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In the skies over northern Massachusetts, pilots take their first taste of a world turned upside down, an introduction to flight inverted that leaves a lasting impression. Many have gone on to learn aerobatics, or get a taildragger endorsement: This kind of flying is pure fun. There’s also a serious purpose behind unusual attitude training—just ask any small airplane pilot who has been caught in the wake vortex of an airliner. Learning to master spins, and spin recovery, is another step to building confidence as a pilot, and the skills needed to stay in control no matter what. Executive Flyers Chief Pilot—and decorated airshow performer—Michael Goulian explained the philosophy behind the course. Read more >>
More than 14,000 pilots made their voices heard under a tight deadline to comment on a joint petition by AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association to allow pilots to fly under certain circumstances without being required to hold a third class medical certificate. The FAA has now granted more time for pilots to speak up, and explain to regulators how medical self-certification informed by knowledge gained from an online course will enhance operational safety while eliminating a significant burden for many pilots. Read more >>
China-based Superior Aviation Beijing Co. Ltd. could acquire Hawker Beechcraft for $1.79 billion under terms to be negotiated during a 45-day exclusivity agreement. If finalized, the deal must still be approved by a variety of Chinese and American agencies. If the two parties can’t reach a definitive agreement in 45 days, Hawker Beechcraft will continue to pursue a plan of reorganization under Chapter 11 filed in May with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Read more >>
Hawker puts disputed attack aircraft in production
When Hawker Beechcraft's AT-6 and Embraer’s Super Tucano were duking it out over an Air Force contract that was awarded to Embraer, and then revoked and opened again for bidding, critics (most of them in the Tucano camp) noted the AT-6 wasn’t in production. That’s about to change. Read more >>
Garmin's GLO: From Russia with longitude (and latitude)
A wireless GPS about to hit the market promises to feed tablet computers with fast, accurate position data drawing on two separate constellations of satellites. The Garmin GLO will update its position 10 times per second, drawing signal from both American and Russian satellites and connecting to iPad and Android devices via Bluetooth. Read more >>
Aviat resumes Pitts Special S-1S production
Aviat Aircraft is putting the legendary Pitts Special S-1S back into production—at least for a limited time—with the first new deliveries scheduled for early 2013. Five new airplanes will be offered at a discounted price as Aviat tests the waters to see if the venerable aerobat, last produced in a factory in the 1970s, will spark demand. This new edition will come with 180-horsepower Lycoming power, and a fixed-pitch prop. Aviat hopes pilots will seize the opportunity to own a brand-new piece of history. Read more >>
Spaceport launches new look, plans expanded tours
A gateway to civilian space travel is quickly taking shape in the New Mexico desert, and Spaceport America celebrated landing a certificate of occupancy for its operations center with a new website, logo, and a promise of expanded tours for the curious this summer. Read more >>
Resuming the Journey: Come to Kingdom
At Kingdom Air Corps in Sutton, Alaska, the grass strip is short and the scenery is long on beauty. Lesson six brought real bush flying, breathtaking views of mountains and glaciers, and a chance to practice a short- and soft-field landing—for real. It was another step forward in a journey undertaken by pilot Kathy Dondzila, manager of technical communications in the AOPA Pilot Information Center, returning to the left seat to take on new challenges, and the blessings that come with them. Read more >>
Flying club members: Tell AOPA about your club
AOPA believes that the growth of flying clubs will be essential to the future of general aviation. Flying club members can help the association determine how to help flying clubs succeed by telling the association about their club in a survey. Take the survey >>
Teacher plans bicoastal biofuel flight
A Rhode Island high school teacher and private pilot is working to secure sponsorships (and an FAA waiver) for a coast-to-coast flight on biofuel. For Ross McCurdy, this will be the latest effort to demonstrate the potential for emerging technologies that capitalize on renewable resources. McCurdy joined the Paramus Flying Club in New Jersey and is teaming up with those pilots to fly a diesel-powered Cessna 182 to California and back, hoping to inspire other pilots to embrace the fuel-sipping, green technology. Read more >>
Volunteer pilots, organizations honored for service
Pilots who fly in service of others, and the organizations that support work on disaster relief, helping sick children, animal rescue, and many other causes will be honored at a special ceremony in September. The National Aeronautic Association and Air Care Alliance have named the recipients of this year's National Public Benefit Flying Awards. Read more >>
New seminars added to AOPA Aviation Summit
Pilots can catch presentations on lifestyle and inspiration in AOPA’s new Community area at AOPA Aviation Summit. Topics include Bob Gannon’s around-the-world flight in a Cessna 182, Luke Lysen's trip in a Cirrus to China, camping with your airplane, film and TV pilot stories, fun fly-in destinations, and pilots' choice of a topic on health (you get to vote on your topic of choice at the show). Visit the Summit website for these and other learning experiences at Summit, which will take place Oct. 11 through 13 in Palm Springs, Calif.
Re-registration opens for aircraft with October certificates
Owners of aircraft registered prior to Oct. 1, 2010, should check the mail for an FAA notice of required re-registration. Aircraft registered in September of any year must register by July 31, and processing delays could ground aircraft after Sept. 30 until a new registration arrives by mail. The FAA urges owners to check the schedule and allow sufficient time for processing. Read more >>
New app helps pilots decide ‘where to?’
SocialFlight has launched a free application for smartphones and tablets that combines a database of aviation events and attractions with a social networking tool. The app is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Read more >>
The end of Hawker Beechcraft as we know it?
