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Team coverage of the Hawker Beechcraft bankruptcy—and what it means to aircraft owners—lead AOPA’s new weekly Web show of general aviation news, AOPA Live This Week. Produced to the highest standards of broadcast television and packed with news and feature stories, the show will highlight important developments in aviation, and the lighter side. “We want to give you all of the news, but we want to make you feel good about aviation, too,” said AOPA Live Executive Producer Warren Morningstar. The 30-minute show also highlights Redbird’s experimental simulator training program that helped a Bahamas missionary earn his wings, and the implications of a decision by European aviation officials to effectively end the longstanding practice of honoring pilot certificates earned in the United States. Watch AOPA Live This Week>>
DWI charge against former FAA chief dismissed
A judge on May 10 dismissed charges of driving while intoxicated that led to the resignation of former FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. According to The Washington Post, Fairfax City General District Court Judge Ian O’Flaherty ruled that the arresting officer stopped Babbitt’s car without just cause in December. Read more >>
Lawyer: No cause for alarm in Hawker bankruptcy
As Hawker Beechcraft headed to a hearing May 4 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, an attorney well-versed in aviation law and aviation bankruptcies said the company’s assurances of a trouble-free path ahead for owners, customers, vendors, and staff ring true. Eric T. Smith, chairman of the aviation group at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, said aircraft owners should see no trouble with warranty and other services during a process that is likely to wrap up in a year or less, based on early indications, with a restructured company emerging. Read more >>
Hawker announces first flight of 400XPR
Hawker Beechcraft announced May 7 the maiden flight of the Hawker 400XPR, though some upgrades of the Hawker 400XP/Beechjet 400A are still to come. The May 3 flight took place the day the cash-strapped general aviation giant filed for bankruptcy protection. Read more >>
NASA hunts meteorite with airship
It announced its arrival with thunder and light, crashing to Earth at staggering speed, a messenger from the solar system’s ancient origin. The asteroid, estimated to be more than six feet in diameter when it struck the atmosphere, burned brightly enough to be visible in daylight on the morning of April 22 before scattering in Northern California. A team of investigators searched for the remains at a much slower pace from the commercial passenger airship Eureka, operated by Airship Ventures. Read more >>
GA manufacturers log 'mixed' performance
General aviation shipments and billings fell 2.1 percent in the 2012 first quarter, as segments showed mixed performances and industry leaders monitored congressional action that could improve availability of financing. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association released figures showing that in the first three months of 2012, worldwide GA airplane shipments declined from 377 units in 2011 to 369 units. Billings of $3.39 billion marked an 8-percent decline from $3.68 billion. Read more >>
Pipistrel offers first trainer
Slovenian manufacturer Pipistrel has made its first entry into the training market with the light sport Alpha Trainer. The manufacturer of composite gliders and airplanes said the Alpha Trainer has a more robust undercarriage, shorter nose gear leg improving visibility, and shorter wingspan than its other products to accommodate flight-school use. Read more >>
Add up the reasons to fly
A clear, calm day and spectacular view are often reward enough for staying proficient and flying this summer. Prizes don’t hurt either. States across the country—and AOPA—offer incentive programs to encourage general aviation pilots to explore different airports around them. Will you rise to the challenge? Read more >>
AirVenture bucket list
Daily airshows, workshops, concerts, camping, and thousands of aircraft make the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture the largest general aviation show in the world. This year, EAA says it is taking the event to the next level, celebrating 40 years of the Vans RV and 75 years of the Piper J-3 Cub; paying tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, and all veterans; and featuring a concert by the Steve Miller Band. See what EAA plans to check off your AirVenture bucket list this summer >>
‘Kids Across America’ to converge on Oshkosh
Got kids? If they’re coming with you to Oshkosh, Wis., for AirVenture 2012, Build A Plane’s Kids Across America is a great opportunity for them. Children up to age 18 can get involved now with the aviation education fundraiser that finishes in Oshkosh during the show. Prizes and special events are planned for all participants, and the grand prize is a complete pilot certificate training package. Other prizes include tropical vacations, scholarships from AOPA, pilot supplies, and more. Find more information online or at 804/843-3321.
