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Four low-and-slow taildraggers lined up to depart Runway 23 at Maryland’s Frederick Municipal Airport. Led by a 1929 Fleet Model 2 biplane, the procession was an unusual sight for Washington, D.C.’s highly restricted airspace as it made its way to Washington Dulles International Airport. The aircraft—the Fleet, a 1930 Waco RNF, a Citabria, and a Cessna 120—were more at home at eastern Pennsylvania grass strips, but they were on a very important mission: to deliver the Fleet to its new home at the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. It was the Fleet’s last flight. The Model 2, Serial No. 75, left the factory in 1929 and spent more than a decade at Roosevelt Aviation School on Long Island’s Roosevelt Field. The aircraft sat in pieces for decades before Gene Breiner hauled the fuselage from its hangar, collected boxes of parts from garages around eastern Pennsylvania, and picked up the wings from a barn in 1978. Read more and watch AOPA Live® >>
Two new $5,000 AOPA scholarships will help two student pilots pursue a sport, recreational, or private pilot certificate. The association announced the AOPA Flight Training Scholarship and the Erral Lea Plymate Memorial Scholarship on June 17. Applications for the scholarships are being accepted online. The deadline for application is Aug. 19. The scholarship winners will be announced at AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford, Conn., Sept. 22 through 24. Read more >>
Harris-Moore pleads guilty to stealing aircraft
Colton Harris-Moore, commonly known as the “Barefoot Bandit,” pleaded guilty June 17 to seven felony charges, including “two counts of interstate transportation of a stolen aircraft” and “piloting an aircraft without a valid airman’s certificate,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington. Harris-Moore was captured July 11, 2010, after the Cessna 400 Corvalis TT he now admits to stealing in Indiana ran out of fuel in the Bahamas. It marked the end of a multi-year crime spree that included theft of cars, boats, and aircraft. Read more >>
Commander Premier Aircraft files Chapter 11
Commander Premier Aircraft, located at Missouri’s Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and is facing an eviction notice from city officials. The bid winner for the company could not find financing from European banks to close the deal. Despite the eviction notice, Commander Premier Aircraft President Greg Walker said he hopes a new buyer can be found before the eviction is enforced. Read more >>
SJ30 jet to continue
After months of silence from the new owner of the SJ30 jet type certificate, manufactured in the past by Sino Swearingen and Emivest, Metalcraft Technologies says the company will continue under the name SyberJet. While one of the former Emivest buildings in San Antonio was transferred to a company not involved in aircraft manufacturing, a second building remains. SyberJet has moved the Martinsburg, W.Va., assembly line to its facilities in Cedar City, Utah, and is continuing operations in the remaining San Antonio building. Read more >>
Garmin, Jeppesen team to bundle database choices
Garmin and Jeppesen are offering a new bundle pricing program for databases on selected Garmin panel-mounted avionics. Olathe, Kan.-based Garmin said the program, called PilotPak, “provides a more affordable single aircraft pricing structure and simplifies the database purchase process by offering a one-stop shop experience.” For one annual price, Garmin said, PilotPak provides all the databases within the selected package to be used with any avionics combination of GTN, G600, G500, G500H, and G3X installed in one aircraft. Read more >>
New product aims to keep students, instructors safe
Wi-Flight is one of those products that you’ve never thought about buying before, but now that it’s available, it might be hard to pass up. Marketed exclusively to flight school owners, Wi-Flight combines a complete fleet tracking solution with an inexpensive and effective debrief tool for students and instructors. The system comprises a small cell-phone-like device that mounts to the glareshield, an outdoor Wi-Fi access point, and a website. The unit is placed in the airplane. When the master switch turns on, it begins logging data, and stops only when the airplane stops moving. Read more >>
What would you rather do on your lunch hour—run errands and cram a sandwich, or get in some solid instrument work? If you live in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area, your options have expanded. A local CFII will bring a complete simulator setup to you. The Sim-Mobile features an Elite PI-135 basic aviation training device with yoke, rudders, and two monitors. The hardware is transported in a minivan—hence the “Mobile” part of the name. Read more >>
Taxi green in 2016
Airliners might taxi to and from their gates using electric motors powered by the auxiliary power unit—essentially a small jet engine with a generator—in the tail of the aircraft. It could save airlines 4 percent of yearly fuel costs, a statement from Honeywell and French aerospace firm Safran said. The two companies have joined to offer the systems for new aircraft, and retrofitted for older aircraft, starting in 2016. Read more >>
Whether it’s been a few months, a few years, or a few decades since you last flew, now is the time to get back into flying. Long summer days provide ample training time, and a new program called “Welcome Back, Pilots” offers a Web page with special discounts to help ease the cost. The page includes offers for discounts on certain flight hours at a Cessna Pilot Center, a Sporty’s VFR refresher kit and camp for pilots, a J.A. Air Center flight review, and a Piper training deal. Read more >>
Former FAA administrator honored for aviation leadership
President and CEO of Aerospace Industries Association Marion Blakey will receive the National Aeronautic Association’s 2011 Cliff Henderson Trophy because her “leadership or skill made a significant and lasting contribution to the promotion and advancement of aviation and aerospace in the United States.” Blakey has served as National Transportation Safety Board chairman and FAA administrator. She was only the second female FAA administrator, Jane Garvey being the first to hold that spot. The award, named after the creator and managing director of the National Air Races from 1928 to 1939, will be presented on July 13.
