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March 18, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletterMarch 18, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletter

AOPA ePilot

In This Issue:

VOLUME 13, ISSUE 11 — March 18, 2011

‘Aviation gem’
Fatal autopilot mishap
‘Flawed’ leases threaten pilots’ rights
Quiz Me: VOR equipment check


Safety >>

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect >>


AOPA Live >>

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Blogs Peachstate Aerodrome an ‘aviation gem’

Feature Give a weary pilot a friendly welcome. Give a student pilot great airplanes to fly, grass to fly them from, instructors with unmatched experience, and lots of variety to turn out a well-rounded, confident pilot. Surround the trainees with living aviation history. Nourish their bodies and imaginations in a restaurant with a barnstormer’s theme. That’s how Ron Alexander and his volunteers keep people excited about aviation. Alexander, a retired Delta Air Lines captain, is proprietor of Peachstate Aerodrome in Williamson, Ga., (slogan: Where Old Aeroplanes Never Die), home to the nonprofit Candler Field Museum and the Candler Field Flying Club. Thirty percent of the club’s students are under age 21. Read more >>

Introducing: Our best pilot headset ever. NEW A20™ Aviation Headset

The A20™ headset provides significantly greater noise reduction than currently available. It also features improved comfort, clear audio, Bluetooth® connectivity, auxiliary audio input and priority switching. Learn more >


Group forming for American bid on Cirrus

An investment team managed by consultant Brian Foley will begin strategy planning in late March after announcing plans to counter an offer for Cirrus Aircraft made by the Chinese. The company, China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA), is purchasing Epic Air and Teledyne Continental Motors, and is the leading bidder for Emivest Aerospace, manufacturer of the SJ30 business jet. The Chinese company may have its eye on additional American aviation assets. Read more >>

Franklins at Texas burn unit after airshow accident

Airshow performers Kyle and Amanda Franklin were undergoing treatment at a burn unit in San Antonio, Texas, after they experienced an engine fire and crash during a performance March 12 at Air Fiesta 2011 in Brownsville-South Padre International Airport. Video captured the mishap, which occurred while Amanda was performing a wing-walking routine. The engine of their Waco biplane suddenly burst into flames. Amanda safely got off the wing and into the cockpit, after which the aircraft crash landed. The International Council of Air Shows has established a fund to help pay the performers’ medical expenses. Read more >>

Boeing 747 becomes waterpark attraction Kids to slide into aviation from a Boeing 747

Even adults will enjoy a kids’ water slide planned to open June 6 at
the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Ore. The Evergreen Wings and Waves Waterpark offers four routes, from tame to wild and crazy, and all of them start from a retired Evergreen Boeing 747 mounted on top of a 60-foot building. The museum may be better known as the new home of the Hughes “Spruce Goose” Flying Boat. Read more >>

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

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CAP aircrews warn Hawaiians of tsunami

Before the waves from a 9.0-magnitude earthquake in Japan reached Hawaii’s shores, eight Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Cessnas launched for a nighttime mission March 10 to warn people along the islands’ coastline. The aircraft began blasting tsunami warning sirens and voice warnings from a fuselage-mounted speaker system at 10:18 p.m. Hawaii time as they looked for people on or near the shoreline, the CAP announced. Read more >>

NBAA offers Japan earthquake crisis resources

The devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan March 11 left serious operational and logistical challenges in its wake. To help meet those challenges, the National Business Aviation Association has created a “Japan Crisis” resource for companies with business airplanes needing to transport people and equipment, and for those who want to support humanitarian-relief efforts in the area. The resource offers guidance regarding airports and airspace in Japan and includes links to NBAA's Humanitarian Emergency Response Operator (HERO) database.

Sikorsky X2 team wins Collier Trophy

The National Aeronautic Association has awarded the 2010 Robert J. Collier Trophy to the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.’s X2 Technology demonstrator team. “The recognition comes six months after the X2 Technology demonstrator successfully achieved a speed of 250 knots true airspeed in level flight, setting an unofficial speed record for a helicopter and accomplishing the program’s ultimate speed milestone,” said Stratford, Conn.-based Sikorsky Corp. in a news release. Read more >>

Women Fly It Forward event in Frederick, Md. ‘Smiles for miles’: Maryland event takes 185 women aloft

