submitted to the FAA by mail because the online registration window has already closed. AOPA encourages these owners to mail the re-registration application as soon as possible so that they receive their new registration certificate before the end of the month. The aircraft will not be legal to fly after June 30 until the new certificate arrives. Read more >>
Reservations are required and only two entrées are on the menu at the Cowboy Dinner Tree Restaurant, surrounded by sagebrush and sparse pine trees on the remote desert plains of central Oregon. The décor of this ranch house is early rustic cowboy, complete with horse blankets that serve as window treatments. You dine at tables made from huge logs, set with tableware that’s an assortment of plastic and tin. A generator powers the lights, and propane fires the grills. Learn tips for flying there in this selection from Pilot Getaways magazine, available for a limited time on AOPA Online. Check out more Pilot Getaways destinations and exclusive member discount pricing in this special offer.
Girls with Wings, a nonprofit organization aimed at introducing young girls to aviation, recently held an Aviation Appreciation Day at South St. Paul Municipal-Richard E. Fleming Field in Minnesota. The May 28 event included tours of the Commemorative Air Force museum and a static display, and drew more than 250 attendees. Four sessions of up to 30 girls learned how to become a pilot, and the sessions were capped by introductory flights for the participants. Girls with Wings founder Lynda Meeks said the organization will look for opportunities to sponsor this type of event at other locations.
Reporting Points: ‘Piston pack’ reaches 5,000 feet
The Martin Jetpack, really a piston-engine pack powered by a derivative of a Mercury motorboat engine, has reached 5,000 feet above New Zealand with a mannequin simulating the pilot. Read more >>
Many a pilot has earned his or her wings in a Cessna trainer. “We like to say that we taught the world to fly,” said Cessna’s Angela Baldwin in this week’s selection from The Aviators. The prolific general aviation aircraft manufacturer made its name in single-engine monoplanes but now has a product line ranging from trainers to business jets—and jets like the Citation Mustang are “not your grandaddy’s Cessna,” The Aviators’ Anthony Nalli said. Watch AOPA Live® >>
‘Individuals can make a difference’
With more than 120 lawmakers on Capitol Hill joining the House and Senate General Aviation Caucuses, pilots are making their interests known. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), an AOPA member and pilot, told AOPA President Craig Fuller that “The General Aviation Caucus is so important to continue to fight for the issues that AOPA has been involved in fighting all along.” In this AOPA Live interview, Broun and Fuller also discussed another way pilots can strengthen their voice in Congress—supporting AOPA’s Political Action Committee. By getting engaged in the PAC, helping like-minded legislators get elected or re-elected, and talking to senators and representatives about GA, “individuals can make a real difference,” Fuller said. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
All available information: Cessna flies into storm line
The requirement that each pilot in command “become familiar with all available information concerning that flight” may seem like a standing excuse to punish pilots when anything at all goes wrong, but it makes some sense when what you don’t know can hurt you. On June 18, 2009, a Cessna R182 crashed into a cotton field near Dougherty, Texas, killing both on board. The National Weather Service had issued an advisory for a line of thunderstorms over the area, “with the threat of strong locally damaging winds,” the NTSB reported. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
Be they common air mass thunderstorms or fearsome supercells, all thunderstorms rely on three basic elements—a lifting force, unstable air, and moisture—and all can cause serious trouble for an aircraft in flight. Weather is sometimes unpredictable, but forecast tools can help you anticipate the likelihood of encountering a thunderstorm. Check out AOPA’s subject report for advice on minimizing your chances of inadvertently flying into thunderstorms, and using en route storm avoidance techniques and technology.
Seemingly benign electrical malfunctions can blossom into full-blown problems, so you’d better be familiar with your aircraft’s system when a circuit breaker pops. If it has been a while, why not get reacquainted with the airplane’s manual and inspect the intricate schematics of electrical switches and circuit breakers? Get started with the Air Safety Institute’s Electrical Systems Safety Spotlight to find out what might happen if you reset a popped circuit breaker and learn more about recognizing and troubleshooting electrical malfunctions.
