Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today

December 20, 2013, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' weekly newsletterDecember 20, 2013, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' weekly newsletter

Pilatus PC-12

DECEMBER 20, 2013 - VOL 15, ISSUE 51

Top Stories


FAA puts sleep apnea policy on hold

Federal Air Surgeon Fred Tilton contacted AOPA Dec. 19 to announce that the FAA will not move ahead with implementing its new sleep apnea policy in January. The policy would have required pilots with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40 to be tested, and if needed, treated for obstructive sleep apnea. Instead, the agency will open discussions with aviation industry stakeholders to find a way to balance pilots' and the FAA's concerns. Read more... Share:  


Accident Case Study

Communication breakdown

On the afternoon of Feb. 29, 2012, a pilot and two passengers were returning to Melbourne, Fla., after a local flight in a Cirrus SR22. The weather was good, traffic was flowing smoothly, and the airplane was in perfect condition. Three minutes later, it was a shattered wreck just off the end of the runway. The mistakes that put it there are the focus of the Air Safety Institute's latest Accident Case Study. Through audio of the pilot's interactions with Melbourne Tower, the institute reconnects the links of the accident chain and seeks lessons in the tragedy. Watch the video... Share:  


AOPA Live This Week

Directors' cut 2013

AOPA Live This Week® producers highlight the most memorable stories of 2013. Ride along with a 600-hour Cessna 172 pilot at jet warbird school, fly a Beaver on floats, go back in time in a Ford Tri-Motor, and get a type rating in a Falcon 7X. Plus, take a look at the top news stories of the year. AOPA Live This Week's next show will air Jan. 9, so catch up on what you missed in 2013. AOPA Live This Week... Share:  

Technique and Safety



The sig in sigmet

Two CFIIs plunge into icing conditions after failing to recognize the significance of a sigmet for icing. Read more... Share:  


Rotorcraft Rookie

Fixing airplane habits

One of the key challenges for airplane pilots transitioning to helicopters is unlearning airplane habits. Read more... Share:  


Accident analysis

Deadly mistake: Lining up on parking lot lights

Could what you perceive as runway lights up ahead really be lights from a parking lot? Just before 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 19, 2012, a fixed-gear Piper Cherokee 180 flew into a heavily wooded ridgeline about six miles southwest of the Simsbury, Conn., airport, killing the pilot and his passenger. The only illumination near the crash site came from pole lights in a brightly lit parking lot a mile east. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute. Share:  



Very stressed and rightly so

The pilot flying the Asiana Boeing 777 that crashed at San Francisco made a profound admission at the NTSB hearing. The captain, who was in training, found the visual approach "very stressful" and "difficult to perform." Read more... Share:  




Rep. touts driver's license medical

After introducing legislation that would greatly expand the number of pilots eligible to fly with a driver's license medical, the bill's author is inviting colleagues to co-sponsor the measure. Read more... Share:  



Jim Coon to head AOPA Advocacy

AOPA has named Jim Coon as senior vice president of government affairs and advocacy. Coon has years of experience working with Congress and the aviation industry. Read more... Share:  



AOPA, EAA expand collaboration

AOPA and Experimental Aircraft Association leaders gathered in Oshkosh, Wis., to discuss opportunities to expand the collaboration begun in recent years. The two organizations pledged to cooperate on wide-ranging issues from youth programs to member events. Read more... Share:  


Deadline approaches on 'black box' data filtering rule

The final deadline for compliance with a rule limiting the filtering of digital flight data recorder sensor signals is approaching. Commercial operators who have not altered their systems to preserve the original data from sensors have until April 20, 2014, to demonstrate that the original signal value can be reconstructed from the recorded data; affected operators who cannot bring their aircraft into compliance by then have until Dec. 21 to file for an exemption. The rule was implemented after accident investigators found that some systems were filtering signals before they were recorded.



Members only

15 specifically disqualifying medical conditions

There are 15 medical conditions that are "absolutely" disqualifying and require review by an FAA physician. Read more... Share:  




Gulfstream to Barbados, for science

A Gulfstream G550 headed from Germany to Barbados in December, though not for an enviable vacation. A German research team is probing high-altitude clouds to better understand their internal dynamics, and how they affect weather and climate. Read more... Share:  



Hondajet engine certified, ending delays

The FAA has certified the airworthiness of the HF120 turbofan engine that will power the Hondajet, setting the stage for the engine's production. Read more... Share:  




It’s time to change our image, part 2

The perception disparity between aviators and the rest of society is serious business. The opportunity to easily engender the joy and wonder of aviation in young people has largely been eliminated, but right now, at least, aviation needs people who like airplanes to pilot them. Read more... Share:  



Glimpse GA's future: Hang out with some 'Millennials'

What does the future of general aviation look like? Quite good. Just spend a few minutes with some brilliant teenage aviators. Read more... Share:  



Look up, look out!

