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No one had ever taken off in less than 500 feet in a North American B-25 Mitchell, but that’s what the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, led by Lt. Col. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, needed to master in order to launch an attack against Japan from the USS Hornet. Crews practiced at Eglin Field in Florida, and on April 18, 1942, 80 men on 16 bombers launched on a one-way mission from the aircraft carrier. The raiders and those who supported them were honored April 18 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, during ceremonies marking the seventieth anniversary of the raid that boosted morale throughout the United States and rattled the Japanese. This reunion marks the first, and perhaps last, gathering of representatives from all elements of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid in one location. Read more and watch AOPA Live® >>
Reporting Points: Behind the B-25 photo shoot
Some events are just so cool and rare that you’ll do whatever it takes to capture the moment and pray that you can at least convey a glimpse of the magic to those who couldn’t be there in person. The timed departure of 20 World War II bombers from the Grimes Gathering of B-25s is one of those events. See how the early-morning photo shoot came together. Read more >>
China revives Cirrus SF50
After being in developmental limbo for three years, Cirrus' Vision SF50 single-engine jet has received a $200 million shot in the arm. Cirrus' new owner, China Aviation Industry General Aviation Company Ltd. (CAIGA), provided the funds, which add to the $45 million that Cirrus has already spent on the project. "This is the biggest announcement in the history of the company," said Cirrus President Dale Klapmeier in a recorded statement played at a press conference at the Aero Friedrichshafen convention. Cirrus Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Todd Simmons predicted certification in 2015. Read more and watch an exclusive AOPA Live video >>
Do you FlyQ?
You’ve asked for it, and now it’s here. AOPA now offers members a free, full-function airport information and flight-planning iPhone application, which also works on the iPad. FlyQ features airport information, weather briefings and graphics, a robust flight-planning engine, and the ability to file flight plans. The app was designed with readability, flexibility, and speed as three key elements. Read more >>
Shuttle spotting: ‘Discovery’ lands at final home
With the words of Dulles Tower, a chapter of space travel drew to a close: “Pluto Nine-Five Heavy, cleared to land.” The space shuttle Discovery appeared over the treeline atop its carrier aircraft to an eruption of applause from thousands of visitors lining the parking lot of the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center April 17. The accomplished orbiter, following a career that spanned 27 years, descended on final approach to its retirement home at the Virginia museum after overflying landmarks around the Washington, D.C., area. Read more >>
Reporting Points: ‘Discovery,’ from alpha to omega
For AOPA Pilot Technical Editor Mike Collins, the arrival of the space shuttle Discovery at Washington Dulles International Airport represented a first, and last, chance to see the veteran orbiter in flight—albeit on the back of a jumbo jet. Back in 1984, as a newspaper photographer in Florida, Collins was credentialed for the launch of mission STS 41-D: Discovery’s maiden flight. He was standing on the Fire Tower, squinting at the pad through an 800-mm lens, when the countdown was halted and the launch scrubbed. Read more >>
Pipistrel’s Panthera debuts
The first flight-test airplane of Slovenian manufacturer Pipistrel's Panthera attracted hordes of gawkers at the Aero show in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The four-seat, 202-knot, 210-horsepower Lycoming IO-390-powered airplane is projected to be certified in both Europe and the United States in 2015. The airplane has a carbon-fiber and Kevlar composite construction and comes with a ballistic parachute system, gull-wing doors, and a panel built around Garmin's G500 avionics suite. Read more >>
British team finds cache of Spitfires buried in Myanmar
As many as 20 Supermarine Spitfires lie in wait, and British officials have secured permission for a team of aviation archaeologists led by a farmer from Sandtoft, England, to begin digging in Myanmar soil. An offhand remark 15 years ago from a construction battalion veteran sparked the search: The aircraft had been buried in their transport crates in the waning days of World War II. David Cundall, 62, told the Daily Telegraph that the first peek at the buried fighters suggests the aircraft may be restored. Read more >>
Forecasters credited with saving lives
Warnings of the April 14 tornado outbreak, which included more than 120 confirmed twisters across the Plains and Midwest, started days in advance—thanks to expert forecasters and cutting-edge technology. The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center is the heart of the nation's severe storm forecasting effort, staffed around the clock and equipped with a dazzling array of digital data feeds. Operations Chief Bill Bunting said the first signs of trouble were spotted a full week in advance. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
