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May 6, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletterMay 6, 2011, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletter


AOPA ePilot

In This Issue:

VOLUME 13, ISSUE 18 — May 6, 2011

Take charge of takeoffs and landings
Tip from airport brings drug arrests
Quiz Me: Instrument currency


Safety >>

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect >>


AOPA Live >>

Sponsored by:


Goodyear to replace three-blimp fleet

Feature There isn’t a more familiar flying machine anywhere than the Goodyear Blimp. With the existing blimps nearing the end of their life cycles, Goodyear has made a pact with ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik for new airships. The Zeppelin LZ N07–101 airships will be built by teams from both companies at Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake Airship Hangar near Akron, Ohio, Goodyear said. Construction of the first airship will start in 2013; it is expected to fly in 2014. Goodyear said that the new airships will be 246 feet long, considerably larger than the current 192-foot-long ships. The airships will be powered by three Lycoming IO-360 engines and will cost about $21 million including technical support. Read more and watch AOPA Live® >>

Introducing, the best pilot headset ever from Bose.

NEW Bose A20™ Aviation Headset
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Cessna CEO Pelton retires

Cessna Aircraft Co. Chairman, President, and CEO Jack Pelton retired May 2, Textron officials announced. Pelton started working at Cessna in 2000. In 2003, he became president and CEO; in 2005, he was named chairman, Textron said. A search for a successor is under way, but until one is selected, Textron Chairman and CEO Scott C. Donnelly will run Cessna, the company said. “Jack Pelton has been an exceptional leader for and friend to the entire general aviation community,” AOPA President Craig Fuller said. Read more >>

Students to test human-powered rotary aircraft

Students from the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering will test-fly a human-powered helicopter on May 11 in the hopes of winning a $250,000 prize from the American Helicopter Society International. Fifty graduate and undergraduate students have been working on the aircraft for two years. Called Gamera after a giant flying turtle in Japanese monster movies, the aircraft has a rotor at each of the four ends of its X-shaped frame. Read more >>

Airshow performer Skip Stewart American airshow performer goes global

There’s no such thing as an off season for airshow performer Skip Stewart anymore.  Bookings are up. A chart plotting demand for his act might look like the diagram of a vertical maneuver. From the Persian Gulf to China, people want to see airshows, and some of those clients have the means to bring their performers overseas. Call it America’s hot new export. In February, during a dormant time for U.S. performances, Stewart was performing his act for the royal family and about 10,000 other onlookers at the Al Ain Aerobatic Show in the United Arab Emirates. It was his second visit—but unlike his first appearance in 2008, this time he flew during a time of high military alert and regional political upheaval. “Libya contacted me, but I’m glad that I didn’t go there now,” he said. Read more >>

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

Professional teachers, specialized curriculum. IFR specialists for 30+ years. Whether flying G1000, Avidyne Entegra, Aspen, Cirrus Perspective or analog instruments, our instructors have the experience. Put “Instrument Rated” on your calendar NOW. 800-435-9437. Already Rated, but rusty? Our IFR Safety Course will get you current and make you a safer pilot.

Around-the-world flight to link U.S., China

Like many pilots, Wei Chen got the flying bug after watching Top Gun. When recruiters came to his high school, he applied to become a military pilot. But when that didn’t work out, there was no other opportunity for the Chinese citizen to fly in his home country. Now, the Chinese government has launched an effort to build a GA industry, and Chen is a private pilot living in Memphis, Tenn. He plans to fly through his home country in an around-the-world flight in his TBM 700. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>

Flying over the Grand Canyon Skywalk at Grand Canyon West: Walking on air

Tour operator David Jin once stood at Eagle Point at Grand Canyon West and dreamed of giving his clients the same view of the canyon the birds were getting. Now tourists can step out on the Skywalk, stand on a horseshoe-shaped walkway of three-inch-thick glass, 65 feet past the edge of the canyon, and look between their toes down to the Colorado River, almost 4,000 feet below. A 5,000-foot paved strip services the area. 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.

Winging it: Will Jetman overfly the Grand Canyon?

It takes guts to strap a jet-powered wing to your back, jump out of an aircraft, and fly. But Yves Rossy, known as Jetman, has dedicated more than a decade of his life to perfecting the wing. He’s tried many stunts, including successfully crossing the English Channel and performing a loop, but now he’s gearing up for another challenge: flying above the Grand Canyon on May 6. AOPA Online will be following the flight. Check back for more details.