Hawker Beechcraft might be sold to a Chinese company, but one analyst thinks that would be the end of the company as we know it. “Their ability to raise $1.8 billion depends upon selling off aspects of the company to get what they want, which is probably the aftermarket spares, and distribution portals HBC has around the world,” Richard Aboulafia, Teal Group, told AOPA Live This Week. Plus, fly along in pre-WWII-era biplanes as some top notch pilots do daring feats in open-air antiques. Tom Haines flies a Cessna 182 to get up close and personal with lions and leopards in Botswana. See how GA takes you places that other means of transportation can’t, and AOPA also takes a look at how hot summer weather affects your airplane as it sits roasting on the ramp. Watch AOPA Live This Week, July 12 >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
IFR Fix: Worth a thousand words
As a dejected VFR pilot looks on, an instrument pilot walks toward an unseen aircraft, eyes on the sky. Powerful, as a sales pitch for instrument training. And what instrument pilot hasn’t been in the position of the frustrated, frowning fellow for whom flight is forbidden? What the VFR fellow may not realize is that the other pilot may have agonized just as long and hard as he often does about whether to launch into this curious collection of clouds. Read more >>
Know thy aircraft
Fuel capacity, V-speeds, and weight limitations are just some of the important numbers pilots need to know before every flight. If you fly different aircraft regularly, you may already have a system for keeping track of those important numbers for each aircraft you fly. But if you end up constantly searching the checklist for fuel capacity or rotation speed, consider downloading the Aircraft Flash Cards from the Air Safety Institute. Now you can keep much of the pertinent information you need in one place, and there's room for customization on each card.
Hypo-what? Learn about aeromedical matters
Has it been a while since you studied flight physiology? See if you can answer these questions confidently: Do you need a current medical certificate to act as safety pilot? What's the difference between hypoxia, hypoglycemia, hypochondria, and hyperventilation? What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning? Brush up and stay on top of the medical side of things: Take the Air Safety Institute’s Aeromedical Matters safety quiz, sponsored by the AOPA Insurance Agency. Take the quiz >>
Getting the status report right
How much information should your doctor provide in a status report? Some doctors will write a single sentence stating, “The patient is doing fine with no complaints, and I can see no reason why he/she should not be cleared to fly.” Others may write a detailed summary that provides far more information than the FAA requested. Find out what the status report should really include in AOPA's resource, “What is a status report?”
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.
Leading Edge: Thunderous week
The captain asked everyone to sit, including the flight attendants, as the Airbus A319 approached its destination. It was clear from a window seat that they were avoiding some serious weather, writes AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg. The airplane was in and out of the clouds, even above FL350, and the maneuvering began. Read more >>
Special issuance document-carrying requirement ends July 20
Pilots with special issuance medical certificates will not have to carry their letter of authorization while exercising pilot privileges effective July 20, the FAA reiterated recently. The change to the regulations, announced in March, lifts a small burden from pilots with special issuances. In confirming the effective date, the FAA said it received no adverse comments regarding the announcement.
AOPA President Craig Fuller elected RTCA chairman
An organization that serves as a communications bridge between the aviation industry and federal regulators, and a place where consensus is built regarding communications, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management, will be led for the next two years by AOPA President Craig Fuller. Read more >>
Italian ambassador takes to American skies
Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero is an active pilot, so when he struck up a conversation with AOPA President Craig Fuller about Italy’s recent moves to reverse a new luxury tax on general aviation, a visit to AOPA headquarters—and some aviation—seemed appropriate. The Italian government, in a move strongly supported by AOPA Italy, recently halted a plan to tax aircraft that spend more than 48 hours in the country. The ambassador quickly mastered a Garmin glass cockpit in an hour-long flight to West Virginia and back. Read more >>
Redrawn SC aeronautics code ‘a model’
South Carolina has updated the state aeronautics code, creating a model for other states to follow. The new law, which took effect June 18, places the state Division of Aeronautics under the governance of the state Aeronautics Commission—a body that AOPA Southern Regional Manager Bob Minter has served since 2006 as a technical advisor, joining a dozen others in helping to revise the state’s Airport Systems Plan. Read more >>
AOPA Close to Home
Pilot Information Center extends hours
Each year, AOPA’s Pilot Information Center staff responds to hundreds of thousands of questions on a wide variety of topics—from medical certification to purchasing an aircraft. With extended hours now in place, getting answers is easier than ever: The Pilot Information Center is now available until 9 p.m. Eastern time every weekday. Call 800/USA-AOPA (800/872-2672) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time.
FAA requires EKG for first-class airmen, certain conditions
The main policy where electrocardiograms (EKGs) are required is in first-class airmen. An EKG is required when a first-class airman turns 35 and then each year after one turns 40. Pilot Protection Services expert Dr. Warren Silberman explains some of the scenarios in which the FAA would require an EKG, and one common error that leads airmen to receive a letter months later requesting an evaluation. Read more >>
AOPA Term Life: Build financial security for your family
If something happened to you, would your family have enough assets to make sure they maintain their current lifestyle? Available to AOPA members are several Term Life Insurance options—from Group Annual Term to a 10-year or even a 20-year term. Read more >>
New member products, services at AOPA Tent
Stop by the AOPA Tent (Booth 193) during the week of EAA AirVenture, July 23 through 29, to learn more about new member products and services. Ask your health and medical questions to AOPA’s medical experts, and get advice from AOPA’s legal counsel. Find out more about AOPA’s newest iPhone application, FlyQ. 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.