Hawker Beechcraft loses more ground in 2011
Hawker Beechcraft survived the recent outbreak of tornadoes with minimal damage to its Wichita, Kan., factories—about the only good news the company has produced in recent months. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association released revised aircraft shipment figures for 2011, days after the storms, showing a 7.5-percent overall decline in general aviation aircraft shipments for 2011, compared to the company’s 2010 totals. The shipment report followed fresh speculation the aircraft maker is headed for bankruptcy, fueled by a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that details a net loss of $632.8 million. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Hawker reports huge loss
As anticipated, Hawker Beechcraft has released its Form 10-K to the Securities and Exchange Commission reporting an operating loss of $481.8 million and a net loss of $632.8 million for 2011. Read more >>
Diamond shows off new airplanes and powerplants
Diamond Aircraft has always had a major presence at Aero, and this year was no exception. On prominent display were several ambitious new projects—including a 197-knot, five- to seven-seater powered by two 180-horsepower AE300 turbodiesel engines, hybrid and multifuel engines, and an "electronic parachute" that will provide airspeed envelope protection and an autoland function in case of pilot incapacitation. Center stage at the Diamond booth went to the company’s new DA52-VII, which will come in two versions—one for Europe and one for the United States. Read more >>
Tecnam’s new P92s
Italian manufacturer Tecnam revealed a new taildragger and amphibious seaplane to attendees at the Aero show, along with hopes that they’ll meet with success in the American market. Read more >>
Resuming the Journey: Takeoffs and landings
A pilot’s first lesson after a nine-year hiatus left her feeling increasingly confident in regaining her skills. But how would she handle the second lesson: takeoffs and landings with winds of 13 knots gusting to 18 knots? Her landings on the previous flight had been pretty good, so she expected this lesson would be a piece of cake. She was wrong. Read more >>
NASA, SpaceX express cautious optimism for April 30 launch
Two weeks ahead of the first planned attempt to rendezvous a commercial spacecraft with the International Space Station, all systems are go, and officials from NASA and private contractor SpaceX are keeping their fingers crossed. Government and company officials worked to temper expectations during an April 16 briefing following a pre-mission conference on the planned April 30 launch, already delayed for additional testing. SpaceX was awarded a contract worth up to $396 million in 2006 to design and build a launch system and orbital vehicle capable of reaching the space station. Read more >>
Lycoming, EU bless UL 91
Soon after the European Union approved its use of UL 91 unleaded avgas, Lycoming Engines announced that it is seeking FAA approval to use the fuel in 35 of its engines. Read more >>
PC-Aero goes solar
At last year’s Aero convention, PC-Aero GmbH designer Calin Gologan was on hand to unveil his first electrically powered single-seater, the Elektra One. This year, Gologan’s exhibit showed off that design’s progression to solar-augmented power. The Elektra One Solar has solar panels attached to the upper surfaces of the wings, horizontal stabilizer, and fuselage. The solar panels power the airplane’s lithium ion battery, which in turn powers the ship’s 22-horsepower electric engine. Gologan calculates that the solar panels will provide up to 50 percent of Elektra One Solar’s energy. Read more >>
Frederick airport ‘most female-friendly’
It’s official: Maryland’s Frederick Municipal Airport, the home base of AOPA, is the most female-friendly airport in the United States. Local pilots flew 242 women and girls out of the airport on March 10 to secure the national title. Pilots worldwide carried 1,104 girls and women aloft during Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, March 5 to 11. A helicopter pilot in the Northwest Territories of Canada secured the international title for her airport. Read more >>
Meet the artist who designed your certificate
Outside of the sprawling campus of the FAA Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, few pilots have probably heard of Bryan Dahlvang—but nearly all have seen his work. The standard FAA pilot certificate, updated in 2004, is the product of a team of registry officials and designer Dahlvang, who spent about as long working on the details of the design as it takes many private pilots to earn one—roughly a year. Read more >>
Economic picture improves for Textron
Economic numbers improved for Textron, the parent company of Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter, during the first quarter of 2012, the company said in an 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Total revenues were up by more than 15 percent to $2.9 billion. Read more >>
