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A wind gust pushes nose and tail off line, giving precious little time to react before the airplane pivots violently on its narrow landing gear. If it sounds counterintuitive to push the stick forward, apply full power, apply rudder, and to cause an airplane without brakes to accelerate toward trees, welcome to World War I aviation. The rudder will do little to help without a good burst of propwash; if you're lucky, there's a throttle. If not, you have to switch the engine back on. At Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Rhinebeck, N.Y., dinosaurs of aviation—Blériot, Curtiss, Fokker—still roar to life on summer weekends. Since Cole Palen flew his first show in 1960, generations of pilots have commanded vintage aircraft, including some still airworthy after a century of service or more. Read more and watch AOPA Live® >>
Avidyne IFD440 seeks to replace GNS430s
Avidyne’s new IFD440, an all-in-one GPS/NAV/COM/FMS, expands on the Massachusetts company’s strategy of competing with rival Garmin for GNS430/530 replacements. Garmin’s GNS430/530s have dominated the GPS/COM market for the last decade with more than 115,000 units sold, and the Kansas firm is ending 430/530 production and replacing the popular units with touch-screen GTN650s and 750s. Avidyne’s new products are the same physical dimensions as the 430/530 and are designed as direct replacements that can often use the same wiring, pins, and antennae. Read more >>
Aircraft kit industry forms new association
Aircraft kit manufacturers have formed a new association that aims to increase flight safety, promote Experimental aircraft, and defend the freedom of individuals to build their own airplanes. Read more >>
Former gang member helps save piece of military history
A decade ago, Hualdo Mendoza was in trouble, mixed up with the gang life and kicked out of school. Today, he is a leading expert on a highly specialized aviation art: the restoration of fabric aircraft skins. That skill recently landed him a seat in a U.S. Air Force supersonic trainer, a thank-you from the 94th Hat in the Ring squadron for working on the repair of a vintage Nieuport 28 that had been destroyed in a wind storm. Read more >>
Hawker issues broad outline of reorganization
Hawker Beechcraft has filed a broad outline of its reorganization plan with the federal bankruptcy court for the southern district of New York. Two-thirds of the company’s 18 creditors agreed to the plan in advance, and now it is up to the court to approve it or send it back. The possibility of selling the company to a new owner now plays a greater role than company officials had indicated in past statements. Read more >>
Hawker Beechcraft lays off another 125
In the third layoff since April, Hawker Beechcraft laid off another 125 workers at its Wichita facility last week, bringing the number of employees to 4,075, just 75 above the number it must maintain to keep local incentive funds. Read more >>
New Jersey airport owner creating a GA stronghold
Concrete is being poured for hangars; a fuel tank now offers self-serve avgas where none was available before. Lights are on the way, and owner Peter Weidhorn has big dreams for what was until recently just a 3,200-foot runway and little else, the only landing strip for miles around on the southern coast of New Jersey. Weidhorn has staked more than $3 million of his own money on expanding Eagles Nest into a full-service general aviation destination. Read more >>
Environmentalist-pilots no endangered species
When the call goes out to help save an injured or endangered animal, there’s usually not much time to act. That’s a harsh reality of nature—and a call to action for a special group of general aviation pilots eager to put their skills and resources to use in a crisis. Whether the victim is a mauled mountain lion cub, a stunned group of sea turtles, or a whooping crane that won't stay put on its nest, aircraft from 48-year-old taildraggers to new light bizjets await the call, and their pilots relish the unique missions. Read more >>
Conference focuses on space station science
From basic scientific research to building a better golf club, the International Space Station is poised to produce. A first-of-its-kind conference organized by the American Astronautical Society held June 26 through 28 in Denver gave researchers the broadest look to date at what has been accomplished already, and what discoveries lie in store in the coming decade. Read more >>
‘Flying car’ completes Phase 1 testing
The Transition “street-legal airplane” has completed Phase 1 of flight testing, Terrafugia announced June 28, representing the first flights of the production prototype outside of the airport environment. Flights from Plattsburgh International Airport in Plattsburgh, N.Y., lasted as long as an hour and a half, Terrafugia Vice President of Business Development Richard Gersh told AOPA. Test pilot Phil Meteer gathered data for the company in the different phases of flight, and began addressing such questions as, “How do you land a car?” Read more >>
Cubs 2 Oshkosh deadline approaching
The registration deadline for Cubs 2 Oshkosh—the mass arrival of Piper Cubs at EAA AirVenture on July 22 to commemorate the iconic airplane’s seventy-fifth anniversary—is fast approaching. Organizers report firm registrations of more than 100 aircraft, although some 400 Cub owners have expressed interest by registering on the Cubs 2 Oshkosh website. Read more >>
