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Mar. 22, 2013, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletterMar. 22, 2013, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletter

AOPA ePilot

In This Issue:

VOLUME 15, ISSUE 12 — March 22, 2013



Safety >>

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect >>


AOPA Live >>

Click here for this week's custom content.


Harrison Ford rallies support for ATC towers

Harrison Ford rallies support for ATC towers "It's about safety and jobs," reiterated Harrison Ford time and time again as he addressed the House General Aviation Caucus March 19. The debate about sequestration and especially the closing of nearly 200 air traffic control towers provided a dramatic backdrop for the long-planned meeting meant to rally members of the House and Senate to join their respective GA caucuses. Well-versed in aviation issues as always, Ford, a passionate pilot, humanitarian, and actor, called on Congress to help the FAA find ways to redistribute its sizable budget in a manner that keeps the most important of the towers open. The FAA has said that many of the towers could close as soon as April 7, with official notices of closure to be sent March 22. Read more >>    

FAA expected to release list of tower closures

The FAA on March 22 is expected to announce the contract towers that will be closing as a result of sequestration. Check back on for the list of the towers that will be closing, to be posted as soon as it is announced. Pilots who primarily operate at airports with ATC towers may need to refresh their knowledge of operations at nontowered airports. Read more >>    

A personal toll

A personal toll She's served as an air traffic controller aboard a nuclear aircraft carrier and at U.S. military bases, helped manage the openings of two busy general aviation control towers in her native Maryland, and always received glowing performance reviews. But Mamie Jane "MJ" Ambrose will be out of a job April 8 if the FAA follows through with its plan to close nearly 200 contract towers and furlough controllers in response to sequester budget cuts. This year's sequester budget cuts reduce the FAA budget by 5 percent—and the contract tower program is bearing the brunt with a 75-percent cut. Read more >>    

Senate thwarts Moran's relentless bid to protect ATC towers

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) raised the stakes throughout this week's debate on the continuing resolution for the federal budget in a bid to reduce sequestration's impact on aviation. Read more >>    

GA News

Who flew first? The Wright answer undergoes a challenge

Who flew first? The Wright answer undergoes a challenge An eminent aviation publication has injected new life into an old assertion that the Wright brothers did it best, but Gustave Whitehead did it first, in the matter of who accomplished the first controlled flight in a powered aircraft. Evidence that Whitehead, a German émigré to the United States who was trained as a builder of engines, flew his aircraft No. 21, named Condor, in Fairfield, Conn., on Aug. 14, 1901, has never been absolutely discredited, say his advocates. That would mean that Whitehead's flying occurred more than two years before the Wright brothers' acclaimed first flight at Kill Devil Hills, N.C., in 1903. Read more >>    

Author Richard Bach recovering, recollecting

Bestselling author Richard Bach, whose tales of aviation have inspired generations to love the sky and the wind, spoke publicly for the first time about the crash that nearly claimed his life, and the airplane he will rebuild. Read more >>    

Embraer to build for Afghan air force despite protest

The Pentagon has taken the unusual step of directing Embraer and prime contractor Sierra Nevada Corp. to proceed with construction of the Super Tucano light attack aircraft for service in Afghanistan despite a protest by Beechcraft Corp., which had hoped to fill the $427 million order with its AT-6. Beechcraft's protest of this year's decision mirrors action taken on the previous award of the same contract to Embraer. Beechcraft announced March 21 it has filed suit in the Court of Federal Claims to contest the U.S. Air Force decision, in addition to the formal protest. A Government Accountability Office ruling on Beechcraft's protest is expected within 90 days.    

