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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 unit that include geo-referenced charts, a bright pinch-zoom screen that shows in portrait or landscape modes, and innovative “3D Vision” that provides an in-trail view of your airplane in color-coded, database-derived surroundings. “We believe very strongly that there’s a market for a dedicated aviation GPS,” said Jim Alpiser, Garmin director of aftermarket sales. “The 796 has some features in common with the iPad, but it’s meant for aviation and aviation only, and it will thrive in harsh cockpit environments where the iPad and other tablet computers can’t and don’t.” The 796 will be publicly unveiled at AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford, Conn., Sept. 22 through 24. Read more and watch AOPA Live® >>
We’re always telling you to go find an airplane for less than $20,000, but we don’t take the challenge ourselves. This time it’s different. AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton K. Marsh looked for deals on airport bulletin boards and online. From a 1946 Luscombe 8A to a 1980 Piper Tomahawk, these selections offer proof that the inexpensive airplane is indeed out there. Half are tricycle-gear aircraft, which AOPA statistics tell us most members prefer, and half are tailwheel aircraft. Read more >>
Renter no more
You know those airplane raffles that groups around the country hold from time to time? AOPA Associate Editor Jill W. Tallman has bought more than a couple of those tickets. Wishing and hoping, however, only get you so far. A better financial situation combined with a soft used-aircraft market recently took ownership from the realm of fantasy to a reality for Tallman, who offered lessons learned from her experience in a September AOPA Pilot article. Now the owner of a Piper Cherokee 140 is hearing from pilots across the nation about their aircraft—and ownership aspirations. Are you thinking of taking another look at ownership?
The Piper Meridian, until now limited to operating from paved runways, has FAA approval to operate from unpaved surfaces, including grass and dirt runways. The new privilege also is granted to owners of older Meridians. The $2 million Meridian is a single-engine turboprop with six seats. Piper officials said the aircraft will require a ground roll of 1,980 feet to take off from dry grass (compared to 1,650 feet on a paved runway), or 2,926 feet (compared to 2,438 feet) to take off from dry grass and clear a 50-foot obstacle. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
Dogfight: Innovative or insane?
Would you fly an airplane you built yourself, or leave it to the experts? AOPA Pilot editors Thomas A. Horne and Dave Hirschman faced off again this month about Experimental amateur-built versus standard certificated aircraft. New ideas are tested and proven in Experimental aviation, Hirschman writes. But it’s possible for an inspired, yet untrained individual to come up with an airplane having flight characteristics that don’t meet conventionally accepted safety standards, counters Horne. Don’t miss the duo square off on other issues on AOPA Live during AOPA Aviation Summit. Read more and vote >>
Flight school rides out post-9/11 storm
Superior Flight School opened for business bright and early on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. By noon, it looked as though the fledgling business at Cobb County-McCollum Field near Atlanta might be closing before it had a chance to get off the ground. On Sept. 11, 2011, the flight school hosted a barbecue that was a salute to 10 years in business as well as a remembrance of lives lost on that day. Read more >>
Float flying’s summer splash
Bob Welch climbs down from his Cessna Skylark to direct a crew to help maneuver the amphibious floatplane—with moose-themed art on surfaces from the tail to paddles tucked into the floats—into a parking spot. It’s Sept. 9, the first full day of the 2011 International Seaplane Fly-in on Moosehead Lake in Greenville, Maine. The first wave of burgers and dogs has barely hit the grill, and already the crowd wanders among the aircraft or seeks out good spots to unfold lawn chairs and watch the flying. There’s a sudden roar. Everyone looks up. “Here comes the fire boss,” says a voice in the crowd. Read more >>
Reporting Points: iPad insanity
Flight Training Deputy Editor Ian J. Twombly has been flying with an iPad for about a year now, and he just doesn’t get it: Apple’s iPad has taken off in aviation like nothing he’s ever seen. Even GPS, which was a much bigger technological leap, took years to catch on with as much unbridled excitement. When you’re talking about the difference between going from VORs to direct and carrying paper versus a tablet, it seems to him that there’s no contest. Read more >>
