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The dangers in El Fuerte, this troubled area of northwest Mexico, are well known to the volunteer doctors, nurses, and technicians who come here to provide desperately needed medical care, as well as the U.S. pilots who use their own general aviation aircraft to bring them. AOPA Pilot recently accompanied about 65 volunteers traveling in 16 general aviation airplanes on a three-day trip to Liga International's main clinic in the historic city of El Fuerte, Sinaloa. But their visit turned tragic when an aircraft accident took the life of a Liga volunteer, injured three passengers, and dealt the organization a crushing blow. On June 2, a Cessna 182 owned and flown by Liga volunteer John Frederic Slater, a 50-year-old Arizona business owner, was transporting three teenaged family members and friends of other volunteers to an outlying clinic when the airplane struck power lines and crashed into the El Fuerte River. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
EASA certifies first three light aircraft under new rules
It’s a step in the right direction, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association: European regulators have certified the first three aircraft under new rules that create a European analog to the U.S. light sport aircraft category—with a more complex approval process. Read more >>
Eclipse 550 deliveries expected in 2013
Eclipse Aerospace announced the beginning of production of its Eclipse 550 twin-engine jet. The company forecast deliveries beginning in 2013. The announcement was accompanied by a rollout of its international dealer organization during its first sales conference June 1 in Albuquerque, N.M. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
Solar Impulse crosses Gibraltar Strait
Flying around the world in an aircraft powered only by solar cells and batteries would surely qualify as a magnificent triumph of aviation technology. But as Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg move toward that goal with an ungainly looking aircraft called the Solar Impulse, they assert a different goal: exploring the possibilities for clean, renewable energy including “the protection of nature without ecological fanaticism.” Read more >>
Passenger space pioneer cleared for supersonic tests
Scaled Composites has landed FAA permission to light the candle on SpaceShipTwo. The pioneering spacecraft, designed for Virgin Galactic to carry well-heeled passengers into space, has completed 16 free flights, including three that tested its unique “feathering” system—a Burt Rutan design that allows the spacecraft to fold in flight to maximize drag and minimize friction heating on reentry. The launch permit was among the first issued by the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation, and the first allowing a manned test, according to a company announcement. Read more >>
Bonanza Society, GA community mourn loss of Neil Pobanz
One of the world’s leading technical experts on the Beechcraft Bonanza, and a longtime safety advocate, instructor, and aviation ambassador, Neil Pobanz left a lasting legacy. Read more >>
Event at ‘hidden gem’ takes 258 passengers aloft
Near-perfect weather and an enthusiastic crowd were an ideal recipe for Learn to Fly Day at the Frederick (Md.) Municipal Airport on June 2. The event, sponsored by AOPA and the airport, drew an estimated 600 people throughout the day; volunteer pilots flew 258 passengers. “One of our pilots was walking around downtown yesterday and was spotted by a family that he had flown. They stopped him and thanked him again and said that the family hasn’t stopped talking about the flight since they landed,” said Brittney Miculka, AOPA manager of prospective pilot and youth outreach. “One family I spoke to said that our airport and airport restaurant is a hidden gem and will now be on their list of places to visit again and again.” Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
Danbury AeroSpace CEO remembered
Gary H. Garvens, whose contributions to general aviation included decades of service as owner and CEO of Danbury AeroSpace and its subsidiaries, along with service as a president and director of the Aeronautical Repair Station Association, lost an 18-month battle with cancer on May 31. Read more >>
American Flyers partners with university on aviation program
American Flyers and Nova Southeastern University are hoping to train more pilots at a time when many in the aviation industry have predicted a pilot shortage. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
Fly like a fighter: Voices in the cockpit
On takeoff roll, an Air Force pilot rapidly accelerates down the runway with the afterburners lit. Soon he hears, from somewhere, “60 knots … 80 knots ….” Confused, the pilot starts to pull the throttles to idle to abort the takeoff. Read more >>
Avionics pioneer Edward King Jr. dies
As a pilot, Edward King Jr. wasn’t satisfied with the radios in airplanes, so he invented better ones. The avionics entrepreneur, who launched Communications Accessories Corp. and King Radio, died June 3. He was 90 years old. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Taildragging fun in Tennessee
Do taildragger pilots have more fun? Well, yes, that's pretty much a given. So, put together a bunch of tailwheel pilots and you're in for an especially good time. Savannah-Hardin County Airport in Savannah, Tenn., hosted this year's Ladies Love Taildraggers fly-in, held June 1 through 3, and boy, do these folks know how to throw a party, complete with a Zumba class, comedy and poetry readings, and country singing. Aircraft included an Aeronca Champ, Cessna 140, Twin Beech, at least three Piper Super Cubs, and more. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Sling LSA joins the market
Now you really have choices. South Africa sent its Sling to America, through a dealer at the Torrance, Calif., airport, and it has passed ASTM standards. It is built like a tank, wide and comfortable; is Rotax powered; gets 108 knots; and costs less than the leading light sport aircraft. Read more >>
Hover Power: Fantails
A helicopter's tail rotor is necessary to counteract the torque of the main rotor. Without it, the fuselage would spin the opposite direction of the main rotor (Newton's third law). A conventional tail rotor typically has two or four blades, while a ducted fan design can have eight to 13 blades. The blades are also much smaller, spin at higher speeds, and are mounted within a shroud that forms part of the vertical tail fin of the helicopter. Called a fantail (or sometimes a fan-in-fin), the housing and vertical fin are integrated into the tail boom. Read more >>
AOPA Live This Week: Calm in chaos
Find calm in the chaos through aerobatic training, and watch in-depth interviews with Eclipse Aerospace CEO Mason Holland about production of the Eclipse 550 and American Flyers Chairman Don Harrington on his company's recent partnership with Nova Southeastern University. Plus get more on the fatal general aviation accident in Mexico. And continue up the Mississippi river in an AirCam in part two of the river run. Watch AOPA Live This Week, June 7.