Record-setting pilot on the move

Record-setting pilot on the move As of publication, Bill Harrelson, the record-setting pilot and builder of a highly modified Lancair IV, was in southern Chile waiting out bad weather near Antarctica before resuming his round-the-world polar record attempt. Harrelson is attempting to set a record for an around-the-world flight that covers both the north and south poles. He started in Bangor, Maine, and flew nonstop to Recife, Brazil, and then to Punta Arenas, Chile. If the weather clears, his next stops will be Christchurch, New Zealand; Honolulu, Hawaii; Nome, Alaska; and Bangor. Read more >>    

From touchdown to tiedown: Aircraft tires

They sit immobile, baking in the hot sun or hardening in the freezing cold for weeks at a time until they're called upon to go from 0 mph to 60 mph faster than any earth-bound speedster. And although they make up one of the most stressed components of the average general aviation aircraft, they are often the most undervalued. Are you treating your tires right? Read more >>    

Women in Aviation conference hits record attendance

Women in Aviation conference hits record attendance Nearly 3,400 registrants from 14 countries were in attendance at the twenty-fourth annual International Women in Aviation conference in Nashville, Tenn., March 14 through 16. Attendees had access to 114 exhibitors and more than four dozen educational sessions on a range of topics. Read more >>    

Air Race Classic closes in on registration goal

Organizers of the all-female Air Race Classic used a visit at the recent International Women in Aviation conference to tout the history of the event and encourage women pilots to participate in the 2,100-nautical-mile, day-VFR race from Pasco, Wash., to Fayetteville, Ark., that runs June 18 through 21. Read more >>    

AOPA awards two student pilot scholarships at WAI conference

AOPA and the AOPA Foundation awarded two scholarships each worth $3,000 to student pilots March 16 during the annual International Women in Aviation conference in Nashville, Tenn. Read more >>    

Controllers group promotes ATC careers

The Professional Women Controllers Inc. hopes that its efforts to promote careers in ATC will help grow a segment in aviation that is still overwhelmingly male. PWC does everything from mentoring to hosting an annual convention to reach that goal. Read more >>    

Abingdon Co. offers female flight watches

The Abingdon Co. line of products is filling a need for a fashionable but functional flight watch created especially for women. Read more >>    

Rivalries renewed, voting for 'Best Aircraft' begins

AOPA 2013 Best Aircraft ShowdownCessna Skyhawk or Piper Cherokee? The debate has raged for half a century and the rivalry will be among many renewed as a field of 64 aircraft square off in AOPA's Best Aircraft Showdown, presented by Aero-Space Reports. The aviation "madness" begins March 22, and voters—you included—have the final say on who emerges from the fray. Get those clickers ready! Read more >>    

Patton's desert camps, viewed from above

A California pilot has compiled a detailed history of the desert training camps built during World War II, and a detailed pilot's guide to touring the remnants. Larry Dighera hopes others will pick the concept up and run with it, creating a network of sky trails around the country that will inspire aviation adventures. Read more >>    

Eclipse powers up 550 jet

Eclipse Aerospace announced March 18 that the Eclipse 550 was successfully powered up for the first time, and remains on track to begin deliveries later this year. Read more >>    

Thinking of buying an aircraft? This webcast is for you

Buying an aircraft is a big decision. Hear about what to consider when choosing your aircraft, what red-flag conditions you want to avoid, how to get insurance and financing, and how to estimate your monthly expenses in a webcast April 3 at 8 p.m. Eastern. AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Tom Haines and AOPA Senior Aviation Technical Specialist Rodney Martz will discuss what's involved in the process. Register online >>    

Need a checklist? Check out these apps

Going through a checklist before taking to the skies and during flight is a must. In the past, pilots relied on paper/laminated checklists, but with the advent of smartphones and tablets, checklists have become digital. This week, AOPA highlights five checklist apps recommended by members: PRO Pilot Cessna 172 Checklist, AirCheck Aviation Checklist, ForeFlight Checklist Pro for iPhone, i-FLYTE Time & Checks, and Pilot Checklists. Read more >>    

Behind the eight ball? Flying club thrives

Behind the eight ball? Flying club thrives The Eight Ball Flying Club has made it through a revamping of its operations and a fleet upgrade to become what it says is the best-kept secret in Southern California aviation. It depends on a stable of volunteers to step up and help operate the club efficiently. "Our club's name was a tough, but ironic one for a flying club. You don't hear names like ours too often," said Kelly Bakst, the club's maintenance officer. Read more >>    

