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A delay in Nexrad in-cockpit weather proved deadly for the pilot and passengers of a Cherokee Six that went down over southeast Texas in late 2011. One of the great advances in general aviation in the past decade has been the availability of in-cockpit weather. In marginal conditions, the ability to see where the storms are can provide a major confidence boost. However, that confidence can be misplaced. The Air Safety Institute’s newest online program, Accident Case Study: Time Lapse, takes an in-depth look at this tragic accident, which dramatically highlights an often-overlooked limitation of datalink radar (and points to an important lesson about weather flying in general). If you use Nexrad to navigate around convective activity, this is one video you shouldn’t miss. Watch it here >>
Center to help stem declining pilot population
AOPA’s new Center to Advance the Pilot Community will develop a nationwide network of flying clubs, work to arrest the decline of the pilot population, and oversee the AOPA Flight Training Excellence Awards. “The decline in the pilot population didn’t happen overnight and reversing the downward trend requires a long-term commitment,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “The Center’s first few initiatives are just the beginning of what will become a much more robust and wide-reaching program that builds a community in which more people earn pilot certificates, pilots are more active, and the flying lifetime of pilots is extended.” Read more >>
Aircraft Spruce signs on as strategic partner
AOPA members can enjoy special offers and discounts through Aircraft Spruce and PilotShop.com thanks to a strategic partnership inked between the association and Aircraft Spruce. Read more >>
Crashing an airplane for science, entertainment
Veteran U.S. Navy test pilot Chip Shanle was the man at the controls—radio controls, that is—of a Boeing 727 that was crashed in the Mexican desert in April for science, and television. Shanle said driving an airliner into the ground on purpose took four years of planning and preparation, with extensive precautions taken to prevent harm to all but the crash test dummies on board. “It was pretty strange, actually,” Shanle said of the final moments of a flight that will be featured Oct. 7 on the Discovery Channel. Shanle detailed the elaborate plan and crash for AOPA. Read more >>
Avidyne DFC90 cleared for integrated Skylane installations
A supplemental type certificate announced Oct. 2 allows Avidyne DFC90 digital autopilot installations in Cessna 182-series aircraft equipped with Aspen Avionics Evolution 1000 Pro primary flight displays. Safety features that come with that include a “Straight & Level” button, and software designed to prevent stalls and overspeed situations. Read more >>
Are bird-like wings better?
At the cutting edge, aeronautical engineers are exploring ways to move forward by turning back the clock, making airplane (and unmanned aerial vehicle) wings more bird-like. Read more >>
Michigan pilot restores long-lost Luscombe
How far would you go to fly the airplane that first sparked your love of aviation? Michigan pilot Bill Spencer searched for many years, and finally tracked down in 2003 the 1947 Luscombe 8A in which he had his first airplane ride. He had to wait a few more years to get his hands on the airplane (sold by his father in 1963), and get it ready to fly. On a warm summer day, he returned it to the skies, his granddaughter by his side. Read more >>
Birthplace of Air Force gets new life
Creosote bush and mesquite have been scraped from the desert to restore a runway at the place from where U.S. Army Signal Corps pilots flew the nation’s first missions against a foreign enemy: chasing Pancho Villa into Mexico in 1916. More recently, it is the reputed birthplace of general aviation drug smuggling. Pilots and history buffs have formed a nonprofit group to bring the aerodrome back to life, and preserve the memory of the First Aero Squadron, if not so much the “Columbus Air Force” that came later. Read more >>
Private jet travel pitched at first-class price
For those craving private jet perks on a budget, a California company has created a patent-pending system to schedule travel on private jets from 40 U.S. cities to more than 500 airports. Read more >>
HondaJet to get new MRO facility
Honda Aircraft Co. has begun building a 90,000-square-foot maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility in Greensboro, N.C., with construction slated for completion next year. The facility will be the hub of a network of dealers supporting the award-winning design, and brings Honda’s investment in local infrastructure to more than $120 million. Read more >>
FAA proposes Cessna oil pressure switch AD
Internal failure of the engine oil pressure switch on certain Cessnas “could result in complete loss of engine oil with consequent partial or complete loss of engine power or fire.” In response, the FAA is proposing to supersede an existing airworthiness directive. Read more >>
Learjet 85 stumps for customers
Fractional ownership company Flexjet will soon offer shares on the new Learjet 85 and has begun a stumping campaign to attract new customers. A mockup started an 11-city tour in early October from New York City. To attract those needing on-demand transportation in the Mach 0.82 Learjet 85, the tour includes the Rolls-Royce Phantom and Ghost cars that are available for test drives. The 3,000-nautical-mile-range Learjet 85 is made primarily of composites that allow the use of complex curves and thinner walls to allow more room inside. It is the largest Learjet ever designed. The jet can carry eight passengers and features onboard Internet and Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics.