A transcript of the cockpit voice recorder in Asiana Airlines Flight 214 shows that the junior first officer sitting on the jump seat pointed out the excessive sink rate and deteriorating airspeed to his captains no fewer than four times in the last three minutes of the flight. Read more... Share:  



Apps of the week

Game apps for a Christmas list

Just in time for Christmas, AOPA highlights five game apps that let users play the role of everything from air traffic control to an Apache helicopter pilot. Read more... Share:  




Countdown on for NORAD Santa Tracker

The employees and volunteers at NORAD are prepared to track Santa’s voyage from the North Pole. Read more... Share:  




Litchfield Hills Aero Club makes ballooning affordable

People in the Bethlehem, Conn., area interested in becoming a balloon pilot now have access to the Litchfield Hills Aero Club, created to attract more individuals and offer them economical access. Read more... Share:  

News and Notes



Factory trike awaits FAA approval

Quicksilver Aeronautics announced Dec. 16 that testing of the Sport 2S is complete, and FAA approval of the long-serving kit as a factory-built special light sport aircraft could arrive very soon. Read more... Share:  



Six 'pioneers' to join hall of fame

Six aviation trail-blazers including the first female U.S. jet airline captain, an Apollo astronaut, an air racer, a record-setting test pilot, and a pair of brothers renowned for aircraft design innovation will be enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2014. Read more... Share:  


Aircraft Maintenace

Roll up your sleeves for spark plug inspections

Learn how to maintain your aircraft's spark plugs yourself. Columnist Jeff Simon, an A&P, discusses the tools you need to remove spark plugs and what to look for when inspecting them. Read more... Share:  



GA advocate Raviator to launch motivation tour

A general aviation advocate hopes that a new tour will help give the industry a shot in the arm and inspire more people to become pilots. Read more... Share:  



Strange but true aviation news

Mice take flight, it's raining parts, and a piece of aviation history is on eBay. Read more... Share:  

Career Opportunities


AOPA career opportunities

Join the AOPA team

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for an account manager II, event planner, aviation insurance agent, director of business operations, and Web graphic designer I. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.


Aviation job board

Job of the week: Quality assurance inspector at Cirrus

Cirrus is seeking quality assurance inspectors for the SF50 Vision Jet program. This position is responsible for inspecting in-process and completed product to ensure the final product matches the design specifications. The successful candidate will document and communicate all nonconformities, as well as take the initiative to identify process improvements for improved quality. Click here to apply or learn about other exciting career opportunities.

Question of the Week


The lift generated by a wing compared to its drag (L/D ratio) gives us valuable information about its performance through a range of angles of attack. The angle of attack that gives the wing the maximum L/D ratio is known as L/DMAX. When operating an aircraft in steady flight at L/DMAX, is drag at a maximum?


No. When operating an aircraft at L/DMAX, total drag is at a minimum. See Chapter 4 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. See this article for more facts about the L/D ratio.

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. Contact AOPA.



Glass cockpits

Is there too much glass in the cockpit?


Education and Seminars

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

Jan 4-5 - Ypsilanti, Mich.; Portland, Ore.; San Jose, Calif.; and San Antonio, Texas

Jan 11-12 - Knoxville, Tenn.; Jackson, Miss.; Seattle, Wash.; and Charlotte, N.C.

Jan 25-26 - Baltimore, Md., and Long Beach, Calif.

Feb 8-9 - Fairfax, Va.; Nashua, N.H.; New Orleans, La.; and Louisville, Ky.

For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the Air Safety Institute's new Online eFIRC.

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

Jan 13 - Mesa, Ariz.; and Reno, Nev.

Jan 14 -Tucson, Ariz.; and Sacramento, Calif.

Jan 15 - Milpitas, Calif.; and El Paso, Texas

Jan 16 - Albuquerque, N.M.; and Santa Rosa, Calif.

Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see 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. Take a look, and submit your own photos!

ePilot Editor:

Benét Wilson

Production Team

Katie Richardson
Lezlie Ramsey
Melissa Whitehouse


Sarah Deener
Alyssa Miller
Jim Moore
Jill W. Tallman
Elizabeth Tennyson
Warren Morningstar
Alton K. Marsh
Dave Hirschman
Tom Horne
Ian J. Twombly
Dan Namowitz

Member Tools: Send feedback | ePilot Archive

Topics: AOPA

Related Articles