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>>

ACONE to honor first female shuttle pilot, commander

Flying a 360-degree pitch maneuver in a space shuttle is just one of the firsts credited to retired Air Force Col. Eileen Collins. She’ll be honored June 22 with the Aero Club of New England’s Godfrey L. Cabot Award for her efforts in the space program. According to NASA, Collins was the first female shuttle pilot, flying the STS-63 Discovery in February 1995, and later became the first female shuttle commander in 1999 of the STS-93 Columbia. Read more >>

Airshow performer Randy Henderson Airlines to airshows: Pilot beats cancer, spreads hope

Shutting down the engine of his highly modified experimental 1946 clipped-wing Taylorcraft at 5,000 feet agl, airshow performer Randy Henderson completes a series of aerobatic maneuvers before landing (engine still off) in front of spectators. “The average person can’t relate to flying an Extra, but there is a chance they could go out and get a Taylorcraft,” Henderson said. “It plants in their mind, ‘Hey, I could do that.’” Now, he wants his routine and his personal story to inspire spectators to say, “Hey, I could do that,” to a much tougher challenge—beating cancer. Read more >>

Maine pilot wins Alaskan airplane

May Day for Maine pilot James Schoenmann ended in a way that he never expected. Schoenmann received a telephone call from Alaska Airmen’s Association President Adam White informing him that he had won the grand prize in the association’s fundraising raffle, a refurbished and highly modified Piper Super Cub valued at some $230,000. Schoenmann, of Jackman, Maine, has purchased a ticket for the association’s raffle in each of the last three years. This year, the Alaska Airmen’s Association sold some 8,300 tickets for $50 each. Read more >>

Oma Sud Sky Technologies Skycar Oma Sud’s pusher-prop twin to enter U.S. market

A twin-boomed, pusher-prop twin-engine aircraft manufactured by a Capua, Italy, firm and flown at EAA AirVenture 2010 in Oshkosh, Wis., has earned U.S. certification. The Oma Sud Sky Technologies Skycar, powered by two 200-horsepower Lycoming IO-360-C1E6 engines, received an FAA type certificate on March 14, opening the U.S. general aviation market to the aircraft, said a company news release. In development since 1988, the five-occupant Skycar was designed for day/night/IFR operations, and can operate from unprepared grass or dirt strips. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>

A GIFT for women aviators

Mary Latimer has wanted to help more women become pilots ever since she became one herself. She recently hit upon a strategy to help women succeed: Create a program that will help women age 15 and older advance their flight training. She and her husband, assisted by other flight instructors, will hold the Girls In Flight Training (GIFT) academy in July. Read more >>

Virginia Festival of Flight Attendance soars at Virginia Festival of Flight

The Spirit of Freedom, a restored Douglas C-54 transport operated by the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation, served as the perfect billboard for the fourteenth annual Virginia Regional Festival of Flight April 30 and May 1. It was parked on the end of Runway 15, close to the highway, to entice spectators. That, along with perfect weather, brought in more than 350 aircraft at Suffolk Executive Airport for the two-day event—an increase of 183 percent over last year. The number of visitors walking through the gates was up by 150 percent. Read more >>

Blogs AOPA Now: Perfect day for festival of flight

It was a beautiful Saturday morning in Frederick, Md., as staff loaded the AOPA Cessna Caravan for a flight to Suffolk Executive Airport to drop in for the pancake breakfast at the Virginia Regional Festival of Flight. The good folks at Suffolk made everyone feel welcome, and AOPA President Craig Fuller and the others had a great time showing AOPA members their aircraft.  Read more >>

BlogsLet’s Go Flying: South Korea Wizard adventure

Ultralight pilot Arty Trost once had a rare opportunity to fly a Wizard aircraft in South Korea. Her instructor spoke no English. She spoke no Korean. But the two flew over rice paddies around the airport for 30 minutes … not because of the sights but because of the airspace limitations. Read more >>


Glider flying in the Grand Tetons Tame flights over the wild West

Whether soaring silently above the snow-capped Teton mountains near Driggs, Idaho, or floating over lush green fields near Jackson Hole, Wyo., trying out different forms of flight is a relaxing way to soak in the beauty of the West. Tag along with AOPA Live on a peaceful glider flight, and take a hot air balloon ride over Grand Teton National Park or watch a thrilling paraglider flight. For more information about aviation in Grand Teton National Park, check out the AOPA Pilot feature “Flying Yellowstone and ‘The Grand.’”