‘The Aviators’ starts third season
The television show The Aviators has begun its third season, featuring appearances by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the student pilot adventures of Vince Neil of the band Mötley Crüe. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Strange but true
Thieves siphoned gas from at least four aircraft and an airplane caught fire during a break-in at Arizona’s Springerville Municipal Airport, reports the Independent. Read more Strange But True General Aviation News.
Reporting Points: Ride-sharing, wherever you want it
Let’s say a pilot is flying a cross-country, but has an empty seat or two. Doesn’t it seem a waste not to fill a seat or two with someone needing a lift? Now, Edouard Kohler of AOPA-France, has come up with a way to match pilots with potential passengers—or other pilots wanting the experience. Read more >>
AOPA Live This Week: Mod lowers stall speed
Find out who would want to crash an airplane on purpose and see what simple modification can lower stall speeds on AOPA Live This Week. Plus, help count down to the kickoff of AOPA Aviation Summit. All this and more on AOPA Live This Week, Oct. 4.
Parade of Planes hits the streets, online live
Watch dozens of general aviation aircraft take to the streets of Palm Springs, Calif., as the AOPA Aviation Summit Parade of Planes airs live Oct. 10. Online viewers will be able to chat with aviators and AOPA staff through a Facebook feed on the streaming page, and you can sign up now for an email alert prior to the parade's start at 10 a.m. Pacific (1 p.m. Eastern).
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
AOPA Aviation Summit
Palm Springs International chief details Summit prep
A desert view and perfect weather provide a majestic setting for AOPA Aviation Summit, and Palm Springs International’s Tom Nolan says the service and experience at his airport will be just as impressive. AOPA caught up with Nolan via Twitter to see how the preparations are taking shape for Summit, which kicks off Oct. 10 with a Parade of Planes from the airport. Plus, find out where Nolan recommends you eat and what attractions to take in before or after Summit. Read more >>
Nonpilot? No problem: Activities for your nonflying guest
As you get ready to take off for Palm Springs, Calif., for AOPA Aviation Summit, don’t leave someone behind just because the person doesn’t fly. Lots of activities will keep your guest entertained while you check out the latest products and services in the exhibit hall, brush up on your skills in one of our interactive seminars, or log some time in a new aircraft. Read more >>
With Palm Springs, Calif., sporting a $200 million facelift for this year’s AOPA Aviation Summit, the association is upping the ante of its annual convention, bringing in celebrity pilots, transforming educational seminars into interactive workshops, and bringing back the popular Parade of Planes. This event is one no pilot will want to miss. Read more >>
Husky out of hiding, mystery airplane unveiling
The AOPA Tougher Than a Tornado Sweepstakes Husky will emerge from its undisclosed location for AOPA Aviation Summit in Palm Springs, Calif., where AOPA will reveal the new owner of the rugged taildragger. Pilots also can start dreaming about taking another AOPA sweepstakes aircraft home: The next sweepstakes airplane will take its place alongside the Husky in the aircraft display. Will this mystery airplane have a tailwheel or tricycle gear? One engine or two? Attendees will get the first look at Summit. Read more >>
Social media takes off at AOPA Aviation Summit
Social media will play a big role in this year’s AOPA Aviation Summit Oct. 11 through 13 in Palm Springs, Calif. For all things Summit, including new news, emergency notifications, and more, follow @AOPA on Twitter—and don't forget to use the #AOPA12 hashtag! You can also catch the latest news on the AOPA Facebook page. AOPA encourages attendees and followers to use special event hashtags: Parade of Planes, #AOPAPOP; the Summit Thursday keynote address, #AOPAKey1; the Friday keynote address, #AOPAKey2; and the iPad Learning Sessions, #AOPAiPad. And click here to follow all the AOPA staff members on Twitter.
Night for Flight online auction bidding heats up
The AOPA Foundation’s 2012 A Night for Flight auction offers many one-of-a-kind items plus experiences for pilots like you. Bidding closes Saturday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. Eastern time, so don’t forget to place your bids.
Special Summit arrival procedures keep the crowd moving
There’s no better way to take in the picturesque vistas of Southern California than flying yourself to AOPA Aviation Summit Oct. 11 through 13 in Palm Springs, Calif. (You might want to get there by Oct. 9 to take in the Parade of Planes at 10 a.m. on Oct. 10.) In addition to special flight procedures that keep arrivals and departures organized, free ground transportation will be available from two local airports. AOPA has prepared a handy briefing on the VFR arrival procedures in place—and everything else pilots need to know.
