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A Boeing 747 captain who was stricken in his prime with a career-ending illness, and restored to health by a liver transplant, has launched on a 16,000-mile mission of hope and learning in a general aviation airplane. Chris McLaughlin, 47, and his wife Corrine, 46, an airline purser, are flying from Cape Cod in Massachusetts to Cape Horn, at the southern tip of South America, to celebrate life and raise awareness about the life-saving efforts of organ donors and the medical teams that enable their bequests to save lives. The McLaughlins aren't adhering to a strict timetable as they fly south with a GPS in their laps, piloting a Cessna Hawk XP. The pilots have a thoroughly uncomplicated plan for dealing with adverse weather: "If it looks crummy, then let's just go back to the pool," Chris said. Read more >>
After almost 9,000 people urged the president to take damaging aviation user fees off the table, the administration on Jan. 13 offered its response: No way. In a response to a petition on the White House's "We the People" website, the Obama administration reaffirmed its commitment to a proposed $100-per-flight fee for use of air traffic services, claiming that the fee would both "ensure that everyone is paying their fair share" and help reduce the deficit. Read more >>
AOPA Now: User fees … really?
Congress has twice rejected the Obama administration budget team's proposals for a $100-per-flight user fee, but here it is again. The proposal remains a nonstarter with the aviation community, writes AOPA President Craig Fuller. Read more >>
The fight against user fees
The general aviation community has fought user fees many times before—and won. Now, AOPA and a united front of aviation groups are girding for a new and familiar fight. Find out how support from members of Congress, aviation groups, and members will help the association resist the latest proposal. Read more >>
Kestrel Aircraft to move to Wisconsin
Kestrel Aircraft will build its single-engine turboprop aircraft in Superior, Wis., instead of Maine, the company announced Jan. 16. “We’ve got lots of resources and suppliers here, and the state of Wisconsin has been terrific to work with,” said Kestrel CEO Alan Klapmeier, a Wisconsin native who, with his brother Dale, launched Cirrus Design (now Cirrus Aircraft) in Baraboo, Wis., and later moved it to nearby Duluth, Minn. “This is close to home.” Kestrel will get $22 million in direct tax incentives from Wisconsin, and the total value of the incentive package is about $50 million. Read more >>
What's on the horizon for flight training? Find out Jan. 26
On Jan. 26, AOPA President Craig Fuller will unveil a new initiative designed to improve the flight training experience. Tune in to AOPA Live in the afternoon for the first look at what the association has planned.
EAA announces major reorganization, leadership changes
EAA announced Jan. 12 a major reorganization of senior management and a new commitment to its core mission: "growing participation in aviation." The restructuring includes job eliminations, transfer of some responsibilities, and creation of new positions within the organization that runs the nation's largest airshow, AirVenture, and employs nearly 200 people, EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski said. Published reports citing elimination of 30 jobs overall, and a net reduction of roughly half that number, contain inaccuracies, Knapinski said, though he declined to be specific about the number of positions created or eliminated. Read more >>
Sebring light sport expo launches 2012 season
A flying car made for missionaries, lightweight aerobats, and two-seat autogyros turned more than a few heads Jan. 19 as light sport aviators shook off winter blues under clear skies in Sebring, Fla. The Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo launched its eight annual edition with about three dozen aircraft on display at Sebring Regional Airport, among more than 160 exhibitors showcasing aviation products at the oldest, and still the largest, light sport aviation event of its kind. Read more >>
Cooler heads prevail: Corbi Air offers LSA air conditioning
Ron Corbi was told it couldn't be done. The co-founder of Ohio-based Corbi Air said the notion that a 1,320-pound aircraft could be equipped with an air conditioning system, much less a liquid-refrigerant-based, electronically controlled cooling system, was met with skepticism. "Two years ago when I came up with (the idea that) I wanted air conditioning, everybody laughed at me," Corbi recalled. Working with Colorado-based Air Management Technology, Corbi introduced the world's first air-conditioned light sport aircraft in 2011. A working bench model of the vapor cycle air conditioning system will be on display at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo. Read more >>
