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The same little jet that whisked James Bond away from the bad guys (through the open doors of a hangar) in the 1983 film Octopussy is now being called on to make America safer—in real life. The BD-5J, brainchild of James R. Bede and Paul Griffin, has earned its share of fame and infamy. Bob Bishop, an original Bede Aircraft test pilot who went on to fly the BD-5J for nine years with the Coors Light Silver Bullets, is now putting the microjet to work improving air defenses against a weapon that the BD-5 closely resembles: a cruise missile. He and a hand-picked crew of pilots have been conducting a series of don’t-try-this-at-home missions: for example, flying fast and low toward Washington, D.C., in an airplane designed for stealth. Read more and watch AOPA Live® >>
Last flying B-29 grounded by engine trouble
The Commemorative Air Force is seeking donations to replace a bad engine on the B-29 Superfortress Fifi, the last airworthy (pending repairs) B-29 left in the world. The CAF announced that it will cost more than $250,000 to replace the bad engine (and secure a spare), and donations are needed to make that possible. Read more >>
Aero-Space Reports signs on as strategic partner
AOPA has signed a new strategic partner agreement with Aero-Space Reports Inc., one of the leading aircraft title and escrow services providers in the nation. The Oklahoma City–based company becomes AOPA’s third strategic partner. Read more >>
FAA: No new flight plan requirements for GA ops
Any operator who used FAA domestic flight plans prior to Nov. 15 should still be able to do so, according to an FAA official, who cleared up confusion that surrounded a Nov. 15 update to the International Civil Aviation Organization flight plan format. Read more >>
CORRECTION: In the Nov. 16 issue of AOPA ePilot, we incorrectly described how updated FAA guidance on flight plan filing requirements affects operators. According to the FAA, operators may continue to use the flight plan format they used prior to the updated guidance.
Get a universal checkout in Cessnas
Get checked out in one make and model Cessna at a Cessna Pilot Center, and that checkout can count for participating Cessna Pilot Centers in other locations through OpenAirplane, a company that offers a universal checkout. The partnership with OpenAirplane grants pilots access to a diverse fleet with a nationwide footprint without the expense and hassles normally associated with renting away from their home field. OpenAirplane will launch later this year. Read more >>
Leading Edge Flying Club: ‘Great planes, great people’
Wheeling, Ill.-based Leading Edge Flying Club was born after a local flight school refused to see the benefits of local pilots trying to create a group, which would include monthly dues, a social component, and a reduction in rates. Today the club has 75 members. Read more >>
Aviation adventures included on Extreme Bucket List website
Steve Conklin, a former bobsledder, has leveraged his relationships in sports to create an Extreme Bucket List that includes aviation adventures such as flying with the Red Baron Squadron and the Blue Angels—within 24 hours of each other. Read more >>
After throwing a list of apps into an online randomizer, AOPA’s Benét J. Wilson takes a look at the top five that the program spat out. You might be surprised by what surfaced. Read more >>
California Zeppelin grounded by economic storms
The only way you’ll get to experience a ride in a monster Zeppelin NT (new technology) is to travel to Friedrichshafen, Germany, and call Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei for tickets. Airship Ventures, operating one of the craft in the San Francisco area, ceased operations suddenly on Nov. 14. The monster ship faces deportation to Germany—in pieces. The company has launched a Twitter and Facebook campaign to find a sponsor, using the hashtag #saveeureka. Read more >>
Pilots are optional in Firebird
One of the last designs fully supervised by Burt Rutan before his retirement from Scaled Composites has reached the production level, and pilots are optional. Northrop Grumman, the parent company for Scaled Composites since 2007, has named the surveillance aircraft Firebird. It can carry two pilots—or not. Read more >>
Embry-Riddle to test GA pilot performance
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will launch a grant-funded effort to test the performance of general aviation pilots flying simulated GPS approaches down to 200 feet. Instrument-rated pilots will be recruited in 2013 to fly low approaches to short runways, with researchers evaluating their performance. Read more >>
China reveals plans for long-range bizjet
China has been striving for years to produce home-grown aircraft, but the results have not yet wowed the world market. In the view of one analyst, the latest announcement from Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) shows no signs of departing that pattern. Read more >>
Reporting Points: ‘The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen’
A modern-day barnstormer has resurrected a kids’ flying club tied to a radio adventure show called The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen. Read more >>
Learjet 85 wing arrives in Wichita
A wing assembly for the first Learjet 85 flight test aircraft has arrived in Wichita, where final assembly will begin soon. A second test flight aircraft is not far behind. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Strange but true
A helicopter pilot was cited for harassing wildlife after hunters witnessed him flying low over a group of elk several times near Grand Junction, Colo. Find out more strange but true general aviation news.
