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When you hear the word “emergency” in an IFR context, what comes to mind? If you’re like most of us, it’s probably something like a vacuum pump failure, a dead alternator, or an encounter with freezing rain. But as pilot Robert Schapiro discovered, sick engines pay no heed to the weather, and the stress of flying a crippled, violently shaking aircraft to the ground is only magnified by the need for an instrument descent. Would you be prepared to handle an engine failure in IMC? Climb into the co-pilot’s seat as a routine proficiency flight becomes a harrowing search for a landing spot in the latest installment of the Air Safety Institute’s Real Pilot Stories series.
Diamond Aircraft’s single-engine D-Jet got a financial boost with the announcement that a Dubai investment firm, Medrar Financial Group, has purchased a majority interest in Diamond Aircraft Holdings, Canada. The company, based in London, Ontario, makes single- and multiengine piston aircraft and is developing the 240-knot long-range cruise speed D-Jet. Jamil Marmarchi, CEO of Medrar, said the current state of the economy highlights the need for, and potential of, aircraft like the D-Jet. Read more >>
Hawker Beechcraft cuts 300 jobs
Hawker Beechcraft has laid off 300 workers, the company confirmed to AOPA. The layoffs bring Hawker Beechcraft closer to the number the company is required to have in Kansas under incentives offered by state and city governments. Read more >>
Red Bull air racing scratched for 2012
There will be no Red Bull Air Race World Championship in 2012, extending a one-year break for the 2011 season. A Red Bull Air Race Team spokesperson said a “revamped concept” will be revealed in 2013. A statement announcing the 2011 postponement had said that the racing organization planned to “fast track” technological advancements to further improve safety; it also cited the need to develop and reinforce strong host city partnerships to secure a long-term race calendar. The abrupt cancellation of the 2011 race series followed an early end to the 2010 races, during which several mishaps occurred.
China to expand GA airspace
China plans to open more low-altitude airspace to general aviation in 2012, the government-run Xinhua News Agency reported Nov. 17. An official with the air traffic control commission told attendees at the International Forum on China Business/General Aviation that airspace below 1,000 meters in northeast, central, and south China and six pilot cities would be open to GA on a trial basis, the report said. China first opened some of its low-altitude airspace to GA last year, it added.
GAMA elects new chairman, adds rotorcraft
The governing body of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has elected a new chairman and accepted its first member from the rotorcraft sector. GAMA’s board of directors announced the decision to extend membership to rotorcraft manufacturers Nov. 14, and has accepted Bell Helicopter as its first member from the sector. Bell, of Fort Worth, Texas, has delivered more than 35,000 aircraft to customers around the world since the company was founded in 1935. Read more >>
Wolf Aviation Fund accepting grant applications
Living the dream—that’s how many people describe their journey into aviation. Funding the dreams of individuals and organizations that have a great idea, or are doing great work in aviation, is the mission of the Wolf Aviation Fund, which is accepting applications until Dec. 15 for its next round of grant awards. Read more >>
Women Fly It Forward 2012 event set for March 10
After earning the title of Most Female-Friendly Airport in March, Frederick Municipal Airport is all set to try again in 2012. And organizer Victoria Neuville says the 2012 Women Fly It Forward event, to be held March 10, will be even bigger. The 2011 event was held in conjunction with the Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, and sought to introduce women and girls to flight. Read more >>
An exciting new development at the San Marcos Airport outside of Austin, Texas—the Redbird Skyport—is taking an innovative approach to all things general aviation, especially flight training. "This is real innovation in general aviation that all of us should celebrate," AOPA President Craig Fuller writes. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Apple releases fix for iOS 5 problem
Apple released iOS 5.0.1 a few days ago, which apparently fixes an issue that caused data to be deleted. According to ForeFlight, the company also is working on an update that takes advantage of the fix. If you’ve updated to iOS 5.0.1 and are using a different aviation application, let AOPA know how it is working in the comments section of the Reporting Points blog.