Aircraft developed in India flies in Australia
In a joint public and private development effort, a prototype fixed-gear single-engine aircraft designed in India has flown in Australia. It was built by GippsAero, the Australian manufacturer of the Airvan, a company owned since 2010 by Mahindra Aerospace of Mumbai, India. The all-metal five-place aircraft, powered by a Lycoming IO-540 engine, is designated the C-NM5. Read more >>
Nothing turns an aviation enthusiast’s head or transports you back to the barnstorming era like the sight of a Stearman biplane passing overhead or resting in the grass. Imagine the effect that a gathering of 139 Stearmans at the fortieth annual National Stearman Fly-in at the Galesburg, Ill., Municipal Airport had on crowds. Enthusiasts toured the flight line, took airplane rides, and enjoyed performances by pilots of this classic that has served in roles from military trainer to aerial applicator and show aircraft since 1934. Read more and view the slideshow >>
Dogs on the move
More than 40 pilots will team up with Pilots N Paws on Sept. 17 to transport 150 to 200 animals to new homes in five states. The event will commence at Florence Regional Airport, and dogs that have been removed from local animal shelters will be flown to rescue groups and permanent homes in Washington, D.C., Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Georgia. The event is dedicated to the “Chesterfield 22.” Read more >>
Night for Flight auction offers vacations, travel
What’s your idea of a dream vacation? Golf or tennis, casino thrills, the Great Outdoors, or a foray into the big city all beguile vacationers’ dreams of the perfect getaway. Chances are, you will find the package you want—and help assure aviation’s future—by bidding on one of the vacation travel offerings in the AOPA Foundation's A Night for Flight charity auction. There's even an opportunity to walk through history at the mountain ranch of a U.S. president. The auction closes Sept. 22, so don’t miss your chance to bid. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Pilot, actor Cliff Robertson dies
Cliff Robertson, passionate about aviation and flying since his teenage years, died Sept. 10 in Stony Brook, N.Y., a day after his eighty-eighth birthday. He was first attracted to aviation by watching aerobatic pilots when he was five years old in La Jolla, Calif., as he related to the Van Nuys Aviation and Business Journal in 2004. Read more >>
Balloon group launches ‘e-blast,’ will light up Airportfest
Countless early risers have been rewarded on a beautiful morning with the sight of a hot air balloon drifting peacefully above the scene, and resolved to learn more about ballooning and the pilots who practice the art. Following up on that resolution will be just a mouse click away Oct. 21 when the Balloon Federation of America launches a new monthly “e-blast” electronic publication. If the idea of lighter-than-air flight lights you up, be sure to attend AOPA Aviation Summit’s Rock ‘n Rally at Rock ‘n Rally at Airportfest at Brainard Airport in Hartford, Conn., Sept. 23, when five balloons will put on a glow. Read more >>
Pilot in Guinness World Records
Barrington Irving, a Jamaican-born, 23-year-old pilot who flew around the world in a custom-built Columbia 400 called Inspiration, is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records 2012. Irving, now 27, circumnavigated the globe between March 23 and June 27, 2007. His 97-day flight is in the world record book for the “youngest person to fly solo around the world” as well as the “first-ever solo circumnavigation flight by a black pilot.” Read more >>
A special airworthiness information bulletin (SAIB) provides for inspection for fatigue cracking of the engine mount tube of Air Tractor Inc. Models AT-400, AT-400A, AT-402, AT-402A, and AT-402B airplanes. Download the bulletin >>
Reporting Points: Looking back on 9/11
On the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, AOPA Pilot editors reflected on the attacks that changed the world. Mike Collins remembered the skies going silent that day; Julie Summers Walker looked back on an encounter years later with two resilient pedi-cab drivers in New York City. Collins also shared the story of the first F-16 sortie scrambled to protect Washington, D.C., from hijacked United Airlines Flight 93. The aircraft were unarmed, so their only plan, if they found the jet, was to ram it.
