Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today

December 11, 2015, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' weekly newsletterDecember 11, 2015, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' weekly newsletter

Super Cub No. 1

DECEMBER 11, 2015 - VOL 17, ISSUE 50

Top Stories


Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 advances

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has passed the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2. Read more...  



Medical reform FAQs

Third class medical reform is closer than ever before, but it's a complex issue and we know you have questions. Here are answers to the most common questions pilots are asking about third class medical reform. Read more...  



HondaJet earns type certificate

Another aviation first occurred in North Carolina on Dec. 9 when the FAA awarded a type certificate to Honda Aircraft's first airplane, the HondaJet. Read more...  


AOPA Live This Week

Go for a spin; Santa spreads holiday cheer

After decades of effort and an estimated $1.6 billion spent, Honda Aircraft earned its first type certificate Dec. 9. Third class medical reform took a major step forward in Washington, D.C.; Santa flew in an RV-10 to the remote community of Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay, loaded with Christmas cheer; and AOPA editors put the You Can Fly Sweepstakes Cessna 152 through the spin cycle. Also this week, the FAA ruled Santa Monica, California, must keep its airport open through 2023, at least. Watch AOPA Live This Week®, Dec. 10...  

Technique and Safety


Fly like a fighter

Maintenance flight checks

The U.S. Air Force maintenance program includes rules for routine inspections as well as rules for grounding an aircraft and returning it to flight status. Retired Air Force pilot Larry Brown explains how general aviation pilots can borrow some of these practices to enhance safety. Read more...  


Pilot Protection Services

Logging flight time with an autopilot

Does the use of an autopilot prevent you from logging pilot-in-command flight time as sole manipulator of the flight controls, and does using the autopilot during an instrument approach let you log the approach as required by the regulations? Find out...  



Unravel a mess in the mist

This AOPA Air Safety Institute safety video reconstructs how losing situational awareness in dense fog on the airport in Providence, Rhode Island, led to a series of mistaken assumptions by the tower and several cockpit crewmembers. Watch the video to learn how vigilance and communication averted a serious accident...  


Aircraft Maintenance

Tips for evaluating aircraft handling

You may think of evaluating the handling qualities of an aircraft as entirely subjective, but there is more science behind it than you might imagine. Read more...  



New airman certification standards explained

Learn about the new airman certification standards—the origins and rationale behind the change from the traditional practical test standards, as well as the advantages that the new certification standards offer. AOPA and the National Association of Flight Instructors will discuss the changes in a Flight School Business webinar Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Register today...  



Airframe icing drags you down

Don't underestimate the hazard of airframe icing, which distorts the flow of air over the wing, reduces lift, increases angle of attack, and adversely affects the airplane's handling characteristics, while significantly increasing drag. Watch the AOPA Air Safety Institute's It's a Drag Pilot Safety Announcement for a reminder to avoid weather conditions conducive to airframe icing. Watch the video...  



Weather conditions don't always follow predictions

Weather is finicky and doesn't always follow predictions, writes AOPA Air Safety Institute Senior Safety Advisor Bruce Landsberg, who experienced a fog bank on the approach end of Hilton Head Island's Runway 21, while automated midfield weather indicated clear conditions. Read more...  




Santa Monica obligated into 2023

Santa Monica Municipal Airport is under federal grant obligations until Aug. 27, 2023, the FAA has ruled, contradicting the city of Santa Monica's assertion that its grant obligations ended in 2014. The determination, issued Dec. 4, means the airport must remain open and operational for nearly eight more years at a minimum. Read more...  



Answers for Pilots

What cold meds can you take?

Pilots seeking relief from winter sniffles and colds should familiarize themselves with the AOPA Pilot Information Center's medication database to verify which medications the FAA allows pilots to use and still fly. Read more...  




Eighteen rotors, pilot optional

The fact that the company CEO flew a prototype test with no prior experience was not the only unusual thing about the Volocopter VC200, an aircraft inspired by drones with two seats, people optional. Read more...  



Catch a drone for cash

MITRE Corp. is offering up to $100,000 to any person or team who devises a way to detect and capture a drone. If you're thinking "see it, shoot it, collect pieces, easy," that's not the answer they want: The targeted drone must be delivered to terra firma intact. Read more...  




Gulfstream IV crash showed 'normalization of deviance'

Opinion Leaders blogger Ron Rapp says an accident report summarizing a 2014 Gulfstream IV crash involving the failure to remove a gust lock "is one of the most disturbing I've ever laid eyes on" because of the normalization of deviance, a behavior that resulted in multiple fatalities. Read more...  



Giving your best is rewarding

A 6-year-old girl's generosity at the annual Friends of Oceano Airport Toys for Tots campaign in California reminds Opinion Leaders blogger Jolie Lucas that giving your best is the key to personal success. Read more...  




MyGoFlight offers iPad mounts

MyGoFlight offered two new mounting products during the recent business jet convention in Las Vegas to hold iPads in the cockpit. One works with existing monorail systems while the other is a clip mount. Read more...  



Pilot Getaways feature

Respite in the Green Mountains

Surrounded by one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, Killington, Vermont, is a destination for all ages. Whether you are looking for romance, recreation, or a retreat with the rug rats, you won't be disappointed by this mountain getaway. Read more...  



AOPA Foundation focus

Bid on air racing excitement

Imagine witnessing the incomparable thrill of air racing as a VIP spectator after flying a Breitling Extra 300 race plane with its celebrity pilot. Read more...  


