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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Volume 1, Issue 1


GA News

AOPA in Congress

Inside AOPA

Quiz Me!

Upcoming Events

Picture of the Week

Weekend Weather

1. Mooney offers faster Ovation
2. Raytheon goes Garmin
3. AOPA joins Wings lawsuit
4. Learjet crashes in South Dakota
5. House, Senate conferees work on aviation funding
6. AOPA improving certification procedures
7. New Safety Advisor on icing available
8. Photo of the week
Volume 1, Issue 1
October 29, 1999
1. Welcome to ePilot
Welcome to the first issue of AOPA ePilot, a free weekly update of the latest news about general aviation, and about what AOPA is doing behind the scenes on your behalf. Because we know that many general aviation pilots fly on the weekends, we plan to deliver this unique e-mail newsletter to you every Friday morning. Each week we will focus on unusual fly-out destinations where you can enjoy the utility of general aviation aircraft. We will also highlight safety seminars and other events coming up in the next week. AOPA values its relationship with you. You have received ePilot because you registered on If you wish to unsubscribe to ePilot, reply to this message with the word unsubscribe in the Subject line. Send comments about ePilot to: [email protected].
2. GA news
AOPA Expo a success Some 9,749 visitors attended AOPA Expo last weekend in Atlantic City, New Jersey, many of them arriving in the 1,466 general aviation aircraft that were counted at area airports. Below are some of the top announcements made by manufacturers at the show. To see a complete report, visit to view our Virtual Expo.

Mooney offers faster Ovation
Mooney Aircraft has added a different propeller to the Ovation, creating a faster model dubbed the Ovation2. The new model is powered by the same 280-horsepower Continental IO-550 engine as the current Ovation, but cruises at a faster 194 knots, said Chris Dopp, Mooney’s president and CEO. The performance increase comes from a new, two-blade McCauley propeller system. For the 2000 model year, both the Ovation2 and Bravo will come standard with Bendix/King’s KFC225 autopilot and leather interiors; Garmin GNS430 navigators with color moving maps will be available as factory options. What should pilots expect from Mooney in the future? Dopp said the company has seen a lot of interest in the M20T Predator, a two-place tandem model, and is seriously considering a new six-seat, pressurized aircraft. "That would be a four- to five-year product," he commented.

Superior Air Parts introduces Millennium Engine
The Millennium Engine was introduced at AOPA Expo ’99. Superior officials said owners of Lycoming- and Continental-powered airplanes have a new option when their engines reach TBO. Superior teamed with Montrose, Colorado-based Western Skyways, which will be the Millennium program’s first factory-certified facility to produce the Millennium engine. More shops are expected to join the program by the end of the year. Superior intends to offer a five-year/TBO warranty on the engine. Naturally, the engine will be constructed almost entirely out of Superior Air Parts components, including the Millennium cylinders. Improvements over OEM remanufactured engines include internally balanced components, flow matching, fine-wire spark plugs, and custom appearance packages. Parts for which Superior lacks a PMA, such as crankcases, will be outsourced to Superior-approved facilities for overhaul. Superior expects the new engine to ring in at $700 to $1,000 more than a comparable factory-remanufactured engine from Continental or Lycoming. Engines will be available on an exchange basis, or yours can be overhauled in three to four weeks. For now, only Continental engines are available, but Superior expects to be assembling Lycoming engines by the first of the year. Watch for an in-depth article on Superior’s Millennium engine in an upcoming issue of AOPA Pilot. For more information, visit the Superior Air Parts Web site or call 972/233-4433.

Sennheiser introduces new headset series
Sennheiser has introduced a Sound of Silence Headset Series. Introduced were the HMEC300, a lightweight headset offering active reduction of low-frequency noise and passive attenuation of high and mid frequencies. The new HME100 is a passive-only version of the HMEC300. The company previously purchased ear cups and headbands from Peltor, but now is manufacturing its own.

Raytheon goes Garmin for new Barons, Bonanzas
An agreement between Raytheon Aircraft and Garmin makes the Garmin GNS 430 GPS moving map and com radios standard equipment in next year's models of Raytheon’s Beech piston line. AlliedSignal still supplies transponders, ADFs, DMEs, autopilot, and weather radar equipment for Raytheon. Stay tuned for an upcoming pilot report of the new Garmin-equipped Bonanza in AOPA Pilot. For more information see the Garmin Web site or the Raytheon Web site

Lightspeed adds the 20XL to its ANR series
Lightspeed introduced its 20XL active noise reduction headset with automatic shut-off capability at AOPA Expo. The 20XL promises 22 to 24dB of active noise cancellation and 22dB of passive cancellation. Like the more expensive 25XL, the new headset uses the AES auto shut-off system that detects when the user has removed the headset. Compared to the company’s earlier 20K model, the new headset has better mid-range speech reproduction. In addition, the headset boasts 50 to 60 hours of operation on two AA batteries. Other features of the 15-ounce headset include volume controls for each ear, a battery life indicator, and a noise-canceling electret microphone. The headset comes with a padded carrying case and will retail for $475.

