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If Jared Isaacman could make a wish, it might be that the 2012 airshow season hurries up and gets started. “We’re getting antsy here,” he said. “We need our aviation fix.” Many pilots feel that way by mid-January—but as the founder and a member of the Lakeland, Fla.-based Black Diamond Jet Team, Isaacman is in a pretty good spot to do something about it. And it sounds like he won't be sitting around much longer. Around the time that major league pitchers and catchers report to spring training camps in Florida, the jet team billed as “America’s premier civilian squadron” will start practicing for shows that will feature a new twist: the addition of a seventh aircraft in the role of a dynamic solo. Read more >>
Dr. Richard McGlaughlin was level at 9,500 feet msl when the engine stopped, freezing the propeller over warm Atlantic Ocean water near the island of Andros, Bahamas. The successful deployment of the Cirrus SR22's parachute, and the Coast Guard rescue of McGlaughlin and his daughter, drew national attention. McGlaughlin posted a brief version of his Jan. 7 ditching on the AOPA Forum before continuing by commercial flight to Haiti. He said a more detailed account would have to wait until his return to Alabama. "Access to computers is a problem, mine got wet," McGlaughlin said in an email to AOPA. Read more >>
Chart provider shuts down citing FAA changes
New fees for digital chart products were on the horizon, but a California producer of wire-bound charts shut down because of a preliminary step by the FAA, a company owner said. Dan Johnston said EZFlightChart.com was forced to pull the plug because the FAA cut the lead time on the release of digital charts from 17 days to one day. Johnston said the schedule of fees that will be imposed remains unknown, but the loss of lead time—and useful life—of the digital products that his company printed in book form rendered the product useless. Read more >>
Microsoft takes Flight with new sim
A few years ago, the future of Microsoft's flight simulator franchise seemed all but over when the company axed the entire staff associated with the popular game. But things are looking up for flight sim fans. The company announced recently that the latest iteration, called Microsoft Flight, will be released this spring. Clearly aimed at a wider audience, Flight will feature more of a gaming experience than previous flight sim editions. Read more >>
2011's fatalities draw air racing, airshow scrutiny
Leave margins. Never direct aerobatic energy toward the crowd. Always have an out. Innumerable safety precautions keep performers and spectators safe at air races and airshows, but in 2011 something went wrong. Sixteen fatalities from airshow- and air race-related incidents in 2011—including the deaths of 10 spectators at the National Championship Air Races—marred a safety record that had been improving for years, and drew national attention to the safety of the events. While the NTSB proceeds with individual investigations, it looked at how to minimize risk and improve safety at the events in a hearing Jan. 10. Read more >>
Cirrus adds extra seat, texting to 2012 SR22
The new Cirrus SR22 for 2012 has an additional seat for a total of five occupants, and an on-board satellite telephone system that allows voice and text messaging in flight and worldwide weather radar coverage. The airframe, engine, and avionics are unchanged from previous versions. Cirrus is offering "60/40 FlexSeating" in back that allows more room for rear-seat passengers and reclines slightly. The company also has an option for an additional set of seatbelts that allows two children and an adult to share the rear seats. Read more >>
Vision jet sets sights on certification
Cirrus Aircraft officials say they are making steady progress on their SF50 Vision jet program and the prototype has logged more than 700 flight test hours since its first flight in 2008. The company based in Duluth, Minn., has about 500 orders for the aircraft that seats up to seven and is expected to cruise at about 300 knots at up to 28,000 feet. Cirrus anticipates FAA certification in about three years. Read more >>
Wag-Aero founder, philanthropist Dick Wagner remembered
Richard "Dick" Wagner, the man behind Wag-Aero, knew airplanes by sound. An uncanny knack for identifying passing aircraft without looking up was among many products of a life in aviation. He soloed at 16, before he was licensed to drive, and at 18 launched a 27,000-hour professional flying career that included 27 years in airline cockpits, later test-flying aircraft of his own design. Read more >>
Readers list FBOs with freebies, goodies
You've heard of the $100 hamburger; now meet the $100 free lunch. You still have to fly to Lebanon, Mo., or Pecos, Texas, but once there, lunch is free. Readers have responded to a January article in AOPA Pilot with a list of airports in 20 states and the Virgin Islands that give away neat things and sell cool T-shirts. Read more >>
Learjet 85 plant to expand, add jobs
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Steve Ridolfi, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft, jointly announced plans to expand the company's Learjet 85 production facility in Wichita, with the promise of 450 jobs being added over the next seven to 10 years. "This great day for Wichita and Kansas highlights the strength and vibrancy of the Air Capital of the World," said Brownback in a Jan. 10 event covered live by local media at the Bombardier facility. Read more >>
Super Bowl expected to draw GA crowd
Airports dozens of miles away from the big game are preparing for a surge in Super Bowl traffic, and the Super Bowl Host Committee is working with AOPA and the FAA to keep pilots informed of airspace changes, traffic procedures, and flight planning requirements for a broad stretch of airspace. Read more >>
FAA launches mobile website
Smartphone users are now a click away from easier access to the most popular searches on the FAA website. The agency launched a mobile version of the site Jan. 10, optimized for mobile users seeking an N number lookup, airport status and delays, and advisory circulars, along with wildlife strike reports, flight standards district office location searches, and news releases. Read more >>
Aviation Summit commits to Palm Springs in 2012, 2014
AOPA has committed to hold general aviation’s premier trade show and convention, AOPA Aviation Summit, at the Palm Springs Convention Center Oct. 11 through 13, 2012, and Oct. 9 through 11, 2014. The event features dozens of aircraft on display at the convention center, more than 400 booths in the exhibit hall, and an enhanced education series. The return to Palm Springs also means the return of the popular Parade of Planes, traveling the mile from Palm Springs International Airport to the convention center. Palm Springs is the only city that allows for this option. Read more >>
Hartzell introduces new prop for Seminole
Hartzell announced the availability of a supplemental type certificate for the two-blade Scimitar Top Prop on the Piper Seminole. According to Hartzell, climb performance is increased by 80 feet per minute with both engines and 50 feet per minute single-engine. The conversion sells for $22,600, including spinners.
