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June 15, 2012, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletterJune 15, 2012, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletter

AOPA ePilot

In This Issue:

VOLUME 14, ISSUE 24 — June 15, 2012

Pilot intel feeds storm nerve center
New practical test standards
House: curb TSA ‘emergency’ rules
Quiz Me: CFI checkride, flight review


Safety >>

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect >>


AOPA Live >>

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Air Safety Institute Storm Week

Pilot intel feeds storm nerve center

Feature Bumping in the soup with the freezing level not far above and a complex re-routing to program in the GPS might not be the time for it, but a pirep will be gratefully accepted—even after landing. In the nation’s thunderstorm nerve center, forecasters are fed around the clock with a stream of data that forms a detailed snapshot of the atmosphere. Technology has come a long way since Storm Prediction Center Operations Chief Bill Bunting began his career a quarter-century ago. A steady stream of weather balloons helps fill in gaps between major airports; commercial aircraft beam back real-time weather data; conditions conducive to significant storms can be predicted up to eight days in advance. Despite all of the whiz-bang, there’s still no substitute for knowing the “ground truth” about current conditions, Bunting said. Read more and watch AOPA Live® >>

Severe weather leads to King Air’s in-flight break up

There’s no doubt the King Air B100 pilot knew the weather was going to be difficult: He’d called flight service several times before departing Oct. 26, 2009. He mentioned to a briefer that, “We were going to leave about noon but we’re thinking about bumping it up with all of this weather moving into southwest Texas.” The briefer replied, “Well, you waited too long.” The pilot took off anyway, with tragic results. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.

Preempting a thunderstorm’s fury

Thunderstorms can pack a powerful punch, and flying anywhere in the vicinity of one can be deadly. But, how do you recognize and deal with convective weather? Watch the Air Safety Institute’s “ Preempting a Thunderstorm’s Fury: Cockpit Weather, ATC, and You.” In this recorded webcast, AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg and expert panelists discuss practical weather strategies beyond the basics: How are ASR and WARP different? What does the dBz scale mean to you? How do you interpret steep precipitation gradients? Find out how to minimize your risk of encountering a thunderstorm’s fearsome wrath.

‘Center, are there thunderstorms around me?’

Watch the latest Ask ATC segment At this time of year, no matter where in the country you fly, you'll probably have to contend with thunderstorms. If you find yourself getting closed in by the clouds, remember ATC can help. While their radar may not show the whole picture, air traffic controllers are a great resource for what may be ahead. Listen to the Air Safety Institute's latest Ask ATC segment as two tracon controllers talk about how pilots and controllers can work together to paint a bigger weather picture and help you out of a potentially dangerous situation. Watch Ask ATC >>

Airplane vs. thunderstorm—not a win/win

Understanding convective weather is key to avoiding violent storms, which can produce airframe-shattering turbulence and raging winds, accompanied by blinding downpours and damaging hail. In the air it can be a terrifying experience. Need a refresher on thunderstorm-avoidance strategies? Take the safety quiz >>

IFR Fix: Sigmet surprise

You hesitate to cut off your friends’ chatter as a short radio call (a Center Weather Advisory) comes and goes. Whatever. You’ll have to try to catch up with that radio call at some point. But it’s getting bumpy—and surprise, it’s raining! Your right-seat passenger is dying to ask you what a “convective sigmet” is, but refrains because you appear preoccupied. Read more >>

BlogsLeading Edge: Lightweights vs. a heavyweight

When aircraft are matched up directly with thunderstorms, the overwhelming winner is Mother Nature. Pilots have been warned about thunderstorms since the earliest days of flight, and with the exception of a few research aircraft that have deliberately gone looking for trouble, you are advised to stay well clear. Read more >>

GA News

Time running out to support medical exemption

If using medical self-certification and a driver’s license to fly single-engine aircraft with 180 horsepower or less, four seats or fewer, and fixed landing gear for recreational purposes is up your alley, now is your chance to make that scenario a reality. With a deadline of July 2 to support the AOPA/EAA medical exemption request, submit comments supporting it now. Read more >>

NetJets orders new aircraft, deals total $9.6 billion

NetJets announced June 11 a set of deals with aircraft makers Bombardier and Cessna that will place up to 425 new aircraft in service over the next four years. The $9.6 billion deal, which includes 125 firm orders and 300 options, is a welcome boost to a long-suffering industry—all manufacturers combined delivered 703 business jets worldwide in 2011, according to General Aviation Manufacturers Association data. Read more >>