Flying the line
The dream job for many pilots would be to fly the line for a major air carrier. The perks and the pay aren't what they used to be, but if it's what you want, it's the only thing there is. This week, The Aviators shows us a day in the life of an airline pilot. And next week, as part of AOPA Live's coverage of AOPA Aviation Summit, we'll have a live interview on what it takes to become an airline pilot. Watch AOPA Live >>
Tune in online for a piece of the action
Do pilots make better CEOs? Why is general aviation on the NTSB’s “Most Wanted” list? What can you learn from the health challenges of the astronauts? If you can’t make it to AOPA Aviation Summit, you can still tune in to AOPA Live for answers to these questions and more from industry experts, AOPA staff, and special guests. AOPA Live will stream video from the show Sept. 22 through 24, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. daily. Keynote presentations will be rebroadcast at 1 p.m. each day. Check the schedule for more information.
Cuba Gooding Jr. promotes ‘Red Tails’ at Summit
Get the scoop on Red Tails, a George Lucas movie set to debut in 2012, from one of the stars, Cuba Gooding Jr. Gooding and AOPA President Craig Fuller will talk about the movie, which pays tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, on AOPA Live at 10 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, Sept. 22, at AOPA Aviation Summit. If you can't make it in person, watch live online.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
AOPA AVIATION SUMMIT
With dozens of aircraft on display at Airportfest, more than 400 exhibitor booths in the exhibit hall, and more than 60 hours of seminars offered over the course of three days, AOPA Aviation Summit is personal aviation’s premier trade show. At the heart of Summit, which takes place Sept. 22 through 24 in Hartford, Conn., is the opportunity for attendees to learn more about the issues facing general aviation and have their voices heard. Each day will begin at 8 a.m. with a keynote session in the ballroom of the convention center. Read more >>
IFR offerings abound in Summit seminars
Whether you fly a little bit of IFR, or file every time—or are just thinking about getting started in an instrument ticket—a variety of seminars at AOPA Aviation Summit will inform, educate, and encourage you to make the best use of your aircraft and your rating. Read more >>
Don’t be a mush mouth, talk to ATC like a pro
Do you say what you mean or use proper phraseology when transmitting on the radio? AOPA Pilot editors Tom Horne and Dave Hirschman debated two ends of the spectrum earlier this year, but you can find out from the pros—air traffic controllers—exactly what to say and how to say it during seminars at AOPA Aviation Summit. Read more >>
Add ‘shopping’ to your AOPA Aviation Summit list
Check out the AOPA merchandise available at the AOPA store located in the exhibit hall at AOPA Aviation Summit. You’ve seen these products in the pages of AOPA Pilot—now you can see them in person. Products on site will include the AOPA wind shirt, T-shirts, Zulu watch, flight bag, and holiday ornament. You won’t leave disappointed. Read more >>
Fly-in procedures available online
If you’re flying in to Hartford-Brainard Airport for AOPA Aviation Summit, be sure to download the special arrival and departure procedures, in effect from Sept. 21 through 25.
Safety & Proficiency
“Datalink Lowdown” in the August issue of AOPA Pilot provoked comments from the two major suppliers of datalink weather. Bob Baron of Baron Services—the provider behind WxWorx’s XM WX service—and Paul Devlin of WSI each explains why his service is best. See why XM WX favors composite reflectivity Nexrad radar depictions, and WSI feels base reflectivity is just as good. Just remember, steering clear of dangerous radar signatures is the hands-down winner when it comes to using datalink radar in the cockpit. Read more >>
Conditions that are marginal in the daytime generally don’t become any more manageable after dark. Trouble is just about guaranteed if you decide to go scud running at night. During the evening of Nov. 21, 2010, a Piper PA24-260 Comanche hit a treetop near Norfolk, Neb. One possible witness told investigators that between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m., she’d seen an airplane fly by so close to the ground that she told her husband, “Wow, that plane is really low. I hope it’s not going to crash.” Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
Stepping up? High-performance may be the ticket
If you have your eye on a bigger, faster airplane, the proper endorsement will help you get into the left seat. But what do you need: a high performance or complex endorsement? A high-performance airplane has an engine of more than 200 horsepower. If the aircraft also has retractable gear, flaps, and a controllable propeller, you’ll need a complex endorsement to boot. Brush up on which aircraft require which endorsements in AOPA’s Transitioning to a High-Performance Aircraft subject report.
How much do you know about your vacuum system?