March weather can be capricious in the Mid-Atlantic, but on March 12 the seasonal gusty winds and low clouds gave way so that 185 girls and women could enjoy free flights at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md. The rides were the cornerstone of Women Fly It Forward, an event in celebration of Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, which was March 7 through 13. Victoria Neuville, who organized the Frederick event, said she wanted to ensure that girls and women feel welcome when they come to the airport. Read more >>

Manufacturers to give LaHood a look at GA

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will gain a better understanding of the importance of general aviation on March 21 at a GA rally in Wichita, Kan., with Cessna, Bombardier Learjet, Hawker Beechcraft, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), and other aviation companies. AOPA also will be on hand for the event. “It’s important for Secretary LaHood to see firsthand how general aviation creates jobs, fuels the economy, supports businesses of all types, and connects communities,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. GAMA, which is hosting the rally with Cessna, will broadcast the event live online for the entire aviation industry to take part. Read more >>

Learn, connect with AOPA at Sun 'n Fun

Going to the Sun ‘n Fun Expo and International Fly-in in Lakeland, Fla., March 29 through April 3? Don’t miss out on the educational seminars, events, prizes, and new products AOPA has to offer. The association is once again the platinum-level sponsor of Sun ‘n Fun. Attendees can stop by the tent to get a look at the 2011 Crossover Classic Sweepstakes Cessna 182, meet AOPA staff, watch seminars and interviews, get their flight training questions answered, and find out how they can “Rally GA” in 2011. Read more >>

Bahamas extends exclusive travel discount for pilots

Response to the Bahamas $300 discount program mentioned in AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines' Waypoints column in the March issue of AOPA Pilot has been so strong that the Bahamas Out Islands Promotion Board has extended the offer until April 30. The original offer expired Feb. 28. To qualify for the $300 discount, pilots must fly to one of the 33 participating Out Island resorts and stay four nights. Those staying three nights can qualify for a $200 discount. 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>>

Smart vs. Remos: A nonpilot’s perspective

The small but mighty 2010 Fun to Fly Sweepstakes Remos GX and its automotive counterpart, a Smart car, rallied to Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., last April. Along the way, the car enthusiast among the competitors, MotorWeek reporter and producer Steve Chupnick, got a chance to take the controls of the aircraft with Flight Training Deputy Editor and CFI Ian J. Twombly and have a go at Roebling Road Raceway in the 70-horsepower car. Chupnick gave his perspective on the journey in Over the Edge: Smart vs. Plane; the video is now available online. The segment starts about nine minutes into the show.

BlogsHover Power: China rising

This year the mood at Heli-Expo, the Helicopter Association International’s largest show and exposition, was upbeat for the future health of the helicopter industry. Part of this optimism comes from China. A recent change in the country’s low-level airspace rules has paved the way for civilian helicopter operations. Currently there are 200 civil helicopters in China and according to Chinese officials that number is expected to increase to 3,000 by 2020. Read more >>


Business aircraft tax tips

If you own an aircraft that you use for business, you may be able to deduct "ordinary and necessary" expenses related to ownership. What does that mean? Raymond C. Speciale, an attorney, certified public accountant, and CFII who writes AOPA’s “The pilot’s guide to taxes,” spoke with AOPA Live® Executive Producer Warren Morningstar about what to consider at tax time. Find out what bonus depreciation means for your business and what common error regarding leasebacks can get you in trouble with the IRS. Watch AOPA Live >>


For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

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Safety & Proficiency

Autopilot mishap kills two

The FAA’s human-factors expert recently concluded that constant autopilot use tends to erode hand-flying skills. And with the increasingly complicated interface between multi-mode three-axis autopilots and electronic panels, it takes training for pilots to become proficient in autopilot use. On the afternoon of April 28, 2009, a Cirrus SR22 took off into a 200-foot overcast from Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County Airport. In the minutes that followed, pitch angle ranged from 50-degrees nose up to 60-degrees nose down and airspeed varied between 50 knots and 172 kt before the aircraft crashed, killing both on board. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.

Answers for Pilots: Great time to buy

Have you been spending your winter weekends reading aviation classifieds for airplanes, researching aircraft types, and deciding which flying machine might be right for you? Your dream of owning an aircraft can become a reality. If you have questions about buying an aircraft, AOPA’s staff of aviation technical specialists can help you determine a fair value for the aircraft you have in mind, and talk with you about costs, financing, insurance, inspections, aircraft records, and all the other considerations that go into making an informed decision to buy. Read more >>

Air Safety Institute Essential Aerodynamics course Aerodynamics made easy

Do you know why an airplane stalls at a higher airspeed during maneuvering flight? Or what it means to be on the back side of the power curve? If not, check out the Air Safety Institute's free online course Essential Aerodynamics: Stalls, Spins, and Safety. Using simple, plain-language explanations, the course walks you through basic aerodynamic concepts while emphasizing important connections with real-world flying. Get started >>

Get to the fun faster with Alamo at commercial airport locations

Save up to 25%, get one free additional driver, unlimited mileage and additional coupon offers. Book online.

