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An airport once rendered nearly invisible by weeds and neglect, despite being located on the main drag on the edge of a northern Indiana town, has become a focus of attention for the mayor and his appointed board of commissioners. “What do you do with an airport that the world thinks is dying and isn’t worth a nickel?” said Tom Flynn, president of the Board of Aviation Commissioners. The town considered bulldozers, but instead opted for mowers, paint, and a host of other improvements to Plymouth Municipal Airport that have begun to pay off. Businesses have moved in and are drawing people—and dollars—to the area. A golf course next door helps too. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
Hawker tells court it may reduce jet products
All three options for a reorganized, and still independent, Hawker Beechcraft call for keeping the military aircraft (King Airs and the T-6 Texan II trainer/ground attack aircraft), piston aircraft, and commercial King Air line. Read more >>
FreeFlight Systems lands STC for ADS-B Out
Thousands of oil rig workers depend on daily flights that stretch hundreds of miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. In this airspace, far beyond radar range, NextGen technology promises to enhance both safety and efficiency, and a Texas company announced this month the first unit that transmits Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) Out from Chevron’s fleet of AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters. Read more >>
AirShares Elite expands down under
A fractional ownership company offering late-model Cirrus SR22 aircraft in 15 U.S. cities has added an Australia option: Starting this month, customers can fly out of Moorabbin Airport in Melbourne. Read more >>
No business like (air)show business
The Extra 330SC rocketed skyward in front of a crowd of thousands, music blaring. It plunged into a spiraling descent just as Bon Jovi’s “We weren’t born to follow” started blaring through the speakers, as if by maestro’s cue. The aerobatic champion pointed out the moment while watching footage of the day’s routine in a post-flight debrief at the Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Air Show at Quonset State Airport in North Kingstown, R.I., June 17. Crew Chief Matt Chapman cues the music from the ground, anticipating the performer’s compensation for wind, altitude, and venue that make each routine just a little different. The crowd doesn’t notice if a song starts half a beat off, but, “If it’s right, everybody will notice,” Goulian said. Read more >>
TBM 850's Elite racks up sixteenth delivery
Daher-Socata said it has delivered its sixteenth TBM 850 of the year. The airplane, the latest, Elite variant of the TBM 850 series, will go to a customer in Thailand. The airplane, introduced at this year’s Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In and Expo, lets customers reconfigure the TBM 850 cabin into a four- or six-seat layout. Read more >>
Whether practicing formation in a T-38 or recovering from a stall or performing a go-around in a general aviation airplane, every pilot should commit certain recoveries to memory. Retired Air Force F-15 pilot Larry Brown calls these recovery items panic moves. Read more >>
Ohio Cub pilots were never really lost
Two Ohio pilots have completed a journey that included landing in each of the state’s 88 counties—a trip they made in their 1946 Piper J-3 Cubs. The quest of Joe Murray, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University, and retired physician Ron Siwik has been documented on a website, Lost in Oscar Hotel. Murray and Siwik had planned a journey of 1,670 miles that would take 26 hours of flight time, over about a two-week period. Their plans coincided with the anniversary of the Piper Cub, which first flew 75 years ago. Read more >>
Bahamas Habitat nominated for charity award
Disaster-relief charitable organization Bahamas Habitat has been nominated for a prestigious nonprofit sector award for flying missions to provide clean drinking water to more than 143,800 people in earthquake-devastated Haiti. Read more >>
Volunteer group named ‘Healthcare Hero’ in South Florida
When patients need transportation for chemotherapy treatments, abuse victims need to be relocated, or organs need to be flown to a hospital to be used in life-saving surgeries, volunteer pilots from Angel Flight Southeast often step in. The organization was recognized recently with the 2012 Healthcare for Heroes Award in the Institution/Program category by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Read more >>
Florida Tech offers online aviation safety master's degree
Adults looking to expand their aviation safety knowledge have another avenue to do so remotely. The Florida Institute of Technology College of Aeronautics recently announced its online aviation safety master’s degree program. The 30-credit-hour, nonthesis program covers safety management systems, aviation safety analysis, complex aviation systems, accident prevention and investigation, human factors, and decision making. It is a companion to the school’s other online master’s degree program on human factors in aeronautics. According to the school, students will receive opportunities to conduct research and apply aviation theory.
Hover Power: Eurocopter's X3
The X3 is a hybrid aircraft that offers the speed of a turboprop-powered airplane and the full hover flight capabilities of a helicopter. In May of 2012 the American Helicopter Society awarded Eurocopter's X3 development team the Howard Hughes Award for an outstanding improvement in fundamental helicopter technology brought to fruition during the preceding year. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Not your average thunderstorm
Mesoscale convective complexes (MCCs) are massive thunderstorm complexes that derive their strength from strong southerly flows of moist air from the Gulf of Mexico—and that stick around awhile. AOPA weather expert Tom Horne tracked one as the action shifted from Wisconsin to Kansas and Oklahoma.