SNC fires fresh salvo in Afghan air support dogfight

Sierra Nevada Corp. on June 13 announced action in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that seeks to reinstate a light air support contract scrapped by the U.S. Air Force in February. The Air Force scuttled the deal after Hawker Beechcraft launched its own legal battle to halt the contract from which the now-bankrupt company had been excluded. Read more >>

The Wright stuff: How to tame a horse

Flying a Wright glider replica Wilbur Wright compared learning to control a flying machine to learning to ride an untamed horse: You can either jump on it and learn by practice, or “sit on the fence and watch the beast a while, and then retire to the house and at leisure figure out the best way of overcoming his kicks and jumps.” AOPA Editor–Web Sarah Brown did it the Wright way: Resting prone on the 112-pound spruce-and-fabric structure, she flexed her forearms to change pitch and pushed her hips to roll as she soared, sort of, in a 1902 Wright glider reproduction at Jockey’s Ridge State Park in North Carolina. Read more and ride along on AOPA Live >>

Curiosity takes closer aim at Mars landing

A combination of in-flight calibration and improved simulations have allowed NASA and its partners to plan a more precise landing on Mars by Curiosity, mankind’s first rover with tools to drill into rock—including one rock in particular that researchers are “quite fond of.” Read more >>

Texas engineer and son take aim at human flight prizes

Decades after Larry McNay, then 16, helped build and launch the Gossamer Albatross on its historic 1979 hop over the English Channel, he is preparing his son, 13, to power and pilot a new design. Cash prizes and Olympic dreams are on the line. Read more >>

Cessnas prepare for mass arrival to Oshkosh

With your eyes pinned to your lead aircraft, you keep a distance of 120 to 150 feet as you fly inbound to what is soon to become the busiest airport in the world. Dozens of aircraft arranged in elements of three make the flight to EAA AirVenture in formation each year through Cessnas 2 Oshkosh, a display of pride in type and the result of nationwide training. Pilots are preparing ahead of time for the mass arrival. Read more >>

FAA issues revised AC on EFB use

While most Part 91 operators will remain free of new requirements for electronic flight bag (EFB) testing and documented crew training, Advisory Circular 120-76B published June 1 will apply to some. AOPA and other groups urged regulators to exclude Part 91 operations from extensive training and equipment testing requirements; the FAA opted to include large and turbine-powered multiengine and fractional ownership operators (Parts 91F and 91K), with those owners and pilots responsible for compliance.

AOPA's website gets new look

In the coming days, AOPA's website will get a new, cleaner look. Enjoy a larger font size, bigger images, more open space, and a more prominent content area to make it easier for you to get the latest general aviation news. The top navigation menu expands to reveal the wealth of information AOPA offers online. Read more >>

GA pilot lands Emerging Explorer support

The National Geographic Society has chosen Barrington Irving, the youngest pilot to circumnavigate the world, among 2012’s Emerging Explorers. Irving’s next mission will be flying around the world at 45,000 feet in an Embraer while beaming live lessons to students. Read more >>

America’s only female Zeppelin pilot takes left seat

Andrea Deyling flies the Zeppelin 'Eureka' Only two Zeppelin NT (new technology) behemoths are flying in the world, and women fly both of them. One is in Germany, while Andrea Deyling just completed six months of training in the United States. Her new ride, the Zeppelin Eureka, is longer, at 246 feet, than a Boeing 747 fuselage. That’s as long as six giant squid laid end to end (that comparison was the company's idea). Deyling is a Zeppelin NT check pilot and can train others in the craft, which you can ride in California through Airship Ventures. Read more >>

Air Race Classic teams gathering in Arizona

Teams of women pilots flying 55 aircraft are headed to Arizona to take part in the 2012 Air Race Classic June 19 to 22, continuing a tradition of women’s air racing that began in 1929. The air racing teams numbering 117 participants will start the 2012 race at Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and then fly a 2,700-mile course to Clermont County Airport in Batavia, Ohio, stopping at nine airports along the way. Read more >>

Icon teams with Lotus on A5 design

Icon Aircraft, the California firm developing a flashy new light sport aircraft touted as “spin resistant,” announced June 13 that the engineers behind Lotus automobiles have been called in to help craft the interior. Read more >>

From first ride to second lieutenant

Nicholas DeLuca and his instructor After a ride in a family friend’s Cessna 172 instilled a lifelong fascination with aviation in 6-year-old Nicholas DeLuca, the youngster set his sights on the goal of becoming a fighter pilot. On June 6, DeLuca recalled the pivotal episodes of his lifelong journey in aviation in an AOPA interview given shortly after he graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., commissioned as a U.S. Marine Corps second lieutenant, with pilot training in his future. Read more >>

Lockheed ‘Centennial Flight Contest’ offers prize ride

Visitors to England’s upcoming Farnborough International Airshow are being given a chance to write their way aboard a Lockheed Super Constellation. Lockheed Martin is celebrating its centennial, in part, with a contest inviting social media followers to share personal stories related to aviation history (250 words or fewer), with a photo. Entries are due June 18. Five winners will get a ride July 10.

