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The landing procedure in Just Aircraft's new SuperSTOL seems nothing short of suicidal. On final approach at 500 feet agl, chop engine power to idle and hold the control stick full aft. Then just sit there. Leading-edge slats on the wings deploy automatically at 55 KIAS, and the airplane slows to 40 KIAS while the rate of descent increases to about 800 feet per minute. The touchdown on 29-inch Alaskan Bushwheel tundra tires is remarkably soft as two long, externally mounted shock absorbers on the main landing gear (and another shock absorber on the tailwheel) cushion what in almost any other airplane would be a seismic event. With moderate braking, the airplane comes to a halt after a landing roll of 50 feet. See how it performs >>
Cessna to pause entry-level jet lines
Cessna Aircraft Co. will pause its entry-level jet production lines to await stronger demand, a move that has caused parent company Textron to reduce its forecast for earnings per share in 2013. Aircraft already in production will be built to a point where they can be quickly completed when demand for the jets increases. The Cessna CJ2, -3, -4, plus the Mustang will be paused. Read more >>
Zulu finding success in retail flight training
Last year an unlikely company unveiled an unlikely flight school. Headquartered in a retail strip mall in Alabama, Zulu Flight Training is owned and operated by Continental Motors and relies heavily on simulation, mainly from Redbird Flight Simulations' full-motion FMX devices. Based on the school's initial results, it seems as though an engine manufacturer can effectively run a flight school. Read more >>
Cirrus offers pilots to go with its aircraft
Cirrus Aircraft announced April 11 a renewed effort to woo buyers without pilot certificates: pilots on demand for those who may or may not have an interest in learning to fly. The two-tiered program is being formalized again as post-recession business picks up, and Cirrus said a growing number of customers want to leave the details of flying—and other tasks associated with owning an airplane—to others. Read more >>
New David Clark headset built for comfort
The trademark green is still there, but the brand-new headset from David Clark Co. is a departure from past models, with lighter weight, and an on-the-ear rather than full-ear-cup design. Read more >>
Tecnam offers low-cost time-building program
Tecnam North America is offering two new programs only for the U.S. market designed to make flying more affordable using the Tecnam P92 Echo Classic Light. From $59 per hour plus fuel, participants will be given exclusive use of a Tecnam P92 Echo Classic Light. Fly coast to coast, visit the Florida Keys, share the time with a friend, build time toward the commercial rating, or just have fun. The program will be rolled out nationwide over the next year but will start with aircraft pickup and dropoff in Richmond, Va., and Winter Haven, Fla. Read more >>
Superior Air Parts engines to power V-Twin kitplane
Velocity Aircraft of Sebastian, Fla., will offer builders of its pusher prop and canard-equipped V-Twin kitplane a choice of 160-horsepower or 180-hp engines by Superior Air Parts for their aircraft, the two companies said in a news release. Read more >>
Helicopter rides carry visitors back in history
Almost 40 years ago, the Bell UH-1 Huey helicopter was the workhorse of Army aviation during the war in Vietnam—flying troops into and out of battles, evacuating the wounded to field hospitals, and delivering supplies. Now, a Huey that saw combat in Vietnam is offering rides at events across the country. Read more >>
Package pricing simplifies Lancair buying
Learning from the success of the Evolution, Lancair officials have begun to offer completed kit prices for the piston-powered Legacy models. Read more >>
What's so special about aircraft tires?
Did you know that aircraft tires are hand-made? Every tire is carefully constructed and inspected to ensure it meets the FAA's stringent requirements. Find out how to get the right tires for your aircraft and whether you should consider retreaded tires. Read more >>
Sun 'n Fun attendance up
Sun 'n Fun President John "Lites" Leenhouts announced April 12 that show attendance was up 5 percent over the past two years. “The camping area is packed, vendors tell me merchandise is selling, and we’ve got lots of airplanes,” he said. The splash-in at nearby Lake Agnes drew some 35 varieties of seaplanes for grapefruit bomb drop and spot landing contests, although wind curtailed some activities. Campers on the Sun 'n Fun grounds may have spotted a specially equipped Cessna 172 displaying lighted messages under the wings and on the fuselage. Roger Caram-Andruet with Skyspot Advertising generously donated a portion of his aerial advertising to AOPA each night of Sun 'n Fun.