Hover Power: Early skid gear
Early helicopters used wheels for landing gear—probably a design borrowed from airplanes. While flying in Alaska, one of the early pioneers of helicopter flying, Carl Brady, discovered that this was a bad idea for helicopters: The wheels would caster on rocky mountain tops or slopes, causing the helicopter to roll downhill. Read more >>
It doesn’t surf the net, take pictures, or enable video chat. But Garmin’s new aera 796 brings iPad-like features to a dedicated aviation GPS. AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman takes you into the cockpit to demonstrate the unit’s geo-referenced charts, bright “pinch-zoom” screen that shows in both vertical or horizontal modes, and innovative 3D Vision that brings GPS-derived synthetic vision to a portable unit. The company believes there’s a market for a dedicated aviation GPS that can thrive in environments where commercial devices may not. Watch AOPA Live® >>
Nuts and bolts of the annual inspection
An annual inspection may set you back a hefty sum, but Brampton Flying Club Director of Maintenance Angelo Micone says he’s found problems—from cracked cylinders to twisted engine control cables—that make the yearly ritual worthwhile. Peek inside the inspection panels with The Aviators. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Every flight offers the opportunity to learn. But like most things in aviation, expanding the operational envelope is best done incrementally: Daring leaps risk disastrous landings. About 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 23, 2010, a Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage crashed into the water of Choctawhatchee Bay while attempting a GPS approach into Destin, Fla. Though they were hampered by darkness and fog, search-and-rescue teams found the wreckage within an hour, upside-down in five feet of water. Only the right main gear extended above the surface. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
Fly like a fighter: Belly check
With its bubble canopy, the visibility from the cockpit of an F-15 is awesome. But you can’t see directly underneath the jet. F-15 pilot Larry Brown’s instructor taught that after a sustained turn for more than 180 degrees, it’s time for a belly check: In a right turn where you are looking right, you quickly roll your wings to the left, look left, and then roll back right, look right, and put on the Gs to continue in the original direction of your turn. After an eye-opener in the F-15, the belly check is one thing Brown still does even in light aircraft. Read more >>
Medical certification with gastrointestinal issues
For millions of Americans with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other gastrointestinal disorders, heartburn or nausea can intrude on a pleasant meal with loved ones. Treatments for GERD range from lifestyle changes to medication, and in severe cases, surgery. The FAA allows certification for this and many other common gastrointestinal diagnoses that can be documented as stable and well controlled. Find out how in AOPA’s subject report. Read more >>
IFR Fix: It takes all kinds
Why did you become an instrument pilot? For some pilots, the rating is an essential stepping stone to other goals such as landing an aviation career, maximizing their ability to travel in a personal aircraft, or upgrading to a high-performance single or a twin. Many pilots don't have the goal or the opportunity to fly much IFR, but they see an instrument rating as an insurance policy. Others seek the rating after having an experience that sold them on the added value of IFR skills, such as a close encounter with unexpected bad weather. Read more and take the poll >>
Stay ahead of the weather
Weather forecasts are, at best, an educated guess. Pilots who unexpectedly enter an area of low ceilings and poor visibility can be forced down, often with fatal results, if they're not prepared for the conditions. Staying safe when the clouds are closing in begins with recognizing what’s going on and having a plan in case the conditions worsen. Take the WeatherWise: Ceilings and Visibility online course from the Air Safety Institute and learn what causes, and how to avoid, these weather-related killers.
The FAA’s decision to begin charging for digital chart products and only distribute them to individuals and companies that have an agreement with the agency’s AeroNav Products branch beginning April 5, 2012, has sparked concern throughout the general aviation industry. AOPA and other aviation representatives will meet with the FAA on Dec. 13 to discuss the new policy. Read more >>
To buy or not to buy? ADS-B In group says let pilots choose
Is it worth it? Aircraft owners weigh the costs and benefits of any new technology before installing it in their cockpit. When the scales tip toward value, pilots equip in spades. A government-industry group tasked with setting the stage for future Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) applications recommended that the government make the business case for ADS-B In and let pilots equip on their own. AOPA co-chaired the committee’s business case working group. Read more >>
FAQs: ‘Driver’s license medical’ request
Since AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association announced plans to request an exemption that would allow many pilots to fly recreationally with a driver’s license and self-certification instead of a third-class medical, questions have been rolling in. What limitations would apply? Why not just petition to eliminate the third-class medical? Would AOPA and EAA consider expanding the parameters of the exemption in future efforts? Get answers in the associations’ new page of frequently asked questions.
The 5-percent solution
When Steve Kahn of Bedford, Mass., received a letter from the Maine Revenue Service in May 2007, asking him to complete a use tax certificate and pay tax to Maine on the 2002 Cirrus SR22 he kept at Laurence G. Hanscom Field, he thought it was a mistake. "It was out of the blue," Kahn recalled. "I wrote back, 'This is a mistake—I live in Massachusetts.' When they wrote me and said, 'It’s not a mistake'—that's when I knew I had a real problem." Read more and 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.
Medical Services Plan keeps professional pilot flying
Gould “Stretch” Ryder, a professional helicopter pilot who flies in and out of Manhattan and the Northeast corridor, isn’t fazed by the complex airspace he works within—but he needed a little help when he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. After an industry consultant said he could help him for about $1,000, he turned to AOPA’s Medical Services Plan to navigate the complex world of medical certification. Within two weeks, Ryder was flying again. “AOPA got me my medical back for a lot less time and a lot less money,” he explained. Read more >>
Need a little Christmas? Other holiday gifts?
There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than with AOPA’s Holiday Ornament. The ornament, now in its second year, features a 1940 Waco. Measuring 2.5 inches by 3 inches, this holiday ornament is made of stamped metal and appears three-dimensional. It’s just one of the gifts available at the AOPA Store. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a communications coordinator, manager of flight training programs, online product manager, AOPA Live producer/videojournalist, Web business analyst, associate editor–Web, associate editor–Web/ ePilot, aviation technical specialist, and manager of airspace and modernization. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.