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On final approach to landing at Northwest Regional Airport in Texas, Will Davis felt a thud, but he didn’t think he had hit anything substantial. “The plane did not try to veer off course until the wheels hit the ground,” he recalled. “Once I landed, the plane was out of control. It skidded for a while down the runway and eventually off the side of the runway in a grassy area.” After he got out of the Cessna 172 he learned he had collided with an SUV driving on a road near the runway. Neither saw the other coming. The incident threatened to end Davis’s dream to become a pilot—this was his first solo cross-country. Davis talks to AOPA about the November 2012 accident, the lessons learned, and his private pilot checkride this month. Read more >>
Beechcraft emerges from bankruptcy, minus Hawker
Nine months after seeking bankruptcy court protection from a mountain of debt, Beechcraft Corp. opened a new chapter in its history with a Feb. 19 announcement that the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process is complete. Parts and service will remain available for Hawker business jets, but production has ceased—possibly for good, though there remains a slight chance that those jets could return to the market from another company’s assembly line. Meanwhile, the slimmed-down Beechcraft Corp., which shed the “Hawker” name, is focused on King Air, Baron, and Bonanza lines, the T-6 military trainer and light attack aircraft, along with testing the waters for a clean-sheet, single-engine turboprop. Read more >>
Exclusive first look: Seneca goes G1000
With its March issue, AOPA Pilot is the first to report on a Garmin G1000 panel upgrade for the venerable Piper Seneca V. According to Piper President and CEO Simon Caldecott, the switch from dual Garmin G600 displays to the G1000 glass cockpit better positions the Seneca to take market share from its direct competitor in the piston twin market, the Beechcraft Baron. Read more >>
‘Club Connector’: These are the good old days
Think the best days of aviation are behind us? In the February Club Connector newsletter, AOPA Senior Vice President of the Center to Advance the Pilot Community Adam Smith presents evidence to the contrary. Based in a city of just 30,000 people, the East Hill Flying Club has more than 200 members and eight aircraft, and 20 members earned their certificate in 2012. Sign up for the newsletter to receive more news about flying clubs and AOPA’s flying club initiative.
Patent battle stifles aviation innovation, enrages aviator
South Carolina pilot Austin Meyer, author of the popular X-Plane flight simulator, has a new application that provides backup flight instrumentation in the real world, and constantly calculates engine-out best glide to the nearest airfield. You will not find Xavion on devices running Google’s Android software any time soon, however, thanks to a lawsuit filed by a company based in Luxembourg. Uniloc, on its website, claims to have pioneered software used to authenticate electronic transactions. Meyer’s legal team disputes the patent’s validity. Read more >>
Ownership spat empties, closes air museum
When a dispute between the National Park Service and a Vancouver, Wash., aviation museum located on park property boiled over, the museum operators walked—taking 15 vintage airplanes and other displays including a 3,350-pound R-4360 radial engine with them. Caught off guard by the maneuver, the park service is “now assessing next steps” in its clash with the Pearson Air Museum at Vancouver’s Pearson Field that seems to turn on regulations about the use of museum property for outside events. Read more >>
Wings of Freedom tour may skip Boeing Field
The Collings Foundation says it will decide by the end of February whether to dispatch its historic B-17 and B-24 bombers to Boeing Field in Seattle, Wash., during its 2013 Wings of Freedom Tour, after an insurance dispute with local officials shot down plans to offer airplane rides to the public last year. Read more >>
Supersonic bizjet wing enters new test phase
A natural laminar flow wing designed for a supersonic business jet has been launched on a new phase of testing at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. The design, refined following a series of similar tests that began in 2010, is being flown at speeds up to Mach 2.0 to validate a key element of the Reno, Nev., company’s vision to shatter business jet speed records in comfort. Read more >>
Bendix/King’s myWingMan update adds AHRS
Bendix/King has released its version 1.1 update for its myWingMan iPad app. The update is available for download at the Apple App Store, and a free 60-day trial is also available. Bendix/King says the flight planning app, introduced in 2012, now supports attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) sensors, has improved user interface, and offers greater flight planning flexibility. Read more >>
Group works to preserve hangar with a history
