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Thunderstorms didn't get their fearsome reputation just from the extreme conditions a pilot can encounter by stumbling into, or too close to one. The reputation also hints at the speed at which thunderstorms can grow from puffy cumulus clouds into giant, opaque cumulonimbus. That speed of growth is important because it helps you set a freshness date on your weather briefing and periodic updates. Since it doesn't take long for convective conditions to develop, any conditions conducive to convection in your flight's weather profile deserve constant monitoring. Before the Air Safety Institute's "Storm Week" wraps up June 16, take time to learn more about this destructive force of nature. Check out these tips for using the weather and preflight planning tools at your disposal to make a go/no-go decision when thunderstorms affect your route of flight. Read more >>
EAA pays ATC user fees for AirVenture
EAA on June 13 announced that it reached a "one-time agreement" with the FAA to pay nearly $450,000 in fees related to air traffic control services for EAA AirVenture 2013. Pilots sent more than 19,000 messages to senators asking them to step in to prevent the fees. While the Senate sent a letter opposing the fees, the FAA did not back down. EAA Chairman Jack Pelton said, "Let me be clear: We have consistently regarded the FAA's move as holding AirVenture and GA hostage this year. ... Ultimately, AirVenture's importance to the entire general aviation economy and community, as well as to EAA's year-round programs, was the overriding factor in our response. AirVenture will go on, and our attendees deserve nothing less than the best air safety and services we can provide." Read more >>
Life Line Screening helps pilots keep medicals
Life Line Screening, the leading provider of community-based preventive health screenings in the United States, has increased its support of AOPA and the association's efforts to help pilots retain their medical certificates. As an AOPA Supporting Sponsor, Life Line Screening will continue to offer AOPA members discounts on selected health screening services. Read more >>
12-year-old ready to buy airplane
A lot can happen on a 10-minute first flight. According to 12-year-old Landon Howard, he grew wise beyond his years during a short flight in a Mooney over Frederick and Middletown, Md., June 8 during Learn to Fly Day at AOPA's headquarters at Frederick Municipal Airport. "It was exciting," Howard exclaimed after his flight with Shannon Yeager, AOPA vice president of strategic initiatives. "I felt like I was older than 12. It made me feel more mature." The budding pilot—he had decided a few months ago that he wanted to learn how to fly—declared he wanted to buy an airplane as well. Howard was one of more than 200 children and adults who received first flights. Read more >>
Connecticut takes a side on first flight debate
Connecticut lawmakers have voted to recognize Gustave Whitehead as the first pilot to achieve powered flight. The bill awaits the governor's signature, and marks the latest round in a newly revived debate that has put the Smithsonian and Jane's All the World's Aircraft on opposite sides. Read more >>
GAO finds existing cockpit smoke procedures adequate
The Government Accountability Office concluded that the FAA's rationale for not mandating the use of an emergency vision assurance system on commercial aircraft is sound. Makers of the EVAS, essentially a balloon in a box with clear plastic windows allowing a pilot to get a relatively clear view even in the midst of dense smoke, had argued that their device is an essential life-saver. Read more >>
Behind the scenes of the little turboprop that could
Just how realistic can you make an airplane with eyes, a mouth, and a dream of competing in an international air race? DisneyToon Studios took on the challenge with the upcoming Disney's Planes, an expansion of the Cars franchise that takes viewers into a cropduster's quest to prove he can become more than what he was built for. Read more >>
Sparrow Flying Club offers light sport aircraft rental
Central Arkansas' Sparrow Flying Club, which operates as a for-profit limited liability company, uses aircraft leased by owners who want to help defray their operating costs. The club operates out of Conway Municipal, Saline County Regional, and North Little Rock Municipal airports. Read more >>
