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Pines flash by in the periphery as Chet Todd approaches Cabin Creek Landing’s Runway 20. The tense approach demands full attention, pushing the majestic scenes from moments earlier—the snow-capped mountain peaks, valley fog layers, and frozen lakes of Montana’s Glacier National Park—from the mind. It’s the views and wildlife that keep pilots like Todd and airpark resident Gerry Hurst returning to the sky: watching a lone wolf stalk a herd of elk and spotting bull moose and grizzlies from the air. But it’s the approach to the Marion, Mont., airstrip that keeps their airspeed and altitude control and stick-and-rudder skills sharp. Just how close are those trees on final approach? Read more and watch AOPA Live® >>
Aircraft diesel engine passes testing milestone
Engineered Propulsion Systems of New Richmond, Wis., announced passing an important technical milestone in its program to bring a diesel engine to market in the general aviation and military unmanned aircraft systems sectors. Tests conducted at Hartzell Propeller showed that its 4.4-liter, “Flat-Vee” Vision 350 engine was “fully capable of achieving propeller durability” in an array of traditional aluminum and composite propellers, “without the need for further engine vibration dampers,” EPS said. Read more >>
GAMA issues ‘mixed’ 2012 GA deliveries report
General Aviation Manufacturers Association data for 2012 illustrate a year of flat or slightly declining sales in most segments of the fixed-wing market, with an increase in turboprop deliveries—and new products in the pipeline—suggesting signs of a long-awaited recovery. Read more >>
Steamboat airport takes a page from ski resorts
An experiment in creating safe runway overruns with snow is under way at Colorado’s Steamboat Springs Airport. The test began in mid-December after longtime airport manager Mel Baker decided there had to be a better way to handle the 354 inches (29.5 feet) of annual snowfall at the ski resort city. The airport is using a large Snowcat machine to compact the snow, flattening the four- to five-foot snowbanks to just two or three inches. So far, two pilots have inadvertently tested effectiveness of the overruns. Read more >>
IMC Club launches ‘Brown Jacket’ mastery award
Membership in this club is a fashion statement, and a statement of instrument flying proficiency that goes above and beyond the minimum. Read more >>
A flying club is born
Retired Air Force officer and Iraq veteran David Miller is hoping that his dream to create a flying club will take off by May. He’s basing the new club at Florida’s Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, also home of Sun ’n Fun. Read more >>
Film festival to reopen Air Force Museum theater
A first-of-its-kind aviation film festival will mark the grand reopening of the giant-screen theater of the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, from April 11 through 14. The First Annual Reel Stuff of Aviation film festival will offer feature films, documentaries, and broadcast programming—each presented by a filmmaker or historian connected with the production. Read more >>
New AD addresses fuel-return line chafing in Cessna 172s
The FAA, acting on reports of chafed fuel-return lines in some Cessna 172R and 172S single-engine airplanes, has adopted an AD requiring installation of some support hardware, inspection, and replacement of any damaged fuel-return line assemblies. Read more >>
Flight planning apps
This week, AOPA looks at five flight planning apps recommended by members: Foreflight Checklist Pro, iFlightPlanner, FlashPass, Flightintel, and Aviation Pocketknife. Read more >>
Hover Power: Gas turbines
Aviation blogger Tim McAdams explains how gas turbine engines power helicopters such as the Eurocopter AS350. Read more >>
Reporting Points: ‘Stealth’ fighter; end of aircraft icing?
Iran’s recent unveiling of what it claims is a new stealth fighter was supposed to instill fear in adversaries—but so far it’s mostly produced laughter and derision. What could this hydrophobic coating do for general aviation? Plus, in "Strange but true general aviation news," a passenger in a Cessna 175 captured an emergency landing on video. And inspired by a chapter of The Ninety-Nines, AOPA e-Newsletter and Social Media Editor Benét Wilson is taking a challenge to keep her skills sharp. AOPA editors give their take on the news in the Reporting Points blog.
State of the industry, park peaks to private strip
The lines are flat, but does that mean general aviation has flatlined? AOPA Live digests the General Aviation Manufacturers Association's State of the Industry report. What does the State of the Union mean to GA? AOPA President Craig Fuller analyzes President Barack Obama's positions. Fly through Glacier National Park and make the hair-raising approach to a bed and breakfast built for pilots. AOPA Live This Week, Feb. 14.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Citation’s hot, high approach ends in tragedy
Coming in hot and high is a poor practice in any airplane. In a jet, it can eat up a lot of runway, sometimes to tragic effect. On March 15, 2012, a Cessna 501 Citation I SP on its second approach to the Macon County Airport in the mountains of western North Carolina touched down nosewheel first about halfway down the runway. The aircraft bounced and the engine noise abruptly got louder. It banked right and the right wing hit the ground, rolling the airplane onto its back. It burst into flames almost instantly. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
Small maintenance projects pay off
Some tasks must be left to the experts, but pilots don’t need to take their aircraft to the shop for every minor piece of maintenance. By taking on projects such as replenishing hydraulic fluid in the hydraulic reservoir or replacing defective safety wiring or cotter keys, owners can save money and learn more about the aircraft they fly. Learn more about preventive maintenance in AOPA’s subject report.