Reporting Points: EAA electric airplane challenge delayed
A $60,000 electric airplane challenge originally planned for this year during EAA AirVenture has been delayed until AirVenture 2012. Most of the airplanes had not completed the required 40 hours of testing. Read more >>
Advancements in medical technology may seem unrelated to aircraft engine maintenance. But miniature cameras made for viewing the inside of human bodies also make fantastic diagnostic tools for hard-to-reach areas in engines and airframes. Adrian Eichhorn, a pilot and mechanic in Alexandria, Va., has pioneered the use of oral and surgical endoscopes during the past three years, and the medical devices have become a standard part of annual and prepurchase inspections he performs on Bonanzas and Barons. Peek inside a No. 5 cylinder on a Continental IO-470. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
Biggest little airshow
Aerobatics stars and hot rod airplanes descended on a small Canadian town in 2010 for the first-ever Quesnel, British Columbia, SkyFest. This week’s installment of The Aviators takes you to the show to meet the pilots and watch the routines. Watch AOPA Live >>
If you’re an aircraft owner, by now you probably know that sometime within the next three years, you will have to re-register your aircraft. But, do you know where, how, and when? This AOPA Live video takes the mystery out of the process to help you complete the paperwork on your own, and it also explains the AIC Title Service in case you want someone to do it for you. For those whose aircraft were registered in April of any year, you are almost out of time to re-register, so this video is a must-see. If it was registered in May, you can get started on the process now to ensure there are no glitches at the end. Watch AOPA Live >>
Lightspeed Aviation Foundation recognizes GA organizations
There are a lot of organizations doing good with and for general aviation. AOPA Live is proud to partner with the Lightspeed Aviation Foundation to showcase a few of these charitable organizations. This week we profile EAA Chapter 44 in Rochester, N.Y.; the Recreational Aviation Foundation; the Civil Air Patrol; Youth Aviation Adventure; and Wings of Hope. Remember that you can vote to help the foundation choose which of these deserving charities will receive grants to be awarded at AOPA Aviation Summit Sept. 22 through 24 in Hartford, Conn.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
AOPA is urging pilots to become familiar with changes to the notice to airman (notam) system that will go into effect June 30. The changes come as the FAA transitions to a notam system “that is more compliant with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization to enable more global consistency in notams,” the FAA said in a notice of the scheduled format changes. Some notam language will change, “and should result in easier to read and understand notams” when the revisions become effective, the FAA said. Read more >>
Are you a good communicator?
Good radio communication skills are one of those essential items in your pilot's toolkit, especially in today's airspace. They reduce your stress level and give you confidence behind the yoke, and knowing how to speak on the radio is equally important as what you say. Test your knowledge of radio communication with this safety quiz from the Air Safety Institute.
Summer menace: Density altitude
Summer has arrived, and with it, the performance-robbing effects of density altitude. If you’re flying out of or into a high-density-altitude airport, you may need to reduce your gross weight by flying with less than full fuel or even ferrying one passenger at a time to a lower-density-altitude airport. Find out how to calculate your density altitude and learn more tips for flying when it’s hot and humid in AOPA’s subject report.
“Sky signs” don’t guide us through airspace. Yet it is our responsibility to understand and apply the rules that govern the sky. The Air Safety Institute’s Know Before You Go: Navigating Today’s Airspace interactive online course covers the basics, including chart interpretation and understanding temporary flight restrictions or special flight rule areas. After a quick review, you’ll be armed with important navigation knowledge before takeoff. The course qualifies for AOPA Accident Forgiveness and the FAA Wings program. For more airspace information, sit down with the Air Safety Institute’s Airspace for Everyone Safety Advisor.
Air Safety eJournal: Just what is this Foundation?
