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® >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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.
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Let’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 >>
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.
Safety & Proficiency
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Air 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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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.
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 >>
AOPA 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 >>
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.
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.