A Connecticut aviation museum is raising funds to restore one of the original hangars Glenn Curtiss built on the grounds of a racetrack turned general aviation airport, a stone’s throw from the birthplace of modern helicopters and the Corsair fighter. The roof is shot through with holes, the brickwork is crumbling at the edges, the few windows still left must be replaced, but the work, they insist, is cosmetic: The bones are sound, and all they need is a little help to beat the clock. Read more >>
NAA celebrates memorable aviation records of 2012
Records set in 2012 for aircraft speed, freefall distance, human-powered helicopter flight, and gliding distance are being singled out by the National Aeronautic Association as “most memorable.” Will Whiteside’s 381 mph flight over Interstate 505 in California and a transcontinental Gulfstream G150 flight set new records in aircraft categories, while Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall through the stratosphere officially set the new mark for freefall distance. Read more >>
All about oils
Trying to pick the right oil for your aircraft's engine? Consider your operating environment, outside temperature, engine/cylinder type, and how frequently the aircraft is flown. Read more >>
Five weather apps
Winter weather means checking forecasts is more important than ever. This week, AOPA reviews five weather apps that are member favorites: WSI Pilotbrief Optima, Aviation Weather by GADsoftware, AccuWeather, MyRadar Weather Radar, and AeroWeather. Read more >>
Air Race Classic champs award aviation scholarship
When Dianna Stanger held up a trophy as a member of the “Racing Aces” flight team that won the 2012 Air Race Classic in a Cirrus SR22, she voiced two resolves for the coming year: prepare for the 2013 race, and continue her advocacy for women’s advancement in aviation. The team recently presented university student Whitney Brouwer with a $5,000 scholarship. Read more >>
Strange but true: Rooftop rescue
In “Strange but true general aviation news,” a woman and her seven-month-old son were reunited with the helicopter crewmember who rescued them from the roof of their home.
Reporting Points: Ever mug a buffalo?
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Al Marsh explains what you do if your official title is buffalo mugger. AOPA Pilot Technical Editor Mike Collins discusses supersonic ping pong balls blasting through aluminum. Flight Training Technical Editor Jill Tallman looks at a film with a message for pilots. And AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines interprets government-speak in the Reporting Points blog.
Hover Power: Rotor RPM
Main rotor RPM creates the airflow over the blades that produce lift for a helicopter. A rotor blade is a rotating airfoil that experiences a much higher airflow over the blade tips than the inboard areas. In order to improve the distribution of lift across the blades, engineers twist the blade so that the inboard part has a higher angle of attack for a given pitch angle. Read more >>
Exclusive Beechcraft interview, fly upgraded Seneca V
AOPA Live® gets an exclusive interview with Beechcraft Corp. officials on details of the company’s emergence from bankruptcy and plans for the future. Fly the Seneca V with a new Garmin G1000 panel, and find out how volunteers are rebuilding history—a Curtiss hangar—one step at a time. AOPA Live This Week, Feb. 21.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
It’s the climactic moment of every instrument approach under actual instrument conditions: When will you find the runway—or components likely to lead to it very quickly—and switch over to visual references for landing? Read more >>
Ask ATC: Am I cleared through?
VFR flight following adds a cushion of safety by providing advisory services of radar targets that could pose a conflict along your route. It’s invaluable when trying to navigate through the various types of airspace you’ll encounter on any long flight. But you should know about some gotchas. For example, how does flight following work with flights penetrating restricted areas? Are you automatically cleared through Class B airspace when receiving flight following? Listen as Bob Knill from the Air Safety Institute asks these questions of air traffic controllers in the latest Ask ATC: Flight following and airspace video, and learn how to deal with special airspace considerations.
Go beyond probable cause with Accident Case Studies
By examining GA accidents in detail, we can learn from the mistakes of others and make better decisions as a result. The Air Safety Institute’s Accident Case Study videos, based on NTSB accident investigations, use actual ATC audio and Microsoft Flight Simulator footage to re-create the scenarios and analyze what went wrong—why things went from good to bad. Learn how to avoid similar fates: Check out the Accident Case Study library, which has moved to a new location on the Air Safety Institute’s website so you can easily find all in one place.
