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While AOPA has numerous initiatives under way to grow the pilot population and support general aviation flying, the most visible over the next few months is the Keep ‘em Flying Challenge that provides a series of rich prizes to GA pilots who get out and fly this summer. According to AOPA President Craig Fuller, AOPA's national challenge is patterned from a similar state challenge conducted last year in Georgia. In taking the challenge national, AOPA strived to keep it simple, Fuller told reporters March 30. The challenge is open to any pilot 19 years old or older of any certificate level, including student pilots. Pilots need only fly as pilot in command for five hours to five airports located at least 50 miles apart—or complete five flights in a balloon or glider—and take any Air Safety Institute online safety course. Read more >>
Center, scholarships help students succeed
AOPA unveiled another step in its Flight Training Student Retention Initiative March 30: the creation of a center inside AOPA and headed by a yet-to-be-named vice president that will seek to further implement efforts to build the pilot population, create community among pilots, grow the organization's Let's Go Flying project, and support flying clubs. The new center will also oversee AOPA's flight training scholarship program. At Sun 'n Fun, AOPA President Craig Fuller announced three winners of this year's scholarships. Read more >>
Expert: China saves Cessna, not Hawker
In an exclusive interview with AOPA, Morgan Stanley Managing Director Heidi Wood shed some new light on recent developments in the business aviation manufacturing segment. Wood, who specializes in aerospace investments, views the recent strategic agreements between Cessna and Aviation Industry Corp. of China as not just a victory for Cessna, but as a Chinese rejection of several other manufacturers' advances. Among them, Wood says, are Bombardier, Dassault Falcon Jet, Embraer, and Hawker Beechcraft Corp. "They all came to the dance party, hoping to partner with the Chinese," Wood said. Read more >>
Hawker accountants to express doubt about company's future
When Hawker Beechcraft financial managers file their delayed Form 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it will contain a phrase from the company's accounting firm expressing that "there can be no assurance that it will continue to operate as a going concern." Read more >>
Youth serves the future of the Commemorative Air Force
A new generation is blazing a trail into history, and securing the future of the Commemorative Air Force. The organization, founded in 1957 by Lloyd P. Nolen and a small band of ex-military aviators, is reshaping an image of a group once largely closed to outsiders. President and CEO Stephan Brown put a 29-year-old B-29 pilot, along with a pair of young B-24 copilots, front and center at Sun 'n Fun. "These are the faces of the CAF going forward," Brown told a group of reporters. Read more >>
Friends fete Hoover with Texas-sized 90th birthday party
Aviation icon and World War II hero R.A. "Bob" Hoover celebrated his belated ninetieth birthday March 26 to 28 in a Texas-sized party surrounded by friends from across the country. The celebration, coordinated by Bill Fanning of the Pilot Insurance Center, was the sort of party any military aviator would be proud of, regardless of what decade they may have first flown. Read more >>
New Diamond in the Austrian sky
Diamond Aircraft announced April 3 that its "new flagship" has made a maiden flight, carrying the company CEO and flight test chief aloft on a pair of diesel engines turning out 180 horsepower each. The DA52 posted a gear-up initial climb rate of 1,700 fpm (at 120 KIAS), reaching 12,000 feet in less than nine minutes and then cruising at 190 KTAS, according to the company announcement. Read more >>
Meet the Thunderbirds No. 3 pilot
Air Force Maj. Caroline Jensen, the fourth woman to hold a flight slot with the Thunderbirds and the second to fly the No. 3 jet, is the last of the team to touch down at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., on March 29. With more than 2,500 hours total time, including 200 combat hours, Jensen holds the right wing slot of the four-ship formation diamond. "I'd like to meet a bunch of kids this weekend and have them send me an email some day and say, 'Hey, I met you at Sun'n Fun 2012 and now I'm going to be Thunderbird No. 3,'" she said. Read more >>
Jeppesen releases big update to iPad application
Mobile FlightDeck, Jeppesen's chart and route-planning iPad application, has a host of new features, including planning through "rubber banding." Other changes include waypoint distance calculation from current location, a GPS receiver strength screen, and a screen lock that keeps users from inadvertently making a selection at the wrong time. The changes are all part of Jeppesen's app upgrade strategy over the next 18 months or so. Read more >>
Through the lens: Sun 'n Fun frame by frame
