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Cleared for Mach 2 after departure, this supersonic jet of the future would yaw 90 degrees and put a new set of wings into the wind. A research team led by Ge-Chen Zha of the University of Miami has landed a $100,000 NASA grant to begin wind tunnel testing of a “supersonic, bi-directional flying wing” that could cut the New York to Tokyo travel time to four hours—and perhaps significantly faster than that, Zha said. The design would put the most appropriate set of wings forward, depending on speed. Zha said it should prove capable of speeds much faster than the Mach 2 validated by computer models so far. Read more >>
A solemn anniversary, marked by progress
Some wounds of 9/11 may never heal, but the passage of time—and ongoing vigilance—has helped the nation, including its pilots, recover from the chaotic aftermath of the infamous attacks. The general aviation community joins all Americans in marking this solemn anniversary, grateful that freedom to fly was not among the casualties, though there is still work to be done to ensure that precautions taken are sensible and effective. Read more >>
Best-selling author injured in aircraft accident
Pilot and author Richard Bach remained in serious condition after his aircraft crashed while he was attempting to land in Washington state, according to media reports. The amphibious aircraft came to rest inverted in a field Aug. 31 after clipping a power line on approach to landing at a grass strip, his son James Bach told The Associated Press. Read more >>
New Orleans aircraft owners seek answers after flood
Assurances from the city that Lakefront Airport in New Orleans would remain above water as Hurricane Isaac arrived proved too optimistic, and several aircraft were lost as the waters rose. Business owners and pilots hope to learn, once and for all, why the waters of Lake Pontchartrain so often flood the facility perched just outside the levee line. Lakefront was one of two Louisiana airports where the waters rose in Isaac's wake. The Lakefront Airport flood damaged two dozen aircraft, including one used for charitable missions by a nonprofit organization. Read more >>
Cessna leads amped-up LSA registration race
Flight Design still leads the light sport aircraft market in total number of aircraft registered—but competitor Cessna Aircraft Co. is nipping at its heels, with 71 light sport aircraft registered in the first six months of 2012. Read more >>
Lost prop on checkride: Did he pass?
Colorado pilot Brian Garrett had just completed the soft-field landing portion of his checkride—on a paved runway—and expected a simulated emergency was soon to come. Little did he know, a real emergency would cut the examination a little short, as two of three propeller blades tore loose and put Garrett and his designated pilot examiner in a tight spot. Keeping cool, they scanned the ground below for a suitable spot to test Garrett’s skill at a dead-stick, soft-field landing, and put out a Mayday call. “I knew what I had to do,” Garrett told AOPA. Read more >>
Enter the Solo Hall of Fame
The time-honored practice of cutting student pilot shirt tails after their initial solo flights is getting a digital-age upgrade that’s easy to share. NFlightcam is launching a program that allows student pilots to record their initial solo flights free on an NFlightcam, send them to the company for editing, and share the finished products via email, YouTube, and Facebook. Read more >>
Will LSAs make passing grade?
Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, says the FAA will begin three-day field audits of light sport aircraft (LSA) manufacturers starting in March 2013. The plan was briefed to the LSA industry during EAA AirVenture 2012. The emphasis will be on those manufacturers introducing new models. Read more >>
Low-time Cessna 182 gets outback makeover
If someone donates a 1974 Cessna 182P with only 800 hours on it, why would it need to be rebuilt? Because you can't take any risks with the outback of Australia, where it is headed for missionary work. There's little civilization along the routes to Aboriginal communities. Read more >>
Smith to lead AOPA Center to Advance the Pilot Community
AOPA has named Adam Smith as senior vice president of its forthcoming Center to Advance the Pilot Community. The center was created to stop the slow, steady decline in the number of certificated pilots in the United States and to seek ways to stimulate growth. AOPA and the AOPA Foundation are showing their commitment to rebuilding the pilot population by creating this entirely new division to be staffed with experts on research, building communities, and continuous learning to help guide the center’s work. Read more >>
NASA mission could help protect GPS
NASA has launched a two-year effort to learn how better to predict the behavior of the Van Allen radiation belts that circle Earth, behavior that can at times threaten GPS and other satellite communications. Two satellites are orbiting through the belts of highly charged particles that protect the planet from solar storms and “space weather.” Read more >>
Analysts see signs of aircraft market recovery
With deliveries picking up, there are signs of hope for the suffering aircraft market—particularly business jets. Analysts say that sustained recovery will depend on renewed demand from North America, and there are signs it is coming. The piston market, however, may be another story. Read more >>
Gulfstream 280 certified in US and Israel
The Gulfstream Aerospace G280—formerly the Astra Galaxy, then the Gulfstream G200, and then modified to become the G250—has received type certificates in the United States and Israel. The number designation was changed after it was discovered that the number 250 in Mandarin can mean "imbecile" or "foolish" and might limit sales in Asian markets. Read More >>
Hover Power: Translational lift
A hovering helicopter can require a lot of power. However, as it moves forward the horizontal flow of air across the rotor system improves the efficiency by changing the induced flow, and therefore the relative wind, which increases the blades’ angle of attack. This added efficiency is called translational lift. Read more >>
AOPA Live This Week: Inside the Democratic National Convention
AOPA Live This Week reports from the Democratic National Convention. President Barack Obama answers AOPA's questions about user fees and funding NextGen, while congressional Democrats just say “no” to anything but the gas tax. An epic cross country in a J-3 Cub. Boy, are their butts sore. And a first look at the Garmin G5000 in an experimental Learjet. AOPA Live This Week, Sept. 6 >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Confused about the upcoming automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) requirements? Not sure if they apply to you? Check out the newest online course from the Air Safety Institute, ADS-B for General Aviation: The Basics, and find out what this change to air traffic control means to you. Learn the basics on how ADS-B works, who is affected by its implementation, and the benefits of adopting this new technology. Armed with the right information about ADS-B, you’ll be able to make the best choice when it comes to incorporating it into the way you fly. Take the course >>
Testing the untested
Accident risk for experimental amateur-built aircraft is particularly acute during the initial phase of flight testing, according to a recent NTSB study. On Dec. 1, 2011, the owner and builder of a newly completed Wittman Tailwind W10 took the airplane out for its second flight. Two employees of the Oswego County Airport saw the Wittman doing touch and goes on Runway 33, and both remarked on how fast it appeared to climb. A few minutes after it disappeared to the west, a 911 operator called the airport office to report the crash. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
IFR Fix: How is your Morse code?
Don’t take a gambler’s shortcut when it comes to identifying a navaid based on its Morse code. Pilots may assume that an out-of-service navaid will send out no Morse signal. Sometimes maintenance personnel may radiate a test code. Or, you may have tuned in the wrong navaid, setting you up for error and a possible pink slip, as one pilot learned. Read more >>
‘Flying for a Lifetime’ fall safety seminar debuts
You pay close attention to your airplane, search out hidden problems, and generally keep a wary eye on things—because, after all, airplanes change as they age. So do pilots. These changes can be subtle—but do you give them the attention they really deserve? Join the Air Safety Institute in a fun, fast-paced look at how to maintain a high level of safety for every flight in your life. Check seminar dates and locations near you.
Practice good strokes, but keep them on the golf course
Stroking a cat soothes him and you, stroking egos beguiles, and doing the breast stroke in the pool exhilarates. That’s about it for good strokes. Bad strokes are nasty, and pilots should know about them—and stick to the good kind. The brain receives nutrients and oxygen via neck arteries and is highly sensitive to any interruption of service from defective heartbeats, narrowed arteries, or leaking brain blood vessels. Regardless of cause, brain segments deprived of continuous supply die, causing functional loss of whatever that part serves—muscles, speech, memory, or emotion. Read more >>
Ramp up on ramp safety
You know about the dangers of walking near spinning propellers. But other hidden obstacles and hazards lurk while you and your passengers navigate to and from hangars and tiedown spots. Even a simple walk around the aircraft can cause someone to trip over a tiedown rope or walk into sharp surfaces like wing trailing edges or pitot tubes. Download the Air Safety Institute’s Ramp Operations safety brief before your next flight for a quick refresher on the rules of the ramp.
