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The first search by federal agents in tan jumpsuits was comparatively unobtrusive, a brief delay in Oklahoma that all but passed from Gabriel Silverstein's mind by the time he landed in Iowa City four days later, on May 5. That fuel stop proved much more troubling: Federal agents called out the dog. "I was told they had every right to do this," Silverstein said of the more-than-two-hour search in a May 14 telephone interview with AOPA Online. "They were proceeding with it whether I agreed or not." AOPA is working to learn more about his and other pilots' encounters with an agency that has expanded its surveillance of aviation significantly in recent years. Read more and watch AOPA Live >>
GAMA reports increase in aircraft shipments
Makers of general aviation aircraft logged a nearly $1 billion increase in billing for the first three months of the year, a 32-percent increase in total billing over the first quarter of 2012. Read more >>
DTC DUAT supports AOPA's Flying Clubs Initiative
DTC DUAT, the popular weather and flight planning information service, has stepped forward to support AOPA's core mission to protect the freedom to fly. As an AOPA Supporting Sponsor, DTC DUAT will lend financial support to AOPA's Flying Clubs Initiative, a program to support and expand the more than 635 flying clubs nationwide that offer pilots and prospective pilots the opportunity to fly affordably in well-maintained aircraft. Read more >>
Avidyne secures STC for DFC90 Bonanza installations
A long-awaited supplemental type certificate is now available for Beechcraft Bonanza owners who wish to install Avidyne's DFC90 autopilot in conjunction with Aspen avionics. Read more >>
Beechcraft inks $210 million deal for T-6 trainers
Beechcraft Corp. landed a deal to expand the T-6 turboprop fleet long used to train American military pilots. The T-6 deal is not as lucrative as the contract Beechcraft Corp. lost to Embraer for a light attack version, but will keep the production line going through 2015. The $210 million T-6 contract, announced by the company May 13, is the nineteenth production lot built for the Pentagon since deliveries of the turboprop began in 2000 under the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System program. Read more >>
Beechcraft takes AOPA executives behind the scenes
Beechcraft Corp. is moving full steam ahead with its product line of Bonanzas, Barons, and King Airs, and showed off its revamped manufacturing operation in Wichita, Kan., May 15 to AOPA President Craig Fuller and AOPA Vice President of Advertising Carol Dodds. Read more >>
DC-9 with a presidential pedigree on the block
A McDonnell Douglas DC-9 (aka VC-9) tricked out for VIP transportation, including the president, is on the auction block, with bids starting at $50,000. Plenty of spare parts are thrown in to sweeten the deal. Read more >>
Sneak peek at new AOPA website
Be one of the first to see AOPA's new website and help us give it a thorough preflight as a beta tester before we launch. This will give you the opportunity to get acquainted with the new design, navigation, and search capability. Your valuable feedback will help us correct glitches in the new website before it goes live. Read more >>
Navy launches unmanned aircraft from catapult
U.S. Navy personnel say you are watching the Navy of the future, and that doesn't seem like an exaggeration. The Navy on May 14 launched an X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator off the USS George H.W. Bush and recovered the aircraft an hour later on land. It marked the first time a full-sized unmanned aircraft has been catapulted off a carrier at sea. Vice Adm. David Buss, commander, Naval Air Forces, called the launch a "watershed event" in naval aviation. See photos of the event >>
Summer of their lives: Teens to build Glasair
High school students in Saline, Mich., and Canby, Minn., learned May 9 that they are about to embark on an action-packed summer vacation. The eight students are the winners of a nationwide aviation design challenge competition sponsored by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and Build A Plane. Read more >>
Webinar: Flying clubs can attract young people to aviation
Find out how Candler Field Flying Club of Williamson, Ga., recruited pilots to get a high proportion of its membership aged 20 and younger. The flying club's founder, Glen Marsh, and AOPA Senior Vice President of the Center to Advance the Pilot Community Adam Smith will host a free webinar May 21 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. Learn how you can apply their model to your flying club. Register online >>
FAA fast-tracks Twin Commander AD
The FAA, citing a risk of structural failure, has adopted an airworthiness directive requiring inspection of certain Twin Commander Aircraft LLC models 690, 690A, and 690B for cracking of the outer fuselage attachments, the lower wing main spar, and other components, and repair or replacement of damaged parts as necessary. Read more >>
Tidewater Flying Club: Offering low-cost flying, ownership
A refundable equity stake, access to flight instructors, and low-cost flying are among the benefits enjoyed by members of the Tidewater Flying Club, based at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport. Read more >>
Piper Seneca V type certificate with G1000 approved
Piper Aircraft has secured type certificate approval from the FAA for installation of Garmin G1000 avionics in the updated Piper Seneca V twin, which was flown and reviewed first by AOPA. The Vero Beach, Fla.-based company's Seneca V with the all-glass avionics suite features three 10-inch screens (two primary flight displays and one multi-function display). Avionics are fully integrated, and include an autopilot, attitude and heading reference system (AHRS), air data computer, active traffic alerting, and other features. Piper reports deliveries of the updated twin with G1000 avionics will begin this year.