When an organization asks for financial support (a polite term for money) potential donors sometimes ask some tough questions. Normally in the Air Safety eJournal blog, AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg discusses safety and the other challenges that face GA, but this week he asks your forbearance to explain why the AOPA Foundation was created and what it does. Many of you understand and donate—others may wonder. Read more >>
Hover Power: Confined-area operations
The very nature of helicopters, especially in EMS operations, requires maneuvering in close proximity to objects. Large solid objects like walls and fences can create very turbulent air by interfering with a normal rotor downwash pattern. For a helicopter that is heavy and operating at a high density altitude, insufficient power available could cause a hard landing. However, a bigger danger is actually striking the object with the rotor system. Read more >>
AOPA President Craig Fuller on June 23 likened a proposed nationwide wireless broadband network to a “toxic drug” that needs to be recalled. Testifying at a joint hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s subcommittees on aviation and Coast Guard and maritime transportation, Fuller noted the innovation and nimble nature of the network’s developer, LightSquared, but said, “My biggest beef is with the agency that controls the policy,” suggesting that the Federal Communications Commission had failed in its responsibility to “do no harm” and protect a vital national resource—GPS. Read more >>
AOPA Now: LightSquared plan toxic to GPS
We’ve all heard about “toxic drugs”—medications that are brought to market, only to have the FDA discover that they have dangerous side effects. When that happens, the FDA recalls the drugs to protect the public. AOPA President Craig Fuller discusses a different kind of toxicity—a plan that would cripple the GPS system that is a foundation for our national transportation network. Read more >>
GA groups take privacy fight to court
Leading organizations representing general aviation operators moved ahead June 22 with a court challenge to the Department of Transportation’s decision to dismantle the Block Aircraft Registration Request program, and announced a fund to support the legal fight. On behalf of GA operators, a formal notice of appeal has been filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; that notice will be followed by a motion to prevent the DOT from making any changes in current practice pending the court’s consideration of the appeal. Read more >>
Security report misguided, AOPA says
The Government Accountability Office’s recently released report, “General Aviation Security Assessments at Selected Airports,” fails to accurately assess GA security measures, neglects to acknowledge security procedures already in place, and lacks justification for its misguided, broad-brush conclusions, AOPA says. The report was requested in early 2010 by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to study the “security risks posed by unauthorized individuals gaining access to airports with general aviation operations.” Read more >>
FAA thinks outside box with Seattle Class B design
The FAA is seeking comments on a proposal to amend the boundaries of the Class B airspace centered on Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington state. The amended plan contains a proposal AOPA supported: using varying ceiling heights in the airspace, something the FAA has not done in the past. The plan also makes concessions to concerns expressed by the association and others about elements of earlier designs. Read more >>
The House has passed a Fiscal Year 2012 agriculture appropriations bill with language expressing displeasure with the Federal Communications Commission’s handling of the LightSquared mobile-network application, which it said threatens to “disrupt” the use of GPS. In language inserted in the bill in committee to register concerns about the LightSquared network, the House directs the USDA “to ensure the FCC is aware of these concerns and to work with other Federal agencies, such as the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation, to address them.” Read more >>
Bill would reform aviation funding in Michigan
AOPA is supporting a Michigan bill that would strengthen the state’s aviation industry by dedicating aviation-derived fuel tax revenue to a fund for reinvestment in the statewide aviation system. House Bill 4025 would change the current system whereby aviation-derived tax revenues go directly to the state’s general fund, providing little benefit to the aviation system. It would ensure not only that aviation fuel tax revenue is reinvested in aviation infrastructure, but also that the future of the overall aviation system remains healthy. Read more >>
The Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on its updated aeronautics regulations, having revised the document to incorporate changes recommended by AOPA last fall. AOPA expressed appreciation for RIAC’s response to the association’s previous comments on the proposed rules, but also notified RIAC that several areas of proposed regulations of manned hot air balloon flights overstep the airport corporation’s authority. Read more >>
AD sought on Piper PA-24 stabilator horn assemblies
The FAA has proposed an airworthiness directive (AD) on Piper PA-24 airplanes in response to reports of cracks developing in the stabilator horn assembly. The AD covers Piper PA-24, PA-24-250, and PA-24-260 aircraft and would correct a condition which the FAA said could result in loss of pitch control during flight. Compliance involves two options. Read more >>
Airport defenders, promoters to give tips, techniques
You can protect your airport by promoting it in your community—just ask Jamie Beckett of Winter Haven, Fla., and Jolie Lucas and Mitch Latting of Oceano, Calif. These general aviation airport advocates will join AOPA Manager of Airport Policy John Collins for a Webinar June 29 to discuss tips and techniques to get your community positively engaged at your local airport and ensure the airport’s story is resonating with your friends and neighbors. Register online for 3 p.m. or 9 p.m. Eastern time.
For pilots who require periodic medical certification, the visit to an aviation medical examiner can be one of those life stressors that rank right up there with a root canal. Most sail right through the exam with no problems, but with aging, the chances begin to creep up of having a glitch or two that can spoil the day. The experience can be better or worse depending upon the quality of the encounter with the AME. Read more >>
AOPA member recoups his dues payment
David Strother joined AOPA in 1961 after earning his pilot certificate. When he paid his $45 dues this year, he had no idea that it was going to turn out to be such a savvy investment. Recently he checked into a car rental with Hertz and was told that the entire rental would cost $958. Nothing remarkable about that, until you know that with his AOPA discount, the rental cost dropped to $794. Read more >>
Your favorite airports, a few clicks away
With the AOPA Airports application for Apple iPhone and iPod touch, airport data is only a few clicks away. You can save your favorite airports for quick reference, and any airport you view is automatically added to your “Recents” list for easy recall. Powered by ForeFlight, the app is free to AOPA members as part of the association’s suite of mobile applications. Download it 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.