For more information on AOPA Aviation Summit, see the website.
Safety & Proficiency
The Air Safety Institute has released its twenty-second edition of the acclaimed Joseph T. Nall Report. The report combines statistical analysis of GA accidents during 2010, descriptions of trends in GA safety over the preceding 10 years, and case studies illustrating some of the characteristic failures of airmanship or decision making that bring good aircraft to a bad end. Helicopter and fixed-wing accidents are analyzed separately, distinguishing between commercial and noncommercial flights. Read the report online.
IFR Fix: The Z-Y-X of IAPs
What’s the difference between GPS and (GPS) in an instrument approach’s name? If straight-in instrument approach procedures have a runway number in their title, and circling approaches get letters, why do some IAPs have both? It all flows from the FAA’s IAP naming convention, which sounds like a conference held on the deck of an aircraft carrier, but actually is a nuanced system for naming IAPs as descriptively as possible. Read more >>
Spice up your flying: Head to the hills
The more you fly, the more you realize that every flight is unique, and nowhere is that more true than when flying in mountainous areas. All of the issues flatland pilots have to contend with—wind, weather, aircraft performance—are given extra consideration when you are peering down at less-than-forgiving terrain. Skills and knowledge you didn’t have to worry much about over lower terrain take on greater importance. Learn what makes flying in the mountains so special, and challenging, in the Air Safety Institute’s Mountain Flying online course.
Temet nosce: Know thyself
Yes, it can happen to you … or maybe it already has. Spatial disorientation—the mistaken perception of one’s position and motion relative to the earth—in flight is a concern of pilots of all ages and experience levels. Learn how this happens, and how to prevent and manage its effects. Read the Air Safety Institute’s Spatial Disorientation Safety Advisor.
Leading Edge: Air Force One misses an approach
A number of news outlets breathlessly announced last week that Air Force One had to perform a missed approach in Ohio, and, so as not to be partisan, also reported that Ann Romney’s charter flight suffered an electrical problem and had to stop in Denver. AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg says missed approaches and occasional mechanical malfunctions are not usually newsworthy and are about on par with missing an Interstate exit or changing a tire. Read more >>
With aircraft re-registration in progress according to a month-by-month schedule, and the FAA observing several instances of incorrect registration data loaded onto Mode S transponder units, AOPA is urging pilots to verify that registration information is updated on aircraft and installed Mode S transponders and 406 MHz emergency locator transmitters. Read more >>
Fuller notes AOPA strategies to Southeast pilots
Noting that safety education is no fair weather friend, South Carolina Aviation Association officials said Sept. 29’s drizzle did little to dampen the enthusiasm for knowledge among those attending the final day of the Southeast Aviation Expo at Greenville, S.C. Hundreds of pilots from throughout the Southeast attended the event, which provided some 15 hours of safety seminars and time to peruse the wares of nearly 50 exhibitors. Read more >>
Pilots urged to weigh in on sanctuary boundary expansion
A federal agency’s plan to study the environmental impact of expanding boundaries of a California marine sanctuary not only arbitrarily threatens general aviation safety, but also skirts any requirement to assess the impact on flight operations, AOPA said in a regulatory filing. AOPA is encouraging members to take action. Read more >>
AOPA views from the regions: Jessica Cox inspires Alaskan youth
Sport pilot Jessica Cox recently made a whirlwind trip through Alaska, and inspired young and old alike. Cox was born without arms but hasn’t let that stop her from living independently or achieving her dreams. Cox spent time with AOPA’s Alaska Regional Manager Tom George and shared her story with high school students to inspire them not to be bound by their own perceived limitations. Read more >>
No risk when you enroll in Emergency Assistance Plus
Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+) is a service intended to fill the gap when accidents, illness, or other problems arise away from home requiring expenditures that health insurance doesn’t cover. Pilots have active lifestyles, so we’re constantly on the go, making an away-from-home emergency a likely occurrence. Read more >>
MedXPress is mandatory
Effective Oct. 1, all pilots are now required to use MedXPress online to complete the FAA airman medical application prior to visiting an aviation medical examiner. Gary Crump of AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services explains how the online process could reduce errors that take up FAA staff time and delay their review of deferred cases. Read more >>
AOPA Now: An open letter
AOPA President Craig Fuller explains decisions such as the move to enhance and expand AOPA’s flight planning tool offerings in a response to criticism from a commentator on an online aviation publication. “The world has changed in many ways,” he writes, “but what has not changed is our mission. We work passionately here to protect the freedom to fly!” Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a strategy and financial analyst, executive assistant, director of media relations, major gifts officer, accounts payable technician, and Web graphic designer. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.