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Apr. 12, 2013, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletterApr. 12, 2013, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletter

AOPA ePilot

In This Issue:

VOLUME 15, ISSUE 15 — April 12, 2013

Zenith breaks from STOL mold
Burt Rutan developing new seaplane


Safety >>

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect >>


AOPA Live >>

Click here for this week's custom content.

Sun 'n Fun News

Zenith breaks from STOL mold

Zenith breaks from STOL mold Zenith Aircraft Co. introduced a new light sport model at the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo. The all-metal, two-seat CH 750 Cruzer is the latest design from Chris Heintz. Although it's influenced by its well-known short-takeoff-and-landing predecessors, the CH 750 Cruzer is a new design. "For years we have excelled at making aircraft go slower," said Sebastien Heintz, president of Zenith Aircraft Co. of Mexico, Mo. The 750 Cruzer maintains most of the slow-speed performance, he said. However, the new model—which he said was designed in response to customer feedback—recognizes that many customers do not need off-airport capability or extreme STOL performance. "We've optimized the new design for airport operations. We don't need to please everyone with one model." Read more >>    

Brazil's Wega debuts

Fresh from a 4,000-nautical-mile shakedown cross-country flight, Brazil's brand-new Wega is attracting a lot of attention at the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo in Lakeland, Fla. The Wega is an all-composite, experimental-category airplane inspired by the Falco series of piston singles created by design legend Stelio Frati. Read more >>    

Quicksilver to produce LSA versions of open-cockpit kits

Quicksilver to produce LSA versions of open cockpit kits When you climb into a Quicksilver Sprint, empty pockets are best—there's a good chance they'll wind up that way, one way or another. On an April 10 flight at the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo in Lakeland, Fla., the mains clear the turf for a smooth liftoff, the craft's fabric wings taking on the weight of two men, an engine, and little else. Quicksilver Aeronautics plans to offer a similar model as a factory-built light sport aircraft at EAA AirVenture in July. Fly along >>    

Poll probes students' flight training experiences

AOPA's new online poll, announced April 10, seeks to gather personal experiences from students and pilots working on advanced ratings about the condition of the rental aircraft they used, the quality of ground and flight instruction, the attitudes of the instructors and schools, and the methods used to set goals and mark progress. The responses will be the basis for its 2013 Flight Training Excellence Awards. Read more >>    

Redbird launches AOPA Jay, growing sim community

Redbird launches AOPA Jay, growing sim community Students and pilots who want to practice fly-in procedures to summer events or test their skills with new flight situations have a new option for a personal flight simulator, Redbird Flight Simulations announced April 10. Redbird officially launched the AOPA Jay, a single out-of-the-box simulator unit, during the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo. "The goal for Jay was simple," Redbird founder Jerry Gregoire explained to AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines in "This bird really flies" in AOPA Pilot. "If my mom can't take it out of the box, plug it in, turn it on, and have it up and running, then it is too complicated." Read Haines' detailed report >>    

Vulcanair drops in at Sun 'n Fun

Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo attendees got a glimpse of an updated Vulcanair twin model as it was en route from the company factory in Italy to its new owner in Brazil. The retractable-gear P68R now carries a Garmin G950 panel and numerous interior and other enhancements. Read more >>    

Sun ‘n Fun airshow wows crowds

Sun n' Fun slideshow Pilots nationwide and spectators from the Lakeland, Fla., area flocked to the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo in anticipation of the daily airshows and other happenings at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. The daily airshows are shorter this year to accommodate more fly-in traffic and make up for the cancellation of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds' appearance because of sequestration. Still, the airshow lineup was packed with 16 acts listed for April 10. Visitors were treated to formation flights, warbird acts, wing walking, and more. View the slideshow >>    

ATP to purchase up to 100 Piper Archers

Piper Aircraft Inc. and Airline Transport Professionals on April 10 reached a three-year agreement under which ATP could purchase up to 100 Piper training aircraft. Read more >>    

DiamondShare offers new take on sharing an airplane

It's not a fractional program, and not a partnership. It is not renting, or sharing one airplane with a crowded club. So, what does Diamond dealer John Armstrong have up his sleeve when he talks about flying a brand-new Diamond for a thousand bucks a month? Avgas and other charges may apply, but the DiamondShare concept puts a brand-new aircraft within reach for many who would otherwise never dream of a $420,000 airplane. Read more >>    

Sun 'n Fun news briefs

Rotax Flying Safety Club offers 912 iS warranty extension ... Sporty's service eases EFB processes for commercial ops ... iBook offers standard procedures for Part 91 pilots ... Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association marks progress ... Daher-Socata reports strong demand for TBM 850. Read more >>    

More news

Tuskegee airman honored at pre-airshow festivities

New kits allow for easy use of in-cockpit cameras

Diamond updates DA40 interior, dealers downplay job cuts

Fun in the sun slideshow

CAE Academy buying 35 Piper trainers

Chicago club meets in Florida

Veterans group shares message at Sun 'n Fun

Kings to offer online helicopter FIRC

Deadline nears for high school design competition

Lightspeed Foundation announces grant finalists

GA News

AOPA warns user fee proposal could cripple GA

The White House on April 10 released a budget proposal that includes a $100-per-flight user fee for certain commercial and general aviation operations—a charge AOPA warns could be disastrous for general aviation. Read more >>    