Lockheed delivers final F-22 Raptor
The U.S. Air Force on May 2 accepted delivery of the 195th and final F-22 Raptor, a fighter with no equal. The Raptor won the 2006 Robert J. Collier Trophy after handily beating all comers with an unheard-of 80-1 kill ratio against “Red Air” opponents during a large-scale exercise—and 100 percent direct hits with air-to-ground weapons. The F-22 has been dogged more recently by questions about the oxygen system and pilot safety. Read more >>
Couple launches life together in hot air balloon
Matt Deskiewicz had been planning for months with an engagement ring in hand, but had to wait for better weather. With a lift from pilot Patrick Smith, Deskiewicz took a knee in a gondola gliding through the sky over Frederick, Md., on May 6 and popped the question. Read more >>
Re-registration open for aircraft with Sept. certificates
The FAA requires all aircraft registered prior to Oct. 1, 2010, to re-register, and online applications from owners of aircraft registered in September of any year are being accepted through July 31. Read more >>
Napa Valley welcomes pilots to AOPA Aviation Roundtable
The relaxed environment of Napa Valley coupled with food, flying, and fellowship among aviators attracted members of the AOPA President’s Council and Hat in the Ring Society, along with Flying Vintners Larry Turley and Ehren Jordon, to an AOPA Aviation Roundtable recently to discuss the state of the association and general aviation. “In the roundtable environment, I am able to engage one on one with AOPA staff,” President’s Council member Jacie Ann Crowell explained. “I am able to be a catalyst for my local aviation community and bring our local issues into the forefront.” Read more >>
Aviation career website launches
With so many different paths, navigating between student pilot or college student and work in the aviation industry can be difficult. A new nonprofit called Aviation Workforce Development recently launched as an information resource to help people down this road. Read more >>
NTSB plans GA safety forum in June
A two-day discussion of general aviation safety is planned June 19 and 20 at NTSB headquarters in Washington, D.C. All five board members, and others to be announced, will participate in the forum. Read more >>
‘Learn to Fly’ events target future pilots
Prospective pilots will have an opportunity to take the first step toward a certificate May 19 through dozens of International Learn to Fly Day events that will feature free orientation flights. The Experimental Aircraft Association, which announced the formation of International Learn to Fly Day in 2009, said local EAA chapters and aviation organizations are leading the way by offering the adult orientation flights, “helping connect aviators with those who have always wanted to discover flight.” The flights are similar to the youth orientation flights of the Young Eagles program. Read more >>
Reporting Points: The dreadful, wonderful RV-1
The RV-1 is a simply dreadful airplane—and that’s what makes it great. Had it been fast, comfortable, efficient, well engineered, and good looking, there would have been no incentive for aircraft designer Richard VanGrunsven to address its many shortcomings by inventing the RV line of kitplanes—far and away the most successful ever produced with more than 7,600 examples currently flying. Read more >>
Hover Power: Cessna Skyhook
Cessna is well known for building a complete line of airplanes, from two-seat trainers to business jets. However, in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s the company also built a helicopter with a two-bladed main rotor and a reciprocating engine. The official model was the CH-1; however, it was also called the Cessna Skyhook. Read more >>
First pilot completes Redbird’s experimental training
Pilots pursuing advanced training and ratings regularly use full-motion flight simulators; some gain type certificates in sims having never flown the actual aircraft. How would that training format translate to primary instruction? Redbird Flight Simulations is putting an experimental training program to the test at its headquarters in San Marcos, Texas. The company's first test case, Bahamas Methodist Habitat Executive Director Abraham McIntyre, earned his private pilot certificate May 7 after 33 hours of simulator training followed by 41 hours of flight time. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
An aircraft cleared for takeoff took a little longer on the takeoff roll; after becoming airborne, it climbed to 30 feet agl and leveled off slightly. Then it stayed at 30 feet agl, passing the departure end of the runway and continuing at that low altitude for at least another half mile. Aircraft in line for takeoff took another look at the windsocks. Read more >>
IFR Fix: And, what are we forgetting?
Approved radio phraseology broke down a bit on the overnight shift at this crew layover destination; an initial call-up might be followed by a query on where to find a seafood place open at this hour, or a golf course for tomorrow. The back-and-forth one night made an instructor who was out preparing a trainee for an instrument checkride feel like reaching over and unplugging the applicant’s headset. A booming voice on the frequency checked in with approach, reporting “out of ten for three with Foxtrot,” or something like that. He received and acknowledged instructions to expect the ILS. Then the voice made a curious request. Read more and take the poll >>
ADM and Swiss cheese
Anticipate, recognize, act, and evaluate: These four concepts are key in good decision making and at the core of the Air Safety Institute’s interactive online course Do the Right Thing: Decision Making for Pilots. Become a critical thinker and stave off accident hazards that line up in the form of fatigue, passenger pressure, stronger-than-anticipated headwinds, or miscommunication. What’s this got to do with Swiss cheese? Find out when you take the course.
Webinar offers medical certification tips for aging pilots
We all age differently, but each of us faces continuing health and wellness challenges to stay sharp in the cockpit. AOPA’s experts in wellness and medical certification will offer tips to help aging pilots keep their medical certificate in a Webinar Wednesday, May 23, at 3 and 9 p.m. Eastern time. Join host Gary Crump, AOPA director of medical certification, for insight into maintaining your medical certificate. AOPA wellness consultant Dr. Jonathan Sackier and former manager of the FAA Aerospace Medical Certification Division Dr. Warren Silberman will offer insight into staying healthy and the FAA’s perspective on medical certification. Register for either session online >>
How thoroughly do you preflight?
