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The 2010 edition of the Air Safety Institute’s Joseph T. Nall Report, the most comprehensive annual review of general aviation safety, is now available on the Air Safety Institute website. While the news about commercial GA operations was unexpectedly good, significant concerns persist in most types of non-revenue flights. The analysis of 2009 accident data—the last year for which enough investigations have been completed to provide a reasonably complete picture—showed bright spots for noncommercial fixed-wing flight activity as well as areas of concern. Fuel mismanagement caused half as many accidents as it did ten years ago, and the number blamed on bad weather—traditionally one of the deadliest accident categories—dropped 22 percent from the year before. However, the number attributed to mechanical failures jumped 19 percent. Read more >>
Justin B. “Jack” Cox, known by many as editor in chief of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s flagship magazine, Sport Aviation—a position he held from 1972 until 1999—died March 6 in Asheboro, N.C. Cox was born in Seagrove, N.C., in January 1934 and was fascinated by aviation from an early age. After graduating from college, he began a teaching career and flight training, soloing a Piper J-3 Cub in April 1956. Read more >>
Superior reintroduces cylinder line to market
Superior Air Parts has announced that it is reintroducing its line of Millennium Cylinders to the general aviation engine parts market. The first shipments to dealers included cylinders for Lycoming O-235 engines and Teledyne Continental O-200 and IO-550 engines. The company has also added cylinders for other engines to its product family. Read more >>
Last season brought you airshow pilots; floatplane training; “Can a non-pilot land an airliner?”; and a range of aircraft including an L-29 Delfin jet, ultralights, and the Goodyear blimp. Now The Aviators is offering a glimpse of what’s in store for Season Two. Watch the trailer on YouTube or check it out on The Aviators’ website. “Not merely a means of transportation, this is the heart of aviation—the passion, the excitement, and the fascination,” the voiceover says over footage of aircraft, from biplanes to jet fighters.
Young Eagles more likely to become pilots
The Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program is making an impact on the pilot population that is unmatched by any other program, the association announced March 2. Results of a joint EAA/FAA study of the program since its 1992 inception indicate that Young Eagles participants are 5.4 times more likely to earn a pilot certificate, EAA said. Read more >>
AOPA’s Blake named to Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame
AOPA Great Lakes Region Representative Bill Blake has been selected for induction into the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame. Blake, an attorney and former Army aviator with 6,000 hours, has represented AOPA members in Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin since 1999. Previously, he served for seven years as director of the Illinois Division of Aeronautics, when he also was on the National Association of State Aviation Officials board of directors. Read more >>
Little town, big terminal
What sort of airport terminal would you expect a city of 2,000 to have? Olgilvey Field in John Day, Ore., used to have a 1,100-square-foot FBO. Now it has a beautiful new, well-heated and well-air-conditioned facility with a view. Read more >>
2011 GA award winners announced
The General Aviation Awards program has named its 2011 National GA Award winners. The awards are a government- and industry-sponsored program that recognizes flight instructors, maintenance and avionics technicians, and FAA Safety Team representatives. Read more >>
Flying from the U.S. mainland to the Bahamas is easy and rewarding for a general aviation pilot who knows the procedures. That’s where pilot education comes in. To learn how, some 150 pilots made their way on Feb. 19 to Showalter Flying Service at the Orlando (Fla.) Executive Airport for a briefing on the ins and outs of making the international, overwater flight to the Bahamas from Florida. Several hundred people attended the event. Read more >>
What’s the best hardware for recording and sharing your in-flight adventures? AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman and staff photographer Chris Rose tested out three low-cost, high-definition video cameras. See the view from the cockpit as Hirschman put each of them to the test flying aerobatics and formation flights in his Van’s RV-3. How did the cameras fare when mounted outside of the cockpit in foul weather? Can any of them get rid of propeller distortion? Find out on AOPA Live® >>
The FAA is seeking comments on a proposal that would limit participation in a program that allows aircraft operators to restrict public access to real-time tracking of their flights. The proposal would only allow owners and operators deemed to have a “Valid Security Concern” to block access to this information. “It’s dangerous, it’s invasive, and it’s anticompetitive,” National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen told AOPA Live. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
Expanded aircraft-tracking plan hit as security risk
