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From running lean of peak to picking fuel stops based on the price of avgas, pilots get creative with their flying and flight planning in order to stretch the dollar a little further. At a time when avgas prices are painfully high, savings of $0.50 per gallon will pique any pilot’s interest. Avgas in Indiana is $0.50 per gallon cheaper now that new AOPA-backed aviation tax exemptions have taken effect. The new measure removes the state sales tax on 100LL and jet fuel and restructures the previous excise tax on aviation fuel to a fixed total state tax rate. The package of exemptions also will lower sales-tax line items on aircraft maintenance bills, another win for aircraft owners. Read more >>
Charlotte, NC, mayor named to head DOT
President Barack Obama on April 29 nominated Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony R. Foxx, a 42-year-old attorney with government and private-sector experience, to become the next U.S. Secretary of Transportation. "We look forward to working with Anthony Foxx upon his confirmation as the United States' next secretary of transportation," said AOPA President Craig Fuller. "Through his experience in North Carolina, Mayor Foxx knows how vital the aviation sector is to our nation's economy and to the nearly 400,000 AOPA members who cherish their freedom to fly." Read more >>
Dassault's green 'Future Falcons'
His official title may be senior vice president of research and technology and advanced business, but around Dassault Aviation's offices, Bruno Stoufflet's more common handle is "futurist." At a recent press event at the company's Argenteuil, France, facility Stoufflet briefly revealed a new conceptual "eco-design" featuring an empennage with large tail surfaces and twin vertical stabilizers. Read more >>
Cessna Citation Sovereign makes first production flight
Cessna announced April 30 that the upgraded Citation Sovereign has made its first production flight. With 1,300 hours already logged by flight test aircraft, the Sovereign performed as expected, with "exceptional" handling and performance described by company production test pilot Matt Freund in an announcement. The Sovereign has been updated with Garmin G5000 avionics with auto throttles, improved cabin cooling and cabin information system, and winglets. Read more >>
Jetman coming to Oshkosh, Reno
Now it's confirmed: Jetman Yves Rossy will tumble backward off the skid of a helicopter at not only EAA AirVenture 2013 but the Reno, Nev., National Championship Air Races and Air Show later in the year. He'll fly with the aid of a wing strapped to his back and four jet engines designed for model airplanes, using only his feet, arms, and hands to control his flight path. Read more >>
FAA seeks Icon data for LSA weight increase
A decision in the May 2012 request from Icon Aircraft to the FAA for an exemption that would allow Icon's A5 amphibious aircraft to weigh 250 pounds more than current light sport aircraft limits for seaplanes has again been delayed. Earl Lawrence, manager of the FAA Small Airplane Directorate, said in a letter sent April 25 and made public May 2 that the FAA's Aircraft Certification Service, Flight Standards Service, and Office of the Chief Counsel need more information. Read more >>
New ATC phraseology for RNAV approaches
Instrument pilots flying RNAV-equipped aircraft should expect to hear some slightly different phraseology from air traffic controllers beginning June 3. Read more >>
nEUROn's stealthy debut
As it turns out, Falcon jets aren't the only aircraft being made by Dassault Aviation. On April 25, the company revealed that it's developing an unmanned aircraft it calls the "nEUROn." Although now in the prototype stage, Dassault said the drone is to be the first large stealth platform designed in Europe. Read more >>
Bizjet concept aims to shatter sound barrier in near-silence
On the ground, the sonic boom—an aerodynamic phenomenon that has stumped engineers for decades—would be as loud as rustling leaves if HyperMach Aerospace Industries succeeds in proving a business jet concept. Richard Lugg, a veteran of past NASA efforts to shatter the sound barrier, founded a pair of companies that have worked quietly for more than a decade to refine revolutionary designs aimed at near-silent supersonic flight: one focused on the airframe, and the other building the powerplant. Read more >>
Aaron Tippin buys 'Little Toot' biplane
Country music performer and general aviation pilot Aaron Tippin recently purchased a tiny biplane—Georgy Meyer's Little Toot—to go along with Tippin's hulking Stearman. Tippin, a multiengine airplane, helicopter, and instrument-rated pilot, is also an aircraft mechanic, and he plans to restore the diminutive 1950s biplane to new condition with Tommy Meyer, the son of the late aircraft designer. Tippin plans to display the airplane at EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, Wis., this summer. The small but strong aerobatic biplane, N61G, was first displayed in 1957.