AOPA Flying Club Network's Facebook group reaches milestone
As the AOPA Flying Club Network's Facebook group celebrates its six-month anniversary, members explain why they joined the group and why it has become a vital resource for new and existing clubs. The group's membership went from zero to 644 in the first week it started, and currently has 1,820 members. Read more >>
Making the big decision: Aircraft purchasing
If the three most important things in real estate are "location, location, location," what priorities top the list for purchasing an aircraft? Mission, mission, mission, AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines explained in a webinar on aircraft purchasing. Haines and others discussed how to get the mission right and choose which aircraft is right for you, along with the purchase process, including information on financing and insurance, in this recorded webinar. View the webinar >>
Apps aid flight planning process
You can't fly anywhere without proper flight planning. Smartphone and tablet apps have simplified the process, covering everything from flight calculators to wind computers. Check out five apps that help pilots with flight planning. Read more >>
'Why I love my 172'
In the April 12 AOPA ePilot, we asked pilots to share why they love their Cessna 172 in 100 words or fewer—and include a photograph of them with their aircraft. Because of an error in the email address provided, many were unable to share their submissions. Please share your responses here, and we will collect them and share them with other 172 owners in an online page and an upcoming issue of AOPA Pilot. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Airworthiness directive affects several Rotax engines
Reciprocating an emergency airworthiness directive by the European Aviation Safety Agency, the FAA has issued an airworthiness directive (AD) requiring inspection and possible repair of a variety of engines made by BRP-Powertrain GmbH & Co. KG Rotax, including various editions of the 912 and 914 engines. A manufacturing defect may lead to excessive oil consumption and possible shutdown in flight, and a visual inspection for excessive oil or carbon deposits on the No. 2 and No. 3 spark plug center and grounding electrodes is required. If a buildup is present, the cylinder heads must be replaced. The AD is effective April 30, though comments will be accepted through May 30.
FAA finalizes landing gear AD for Diamond DA42 models
The FAA has finalized an airworthiness directive requiring inspection and possible replacement of landing gear parts on various models of Diamond Aircraft Industries GmbH DA42 twins. A shock absorber defect can allow overextension of the gear, and prevented deployment of the main gear on at least one DA42, prompting the mandatory service bulletin previously issued. The final AD takes effect May 20, with an estimated cost of $285 per aircraft. The cost may be covered by warranty for some of the 175 DA42 models in the U.S. registry. The FAA issued an AD for landing gear problems with DA42 models in 2011, though different parts were involved.
Reporting Points: Strange but true general aviation news
A miracle landing, a pair of amazing helicopter rescues, and a new use for drones. Read more >>
Debonair Sweepstakes: Debbie does Sun 'n Fun
After a three-ship, nine-hour flight from Santa Fe, N.M., the Debonair Sweepstakes airplane made its way to the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo. Find out what aspect of the aircraft elicited the most comments—and what visitors really meant when they said, "How old is it?" Read more >>
Hover Power: Vibration analysis
All helicopters have an inherent vibration. Understanding basic vibration levels and being alert to changes can be important for preventing fatal accidents. Difficulty with tracking and balancing the main rotor system should raise concern with pilots and mechanics. Two accidents involving Robinson R22 helicopters involved increasing vibration levels in the main rotor system. Read more >>
Special issuance changes, Sun 'n Fun recap
If you weren't able to make it to the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-in & Expo, find out what you missed. AOPA President Craig Fuller explains how a proposal that could keep pilots flying longer is losing traction at the FAA. Find out how changes to the special issuance process could benefit pilots with medical conditions such as arthritis, asthma, hypertension, migraines, and renal cancer. Plus, learn tips from Rod Machado on how to master high-density-altitude takeoffs in the License to Learn series. AOPA Live This Week, April 18.
Safety & Proficiency
Want to get a pilot off his high horse? Ask him to tell you about Class E airspace. Not just to change the mood during a hangar session. Nowadays the topic is fair game for instrument proficiency work when you consider that Class E airspace may become anchored to substantially more real estate if the announced closure of 149 contract control towers moves forward on June 15. Read more >>
Once in a while, someone does so many things wrong on a single flight that even the clinical description in the NTSB's official report leaves readers open-mouthed with amazement. Read along as the events in the accident chain of an amateur-built Safari helicopter stack up. Could anything else be left to chance? Read more in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.
The cold truth
In rugged, remote country, harsh weather can be more life-threatening than an aircraft crash itself. That message was driven home in March by an accident in which the pilot reportedly survived the initial impact but died of hypothermia while waiting for rescue. Read more >>
What does this knob do?
