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Staying alive: Survival training for after a ditching
Shivering and panting in the waters just off the Southern California coast, AOPA Editor - Web Sarah Brown gripped the white straps of the life raft ladder, found the lowest rung with her foot, and paused. Her heart was racing from hitting the 65-degree water—warm by ocean standards, but cool enough to trigger the gasping reflex and rapid heartbeat of cold shock response—and she knew she must stay calm. She pulled hard, leaned forward, and splashed head first onto the floor of the raft. The tented canopy of the raft blocked the wind as well as the view to the Gypsy Moon, a 41.5-foot boat serving as the training vessel for the H2O2 Foundation's Self Rescue Techniques for Pilots class. Read more >>
Trusting to luck
A June 2012 ditching of a 1946 Stinson 108E just off the coast of Maine drives home the importance of preparing for the possibility of a water landing. The 500-hour private pilot reported to Portland Approach that his engine had lost power at 500 feet agl. He ditched about 100 yards offshore and managed to get out of the cockpit, but without any flotation device. A helicopter operating nearby dropped a life vest; he was able to retrieve it and put it on, but couldn't get it to inflate. Read more >>
GAO rejects protest of attack aircraft contract
Beechcraft has denounced a decision by the Government Accountability Office to reject the company's protest of an award for a light attack aircraft that went to Sierra Nevada and Embraer's Brazilian-designed A-29 Super Tucano aircraft. Beechcraft offered its T-6, which was originally built as a trainer for U.S. military branches and has passed numerous tests for weapons and sensors. The Super Tucano is already in use worldwide as an attack aircraft. Read more >>
Icon raises $60 million to produce A5
Icon Aircraft announced June 20 that investors have provided $60 million in the fourth and final round of equity fundraising to support regulatory compliance and ramp up production of the new A5, touted by the company as "spin resistant" (though it will not be certified as such). The FAA has yet to rule on Icon's request for an exemption to light sport aircraft weight limits the company sought citing safety benefits. Read more >>
Solar Impulse pilots review aircraft's clean technology
Solar Impulse pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg used the aircraft as a backdrop to point out its use of clean technology and also pick up an award for their efforts. Read more >>
Solar-powered flight reaches beyond aviation
The aviation industry discouraged the idea behind Solar Impulse, but companies outside of aviation jumped at the chance to take part in solar-powered flight. Find out why an elevator company embedded engineers with the Solar Impulse team. Read more >>
Bell Helicopter unveils new five-seat model
Bell Helicopter is bringing yet another new helicopter model to market, this one a five seater aimed at the utility, flight training, and law enforcement communities. The category is called short, light, single-engine. It was designed with customer input. Read more >>
Michigan high school program promotes GA
Crosswinds Aviation has partnered with Michigan's Howell High School and the Young Eagles to create a general aviation education program designed to promote the industry to students. Read more >>
David Clark changes course for comfort
After decades of producing headsets known for performance and reliability, David Clark Co. has opted to add comfort to the mix. The DC PRO-X aviation headset is a departure from past David Clark models in many ways: It sits on your ear rather than encasing it, reduces noise to the ear by 30 decibels, and can be worn for hours at a time without discomfort. Read more >>
Two weeks to triumph
Eight teenagers got down to business on their first day of a two-week odyssey in which they will help to build two Glasair kit airplanes. The teens, who attend high schools in Michigan and Minnesota, arrived in Arlington, Wash., on June 16 after winning an aircraft design competition sponsored by Build A Plane and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. They will spend two weeks at the Glasair factory in Arlington, working alongside mentors and company representatives who will shepherd them through Glasair's Two Weeks to Taxi program. AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is following the teens through the program and providing daily updates. Read more >>
OpenAirplane simplifies aircraft rentals for pilots
Chicago-based OpenAirplane is betting it can change the value proposition for pilots renting aircraft outside their home fixed-base operators and flight schools by offering access to aircraft around the country. Read more >>
You've been asking ... and AOPA has been listening. It’s that time again—time to look over some Debonair Sweepstakes paint scheme designs. As usual, Craig Barnett of Scheme Designers, a longtime participant in AOPA’s sweepstakes aircraft restoration projects, came up with a wide range of paint schemes for the association's latest project. Read more >>
What do you want to 'Ask the experts' at AOPA Summit?
At AOPA Aviation Summit in Fort Worth, Texas, Oct. 10 through 12, AOPA will be offering a series of special Q-and-A and open-discussion forums for you to dig deep into important topics with leading experts. What topics are most relevant to you? Share your top three!