Safety in numbers: Institute looks to build on success
General aviation pilots are arming themselves with knowledge, and the Air Safety Institute marked another year of growth, exceeding 1.8 million contacts with safety products and courses in 2011. That number suggests strong participation from the roughly 630,000 certificated pilots in the U.S., about half of those pilots holding a private pilot, sport pilot, student, or recreational certificate, according to FAA data. Air Safety Institute products and courses are made available to all pilots, regardless of AOPA membership. Read more >>
Tecnam extends deposit discount for P2010
Tecnam wants to sell you an airplane. And the company is offering a sale to try and make the deal even sweeter. From now through the end of January, a deposit on the new P2010 is $5,000, and buyers will save $15,000 off the final list price. Read more >>
Helicopter group honors members' achievements
Helicopter Association International has announced the winners of its 2012 Salute to Excellence Awards, honoring those who uphold the helicopter industry's highest traditions. "In an industry for which safety is so important, everyone strives to do their very best—and these awards pay tribute to those who rise above the rest," said Matt Zuccaro, president of the Alexandria, Va.-based organization. Read more >>
Winter survival: Two nights outside in Montana
With an outside air temperature of 39 degrees Fahrenheit, her toes, knees, and fingers were cold. In Montana, it would only get colder. AOPA Online Managing Editor Alyssa Miller made a note to self: Pack more layers. Miller reviews her packing list for a winter survival course near Kalispell, Mont. Is it enough? Read more >>
They don't fly 'em like that anymore …
Channel surfing the other night, Flight Training Associate Editor Jill W. Tallman knew she'd hit the jackpot when she saw the Twin Beech zoom through a hangar. It was It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, starring Spencer Tracy, Jonathan Winters, Phil Silvers, and two stunt pilots named Paul Mantz and Frank Tallman. The latter flew the Beech 18 through a billboard as well as the hangar. Read more >>
Not enough room
Yet again the Air Safety Institute's David Jack Kenny wishes the space for "Notes and Comments" in his logbook wasn't so small. Only a cryptic abbreviation might help identify the day he took two English setters to new homes. Read more >>
Preflight challenge: Would you catch these issues?
Is your aircraft fit to fly? A routine preflight inspection can catch issues that compromise an aircraft’s airworthiness. In this segment of The Aviators, staff correspondent Kurtis Arnold tests his observation skills with a thorough walk-around of a 1981 Cessna 172P. Find out what he caught—and what he missed. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Flying IFR is a contact sport. Sooner or later you will need to contact ATC, with a strong bias toward sooner. When the plan isn't working, people can get into trouble. How to begin an instrument flight while temporarily out of touch is no mystery. Several options are available, each with pluses and minuses. This is about the minuses. Read more and take the poll >>
Ratings and endorsements
Is there a new rating or logbook endorsement on your list of aviation goals and resolutions for 2012? The AOPA Pilot Information Center’s ratings and endorsements subject report details the requirements, applicable regulations, and resources for making it happen. Follow links to articles from the AOPA archives about the training project of your choice, and learn about the pilot skills that you will master along the way. From the instrument and multiengine ratings to one-time logbook endorsements to fly taildraggers, complex, or high-performance aircraft, start here—and good luck!
Start your flight before your wheels leave the ground
It pays to be aware of your surroundings, and nowhere is that more true than in a busy runway environment—as evidenced by a recent potential disaster that was averted by an alert crewmember in Chicago. Navigating the airport environment is a skill that requires no less attention than any phase of flight, especially when it comes to avoiding runway incursions. Learn some tips for avoiding incursions as well as other practical techniques for getting safely from the ramp to the runway, and vice versa, with the Air Safety Institute’s Runway Safety online course. Take the course>>
How well do you know aircraft engines?
Compared to the ultra-refined, practically maintenance-free engines in cars these days, most aircraft powerplants are serious attention hogs. From tricky hot- and cold-start procedures to the vagaries of cruise power settings, leaning, and temperature management, there's just a lot more to think about. Are you an expert on aircraft engine operations? Test yourself with this week's Air Safety Institute safety quiz.