NTSB alerts pilots to watch for unmarked weather towers

The NTSB issued an alert March 11, warning of the dangers that unmarked weather observation towers pose to pilots flying at low altitudes. The board specifically warned pilots flying “helicopter emergency services, law enforcement, fire suppression, and other low-altitude activities” to watch for the towers. The meteorological evaluation towers are often shorter than the 200-foot threshold at which the FAA requires structures to be marked. AOPA is supporting a proposal by the FAA to develop “a uniform and consistent scheme for voluntarily marking” the towers. For now, pilots are urged to remain vigilant.

Air Safety Institute Maneuvering Flight Safety Advisor

Maneuvering fright?

It may come as a surprise, but when you’re flying the traffic pattern you’re participating in maneuvering flight. Basically, any flying close to the ground is considered maneuvering flight. But you can be safe, provided you don’t fly recklessly. That’s why you’ll want to check out the Air Safety Institute’s Maneuvering Flight: Hazardous to Your Health? Safety Advisor, which discusses things to consider before you sign up for formation flying or aerial work. You’ll come away with a healthy dose of respect for stalls/spins and aerobatics, and you’ll learn about performing these safely. Read more >>

BlogsAir Safety eJournal: Getting a flying job

How do new pilots get beyond the Catch-22 of the aviation industry? It goes something like this: You need experience to get hired, and you can’t get that experience without getting hired. A helicopter pilot who has been trying to break into commercial operations hit on a novel idea. Read more >>

Steam Clean Your Panel Rebate

Versatile and flexible, Evolution Flight Displays are the industry’s best value in EFIS technology. Our current rebates help you clean the steam gauges from your instrument panel and get shiny new Aspen Evolution Glass! Click for details…

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

April 2 and 3

Atlanta, Ga.

Indianapolis, Ind.

Boston, Mass.

April 9 and 10

San Diego, Calif.

Denver, Colo.

Salt Lake City, Utah

April 16 and 17

Tampa, Fla.

Cincinnati, Ohio

Ashburn, Va.

May 14 and 15

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Pensacola, Fla.


For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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

March 21

Northbrook, Ill.

Indianapolis, Ind.


March 22

Birmingham, Ala.

Bolingbrook, Ill.

March 23

Marietta, Ga.

Rockford, Ill.

Gaithersburg, Md.

March 24

St. Louis, Mo.



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


Proposed Philadelphia Class B redesign too complex

The FAA’s proposed redesign of the Philadelphia Class B airspace would grab more airspace than necessary and is so complex it could lead to inadvertent airspace incursions, AOPA told the FAA in formal comments filed March 16. The association submitted a simplified alternative that would still contain aircraft arriving and departing Philadelphia International Airport. Read more >>

‘Flawed’ airport leases threaten pilots’ rights

AOPA is opposing a “significantly flawed and injurious” set of new lease terms that the airport authority of Zelienople, Pa., is issuing to its tenants at the Zelienople Municipal Airport. Difficulties posed by the leases include terms amounting to unlawful search and seizure within tenants’ leased facilities, and rules and regulations that can change without notice and with no means established for tenants to track them, wrote Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airport advocacy, in a March 11 letter to airport management. Read more >>

Avionics magic. Coming soon.

Garmin is about to unveil some new avionics technology that you’ll have to see to believe. If you want to be among the first to find out what’s up our sleeves, visit and sign up for an email alert.

FAA issues 2011 NextGen update, cites momentum

The FAA, citing “tangible and important” progress, has released its 2011 updated implementation plan for the Next Generation air transportation system. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said in the report that during the past year, the aviation community has begun to see NextGen in action, and begun to understand how its implementation will enhance safety, access, efficiency, and environmental benefits throughout the National Airspace System. Read more >>

Balloon amusement tax exemption bill proposed Bill would protect balloon operators from ‘amusement tax’

Two Maryland balloon operators who faced down the state comptroller over a local “amusement tax” joined AOPA in testifying March 4 for a bill that would exempt hot air balloons from the tax. AOPA Eastern Regional Representative Greg Winton provided testimony before the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee in support of House Bill 499, which would exempt hot air balloons from local amusement taxes. Existing federal law exempts air commerce from local taxes such as this one, but that didn’t keep two Maryland operators from getting thousands of dollars in bills. Read more >>

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.