ERRATA: A story in the June 1 edition of AOPA ePilot incorrectly described a part affected by corrosion on the author’s aircraft. It was a rivet. A story in the same issue incorrectly identified the home state of Rep. Sam Graves. Graves is from Missouri. We regret the errors.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
If you haven't flown in a while, climbing into the cockpit can seem like a foreign experience, even overwhelming to some. But why not start your reintroduction to flight on the ground? From takeoff to landing and everything in between, the Air Safety Institute gives you the resources to get back in the left seat with confidence. Refresh your understanding of how the airplane flies in the first place, what's going on under the cowling, or how to grease that first landing with the Pilot Proficiency and the Flight Review Safety Spotlight.
Storm Week just around the corner
Watching a thunderstorm mature from your front porch can be beautiful. Flying anywhere in the vicinity of one can be ghastly. Combat convective weather with the Air Safety Institute and Storm Week—June 11 through 15. Each day the Air Safety Institute will launch a thunderstorm-themed product, including an Ask ATC video, a quiz, and a live webcast. Mark your calendar now for the live webcast on June 14. Renowned experts explore convective weather, ATC’s role, and when to say “no” to a flight. Tap into the Air Safety Institute’s Storm Week and apply what you learn!
IFR Fix: The value-added pilot
An instrument rating opens doors, but with privilege comes obligation. When IFR and VFR worlds collide, instrument pilots whose pride of place has gone awry have been known to evoke the ire of others. Cleared for an approach to a nontowered airport on a VFR day, an IFR aircraft barrels down final to a landing, scattering the local traffic. That brand of complacency would be risky in marginal conditions. The owner of a no-radio Champ may be quite comfortable shooting touch and goes beneath an 800-foot ceiling in a mile's visibility, and won't hear you report inbound on your GPS approach. Read more and take the poll >>
Before you buy: Aircraft purchasing advice
Buying an aircraft? Watch AOPA’s Webinar detailing all you need to know—from prepurchase inspections to insurance. Watch AOPA Live >>
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: 258 and counting
Frederick Municipal Airport has served Maryland since 1949 and is the second busiest in the state, but many of the people who came out to the airport for a Learn to Fly Day event said they “had no idea that this airport was here.” Several hundred lined up to get a flight. Some had never flown at all, some wanted their kids to see what general aviation flight was all about, some were inactive pilots who wanted to remember, and some were just enthusiastic about flying and the adventure. Read more >>
When a Washington, D.C., radio station aired a report purportedly focused on general aviation security concerns, it raised obsolete issues that AOPA and five other aviation associations could have easily put in perspective—or in some instances, simply dispelled. Unfortunately for its listeners, WTOP aired its dubious report—which described small aircraft as among terrorists’ most sought-after weapons—without seeking expert input on GA security. AOPA and the associations are setting the record straight with WTOP. Read more >>
Integrating manned, unmanned vehicles in airspace system
AOPA supports the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System as long as they “do no harm” to current operators, said Heidi Williams, AOPA vice president of air traffic services and modernization. Williams spoke on a panel covering UAS and how they fit into NextGen held at RTCA’s Annual Symposium, entitled Advancing the Goals of NextGen, in Washington, D.C., June 5. “Integration means the burden to operate will be on the UAS operator/pilot without requiring additional equipage or restrictions for current manned operators,” she said. Read more >>
AOPA Close to Home
Sackier, Silberman bring wit, wisdom to health and wellness
Dr. Warren Silberman, who served as the manager of the FAA Aerospace Medical Certification Division in Oklahoma City, Okla., and Jonathan Sackier, AOPA’s wellness consultant who brings his own unique brand of wit to health and wellness, will be among the prominent faces of Pilot Protection Services. If you haven’t seen and heard them together, you are in for a treat! Not only will you be better informed about health and wellness issues that can impact your flying future, you’ll also be highly entertained at the same time. Read more >>
New discount saves members nearly 20 percent
As a new participating company in the AOPA Lifestyles Member Discounts program, Aviation Laboratories (AvLab) is now offering AOPA members a nearly 20-percent discount off their new, trackable metal check test kits. Read more >>
One-on-one service, other benefits of AOPA Plus
Developed in response to member requests for additional services, AOPA Plus allows the association to offer these services to those who need them without raising costs for all AOPA members. Among the benefits of this new membership option is AOPA Navigator, an exclusive concierge service that connects you to an AOPA staff representative who serves as a personal contact and provides one-on-one assistance for all membership needs. Find out more benefits of AOPA Plus.
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; and enewsletter and social media editor. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.