Click here for this week's custom content.
An airliner about 10 seconds—and 100 feet—from touchdown aborted the landing at after a Jeep Grand Cherokee crashed through a locked gate at Philadelphia International Airport and barreled down Runway 9R with the aircraft approaching behind it. Tower controller Dave Giberson had spotted the rogue vehicle on radar—visibility was about mile and a half—and instructed the pilot to go around. Giberson and Corey Grafe, who kept departing aircraft clear of danger as the Jeep then sped down the length of the departure runway, 9L, with police in pursuit on March 1, 2012, were among controllers in nine regions honored March 6 with the Archie League Medal of Safety Awards. The controllers assisted pilots facing the unexpected: a rogue vehicle, hypoxia, weather, power loss, mechanical problems, and more. Listen to the audio of these saves >>
FAA sequestration cuts not safe or sensible
AOPA President Craig Fuller on March 6 leveled sharp criticism at the sequestration cuts planned by the Obama administration and the FAA, suggesting that the decision to close control towers and scale back aviation services constitutes a risk to aviation safety. “The White House budget office has forced troubling, and possibly dangerous, cuts on the FAA,” Fuller said during a panel discussion at Heli-Expo. “It doesn't have to be that way." Read more >>
Robinson: What sequester?
Amidst widespread anxiety at Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo over the fate of government contracts, Robinson Helicopter remains unconcerned, CEO Kurt Robinson told reporters at a media briefing March 5. “The word ‘sequester’ doesn’t do anything to me,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this year and how our sales are moving forward.” The FAA’s recent granting of an equivalent level of safety finding to the R66 is expected to help in efforts to certify the turbine helicopter outside the United States. Read more >>
Buyer confidence a ‘shot in the arm’ for helo industry
The next five years will be bright for civil helicopter demand, with strong demand focused on the first three years, according to Honeywell Aerospace’s helicopter outlook released March 5. The forecast, based on a survey of more than 1,000 chief pilots and flight department managers and an assessment of other market data, projected that global deliveries of new civilian-use helicopters will increase to 4,900 to 5,600 over the five-year period of 2013 to 2017—a 9- to 20-percent improvement from global deliveries in 2008 to 2012. Read more >>
Upgraded M*A*S*H helo to enter production
The distinctive Bell 47 helicopter will return to production with a Rolls-Royce RR300 turboshaft engine, Scott’s – Bell 47 Inc. announced March 5 at Heli-Expo in Las Vegas. The reliable Bell 47, the first helicopter certified by the Civil Aeronautics Administration, has served and continues to serve in a wide range of roles—from crop spraying to transporting wounded soldiers during the Korean War, a function that won it a starring role in the film and TV series M*A*S*H. Read more >>
Bell introduces armed 407, upgraded 412
Coming off a boom year for civilian sales, Bell Helicopter announced upgrades to two of its models March 4 and remained bullish in spite of concerns about the impact of sequestration on U.S. military contracts. The 412EPI, an upgraded version of the twin-engine utility 412EP, and the 407GT, an armed version of the 407GX, were on display at the Bell booth at Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo in Las Vegas. “I’ve heard people say there’s no mission too tough for the Bell 412,” said President and CEO John L. Garrison. Read more >>
Looking back: Heli-Expo 2013 in brief
Which new helicopter costs $750,000, and what company had $4.3 billion of sales in 2012? What's the demand for helicopters in the United States and Canada? Which helicopter model has flown more than 6.2 million hours since 1977? And who said a well-known helicopter will outlast its owner if it is maintained properly? Find out in AOPA's synopsis of Heli-Expo 2013 by the numbers and from notable quotes heard at the show.