Would you release E-ZPass data so that the public could track individuals’ and companies’ movements by car? A Department of Transportation plan to curtail participation in the Block Aircraft Registration Request program would invade privacy, undermine security, and threaten business competitiveness, a group of business organizations told the FAA. Read more >>
AOPA Now: A solution in search of a problem…
You should always be concerned about new federal regulations that reach your desk on a Friday afternoon, writes AOPA President Craig Fuller. The proposal to remove a privacy provision for flights by private aircraft left him at a loss about how to respond. Then, he imagined the kind of discussion that might have occurred between the Department of Transportation and the Office of Management and Budget. Could it have happened like this? Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Helicopter market slow to recover, but here it comes
The helicopter market may not have recovered as quickly as the industry would have liked, but now customer demand and the availability of financing has created a favorable outlook for civil rotorcraft. The demand for military rotorcraft continues with emphasis on hot temperatures and high-altitude performance, said Patricia O’Connell of Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce forecasters say that over the 10-year period beginning this year, total helicopter deliveries are predicted to be more than 16,900 units. Read more >>
Robinson Helicopter sales recovering
Robinson Helicopter President Kurt Robinson and his father, company founder Frank Robinson, think the worst is behind them as far as the economy is concerned. After the company delivered only 162 rotorcraft in 2010, there is now a backlog of 169 new orders. Read more >>
Technology breakthroughs in the helicopter industry can be huge because they change the history of rotor flight, or because they refer to really big flying machines. In the case of Sikorsky, both uses of the word apply. A small technology demonstrator, a twin-rotor helicopter that can be ramped up in size, sped through 250 knots last year. An unmanned helicopter has flown in formation with a piloted craft. And the new CH-53K monster cargo helicopter carries 27,000 pounds of payload. Read more >>
Civilian gunship shown at helicopter convention
Want your helicopter armed? Bell Helicopter is developing an armed commercial helicopter based on its 407 model. It is marketed to a wide range of law enforcement and paramilitary missions worldwide. The 407AH (attack helicopter) can be customized for multiple weapon systems. Read more >>
So you have avionics with all the whistles and bells, and you are the envy of your fellow pilots. Your system has wide area augmentation system accuracy, and it has synthetic vision. Hold on a minute, you don’t have all the latest capabilities. Wait until you hear what Garmin’s new audio panel can do. Garmin International developed the G1000H (H for helicopter) glass cockpit for the Bell Helicopter 407GX, and in the process, came up with new features. Read more >>
MD Helicopters close to big contract
MD Helicopters of Mesa, Ariz., is in the final stages of negotiating a contract with The Boeing Company to collaborate on the production of the Boeing AH-6i light attack and reconnaissance helicopter. Read more >>
AOPA Now: Helicopter heaven
AOPA President Craig Fuller had the chance to spend some time at what can only be described as “helicopter heaven”: the Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo 2011 show in Orlando, Fla. He’s not a helicopter pilot—yet. But it is definitely on his bucket list. Read more >>
Safety & Proficiency
When it comes to spring weather, the only constant is change. No other season has such dramatic meteorological mood swings, and that fickle weather can sometimes make for “interesting” flights—especially if you haven’t stayed sharp over the winter months. With warm weather just around the corner, now is an excellent time to test your knowledge with the Air Safety Institute’s latest safety quiz. Get started >>
Weather for the wise
An official weather briefing is indispensable to good flight planning, but can you read between the lines? Skillful interpretation of weather charts depicting frontal movements and associated weather patterns will make a world of difference in effective decision making. Get a clear picture with the Air Safety Institute’s Weather Wise: Air Masses and Fronts online course. Interactive scenes and visual cues explain what to expect. Tackle the subject before your next flight, and complete the course to qualify for AOPA Accident Forgiveness and the FAA Wings program. Take the course >>
Every pilot loves a tailwind! But, strong crosswinds on landing are another story. Wind is a factor in a large percentage of takeoff and landing accidents, so be constantly vigilant of its direction and speed in relation to the runway. The AOPA Pilot Information Center Windy Flight Operations subject report provides helpful information on dealing with the effects of wind in all phases of flight. For more information about those critical takeoffs and landings, check out the Air Safety Institute Safety Advisor.
Daylight-saving time returns
Daylight-saving time returns Sunday, March 13, so remember to set your clocks forward this weekend. And when it comes time to file a flight plan, don’t forget that the conversion between Zulu and your local time will change. Enjoy! Longer spring days mean more daylight hours for flying, so dust off your skills with an after-work proficiency flight.
