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One week before her high school graduation, Dianna Miller was practicing Bette Midler's "From a distance," a song she was scheduled to sing during the ceremony. She was singing from the side of a mountain, lying beneath a wing of the Cessna 172 that had crashed, crushing her fourth lumbar vertebra, left foot, and right ankle. Despite a broken jaw and legs, the pilot went in search of help. It was May 24, 1992; she was 17 and alone. Miller shared the story of her survival and eventual rescue with 33 participants during the Surratt Winter Survival Clinic, created by the Montana Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division, in January. Pilots are trained for emergencies, forced landings. But what happens after the accident? Could you survive for days in the backcountry during the winter until rescue arrived? AOPA Director of eMedia Alyssa J. Miller tested her mettle in the clinic and came back with lessons for staying alive in the four-part series “After the accident.”
Micron’s Appleton dies in Boise crash
Micron Technology CEO Steve Appleton died in the crash of a Lancair IVP-TP airplane at the Boise, Idaho, airport Feb. 3. He was 51. Appleton was the sole occupant of the aircraft that crashed shortly after takeoff, said Patti Miller, spokesperson for the airport, who had just attended a National Transportation Safety Board briefing. According to Miller, Appleton had taxied the airplane from the Micron Technology company hangar, taken off, and returned once already that morning. Read more >>
Leading Edge: The Appleton equation
The recent loss of Micron CEO Steve Appleton drew considerable media scrutiny, and perhaps in the minds of some, reinforced the idea that general aviation is unacceptably dangerous. Appleton had considerable experience in flying high performance aircraft. Risk taker? Yes. Unaware of those risks? Probably not. AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg discusses the Lancair safety record, understanding the nature of the aircraft you’re dealing with, and risk awareness. Read more >>
Friends rally to fulfill a pilot’s final wish
Walter Crosby spent the last seven years of his life working on the Piper Cub he had dreamed of restoring since he paid $650 for the tattered two-seater in 1962. In October, Crosby and his wife, Geri, returned to Florida for a seventh winter of work on the Cub, and the sixth year of Walter's battle against cancer. But by late December, he was quickly losing his strength. “He started telling his friends at the airport, ‘I’ll never see it fly,’” Geri recalled. Read more >>
'Turnaround Kid' named Hawker Beechcraft CEO
Newly hired Hawker Beechcraft CEO Robert "Steve" Miller expressed confidence that the company will weather the financial storm during an interview with local media on Feb. 7, the day he was hired to replace Bill Boisture, who remains chairman. Read more >>
Flying into the Big Game
"Welcome to Indy. You're the first piston we've seen all weekend," the van driver said as he drove two pilots across the ramp to Million Air's welcome hangar, complete with a red carpet and enclosed canopy for Super Bowl weekend. Steve Schapiro and his friend, a CFII, flew Schapiro's Piper Cherokee Arrow to Indianapolis for what several fixed-base operators called the "Biggest Day in Indiana Aviation History." Indianapolis area airports had parking reservations for more than 1,100 private aircraft that flew in for Super Bowl XLVI, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation Aviation Division. Read more >>
Aviation turns students' horror into passion
On a warm June day in 2010, a Piper Lance lifted off from Springerville Municipal Airport, elevation 7,055 feet, and struggled into the thin Arizona air. "It flew straight over us," recalled Weston Hogle, 13, now a student at a nearby middle school. Hogle and his family watched in horror as the PA-32R plunged into the high school about a mile from the runway. But the local community, traumatized by the accident, began to heal recently when First Flight Education and pilots helped inspire aviation enthusiasm in children who once ducked whenever an aircraft would fly overhead. Read more >>
NBAA asks lawmakers to extend depreciation rule
A valuable tax incentive for business aircraft owners has scaled back for 2012, and a coalition of manufacturing groups led by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is urging Congress to keep "bonus depreciation" intact. More than 60 businesses and organizations co-signed the letter to lawmakers, noting the tax law gives businesses that might otherwise be unable an opportunity to purchase aircraft that keep them globally competitive, and that demand for aircraft directly creates jobs. Read more >>
Walking sharks, komodo dragons: Pilatus tours Indonesia
Submerged in the dark waters around the Raja Ampat Islands, pilot Richard Wood watched the region's elusive "walking shark"—some of the vast biodiversity that makes the archipelago what Wood calls "some kind of Mecca" among scuba divers. Wood, his wife and daughter, and another couple saw the bottom-dwelling wobbegong shark and enormous manta rays in the area during a 4,500-nautical-mile trip across Indonesia in a Pilatus PC-12. Flying single-pilot, Wood dealt with weather challenges and navigated an airspace system in which he said he never saw another general aviation aircraft. Read more >>
Analyst: Helicopter sales to require greater justification
Aerospace analyst Brian Foley says future helicopter sales will receive greater scrutiny by accounting departments, and require a strong business case to be made. Still, there are strong sales to be had. "Most if not all will require an indisputable, virtually airtight business-case justification. This could prolong the sales process, so smart buyers and sellers will plan further ahead," Foley said. Read more >>
AOPA reaches out to flying clubs
Are you part of a flying club? To help find ways to continue to promote, support, and reduce the cost of operation for flying clubs and their members, AOPA is attempting to gather some critical information about clubs around the country. You can help the association identify a point of contact for clubs by taking a very brief survey; it will help AOPA begin reaching out to flying clubs and their leadership with a detailed survey about their organizations. Take the survey >>
Innovative GA concepts earn award nominations
Two pioneering general aviation aircraft designs, and two advances at the other end of the aircraft spectrum, have been nominated for the National Aeronautic Association's 2011 Robert J. Collier Trophy. The award nominees include the human-powered Gamera helicopter, Pipistrel's electric-powered Taurus G4 aircraft, the C-5M Super Galaxy, and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the NAA said in a news release. Read more >>
Grumman Albatross to be featured in ‘Killer RV Upgrades!’