Tecnam taildragger makes first flight
More pilots than not prefer taildraggers. That belief, based on market research by Tecnam, has inspired a new entry in the light sport aircraft market with a tailwheel configuration. Tecnam on Jan. 12 announced the successful first flight—on Dec. 22—of the P92TD, a taildragger inspired by surveys showing more than half of all GA pilots worldwide prefer the configuration to tricycle gear. Tecnam hopes to entice existing taildragger pilots seeking modern aircraft and equipment. Read more >>
Reality TV pilot to join Fly It Forward event
Flying Wild Alaska's Sarah Fraher will join the festivities at the 2012 Women Fly It Forward event to be held on March 10 at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md. The event is one of numerous activities that will take place at airports around the world during the week of March 5 through 11 in celebration of Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. Fraher, a Cessna 208 pilot for Era Alaska, was shown flying her first run in the 208 in the Jan. 13 episode of the series that airs on the Discovery Channel. Read more >>
Citation Ten makes first flight
Cessna Aircraft Co. said that its new Citation Ten made its first flight, just 15 months after being announced at the 2010 National Business Aviation Association convention. The flight lasted more than two hours and included tests of stability and control, handling qualities, and functional operations. The latter involved checks of the autopilot and autothrottle system, engine operations, and avionics. "All systems functioned as expected, including the Garmin G5000 avionics system," said Michael Vogt, Cessna's engineering test pilot who flew the Ten prototype. Read more >>
Women aviation trailblazers to be honored
When Women in Aviation International (WAI) honors new inductees into its Pioneer Hall of Fame in Dallas this March, the group will include a historic group of air racers, a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), the first professional female aeronautical engineer, and one of the first women airplane mechanics for the Navy. Read more >>
Flight Design upgrades warranties
German light sport aircraft manufacturer Flight Design has announced improvements and retroactive applicability of warranties for purchasers of new CTLS or MC aircraft, or its new four-seat C4 aircraft for the certified IFR market. The company's new XP, or eXtended Protection Warranty, will remain in effect if the aircraft changes ownership during the warranty period. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Icy fuselage vs. survival hut and machete
Braving Montana's howling winds and blowing snow flurries in an iced-over aircraft fuselage and a survival hut made from tarp and pine branches was a test of endurance for AOPA Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller. Armed with survival equipment and tips from readers, she prepared mentally and physically for the test but had no idea what was really in store. Find out how she fared with the taxing tasks and if she thinks she would be equipped to survive in the wilderness after a forced landing until rescuers arrived. Read more and watch a video blog >>
Hover Power: Helicopter maneuvers manual
Author Ryan Dale's new book, Helicopter Maneuvers Manual, is intended to give students more resources for understanding how to perform required helicopter maneuvers. The full-color illustrations help students visualize what the maneuvers should look like. Although all the drawings use the Robinson R22 (probably because it is still the most popular basic training helicopter), the information is applicable to other models as well. Read more >>
Release the death grip
Do you find yourself forgetting to use the trim while flying? If you don't trim properly, you're missing out on a great tool that will make your flying that much easier. Go back to the basics in this instructional video. Watch AOPA Live® >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Fly like a fighter: A peek into space
After a zoom climb up to FL500, retired Air Force F-15 pilot Larry Brown looked toward the horizon and saw the curvature of the earth below, a small piece of blue sky above, and black above that. Read more >>
John Ponts knows a bit about flying in cold weather. As a pilot for Era Alaska and part of the Flying Wild Alaska television series, he has to contend with extreme winter conditions that most of us will never experience. Join John and Andy Marosvari, an air traffic controller from the Boise tower, as they discuss cold weather flying operations with AOPA Foundation president Bruce Landsberg in the Cold Weather Operations Webinar from the Air Safety Institute. With topics ranging from proper preflight inspections to dealing with ice at altitude, it's a Webinar you won't want to miss. Register today for sessions on Jan. 25 or 26.