US-based summer aviation camp targets Chinese teens

Glider flight training will be the hook used to run a summer aviation camp in New Hampshire designed specifically for Chinese youths aged 15 to 18. The camp will also teach leadership skills and offer attendees a look at daily life in the United States. Read more >>    

Cirrus endorses touchscreen flight simulator

The training department at Cirrus recently put its stamp of approval on the FlyThisSim's Touch Trainer, a touchscreen flight simulator. Read more >>    

Reporting Points: Strange but true

With sequestration cuts looming, Vice President Joe Biden is trading in jet travel for Amtrak for visits to his home in Delaware. Read more "Strange but true general aviation news."    

Debonair Sweepstakes: Thanks, Tom Schoder

After 50 years of people pushing on the door latch, cracks often occur on the sheet metal surrounding the latch handle of a baggage door. That's exactly what happened with AOPA's Sweepstakes Debonair. While searching for a "new" 1963 Debonair baggage door, AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne got an email from AOPA member Tom Schoder. Read more >>    

Reporting Points: Reel Stuff releases festival schedule

The Air Force Museum Foundation's Reel Stuff Film Festival of Aviation has announced its lineup for the upcoming festival. Read more >>    


ABC News throws GA under bus; Harrison Ford on Capitol Hill

AOPA is setting the record straight after ABC News unfairly attacked general aviation safety in a report chock-full of misinformation. Also in the latest edition of AOPA Live This Week, Harrison Ford speaks up for GA on Capitol Hill, the Eclipse 550 marks a milestone, and March Madness strikes AOPA. Take stock in your well-being and perhaps extend your flying career as AOPA introduces Fly Well, a new series on your health and piloting. AOPA Live This Week, March 21.    


For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.

Safety & Proficiency

IFR Fix: A 'predetermined maneuver'

IFR Fix: A 'predetermined maneuver' An aircraft is inbound on the 144-degree approach course toward an NDB, cleared to a holding fix at the intersection of the 224-degree radial from a VOR. There's a strong west wind; the pilot has discovered that holding a 160-degree heading steadies the ADF needle 16 degrees left of the fixed card's 12 o'clock position. (Since 160 minus 16 equals 144, the aircraft is on course.) What should be the rollout heading outbound? When should you start timing the outbound leg? Read more >>    

Answers for Pilots: Getting back into flying

Has it been a while since you've flown? Pilots are busy people—sometimes even too busy to fly! We can get so wrapped up in our activities that before we realize it, our proficiency has lost its edge and our currency lapses. Read more >>    

Understanding the 'oceans of air'

For pilots, the very air we fly through can be our ally or our enemy. Do you understand the "why" behind the weather? Find out about the large-scale forces that drive the weather and learn how to put that knowledge to work before your next flight—take the Air Safety Institute's Weather Wise: Air Masses and Fronts online course. Take the course >>    

Giving chase to the shouting winds

Getting a handle on aerodynamics doesn't have to involve dry textbooks and dense equations. It does require a thorough understanding of aerodynamic performance during critical phases in flight. You may know an airplane can stall at any airspeed or pitch attitude, but do you really understand why? Learn more by checking out the Air Safety Institute's Aerodynamics Safety Spotlight. Read more >>    

A terrible mistake

A terrible mistake "Mission mindset" is a debilitating thought process, so hypnotizing that even seasoned professional pilots can fall prey to it. Once sound aeronautical decision making gets infected by this state of mind, it is difficult to cure, often presaging a dire outcome for those who allow its grip to take hold. Witness the Air Safety Institute's Rescue Gone Wrong accident case study, which recounts a pilot's deadly decision—a mistake that holds lessons for all pilots. Find out what led the pilot down a path to disaster.    

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

March 23 and 24

San Mateo, Calif.



Apr. 6 and 7

Denver, Colo.

Tampa, Fla.

Waltham, Mass.

Apr. 13 and 14

Atlanta, Ga.

Cincinnati, Ohio

Salt Lake City, Utah

Apr. 20 and 21

San Diego, Calif.