Technology makes our lives easier in the long term. But in the short term, it can create more problems than it solves. Using a GPS for instrument flight is no exception, and knowing where to start figuring out what each button does and why you need to push it can be daunting. Learn the basics of how GPS for IFR works before you head into the clouds with the GPS for IFR Operations online course from the Air Safety Institute. Take the course >>
Air Safety eJournal: WAAS up
A friend told AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg that he knew of someone who had received a violation for not having a current VOR check for IFR operations, as required by FAR 91.171. Now suppose that the aircraft in question is equipped with a WAAS-approved GPS unit; WAAS units are approved for sole-source IFR navigation. It might be time to update this rule. Is the guidance to FAA inspectors keeping pace with technology? Read more >>
A special advisory committee will issue a report that validates the aviation community’s concerns about threats to GPS by a proposed broadband communications network. The committee, part of the not-for-profit organization RTCA that serves as a federal advisory panel on navigation and air-traffic management policy, issued a summary of its report May 26 stating its conclusion that elements of LightSquared’s cellular network proposal are “incompatible” with aviation because of potential GPS signal interference. Read more >>
General aviation aircraft operators will no longer be able to block their N number and associated flight information when flying IFR unless they can prove a “valid security concern,” Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced May 27. “This initiative is wholly inappropriate. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's decision dismantles the fundamental privacy rights of aircraft operators—a level of privacy afforded to users of every other form of transportation,” AOPA President Craig Fuller said. Read more >>
Santa Monica drops legal battle to ban jets
Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom and the city council announced that the city would not appeal a federal court ruling upholding the FAA’s decision to allow Category C and D jets to operate at Santa Monica Municipal Airport. AOPA President Craig Fuller applauded the move, writing to the mayor, “This decision will allow the city of Santa Monica, the FAA, and other stakeholders to return to a meaningful discussion of how best to ensure safe operations at the airport.” Read more >>
With two bills that would make it a crime to shine a laser pointer into an aircraft cockpit pending in Congress, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt have announced new civil penalties for the dangerous activity. “Our top priority is protecting the safety of the traveling public. We will not hesitate to take tough action against anyone who threatens the safety of our passengers, pilots and air transportation system,” LaHood said in a statement released June 1. Read more >>
Threatened suit over avgas ignores current efforts
A threatened lawsuit by the environmental group Friends of the Earth against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would pit the as-yet unquantified hazards of lead from avgas against the known safety risk to pilots and passengers of removing lead used in piston-powered aircraft fuel. The threatened suit, alleging inaction on the part of the agency, would ignore extensive work under way or done by the EPA, FAA, and general aviation and fuels industries. Read more >>
A lawsuit brought by two Texas cities to change the path of a proposed high-voltage power line could result in flight hazards near the Kimble County Airport in Junction, Texas, say area pilots. AOPA, responding to the pilots’ concerns, has registered strong opposition to the action by Junction and Kerrville, Texas, to throw out the recommended route and reposition it on higher ground north of the airport. Read more >>
Members receive rewards by renting with Avis
AOPA members who rent with Avis twice for two consecutive days on each rental before Dec. 31 can receive a complimentary rental reward day. Within two weeks of completing two qualifying rentals, receive a certificate via email to be used on a weekday, weekly, weekend, or monthly rental. Visit the website to enroll. Read more >>
Medical certification: Know what records to provide
Following medical treatment, especially involving hospitalization and surgery, the FAA often requests copies of pertinent medical records for review. Knowing ahead of time what the FAA will want can help you speed the medical certification process by reducing the back and forth that can leave a pilot’s application in limbo. Find out which records you’ll need to provide, how to obtain them, and the best way to present them in AOPA’s subject report.
Whether it’s simply refreshing one’s skills or learning a potentially life-saving maneuver, becoming a better, more informed pilot is critical to flying. Attending seminars is one important way to help keep your skills sharp. For that reason AOPA has developed more than 60 hours of educational seminars, all available under one roof at AOPA Aviation Summit, Sept. 22 through 24 in Hartford, Conn. View the full seminar schedule and register today.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an application support engineer and applications engineer. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.