Not just an attitude
A wing always stalls at the same angle of attack—not a given attitude or airspeed. This fact continues to take pilots by surprise, experienced and less experienced alike. On Feb. 26, 2011, an instrument-rated private pilot ferrying a BAC 167 Strikemaster to Columbia County Airport near Hudson, N.Y., telephoned some friends, promising to do a low pass over his home field of Kingston-Ulster before flying on to his destination. Witnesses watched as the Strikemaster made a high-speed pass with the gear retracted, pitched up, and began to climb. When it began to turn left, the nose suddenly dropped. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
IFR Fix: IPC report card
A pilot and his instrument flight instructor are sitting at a booth in Scud’s Diner, debriefing and re-caffeinating after an instrument proficiency flight. “You did a good job in preflight, and interpreting the weather,” the CFII is saying. “Good work translating that weather info from last week’s storm. Obviously you could visualize the big picture.” The pilot basks in the compliment, and then frowns. “That partial-panel air work today had me in a sweat,” he says. Based on the discussion that follows, should the CFII sign him off? Read more and vote >>
Answers for Pilots: Tax time
There’s no getting around it—tax time is on the horizon. As you are gathering your paperwork and meeting with your tax adviser, remember that if you used an aircraft for business (one that you either owned or rented), you may be eligible for possible deductions for the 2011 tax year. Read more >>
What’s driving the weather?
If weather charts depicting fronts and associated weather patterns have you stumped, the time has come to brush up with the Air Safety Institute's WeatherWise: Air Masses and Fronts online course. Interactive scenes and visual cues explain what to expect when frontal boundaries collide. Understand what's behind pressure systems and how they'll affect your next flight—and qualify for AOPA Accident Forgiveness and the FAA Wings program, to boot. Take the course >>
Leading Edge: The campaign time machine
All the presidential candidates use general aviation to do business or take time off for a needed quick vacation. So isn't it just a mite hypocritical to blast the use of personal aircraft when they are so essential to running a business or enjoying your personal life? Read more >>
Expanded tax exemptions sought in Florida
Two Florida lawmakers, seeking to boost the competitiveness of the state's aviation maintenance industry, have introduced bills that would greatly expand existing sales-tax exemptions on parts, equipment, and labor used in aircraft repairs. Bills introduced in the House and Senate would expand current sales- and use-tax exemptions to most general aviation aircraft by exempting airplanes weighing more than 2,000 pounds from an existing tax, expanding an exemption that now applies to airplanes weighing more than 15,000 pounds. Read more >>
Final Ross Lake management plan supported
The decision to include seaplane access as a component of the final general management plan and environmental impact statement for the Ross Lake National Recreational Area in Washington state resulted from an effective collaboration between government planners and aviation organizations during the review process, AOPA said. AOPA commended the National Park Service for meeting with the association and the Washington Seaplane Pilots Association, and for following up by incorporating the organizations' ideas into the park service's preferred alternative for the recreation area's future management. Read more >>
Aviation role advocated on BLM land
Aviation voices are now being heard as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) drafts its plans for managing federal land holdings in the Colorado River Valley. AOPA submitted formal comments on the BLM's revised resource management plan for the bureau's lands between Rifle and Vail, Colo., urging access "without pre-authorization" to two backcountry airstrips, and any future designated landing sites. Read more >>
Navy reverses course on Oregon airspace
AOPA, expressing disappointment with the Navy's plan to seek new special-use airspace for training operations at the Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility in Boardman, Ore.—despite its past assurances to the contrary—is urging pilots to state their views on the issue for the record, and has requested a 60-day extension of the current Jan. 26 deadline for doing so. 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.
Protect yourself with AOPA Aircraft Title Services
Buying an airplane is a stressful endeavor. Never mind the fat check that must be traded for the keys—getting there is most of the battle. One must-do step along the way is a title search. If you buy an airplane with a lien, you'll be responsible for it. Protect yourself with a title search from AOPA Aircraft Title Services. Read more >>
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, and associate editor–Web/ ePilot. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.