Member benefit

Aircraft brokers can be helpful

When purchasing a turbine aircraft, consider reaching out to an aircraft finance broker who has relationships with multiple lenders and understands which institutions are most eager for your business. They can quickly look at your financial situation, your aircraft choice, and your usage to find the most competitive option for you. Read more...  


AOPA Foundation focus

Help support the AOPA Foundation this holiday season

The AOPA Foundation is short of its 2015 funding goal by less than $25,000, and you can help push the foundation over the top! Thanks to tax-deductible donations to the AOPA Foundation, this year more than 200,000 pilots completed free, potentially lifesaving Air Safety Institute programs; more than 600 flying clubs joined AOPA's network to help keep flying affordable; more than 8,000 teenagers signed up for AOPA's AV8RS program as a first step toward becoming general aviation's next generation of pilots; and more than 1,000 lapsed pilots got back in the air through the Rusty Pilots program. Help support these initiatives and donate to the foundation today...

News and Notes



Santa makes house call in RV-10

It's not yet Christmas, but Santa Claus has already deployed his aviation powers for the Tangier Island Holly Run and brightened the day for a 5-year-old girl recovering from a serious illness. More than 50 aircraft migrated to the tiny Chesapeake Bay fishing village in Virginia for a day, bringing holly, gifts, and school supplies. Read more...  



Mangold killed in crash

Mike Mangold, who distinguished himself at every stage of an aviation career that spanned military service, racing, and airshows, died in a Dec. 6 crash. Mangold was a distinguished U.S. Air Force fighter pilot who went on to become a three-time Red Bull Air Race world champion, logging 11,000 airline hours in between. Read more...  


Holland 'top of the world'

Rob Holland remains the undisputed master of the four-minute freestyle. The reigning world champion in that event, Holland once again took on the best pilots in the world at the FAI World Air Games in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the result was a familiar one. Read more...  



Eclipse jet plunges from altitude

An Eclipse twinjet flown by Kobus Dicks, the first customer in Africa, who took delivery of his EA500 in 2013, crashed Dec. 7 in South Africa. A South African Air Force pilot spotted the ill-fated aircraft in a steep spiral moments before it crashed. Read more...  



Aircraft design competition opens

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association and Build A Plane announced that registration is open through Jan. 31 for their fourth Aviation Design Challenge. Read more...  


Member benefit

AOPA member fulfills dream

The dream of learning to fly started in high school, but it wasn't fulfilled until nearly 40 years later when Michael Payne became a pilot at age 54. Payne turned to AOPA Insurance Services for his insurance needs because the staff found the best policy and rates, communicated well, and offered accident forgiveness through AOPA Air Safety Institute programs. Read more...  

Career Opportunities


AOPA career opportunities

Join the AOPA team

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? AOPA is looking for an e-learning designer, loan processor, member services representative, legal services plan attorney, legal services plan administrative assistant, Southern regional manager, Western Pacific regional manager, major gift officer, and account executive.To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

Question of the Week


You have just been cleared to land on the active runway; ATC reported that braking action was "nil to poor" on the first third of the runway and "fair" for the remaining two-thirds. What does this mean?


Braking action reports are provided either by other pilots or by airport management, and are very subjective. There are four different levels of braking action reports: good, fair, poor, and nil. The ATC report above means that braking action is pretty bad on the first third of the runway, getting better for the remainder of the runway. What you should remember is that braking action advisories are subjective and are being provided because braking is diminished, so plan accordingly. If you must divert to another airport, that is infinitely better than a runway excursion on landing. See AOPA's "Cold Facts: Braking Action Reports" Safety Brief for more information.

Got a question for our technical services staff? Contact AOPA.


Education and Seminars

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

Jan 9-10 - Spokane, Washington; Charlotte, North Carolina; San Antonio, Texas; Santa Clara, California; and Ridgeland, Mississippi

Jan 16-17 - Portland, Oregon; Bellevue, Washington; and Elkridge, Maryland

Jan 23-24 - Rockford, Tennessee; Long Beach, California; and Ypsilanti, Michigan

Feb 6-7 - Las Vegas, Nevada; and Louisville, Kentucky

For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the Air Safety Institute's Online eFIRC.

Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars

Jan 11 - Reno, Nevada; and The Woodlands, Texas

Jan 12 - Sacramento, California; and Houston, Texas

Jan 13 - Milpitas, California; and San Antonio, Texas

Jan 14 - Santa Rosa, California; and Austin, Texas

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

Rusty Pilot Seminars

Dec 12 - Stow, Massachusetts

Dec 16 - Lancaster, California

Dec 17 - Addison, Texas

Jan 2 - Lakeland, Florida

For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.


Aviation Calendar

Want something to do this weekend? Planning an aviation getaway? See AOPA's enhanced calendar of events. You can filter events by date range, airport ID, state, or region. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.

To include an event or to search all events in the calendar, visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices, see AOPA Airports. AOPA does not endorse or assume responsibility for the events submitted and listed in the calendar.

Events by Region

Northeast | Eastern | Mid-Atlantic | Florida | Southeast | Great Lakes | Midwest | Southwest | Central | Western | California | Northwest

ePilot Editors:

Alyssa Miller
Jim Moore
David Tulis

Production Assistant:

Melissa Whitehouse


Mike Collins
Sarah Deener
Dave Hirschman
Tom Horne
Alton K. Marsh
Warren Morningstar
Dan Namowitz
Jill W. Tallman
Elizabeth Tennyson
Ian J. Twombly
Julie Summers Walker

Member Tools: Send feedback | ePilot Archive

Related Articles