Flying bigger and faster aircraft comes with the cost of having to master more systems. From retractable landing gear nuances to turbochargers, these systems require more attention to manage as pilot in command, and can increase your workload. And with these systems come the understanding of not only what they do, but why they are needed. If it's been a while since you've had to look at a manifold pressure gauge or remember to use cowl flaps, refresh your memory with the Air Safety Institute's Transitioning to High Performance/Complex Aircraft safety quiz.
Not just a suggestion—it's the law
Regardless of how you feel about the regulations, they are not just a good idea or a suggestion. They are the law. Take, for example, instrument flight rules, better known as IFR. Brush up on your regulatory knowledge by taking the Air Safety Institute's IFR Insights: Regulations online course. Take the course >>
Leading Edge: No towers and tall towers
A flight to Sun 'n Fun International Fly-in & Expo left AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg contemplating two kinds of towers. The absence of a control tower at one airport drove home the importance of proficiency at nontowered airport operations, and the presence of an uncharted tower held lessons in obstacle avoidance. Read more >>
Reporting on a recent meeting with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, AOPA President Craig Fuller said support in the agency for the third-class medical certificate exemption seemed to be waning. “High-level FAA staffers told us the exemption was not a priority for the agency,” Fuller said, referring to a meeting earlier between FAA executives and leadership teams from AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association. The two associations jointly petitioned the FAA last year to allow pilots of four-place, 180-horsepower fixed-gear aircraft and smaller to fly in day VFR conditions using only a driver’s license as a medical certificate. Read more >>
House, Senate introduce bills to stop tower closings
Despite an announcement by the FAA that will delay the closing of 149 federal air traffic control towers under automatic sequestration cuts until June 15, Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have introduced the Protect Our Skies Act and Reps. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), and Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) have introduced the Air Traffic Control Tower Funding Restoration Act to protect and preserve the contract tower program. Read more >>Read more >>
Congress continues to question contract tower closings
Top transportation leaders in the House and Senate continue to question the Department of Transportation and the FAA over the reasoning used to close 149 air traffic control towers under automatic budget cuts required by sequestration. Read more >>
Graves encourages GA activism
Pleased with the success of a House of Representatives campaign to garner support opposing a federal $100-per-flight user fee for certain general aviation operations, House GA Caucus Co-chair Sam Graves (R-Mo.) encouraged Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo attendees to assure that their representative and senators are members of the respective GA caucuses. "Call your member of Congress and ask if they are a member of the GA Caucus. If not, have them call my office for details," Graves said at a Sun 'n Fun Town Hall meeting. Read more >>
NTSB session seeks to better document accident investigations
When the National Transportation Safety Board invited industry groups and government agencies to discuss areas the NTSB should better document in general aviation accident investigations, AOPA and the AOPA Foundation's Air Safety Institute responded with suggestions based on years of research and experience producing safety-focused training materials for pilots. Read more >>
AOPA advocacy in brief
Find out how National Transportation Safety Board discussions with AOPA could help "move the needle" to improve general aviation safety, how AOPA is working with U.S. Customs in Florida to ease the burden on pilots from federal budget cuts, what the association is doing in 34 states to protect GA, and more. Catch up at a glance in AOPA advocacy in brief >>
ASN volunteers honored at Sun 'n Fun
More than 50 Airport Support Network volunteers joined AOPA staff at the annual breakfast at the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo recognizing the volunteer efforts at local airports. The Airport Support Network represents more than half of the public-use airports across the country. 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.
New medical certification policy for heart valves, pacemakers
Pilots who have had heart valve replacements or had a pacemaker inserted, there's good news. The FAA is allowing pilots with these conditions to apply for higher medical certification. Read more >>
What can I do to reduce my insurance rates?
Reducing your insurance rates could be easier than you think. You can help to reduce your rates by obtaining an instrument rating, keeping your aircraft in a hangar, participating in a pilot proficiency program like the FAA Wings program, increasing your flight time, and maintaining a claim-free status for a certain period of time. Not all carriers have the same guidelines for when they will offer a premium reduction. AOPA Insurance Services can help you identify the best policy for your specific needs. Call 800/622-AOPA (2672) to find out how much you can save.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for an advertising marketing manager, mid-level gift specialist, network support engineer, aviation technical specialist, staff assistant/PAC coordinator, president of AOPA Insurance Services, office services supervisor, major gifts officer, and director of outreach and events. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.