AOPA Live This Week: Flying over southern Africa
Join AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines as he begins a flight across southern Africa. Also in this week’s show, go inside the NTSB’s general aviation safety forum and learn how to stay out of TFR trouble. Catch up on the latest in the Hawker Beechcraft saga—which aircraft will be safe through the restructuring? We fly a turbine-powered homebuilt, and a small community decides it really wants its airport. Watch AOPA Live This Week, June 21 >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
NTSB keen to improve GA safety, training
Free recurrent training programs available in person and online have positive effects on flight safety, but many general aviation pilots still pass up the opportunity. As the NTSB began a two-day forum focused on GA safety, experts agreed that participation in ongoing training and education is critical to improving safety. Read more >>
AOPA opens applications for flight training scholarships
AOPA is now accepting applications for three $5,000 flight training scholarships to be awarded at AOPA Aviation Summit in Palm Springs, Calif., Oct. 11 through 13. Read more >>
The best intentions don't lead to the best decisions
For many pilots, the goal of completing the mission exerts increasingly more influence as they approach the end of the flight. The decisions we make at any moment during the flight, however, can often determine the final outcome, whether we decide to salvage a bad approach instead of going around or we decide to depart in the first place despite factors building against us. In Accident Case Study: Rescue Gone Wrong, the Air Safety Institute looks at a doomed search-and-rescue flight, and some of the decisions that may have played a part in how it ended. Watch the case study >>
Interactive map pinpoints common accidents
Just one glance at the Air Safety Institute's interactive accident map shows that pilots keep getting caught by the same snags that have trapped others before them. This single application reveals year-by-year patterns in takeoff, landing, fuel management, VFR-into-IMC, and stall/spin accidents—even between accident types in a single year. Get involved, be safe: Delve deeper into what happened, and more importantly find out why. That knowledge may save you one day and keep your flight from becoming a dot on the map.
VFR, IFR, or TFR: FSS is there for you
It’s a beautiful day. The airplane practically begs for a quick hamburger hop. Not so fast! Have you contacted flight service (FSS) for a briefing—the one where you ask for temporary flight restrictions (TFRs)? Especially in this presidential election year, expect TFRs to pop up at any time. Find out how to fly safely in TFRs while on an active flight plan, squawking a discrete transponder code, and maintaining two-way radio communication with ATC. Then, the Air Safety Institute’s A Pilot's Guide to Flight Service online course remind you of how FSS can help before takeoff and in the air. Take the minicourse now >>
Did thunderstorm encounter snag Pilatus?
A Pilatus PC-12 crashed in Florida June 7 after flying near an area that air traffic control said had “a large area of precipitation northwest of Lakeland, with moderate, heavy and extreme echoes,” according to an NTSB preliminary report. The controller worked with the pilot on a deviation around the weather, but further communication between the pilot and controller was not recorded beyond the course deviation. One witness who saw the Pilatus descending out of the clouds said “parts of the airplane were missing.” Could nearby convective activity have played a role in the accident? While a probable cause for the accident has not been released, pilots can learn the risks of flying near thunderstorms with the Air Safety Institute’s webcast, Preempting a Thunderstorm’s Fury: Cockpit Weather, ATC, and You .
Leading Edge: Pilot or system manager?
A deficiency in the physical, mental, or judgment decision-making aspect of aviation will eventually complicate your flying life and possibly end it. Seems like a lot of attention is being paid to the latter two, and the first one is so intuitively obvious that many schools and pilots, in their rush to get to glass, instrument flying, or airline cockpits, overlook the most fundamental of skills. Read more >>
Most pilots know someone who stopped flying out of worry about the time and expense of pursuing an application for a third class medical certificate, or they know someone who is thinking about “letting it go.” Possibly an aircraft long based at the local airstrip now sits idle, or bears a for-sale sign. In the past, all you could do on hearing such a tale was to commiserate. Not anymore. Aviators have the FAA’s attention about a way to reinvigorate GA. Read more >>
Huerta faces questions before confirmation
Acting FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta faced a few tough questions from members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation at a June 21 hearing in advance of a vote to confirm his nomination to a full five-year term. Huerta affirmed a GA-friendly stance on avgas, but did not take a clear position on user fees. Read more >>
FAA accepts knowledge-test reform plan
The FAA has embraced the majority of an advisory committee’s recommendations for improving its testing materials in a prompt show of its support for the joint effort with the aviation industry to improve pilot knowledge tests. Among the report’s recommendations was a proposal for the FAA to transition to a single testing-standards document called the airmen testing standards, as an updated version of the practical test standards. Read more >>
AOPA Close to Home
Visit your Husky, test your knowledge at AOPA Tent
Going to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., this year? Stop by the AOPA Tent to get a look at the 2012 Tougher than a Tornado Sweepstakes aircraft, an Aviat Husky A-1C. Read more >>
Can I fly with a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator?
The FAA allows airmen with implanted cardiac pacemakers to fly under all classes of medical certification! As of the end of 2010, there were 57 first-class, 59 second-class, and 322 third-class airmen who had been granted medical certification with a permanent pacemaker. Implantable defibrillators, however, are not allowed by the FAA. Learn more in this installment from Dr. Warren Silberman, provided through the AOPA Pilot Protection Services program.
Cheers, join the family of aviators at Summit
For many pilots, walking into their local fixed-base operator is like Norm walking into the bar on the TV series Cheers: Everybody knows your name and gives a welcoming shout-out or friendly roasting. Expand your network of aviation friends at AOPA Aviation Summit in Palm Springs, Calif., Oct. 11 through 13. You can share experiences and learn from one another by swapping flying stories, or give and receive advice on aircraft ownership. Read more >>
Airport, flight planning info at your fingertips
AOPA's latest flight planning application, AOPA FlyQ for the iPhone, offers airport directory information as well as aviation weather and flight planning with auto-routing capabilities—free with your membership. Members with Windows Mobile or BlackBerry devices can still access airport information with AOPA Airports apps powered by WingX.
What's that airplane worth?
Shopping for an aircraft? Find the approximate list price for aircraft that pique your interest with Aircraft Value Reference (Vref), a database providing average cost valuation and aircraft-specific information on every general aviation airplane, free for AOPA members. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a Web graphic designer; 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.