Burt Rutan developing new seaplane

Two years after retirement, Burt Rutan is at it again, developing his 378th design—a new seaplane called the Skigull—at his cabin near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The design is a tandem-seat twin-engine amphib that rises from the water on skis but can land on snow, grass, and if you must, a paved airport. It will make it from his cabin to Oshkosh with only one stop. If it works, you may be able to buy a kit. Read more >>    

FAA delays contract tower closings to June 15

Faced with proliferating legal challenges to its decision to close 149 contract airport control towers starting April 7, the FAA announced that it would delay any tower closings until June 15 while it works to resolve state and local concerns about the shutdowns. Read more >>    

Effort seeks Congressional Gold Medal for Doolittle Raiders

Effort seeks Congressional Gold Medal for Doolittle Raiders A group of young men volunteered for a dangerous secret mission, putting their country before their lives. The Doolittle Tokyo Raiders' successful strike on Japanese soil has been credited as the turning point of World War II in the Pacific that led to the U.S. win at the Battle of Midway. Now an effort is under way to honor these men for their heroism with a Congressional Gold Medal. Only four of the 80 men remain, and Brian "Bear" Anderson, sergeant at arms for the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, is working to gain support on Capitol Hill to honor them while they are still living. Read more >>    

FAA publishes changes to special issuance medical conditions

The FAA on April 9 streamlined the medical certification process for pilots with certain medical conditions that previously required special issuance authorizations. Now an AME can issue a normal duration medical certificate at the time of examination if the pilot provides adequate documentation showing good control of the condition. See the list of affected conditions >>    

And the Best Aircraft Showdown winner is…

And the Best Aircraft Showdown winner is… The Douglas DC-3 was this year's top pick in the AOPA Best Aircraft Showdown, sponsored by Aero-Space Reports, beating out aircraft including the Cessna 172, the Beechcraft King Air, the Supermarine Spitfire, and this year's runner-up, the F4U Corsair. Commenter Conor Dancy summed up the competition in the final round: "These are my two favorite airplanes. If I won the lottery I'd buy both." Another participant took exception with the final two picks. Read more >>    

Pilots recommend weather radar apps

With spring here and summer around the corner, more thunderstorms and precipitation could be popping up. Check out these weather radar apps that could be helpful in providing updated information on your smartphone or tablet. Read more >>    

Now taking off: 51st Aero Squadron flying club

A FedEx first officer on the Boeing 777 who flies internationally, a Southwest Airlines first officer on the 737, and a former U.S. Air Force C-130 instructor are part of a new flying club in which one member has said, "We can have quite a time just getting to know each other better." Read more >>    

Secrets to successful club leadership

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. AOPA Senior Vice President of the Center to Advance the Pilot Community Adam Smith will join Epner in a free webinar as he discusses the ins and outs of leading and managing a successful club April 17 at 8 p.m. Eastern time. Register >>    

'Why I love my 172'

Tell AOPA why you love your Cessna 172 in 100 words or fewer—and include a photograph of you and your bird—and we'll collect your responses and share with other 172 owners in an online page and an upcoming issue of AOPA Pilot. Share your story >>    

Talks seen opening Florida airstrip to public

A state-owned airfield in the Florida Panhandle could become a recreational destination for pilots if the nonprofit Recreational Aviation Foundation and the Florida Forest Service complete an expected agreement on access in the next few months. Read more >>    

'Pacific Flyer' magazine is closing

Pacific Flyer, a magazine that went from an eight-page free publication in San Diego to an international aviation newspaper for more than 32 years, has announced it is shutting down. Read more >>    

Reporting Points: Strange but true general aviation news

An April Fool's joke goes too far, the Easter Bunny takes to the skies, and walking away from accidents. Read more >>    


AOPA Live covers Sun 'n Fun

The AOPA Live team was out and about at the 2013 Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo in Lakeland, Fla. Check out hundreds of aircraft on display, and hear how President and CEO John "Lites" Leenhouts managed the threatened closure of the tower at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. As of publication time, AOPA Live producers were finalizing this week's special Sun 'n Fun episode. Check back on the AOPA Live This Week page for the latest edition that will be available April 12.    

Safety & Proficiency

IFR Fix: 'Half-baked verbal briefings'

Quick—what's the textbook definition of true airspeed? Do you keep track of TAS in flight? Can you discuss a circumstance in which TAS would trigger a mandatory-reporting requirement during an IFR flight? Read more >>    

Know your systems, and stay alive

One of the more misunderstood systems found on aircraft today is the pneumatic system. Better known as the vacuum system, pneumatics can be responsible for multiple flight instruments, and their failure can affect other equipment like autopilots and de-icing devices. Learn more about how they work, and how to avoid and cope with their potential failures, by taking the Air Safety Institute's Pneumatic Systems online course. Take the course >>    

'And please, don't call me Shirley'

Are you worried about ATC communications at a towered airport? Or perhaps you don't know what to expect when entering the traffic pattern at a nontowered facility? The staff at the Air Safety Institute has compiled a one-stop spot for resources on this, and more—visit the institute's "Operations at Airports" Safety Spotlight.    

