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The sight of a Cessna 150 shut down on the middle of a runway, its two pilots face-down on the pavement, held at gunpoint, is hard to forget. It's been seven years since the two pilots from Smoketown, Pa., violated prohibited airspace over the nation's capital and were forced to land at Maryland's Frederick Municipal Airport where AOPA is headquartered. But when the G8 Summit took place at Camp David May 18 and 19 and a 30-nautical-mile temporary flight restriction engulfed the Frederick airport, the image was still vivid in AOPA Online Managing Editor Alyssa Miller's mind. Faced with a need to make a business flight during the TFR's effective time, she made careful preparations for a VFR departure. The procedures are simple, but the consequences are steep. Read more >>
NTSB issues amateur-built aircraft safety recommendations
Experimental amateur-built aircraft account for a disproportionate share of fatal crashes, many of those in the first hours of flight. On May 22, the NTSB issued a set of 16 recommendations to improve flight testing and pilot training, and to clarify regulations pertaining to both. Read more >>
Leading Edge: Would new regs enhance safety?
In the NTSB’s recent report on experimental amateur-built aircraft, the FAA is called upon to expand regulation in a few areas. Do you think these recommendations would enhance safety—or be practical to implement? Read more and take the poll >>
Air Force kicks oldest GA club off base
The Wright-Patterson Aero Club is preparing to relocate, after base leadership moved this year to close the nation’s oldest Air Force general aviation organization. The roughly 300 club members will lose a few perks that came from operating out of an Air Force base, including access to a 10,000-foot runway, and most of the club’s current fleet. But the club’s leaders have opted not to fight, rather embracing a chance to continue as a purely GA group at nearby Greene County-Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport. Read more >>
Field of yellow: Cubs 2 Oshkosh plans mass arrival
In honor of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Piper J-3 Cub, hundreds of Cub owners and pilots plan to fly from Hartford, Wis., to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh on Sunday, July 22, according to Rick Rademacher, one of the organizers of Cubs 2 Oshkosh. Rademacher said he hopes the event will connect pilots in the Cub community, inspire cross-country group adventures, celebrate the iconic flying machine, and interest children in aviation through this process. “At one point in time in the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s, every kid knew a Piper Cub,” Rademacher said. “Nowadays, kids have no clue.” Read more >>
Training, course changes planned for Reno races
The 2012 National Championship Air Races will be flown above modified courses kept more distant from spectators in the wake of a crash that killed a pilot and 10 racing onlookers last year. Mike Houghton, director of the Reno Air Racing Association, described planned changes including G-load training for pilots during a May 22 news conference. Read more >>
Cessna offers training on corrosion inspections
Cessna Aircraft Co. has developed a training program for service technicians to support a far-reaching effort to identify and correct corrosion, fatigue, and cracks in high-time aircraft. The program is geared toward the massive fleet of 100-series aircraft built between 1946 and 1986. Read more >>
‘For real?’ Sporty’s sweeps winner stunned
Pilots took a break from chowing down on hot dogs, hushed their chatter, and gathered around Sporty’s 2012 Sweepstakes G300-equipped Cessna Skycatcher hoisted high in the company’s atrium—they had a stake in what was about to happen, silence was essential. After several rings, U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Matthew Smolin of Germantown, Tenn., answered what he may have thought was a prank call. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Sentimental flight
AOPA Online Managing Editor Alyssa Miller’s journey to Sporty’s for the company’s annual fly-in May 19 was a special one. She had soloed and earned her recreational pilot certificate there almost 12 years ago, and had been back a couple of times since. This time, she picked up her father on the way. Read more >>
‘Pilot’ redesign: Meeting readers where they are
Today, you can reach AOPA content in about any conceivable way, any day, any hour. Anchoring all of the association’s media properties is AOPA Pilot magazine. The magazine looks different this month in part to support its role as the cornerstone of the association’s media properties for the foreseeable future, explains AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines. The redesign strategy is to showcase the great storytelling and mind-blowing aviation photos AOPA Pilot is known for, and also help you understand what is available across all of AOPA’s media channels. Read more >>
Boeing chief test pilot calls for training overhaul
Using antiquated methods to learn antiquated technology will not help avert a serious shortage of pilots, a problem that threatens both GA and commercial aviation. Boeing’s chief test pilot wants to see technology better used in classrooms and simulators—and for students to stay proficient with their hand flying at the same time. Read more >>
Airventure Cup Race is on despite EAA split
The 2012 Airventure Cup Race, timed to coincide with EAA AirVenture, will keep that timing despite a split with the Experimental Aircraft Association. Read more >>
Private rocket launches for space station docking
The Falcon 9 rocket’s engines ignited in the early-morning darkness May 22, launching a mission to send the first commercial spacecraft to rendezvous with the International Space Station. The demonstration mission represents the latest development in Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s (SpaceX’s) bid to supply cargo and ultimately crew to the space station. The unmanned Dragon spacecraft performed a series of maneuvers in a flyby of the station early May 24 to test its systems before the berthing, planned for early May 25. Read more >>
New learning experiences at AOPA Aviation Summit posted
With new experiential and interactive learning at AOPA Aviation Summit, pilots will connect with experts and new tools that will help them retain and recall critical information when they need it the most. This Oct. 11 through 13, AOPA is bringing more than 100 hours of educational seminars to Palm Springs, Calif. Pilots will learn how to maximize the use of iPads in the cockpit through hands-on learning sessions for the novice as well as advanced user. Other experiences include interactive sessions with air traffic controllers and maintenance workshops. Read more >>