Cessna’s new piston single makes first production flight
Able to cruise across the continental United States with a single fuel stop, climb to 25,000 feet, and deliver an expected top speed of 235 knots, the much-anticipated Cessna TT x (announced in 2011 as the Corvalis TT x), made its maiden production flight March 2. Lifting off from the Cessna factory in Independence, Kan., the TT x climbed to 17,000 feet and reached 213 knots on this first run, with Brian Steele, Cessna’s business leader for the TT x, highlighting “nimble” handling and speed. Read more >>
A Florida woman has landed in dozens of states and counting, relying on her wits and the kindness of general aviation pilots who are not strangers for long. Travel writer Amber Nolan embarked last year on a project to hitch rides with pilots across the country and back. In New Orleans, she found local pilot Erin Seidemann working hard to inspire girls and women to follow her lead, and overcome gender-specific obstacles that still stand in the way. Read more >>
Flying club’s Cessna 182 makes biofuel flight
Kill Devil Hills, N.C., was the site of another aviation milestone March 2 when a Cessna 182 retrofitted with an SMA diesel engine landed at First Flight Airport. Pilots say it is the first flight powered by cooking-oil-based SkyNRG biofuel in a piston engine, and the first biofuel flight for an SMA diesel-cycle engine. Read more >>
Best Aircraft Showdown brackets unveiled
Back for a second year, AOPA’s popular aircraft challenge—the Best Aircraft Showdown—pits 64 aircraft against one another. The final list has been whittled from more than 300 aircraft and 2,500 member nominations. Read more >>
Cirrus active winglet STC delayed
An active winglet system designed for the Cirrus SR22 will be on the market later than Tamarack Aerospace Group had hoped. The company announced Feb. 28 that the supplemental type certificate (STC) for the fuel-saving upgrade is now expected to arrive in the fall, not this spring as the company previously reported. AOPA Live This Week took a look at the technology when the product was announced at AOPA Aviation Summit 2012.
Piaggio teams with Selex ES on ‘most stylish’ UAS
It’s already being declared the “most stylish” unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in the world: The Piaggio Aero P.180 Avanti twin turboprop, a sleek design with a bullet-shaped nose and canard wing made for business travel and other applications, is being adapted as a UAS for military use. The “HammerHead,” developed in conjunction with Selex ES, will be fitted with various sensors for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. The HammerHead is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6-66B turboprop engines, and positions Piaggio to compete in the lucrative military UAS market. Read more >>
Capitol City Flyers: Safe, accessible, affordable aircraft
The Capitol City Flyers flying club caps membership at 30 and uses an equity shares-based structure to operate out of its home base at Dane County Regional-Truax Field in Madison, Wis. Read more >>
Anatomy of a flying club
Look behind the scenes at one of the country’s largest flying clubs with Steve Blonstein of California’s West Valley Flying Club. West Valley has been in operation for more than 40 years, helping 10,000 members stay involved with aviation. Adam Smith, AOPA senior vice president of the Center to Advance the Pilot Community, and Blonstein will discuss the day-to-day operations of the club, which includes a diverse fleet of 40-plus airplanes and instructors, during a webinar at 8 p.m. Eastern on March 20. Register now >>
Time for a change: DIY oil changes
DIY oil changes are a great way to learn about the health of your engine, while saving some money in the process. Think of it as a free hour of flying every 50 hours, courtesy of your own sweat equity. Read more >>
‘Pilot Getaways’ now available on iPad
Pilots looking for their next aerial adventure can scout new destinations on their iPad. The bimonthly travel and destination magazine Pilot Getaways now offers an app that allows subscribers to view the current issue and purchase back issues. A library of more than 500 destinations will be available by the end of the year, according to Pilot Getaways Editor in Chief John Kounis. An annual subscription to the iPad app costs $19.99; back issues are available for $4.99. Learn more about subscription options.
Reporting Points: Gyroplane aids Somerset, Ky., police
The Somerset Police Department in South Central Kentucky is using a leased Magni M24 gyroplane for law enforcement under a program run by the federal Department of Justice to aid smaller law enforcement groups. Flown by Lt. Shannon Smith, the Magni has aided in several arrests for drunken driving, drug violations, and outstanding warrants. Shannon is the second law enforcement officer in the United States to become a certificated flight instructor specific to gyroplanes for police operations. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Which LSAs have American engines?
Several readers have asked AOPA which light sport aircraft have American engines. AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton K. Marsh investigated and came up with a list. Read more >>
For those living in states that observe daylight saving time, remember to set the clocks forward (yes, the one on your aircraft too) on Sunday, March 10. Also remember to switch to daylight saving time when converting to or from Coordinated Universal Time (Zulu) during your flight planning.
‘AOPA Live This Week’: Heli-Expo highlights, anatomy of a spin
AOPA Live This Week reports from Heli-Expo in Las Vegas. Thirty years after M*A*S*H went off the air, a factory-new Bell 47 will soon become available—with turbine power. Also in this week’s show, see general aviation’s angry reactions to the sequester. Get the latest update on the AOPA Sweepstakes Debonair baring it all as it prepares for a new interior panel. And, stare down the spin with AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman; step by step, he walks you through how to handle them. Watch AOPA Live This Week, March 7.