Weigh these weight-and-balance apps for yourself
AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor Benét J. Wilson's last column on weight-and-balance apps turned out to be one of the most popular with members. She received more than a dozen recommendations from members. So this week, she takes a look at another five. Read more >>
Wagstaff to speak at AirVenture Teachers' Day
Aerobatic pilot Patty Wagstaff will speak at the 2013 Teachers' Day event on July 30 at EAA AirVenture 2013 in Oshkosh, Wis. The fifth annual Teachers' Day is sponsored by Build A Plane. Read more >>
Quicksilver forges partnership to put eyes in the sky
Quicksilver Aeronautics and IDENT, LLC announced June 11 a partnership to deploy the next generation of GT 500 light aircraft with surveillance capabilities. The companies hope cash-strapped government agencies will snap up this little "Mosquito" in numbers, a low-cost alternative to other manned aircraft and one that can be trailered anywhere and deployed within two hours. Read more >>
AD expands Piper PA-31 exhaust-system inspections
The FAA has superseded an airworthiness directive (AD) and broadened required inspections of Piper PA-31, PA-31-325, and PA-31-350 airplanes' exhaust systems. The superseded AD required inspections of the exhaust systems downstream of the turbochargers, with repair or replacement of parts as necessary. The new AD, effective July 17, calls for inspecting the entire exhaust system. The FAA acted in response to reports of exhaust system failures between inspections, upstream of turbochargers.
Reporting Points: Strange but true general aviation news
Questionable jet companion, the cost of fake emergencies, and recording a rescue. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Designs from a new generation
Two teams of high school students will soon be rolling up their sleeves to start putting together two Glasair Sportsman 2+2s. The teams, from high schools in Saline, Mich., and Canby, Minn., were the winners of a nationwide aviation design challenge. AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman, who will follow the students through the project, shares the teams' aircraft design concepts. Read more >>
Flight Training: Bessie Coleman's journey to flight
Student pilot Jean Moule found inspiration and encouragement from Bessie Coleman, the first American to have an international pilot certificate. "Because flight schools in the United States would not teach blacks, Bessie taught herself French, then went to France to learn and earn her pilot's license," Moule writes of Coleman's determination. Read more >>
Sweepstakes Logbook: Flap attack!
The latest unanticipated surprise in the AOPA Sweepstakes Debonair's restoration is the right flap. The Debonair's right flap was cracked and failing at the actuator attach point. Beechcraft Service Communique SC 313 addresses the problem, which affects the right flap more than the left for the simple reason that people step on that flap's wingwalk. After 50 years' worth of entering and exiting the airplane, cracks happen. Moreover, this sort of crack can't be observed during a preflight; you have to remove the flap to see the extent of the damage. Read more >>
Register for AOPA Stay Smart webinars
Check out AOPA's Stay Smart hour-long informative, interactive webinars where you can ask experts questions using a chat feature. All webinars take place at 8 p.m. Eastern. Click on the title of each webinar to learn more and register.
Inside scoop on FAA demands for AirVenture user fees
The FAA takes a big step toward replacing 100LL. Get the inside story on the FAA's user fee demands to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. Take a look at new aerobatic airplanes from American Champion and Waco Classic. Learn about dealing with depression—it happens to pilots, too. And see the faces behind those "Pull up!" and "Terrain!" warnings in your cockpit. AOPA Live This Week, June 13 >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Doing your part to stay safe and proficient includes knowing the first steps of your emergency checklists. Learn from a retired F-15 pilot how to study emergency procedures the Air Force way. Read more >>
VFR altitudes on an IFR flight plan?
