Less than one minute after takeoff, the Cessna 172’s engine sputters and quits. Your heart is pounding as you bank hard left and turn back to the airport—a move that has proven disastrous to many other pilots. Will you make it to the runway safely? Should you have chanced it in the trees? AOPA Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller practiced the scenario at 4,000 feet msl to try out AOPA Pilot Contributor Barry Schiff’s steps for the so-called impossible turn. Practicing the turn at altitude is intended to help pilots make that critical decision if the engine quits on takeoff: Turn back or land straight ahead? Read more and watch AOPA Live® >>
The trustee presiding over the liquidation of Narco Avionics described proceedings in the case May 19 as a “no-asset corporate bankruptcy,” and he suggested that any owners of radios under repair at the company’s Fort Washington, Pa., headquarters seek legal assistance for the return of their property. Some AOPA members whose radios were under repair at Narco when news circulated in April that the company had closed its doors have been trying to learn how to recover their units. Read more>>
Canada turns down Diamond loan
The newly elected Canadian government has turned down Diamond Aircraft’s request for a $35 million ($36 million U.S.) loan needed to recall workers and keep the D-Jet program on schedule. Diamond President Peter Maurer said it became clear that the loan would not be granted, and Maurer was disappointed but hadn’t been banking on it. “The sad part is we can’t recall laid off employees right away. We are not in a position to do that. One of several doors is closed,” he said. Read more >>
Cresting floodwaters exacted severe tolls on some airports, but spared many others along the Mississippi River as residents girded for action from Memphis, Tenn., into Mississippi and Louisiana on May 19. The Memphis-area airports mostly fared well, but an exception was General Dewitt Spain Airport at the river’s edge, flooded and closed until further notice. Two based aircraft sought refuge at unaffected William L. Whitehurst Airport in Bolivar, Tenn., said Jerry Haser, the Hardeman County Airport Committee chairman. Read more and view a slideshow >>
High Country Explorer sneaks into marketplace
American Champion of Rochester, Wis., says it has sold four of the 180-hp High Country tandem-seat tailwheel aircraft since last Thanksgiving, quietly resuming production that ended last year when engines were unavailable. The aircraft has re-emerged with a Lycoming O-360-C4P engine. The aircraft was the first to offer the Superior Air Parts Vantage engine, but production of that engine stopped when Superior Air Parts entered bankruptcy. There are plans to restart the Superior line, but in the meantime, American Champion has switched to Lycoming. Read more >>
Eurocopter goes 232 knots in level flight
The Eurocopter X3 has achieved 232 knots true airspeed in recent tests conducted in Istres, France. The speed was achieved in stable, level flight, surpassing an original goal of 220 KTAS. The design will be incorporated in future commercial helicopters. The hybrid helicopter, with two propellers, uses a Eurocopter Dauphin helicopter airframe equipped with two turboshaft engines that power a five-blade main rotor system and the propellers. Read more >>
Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are a step closer to their goal of circling the Earth, nonstop, in a solar-powered airplane. In mid-May, the delicate craft flew from Switzerland to Brussels, Belgium. The aircraft flew 340 nautical miles in 13 hours at 27 knots. There are still a few big steps remaining like the development of the final record challenger aircraft (similar to the one flying now) and oceanic flights. Yet the present craft has done everything asked of it. Read more >>
Air Force Thunderbirds to fly with biofuel
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will fly their first public performance using an alternative fuel at the Joint Service Open House at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on May 20 through 22. Two of the Thunderbirds’ six F-16 fighters will use biofuels during the performances while the others burn regular jet fuel. The Air Force is testing biofuels derived from plant seed oil, animal fat, and various waste oils and grease. The Air Force has approved biofuel in a 50-percent blend with petroleum-based jet fuel in its A-10, F-15, C-17, and F-22 aircraft. All Air Force jets are expected to be certified for biofuels within two years.