The price to fly in ice
You have just dropped thousands of dollars for deicing equipment on your airplane—whether on a new airplane or retrofitted to an older aircraft. So, reasonably, you should expect your investment to see you safely through icy clouds or other freezing precipitation, right? Not necessarily. Learn more by reading the Air Safety Institute’s Aircraft Deicing/Anti-icing Equipment Safety Advisor. Read more >>
What are unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), and how will they impact general aviation? Get the scoop on UAS and a firsthand look at pilot and training requirements with the Air Safety Institute’s online course, Unmanned Aircraft and the National Airspace System, developed in collaboration with the Department of Defense. Can manned and unmanned aircraft safely share the airspace? Learn more >>
IFR Fix: Crossing LAFLN
Checking the chart to see what lies ahead along the airway, you scrutinize an intersection 14 miles distant, where another airway crosses. There’s a difference in the low-altitude en route chart’s depiction of how each airway arrives at the fix. The line representing V308 breaks at the triangular intersection symbol, and then resumes on the other side. Where V29 approaches the intersection, its line on the chart bears a T-shaped termination on either side of the fix. Why? Read more >>
Leading Edge: Not to worry folks, we’re about to ditch
A thorough preflight safety briefing really is essential. Most of the time it will be irrelevant, and we want to make sure that once-in-a-lifetime event isn’t a last-in-a-lifetime event. Recently, general aviation pilot Deniece De Priester was flying a newly purchased Piper Cherokee Six down the Hudson corridor when the engine decided to take a powder and she and her passenger ended up in the river. Read more >>
With a March deadline fast approaching for once-unthinkable automatic federal budget cuts under sequestration, AOPA and the general aviation community are sizing up the possible impact. Could 2,000 controllers lose their jobs? Would more than 200 airports lose their tower? And could it be the end of airshows? Read more >>
Planning paves way to funding airport projects
When construction begins this year on two parallel taxiways at the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport, the activity will mark the latest step in an upbeat development program that is meeting the demands of projected growth head-on. Find out how this airport set projects in motion, and what resources other airports can use to keep development moving ahead and maximize the return on capital investments. Read more >>
RAF visit highlights Arkansas, Arizona issues
With a new victory for backcountry pilots under their belts, two leaders from the Recreational Aviation Foundation joined AOPA President Craig Fuller at the association’s headquarters to talk strategy on more ways to protect remote airports. The RAF’s visit on Feb. 11 occurred on the day that Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe signed a new recreational-use statute that denotes aviation among other approved recreational activities. Arkansas Rep. Joe Jett (D-Success), an AOPA member and pilot, sponsored the bill in the state House. Read more >>
FAA seeks to better define role of GA airports
In an ongoing study to define the diverse roles of general aviation airports in the country, the FAA has launched a second phase that focuses on categorizing nearly 500 airports that did not fit into one of four classifications. Read more >>
AOPA, EAA highlight medical petition during FAA review
As the FAA reviews a petition from AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association that would ease the burden of the third class medical for many pilots, the associations are using every opportunity to bring up the issue in their interactions with the FAA. Read more >>
Join the Airport Support Network today
Ensuring the health and vitality of your airport is up to you—incompatible development and economic and political pressures can restrict your flying. Every day, close to 2,500 Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers work with AOPA headquarters to help save their airports, but we need more. Below is a link to a list of the airports where an ASN volunteer could make a difference.
To nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer, visit AOPA Online.
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit ASN Online.
VFR: 50-year-old aviation survival story, lessons for today
On Feb. 11, 1963, search-and-rescue airplanes looked along a Canadian stretch of the Alaska Highway for a missing single-engine Howard aircraft. Finding no trace of pilot Ralph Flores and passenger Helen Klaben, they stopped searching after two weeks. But 49 days after their disappearance the two were found—alive. Both had sustained injuries in the crash, so how did they survive? Read more >>
What the heck is an exculpatory clause?
In the past, when it came to signing agreement releases, the advice was to "sign it and don't worry about it because it will never hold up in court." The law is changing, and more than ever these releases are being enforced. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a credit analyst, major gifts officer, executive assistant, executive assistant, director of outreach and events, and .NET applications developer. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.