A vacuum pump failure in IMC rarely kills anyone; it's the spatial disorientation that results from inaccurate instrument readings that starts the downward spiral. Do you know the signs that your vacuum system is failing? Part of troubleshooting any problem is first understanding how that system works. The Pneumatic Systems Safety Brief from the Air Safety Institute explains how pressure systems work, how to determine early on if one is starting to degrade, and what to do if it does. Download and read the brief >>
Avoid mishaps on the ground
Have you ever made a mistake while taxiing? If so, you’re hardly alone. Getting to and from the runway sounds simple, but there’s plenty that can go wrong, and it’s important to stay alert and understand the rules. How well do you know runway signs and markings? Are you up to speed on the new rules for taxi clearances, or the phraseology that replaced “position and hold”? If not, be sure to take the Air Safety Institute’s revamped Runway Safety online course. Get started >>
Learn shortened runway terms
Construction at airports may shorten the runway, so the FAA is informing pilots of ATIS messages and takeoff/landing clearances they may receive at airports where runway construction is under way or just completed. Download the PDF >>
Bill to restore BARR provisions introduced
The effort to restore privacy to general aviation flights that can be tracked on private Internet sites using FAA data continues to gain interest in Congress, with a new bill that was introduced Sept. 12 by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and 13 co-sponsors. AOPA and the National Business Aviation Association also are seeking court relief from the FAA’s May 27 decision to impose severe new restrictions on pilots’ use of the Block Aircraft Registration Request program. Read more >>
House, Senate approve four-month FAA bill
With the FAA’s spending authority set to expire Sept. 17, the House and Senate passed a four-month extension this week, preventing what could have been a second partial shutdown of the agency since July. The measure authorizes FAA programs through January 2012, at current levels of funding, while also maintaining at current levels federal highway, transit, and highway safety programs through March 2012. Read more >>
FAA OKs use of 100VLL fuel for GA aircraft
The FAA announced on Sept. 14 the approval of a new fuel that meets a “very low lead” (VLL) specification for use in all aircraft currently operating on 100LL. The approval, issued in a special airworthiness information bulletin, is the culmination of an effort initiated last year by the members of the GA Avgas Coalition, the petroleum industry, and several engine and airframe manufacturers. The new fuel specification, called 100VLL, has a maximum lead content nearly 20 percent less than the existing 100LL specification. 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.
New membership option, AOPA Plus, offers enhanced benefits
With nearly 400,000 members across the country, it's easy to understand that AOPA has outgrown its "one size fits all" approach to membership. In response, the association is developing additional membership options, and is excited to introduce the first of these, AOPA Plus. Plus bridges the gap between the benefits of regular membership and the additional services members have asked AOPA to offer. It includes a variety of enhanced benefits such as a dedicated telephone line to the Pilot Information Center, invitations to select regional events, and 10 percent off the AOPA Legal Services Plan or Medical Services Program. Read more >>
Consider Bank of America for your next aircraft loan
When you decide to buy an airplane, you are faced with several decisions, but AOPA has made one decision easy for you. Trust the AOPA Aircraft Financing program, where Bank of America has been the sole provider of financing for AOPA members for more than 15 years. The aircraft loan specialists understand how important this aircraft purchase is to you. The specialists handle thousands of aircraft applications a year, giving them the expertise to guide you through the process from start to finish. Read more >>
Aviation-themed holiday cards share passion for flying
Express your passion for aviation through your holiday greetings this year—and help the AOPA Foundation at the same time. View all 26 AOPA Foundation Christmas and general holiday card designs, as well as other fun gifts, at the Holiday Card Center website. The AOPA Foundation receives a portion of each sale to support its work—and you receive high-quality products, free gifts with each purchase, and 100-percent satisfaction, guaranteed.
Leading Edge: You can’t take it with you
AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg discusses the opportunity to really help GA and to leave a legacy. So many great activities benefit from bequests, he writes, and, depending on how it’s structured, you can deprive the tax man of some of your hard-earned dollars—not that any of us would want the government to do without. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an associate editor–Web, associate editor–Web/ ePilot, production assistant–Web, application support engineer, .Net developer, aviation technical specialist, and manager of airspace and modernization. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.