After you preflight yourself and get the weather, do you just hop in the airplane and go? Of course not! Proper aircraft preflight is one of the most important things you do as a pilot. You’ll be amazed how quickly a bird can build a nest overnight and foul your plans. Bugs or other critters may find themselves a nice cozy spot in a pitot tube or under the cowling to spend the night. See how well you prepare with the Air Safety Institute’s Aircraft Preflight quiz.
Seminars bring pilots together in name of safety
Tips for communicating with air traffic control and preventing accidents have proven popular with pilots. A recent Air Safety Institute Safety Seminar discussing the transition from Class E to part-time Class D airspace around Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md., attracted more than 600 pilots, while the national “Wanted: Alive!” seminar has been drawing 300 to 400 participants at each location. Read more >>
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: Backwards hierarchy
In what AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg calls the “reverse structure” of career aviation, the most inexperienced pilots often have the most demanding jobs. What would happen if we reversed the hierarchy putting CFIs at the top, regional and 135s in the middle, and international long hauls at the bottom? Read more and take the poll >>
Unmanned aircraft tests must ‘do no harm’
AOPA supports the integration of unmanned aircraft systems but reminds the FAA that the creation of test sites for them must do no harm to other airspace users, and should tap the expertise of stakeholders, the association said in a regulatory filing. Read more >>
Medical exemption petition comments pass 1,250
Have you told the FAA that you support the AOPA/EAA medical exemption request? The FAA has received more than 1,250 comments on the request by AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association to provide pilots who fly recreationally the option of becoming educated on medical self-assessment and using a driver’s license as the baseline for their health in lieu of obtaining a third class medical certificate. Read more >>
TFR violations hamper efforts to ease restrictions
Violations have declined, but the general aviation track record when it comes to temporary flight restrictions is nothing to be proud of. For every TFR, on average, there is a violation—usually caused by a single-engine aircraft pilot who launched in ignorance of airspace changes ahead. AOPA has joined an unprecedented dialogue, a cross section of aviation groups sitting at the table with representatives of a host of government agencies. GA groups hope to ease the size, if not the number, of TFRs, a difficult argument to make when so many careless pilots wander into the airspace intended to protect the president and other VIPs. Read more >>
Pilots: Use extreme caution near G8, NATO summit TFRs
The FAA will issue notams establishing 30-nautical-mile-radius temporary flight restrictions near Washington, D.C., and Chicago for the G8 and NATO summits, respectively. Both TFRs will have 10-nm-radius no-fly zones and extend from the surface up to 17,999 feet msl. The G8 Summit TFR will be in effect on May 18 and 19, and it will reach into the Washington, D.C., metropolitan airspace. The NATO Summit TFR will be in effect May 19 through 21 and be centered over downtown Chicago. Pilots should check notams before flight and check for updates as the TFRs can change with little notice.
Revitalizing a dormant general aviation airport doesn’t happen every day, but a surge in oil industry activity in North Dakota has raised that hope in one community—and pilots can help make it happen. On May 7, the city commission of Killdeer, N.D., opened discussions of how to renew operations at the city’s Weydahl Field. Read more >>
AOPA Close to Home
Five situations where your AME can make the call
Did you know that there are five medical conditions for which your AME doesn’t have to defer to the FAA prior to granting medical certification? That’s a fact that can make your path as an aviator easier to navigate if you develop one of these conditions. Dr. Warren Silberman, former manager of FAA Aerospace Medical Certification and an expert for AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services, explains how certification works if you have one of these common issues. Read more >>
What does an aircraft insurance policy do?
Customers sometimes wonder what an aircraft insurance policy does. In simplistic terms, the policy consists of three basic types of coverage: liability, medical payments, and physical damage (or hull). Learn what they cover and common limits for these types of coverage. Read more >>
AOPA Plus offers priority access to aviation specialists
Did you know that AOPA Plus members get priority access to the AOPA Pilot Information Center’s staff of aviation specialists through a dedicated phone line and email address? Bringing with it enhanced access and extra-personal service, AOPA Plus is the perfect choice for members looking to get even more from their membership. Find out more benefits of this new membership option.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a vice president of information systems; human resources generalist; insurance services administrative coordinator; registration, housing, and meeting planner; vice president–Center to Advance the Pilot Community; aviation technical writer; vice president of strategy and philanthropic operations; program manager–products; project manager of online products; director of new market development; and associate editor–Web/ ePilot. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.