Skyhaven Flying Club: Safe, fun flying, continuous learning
Skyhaven Flying Club, based at Skyhaven Airport in Rochester, N.H., focuses on ongoing aviation education and teaching the next generation of pilots. Read more >>
AOPA enhancing website, member database
In the coming weeks, AOPA will be transitioning to a redesigned website and a new membership management system in an effort to enhance your interaction with the association online. The new design and technologies are geared to make it easier for you to find the aviation information you are looking for and update your membership profile and benefits any time, any day, from any computer or mobile device. Read more >>
'Planes' movie showing at AirVenture
Visitors to EAA AirVenture 2013 will get an early screening of Disney's animated movie Planes on Aug. 2 at the Fly-In Theater. Read more >>
Calling all teachers to EAA AirVenture on July 30
Teachers are invited to attend a special day at EAA AirVenture on July 30, when Build A Plane and other organizations will show them how to incorporate aviation into their curricula. Read more >>
Pilot hopes around-the-world flight inspires youth
A solo around-the-world trip is part of an effort by James Anthony Tan to inspire youth around the world to learn about the joys of aviation. Tan started the journey from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 26 and plans to stop on four continents. "This expedition is not just only about aviation," he told AOPA Online during a stop in Iceland April 26. "This expedition is to inspire people to go for their dreams, but most importantly, find their dreams as well. And aviation is the only way I know how.” Read more >>
Sporty's to hold fly-in, open house
Exhibits, seminars, introductory flights, free hot dogs, and the giveaway of a brand-new Legend Cub are among the activities scheduled for Sporty's annual fly-in and open house on May 18. Read more >>
Five more random apps
This week AOPA highlights five apps at random: Airports 4 Pilots Pro World Edition, Checklist, Avare, Aviation Tools Free, and Aviation Pilot Logbook. Read more >>
Hover Power: Eurocopter's AStar
In the late 1970s, Aerospatiale introduced the AS350B as a replacement for the company's Alouette II helicopter. Named Ecureuil (Squirrel), it used a Turbomeca Arriel 1B engine rated at 641 shaft horsepower. For the U.S. market Aerospatiale gave it the name AStar and the model number AS350C. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Strange but true general aviation news
In hot water over a really short trip, two amazing water landings, and a bad glider landing. Read more >>
Private rocket blast-off; Indiana tax cut
A tax break in Indiana means pilots flying into the state will notice a big change to their fuel bill: Find out why you could save as much as $150 per fill-up. Plus, SpaceShipTwo made its first rocket-powered flight, the next step toward commercial space travel. And Rod Machado explains why sometimes thermal shock is good for your engine. AOPA Live This Week, May 2.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Cleared for an ILS/DME approach to Runway 5R, the flight descended to 8,000 feet msl and turned to intercept the localizer. The aircraft leveled a dot below the glideslope, however, and the control input applied to correct that condition—an abrupt pitch increase—triggered a stall warning. Sloppy flying during a critical phase of flight? Hard to say. The culprit, in the immediate sense, was an autopilot. Read more >>
What you don't know could kill you
On Oct. 4, 2011, three men met at the South Valley Regional Airport about 10 miles south of Salt Lake City. One owned a homebuilt two-seat Pulsar airplane; the second came to buy the Pulsar to train for his sport pilot certificate. He had brought his instructor for the 53-nautical-mile hop south to his planned base at Nephi, Utah. The seller had one concern: The instructor appeared to weigh more than expected, and the two men might put the aircraft close to its 1,000-pound maximum gross weight. But that was the least of the factors conspiring against this flight. Find out more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
Are you a safe pilot? Really?
