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A New Jersey pilot eager to show off her newly purchased Piper Cherokee Six on a sightseeing excursion over the Hudson River found herself instead showing off her skill at handling an emergency power-off ditching. Deniece De Priester Kok, a certificated flight instructor and former airline pilot, was in the Hudson River VFR corridor below 1,300 feet when she lost power and headed toward icy waters, just after sunset on Jan. 27. De Priester Kok, who spoke with AOPA on Jan. 29, and her passenger both survived to tell the tale. Read more >>
ransportation Secretary LaHood to step down
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that he will not serve another term in the post he has held since 2009, but will remain on the job until a successor is confirmed by the Senate. Read more >>
Hawker Beechcraft creditors approve bankruptcy plan
To put it in aviation terms, Hawker Beechcraft Corp. is making the turn from base to final in its bid to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company announced Jan. 25 that creditors “overwhelmingly” approved its plan to shed $2.5 billion in debt, in part by converting debt into equity, and also to shed its Hawker jet production lines. The slimmed-down Beechcraft Corp. will focus on pistons and turboprops, along with a military business it hopes will include the sale of T-6 trainer/light attack aircraft to the U.S. Air Force to equip the Afghan military. Read more >>
A B-29 flies again after donors back ‘Fifi’
The last airworthy B-29 in the world is airworthy again after donors stepped up to help the Commemorative Air Force fix Fifi. The vintage bomber tours the country as a living museum, inspiring generations born after World War II while striking sparks of nostalgia in the hearts of veterans with the roar of mighty radial engines and the smell of exhaust. One of those engines was silenced for months, leaving Fifi grounded by the need for major repairs. The CAF launched a $200,000 fund drive, and announced Jan. 24 that the B-29 was airborne again but still in need of help. Read more >>
TFR in effect for Super Bowl Feb. 3
A temporary flight restriction will cover New Orleans Feb. 3 as the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers face off in Super Bowl XLVII. Pilots planning to fly in the area that day should familiarize themselves with the details of the TFR, which establishes a 10-nautical-mile inner ring and 30-nm outer ring around the event, and check back often, as notams may change with little notice.
Alton Bay ice airport opens for season
The Alton Bay ice airport in Alton Bay, N.H.—a seasonal public-use facility at the charted location of the Alton Bay Seaplane Base—has opened for the 2013 season, said Paul LaRochelle, its volunteer manager. Read more >>
Is your favorite aircraft the best? Nominate today!
Will your favorite aircraft make it to the Big Dance? In the spirit of the NCAA’s March Madness, AOPA is running its second annual Best Aircraft Showdown, a bracket contest that lets you pick pilots’ favorite general aviation aircraft. Last year the P-51 Mustang outmaneuvered its foes to earn the title of most beloved. This year you have a chance to help determine who makes it to the tourney. Just enter your nominations online—as many as you want—and we’ll use your input to select 64 worthy aircraft for head-to-head matchups in voting on AOPA.org. Read more >>
Sensenich offers composite prop for Van’s models
It’s a first for the Van’s RV series: a composite prop that meets ASTM standards, with ground-adjustable pitch and a distinctive scimitar shape. Sensenich said the company’s latest prop has so far been tested on Lycoming O-320 engines, with other engine pairings now being tested, and deliveries will begin in March. Read more >>
Reporting Points: In the hot seat of a MiG-15
Hot ejection seats in a Russian UTI MiG-15 turbojet trainer mean a pilot sits atop an estimated 18-inch canister filled with gunpowder. It can catapult the seat at a force of about 20 Gs. Ready for a training flight? Read more >>
‘Top Gun’ returns in 3-D
Almost every pilot remembers Top Gun, the 1986 blockbuster directed by Tony Scott that encouraged many people to learn to fly—in both the military and general aviation. The movie has been remastered in 3-D and will return to select IMAX theaters beginning Friday, Feb. 8, for a six-day engagement. Read more >>
Flight data apps
This week AOPA Online reviews five flight data apps: Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck, AirspaceAvoid for Pilots, MotionX GPS, Aviation Navigator, and OpenFlightGPS. Read more >>
Holder of Navion type certificate targets new aircraft production
The single-engine, four-seat Navion could be brought back into production if the owner of type certificate holder Sierra Hotel Aero has his way. Founder Chris Gardner says he’s “two to three years away” from making his dream a reality. Gardner said he has always loved the design of the Navion, which made him interested in the type certificate when it came up for auction a decade ago. The company has since gotten approval for several upgrades to the aircraft, and performs everything from minor maintenance to factory rebuilds, he said. Read more >>
Fox Flying Club: Best-kept secret at DuPage Airport
The Fox Flying Club, based at Illinois’ DuPage Airport, takes pride in representing “one of the best dollar for dollar values in aviation.” The club, founded in 1956, believes a key ingredient to its success is having a modern, well-maintained aircraft with advanced radio and navigation avionics available at reasonable rates. Read more >>
AOPA flying club webinar: Selecting the right aircraft
Join Marc Epner from the Leading Edge Flying Club at Chicago Executive Airport and Adam Smith, AOPA senior vice president of the Center to Advance the Pilot Community, along with other flying club experts, for a webinar entitled Selecting the Right Aircraft. Speakers will discuss what should be considered when choosing an aircraft for a flying club. The webinar will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The webinar is free, but you must register. Register here >>
Want to start a flying club? Here’s a scholarship
If you’ve been thinking about starting a flying club, there may be no better time—especially if you could win a new scholarship that might help ensure your club’s success. Read more >>
Reporting Points: New twin to enter development
A Bartow, Fla., man says he will develop a training twin that will cost $130,000. Read more >>
Hover Power: Tip-driven rotors, Part II
Placing a small jet engine (such as a pulsejet, turbojet, or ramjet) on a helicopter’s main rotor blade tips for propulsion never developed into a major commercial success because several major problems could not be solved. However, driving the rotor system from the blade tips was so attractive that during the 1940s engineers came up with another concept called the pressure-jet rotor. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Strange but true
Puerto Rican singer Noelia is accusing the Venezuelan government of “arbitrarily” seizing her private jet at Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas, reports Latino Daily News. Strange but true >>
Mayday over the Hudson, 'License To Learn'
Another successful ditching in the Hudson River, teenage pilots flying in formation, and a brand-new video series from Rod Machado: “License To Learn.” Machado kicks off this regular feature with an unusual question: How does taking delivery of a washer and dryer make you a better pilot? Paul Harrop catches up with a formation flying team that includes a pair of teenage pilots who tell their peers, “You can do this, too.” And we’ll take a look at the side of David Clark that goes above and beyond general aviation headsets—way above. AOPA Live This Week, Jan. 31
Safety & Proficiency
Report examines research on older pilots
Like the nation as a whole, the pilot population is growing older. It's a shift that poses real challenges for the industry and raises important questions about general aviation safety. How much does aging impact a pilot’s performance? Does it affect certain skills more than others? And what’s the bottom-line impact on safety? The Air Safety Institute’s new report, Aging and the General Aviation Pilot: Research and Recommendations , looks to the past 20 years’ worth of scientific research on older pilots for answers. Based on a review of more than 30 published studies, the report aims to reach conclusions about the overall impact of age, and effective ways pilots can minimize or delay any negative effects.