The Travel Channel will be highlighting a Grumman Albatross that has been converted into a flying recreational vehicle in its show, Killer RV Upgrades! The show is scheduled to air on Feb. 12 at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Reporting Points: No prop? No problem!
A pilot friend shared a video with AOPA Pilot Technical Editor Mike Collins, in which a Mexican pilot successfully lands a Cessna 172 on a highway—after the propeller departed the aircraft in flight. The pilot appears to do an excellent job of keeping his cool, choosing a place to set down, and then landing. Read more >>
Hawker Beechcraft protests trainer contract
After Embraer's A-29 Super Tucano won a bidding contest worth $355 million over Hawker Beechcraft's AT-6, HBC was stunned. The company launched an all-out effort to review and reverse the decision; but Sierra Nevada Corp., which partnered with Embraer for the Super Tucano bid, says the Air Force got it right. In an exclusive interview with AOPA Live, Hawker Beechcraft Chairman Bill Boisture defended his company's light air support aircraft and disputed the decision to exclude the AT-6 from the competition. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Whether the view-limiting device you use makes you look like a welder, a scuba diver, or a student in a college chem lab, remember that you are preparing for the time when you can’t just peel off the gizmo and squint at splendid scenery. So, how do you know if you are achieving a high-quality, simulated-instrument training experience? And how much training did you do under actual instrument conditions? Read more and take the poll >>
The bigger the airplane, the more you need to know
While the fundamentals of flight remain the same as you progress to bigger aircraft, the systems those aircraft employ become increasingly complex. And a good deal of learning to safely fly more complex aircraft involves understanding a broad range of aircraft systems. From oxygen systems to turbocharged engines, test your knowledge of complex aircraft with the latest safety quiz from the Air Safety Institute, underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency. Take the quiz >>
Starry night, VFR flight
Night VFR flight planning takes on another dimension—well beyond your usual VFR daytime flight planning. If not, it should. As serene as the night sky may be, sparse ground lights or a pitch-dark night may prove challenging: It could be difficult to distinguish landmarks, terrain, and weather. Marginal visibility can lead to instrument conditions, which is why night marginal visual meteorological conditions should be considered a no-go for VFR operations. Bolster your knowledge and fly prepared with the Air Safety Institute's Night VFR Flight Safety Spotlight.
In engine out, ATC ‘there when you need them’
Vermont Rep. Janice Peaslee said she doesn’t leave home without flight following. On Oct. 9, the precaution paid off. The private pilot was flying back from Fitchburg, Mass., to Caledonia, Vt., when she heard the engine of her Cessna 150 start to sputter. Glancing at the tachometer, she watched the rpm fluctuate up and down. Alerting Boston Center of the trouble, she applied full power to gain altitude, but soon the cockpit went quiet. Read more >>
Matters of the heart
Is your heart on your mind this February? Aside from Valentine's Day, it's American Heart Month—a great time to take stock of your health and make heart-healthy choices. AOPA's subject report discusses conditions, from abdominal aortic aneurysm to valve replacement, that could affect your medical certificate—and what the process is to get the medical back.
Improve your safety by learning from others
Gain valuable knowledge about flying safely by learning from the mistakes of others. Using your ePilot personalization preferences, like “piston single-engine” or “turbine,” the Air Safety Institute’s Accident Database generates a list of accidents that have been added to the database in the past 30 days. If you haven’t personalized your newsletter, select your aircraft preferences from the “types of aircraft” section on the ePilot personalization page.