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: JJ's excellent adventure
Does anyone else think the notam system is a mess? One of the Air Safety Institute’s senior staff members planned a short VFR hop from Frederick, Md., to Ocean City, N.J. It’s about 130 nautical miles as the buzzard flies, but there were—get this—73 pages of notams. And there was one sleeper buried in those pages that was very important. Read more >>
AOPA to serve as member of FAA’s unleaded avgas committee
The FAA has named the organizations that will have seats on its unleaded avgas transition aviation rulemaking committee (ARC). The ARC is tasked to investigate the current issues relating to the transition to an unleaded fuel, and recommend the tasks necessary to investigate and resolve these issues. AOPA and four other members of the General Aviation Avgas Coalition will serve on the ARC. Read more >>
GPS users in a variety of industries joined together March 10 to speak out against a waiver that many think could disrupt GPS signals, with far-reaching consequences. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted mobile-satellite services operator LightSquared a waiver allowing it to repurpose the satellite spectrum immediately neighboring that of GPS. Given pilots’ widespread use of GPS, AOPA petitioned the FCC to reverse the authorization until LightSquared can prove it will not interfere with signals. Now the association has joined with a wide range of users in the Coalition to Save Our GPS. Read more >>
The Kansas House of Representatives has passed a liability protection bill that could greatly increase access to private airstrips in the state. House Bill 2184 would extend protection that now insulates landowners from liability in connection with such activities as hunting, fishing, and camping on their property to noncommercial aviation. It passed the House 118-3. AOPA is working with lawmakers to advocate for the bill, which was referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee. Read more >>
Safety management proposal foreshadows problems for GA
A proposal initially intended for airlines could unleash a host of new, ill-defined requirements for general aviation—requirements that neither the FAA nor the industry has the resources to implement, AOPA told the agency March 7. In late 2010, the FAA proposed requiring Part 121 airlines “to develop and implement a safety management system (SMS) to improve its aviation related activities.” The agency said that it intended to extend the requirement to other air agency certificate holders, including charters, flight schools, and repair stations. Read more >>
Ariz. tethered balloon proposal is dropped
A defense company has withdrawn its request to fly a tractor-trailer-sized tethered balloon in airspace near Camp Verde, Ariz., said the FAA. STARA Technologies sought approval to set up the helium-filled balloon 2,500 feet above ground level in airspace close to two general aviation airports. The balloon, a component of the company’s advanced camera technology, would have remained aloft 24 hours a day, seven days a week for about five years. Read more >>
Navy to study Calif. base options for Joint Strike Fighter
The Navy is asking for public input on a draft environmental impact statement that would consider West Coast base options for the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter. The public has an opportunity to learn about the Navy’s plans, and to submit comments that will help drive the environmental review of where to base the new F-35C. The aircraft’s superior capabilities to its predecessor aircraft will likely require changes in airspace to accommodate training missions. Read more >>
Salt Lake City airspace plan seen squeezing GA
AOPA has submitted comments to the FAA on the proposed modification of Class B airspace around Salt Lake City, Utah, expressing concerns about the impact on general aviation pilots’ ability to overfly and transition the airspace. Members are encouraged to study the plan and submit comments by March 15. Read more >>
eAPIS newsletter provides port of entry contact info
International travelers can access contact information for airports where U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection services are normally available for private aircraft through the latest issue of the agency’s electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) newsletter. The monthly e-mail publication is intended to address current issues and frequently asked questions about filing manifests for international flights; AOPA provides archived issues online.
Members briefed on safety, advocacy at Northwest conference
AOPA was on the scene once again at the Northwest Aviation Conference Feb. 26 and 27 in Puyallup, Wash., with AOPA President Craig Fuller urging pilots in his keynote address to “Rally GA,” and members taking opportunities to attend safety presentations and advocacy updates on issues of local, regional, and national interest. Air Safety Institute Chief Flight Instructor JJ Greenway presented programs on critical safety subjects; and participants heard an update on AOPA’s work with Washington state pilots to defeat the state’s efforts to impose excise taxes on aircraft. Read more >>
AOPA offers insurance products for all your needs
AOPA Member Products has taken the guesswork out of purchasing insurance. AOPA has done all the legwork for you, partnering with only A+ rated insurance companies, and you can rest assured that you’re receiving the best coverage at the best possible rates. Whether you need aircraft, life, or accidental death insurance, AOPA has a product for you. Read more >>
Chilly mornings which later warm up call for AOPA’s Leading Edge Jacket. If you’re looking for an all-purpose jacket to wear to the airport, the Leading Edge Jacket is the one. It’s an exceptionally comfortable jacket with modern styling, including a discreet laser-etched AOPA logo. The Leading Edge Jacket features a durable wind- and water-resistant exterior and a warm fleece interior, but remains lightweight and breathable. The jacket’s unique construction allows “four-way stretch” and a nonrestrictive comfortable fit, ideal for wearing in the cockpit. Read more >>
Get back in the air after surgery
Applying for a medical certificate after a hospital stay or surgery can be intimidating, but don’t let the prospect of an FAA review discourage you. You can help speed the process and get back into the air faster by providing the FAA with the pertinent medical records. Confused about which reports the FAA needs? Find out in the AOPA Pilot Information Center medical certification resource on hospital records.
Airport info on the go
AOPA Airports for Windows Mobile and BlackBerry displays FBO information, airport diagrams, and more in a convenient format for AOPA members on the go. Telephone numbers can be one-touch dialed, and the entire AOPA Airports database can be downloaded wirelessly. Download the app >>
AOPA 2011 Crossover Classic Sweepstakes
The Air Mod crew is busy stitching the leather seats, making up the new sidewalls, and putting down carpet—so we are coming close to the final stages of interior work on the AOPA 2011 Sweepstakes Crossover Classic Cessna 182. But wait, other work packages are also in the works: Air Mod’s restoration projects involve more than just interior work. Here is a quick rundown of improvements for the Skylane. Read more >>
Pick your paint job
The Crossover Classic’s new interior may be in its final stages at Air Mod, but now it’s time to think about the next step in this exceptional Skylane’s restoration. Very soon, Boss Aircraft Refinishers of Salisbury, N.C., will be preparing to give the airplane a badly needed paint job. What kind of paint job? Vote for your preference >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a manager of aviation security, application support engineer, IT department coordinator/help desk, director of legislative affairs, and administrative assistant. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.