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At a time when general aviation is under attack by the federal government—from budget cuts disproportionately targeting GA airports to the FCC's proposed ban on 121.5 MHz ELTs—an offense is mounting on Capitol Hill in advance of what is likely the next salvo, user fees. AOPA rallied its members in early March to contact their members of Congress to tell them that user fees are a bad idea and to urge them to sign a letter opposing such fees. Their voices are being heard as the letter is gaining widespread support from both sides of the aisle. The Obama administration's budget proposal, scheduled to be released April 10, is widely anticipated to once again call for $100-per-flight user fees for certain commercial and general aviation operations. Read more >>
MiG-15: Flying the enemy fighter
The rear seat of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 feels like a booby-trapped cage thanks to a hot ejection seat connected to a canister filled with gunpowder. An enemy fighter in generations' memories and the history books, the MiG-15 is flown in the United States today as an experimental aircraft. Find out what it's like to fly the MiG-15 and discover its quirky handling characteristics. Plus, learn why Jet Warbird Training Center instructor Larry Salganek says, "Disneyland takes something that's safe and gives you the illusion that it's dangerous. We take something that's dangerous and give you the illusion it's safe." Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
For the last seven decades, AOPA has relied on the support of its members to become the most powerful voice in general aviation. The association's strength comes from you and nearly 400,000 fellow members across the country. As the GA industry and the pilot population struggle through these tough economic times and with must-win battles like user fees and the impacts of sequestration, AOPA needs you now more than ever to help maintain its powerful voice with a thriving and growing membership. Find out from AOPA members and staff what the association means to them and why membership is so important. Watch the video >>
Private tower companies devastated by cuts
While local governments scramble for funds to reopen towers or send lawsuits to Washington, the immediate impact of sequestration-related cuts is clear: Unemployment rolls have expanded by at least 850 to 900 workers who operated contract control towers around the nation. Read more >>
Best Aircraft Showdown down to four finalists
After a spirited competition in the round of 16 and round of eight, the AOPA Best Aircraft Showdown, sponsored by Aero-Space Reports, is down to four aircraft. Favorites such as the de Havilland Beaver and the Boeing Stearman put up a fight in the round of eight but couldn't swing a victory over the aircraft moving on to the "Four on Final" round: the Douglas DC-3 versus the Piper J-3 Cub, and the F4U Corsair versus the Cessna 182. Which two will make it to the final showdown April 8? Make your voice heard: Voting on the last four aircraft standing runs April 5 through 7. Read more >>
Cessna trims workforce, maintains production
Cessna Aircraft Co. is offering voluntary early retirement to salaried employees who are not directly involved in aircraft production, while offering few details to the media. Read more >>
FAA grants production certificate to Eclipse Aerospace
Eclipse Aerospace has secured an amended production certificate that clears the way for final assembly and certification testing of the updated Eclipse 550. Read more >>
Flight Guide iEFB updated with ADS-B capability
The latest version of the Flight Guide iEFB allows the display of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) weather on an iPad. Read more >>
Member discounts await pilots at Sun 'n Fun
AOPA is a proud sponsor of the 2013 Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo—and attendees who stop by the AOPA tent to renew, join, participate in activities, or see what's offered at a discount or free will be glad they did. Read more >>
Fly like a fighter: Join the gaggle
An F-15 pilot must rejoin with his formation team after a delayed start because of a maintenance issue. Find out how the lessons he learned on that mission can prepare you for fly-ins this spring and summer. Read more >>
New Swamp Creek flying club builds own aircraft
The Swamp Creek Flyers have taken starting up a flying club very seriously—from building the aircraft to funding it. The club's seven members, employees of Arlington, Wash.-based Dynon Avionics, bought a Glasair Sportsman kit aircraft and are building it under the manufacturer's Two Weeks to Taxi program. Read more >>
Surviving to thriving: Webinar to tackle club leadership
How does a flying club go from just getting by to operating at its peak? Marc Epner and a group of six individuals started with one airplane and built Leading Edge Flying Club into an organization with 75 members and four aircraft. Find out how they did it in a free webinar April 17 at 8 p.m. Eastern time. Register >>
Avidyne, L-3 settle patent dispute
Court records show Avidyne Corp. and L-3 Avionics Systems have settled a patent dispute that dates to 2005, with a confidentiality agreement in place. Read more >>
German researchers claim first: Robotic flight simulator