Father of Twin Bee dies at 95
Joseph W. Gigante, founder of STOL Aircraft in Norwood, Mass., where he designed and produced all multiengine conversions of the famous Twin Bee amphibious aircraft, has died at 95 at his home in Westwood, Mass. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Barnstormers storming to the Midwest
If you can get to North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Illinois this summer, you’ll have a chance to drink in some mighty nice antique aircraft and hang out with the folks who fly them. The American Barnstormers Old-Fashioned Tour is making its every-other-year appearance in August. Weather permitting, you’ll see 14 aircraft and their costumed pilots, and even purchase a ride. Read more >>
Aero kicks off in Germany
Germany’s Aero Friedrichshafen general aviation convention is to Europe what AOPA Aviation Summit, EAA AirVenture, and Sun ’n Fun are to the United States, all rolled into one. On setup day for the 550 exhibitors at Aero, AOPA Live took a quick tour of the goings-on—from the newest zeppelins to remote-controlled airplanes. Watch AOPA Live >>
Simulators accelerate pilot’s training
Practice, practice, practice—that’s how to master crosswind landings or simulated emergencies. That usually means many flight hours, but for Abraham McIntyre, it’s how he spends part of some mornings in an experimental accelerated private pilot training course at the Redbird Flight Simulations facility in San Marcos, Texas. Redbird donated the training slot to humanitarian organization Bahamas Habitat, who selected island-based McIntyre, executive director of Bahamas Methodist Habitat, for training. “It’s pretty jam-packed,” he told AOPA Online Managing Editor Alyssa Miller in this interview. Watch AOPA Live >>
Lightspeed Aviation Foundation seeks pilot input on grants
Lightspeed Aviation Foundation is in its third year of funding aviation nonprofits dedicated to education and preserving general aviation. AOPA President Craig Fuller talked with Allan Schrader, founder and president of Lightspeed parent TIMAO Group, about the role that pilots play choosing grant recipients. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Are you working on your multiengine rating or already enjoying the benefits of that extra power? Whatever the case, you've probably heard pilots talk of "double trouble" when referring to multiengine flying. Why? More power is excellent for that long cross-country, but it can also complicate matters for the uninitiated when one of those engines suddenly decides to quit. Take the Air Safety Institute's newest safety quiz, "Taming a twin," and find out what single-engine operations in a multiengine aircraft are all about. Take the quiz >>
IFR Fix: Signposts in the sky
How do you pronounce GLADI? Does it rhyme with lady or laddie? The answer is… ask ATC. Ask before you get there because another fix nearby may, or may not, sound similar. The five-letter “words” devised for aviation’s signposts in the sky occasionally spell GRIEF for pilots. Then you’ll find them under discussion in the Aviation Safety Reporting System database. Have you filed an ASRS report? Read more and take the poll >>
Too much too fast
The “airshow pass,” a high-speed, low-altitude flight along a runway that ends with a sharp pull-up and steep climb, doesn’t look tricky—but without prior training something can go tragically wrong. Usually it’s an accelerated stall at a speed and altitude that leave no chance of recovery, but occasionally the results are even more spectacular. On Feb. 15, 2010, a Cessna T337G Skymaster flew gear-up along Runway 32 of New Jersey’s Monmouth Executive Airport at an altitude of no more than 50 feet. About a third of the way down the runway, the airplane began to pitch up. Almost immediately, the outermost six feet of the right wing detached. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
Answers for Pilots: Survival in the Canadian wilderness
The arrival of spring means it may be time to enjoy a trip to Canada’s great outdoors. Our northern neighbor’s unspoiled wilderness, magnificent mountains, and scenic lakes beckon hikers, hunters, and fishermen each year. Canada is aviation-friendly and there’s no better way to see the country than by air. However, since much of Canada is wilderness area, Canadian aviation regulations require pilots to carry survival equipment for many flights. If your flight over wilderness areas is not listed as an exception, you will need equipment that provides the means for providing shelter, starting a fire, signaling distress, and purifying water. Read more >>
Spice up your flying, head to the hills
The more you fly, the more you realize that every flight is unique; and nowhere is that more true than when flying in mountainous areas. All of the issues flatland pilots have to contend with—wind, weather, aircraft performance—are given extra consideration when you are peering down over less-than-forgiving terrain. Skills and knowledge you didn't have to worry much about over lower terrain take on a greater importance. Learn what makes flying in the mountains so special, and challenging, in the Air Safety Institute’s Mountain Flying online course.