Crossfield Award deadline extended

The National Aviation Hall of Fame has increased the stipend for its annual A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Educator of the Year Award and pushed back the deadline to submit nominations. The stipend was raised to $5,000 from $1,500, and will be awarded to a teacher who demonstrates effectiveness, creativity, and ability to maintain high standards for students or him- or herself, with aerospace as a core subject matter of the curricula. Nominations are being accepted until June 30 on the website.

Star Wars fighters battle for kids’ attention

America’s “other space program” has been aiming to captivate—and educate—for years, with John Powell launching dozens of high-altitude balloon flights for photo ops at the edge of space. The missions carry experiments crafted by schoolchildren around the world, advertising, and tributes to space achievements past—both real and science fiction. Read more >>

BlogsReporting Points: PC-12s in African special ops

A network of airports across Africa are home to Pilatus PC-12s operated by the U.S. military. AOPA Editor at Large Tom Horne writes that these PC-12s “are probably the ‘Spectre’ models that come with a retractable infrared sensor pod and interior monitoring console.” Read more >>


AOPA Live This Week: Storms, gliders, seaplanes galore

AOPA Live This Week, June 14 Learn the perils of thunderstorm encounters in aircraft and how to give pilot reports to provide forecasters with more data about severe weather. Then, get away from the gale-force winds of thunderstorms for a lighter breeze flying the Wright glider. Find out what’s changed in the private and commercial pilot airplane practical test standards. And enjoy the finale of the River Run series with AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman and AOPA Live Associate Producer Paul Harrop as they fly up the Mississippi River in an AirCam. Watch AOPA Live This Week, June 14 >>


For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

Safety & Proficiency

New private, commercial pilot airplane PTS

Student pilots, flight instructors, and designated pilot examiners: New practical test standards for the private and commercial pilot airplane practical tests went into effect June 1. Download the latest versions from the FAA website.

Resuming the Journey: Ready for Alaska fields?

Can short- and soft-field practice on a 5,200-foot paved runway prepare this pilot for operating on a 1,700-foot grass runway, with the last 500 feet sloping downhill at a 15-percent grade? Read more >>

Flying south of the border

Planning a flight to Mexico? Get information on customs requirements, ELT equipage, entry procedures, and overflight fees in AOPA’s guide to flying in Mexico. The Mexican government has been detaining flights on the ground or denying access to airspace if an aircraft’s operator is listed as owing fees for air traffic services or control tower overtime. Reviewing these resources and calling the experts in AOPA’s Pilot Information Center (800/USA-AOPA) can help ensure a trouble-free flight.

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

June 23 and 24

Columbus, Ohio

Ashburn, Va.

July 14 and 15

Jacksonville, Fla.

Memphis, Tenn.

July 21 and 22

Pittsburgh, Pa.

July 28 and 29

Newark, N.J.


For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Can’t make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.

July 25

Oshkosh, Wis.


July 26

Oshkosh, Wis.







Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.


House urges curb on TSA ‘emergency’ rules

The House has called for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to curb its use of emergency authority to impose long-term security regulations and directives not tied to a specific threat. Criticism of the TSA’s use of emergency authority to set security policies—to which AOPA has objected since 2008—came in an Appropriations Committee report accompanying the 2013 House appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security. Read more >>

AOPA helps Congress battle regulatory ‘tsunami’

AOPA, responding to a congressional invitation to identify regulatory drag on jobs and the economy, named six existing or proposed regulations threatening the well-being of the $150 billion general aviation industry. Read more >>

Fuller offers legislative update at Florida conference

AOPA President Craig Fuller used a panel discussion at the Florida Aviation Trades Association’s Annual Meeting and Trade Show June 12 to give an update on general aviation topics including user fees, the fall elections, and state advocacy efforts. User fees were at the top of the agenda, with Fuller noting that in 1981 as a staffer in the Reagan White House, he battled on this issue. “Congress has repeatedly said user fees for GA are a nonstarter, but that has not deterred the administration from continuing to put forward new proposals,” he said. Read more >>

Get ’em out to the airport

AOPA Now: Taking off and giving thanksIt’s no surprise that people don’t support an airport when they don’t understand it. Once they come out, they see the value and have fun too. That’s why Hayward Executive AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Claude Goldsmith hosted an AOPA booth during the California airport's open house. Read more >>

Join the Airport Support Network today

Ensuring the health and vitality of your airport is up to you—incompatible development and economic and political pressures can restrict your flying. Every day, close to 2,500 Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers work with AOPA headquarters to help save their airports, but we need more. Below is a link to a list of the airports where an ASN volunteer could make a difference. To nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer, visit AOPA Online.