Most pilots, if asked, would emphatically say they are safe pilots. Yet many make decisions in the cockpit that call into question their self-perception. Why? The reasons vary with the circumstances, but many a good pilot has failed to do the right thing at the right time in a situation that has a thin margin of error. Learn more and put your decision-making skills to the test with the Air Safety Institute's Do the Right Thing: Decision Making for Pilots online course. Will you do the right thing? Log in to take the course >>
The rite of spring
The days are getting longer, the temperatures warmer, and the skies clearer: The time is right for flight. After the long winter, you might be in the right mindset to go flying, but is your airplane? Check out these resources for tips on getting your airplane ready for the spring flying season at the Air Safety Institute's "Spring Preflight" Safety Spotlight. Read more >>
Fly Well: Clip well, clean well
If our eyes are the window to the soul, our nails are a window into disease. Find out what conditions you might check for if you have symptoms such as spoon-shaped, flaky, or pitted nails. Read more >>
Leading Edge: MMQ on BTF LOC
AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg examines a recent fatal accident involving a Cessna 210 landing at the Williamsburg, Va., airport. The 4,300-hour pilot, a U.S. Air Force general who was accomplished in heavy military aircraft, approached the airport in VFR conditions with gusty winds. The aircraft had a significant tailwind on the base leg. "According to witnesses, the airplane passed beyond the extended runway centerline when the pilot reported on the common traffic advisory frequency that he was turning from the airport pattern base leg to final approach for runway 13," the NTSB's preliminary report notes. "The pilot executed a steep right turn towards the runway, and the airplane pitched down and descended at a steep angle behind a tree line." Read more >>
After pilots were forced to sit in their hot aircraft for hours on the ramps of Florida airports of entry waiting to clear U.S. Customs in late March, AOPA contacted the Customs and Border Protection national headquarters to investigate. When customs headquarters looked into the matter, officials discovered a change made at the regional level at an inopportune time—the height of springtime traffic flying between the United States and the Bahamas. Read more >>
AOPA opposes proposed doubling of Santa Monica Airport fees
The city of Santa Monica is justifying a more than doubling of landing fees at Santa Monica Municipal Airport by saying it can no longer subsidize the facility from general funds. But AOPA asserts that the financial numbers are unclear and do not appear to validate the need to increase revenue. Read more >>
Senate, House give FAA flexibility on spending cuts
AOPA praised Congress April 26 for passing legislation that would give the FAA the flexibility to make more measured decisions about spending cuts, including staffing and contract towers. The legislation, signed by President Barack Obama, allows the Department of Transportation to move $253 million to the FAA's operations account. The agency can then use the money to stop furloughs and potentially keep open many of the 149 air traffic control towers slated for closure. Read more >>
Congress, mayors seek assurances on contract towers
With the continued operation of 149 contract control towers still uncertain after the FAA gained congressional authorization to cancel their closings under sequestration, House and Senate members pressed their colleagues to express strong support for keeping the towers open. Also, some 70 mayors reacted to the lingering uncertainty by releasing a letter to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. Read more >>
FAA to keep contract weather observers until October
As the FAA was set to begin the phase-out of contract weather observers, the agency decided to postpone the move until the end of the fiscal year in order to gather more information from stakeholders. Read more >>
Flights to Costa Rica facing restrictions
Pilots planning to fly general aviation aircraft to Costa Rica through May 7 should check carefully for flight restrictions in effect in connection with a visit by President Barack Obama and other leaders. Read more >>
VFR: Helicopter emergency medical services tool
On a recent trip to Des Moines, Iowa, AOPA Central Southwest Regional Manager Yasmina Platt learned about a tool prepared by the Aviation Digital Data Service that provides weather information tailored to the needs of low-altitude VFR emergency first responders. Read more >>
Stored routes restored in FlyQ Web flight planner
Members who had stored routes in AOPA's previous online flight planner are now able to import those routes into their FlyQ account with the release of FlyQ Web version 1.2.111, released in late April. This new release also provides additional enhancements to flight plan editing. Read more >>
What is nonowned insurance and why should I have it?
Nonowned insurance is a liability insurance policy to protect you against claims arising from bodily injury and property damage for which you are legally liable, caused by an occurrence arising from your use of a nonowned (rented or borrowed) aircraft. Even if the FBO tells you it has coverage, you'll still need to protect yourself. Read more >>
The shifting sands of medical certification policy
The FAA Office of Aerospace Medicine recently announced changes to several policies regarding certification of certain cardiac conditions. It has been quite a while since pilots have seen so much activity that will have a bearing on a number of different medical conditions, and as a result, will have a positive impact on a number of airmen who currently hold special issuance authorizations. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a human resources assistant, software test and quality assurance analyst, online marketing and content specialist, AOPA Live editor/graphic artist, advertising marketing manager, mid-level gift specialist, aviation technical specialist, staff assistant/PAC coordinator, president of AOPA Insurance Services, major gifts officer, and director of outreach and events. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.