Indianapolis, Ind.

Ashburn, Va.

For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.

March 25

Ypsilanti, Mich.

Rochester, Minn.


March 26

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Independence, Ohio

Lynchburg, Va.

March 27

Bellevue, Neb.

Columbus, Ohio


March 28

Indianapolis, Ind.

Olathe, Kan.


Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.


ABC story on 'small plane crashes' flat wrong, AOPA says

The March 18 ABC World News and Nightline story "Many small plane crashes preventable" turned a spin awareness flight with aerobatic pilot and 2006 National CFI of the Year Rich Stowell into a sensational, inaccurate segment on general aviation safety. AOPA is setting the record straight. Read more >>    

Leading Edge: Media's whipping post?

Does it seem that general aviation has been a target lately? After two high-profile accidents made the news, ABC aired a piece on spins that had nothing to do with the accidents in question; the NTSB was quoted talking about GA being on the 10 "Most Wanted" list, when the number of GA fatalities is near an all-time low. Could we be a bit more constructive in putting GA safety into perspective? Read more >>    

Pilots urged to help prevent 121.5 MHz ELT ban

AOPA is reminding pilots concerned about the Federal Communications Commission's plan to prohibit the certification, manufacture, importation, sale, or use of 121.5 MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) to submit their comments to the FCC by April 1. Read more >>    

GA's defenders speak out in House Budget Committee

General aviation's defenders in Congress continue to speak out against tax proposals intended to further the Obama administration's claim that the industry benefits from tax loopholes. Two members of the House Budget Committee took on that charge during the committee's consideration of the fiscal year 2014 budget resolution. Read more >>    

FAA, type club team up for circuit-breaker fix

The FAA has issued a special airworthiness information bulletin affecting some Beechcraft, Cessna, and other aircraft equipped with switch-style circuit breakers that have experienced continued failures despite previous attempts to correct problems. Read more >>    

VFR: FedEx donates 727s to university programs in Alaska

In late February, FedEx donated two fully functional Boeing 727s to the University of Alaska aviation programs at Anchorage and Fairbanks. Read more >>    

Member Benefits

EA+ offers unexpected benefits

Whether you are already enrolled in Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+) or aren't familiar with the program, chances are you have an idea of what it entails. EA+ is there for you in the event of an accident with 24-hour emergency and medical assistance, but there are some other surprising benefits of enrolling in the program. Read more >>    

AOPA Career Opportunities

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a network support engineer; marketing manager, fundraising and acquisitions; member services representative; aviation technical specialist; staff assistant/PAC coordinator; president, AOPA Insurance Services; director, financial planning and analysis; office services supervisor; major gifts officer; and director of outreach and events. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.    


Picture Perfect

AOPA's online photo gallery allows you to upload your own aviation photography as well as view, rate, and comment on others' photos. Your favorite aviation images from AOPA Pilot are still available online through this new gallery. Take a look, and submit your own photos!!

Picture Perfect

Forums: Where do you put your iPad while flying?

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Engage in Aviation

Check out user-submitted events from your region. To include an event or to search all events in the calendar, visit AOPA Online. AOPA does not endorse the events listed below, nor have ePilot editors edited the submissions. AOPA assumes no responsibility for events listed.


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Here's an edited question asked by an AOPA member who contacted our aviation services staff through the AOPA Pilot Information Center. Test your knowledge.


Question: What is the maximum airspeed within 4 nautical miles of a Class C primary airport?


Answer: If you are operating at or below 2,500 feet above the surface and are within 4 nm of the primary airport in a Class C airspace area, your maximum indicated airspeed cannot exceed 200 knots (230 mph) unless authorized by air traffic control. Read more about operating in Class C airspace in Chapter 3-2-4 of the Aeronautical Information Manual. And you may enjoy this informative article on flight experiences in Class C and D airspace from AOPA Pilot.


Got a question for our aviation services staff? The AOPA Pilot Information Center is a service available to all members as part of the annual dues. Call 800/USA-AOPA (800/872-2672), or email to [email protected].

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