From jaw-dropping aerobatic routines to future aviators soaking in airshow glory and pristine aircraft parked perfectly for display, the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Fla., gave spectators one interesting look after another. Sun 'n Fun reported increased traffic to the day- and nighttime shows this year as it reached out specifically to families in the central-Florida area. Meanwhile, thousands of pilots flew in for the ritual spring break. Catch a glimpse of the festivities through AOPA Corporate Pilot Mark Evans' camera. View a slideshow >>
Terrafugia flying car prototype takes flight
A production prototype of the Terrafugia Transition flying car, a combination street-legal car and airplane, flew the traffic pattern at Plattsburg, N.Y., on March 23, the company announced on April 2. It marked the first time a Terrafugia prototype has flown around the traffic pattern. Read more >>
Resuming the Journey: Aircraft familiarization
After being out of the cockpit for nine years, a pilot getting back into flying might be a little nervous. Is taking off and landing like riding a bicycle again after nearly a decade? AOPA's Kathy Dondzila readied for her first recurrency lesson in N330ME, AOPA's 2000 Millennium Model Cessna 172S. Read more >>
P-51 Mustang romps to become Challenge Champion
After 62 pairings of some of aviation's most respected aircraft, it came down to two mighty and beloved airplanes. Pilots voted and talked smack, with one winner prevailing in AOPA's Favorite Aircraft Challenge. Even though the powerful and storied Douglas DC-3 put up a courageous fight in the finals April 1 and 2, it could not attract enough votes to overcome a wave of support by P-51 fans, who helped crown the Mustang as 2012 Challenge Champion. Read more >>
Redbird, Bahamas Habitat donate wings to missionary
Round trip from Eleuthera Island to a nearby island in the Bahamas could take 11 hours by car and boat for Bahamas Methodist Habitat Executive Director Abraham McIntyre. Soon, those trips could be cut to a couple of hours of flight time. McIntyre is working on his private pilot certificate thanks to Redbird Flight Simulations and Bahamas Habitat, the sister organization of Bahamas Methodist Habitat that provides air support for work projects and disaster relief. Read more >>
Rare rides, new flying challenge
If you weren't able to get to Lakeland, Fla., for this year's Sun 'n Fun airshow and fly-in, AOPA Live® brings you the highlights of this action-packed event. Take a ride in the only flying Boeing B-29 Superfortress, learn about AOPA's new Keep 'em Flying Challenge to encourage pilots to take to the skies this spring and summer, and find out how a mission organization will be getting lift in the Bahamas in this newscast from the fly-in. Watch AOPA Live >>
Dozens gathered April 5 to listen to the top executives from several aviation associations participate in a roundtable discussion about the issues facing the industry. Paula Derks, president of the Aircraft Electronics Association, moderated the panel as part of the AEA fifty-fifth annual International Convention and Trade Show. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
It's not that different
Among pilots in the Lower 48, it's an article of faith that flying in Alaska is just different. Things are different in Alaska, yes, but not everything. On May 27, 2011, a Cessna 180 crashed and burned during an attempted takeoff from the Birchwood airport northeast of Anchorage, killing all five people on board. Two eyewitnesses saw the Cessna begin its takeoff roll on Runway 19R; by the time it lifted off, they said, the aircraft was turning left in an unusually nose-high attitude. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
Call it chemistry. You've met another instrument pilot at the FBO. Turns out you had the same CFII, so that was a conversation starter. Now you've gone out for coffee, and then lunch. This morning an email is waiting for you. "Will you be my safety pilot on Saturday?" The pilot has popped the question. Seems a little soon, but assuming no red flags have surfaced this can be a learning experience for you and good service to the other. Read more and take the poll >>
Spread your 'Wings' with Air Safety Institute minicourses
Are you in search of earning additional FAA Wings credit? Most Air Safety Institute minicourses now qualify for a half credit each toward the Wings program. And there's strength in numbers: Successfully complete two minicourses to earn one full credit. With nine qualifying Air Safety Institute minicourses those numbers add up quickly! Pick from a variety of topics, including IFR chart refreshers, accident case studies, a guide to using flight service, and even a review of pneumatic systems for pilots and mechanics.
VFR into IMC: Learn to escape the odds
The Air Safety Institute put pilots' skills at VFR-into-IMC scenarios to the test through a Redbird full-motion simulator at the AOPA Tent during Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla. The goal was to convey the seriousness of VFR flight into instrument conditions and reinforce basic skills—aviate, navigate, communicate. Read more >>
Where are those voices coming from?