Deadline for GA nonprofit grant application is near
Does your nonprofit group have the right stuff to win a grant from the AOPA Foundation's Giving Back Program? The foundation will be awarding grants of up to $10,000 each to nonprofit organizations doing charitable work through GA. Find out more and apply now as the July 1 grant application deadline is just around the corner. Read more >>
Stay up to date on crazy weather with these apps
With all of the crazy weather pilots are experiencing across the country, check out these five weather apps to stay up to date on changing conditions. Read more >>
GACE Flying Club offers social, financial incentives
The GACE Flying Club, which grew from a club for Grumman employees, prides itself on offering members low-cost, safe flying and social events. Read more >>
Roscoe Morton, pilot, beloved EAA announcer dies
Roscoe Morton, long the lead voice of the Experimental Aircraft Association's summer celebrations, whose life story in aviation earned him honors as the "essence of EAA," has died. Read more >>
Reporting Points: Strange but true general aviation news
Capturing crab thieves, schoolyard landings, and unusual cargo on a private jet. Read more >>
Open water survival, AOPA demands answers
Months of federal silence on general aviation aircraft searches by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents have prompted a final demand for answers from AOPA, along with advice for pilots, and a plan to act if answers are not forthcoming. Also this week, a successful ditching is only half the battle: AOPA Live takes an in-depth look at open water survival training and shares some potentially life-saving tips and tricks. Watch a review of the latest David Clark headset, a brand-new model built for comfort. Rod Machado's regular "License to Learn" segment will explain flutter, and what that has to do with those little drain holes in aircraft control surfaces that you may have wondered about. AOPA Live This Week, June 20.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Safety & Proficiency
Storm Week in review
Thunderstorm season is here—a great reason to review the Air Safety Institute's free resources highlighted during the recent "Storm Week." The Air Safety Institute encourages you to hone your thunderstorm avoidance knowledge with its recorded webinar "Thunderstorm Avoidance: ATC, Datalink, and You." AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg, Nexrad and datalink expert Dr. David Strahle, and Boise Tower controller Andy Marosvari discuss how ATC, weather briefers, and onboard weather avoidance tools can help you steer clear of thunderstorms and when it's best to say no to a flight. View the recording >>
Leading Edge: Gust fronts
Gust fronts, which do not accompany every thunderstorm, can really make a hash out of your arrival or departure. With thunderstorms, what looks the same may not be, and benign can turn ugly really fast. Read more >>
IFR Fix: On course for MAARS
Anyone who has arrived in front of a downtown office building when the GPS was supposed to deliver them to a mountain ski resort knows that the best navigation system on the planet can be defeated by operator error. Read more >>
Hover Power: Ground resonance
A helicopter's rotor system, engine(s), and other dynamic components generate vibrations in the airframe. These components will vibrate at a natural frequency which in turn causes other parts like the landing gear, tail boom, and cabin to vibrate as well. Each part's frequency will vary according to its weight, stiffness, shape, etc. As such, a helicopter contains a complex set of vibrations that add up to a resulting airframe vibration. Engineers attempt to reduce the overall vibration level by tuning the natural frequency of all the components. Read more >>
AOPA demands answers on aircraft searches
After months of receiving no meaningful response to Freedom of Information Act requests on behalf of members stopped and searched, AOPA has submitted one final letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection demanding answers about the authority being exercised by federal agents who detain law-abiding pilots, sometimes for hours, and search aircraft. Pilots who have experienced searches are urged to contact AOPA. The association told CBP that the next messages will be directed at Congress. Meanwhile, AOPA has compiled a set of steps to follow if it happens to you. Read more >>
CBP streamlines overflight exemption, rules
Streamlined applications and customs procedures should improve the Southern Border Overflight Exemption process. An overflight exemption allows approved operators to overfly designated Customs airports that would normally be a required landing point on flights returning to the United States. Read more >>
GA community works to replace 100LL
AOPA and the GA community are committed to an unleaded future and have engaged in a program with the FAA to transition the industry to an unleaded avgas with the least impact on the existing fleet. Recent monitoring by the Environmental Protection Agency found that 15 of 17 airports monitored during a year-long effort had atmospheric lead levels below the national health standards and that concentrations drop quickly with distance from runup and departure areas. 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.
The FAA and depression
Currently only four antidepressant medications are acceptable to take and still receive medical certification: Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, and Zoloft. Dr. Warren Silberman, former manager of FAA Aerospace Medical Certification, offers some guidelines for their use. Read more >>
Buying an aircraft?
Many pilots prefer to pay cash for an airplane. Sounds admirable, but economics suggest that it may be time to take a second look and consider whether financing an aircraft purchase is a better alternative for you. Check out these tips from AOPA Aviation Finance LLC. Read more >>
AOPA Strategic Partner Spotlight: Aircraft Spruce & Specialty
Aircraft Spruce is supporting AOPA members by offering periodic special offers and discounts on aircraft parts and pilot supplies, and through sponsorship of AOPA Aviation Summit and the aircraft maintenance column on AOPA Online. The company also provides financial support that helps AOPA promote, protect, and defend GA. Visit Aircraft Spruce's website to learn more.