It delivers the ultimate in realism, at a fraction of the cost: Researchers at the German Aerospace Center, Germany's analog to NASA, have worked with private industry to develop the first flight simulator mounted on a robotic arm. The simulator delivers six-axis motion and a high-resolution projection display. It is capable of simulating highly unusual attitudes, including inverted flight, and is expected to be certified at Level D, the highest level of full flight simulators. Read more >>
Brain direct: In pursuit of an aircraft-mind connection
As science edges closer to deciphering the language of the brain, some on the leading edge are exploring and developing a more direct link between mind and machine, aircraft in particular. There are toys to be had that already do this, but some believe it could be the way we fly everything in the future. Would you wire your airplane straight to your brain? Read more >>
Richmond International to discount fuel on NASCAR weekend
General aviation pilots visiting Richmond International Airport in Richmond, Va., April 22 through 28 will save 6 cents per gallon on purchases of 100LL or Jet A fuel. The Capital Regional Airport Commission, which owns and operates the airport, is waiving its 6-cents-per-gallon fuel flowage fee for the week. Read more >>
'Goose,' 'Iceman' lend voices to Disney's 'Planes'
Top Gun co-stars Anthony Edwards and Val Kilmer give voice to characters in the upcoming Disney animated feature Planes, due out in the summer. Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, John Cleese, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are also among the well-known names in the cast announced in full March 27. The movie, inspired by Disney's Cars, stars Dane Cook as "Dusty," a crop duster who dreams of racing but must overcome long odds and a serious fear of heights. Read more >>
Five fuel apps
Pilots know all too well that one of the big costs of flying is fuel. They also need to know where fuel is available and how to measure and maximize its use. As the cost of fuel continues to rise, everyone also wants to find the best prices. These five apps claim they can do some or all of these tasks. Read more >>
Debonair Sweepstakes: Sun 'n Fun countdown
As the Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In & Expo approached, AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne waited with the AOPA Sweepstakes Debonair in Santa Fe, N.M., where Santa Fe Aero Services has been making an all-out effort to get this airplane’s panel ready for the big show. In Santa Fe, Beechcraft came to the rescue with a vital part, and Horne offers a sneak peek at the new panel installation.
Reporting Points: Strange but true general aviation news
A unique use of jet fuel, a helicopter is used to catch a thief, and the Barefoot Bandit gets a mentor. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Want to run a flightseeing business?
Since AOPA Pilot ran an article about the entrepreneurial soul who runs Starlight Flights in Dallas, members have been inquiring how they, too, could get started in the flightseeing business without owning an airplane. Read more >>
AOPA Live This Week: Flying the MiG-15
She conquered the L-39. Now see how Alyssa Miller, managing editor of AOPA Online, does flying another Cold War relic, the MiG-15. With the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo coming soon, AOPA offers all the information you need to know and gives you a taste of what to expect. Plus, many contract air traffic control towers are closing starting April 7, and AOPA Live® goes to Miami to check out delays at customs checkpoints. Watch AOPA Live This Week, April 4.
Safety & Proficiency
Don't ever get caught off guard flying VFR into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). The Air Safety Institute's brand new VFR into IMC syllabus—designed to be followed under the direction and supervision of a qualified flight instructor—helps you recognize and understand conditions that can lead to inadvertent VFR flight into IMC and how to escape IMC safely should visual references be lost. Outwit one of general aviation's deadliest killers: Download the syllabus now.
Air Safety Institute's YouTube channel is back
The Air Safety Institute's YouTube channel has been revived with a new layout and updated videos. Content on the channel includes episodes of Ask ATC, Real Pilot Stories, Pilot Safety Announcements, and more. View videos >>
IFR Fix: Tower or advisory frequency?
Whether your airport has an FAA control tower, a contract control tower, or a tower that's scheduled to close, aviation has entered a unique phase. Instrument pilots must stay informed about developments, especially between now and May 5. Read more >>
Stranger than fiction
NTSB investigators can extract a great deal of information from even the most catastrophic accident sites. Yet sometimes the circumstances are so odd and the physical evidence so unusual that the most plausible explanation still rests on some degree of conjecture. Evidence from the crash of a PiperSport in Spring Hill, Fla., on the night of May 6, 2011, suggested that it hit the ground in an almost vertical, nose-down, slightly inverted attitude. Testing led investigators to a scenario that could explain abrasions found on the pilot's body—maybe. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
Just how risky is this flight?