Clear prop: New training experiences at Summit
Earn a tailwheel endorsement, fly a warbird, transition to a glass cockpit aircraft, go up in a hot air balloon, or just get back into flying during AOPA Aviation Summit in Palm Springs, Calif., in October. The desert mountain scenery promises to be spectacular, so take advantage of flight training opportunities at nearby Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport. AOPA will be providing free transportation from Palm Springs to Jacqueline Cochran Regional. Read more >>
‘Red Tails’ Mustang entices Oshkosh bidders
EAA AirVenture 2012 will feature a "Red Tails" Mustang, and it’s not what you may think. A polished aluminum and silver chrome custom 2013 Ford Mustang up for auction at the show evokes the distinctive P-51 Mustangs flown by the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, but this one-of-a-kind creation was born for the roads. The "Red Tails Edition" Mustang, the fifth in a series of unique, aviation-themed vehicles provided to the Experimental Aircraft Association to raise money for its Young Eagles program, will be auctioned off on July 26 at the Gathering of Eagles fundraiser. Read more >>
Reporting Points: The mega-derecho
On June 29 a monster wind took out houses, hangars, and electricity from Indiana to Delaware. Wind speeds at the surface reached 90 mph, or more. What caused this mayhem? A derecho, something that’s fairly common in the central United States, but rare in the east. A derecho isn’t a thunderstorm per se, although convection is at its heart. Nope, it’s a wind event, and a long-lived one at that. Read more >>
Hover Power: Human-powered helicopter record
In 1980 the American Helicopter Society offered a $250,000 prize for the first human-powered helicopter to reach a height of three meters and remain airborne for 60 seconds while staying in a 10-meter square. The first helicopter to attempt the feat flew for 7.1 seconds and reached a height of 8 inches. On June 21, a team of engineering students from the University of Maryland achieved an unofficial world record of 50 seconds with their Gamera II. Read more >>
AOPA Live This Week: Celebrate the freedom to fly
This Independence Day holiday, AOPA takes a look at the freedoms pilots have to fly and at the freedoms the association and others are working to protect. In an exclusive interview, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) discusses his Pilot's Bill of Rights that unanimously passed the Senate on June 29. AOPA President Craig Fuller delivers a special message to members about the freedom to fly; a group of pilots puts on an airshow in World War I aircraft; and a wounded warrior learns to fly. Plus check out part two of flying the Cessna Corvalis TTX and continue the journey through southern Africa with AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines. AOPA Live This Week, July 3 >>
CORRECTION: In the June 29 AOPA ePilot, we incorrectly stated who was scheduled to perform aerobatics in a high-altitude airshow over Colorado. Gary Rower performed his aerobatics solo.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
With the F-15's right engine oil pressure gauge reading dangerously low, the pilot faced a decision to continue, hoping the gauge was faulty, or shut down the engine as a precaution. Time to run through those emergency procedures. Read more >>
Too long, too far
Athletes find the limits of their stamina by hitting them. If they’re lucky, pilots learn their limits by discovering they’re too tired to fly after they’re safely back on the ground. Some push it too far. On the morning of July 29, 2011, two men took off from Rock Hill, S.C., just south of Charlotte, in a Cirrus SR20. Some 14 hours later, the Cirrus crashed into a hillside in Arizona’s Kaibab National Forest, killing them both. The aircraft had covered a little more than 1,500 nautical miles of the 1,665-nm total distance. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
IFR Fix: Routine ride, or psychological thriller?
To hear the passenger talk about it, it had been one harrowing flight. Flying mostly between layers, but accreting ice when in the clouds, the pilot’s demeanor had deteriorated steadily as the nonpilot passenger observed quietly. No words of distress had been spoken in the cockpit or on the radio, but you know what they say about cutting tension with a knife. Retelling the story months later, the passenger, still rattled, had come to think of the trip as something survived, not merely experienced. Was the cover-up worse than the crime? Read more >>
The ‘impossible turn’
There you have it: Someone made the “impossible turn” and lived to talk about it. In the Air Safety Institute’s "The Impossible Turn" Real Pilot Story, the pilot’s account and video footage let you experience the incredible events as they evolve. Take the Mooney’s right seat as the pilot encounters an emergency seconds after takeoff and view from the cockpit why you shouldn’t tempt fate. Listen to the pilot and air traffic controller’s lessons learned: Their perspective and advice may prove invaluable should you face a similar situation one day.