Leading Edge: Too short?
Some immutable laws of physics come into play when we fly. One that really should be respected is the landing distance required. AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg discusses a recent landing accident at Falmouth Airpark in Massachusetts involving a Cirrus SR22, a young CFI, a student pilot, and his wife. Read more >>
AOPA Aviation Summit
Top five reasons to catch AOPA’s Parade of Planes
AOPA’s Parade of Planes returns after six years. Watch as dozens of aircraft taxi under their own power from Palm Springs International Airport to the Palm Springs Convention Center on Oct. 10. Here are the top five reasons you won’t want to miss this parade. Read more >>
Advance Summit registration ends Sept. 14
Don’t miss out on AOPA’s popular Parade of Planes, hours of educational and safety seminars, hundreds of exhibits, and social events in sunny Palm Springs, Calif., Oct. 11 through 13. Take advantage of advance savings by registering before Sept. 14. Learn what registration packages are available and sign up today.
Watch unveiling of hottest aviation products
Don’t wait to read about the newest products on the market. Get the latest on the new products live as they are being announced and demonstrated at AOPA Aviation Summit. New products will be announced each day in the Palm Springs Convention Center’s Interactive Lounge—open to all attendees with an exhibit hall pass.
‘Airports Day’ offers tips and tools for advocates
From national policies to lease agreements, a variety of airport issues affect your freedom to fly. That’s why AOPA has dubbed Oct. 12 “Airports Day” at AOPA Aviation Summit, dedicating a new seminar track to informative sessions designed for airport managers, leaders, and advocates. FAA Deputy Associate Administrator for Airports Catherine Lang will give an inside view on issues important to your home field in “FAA Airports—News from the Top,” at 10:30 a.m. At 1:30 p.m., advocates can learn how to minimize conflict, maximize communication, and foster support for their airport in “Managing Airport Relationships.” And airport managers can learn about resources available to them in “The Airport Manager’s Toolkit” at 3:15 p.m. View a complete schedule online.
Fly the most accessible recreational aircraft—single-engine aircraft with 180-horsepower or less, four seats or fewer, and fixed landing gear—with less medical hassle. Submit comments in support of the AOPA/EAA medical exemption today!
Cellphones, GA ops excluded from FAA electronics study
The FAA will soon convene a study group to take a fresh look at in-flight use of portable electronic devices on airlines. In conversations with AOPA staff, agency officials confirmed the study—which has potential to expand the use of iPads and similar devices on commercial flights—will not include general aviation use of the devices, but focus exclusively on airline passenger use. Read more >>
Airport safety management a matter of scale
A culture of aviation safety has broad industry support. But requiring general aviation airports to implement safety management systems based on programs at commercial-service airports would impose crippling burdens on the smaller facilities, AOPA said in a regulatory filing. Read more >>
FAA responds to users on future navigation system
As the FAA begins to detail plans to take the National Airspace System from ground-based navigation systems to satellite technology, the agency has committed to creating an advisory group urged by AOPA and others to help set key guidelines for the transition. Read more >>
AOPA membership drive: Member get a member
AOPA’s “Strength in Numbers” membership drive is under way, with AOPA members working to help recruit new pilots, aircraft owners, and aviation enthusiasts. Have you recruited any new members yet? If not, check out these top three reasons why you should. Read more >>
Pilots must answer whether they have a history of “frequent or severe headaches” on their medical application. But what, exactly, constitutes a frequent or severe headache? Are three headaches a month frequent, or three a year? How do we determine severity? On a scale of one to 10, which is how your doctor would normally ask you to gauge the pain? Or how often you have to take medications to stop the headache? Find out what the FAA says in this latest installment from AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services. Read more >>
Testing the limits
How would your insurance shake out after an emergency landing on a golf course that injures your passenger and a golfer, tears up the fairway, and damages your aircraft? Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a director of legislative affairs, director of media relations, major gifts officer, accounts payable technician, administrative coordinator, aviation technical generalist, and Web graphic designer. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.