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Dancing a Jimmy Doolittle move with airshow legend Sean D. Tucker across the Virginia sky in an Extra 300 was so surreal, it made an aviatrix’s heart flutter and head swoon. OK, maybe it was the negative-4-G outside loop. “Are you all set to kind of get hurt?” Tucker asked as he and AOPA Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller dove to 180 knots before pitching up, rolling inverted, and adding forward pressure to form the outside loop invented by Doolittle. Her face flushed as blood rushed to her head. “Push it, girl, push harder than that,” he coached. Adding forward stick on the Extra seemed counterintuitive—doing so increased the pressure that was quickly reaching her previously untested threshold for negative Gs. Read more >>
Free memberships available for active-duty military
AOPA is honoring the service of active-duty military members by offering them a complimentary one-year membership. The free membership is designed to allow military members to take their love of aviation beyond their uniform. Read more >>
Calling the bottom for aircraft sales
Is there a “new normal” in the aviation market? That question has been asked time and again about the state of public- and private-sector economies as turbulent times roil markets and shake the foundations of conventional economic thinking. In the aviation marketplace, some aircraft dealers are expressing new optimism, even as prices continue to slip, says Vref, an aviation industry source of aircraft value reference based in Cottonwood, Ariz. Read more >>
SpaceX capsule delivers cargo to space station
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) made history May 25 as the first private company to dock a spacecraft with the International Space Station. When the company’s Dragon capsule completed its berthing at 12:02 p.m. Eastern, it joined just four governments—the United States, Russia, Japan, and the European Space Agency—that had previously achieved the feat. The demonstration flight marks a milestone toward SpaceX’s goal of launching regular missions to resupply the station. Read more >>
Kickstarter funds Synergy prototype
Cut the fuel bill in half for a given horsepower; make it roomy; make it quiet; make it fast, easy to fly, and able to carry five people. Kalispell, Mont., designer John McGinnis has been hard at work—largely on his own—for five years on Synergy. For now, it is a scale model and an advanced concept design that blends a variety of drag-reduction technologies and techniques. In a matter of weeks, hundreds of Kickstarter donors have pledged an average of $119 to endorse, with $78,466 as of May 30, McGinnis’ stated vision. Read more >>
FAA seeks input on warbird passenger flights
Soon after an aborted effort to ground warbirds, the FAA is gathering public comment on whether they should be subject to new restrictions. The input gained will help the FAA decide the fate of future requests to exempt vintage military aircraft from revenue passenger restrictions. Read more >>
Corrosion eats author’s aircraft
It turned out to be a small repair, but a good reminder that “corrosion never sleeps.” It doesn’t pick and choose between aircraft brands, either. Four bolts that helped hold the tail of a 1978 Piper Warrior in place had lost their heads, though the parts they held remained in place. It would have gone on at least another year to the next annual inspection, but for a sharp eye, a couple of man-hours, and a few fresh fasteners. Read more >>
Icon video promotes spin-resistant marketing strategy
Spins kill, and Icon’s strategy with the A5 prototype is not to let it come to that. Now, the company, which announced in February the completion of a flight test program designed to mimic the validation required for spin resistance certification under Part 23, has produced a video highlighting the prototype’s ability to retain roll control throughout a stall—with no tendency to yaw into a spin. The video also puts the A5 in formation with a Cessna 150, both pilots using identical, spin-inducing control inputs. Read more >>
Despite downturn, aircraft manufacturing critical
Aviation groups said a newly released report on the state of the business aircraft industry highlights challenges facing the sector and confirms the “critical importance” of aircraft manufacturing to the nation’s industrial base. Read more >>
Resuming the Journey: More takeoffs and landings
Her confidence shaken after a bruising round of touch and goes, a pilot returning to flying sought the wisdom of two experienced pilots. She took off for her third lesson with three action items in mind, and in spite of distractions all around, she kept her main focus on flying a textbook pattern, establishing a stable approach, and greasing the landing. Read more >>
‘Snoopy 1’ travels country, visits DC area
The MetLife blimp travels with a crew of 13, including the pilots, mechanics, and crew, along with three trailers that carry all the equipment. Snoopy 1 films PGA tournaments, football games, and horse races. Frederick Municipal Airport, the site of AOPA headquarters, is one of the two airports of choice to park the blimp when it is in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area. AOPA got a peek inside the cockpit while the blimp was in town to cover the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown. Read more >>
Sandia introduces new transponder
Looking for a full-featured transponder in a small package? Sandia Aerospace’s newly certified STX 165 fits that bill. At fewer than 2 pounds, and only 3.5 by 1.75 by 7 inches, it can fit into almost any panel. The STX 165 has both Mode A and Mode C capability. It also features three different timers, and a pressure altitude display. An optional probe is available to display outside air temperature, density altitude, and an icing alert. The STX 165 is available for an introductory price of $1,700. Contact Sandia for more information.