After her first flying lesson in the late 1960s, Annabelle Fera set her sights on the airlines. But the airlines wouldn’t hire her and neither would many flight schools—because she’s a woman. “Girls can do it,” Fera encouraged 15 Girl Scouts from the Frederick, Md., area. “There was a time when that wasn’t true” because they weren’t allowed. Girls from Troops 81310, 81473, and 81015 gathered at AOPA headquarters May 14 while members of the Women in Aviation-AOPA Chapter helped them work on aviation interest patches. Read more >>
New AD issued on Cessna seat latch mechanisms
The FAA has issued an airworthiness directive (AD) that adds steps and clarifies procedures of a superseded AD for inspections and replacement of seat-latching mechanism parts on a variety of Cessna single- and multiengine aircraft. “We are issuing this AD to prevent seat slippage or the seat roller housing from departing the seat rail, which may consequently cause the pilot/copilot to be unable to reach all the controls,” the FAA said in the Federal Register notice published May 13. Read more >>
Human-powered helicopter lifts off
Engineering students at the University of Maryland built a human-powered helicopter that flew successfully prior to graduation—just as they had hoped. Two other competing teams have achieved liftoff for a few seconds, but since none of them have claimed a world record, the University of Maryland has filed with the National Aeronautic Association for one. The gangly craft lifted several inches off the ground for several seconds. Read more >>
The Cessna 140 was flying east toward the northern border of the South Dakota Black Hills when a massive granite monolith rose like an alien skyscraper out of the flat Wyoming prairie. Devils Tower, the country’s first national monument, appeared like a sign guiding the aircraft to the wonders that lay ahead. Soon, the pilot and passenger glimpsed George Washington’s 21-foot nose as it emerged from the west side of a mountain. Learn tips for flying to Custer, S.D., 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.
Falcon 2000S debuts at EBACE
At the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibit (EBACE), Dassault Falcon Jet announced a new addition to its line of large-cabin business jets: the Falcon 2000S. The 2000S is based upon a previous design, the Falcon 2000, and will feature a six-passenger maximum range of 3,350 nautical miles. New-generation, 7,000-lbst Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308C engines, inboard wing slats, blended winglets, and a new interior lead the list of improvements in the 2000S. Read more >>
Deadline nears for public benefit flying award nominees
The Air Care Alliance and National Aeronautic Association are seeking nominees for the 2011 Public Benefit Flying Award. The two groups recognize a distinguished volunteer pilot, a distinguished volunteer, an individual’s or group’s outstanding achievement in advancing public benefit flying, a team effort, and a person, group, or company not directly involved in public benefit flying who has helped support the cause. Nominations will be accepted until May 31. Details for nominating an individual or group are available on the Air Care Alliance website.
The HondaJet has now gone as high and as fast as it was intended to go, making good on promises to customers by reaching a maximum 425-knot true airspeed and a maximum operating altitude of 43,000 feet. Tests were conducted from the company plant in Greensboro, N.C. Deliveries will begin in late 2012. The aircraft has shown it can climb at 3,990 fpm, another important performance goal originally set during development. Read more >>
Liability and the CFI: Are you covered?