Ministry offers teens free flight lessons
Free flight training and real-world life lessons are what teens aged 13 to 18 gain by attending Melbourne, Fla.-based Wings of Grace Ministries. Teens meet on Mondays and follow an FAA-approved curriculum toward earning their private pilot certificate, including all classroom materials and flight operations. Read more >>
Almost halfway around
Jack Wiegand stood admiring a panorama of islands in the Mediterranean Sea as he checked in from Greece via satellite phone on his flight to become the youngest pilot to fly around the world solo. The next day's destination: a comparatively short 440-nautical-mile leg to Cairo, Egypt. Read more >>
Program encourages pilots to fly to 59 SC airports
Pilots can win prizes, see new locales, and sharpen their flying skills under the South Carolina Aviation Association's new SCAA Ambassadors Passport Program. Read more >>
Five more logbook apps
A pilot's logbook is the official record of his or her flights. It also serves as a personal diary of what we've learned and where we've been. This week, AOPA looks at another five logbook apps: Aviation Pilot LogBook, IntelliPilot Pilot LogBook, Safelog Pilot Logbook, FlightBox, and Premier Logbook. Read more >>
Leading Edge: Giving back
The AOPA Foundation is giving money away. Perhaps it's better to say that it's investing in the future. Thanks to the generosity of pilots like you, the AOPA Foundation is able to provide some much-needed financial support in two key areas: growing the pilot population and improving the image of general aviation. Read more >>
Debonair Sweepstakes: Beech supports the Deb
Years of friction and air loads have cut "teeth" into the leading edge of the Sweepstakes Debonair's cowl door. AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne was about to give up and accept a patch on the leading edge when Beechcraft came through with a like-new door. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Strange but true general aviation news
Landing gear is helpful, he didn't give a hoot, and a pair of miracle landings. Read more >>
Federal searches of GA aircraft, Super Cub crosses Atlantic
AOPA is hearing from pilots stopped and searched on the ramp by federal agents, and the reasons are mysterious. AOPA Live interviewed a New York pilot who was stopped twice in four days, the second search lasting for hours and ending with baggage and contents strewn on the ramp. Remember John and Martha King's experience? They're far from alone. The facts are disturbing, and answers are hard to come by. AOPA Live This Week also follows a Super Cub crossing the Atlantic Ocean for a unique mission, and Rod Machado shows you how to really see—and avoid. AOPA Live This Week, May 16
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
While weather reporting technologies in the cockpit and on ATC radar scopes have come a long way, what you see out the windshield can still be one of the best indicators that your current course may not be the safest one. If you're in contact with controllers, they may not know you need to deviate for weather ahead of you. What should you do? Listen to the Air Safety Institute's segment of Ask ATC as a controller shares how pilots and ATC need to collaborate to find the safest way around the storm. Log in to watch the video here.
