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December 9, 2016, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' weekly newsletterDecember 9, 2016, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' weekly newsletter

Curtiss P-40 Warhawk

DECEMBER 9, 2016 - VOL 18, ISSUE 50

Top Stories


AOPA Fly-Ins expand

AOPA Fly-Ins for 2017 will give you more to experience—from camping and camaraderie to workshops and clinics offering opportunities to learn new skills, fly more affordably, or make the jump from aircraft renter to owner. AOPA has expanded the scope of each of the four 2017 Regional Fly-Ins, adding a second day to allow attendees to experience more hands-on aviation and participate in local fly-outs. See the 2017 Fly-In locations...  



Astronaut John Glenn dies at 95

John Glenn, who captured the nation's imagination and became a hero for the ages in 1962 as the first American to orbit the Earth, and who was the last surviving Mercury astronaut, died Dec. 8 at age 95. Read more...  


AOPA Live This Week

More to love in 2017; Ultimate ready room

You asked for more, and AOPA will deliver: The 2017 AOPA Fly-Ins will have more to see and experience with two full days of activities. Also this week, an airline pilot returns to her general aviation roots, and a flying club draws members to the airport even when it's not time to fly with a ready room that you might want to duplicate at your own airport. Watch AOPA Live This Week®, Dec. 8...  

Technique and Safety


Pilot Protection Services

Incorrect readbacks

What happens when you read back an air traffic control instruction or clearance incorrectly and ATC doesn't catch it? AOPA Pilot Protection Services panel attorney Dean Greenblatt details an FAA case against an airline transport pilot. Read more...  


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Taxi takeaways

Could you use a runway safety refresher? Get inside the cockpit with the AOPA Air Safety Institute's Runway Safety online course and navigate tricky situations including distractions, confusing taxiways, and miscommunications. Review real-world complexities of airport surface operations and learn what to expect from ATC. Take the course...


Safety seminar

What went wrong?

The AOPA Air Safety Institute's new safety seminar, Nontowered Case Studies: What Went Wrong?, offers attendees an opportunity to learn from others' mishaps at nontowered fields and avoid making the same mistakes. This free in-person seminar, brought to you by AOPA Insurance Services, underscores that flying at nontowered fields requires concentration, clear communication, and sharp eyes. You'll join expert seminar presenters and other pilots to play the role of accident investigator and work through evidence, eyewitness testimony, and other leads to figure out what went wrong, and why. Find dates and locations...  


Online resource

What makes your aircraft tick?

Peek behind your aircraft's firewall with the AOPA Air Safety Institute's Aircraft Ownership and Maintenance Safety Spotlight. Owners and renters alike can review principles of preventive maintenance and learn how to mitigate the risks associated with aging aircraft. Learn more...  




Privatized FSS faces new challenges

The FAA mostly met its cost-cutting goals with the 2005 privatization of its flight service stations, but the program faces a future challenge to ensure safety and efficiency with a declining demand for briefers, according to a Department of Transportation Inspector General's report. Read more...  



Powder River Council holds first meeting

An advisory council created to help military and civilian airspace users ensure safe and efficient flight operations in a 28,000-square-mile special-use airspace training complex that touches four western states got down to business in November, with AOPA leading the initial meeting. Read more...  




Fly Well

When is it time to hang up the scarf and goggles? Dr. Jonathan Sackier offers some tests you can apply to help you make the decision. Watch the video...  




Electric Extra sets climb record

Walter Extra, in addition to his feats of designing the famous line of Extra aerobatic aircraft and performing as a concert pianist, now has a time-to-climb record from Fédération Aéronautique Internationale in an electric-powered Extra 330LE. Read more...  



Hartzell reintroduces alternators

Hartzell Engine Technologies has reintroduced the Plane-Power line of alternators that, according to the company, deliver "more continuous power at lower engine rpms" than any other alternator for piston-engine aircraft. Read more...  




The 'differences training' difference

Differences training can make the difference between safe and unsafe aircraft operations, according to Opinion Leaders blogger Ron Rapp. Read more...  



Pilot magazine

Gear for the mission: Jet pilot

Peter Branower, 63, flies corporate jets just about anywhere—often a Bombardier Challenger 604. His company is required to carry paper charts, but he also keeps an electronic backup of Jepp-View charts. Learn what kind of gifts might benefit the jet pilot in your life this holiday season. Read more...  