New digital charts to provide planning options

Enroute Navigation Products, a division of the FAA’s AeroNav Products, has announced the availability of new charts that will become available over the next few months. A paper Pacific Chart is now available for $5 per chart or $33.25 for a one-year, seven-issue subscription. Several georeferenced IFR and VFR charts will become available for download. Read more >>

U.S. Forest Service seeks comments on planning rule Forest Service seeks comments on planning rule

The U.S. Forest Service is asking for public comments on its proposed forest planning rule that will guide land and resource management throughout the National Forest System. The proposed rule followed a year of soliciting public input through national and regional roundtables and other public meetings. AOPA participated to make sure "that Forest Service planners took aviation into account when creating individual forest plans and maintained access to existing backcountry airstrips,” said John Collins, AOPA manager of airport policy. Read more >>

South Dakota enacts aviation-product liability law

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who has played an active role in seeking to attract new aviation investment in the state, has signed into law a liability bill barring claims for defects against aviation products more than 10 years after delivery. Supporters made the case that attracting high-paying aviation jobs and protecting existing aviation jobs from costly, frivolous litigation would widen and protect the tax base. Read more >>

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.

To nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer, visit AOPA Online.

To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit ASN Online.

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

New health screenings give pilots the power of prevention

Maintaining good health is important to everyone, but it is especially critical for pilots. The significant role preventive care plays in warding off medical issues can’t be ignored. AOPA understands the importance of pilots being proactive about their health, and the association is pleased to announce its partnership with Life Line Screening.  Life Line’s state-of-the-art screenings will not only help keep AOPA members flying, but could alert them to possible serious health issues. Read more >>

Sleep apnea on FAA’s radar

Sleep disorders continue to be high on the FAA’s radar: The Department of Transportation, the FAA, and the NTSB have a longstanding interest and concern in the broad subject area of pilot fatigue and aircraft accidents. AOPA Director of Medical Certification Gary Crump reviewed the FAA’s position on obstructive sleep apnea, from diagnosis to documentation, in a recent issue of the Medical Services Program newsletter. Participants in the Medical Services Program get advice like this in the bimonthly newsletter—and much more. Enroll today >>

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.

AOPA 2011 Crossover Classic Sweepstakes

And the paint job contest winner is …

… Paint job No. 3! By an overwhelming margin, with more than 1,200 votes, you chose a swoopy, white-on-red design over the other three choices for the Crossover Classic. Some of the more amusing readers’ comments involved the tree on the vertical stabilizer in paint concept choice No. 1, and the stars on the tail of No. 2. And even though some have likened No. 3 to—of all things—a fishing lure, AOPA is going ahead with it. 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 a manager of aviation security, application support engineer, IT department coordinator/help desk, and administrative assistant. 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

AOPA Forums: Do you keep your engine heater on all the time?

A poster to the AOPA Forums asks what your protocol is with engine heaters and cold weather operations. Assuming an aircraft flies at least once a week, do you leave the heater plugged in all winter, or just a couple of hours before flight? Read more >>

‘Peeps on a Plane’

Peeps—the brightly colored marshmallow chicks and rabbits—are manufactured by the family-owned candy company Just Born Inc. Just Born Co-CEO David Shaffer is a private pilot. If you love Peeps (and airplanes), enter AOPA’s “Peeps on a Plane” photo contest. Construct a diorama featuring Peeps and an airplane—it can be any theme, as long as an airplane is included—take a photo, and send a low-res JPG to AOPA. Later we'll add them to the photo gallery.

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Engage in Aviation

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.


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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: Should I record a VOR receiver check in the aircraft maintenance logs?


Answer: FAR Part 91.171 describes VOR equipment checks for IFR operations. The regulation states that the person who makes the operational check should enter the date, place, bearing error, and signature in the aircraft log or other record. Since many owners choose not to store the aircraft logs inside the aircraft, it is acceptable to record the VOR check on a status sheet or other document that is more easily accessible. For more information, read “VOR equipment check” by John Yodice for a further review of this regulation. 

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 e-mail to [email protected].

Rally GA: Boost your safety. Refresh your aviation safety knowledge while networking with other pilots during seminars presented by the Air Safety Institute.


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