Liability is an ever-changing and—it seems—ever-growing part of aviation business in general and flight instructing in particular. Thirty-five years ago Flight Training contributor Ralph Hood worked in dealer development for a Piper distributor. Staff regularly flew the aircraft on short hops, just to get the engine heated up as recommended by the manufacturer. Hood often invited teenagers from his church to come along on the rides—and neither he nor the company felt it necessary to get written permission from the parents. Read more >>
AOPA Now: A bonanza for pilots
AOPA President Craig Fuller confesses that he really loves his Bonanza. Like most aircraft owners, he’s bonded with his airplane over the course of hundreds of happy flight hours. When you spend enough time in an airplane, you begin to see it as more than a machine: It becomes a friend of sorts, with its own personality and quirks. So Fuller enjoyed spending some time with members of the American Bonanza Society in Tullahoma, Tenn., recently. Read more >>
The Kaman K-MAX helicopter is one of the few helicopters with intermeshing main rotor systems. It was built specifically for external-load operations and is able to lift more than 6,000 pounds, which is more than the helicopter’s empty weight. The K-MAX is used for repetitive lift operations by commercial operators for the construction and logging industries. To date, 35 have been built and the fleet has accumulated more than 255,000 flight hours since 1994. It is now finding a new unmanned role with the U.S. military. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Wow
AOPA Pilot Technical Editor Mike Collins watched the space shuttle Endeavour take off on its final flight, the second-to-last launch of a NASA shuttle. It gives him goose bumps just watching on TV. The shuttle program was still a novelty in 1984 when he was credentialed as a newspaper photographer for STS-41D: the maiden flight for Discovery, and only the shuttle program’s twelfth mission. Read more >>
Do difficult-to-fly aircraft make for good trainers? That was the theory behind the de Havilland Tiger Moth, which was the Royal Air Force's counterpoint to the U.S. Army Air Corps Boeing Stearman. Some say the Tiger Moth made its trainee pilots work harder than the Stearman, and that better prepared them for the aircraft they would ultimately fly in World War II combat. This week The Aviators takes a look at the venerable trainer. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
For decades, aviation has relied on checklists as a fundamental step in risk management, and now disciplines from auto repair to trauma surgery are recognizing their value. On Jan. 28, 2009, a Siai-Marchetti SF-260 lost power on initial climb-out from Santa Monica, Calif. Witnesses said the engine stopped at an altitude of about 400 feet; the airplane began a right turn and then spun into the ground beside the runway, killing the 1,600-hour private pilot and his passenger. The fuel selector was thought to have been set to the right tip tank. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
Answers for Pilots: Arthritis
Getting older has its advantages: Retirement approaches, offering dreams of more hours to fly and freedom to do what you want, where you want, and when you want. But, as life has it, there’s usually a list of drawbacks, too. Arthritis affects nearly one in five adults, according to the Arthritis Foundation, and more than half of them have not yet reached age 65. If your treating doctor has given the diagnosis of arthritis, you have to report it at the time of your FAA physical exam. Read more >>
Stall awareness and recovery are introduced in pre-solo training and tested repeatedly on checkrides and flight reviews … yet unintended stalls, mostly at low altitude, cause dozens of accidents every year. While the hard landing following a too-high flare is usually survivable, the skidding base-to-final turn that drops into a spin usually is not. Altogether, more than 40 percent of stall-related accidents are fatal. A new interactive map from the Air Safety Institute shows the location of accidents caused by stalls, with or without spins, since 2003. See it for yourself >>
Will you do the right thing?
Let’s face it: Making good decisions in flying is not always a cut-and-dried process. In reality it requires you continuously to anticipate, recognize, act, and evaluate—from preflight through landing. Sounds complicated? The Air Safety Institute’s interactive online course Do the Right Thing: Decision Making for Pilots guides you through the process of tough decision making with down-to-earth information, tips, and interactive scenarios where you decide the outcome. Your objective? Boost this critical skill and learn to make good choices every time you fly. Take the course >>
Air Safety eJournal: Let’s fly on Saturday!