In other news
AOPA and three other organizations have joined in a lawsuit by the Wings Field Preservation Asssociates against a Pennsylvania law that restricts development at state airports in general and Wings Field in particular. The law, passed in 1998, adds another approval step to the federal and state grant application process by requiring the airport to seek and obtain the approval of the local municipality for the proposed airport project. The law applies to only a handful of public-use airports in Pennsylvania and allows the local community to block the use of not only the state's Aviation Restricted Revenue Account, but federal money as well for airport improvements, maintenance, and development. AOPA was joined in the friend-of-the-court action by the National Business Aviation Association, the National Air Transportation Association, and the Aviation Council of Pennsylvania. Wings Field is the founding site of AOPA.

Investigators continue to examine the wreckage of a Learjet 35 which crashed near Mina, South Dakota, after the pilots became incapacitated--perhaps as early as the climb to 39,000 feet after takeoff from Orlando--and the aircraft ran out of fuel. AOPA was able to track the aircraft using Flight Explorer software from Dimensions International of Vienna, Virginia. The red line is the actual track of the aircraft as reported by the transponder to FAA radars across the nation. All other dots on the map are Learjets of all models. There were 61 Learjets in flight over North America at the time of the accident.

For daily updates on news important to general aviation, visit AOPA Online

3. AOPA in Congress
House and Senate conferees continued to meet this week to determine the final outcome of the FAA Authorization bill. Many of the non-controversial issues were resolved last week, leaving the most contentious issues for the coming days. Among the more difficult issues is whether to take the aviation trust fund "off budget," which would allow the funds to be spent promptly on aviation infrastructure improvements. The House version of the bill, HR 1000 (also called AIR-21) includes AOPA-supported provisions that would take the aviation trust fund "off budget." However, the Senate version of the bill, S 82, does not. Proponents of the "off budget" treatment face tough opposition from the members of the budget and appropriations committees, who believe their committees would lose power under the proposal. It is not too late to contact your representatives in Congress to urge them to support taking the aviation trust fund off budget. See the AOPA web site at for more information.
4. Inside AOPA
Cumbersome certification procedures have stymied development of new aircraft and products. To help change that, AOPA Vice President and Executive Director of Government and Technical Affairs Dennis Roberts is representing the interests of general aviation at the RTCA Certification Task Force's Select Committee. The group develops strategies for improving the FAA's certification process. AOPA has long said that difficulties with certification pose a real threat to the success of implementing Free Flight and modernization of the National Airspace System. The committee will recommend ways of streamlining the FAA's current process to make certification, particularly of avionics, more cost effective and faster without compromising safety.

Costly government-mandated changes in GA avionics with no gain in benefits are opposed by AOPA. Roberts, speaking to the RTCA Annual Symposium in Tysons Corners, Virginia, noted that GA has had "Free Flight" for years--it's called VFR Direct! Roberts, cochairman of the Satellite Navigation Users Group (SNUG), indicated that GA aircraft owners are willing to equip with new avionics if, and when, they see the benefits of such a retrofit. Pointing to the fact that over 80,000 GPS units are already in use by GA pilots, Roberts noted this equippage has been entirely voluntary, simply because owners saw the benefits and moved to purchase the new technology. With the introduction of new instrument approach procedures; more VFR waypoints; moving maps depicting special-use airspace, terrain features, and graphic approach depictions; equippage rates for general aviation will increase. However, without these benefits, GA will resist the additional costs incurred simply to do the things we are already doing.

Future airport planning is important, but protection for today's airports must be provided as well . Roberts recently told the World Aviation Congress in San Francisco that plans for advancing aviation in the future will all be for naught unless we protect the present. Speaking on the impacts of airport closures, Roberts noted that the nation is loosing at least one public-use airport from the national infrastructure each week. Federal, state, and local officials must begin to realize the economic and transportation benefits of these facilities and protect them from incompatible land use and encroachment.
5. AOPA Air Safety Foundation news
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation has published a new "Safety Advisor" on Icing that was sponsored by the FAA’s Flight Safety Research Section at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City. The 16-page booklet has the latest statistics on icing weather accidents, explains the difference between approved and non-approved aircraft, and provides procedures for dealing with inadvertent ice encounters in unprotected aircraft. For more information see, or write: AOPA Air Safety Foundation, Attn: Icing Safety Advisor, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701.

Nominations sought
Application forms for the FAA/Industry 2000 Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year are now available. Nominations must be received by December 31. Application forms and instructions are available at any local FAA FSDO, Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics, or by calling AOPA at 800/USA-AOPA.