Fly Well: You need a drink
Sigmund Freud said, “The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water.” However, without sufficient water the mind may not be doing much of anything. Always staying well hydrated is important to ensure the body is firing on all cylinders; this is even more critical when airborne. At altitude, “passive” lung losses increase as breathing drier cabin air or aviation oxygen sucks moisture away. Additionally, we breathe faster if not using supplemental oxygen, thereby losing even more moisture. Read more >>
Cleared for the VOR approach: Now what?
An approach plate is a graphical set of instructions to help get you safely into the airport when weather conditions are obscuring the terrain around you. They provide a roadmap for you to transition from the en route environment to the airfield. But it’s up to the pilot to translate what those instructions are telling you to do. How well do you understand the mix of lines, numbers, and symbols found on an approach chart? Take the IFR Chart Challenge: VOR Approach minicourse from the Air Safety Institute and test your knowledge of a VOR approach.
Pilot’s Bill of Rights passes Senate
The Senate on June 29 unanimously passed Sen. James Inhofe's (R-Okla.) Pilot’s Bill of Rights that will give aviators more protection when faced with possible FAA enforcement actions, among other assurances. “This is a big victory for general aviation pilots all across the country,” Inhofe said in a statement released after the vote. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
Swaths of restricted airspace will take effect in the area of Devils Lake, N.D., July 26—but pilots won’t see a hint of them on current sectional charts. The FAA finalized the establishment of seven new restricted areas June 20 to accommodate operations of laser-equipped unmanned aircraft systems, but the airspace was nowhere to be found on the Twin Cities Sectional released eight days later. AOPA has urged the FAA to ensure that such safety-critical information is easily accessible to pilots, but the agency has indicated it has no plans to delay the implementation of the restricted airspace or issue a supplement to the chart. Read more >>
More time for medical exemption comments sought
A move that has the potential to impact pilots on a personal level and the general aviation industry as a whole deserves more than a 20-day window for the community to comment. AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association are seeking a 70-day extension to the comment period for the medical exemption request that would allow pilots to complete an online medical awareness course, do a self-assessment before every flight, and use their driver's license in lieu of a third class medical to fly some of the most popular aircraft on the market during day-VFR conditions. Read more >>
FAA plans greater role in LSA certification
The FAA is requesting comments on a plan to increase the agency's involvement in special light sport aircraft (SLSA) certification. In issuing airworthiness certificates for SLSAs, the FAA relies on a manufacturer's Statement of Compliance, which asserts that it meets the provisions of industry-developed consensus standards. Manufacturers should be prepared to demonstrate that compliance to the FAA—and, if they cannot, could no longer be considered an SLSA manufacturer, the FAA said in a notice of policy published June 28. Read more >>
Oklahoma moves to drop support for four airports
An Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission proposal to remove four community airports from the state airport system plan would cut off state support for those airports and make them more vulnerable to closure efforts. AOPA is urging pilots to comment on the plan, which would cut Westport, Tenkiller Lake Airpark, Lake Murray State Park, and Pawnee Municipal from the Oklahoma Airport System Plan, by July 10. Read more >>
Instrument flight procedure data at your fingertips
The FAA has launched a new portal, Instrument Flight Procedures Information Gateway, that lets you search for instrument flight procedures, production schedules, and coordination information in one location. Read more >>
AOPA Close to Home
Cleared for takeoff after joint replacement surgery
Joint replacement surgery is commonplace now, with total knee and hip replacements being among the most frequently performed procedures. Actually, there isn't a lot required by the FAA when you report the surgery on your next medical application. Read more >>
Flight training center added to AOPA Tent at AirVenture
While you’re enjoying the sights, sounds, and pure entertainment at EAA AirVenture 2012 in Oshkosh, Wis., July 23 through 29, visit AOPA at Booth 193. New for 2012: The AOPA Flight Training Center will appear for the first time in the AOPA Tent at AirVenture. Bring with you a future pilot who is dreaming of flying. Prospective pilots can try their hand at becoming an aviator by taking the controls of a Redbird Flight Simulations FMX full-motion flight simulator. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an aviation technical generalist, Web graphic designer, aviation technical writer, and enewsletter and social media editor. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.