Improve your safety by learning from others

Gain valuable knowledge about flying safely by learning from the mistakes of others. Using your ePilot personalization preferences, like "piston single-engine" or "turbine," the Air Safety Institute's Accident Database generates a list of accidents that have been added to the database in the past 30 days. If you haven't personalized your newsletter, select your aircraft preferences from the "types of aircraft" section on the ePilot personalization page.    

Leading Edge: Confusing spin guidance

A placard with a confusing statement regarding spins prompted a discussion of spin certification and the wisdom of tiptoeing to the edge of the envelope. Read more >>    

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

April 13 and 14

Atlanta, Ga.

Cincinnati, Ohio

Salt Lake City, Utah

April 20 and 21

San Diego, Calif.

Indianapolis, Ind.

Ashburn, Va.

May 4 and 5

Pensacola, Fla.

Kansas City, Mo.

Albany, N.Y.

May 18 and 19

Sacramento, Calif.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Houston, Texas

For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.

April 12

Lakeland, Fla.



April 13

Lakeland, Fla.

April 15

Concord, Calif.

Pittsburgh, Pa.


April 16

Fresno, Calif.

Harrisburg, Pa.


Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.


Historic Baltimore airport to remain open for 99 years

A new 99-year lease with Baltimore County now ensures that Essex Skypark, a publicly owned airport southeast of Baltimore, Md., will stay open. The county had wanted to close the historic facility and plant trees on the space. Read more >>    

GAO report spotlights limits on NextGen progress

Aircraft operators could make better decisions on investing in future technologies if the FAA provided more data on its implementation of the NextGen satellite-navigation system, said a new program review by the Government Accountability Office. Read more >>    

Policy change expands IFR alternate-airport choices

Pilots on IFR flight plans will be able to plan for a GPS-based instrument approach at either the destination or the alternate—but not both—under a policy change that drops the prohibition on choosing an alternate based on a GPS approach. AOPA has long advocated for measures to expand IFR navigation options for general aviation, and welcomed the announcement as timely when satellite-based procedures now outnumber by 30 percent those using ground-based navaids. Read more >>    

AOPA advocacy in brief

AOPA works with federal agencies, members of Congress, state and local governments, international organizations, and other general aviation associations and industry leaders to help keep flying safe, fun, and affordable for members. The new "AOPA advocacy in brief" page gives a quick glimpse at what the association is working on from day to day. This week, the Airport Support Network marked a milestone, and association staff reached out to state policy makers. Read more >>    

VFR: A diligent eye on regulation

As pilots, we are unusually cognizant of regulations. AOPA Southern Regional Manager Bob Minter highlights a recent instance of what he calls overzealous bureaucracy in Tennessee, and how AOPA tackled the issue, in the Views From the Regions blog.    

Member Benefits

Emergency Assistance Plus on your side during an emergency

During an emergency away from home, AOPA Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+) will ensure you are transferred to an adequate facility and then get you back home if you cannot continue your trip. And, since transportation is medically necessary and fully arranged for you by EA+ coordinators, it would also be paid for by the EA+ program. Read more >>    

Buying an aircraft: 'As is' can cause a lot of pain

The term "as is" is commonly used in aviation sales and lease transactions, whether it's an airplane, an instrument, or a hangar. The import of the term often isn't truly understood by both parties until after the fact. Therefore, it is important to understand what the term may mean to you before signing on the bottom line. 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; 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.    


Picture Perfect

AOPA's online photo gallery allows you to upload your own aviation photography as well as view, rate, and comment on others' photos. Your favorite aviation images from AOPA Pilot are still available online through this new gallery. Take a look, and submit your own photos!!

Picture Perfect

Forums: Aircraft upgrade

I'm upgrading from a Cessna 172. What aircraft should I consider? Weigh in >>



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Engage in Aviation

Check out user-submitted events from your region. To include an event or to search all events in the calendar, visit AOPA Online. AOPA does not endorse the events listed below, nor have ePilot editors edited the submissions. AOPA assumes no responsibility for events listed.

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Here's an edited question asked by an AOPA member who contacted our aviation services staff through the AOPA Pilot Information Center. Test your knowledge.


Question: As a flight instructor, do I need to meet the instrument currency requirements of FAR 61.57(c) in order to give instrument flight instruction?


Answer: A flight instructor must meet the requirements of FAR 61.57(c) only if the instructor is acting as pilot in command of a flight under IFR or in weather conditions less than the minimums prescribed for VFR. Click here to read the regulation. And here is a chart to assist you in determining if you are instrument current right now.


Got a question for our aviation services staff? The AOPA Pilot Information Center is a service available to all members as part of the annual dues. Call 800/USA-AOPA (800/872-2672), or email to [email protected].

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