Sleepy pilot, unsafe flight
It’s been a long day. Add to that the dehydration and hypoxia that may start to take hold at altitude, and a normally sharp pilot loses some of his edge. Fatigue can degrade vision and coordination, dull memory and concentration, and alter mood and judgment. While it’s not often the “smoking gun” in an accident investigation, fatigue often ends up as a causal factor in aircraft accidents. Find helpful articles in AOPA’s online resource on fighting fatigue, and learn some steps you can take to keep it from catching up with you in the cockpit.
A powerful combination
GPS can be a powerful tool for IFR operations, but only if you know how to garner the benefits of it before you depart. Review the Air Safety Institute’s GPS for IFR Operations online course.
Leading Edge: Miracle of crossing the pond
It’s been less than 100 years since Charles Lindbergh first crossed the Atlantic solo in 1927. The fact that we now do it routinely hundreds of times a month is nothing less than stunning, writes AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg. Read more >>
Restrictive security rules in effect at Colorado’s Grand Junction Regional Airport have choked off access to general aviation facilities, killing off businesses and driving other tenants from the premises, said AOPA and elected officials in letters urging the head of the Transportation Security Administration to intercede in stalled local efforts to fix the problem. Read more >>
General aviation defended against ‘loophole’ charge
Senate Finance Committee member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) voiced exasperation with the Obama administration for “seemingly endless attacks” on the aviation industry in public statements and proposals to reduce the federal deficit. The GA Caucus member said Feb. 13 during a hearing that he gets “a little bit hot under the collar” when he hears administration officials direct attacks at the largely Kansas-based industry that has already lost 50 percent of its workforce during difficult economic times. Read more >>
Was aviation designated a ‘loser’ under tax reform?
New comments by Obama administration officials indicate that the White House has picked the aviation industry as a “loser” under deficit reduction efforts despite widespread layoffs and cutbacks already facing workers in the sector, said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). During a press briefing Feb. 20, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney cast deficit-reduction proposals targeting general aviation as preferable to other budget cuts during efforts to reduce the federal deficit. Read more >>
FAA seeks test sites for unmanned aircraft systems
The FAA is requesting proposals from prospective developers of six sites for testing unmanned aircraft systems as the agency studies how to integrate the pilotless vehicles into the nation’s airspace. Read more >>
Minneapolis Class B redesign plan still poses concerns
The FAA’s proposed redesign of Class B airspace in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., continues to leave some unresolved concerns for general aviation, including a lowered airspace floor in several sectors that would constrain use of the Stanton, Minn., airport, and flights transitioning through the area, AOPA said. Members are urged to review the proposal and submit comments by a deadline of April 15. Read more >>
Rome by air
Flying over the Vatican, Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Appian Way at 3,000 feet offers a view of Rome few—including pilots—can experience. Andrea D’Orazio, a flight instructor at Urbe Airport just outside of Rome, had arranged prior approval to shoot the ILS 15 into Ciampino Airfield on the southern side of the city and fly directly over the historic structures that are surrounded by restricted airspace. While the views are worth it, flying (or learning to fly) in Italy is not easy or cheap. Read more >>
FlyQ Web flight planner now available
A new online flight planner puts more tools and upgraded features at AOPA members’ fingertips, empowering them to “fly smarter” with the latest addition to the AOPA FlyQ suite of digital flight planning tools. AOPA’s new online flight planner, FlyQ Web, provides robust and easy-to-use flight planning that automatically syncs with the other members of the AOPA FlyQ family—FlyQ Pocket for iPhone or Android smartphones and FlyQ EFB for iPads—for flight planning, aviation weather, and airport information anytime, anywhere. Read more >>
MedXPress questions: What if I share an email address?
If your spouse or family member is a pilot and shares an email address with you, can both of you use it to register for MedXPress? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Read more >>
EA+ helpful even when disaster doesn’t strike
Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+) offers 24-hour emergency and medical assistance, but those aren’t the only benefits available to you. You can utilize the expertise of the EA+ assistance coordinators for news updates about your destination or to find lost luggage. 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, director of outreach and events, and .NET applications developer. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.