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.
Leading Edge: Of forecasts and facts
On two local flights over the holidays, the weather dissemination system didn't exactly work as one might hope. Day One: The forecast was for great weather—ceiling above 10,000 feet, visibility greater than 6 miles. There was no mention of snow flurries, but the view in the windscreen told a different story. Day Two: The forecast was for good VMC, but the briefer warned of marginal conditions to the north. What do these flights tell us about our weather information system? What are your thoughts on pireps? Read more and take the poll >>
By 2020, all IFR traffic will rely on satellites for navigation under an FAA proposal now open to comment. A 50-percent reduction to the existing VOR network, part of the transition to NextGen, is planned by 2020, with a scaled-down VOR network retained as a backup to GPS. The FAA produced a three-page briefing on the proposal, including graphic depictions of proposed VOR coverage, at AOPA's request. Read more >>
121.5 ELT proposal would not affect availability of units
An FAA proposal published Jan. 11 would stop approvals of new 121.5 MHz emergency locator transmitter (ELT) models, but would not affect availability of units already on the market. By cancelling the technical standard order (TSO) for 121.5 MHz units, the proposal would establish the TSO for more accurate and reliable 406 MHz ELTs as the standard for bringing new models to market. All existing units that were approved under the TSO could continue to be manufactured, sold, installed, and used—an assurance AOPA maintains is critical for pilots who cannot afford or choose not to invest in the newer, more expensive ELTs. Read more >>
Doubts aside, IFR currency rule unchanged
An instrument pilot checks his logbook and discovers that he no longer can act as pilot in command under IFR because his recent experience prescribed for instrument currency is out of date. What must he do? Rumors to the contrary aside, the answer is the same now as it was before the FAA made a recent technical clarification to several portions of FAR 61.57. Simply stated, if the pilot's currency lapsed, but did so less than six calendar months ago, the pilot may re-establish currency—without taking an instrument proficiency check. Read more >>
ND airspace plan raises questions, concerns
A proposal to create new restricted airspace in North Dakota for training of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) raises more questions than it answers, undermines safety, and would set a dangerous precedent in creating additional restricted airspace for use solely by UAS, AOPA said, urging members to comment on the proposal by Feb. 12. Read more >>
FAA proposes cross-border airway extensions
The FAA has proposed taking two Victor airways south of the border to facilitate general aviation crossings into Mexican airspace. Pilots are encouraged to comment on the notice of proposed rulemaking that would extend Victor 135 from the Bard, Ariz., Vortac to the Mexicali, Mexico, VOR. Victor 137 would be extended from the Imperial, Calif., VOR to the Mexicali VOR, with fixes established on both airways at the border crossing. Read more >>
AOPA Now: To Hawaii for issues conference and more
A trip to Hawaii for the American Association of Airport Executives’ annual Aviation Issues Conference started off with a flight in Hawaiian Airlines’ very first aircraft, a Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker built in 1929. Check out photographs from the flight and find out more about the challenges and opportunities for general aviation in the fiftieth state. Read more >>
Field representation extends to Hawaii
AOPA will extend its field representation program to Hawaii, AOPA President Craig Fuller announced at a Pilot Town Hall in Honolulu. New Western Pacific Regional Manager John Pfeifer now has responsibility for Hawaii, California, Nevada, and Arizona.
AOPA MasterCard becomes inadvertent networking tool
AOPA member Peter Dekker used his AOPA WorldPoints MasterCard card to buy wood pellets for his home’s stove and found a pilot connection—and ultimately, a partner. Dave Miller, part of the family-owned business, is also a pilot. He and Dekker talked about flying for two hours at the store, and when one of the partners in the Piper Archer II Dekker flies with his wife decided to sell his share in the airplane, Dekker remembered the conversation. Read more >>
Protecting CFIs: AOPA offers insurance options
Flight instructors are a valuable and critical resource to the future of general aviation, and AOPA wants to protect them. If you are an active CFI, the AOPA Insurance Agency has a specialized insurance program that will do just that. Multiple coverage options allow you to best control the cost of your policy premium as well as meet your specific needs for the types of aircraft you are instructing in. Read more >>
Fly Well: Perchance to dream
Ever felt weary after a supposedly decent night’s snooze? Had your bed partner complain about your snoring? Awoken with a sore throat or headache? Maybe you can sleep anywhere, including at the wheel of your car, or in the cockpit? Carrying a few too many pounds around the waist? You may have obstructive sleep apnea; apnea means to be “without breath”—a pretty scary concept. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which one stops breathing multiple times during sleep because of impeded air flow. Read more >>
Mobile apps keep airport info at hand
AOPA members can have airport services, FBO information, airport diagrams, and more on certain mobile devices using AOPA Airports apps. Windows Mobile and BlackBerry apps, powered by WingX, are available for download on the AOPA website; apps for Apple devices, powered by ForeFlight, are available in the App Store.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a corporate partnership coordinator, chief flight instructor, director of corporate finance, manager of flight training programs, AOPA Live producer/videojournalist, associate editor–Web/ ePilot, and aviation technical specialist. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.