Reporting Points: Adding to the ranks of aviatrices
Women comprise a small portion of the total number of active pilots: Only 42,218 of 627,588 active airmen certificates are for women, according the latest U.S. civil airmen statistics from Dec. 31, 2010. Pilots can help change that statistic and boost the general aviation community by introducing more women to aviation and encouraging those who are currently in training. Read more >>
The Senate, following up on recent House action, has passed a four-year, $63.4 billion FAA reauthorization bill with no user fees or fuel-tax increases. The bill, now headed to the desk of President Barack Obama for signing, would give the FAA its first long-term operating authority since 2007, ending a string of 23 stop-gap operating authorization measures. Read more >>
Graves: FAA bill protects GA
Keeping user fees out of the new FAA reauthorization bill was a "big win" for general aviation—but vigilance and education efforts must continue, said Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), the House GA Caucus co-chairman and member of the conference committee that produced the final bill. In a statement, Graves highlighted favorable provisions for GA that he succeeded in inserting in the legislation. Read more >>
Fuller: Protect GPS from current, future threats
A conditional approval of LightSquared’s use of the mobile satellite spectrum in 2011 put GPS signals at risk of dangerous interference—but Congress has the power to protect GPS from present and future threats, AOPA President Craig Fuller told a House subcommittee Feb. 8. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's aviation subcommittee's hearing on the importance of GPS as a critical part of transportation infrastructure allowed Fuller to make recommendations on new protections that are needed to preserve the system's safety-critical role in the National Airspace System. Read more >>
AOPA urges changes to UAS-only airspace proposal
AOPA submitted several suggestions that would mitigate the impact of a proposed restricted airspace reserved for unmanned aircraft in North Dakota, but remains opposed to the creation of such an exclusive airspace. Implementation of the proposed restricted areas would create a disturbing precedent, carving out a slice of the finite National Airspace System for the operation of aircraft unable to "see and avoid" other traffic. Read more >>
FAA marks GPS approach milestone
A milestone for the nation's transition to satellite navigation was celebrated Feb. 9 in an FAA office in Silver Spring, Md.—and in cockpits equipped with WAAS around the country. The FAA AeroNav Products division published a new cycle of charts, including, for the first time, more than 3,000 satellite-based precision approaches. A total of 3,026 localizer performance with vertical guidance and localizer performance instrument approaches are now available to pilots. Read more >>
ADS-B traffic, weather now available in 51 terminal areas
Real-time weather and traffic information is now available for free in dozens of terminal service areas around the country. Aircraft equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) transceivers (and cockpit displays) can tap into the newly created data stream, part of the NextGen airspace modernization program. Flight Information System-Broadcast, or FIS-B, carries a full range of weather information including radar, pirep, METAR, TAF, and winds aloft data. Read more >>
Recreational aviation gets stake in Forest Service planning
Recreational aviation and backcountry strips in US Forest Service lands recently received a much-needed lift. Forest Service planners must now consider aviation in their plans, whether it be preserving or maintaining backcountry strips. The agency released its preferred alternative to the US Forest Service Planning Rule, giving recreational aviation the same opportunities as activities that use land and water. Read more >>
FAA issues proposed rulemaking for Atlanta airspace
The FAA has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to modify the Class B airspace in Atlanta. The agency maintains that reducing the diameter of the outer ring while lowering many interior shelves will save airline fuel, and enhance the efficiency of the world's busiest airspace. Comments will be accepted through April 3. Read more >>
Before you see the AME …
There are numerous steps you can take to make your appointment with the aviation medical examiner go more smoothly, according to Dr. Jonathan Sackier. You can start with something as simple as scheduling your appointment early in the month that it's due to give yourself some time in the event something needs to be corrected. Read more in this selection from the Medical Services Program newsletter, available to members enrolled in the program.
Treat yourself this Valentine's Day at the AOPA Store
The AOPA Store is chock-full of items that any pilot or aircraft owner would want. These are products that have been screened, tested, and approved by pilots to ensure that the AOPA logo is placed only on the highest quality merchandise. Stroll the virtual aisles of the AOPA Store and you'll find shirts, jackets, hats, wallets, watches, books, DVDs, training materials, and much more. The best thing, though, is that all of the items for sale in the AOPA Store are designed with the general aviation pilot in mind. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an online product manager, marketing specialist–products, aviation education program developer, accounting manager, chief flight instructor, manager of flight training programs, and associate editor–Web/ ePilot. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.