For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

Garmin GTN series

The next generation of touchscreen avionics is here. Introducing the Garmin GTN series, intuitive GPS/NAV/COMM devices with powerful MFD capabilities. The GTN series has received FAA certification and is now being delivered to Garmin authorized dealers! Learn more at

Safety & Proficiency

Out on the edge

Helicopter external-load transport necessarily involves some increased risks. Much of the flight time takes place in the “dead zone” of the height/velocity graph where there’s neither enough airspeed to establish an immediate autorotation in the event of a power failure nor enough altitude to be sure of gaining that airspeed. And of course there’s the trade-off between fuel capacity and payload. On July 22, 2009, a Hughes 369D crashed into a clearing in the Forbes State Forest in southwestern Pennsylvania. The 2,800-hour commercial pilot was killed. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.

Dream vacations: Get there by GA

A general aviation aircraft may be the key to the vacation you’ve always wanted, whether you want to get away to the Idaho backcountry or explore the streets of Quebec City. Discover fly-in vacation spots in AOPA’s Flying Vacations Webinar May 18 at 3 and 9 p.m. Eastern time. AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines, along with staff from Pilot Getaways and Air Journey, will highlight some of the many aviation-friendly locations for an unforgettable flying vacation. Sign up today >>

Air Safety Institute Mastering Takeoffs and Landings Safety Advisor Take charge of your takeoffs and landings

Takeoffs and landings account for only a small percentage of the time you spend flying, yet they make up the lion’s share of accident statistics. High angles of attack, low-altitude maneuvering, unpredictable winds, and converging aircraft combine to create a challenging (and risky) phase of flight. Take some of the edge off that risk by understanding what’s involved in these potentially dangerous environments in the Mastering Takeoffs and Landings Safety Advisor from the Air Safety Institute.

Don’t let birds foul your plans

Warmer weather across the country means an increase in flight activity at many airports—and not just by pilots. It’s mating season for birds, and many are out gathering the materials to build a home and settle down. Just as they may pose a hazard to aircraft in the air, their nests could do damage on the ramp. The nooks and crannies in your aircraft—in the cowling and exhaust, and behind control surfaces—are enticing shelter for cavity-nesting birds such as the European starling and the house sparrow. Read more >>

Air Safety Institute IFR Insights: Regulations course ‘IFR Insights’ course teaches regs for the real world

Instrument-rated pilots know it’s important to be familiar with the regulations for IFR flight. But when it comes to actually cracking open the FAR/AIM and wading through the rules, enthusiasm tends to wane. To make life a little easier, the Air Safety Institute has developed a plain-language guide to the regs that matter in the real world. IFR Insights: Regulations spells out what it takes to stay legal, connecting by-the-book requirements to the often ambiguous world of flight planning, fuel, weather, and ATC. Get started >>

BlogsAir Safety eJournal: Unstable approaches in unstable times

AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg was flying a friend’s Conquest II the other day when the airplane got a little behind the descent profile in good VFR conditions. About 4,000 feet above the destination airport and coming down like the proverbial safe full of anvils, he mentally ran through accounts of recent overrun mishaps. Although there was nearly 6,000 feet of runway he decided that if they weren’t stabilized by base, he would reenter the pattern. Read more >>

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

May 14 and 15

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Pensacola, Fla.


May 21 and 22

Sacramento, Calif.

Kansas City, Mo.

Albany, N.Y.

Houston, Texas

June 4 and 5

Orlando, Fla.

Charlotte, N.C.

Columbus, Ohio

June 11 and 12

San Jose, Calif.

Minneapolis, Minn.




For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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

May 7

Morganton, S.C.

May 9

Newton, Mass.

Salisbury, N.C.

Brookings, S.D.

Madison, Wis.

May 10

East Hartford, Conn.

Jamestown, N.C.

Aberdeen, S.D.

Milwaukee, Wis.

May 11

Smithfield, N.C.

Spearfish, S.D.

Manitowoc, Wis.


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

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With Alamo at commercial airport locations: Save up to  25%, get one free additional driver, unlimited mileage and additional coupon offers. Book online.