Do you enjoy the freedom of selecting your own VFR altitudes and making your own routing choices? Or do you prefer the protective envelope of IFR traffic separation and predictive routing from air traffic control? A VFR-on-top clearance can give you the best of both worlds. In this segment of the Air Safety Institute's video series Ask ATC, you'll hear how controllers work with pilots who request this special type of clearance. Watch the video >>
IFR Fix: 'One vicious bundle'
If a VFR pilot's worst nightmare is to blunder into solid clouds, armed only with basic instrument flying skills, then a similarly scary scenario awaits the instrument pilot who bets on sneaking through a stormy sector, and loses. Read more >>
Thunderstorm avoidance: Practical tips for the GA pilot
Thunderstorms present a multitude of weather conditions that are disastrous to aircraft such as hail, lightning, extreme turbulence, wind shear, and heavy winds. There's no denying the danger these storms pose to flyers, yet far too many pilots venture into these convective beasts and never make it out alive. In this quiz, the Air Safety Institute will test your knowledge on the different resources you have at your disposal to avoid thunderstorms and understand why smart pilots never take a chance. Log in to take the quiz >>
Leading Edge: Parts and pieces matter
In about 10 to 15 percent of GA accidents, something mechanical broke or failed to work as planned. Usually it’s the engine, sometimes the landing gear (retractable), and very seldom the flight controls. But if ever there were a place for Murphy to cause mischief that might be it. Read more >>
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.
The General Aviation Avgas Coalition praised the FAA's announcement June 10 to formally request sample unleaded fuels for testing as possible replacements to the 100LL aviation gasoline that GA aircraft use today. "AOPA and our general aviation partners have been pressing for timely action on the search for a safe, affordable alternative to 100 low lead avgas," said AOPA President Craig Fuller. "We are pleased that the FAA is continuing to take concrete steps to help the aviation industry move forward with the testing and evaluation of promising avgas alternatives. We understand the complexities of this search, and we are confident that diligent work will help us find an acceptable fuel source that is safe for pilots, the public and the environment." Read more >>
UNC again takes aim at airport, AOPA responds
It's a familiar refrain, an effort by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to close a valuable airport. AOPA is once again urging state lawmakers to strike a one-sentence provision in proposed legislation that would direct the university to close the airport—long used for medical flights and by university parents and many others—by Aug 1. Read more >>
Magnetic compass requirement dropped from private pilot task
The FAA has reworded a navigation task in the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards for Airplanes to allow applicants to train and take their flight tests in aircraft equipped with magnetic direction sensing systems other than a magnetic compass. The problem arose after an element of the pilotage and dead reckoning task was changed in the current version of the PTS—without explanation—specifying that a magnetic compass be used to demonstrate turns to a heading. AOPA pointed out to the agency that the specific mention of the magnetic compass reduced the utility of certain training aircraft and limited student pilots' options at flight schools providing private pilot training in aircraft equipped with new, technically advanced magnetic direction sensing systems. Read more >>
Comment period reopened on new standards for pilot testing, training
The FAA has reopened the public comment period on an industry/government working group's draft Private Pilot and Instrument Rating Airman Certification Standards in response to requests for more time to review the documents. Read more >>
AOPA seeks sport pilot data for third class medical petition
AOPA is trying to gain a better understanding of the number of pilots exercising sport pilot privileges, and an approximate number of hours this group flies each year. This information will be used in support of the AOPA/EAA third class medical exemption request made to the FAA. Currently, the FAA and the general aviation industry have no way to quantify the amount of time flown by those pilots holding private pilot certificates or higher who choose to allow their medical to lapse and exercise sport pilot privileges. No personally identifiable information will be gathered. Take the survey >>
Show the love to dad with AOPA Foundation donation
Do you think your dad is the best—and is he a pilot? A great way to honor him this Father's Day is by making a donation to the AOPA Foundation in his name. The AOPA Foundation supports general aviation and the freedom to fly. Don't you think dad will appreciate that more than another neck tie? So honor your father today! Make a donation >>
Legal 101: For students
As students embark on the journey of learning how to fly, they quickly learn that it involves more than knowing how to manipulate the controls to make the aircraft fly and navigate the sky. Sooner or later, students come to understand that there are a myriad of rules and regulations that must be learned and memorized. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a marketing specialist, member services representative, human resources assistant, software test and quality assurance analyst, and AOPA Live editor/graphic artist. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.