ICAO flight plan now required for all border crossings
Mandatory use of International Civil Aviation Organization flight plans has expanded to include all border crossings, even if only an overflight. Read more >>
IFR Fix: 'Tasks and iterations'
An instrument-rated pilot who mostly flies VFR completes an instrument proficiency check on May 2. Almost six months later, the pilot tracks courses, flies three or four instrument approaches, holds, and performs other required IFR "tasks and iterations" to prepare for a flight six days later. Is IFR currency an issue? Read more >>
Flying low: Scenic route takes tragic turn
On Aug. 13, 2011, a restored Fairchild PT-19 flew into the Boone, Iowa, Municipal Airport to help celebrate Military Appreciation Day. The pilot, a museum volunteer who had a long and distinguished aviation career, took off about noon to return to the museum with a member of the museum's board riding in the back. Farther along the Des Moines River, a fisherman saw the airplane begin to descend from an initial altitude of perhaps 500 feet and rock its wings—then hit power lines suspended about 200 feet above the river. Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
More than just lines and numbers
Knowing what's on an approach plate is one thing, but knowing how to interpret and use it is another. One simple misread or misunderstanding of the plate's meaning can have disastrous results. Learn more, or brush up on your knowledge, by taking the Air Safety Institute's IFR Chart Challenge: VOR Approach online course. Take the course >>
Fly Well: A clear picture
Symptoms may start as a sense that sight is "not quite right," such as spectacle wearers constantly cleaning their glasses thinking dirt is impairing their vision. Bright lights may become troublesome and colors might take on a yellowish tinge. Areas of view may be fragmented—a section of the panel, for instance—and, for reading, people may require more light. If symptoms appear suggesting cataracts, have your eyes checked pronto. Read more >>
The Department of Transportation announced May 10 it has decided to keep open 149 federal contract towers that had been targeted for closure in June due to budget cuts. The reprieve will last through the federal fiscal year; additional budget cuts take effect Oct. 1 unless Congress acts to alter the current fiscal plan. Read more >>
FAA asked to remove outdated knowledge test questions
Questions about loran, microwave landing systems, and direction finding would be more fitting for Barry Schiff's popular "Test Pilot" trivia column in AOPA Pilot than on FAA knowledge exams. But students and pilots taking FAA knowledge exams are expected to know about and are tested on these outdated systems. AOPA and other groups are working to change that. Read more >>
Airline executive appointed as FAA deputy administrator
Michael G. Whitaker, whose résumé includes service as a major airline executive, board member, and consultant, is President Barack Obama's pick to serve as FAA deputy administrator. Read more >>
FAA finalizes rule modifying Philadelphia Class B airspace
Pilots transiting Philadelphia's Class B airspace will need to become familiar with airspace changes that go into effect on July 25. Read more >>
GA safety focus of high-level talks
AOPA and other associations representing general aviation interests met May 13 with the FAA administrator and senior staff to discuss ongoing efforts to improve safety. Read more >>
Join the Airport Support Network today
Ensuring the health and vitality of your airport is up to you—incompatible development and economic and political pressures can restrict your flying. Every day, close to 2,500 Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers work with AOPA headquarters to help save their airports, but we need more. Below is a link to a list of the airports where an ASN volunteer could make a difference. To nominate yourself or an associate to be a volunteer, visit AOPA Online. To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit ASN Online.
FAA's take on sleep medications
It is no big surprise that most Americans don't get enough sleep. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls insufficient sleep a public epidemic. Stress, illness, inconsistent sleep habits, anxiety or other mental symptoms, jet lag, or an underlying sleep disorder are common symptoms that may require periodic medications to promote a good night's sleep. For medical certification, one has to consider not only the medication itself and the potential aeromedically adverse side effects that may occur, but the underlying medical condition for which the medication is prescribed. Read more >>
AOPA Strategic Partner Spotlight: Aero-Space Reports
Aero-Space Reports is supporting AOPA members with members-only discounts on aircraft title search packages ($65 savings) and escrow transactions (10 percent), and sponsorship of AOPA Aviation Summit, the aircraft valuation section of AOPA Online, and AOPA's Best Aircraft Challenge. It also provides financial support that helps AOPA promote, protect, and defend GA. Visit AOPA's Aircraft Title and Escrow Services Web page to learn more about Aero-Space Reports and to show your appreciation for the company's support.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a director of corporate partnerships, marketing specialist, member services representative, 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.