Saturday, May 21, is International Learn to Fly Day. It should come as no surprise by now that general aviation is in need of more pilots if our activity is to survive as we know it. So if you have the time and inclination, take someone up. A few simple tips can help you introduce a prospective pilot to the world of aviation. Read more >>
Anyone who has ever taken flight lessons can help improve the training process by sharing his or her input in one of a series of regional meetings that kicks off May 24 in Fairfield, N.J. AOPA launched the Flight Training Student Retention Initiative in 2010 to help increase the percentage of students who earn a pilot certificate. From May through September this year, the association is following up on the comprehensive, independent study it commissioned on the flight training experience with meetings in six metro areas around the United States. Read more >>
FAA to modify FOI exam changes, re-grade tests
The FAA will immediately reverse some of the changes made to the Fundamentals of Instruction knowledge test, review others, and re-grade tests taken since February when pass rates plummeted. AOPA welcomed the announcement as a positive response to objections raised by the flight training industry to changes that made it difficult for applicants to prepare for the exam. Read more >>
Avgas research funding support urged
A $2 million FAA budget request for research into an alternative to leaded avgas is an “absolutely critical part of the process” of switching the general aviation fleet to a lead-free fuel. That’s the message leaders of five GA associations sent in a letter urging members of a House committee to support the funding. The funds would support research on the safety of different avgas formulations and development of airworthiness standards for engine modifications at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in New Jersey. Read more >>
Backcountry aviation ‘essential’ in national forests
As more people seek out the national forests for outdoor recreation, backcountry airstrips provide a key gateway to those special places, making them “an essential part of a forest transportation system,” AOPA said in formal comments submitted May 16 on the U.S. Forest Service’s proposed Forest Service Planning Rule. From giving access to remote areas for recreation, forest management, and humanitarian missions to enabling emergency evacuations or giving limited-mobility visitors a chance to enjoy the backcountry, aviation plays a vital role, AOPA said. Read more >>
GA groups ask Congress to support flight-tracking privacy
AOPA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, and the National Business Aviation Association sent a letter to Congressional leaders May 13 requesting support for a provision in the House FAA reauthorization bill that would preserve the congressionally enabled Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program. The BARR program gives aircraft owners and operators the ability to “opt out” of having their aircraft’s movements electronically broadcast to nongovernment entities by commercial flight-tracking services. Read more >>
Support groups critical in airport protection
Supporters of Pennsylvania’s Queen City Allentown Municipal Airport have helped keep the airport open over the years in spite of threats of closure. AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Rae Klahr discussed the importance of airport support groups in protecting communities’ aviation resources and educating the public about the value of aviation during a recent visit from AOPA for a Rally GA event. “You have to stay involved with what is going on, the decisions that are made,” Klahr said. Watch AOPA Live >>
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 Now: NextGen Advisory Committee at work
As a member of RTCA’s NextGen Advisory Committee, AOPA President Craig Fuller had a chance to make a presentation to the group about issues affecting the general aviation community May 19. While members come from different backgrounds—the airlines, the FAA, air traffic control, airports, military aviation, and GA—they all want to find the right path to modernize our airspace and air traffic management. Read more >>
AOPA Airports debuts destinations search
A new search widget has launched on the advanced search page of AOPA Airports. The widget, which features destinations, events, and attractions near airports, is powered by OneTankFlights and will persist for about six months as part of a trial arrangement. “We believe our platform has the ability to help reverse the trend of a declining pilot community by allowing pilots to connect and share their favorite destinations in a user-friendly way,” said OneTankFlights co-founder Kevin Daugherty. Read more >>
FAA enforcement: Know your rights
Almost anyone flying in today’s complex aviation environment is acutely aware that there are regulations, manuals, orders, circulars, bulletins, and directives that must be consulted, followed, and complied with in the operation of an aircraft. This is a regulatory responsibility as well as a practical safety responsibility. But, how many of us are as acutely aware of the consequences of failing to follow them, even if done so inadvertently or unintentionally and without any real safety consequence? Read more >>
Make sure you’re covered
Many who rent aircraft mistakenly believe they are covered by their flight school’s or FBO’s policy. Don’t count on it. Check the policy carefully because the fine print could tell you that while these entities are covered themselves, their insurance company can sue you, the renter, for the entire claim amount. Even a small mishap could put you in financial jeopardy, but with a nonowned policy, you can have the coverage you need to fly with confidence. Read more >>
“The highest level attainable” is one definition of the word summit. For pilots, Summit is the pinnacle of aviation information, a concise and collegial meeting, to be held in Hartford, Conn., Sept. 22 through 24. At Summit 2010 Dr. Jonathan Sackier hosted three “Fly Well” sessions. Now he’s inviting pilots to come to Summit 2011 and participate in the Fly Well forums and all that the event has to offer. Read more >>
AOPA 2011 Crossover Classic Sweepstakes
A new paint job makes all the difference. That goes double for an airplane with an original paint job that was as deteriorated as the Crossover Classic’s. AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne recently picked up the newly painted sweepstakes Skylane from BOSS Aircraft Refinishers. You can look at a paint scheme on a piece of paper, but that’s certainly no match for seeing a new paint job in the flesh. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an application support engineer, applications engineer, and member services representative. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.