Leading Edge: Hope is not a strategy
AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg recently addressed the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations as well as a group of South African pilots near Cape Town, South Africa. The experiences—along with a flight around Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope—left the lasting impression that flying is pretty much flying in every part of the world, but humans can make it far more complex than it needs to be. Read more >>
Under new European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) rules, European pilots certificated under the earlier rules set up by the International Civil Aviation Organization have to comply with requirements involving a slew of new written tests, a flight check, and a new medical certificate. In an effort to resolve widespread confusion, EASA called a press conference at Aero, emphasizing that each of the European Union’s 27 participating nations have the opportunity to opt out temporarily. What does it all mean? AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne ventures out on Europe's massive bureaucratic landscape. Read more >>
Cessna’s Meyer honored by U.S. Chamber
Former Cessna Aircraft Chairman Russ Meyer was honored at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce aviation event during an award ceremony presided over by AOPA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Melissa Rudinger. Meyer received the Carol B. Hallett Award April 12 at the eleventh annual aviation summit, “Flying Towards Global Economic Growth.” 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, close to 2,500 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 Close to Home
AOPA Aviation Summit registration opens
From the return of the highly anticipated Parade of Planes, a Palm Springs exclusive, to resort parties and outdoor adventures, AOPA Aviation Summit in sunny Palm Springs, Calif., offers an experience like no other. New learning opportunities provide more than 100 hours of engaging education that uses hands-on demonstrations and practice activities to help you retain and recall the information when you need it most. This year, enjoy new events such as a companion lunch and a Touch and Go Breakfast with some of the most well-known names in aviation. Read more >>
American Bonanza Society to hold convention during Summit
AOPA and the American Bonanza Society have partnered to hold each group’s annual convention together with the common goal to create more value for attendees by offering relevant content. The American Bonanza Society annual convention will be held in conjunction with the AOPA Aviation Summit in Palm Springs, Calif., Oct. 11 through 13. Read more >>
How strong is your safety net?
AOPA’s new 24/7+ Aviation AD&D Insurance Plan helps provide a stronger safety net for your family’s future. Whether you are flying, driving, or on a hike in the park, AOPA can help protect all that is important to you. The new AOPA Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Group Insurance Plan has been expanded beyond the cockpit to provide you 24/7 coverage without any increase in cost. Plus, you’ll receive added benefits to help pay tuition, childcare, and more. Read more >>
Airport info accessible through mobile apps
AOPA members with Windows Mobile or BlackBerry devices can access airport services, FBO information, airport diagrams, and more using AOPA Airports apps powered by WingX. The apps are available for download on the AOPA website.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a manager–Pilot Information Center, vice president–Center to Advance the Pilot Community, aviation technical writer, vice president of strategy and philanthropic operations, director of accounting, program manager–products, project manager of online products, director of new market development, and associate editor–Web/ ePilot. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.