AOPA Live to stream women in space presentations
AOPA Live will run a live stream of presentations honoring 50 years of women in space during the Women Fly it Forward event at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md., on March 9. Read more >>
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Fly like a fighter: Predicting the weather based on patterns
Upon moving to Germany, a fighter pilot was puzzled by Air Force regulations that allowed pilots to file a destination below approach minimums under certain circumstances. He later learned the method to the madness. Learning local weather patterns can make it easier for you to make a go/no-go decision, whether in an F-15 or Cessna P210. Read more >>
IFR Fix: Vector for the sequester
Unless something gives soon in the seat of government, it is time for instrument pilots to be proactive and address the effects on their flying of a newly coined aeronautical term: “the sequester.” Read more >>
Strong winds can be intimidating to pilots who have flown mostly in calm or light and variable conditions. The wind can make it a challenge just to taxi, take off, and land. Plus, it can blow the aircraft off course without proper flight planning and in-flight wind corrections. The Windy Flight Operations subject report offers practical tips for mastering windy conditions during each phase of flight. Try out these tips the next windy day.
Don’t get surprised by airspace
Whether on a local flight to and from the practice area, a quick hop to a nearby airport for pancakes, or a long cross-country to visit friends and family, airspace concerns should always be on a pilot’s mind. Learn more about our nation’s skies by taking the Air Safety Institute’s Know Before You Go online course. Take the course >>
Propeller safety 101
During preflight you should inspect your aircraft’s propeller blades, but do you really understand what you’re looking for and why? It is important to maintain your aircraft’s propeller. Download Propeller Safety, published by the Air Safety Institute, to discover more. The Safety Advisor is chock-full of maintenance tips, preflight considerations, and other things to look for in order to have a safe flight. Read more >>
Leading Edge: Beware the windy ides of March
March—in like a lion, out like a wildebeest, or perhaps a three-toed sloth. No matter the animal of departure, March is often the windiest month. The winds can make flying much more difficult and sometimes downright dangerous. Case in point is the accident this week of a Mooney M20E that crashed shortly after takeoff. 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.
User fee opponents on the move again in Congress
General aviation’s allies in the House of Representatives are wasting no time making sure that any proposal to implement aviation user fees runs into the customary—and overwhelming—resistance in Congress. Read more >>
Moran punches new holes in tax ‘loophole’ charge
Another defender of general aviation in Congress has struck back at attempts to characterize the industry as a beneficiary of tax loopholes and other economic favoritism. Statements by Obama administration officials designed to put a negative spin on aviation during the deficit-reduction deadlock in Washington, D.C.—by suggesting that business jet aircraft enjoy special tax treatment—amount to a “gimmick,” said Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) in remarks on the Senate floor. Read more >> Read more >>
Sequester is upon us, and still few details
The sequester took effect March 1 and few details are available about precisely what that means for general aviation. Unfortunately, even the people who make those decisions still aren't entirely clear on what happens now. Because of this lack of clarity, AOPA government affairs staff continues to meet with FAA leaders to stress the importance of maintaining vital safety of flight services for general aviation, including preflight services and the FAA DUAT System program. Read more >>
March IA renewals will require documentation of activity
Aviation mechanics with inspection authorization (IA) must renew their certificates by March 31, and AOPA is reminding members who must renew that under a new FAA policy certificate holders must show that they have been “actively engaged” in the work. Read more >>
AOPA Aviation Job Board launches
Looking for an aviation-related job or have a job opening that you would like to advertise to AOPA members? The just-released AOPA Aviation Job Board allows free posting of resumes and searches for aviation-related jobs—more than 1,000 jobs are already posted. Employers can list new job openings for a fee. Read more >>
Can I fly after a stroke?
The three terms one hears when dealing with a “stroke” are cerebrovascular accident, stroke, and transient ischemic attack (“TIA”). A stroke happens to be one of the FAA's specifically disqualifying conditions. This means that if you go in for a flight examination and you had a stroke or TIA, the aviation medical examiner may not issue you a medical certificate without obtaining written or verbal permission from an FAA physician. Read more >>
Printed airport directory an essential cockpit backup
Technology has made great strides to make flying easier and more user friendly, but what happens when that technology fails? The 2013/2014 AOPA Airports Print Directory is still considered an essential cockpit resource for thousands of pilots for good reason. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a director, financial planning and analysis; office services supervisor; credit analyst; major gifts officer; director of outreach and events; and .NET applications developer. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.