You know there are other airplanes around you—you've heard their chatter on the CTAF—but you can't see them. How can you avoid what you can't see? The recent midair collision in Longmont, Colo., reminds us that while they are rare, midair collisions do happen and usually with tragic results. Learn some tips about how to decrease your chances of colliding with another airplane with the Air Safety Institute's Collision Avoidance Safety Advisor and online quiz. When it comes to collision avoidance, what you can't see can hurt you.
Tips on buying, owning an aircraft
Are you are considering buying an aircraft? In this recorded Webinar, AOPA senior aviation technical specialists discuss the aircraft buying process, from searching for the right aircraft to holding the keys in your hand. Plus, you'll hear the firsthand purchasing experience of an aircraft owner and learn some ownership tips. Representatives from the AOPA Aircraft Financing Program, AOPA Insurance Agency, AIC Title Service, and the AOPA Aircraft Partnership Program also provide relevant purchasing information. Watch AOPA Live >>
Leading Edge: The long way home
This year the weather at Sun 'n Fun could not have been nicer—but with treks south to the "spring break for pilots," there's never a free weather ride in both directions. The return trip to Frederick, Md., proved once again that deviations around thunderstorms add quality miles and hours to the logbook. AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg made his way north with the help of datalink weather. What do you think of this cockpit tool? Read more and take the poll >>
Thousands of pilots who streamed through the AOPA Tent at Sun 'n Fun logged support for an effort by AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association to reduce the burden of the third class medical. Attendees who entered the daily drawing had an opportunity to express their views on the associations' petition for an exemption to allow pilots to use recurrent education in lieu of a medical certificate for many common general aviation recreational operations; of more than 4,000 responses, 97 percent expressed support for the exemption. AOPA and EAA are now urging pilots to share those thoughts formally with the FAA. Read more >>
GA roots focus of Graves' town hall
Protecting pilots and antique aircraft, the beginning and foundation of general aviation, were the focus of a town hall hosted by Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) March 31 at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla. AOPA President Craig Fuller and leaders from the Recreational Aviation Foundation, Commemorative Air Force, Antique Airplane Association, and Helicopter Association International joined Graves to discuss what the associations are doing to protect GA. Read more >>
'Bankruptcy' may loom for LightSquared
LightSquared, the capital venture whose plan to build a wireless network imploded because its technology blocked GPS signals, may file for bankruptcy, said published reports. Read more >>
Class B graphics offer clear view of boundaries
Pilots can start taking advantage of a more widely available tool for navigating the increasingly congested and complex Class B airspace in areas across the United States. To help pilots identify the boundaries of the airspace, the FAA is rolling out online Class B enhancement graphics for all Class B areas in the country. Read more >>
Senators to DHS: Expedite repair-station rule
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must promptly complete its rules covering aircraft repair station security—freeing aircraft manufacturers to compete and releasing the FAA from a ban on certifying foreign repair facilities, said members of the Senate Commerce Committee. Read more >>
Airport Support Network volunteers gather at Sun 'n Fun
Airport Support Network volunteers and their guests learned about AOPA initiatives and new regulatory developments that can affect their home bases on March 30 during Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla. Read more >>
New member discount adds value to AOPA membership
Air Ledger is the newest company to join the AOPA Lifestyles Member Discounts Program, a free, core membership benefit available to all AOPA members. Air Ledger is offering AOPA members two free months of its real-time aircraft expense-tracking solution. It's easy to take advantage of this discount through the AOPA Lifestyles Member Discounts program. Just log in to the Lifestyles Web page and click on one of the 24 offers now available. All you need to do is be an AOPA member.
Aircraft renters: Don't fly unprotected this spring
Now that spring is here and summer is on its way, more and more pilots will be taking to the skies over the next few months. The cost of aircraft renters insurance is affordable for AOPA members, thanks to the efforts of AOPA and the AOPA Insurance Agency. AOPA members will receive a 5-percent discount on renters insurance policies, allowing members to obtain a comprehensive package for just $99 a year. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a vice president of strategy and philanthropic operations, director of accounting, program manager—products, project manager of online products, director of new market development, manager of regulatory affairs, associate project manager, and associate editor–Web/ ePilot. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.