Tip from airport brings drug arrests

When police in Nashville, Tenn., arrested two California men and seized a load of marijuana valued at $70,000 at the John C. Tune Airport, they credited witnesses of the men’s suspicious activity with putting them onto the case. As reported by a Nashville television station, police acted on the observations of airport witnesses, who reported seeing the men unload several duffel bags along with personal baggage from a single-engine Cessna on the evening of March 31. Read more >>

Connecticut budget prevents ‘devastating’ blow to GA

The Connecticut legislature has passed a $40.1 billion, two-year state budget package that does not include two tax proposals that could have devastated the state’s aviation industry. The budget package, signed May 4 by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, dropped a proposed personal property tax on aircraft. It also passed without eliminating a sales tax exemption on labor performed for aircraft maintenance. The budget passed the Senate 19-17 in the wee hours May 4, after clearing the House May 3 on an 83-67 vote that capped 10 hours of debate. Read more >>

Internet scam targets flight instructors

Flight instructors beware. A new scam uses email to contact flight instructors saying that a group of foreign students wants to train with them in the United States this summer. It requests the instructor to submit a proposal of what the training program would entail. After that, a second email is sent requesting banking information to make a direct deposit for the program. In another case, an email correspondence offered to pay more than the program would cost if the balance could be forwarded to another individual. Read more >>

Member Benefits

Do you take every precaution when it comes to your health?

As a pilot you take every precaution before taking a flight, but are you taking the same care when it comes to your health? Now, AOPA members can ratchet up their health preparedness with Life Line Screenings. Even routine physicals can miss possible serious health issues. A recent Life Line Screening participant had undergone a routine physical where everything checked fine, and it wasn’t until his Life Line Screening that a serious health problem was discovered. Read more >>

AOPA Pilot Information Center You have questions? AOPA has answers

Each year, AOPA's Pilot Information Center staff responds to hundreds of thousands of questions from AOPA members on a wide variety of topics from medical certification to aircraft purchases. You have the questions—we have the answers. Our skilled group of pilots and flight instructors has more than 30,000 hours of collective flight experience. Contact our specialists by email or call 800/872-2672, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern, Monday through Friday. Help is just a call or click away.

You may be an excellent pilot, but are you also experienced handling the FAA?

No matter how good a pilot you are, incidents can happen and even minor infractions can result in serious penalties. Don’t put your certificate at risk. Enroll in the AOPA Legal Services Plan today!

Save on your next rental with Avis

Use your AOPA Avis Worldwide Discount number A451348 to save up to 25 percent every time you rent. Additionally, Avis offers AOPA members coupon savings such as $35 off a weekly rental, a free weekend day, or a free upgrade. Visit the website to find exclusive deals and start saving. Avis also offers a simpler way to travel with Avis Preferred Service. Read more >>

BlogsAOPA Sounding Board: Bring it on!

Ever wonder why AOPA makes the decisions and offers the programs and products that it does? In this new blog, AOPA Pilot Information Center Vice President Woody Cahall gives a simple, straightforward look into the reasons behind AOPA’s decisions—as he sees them. The blog will be his response to your questions, concerns, and curiosities. Read more >>

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 Career Opportunities

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? AOPA is always looking for energetic, qualified individuals to be part of our team vision.

Application support engineer
Member services representative

To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online. Didn't find the job you're looking for? If AOPA sounds like a place for you, submit your résumé so we can contact you in the future if there's a career opportunity for you.

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.


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

Forums: Bad form to fly instrument approaches under VFR?

It's funny sometimes how the little things give us the biggest questions. While studying for an instrument rating, the question, "Is it bad form to fly an instrument approach when VFR?" arose. Read more >>




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Rally GA

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: Does a flight instructor have to be instrument current if he or she wants to provide an instrument proficiency check (IPC)?


Answer: FAR 61.57(c) says that only when a pilot is instrument current may that person “act as pilot in command in IFR or weather conditions less than the minimums prescribed for VFR.” This clause considers two cases: either flying on an IFR flight plan (even in visual meteorological conditions) or flying in instrument meteorological conditions. Neither scenario is required in order to accomplish an IPC. An IPC can take place under VFR in VMC. An instructor is not prohibited from participating in a training flight for the purposes of an IPC when the instructor is not instrument current, provided that the flight does not take place either under IFR or in IMC. Find out more about what is involved in an IPC in this Reporting Points blog entry.

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 email to [email protected].

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

Rally GA Support AOPA Foundation initiatives. The AOPA Foundation was created to address many of the critical issues facing general aviation now and in the future. Tax-deductible donations to the AOPA Foundation fund efforts to address some of GA’s biggest challenges, including preserving community airports, educating the public about the benefits of GA, growing the pilot population, and improving GA’s safety record through education.

AOPA ePilot Team
ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown Contributors: Alyssa Miller
Jill W. Tallman
Warren Morningstar
Alton K. Marsh

Dave Hirschman
Tom Horne
Ian J. Twombly
Dan Namowitz

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Melissa Whitehouse
Mitch Mitchell
William Rockenbaugh

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