Aerospace luminaries reflect on Lindbergh anniversary
Charles Lindbergh believed in motion. Honoring him with something static, such as a statue, was not a solution, declared Reeve Lindbergh, the aviation pioneer’s youngest daughter with wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Reeve made the observation at an intimate dinner celebrating the thirty-fifth anniversary of the launch of the Lindbergh Fund, which today is called the Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation. Read more >>
New turboprop flies in Australia
GippsAero, the Australian subsidiary of the Mahindra Group, of Mumbai, India, announced the May 1 first flight of a new aircraft the company described as the first single-engine turboprop designed and developed in Australia. The 10-seat GA10, powered by a Rolls-Royce 250 engine, was based on the GA8 Airvan utility aircraft. Read more >>
AOPA Live This Week: Astronauts, electric airplanes
Join AOPA Live This Week for an exclusive interview with former FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman's take on flying the RV-1, a look at the future—and present—of electric airplanes, and astronauts Gene Cernan and Jim Lovell on the U.S. space program. Watch AOPA Live This Week >>
Former FAA administrator claims innocence in exclusive interview
Few careers have crumbled as quickly as former FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt’s when he was arrested last year for drunk driving. A Virginia judge tossed the case out May 10. This week Babbitt came by the AOPA Live® studio for an exclusive interview with AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines. In the interview, Babbitt says he is innocent and happy to have the case behind him. He also makes some observations about current FAA initiatives, including the likelihood of the agency accepting an AOPA/EAA petition for a third-class medical exemption. Watch AOPA Live >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Backseat landings in a T-38 are a challenge. Backseat no-flap landings in a T-38 without any crosswind are even worse—you can’t see the runway directly ahead of you on approach. Read more >>
Let’s talk about the other kind of weather
If a fellow pilot tells you he recently strayed off course because of a coronal mass ejection, he doesn’t mean his arteries couldn’t handle the hundred-dollar hamburger he just ate. He’s talking about space weather, which is a term that also describes events such as geomagnetic storms and solar flares. But what do these terms mean and why are they important? Listen to space scientist Joe Kunches from the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo., talk about space weather and its impact, if any, on general aviation. Watch AOPA Live >>
IFR Fix: Power and forgiveness
You have an instrument rating, and now, a distant destination. Time to book your old IFR aircraft for a new kind of outing. Wait—here's a better idea. It’s time to start flying aircraft designed with long-distance travel in mind. Instructors know that a good training aircraft should make a pilot’s life (a little) difficult. Many basic aircraft are slow and only moderately stable around the axes. Not a perfect prescription for a day-long trip to the beach with passengers. Say farewell to those difficulties when you climb into a complex or high-performance machine for a checkout. This is a faster machine with 20 to 50 extra knots for cruise, or more. Read more and take the poll >>
Prepare for family flying fun
Flying is a fun, fast way to get around. Do you share the experience with your family? Whether you want to interest your children in aviation or ease a flying companion’s fears, AOPA offers tips to help in its Flying with Family subject report. Read up on topics as diverse as providing hearing protection and inspiring a future pilot before you pack the bags for your next family flight.
VGSI, RVR, ILS, TDZ?
More acronyms—more to learn: It may have been a while since your last instrument proficiency check, or perhaps you’re gearing up for the instrument rating checkride. Either way you’ll benefit from reviewing the Air Safety Institute’s IFR Chart Challenge: ILS Approach, one in a series of 15-minute approach chart briefings. This scenario sets you up on the ILS Runway 30 approach at Bakersfield, Calif. Ready to brief and fly the approach? See how well you do— take the chart challenge.
Wing spar cap inspections required for C210s
A direct-to-final-rule airworthiness directive issued May 21 requires one-time inspections of the wings’ lower main spar caps on Cessna 210, P210, and T210 model airplanes. The AD, prompted by reports of spar cap cracks in Australia and Canada and the resulting Cessna service bulletin, calls for either replacement of cracked parts or a to-be-determined FAA-approved modification if cracks are found, as well as reporting of inspection results to the FAA. It takes effect June 5. Read more >>
Nominate pro-GA-airport officials for AOPA recognition
Have elected officials in your community supported your airport’s growth? If so, AOPA wants to hear about it. The association is launching an effort to recognize mayors and members of city councils and county commissions for keeping general aviation airports top of mind when allocating resources, presiding over zoning hearings, and implementing ordinances. Read more >>
Leaders of the House General Aviation Caucus in Congress are working to block a provision in the Highway Reauthorization bill that would give the National Park Service unprecedented regulatory authority over air tour operators overseen by the FAA. AOPA is urging pilots to contact their members of Congress and encourage them to sign a letter being circulated for delivery to House-Senate conferees on the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. The GA Caucus members said the FAA “is the agency responsible for regulating air tour operators, certificated air carriers, and ensuring our airspace is safe—not the National Park Service.” Read more >>
AOPA Close to Home
Think like a pilot
Pilots strive to minimize risk before flights, so why do some think and act differently when it comes to their health? As many as one-third of adults in the United States are not getting screened for colorectal cancer. Gary Crump, AOPA director of medical certification and an expert for the Pilot Protection Services program, gives advice about early detection and getting your medical certificate if you have a history of colon or colorectal cancer. Read more >>
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; project manager of online products; and associate editor–Web/ ePilot. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.