AOPA Close to Home

Officials ponder airport in Paradise

Aviation funding bill passes in Michigan

Fly-casting ponds raise airport’s bird-strike risk

Missouri bill requires towers to be marked

Graves, Barrow stick up for vintage military aircraft (PDF)

Runway project approved in New Jersey

FAA seeks changes to restricted area in Virginia

GPS signals unreliable in June over New Mexico (PDF)

Member Benefits

Legally Speaking: ‘Signing’ an e-logbook

The regulations require that a CFI sign students’ logbooks and place endorsements in them. But the “logbook” isn’t always a bound book of pages. How can one sign or endorse a student’s e-logbook? Pilot Protection Services legal expert Kathy Yodice addresses the issue. Read more >>

‘Never Again/Real Pilot Stories’ added to Summit lineup

AOPA Now: Taking off and giving thanks You may have thought it could never happen to you—an emergency, a poor decision triggering a spiraling chain of events—but it did. Help others learn from your mistakes during AOPA Aviation Summit in Palm Springs, Calif. If you are planning to attend Summit, submit your Never Again story, and you may have a chance to share it in person during the “Never Again/Real Pilot Stories” seminars at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 11 and 12. It’s part of the East Lawn Community Speaker Series that will include daily seminars about your health, aviation adventures and travel, and flight instructor tips. See the schedule >>

AOPA Career Opportunities

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a 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.


Picture Perfect

AOPA’s online photo gallery allows you to upload your own aviation photography as well as view, rate, and comment on others’ photos. Your favorite aviation images from AOPA Pilot are still available online through this new gallery. Take a look, and submit your own photos!

Picture Perfect

Is fuel level on your checklist?

A pilot overheard another pilot contacting the FBO with an unusual request. “He wanted to verify that his plane was indeed fueled the night before. Apparently, he asked for 20 gallons. The FBO said that it needed a few moments to pull the records. The pilot immediately turned back and landed.” What’s your procedure for fueling up before you go? Do you leave it to the FBO, or do you have the last say? Share your story at the AOPA Forums >>


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Engage in Aviation

Check out user-submitted events from your region. To include an event or to search all events in the calendar, visit AOPA Online. AOPA does not endorse the events listed below, nor have ePilot editors edited the submissions. AOPA assumes no responsibility for events listed.


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Here’s a question asked by an AOPA member who contacted our aviation services staff through the AOPA Pilot Information Center. Test your knowledge.


Question: I recently took a practical test for my initial flight instructor certificate. Does this qualify as a flight review?


Answer: Unless an agreement was made with the examiner prior to the checkride, taking a practical test for the CFI certificate would not qualify as a flight review under 14 CFR 61.56, which details the requirements. Some confusion comes from the language in 61.56 that includes provisions in lieu of a standard flight review. These can include practical tests for other ratings and operating privileges such as an airline or military proficiency check administered by an approved check airmen. The FAA cleared up the confusion in a 2008 letter of interpretation, stating: “A flight instructor practical test is not a pilot proficiency check for a pilot certificate, rating or an operating privilege, or any other acceptable substitute for a flight review specifically listed in § 61.56(d). A flight instructor practical test is not primarily focused on piloting skills but rather on one’s instructional skills.” In the case of the CFI candidate practical test, the individual can request the examiner administering the checkride to perform a flight review in conjunction with the practical test if certain conditions are met. This agreement would then allow the examiner to make the separate endorsement for a flight review that is required under 61.56. Since you didn’t take this route, the one advantage you may have is forgiveness for the one hour of ground training required for a flight review. Learn more about flight reviews.


Got a question for our aviation services staff? The AOPA Pilot Information Center is a service available to all members as part of the annual dues. Call 800/USA-AOPA (800/872-2672), or email to [email protected].

Keep 'em flying Brush up on your thunderstorm knowledge with the resources compiled for the Air Safety Institute’s Storm Week.


Rally GARemember to use your AOPA credit card to earn double points on select aviation purchases—every purchase supports general aviation at no additional cost to you! Don't have the AOPA credit card? Apply today and show your passion for GA.


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