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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 >>
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 >>
Even adults will enjoy a kids’ water slide planned to open June 6 at
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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.
Hover 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.
Safety & Proficiency
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 >>
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 >>
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.
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 >>
Air 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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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.
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 >>
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 >>
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.