Hawker Beechcraft takes orders for G1000 upgrades
With a supplemental type certificate now in place allowing Garmin G1000 suite installations in King Air 300/350 models, Hawker Beechcraft Services announced the first six orders are booked. Read more >>
Island hopping GA style
The Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board is hoping to attract private pilots to more islands by offering an incentive package to those who fly to multiple Out Islands during their visit. Read more >>
Comanche pilots fly into Frederick
Members of the International Comanche Society flew their distinctive single- and twin-engine aircraft into Maryland’s Frederick Municipal Airport on May 26, where they visited AOPA’s headquarters, celebrated general aviation, and discussed safety and proficiency. Read more >>
Hover Power: Tail rotor strikes
The importance of protecting a helicopter's tail rotor cannot be emphasized enough. On March 16, 2003, a Bell 430 medical transport helicopter landed at an accident site at night. After the medical crew exited the helicopter the pilot decided to reposition the aircraft to face west for departure. During this repositioning the tail rotor hit a roadway sign and the aircraft became airborne to around five or six feet. Read more >>
Canada investigates US midair; AirCam up the lazy river
Canadian officials have been called in to investigate a double-fatal U.S. midair collision because FAA and NTSB employees were flying. AOPA Live This Week takes an in-depth look at midair accident causes. Also this week, what corrosion threats may be lurking beneath the paint on your aircraft? Check out a “Prius powered” airplane; a wounded warrior takes flight. Could this be the first truly spin-resistant aircraft? AOPA Live has the video. See the incredible view from a twin-engine AirCam flying low and slow up the lazy river. All that video and more in AOPA Live This Week for May 31.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Pilots have sometimes made it back onto the runway after losing an engine during climb-out, but the record suggests that successful attempts are rare. On April 3, 2011, a Lancair 360 lifted off from Runway 23 of the Chesapeake Regional Airport in Virginia. Witnesses reported that about a quarter-mile beyond the threshold, just after the gear retracted, its engine began to sputter and miss. The airplane began a hard right turn before its nose dropped sharply. Just before impact the nose began to come up again, and two witnesses said they heard the engine return to full power just before the airplane hit the ground. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
How likely is it that you’ll encounter a thunderstorm along your route of flight—and what tools can help you avoid one? AOPA’s thunderstorm avoidance subject report discusses the various types of thunderstorms, weather factors to consider before taking off, and en route storm avoidance techniques and technology. And be alert for more thunderstorm resources brewing on the horizon: The Air Safety Institute rolls out Storm Week June 11 through June 15.
Of all the ways an IFR flight can get off to a rocky start, hearing air traffic control ask where you think you’re going must be one of the most painful. More so if the question comes as you fly a published departure under a low shelf of Class B airspace. Now throw in lack of recent experience, and unfamiliar nav gear. In no time, the workload may overwhelm rusty skills. ATC’s question was innocent, but it created one of those realistic distractions pilots train to avoid. Read more and take the poll >>
What does summer mean to you?
While summer evokes images of sunny days, sandals, and beaches, if you’re a pilot it should also remind you about density altitude. It can’t be seen, felt, or heard, but it can be measured and it will affect your flights, especially if you operate out of short fields. Do you know what parts of the aircraft and portions of your flight are affected by density altitude? Take this short quiz from the Air Safety Institute and underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency, and warm yourself up again to the role density altitude plays in your flying. Take the quiz >>
Heed heading and attitude
Do you care about aircraft pneumatic systems? You should if your airplane’s heading and attitude indicators depend on them! No need to become a mechanic—just take the Air Safety Institute’s Pneumatic Systems online course. It explains the nuts and bolts of the pump, has animated operations schematics, and provides a real demonstration of what might happen to your situational awareness if the system fails in reduced-visibility flight (night VFR or IMC) without electrical backup. Take a look and learn how to handle and avoid such a dilemma.
Leading Edge: Freedom, responsibility, lift, and thrust
Two recent blogs—about experimental amateur-built aircraft safety and controversy at Santa Monica—elicited a lot of pithy comments. Read more >>
Mexico has begun to detain flights on the ground or deny access to airspace if an aircraft’s operator is listed as owing fees buried in the country’s tax code for air traffic services or control tower overtime. Making matters worse, some commercial handlers of flights owing fees have charged exorbitant amounts for their services, AOPA has learned. Pilots who owe fees may be unaware that they were being charged for using air traffic services. Read more >>
NPS role in airspace regulation opposed
Leaders of the Congressional GA Caucus urged House and Senate conferees to reject a bid to give the National Park Service unprecedented authority over aviation. Language inserted in a highway safety bill would give the park service authority to regulate commercial air tours over national park units. Reps. Sam Graves (R-Ga.) and John Barrow (D-Ga.) reminded conferees by letter that the FAA has responsibility for regulating operators and keeping the airspace safe.
Should you refuse to take a breathalyzer?
Don’t believe the rumors: Pilots should not refuse a breathalyzer test if they are suspected of an alcohol- or drug-related offense while operating a motor vehicle. Allow the officer to perform the test. The FAA considers a refusal to test equivalent to a significant positive alcohol test result, and will require you to be evaluated by a substance abuse specialist. Dr. Warren Silberman, former manager of FAA Aerospace Medical Certification, offers advice for pilots suspected of this type of offense as part of AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services program. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a vice president of information systems; registration, housing, and meeting planner; aviation technical writer; member services representative; project manager of online products; and associate editor–Web/ ePilot. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.