In the real world, it can be tough to make calls about what's safe and what isn't. Airline pilots have rules that clearly spell out how to deal with sticky situations, but for the most part general aviation pilots are left to their own judgment. The Air Safety Institute's Flight Risk Evaluator, brought to you by AOPA Insurance Services, is designed to help pilots take a more systematic approach to risk management. Its built-in "risk calculator" gives meaningful, objective feedback about the safety of a proposed flight, customized to your operation and experience level. Try it now >>
Leading Edge: Murphy's Law and airplanes
Murphy's Law has dozens if not hundreds of corollaries that remind us that complex airplanes are veritable breeding grounds for Murphy mischief. Read more >>
Hover Power: In-flight vibrations
When a critical component in a helicopter's main rotor system fails in flight, the resulting accident is almost always fatal. How much warning, if any, does a pilot get with these kinds of failures? Communications recorded before the fatal crash of a Bell 212 near Philadelphia, Miss., provide some insight as to what the flight crew knew and when. Read more >>
AOPA has asked officials to explain whether a spate of recent "very negative" experiences for pilots clearing U.S. Customs at southern airports of entry were isolated events or—more ominously—symptoms of post-sequester operational chaos. Read more >>
'Substantial costs, fleeting benefits' in ELT ban
The Federal Communications Commission should "immediately abandon" its bid to prohibit the certification, manufacture, importation, sale, or use of 121.5 MHz ELTs, AOPA said in a regulatory filing. Read more >>
GA Caucus leaders, AOPA target new members
AOPA is working with the co-chairs of the House and Senate General Aviation caucuses to help rebuild membership after the 2012 general election. Read more >>
AOPA advocacy in brief
AOPA's government affairs team works with the FAA, Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, members of Congress, state legislatures, international agencies and AOPA affiliates, and other general aviation organizations and industry leaders to help keep flying safe, fun, and affordable for members. Get a quick glimpse of what the team is working on any given day in the new "AOPA advocacy in brief" page. Check out this week's highlights: You say 'drone,' I say 'unmanned aircraft'; Sequester and the FAA; GAMA hosts EASA meeting with industry; The future of airway modifications; and more. Read more >>
Pilot touts productivity of GA aircraft
It's a classic general-aviation-versus-the-airlines scenario: A businessman and his friend need to fly from Columbia, S.C., to Orlando, Fla., for a 9 a.m. business meeting. Two tickets for the airlines would be pricey, they'd have to fly down the night before, and they'd have to connect through a major hub. By opting to travel by a small GA airplane, the two leave early the morning of the meeting for a direct, two-hour flight—and they save some money in the process. Merrill Donahoo, South Carolina's general aviation ambassador, shares that personal success story in presentations throughout the state to civic organizations like Rotary and Kiwanis clubs. Read more >>
AOPA Now: Witness to a fundamental change
The FAA's decision to stop funding operations in air traffic control towers has prompted some states and airport authorities to search for their own funding. AOPA President Craig Fuller asks if this change will renew debate about how the United States delivers air traffic control services—and what the cost will be to users of the system. Read more >>
VFR: 'The Long Way Home'
In early December 1941, a Pan Am flying boat commanded by Capt. Robert Ford had almost completed its scheduled flight from San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The crew learned it must remove any identifiable markings from the aircraft, maintain radio silence, under no circumstances allow the aircraft to fall into enemy hands, and proceed west to New York. AOPA Alaska Regional Manager Tom George read a book about the trip and reflects on a personal connection to the story. Read more >>
VFR: Back to New England
Sean Collins, AOPA's new Eastern regional manager, makes his debut on the Views From the Regions blog after moving back home to New England. Read more >>
Medical limitations and restrictions explained
Airmen may receive a medical certificate with a limitation or a restriction. Dr. Warren Silberman, the former manager of FAA Aerospace Medical Certification, explains the difference and outlines what each means for pilots. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for an advertising marketing manager; mid-level gift specialist; network support engineer; marketing manager, fundraising and acquisitions; aviation technical specialist; staff assistant/PAC coordinator; president, AOPA Insurance Services; office services supervisor; major gifts officer; and director of outreach and events. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.