ASF Safety report
General aviation has a good safety record through the first three quarters of the year, despite such high-profile accidents as the death of John F. Kennedy and his passengers. There was a 0.8 percent decrease in accidents and a 5.9 percent decrease in fatal accidents from January through September. Personal flying has shown the best overall improvement, with a 3.2 percent decrease in accidents and an 8.1 percent decrease in fatal accidents. Instructional accidents have increased by 3.5 percent, but fatal accidents during flight instruction have decreased by 17.6 percent.

6. Quiz me!
Here’s a question many of you asked either in e-mails or telephone calls to our AOPA technical specialists.

Question: Student pilots are not required to have ratings to fly a high-performance airplane, except for the type-specific entry required for flying the plane solo during training. May a student pilot acquire high-performance endorsements that will carry over after the private pilot checkride, or do such log entries have to wait until after that checkride?

Answer: A careful reading of 14 CFR 61.31(e)(1)(ii) and (f)(1)(ii) requires any pilot, including a student pilot, who wishes to act as PIC of a complex or high-performance aircraft to obtain a one-time endorsement from an authorized instructor after receiving training from that instructor. Be careful that the airplane in question has an engine of more than 200 horsepower as required in the definition of high performance aircraft in 14 CFR 61.31(f)(1). These endorsements will carry over beyond the pilot's student training.

Got a question? Call 800/872-2672 or e-mail [email protected].
7. Upcoming events
This weekend's ePilot picks
Vampire legends, graveyard tours, and psychic readings are highlights of Newport, Rhode Island's Haunted Newport Week October 25-31. Haunted Newport also features haunted hayrides along the beach in Middletown, Rhode Island, and a Ghoul's Ball at the Newport Regatta Club on Goat's Island. Call the Newport County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 800/976-5122 or visit the Haunted Newport Web site Newport State Airport (UUU) is located two miles northeast of the city. Taxi service and car rentals are available. Call 401/295-5020 for more information.

Branson, Missouri's largest and most luxurious theater, The Grand Palace, features the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in conjuction with Branson's Ozark Mountain Christmas and Branson Area Festival of Lights November 4 through December 11, 1999. More than 200,000 visitors are expected to visit America's heartland for this event. The M. Graham Clark Airport (PLK) at Point Lookout serves the Branson area; taxi service and shuttles are available. Visit The Grand Palace Web site or call the airport at 417/334-6411.

Local wineries in the Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande Valley region of San Luis Obispo welcome guests to sample their wines in the annual Harvest Festival of San Luis Obispo, California, November 6, 1999. Festivities include barrel tasting, live music, and gourmet food in a beautiful setting in the vineyards. San Luis Obispo County-McChesney Field Airport (SBP) serves the area and taxi service is available. Call 805/781-2777 for festival information or the airport at 805/781-5205.

Other events
October 29-30—San Luis Obispo, CA. San Luis Obispo County-McChesney Field (SBP). Fifth Annual Slo Derby Air Race. Call Heather Heaps, 805/528-5237.
29-30—St. Petersburg, FL. Albert Whitted Municipal Airport (SPG). Fourth Annual Florida 400 Air Race. St. Petersburg to Waycross, GA, to Clearwater, FL, sponsored by the Florida Suncoast Ninety-Nines. Call Cheryl Finke, 800/354-9541.
30—Sussex, NJ. Sussex Airport (FWN). The Great Pumpkin Fly-In, sponsored by EAA Chapters 73, 96, 238, 891, and Vintage #7. Call Herb Daniel, 973/875-9359.
30—Wickenburg, AZ. Wickenburg Municipal Airport (E25). Fifth Annual Wickenburg Fly-In. Call Julie Brooks, 520/684-5479.
AOPA Pilot Town meetings
November 9—Denver, CO. Sheraton Denver Tech Center, 7007 South Clinton Street, Englewood, CO. 7:30 p.m.
November 10—Dallas-Fort Worth, TX. Grapevine Convention Center, 1209 South Main Street, Grapevine, TX. 7:30 p.m.
November 11—Prescott, AZ. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Auditorium, 3200 Willow Creek Road, Prescott, AZ. 7:30 p.m.

AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Courses
October 23-24—Nashville, TN. Clubhouse Inn & Conference Center, 920 Broadway, Nashville, TN. 7:30 a.m.
October 30-31—Reston, VA. Sheraton Reston Hotel, 11810 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA. 7:30 a.m.
October 30-31—Indianapolis, IN. Holiday Inn Indianapolis East, 6990 East 21st Street, Indianapolis, IN. 7:30 a.m.

For a complete look at upcoming events, visit

8. Photo of the week
Here’s a link to the latest photography from AOPA Pilot’s Mike Fizer. Click and capture this exciting aviation wallpaper for your computer screen. A new photo will appear each week. Visit

Contacting AOPA
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.
AOPA, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701.
Phone: 301/695-2000 Fax: 301/695-2375
E-mail [email protected]
On the web:
Map and driving directions

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Topics: AOPA, Advocacy, Events

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