Pilot Getaways

Backcountry access

Some backcountry airstrips are short and rough, located in deep canyons or on sloped hillsides, and demand sharp mountain-flying and short-field skills, as well as the proper aircraft. But Idaho's Johnson Creek airstrip is suitable for a Cirrus. The perfectly mowed, flat, 3,400-foot-by-150-foot grass airstrip offers access to creekside campsites, showers, a hot spring, forest hiking, and a tiny town with a restaurant. Read more...  




Women's aviation institute announces scholarships

The Institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW) announced that $14,000 in scholarships, trophies, and prizes will be part of the group's annual celebration of women and aviation. Women who take a discovery flight during the 2017 Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week March 6 through 12 and continue their flight training to "become the first to solo" will win iWOAW's First to Solo Challenge scholarship. Read more...  

News and Notes



Teen solos 1940s classics

Tom Tippin probably isn't the first high schooler to skip school on his sixteenth birthday. But he had a good excuse. On Dec. 1, Tippin was prowling around the Upper Cumberland Regional Airport in Sparta, Tennessee, at 5 a.m., prepping three airplanes—a Piper J-3 Cub, a Stearman, and a T-6 Texan—for his first powered solo flights. Read more...  



Aviation book returned to NY artist

An obscure aviation book with a century-old inscription connects a pioneer aviator to his son. Read more...  



GA under fire at Pearl Harbor

Pilots rose early to take advantage of fair weather before the typical Honolulu winds kicked up on that Sunday morning, 75 years ago. Dec. 7, 1941, was a beautiful day to fly, until fabric-covered airplanes were suddenly in a desperate struggle for survival among hundreds of warplanes converging on Pearl Harbor. Among the first Americans killed on that day of infamy were three men in a pair of Piper Cubs, along with the owner of the flying school where they had trained, who was himself shot dead on the ground when a fighter strafed Honolulu's civilian airport. Read more...  



Hangar Talk: You Can Fly

The declining number of pilots is general aviation's biggest threat. A smaller community means fewer airports, fewer airplanes, and higher prices—not to mention less influence in Washington, D.C. Learn how AOPA's You Can Fly program is working to reverse the decline in the pilot population. Listen to the podcast...  



German gyrocopters certified

FAA certification of the tandem-seat Calidus gyrocopter by AutoGyro located in Germany means U.S. flight schools can now train gyrocopter pilots and rent out the aircraft. Read more...  



'Zen Pilot' details global flight

Pilot Robert DeLaurentis shares his soul with readers in a new book, Zen Pilot: Flight of Passion & the Journey Within, and recalls some of the many challenges he tackled head-on during a 2015 global circumnavigation flight. 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 account executive, donor relations director, New York You Can Fly ambassador, aviation technical specialist, and aviation financial analyst. To learn more about these and other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

Question of the Week


What is a contact approach?


A contact approach requires less time than a published instrument approach and provides separation from other traffic. According to Aeronautical Information Manual section 5-4-25, this type of approach can be requested only by pilots on instrument flight plans. It can't be initiated by ATC; the pilot must be clear of clouds; and visibility must be at least 1 mile. The pilot should reasonably expect to continue in those conditions to the destination. The controller can't authorize this type of approach unless the pilot requests it; ground visibility is at least 1 statute mile; the airport has instrument approaches; and traffic separation can be maintained. By requesting and accepting a contact approach the pilot takes responsibility for obstruction clearance (so the pilot must know the local area). The pilot should be almost certain that he or she won't end back up in the clouds because this type of approach does not allow for going missed. For more information, see "Pilot/controller responsibilities" or this installment of the "Instrument insights" series. Contact approaches are covered in Chapter 4 of the Instrument Procedures Handbook as well.

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


Education and Seminars

Flight Instructor Refresher Courses

Jan 7-8 - Charlotte, North Carolina; Rockford, Tennessee; Santa Clara, California; and Ypsilanti, Michigan

Jan 14-15 - Bellevue, Washington; Elkridge, Maryland; and Ridgeland, Mississippi

Jan 20-21 - San Antonio, Texas; Portland, Oregon; and Long Beach, California

Feb 11-12 - Fort Worth, Texas; Louisville, Kentucky; Nashua, New Hampshire; and Kenner, Louisiana

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 9 - Reno, Nevada

Jan 10 - Sacramento, California; and Houston, Texas

Jan 11 - Milpitas, California; and San Antonio, Texas

Jan 12 - Austin, Texas; and Santa Rosa, California

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

Rusty Pilots Seminars

Dec 8 - Bartow, Florida

Dec 10 - Dallas, Texas; Newnan, Georgia; Long Beach, California; and Smithfield, North Carolina

Dec 17 - Fort Myers, 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.

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
Ian J. Twombly
Julie Summers Walker

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