It wasn’t supposed to be a difficult approach. Now, as you near decision height, you yearn for a glimpse of the threshold, runway markings, or the haloed gleam of a lighting system. What will appear first, if anything? Read more >>
Most of us aren’t ready to be test pilots, and most of us know that. Others overestimate their skills. On Oct. 6, 2011, a Rand-Robinson KR-2 made a series of high-speed taxis down the runway of the Mountain Empire Airport outside Wytheville, Va. The pilot had recently bought the airplane and the taxi runs were intended to be the first step toward learning its characteristics. That afternoon, witnesses saw the aircraft climb to pattern altitude and then begin “a slow left turn” to crosswind. About five seconds after completing the turn, it rolled right and spun into the ground. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
Answers for Pilots: Alaska, pilot heaven
From the jagged, snowy peaks of the Chugach Mountains to the spectacular shoreline of Cook Inlet, Alaska is breathtaking from the sky and on the ground. Flying is the perfect way to see the vast state. If you are thinking of making a summer trip north, now is a good time to start your planning. AOPA’s Pilot Information Center offers tips on flying to and within Alaska, including information on regulatory and insurance requirements, and survival equipment you should carry. Read more >>
A safe flight starts on the ground
The old saying goes, “Fly ‘em all the way to the hangar.” And with airports becoming increasingly busy, that means that to be a safe pilot, you need not just to be familiar with airport signage and markings, but to be an expert on their meanings and usage. Can you rise to the challenge? Take the Air Safety Institute’s Runway Safety online course.
Leading Edge: Fuel rules
The federal aviation regulations are unambiguous about fuel requirements for both VFR and IFR operations. Two recent accidents illustrate the wisdom of having enough gas to go the distance and then some. Read more >>
A congressman from Kansas who believes that general aviation is too important an economic engine to be misunderstood by policymakers has launched an education campaign to correct common misconceptions. “General aviation is a $150 billion economic engine for the U.S. economy, but too few Americans actually understand what it is, how it works, or why it’s important,” wrote Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) in the first of a monthly series of letters to his colleagues. “GA is not about ‘corporate fat-cats;’ it’s about productivity.” Read more >>
Views from the regions
State and local advocacy are top of mind for AOPA’s nationwide team of regional managers, along with building community among pilots across the country. You can catch up on activities in your area in the Views from the regions blog.
Winter carnival, satellite tracking
Dogsled races, ski competitions, an outhouse race, "extreme dog boarding," and an ice cream eating contest are on the agenda for the Willow Winter Carnival in Willow, Alaska, writes Alaska Regional Manager Tom George. This year skiplanes will be permitted to land on the lake, within easy walking distance of the festivities. George also gives news on an effort to combine popular satellite tracking devices with VFR flight plans.
Kentucky’s slogan of “Unbridled Spirit” doesn’t just speak to the state’s renowned equine industry, writes AOPA Southern Regional Manager Bob Minter; it describes a bunch of deeply dedicated aviation educators and volunteers who recently met with AOPA staff.
At your service
An encounter with a Michigan State Police officer and pilot at the Great Lakes International Aviation Conference was representative of many experiences with pilots and aircraft owners from across the region, writes AOPA Great Lakes Regional Manager Bryan Budds. “Making general aviation stronger is a challenge we must face together,” he writes.
Sponsorship provides discounts, service at GA airports
Enterprise Rent-A-Car, an AOPA strategic partner, is now the sponsor of AOPA Airports, an up-to-date directory of public-use airports and fixed-base operators (FBOs) across the United States. Read more >>
Exclusions are an ever-present part of all types of insurance policies, including those that cover our aircraft. But finding out too late about an exclusion in the policy that results in an unexpected claim denial makes us question exactly what we bought to protect ourselves. Read more >>
The FAA sent a letter about my medical. Now what?
Occasionally, a pilot who walked out of the aviation medical examiner’s (AME’s) office with a medical in hand will receive a letter from the FAA months later questioning the pilot’s eligibility to hold a medical certificate. Find out why this might happen, how to address it if it happens to you, and what you can do to prevent it. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an annual fund specialist, major gifts officer, executive assistant, executive assistant, director of outreach and events, .NET applications developer, and member services representative. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.