AOPA Live This Week: Low and slow over the Everglades
Join up in low-and-slow formation over the Everglades at an AirCam fly-in, and get an unmatched view of the “river of grass” from above. Also find out how a new partnership with the aircraft title and escrow services business Aero-Space Reports will support AOPA’s mission and members. Check out AOPA Live This Week, Nov. 22.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
A slight yaw to the right was the only indication of a larger problem during a formation touchdown in a T-38. Find out how quick action saved the day. Read more >>
Handling practice approaches at a towered field
ATC’s primary role is keeping instrument flight rules traffic separated from each other and from VFR traffic. But just where do practice instrument approaches fall into that mix? Practicing approaches at a towered field requires a bit more foresight, and communication, than at nontowered airports. Check out the Ask ATC segment where a controller discusses how best to let controllers know what you’re planning when you head out to polish your approaches before the instrument checkride. Watch Ask ATC >>
IFR Fix: Circle game
What’s the most important altitude depicted on an instrument approach plate? Approach minimums are a snap choice. Missed-approach altitudes also regularly get votes. Here’s an alternative proposition: The most important altitude on an approach plate is one you may never use, or even bother to look at—but do, because when you need to know, the minimum safe altitude (MSA) is one of the few things you will know for sure about your situation. Read more >>
More than just holiday heartburn
Worried about medical certification with ulcers, reflux, or other gastrointestinal issues? The FAA allows certification for many common gastrointestinal diagnoses that can be documented as stable and well controlled. AOPA provides information and advice to members in its gastrointestinal disorders subject report. Find out about symptoms, treatments, and how to get certified to fly if you suffer from a gastrointestinal disorder.
Young at heart, but …
What are the potential effects of aging on airmanship? How do pilots adjust to age-related changes? The Air Safety Institute brought together several pilots who have worked successfully through the process of understanding how aging is affecting them. The online course Aging Gracefully—Flying Safely provides great insight on how pilots can enjoy flying longer and also when to consider slowing down. Listen to the group, learn how to stay sharp, and download handy exercise tips.
A chilling sight
Unlike a butterfly, aircraft can typically fly with little to no difficulty in rainy conditions. However, new limiting factors, like temperature and the need to avoid icing, start to have a greater impact on a flight’s safety. Do you know what to look for in these conditions? Learn more by taking the Air Safety Institute’s WeatherWise: Precipitation and Icing online course.
Leading Edge: Over the river and through the woods
If you’re flying by general aviation this week, remember that there is no place you have to be. While it may be disappointing if you miss the turkey dinner, there will be other turkey dinners, and besides—leftovers are always good. Take a lesson from these NTSB reports.
Hover Power: Flight controls and passengers
Pilots should consider the risks when allowing a passenger access to the flight controls. Consider the February 2010 accident that killed the occupants of a Eurocopter EC135 in Arizona. Read more >>
AOPA cannot support the FAA’s proposed rule to amend the regulation of Part 145 repair stations because mostly it adds up to “a paperwork exercise” and a burden to 5,000 aviation businesses, the association said in a regulatory filing. Read more >>
VFR: Your help needed; pilots report on Mat-Su airspace
In this week’s Views From the Regions blog, AOPA Alaska Regional Manager Tom George encourages pilots to participate in one survey and gives the results of another. Data from the FAA’s annual general aviation survey is immensely valuable when it comes to arguing for keeping aviation infrastructure we still use, and knowing when it might be OK to let go of things we no longer need— particularly in Alaska, he writes. Plus, an AOPA survey looks into methods pilots use to avoid a midair collision in the Mat-Su Valley region.
The name game
Being added to a friend’s policy as a “named pilot” is a great thing. It specifically approves you to fly that person’s airplane without voiding his or her coverage. However, being a named pilot does not automatically also name you as an “additional insured” on the policy. Read more >>
Holiday shopping: AOPA offers pilot products, discounts
From stunning aviation photographs to deals on aircraft parts and supplies, AOPA makes shopping for the pilot on your list easy this holiday season. The association offers products that broadcast pilots’ love of aviation and facilitate their flying—and members can get exclusive deals on pilot supplies and more from aviation and nonaviation companies. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an events coordinator; AOPA eastern regional manager; marketing coordinator; .NET applications developer; production assistant–Web; member services representative; manager, AOPA Flying Club Network; Web developer (eMedia); major gifts officer; and Web graphic designer. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.