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Major or Minor Looking Ahead Panel Possibilities THE BASICS OF REPAIR


The Voice of General Aviation


June 2016 NAvion Restoration | Alpine Airpark | Annual Report

North American NAvion


Western Utopia



p. 50

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June 2016 | Volume 59 | Number 6 |

58 Living a Western Life

ON THIS PAGE: Fishing is among the many

Where “pilot’s paradise” isn’t just a superlative.

outdoor activities real estate agent and Alpine Airpark resident Marion Schulte highlights to potential buyers. Photo by Chris Rose.

By Thomas B. Haines

FEATURES Seeing is Believing

Yes, this is a 1947 NAvion. By Alton K. Marsh Page 50

The Luftwaffe’s L-Bird Flying the rugged Fieseler Storch. By Barry Schiff Page 66

Ready for the Future

The pilot community is on the cusp of changes that will make flying more accessible. AOPA Annual Report Page 74 AOPA PILOT | 1



June 2016



44 Multimedia Documentary on women’s air derby coming to PBS.

45 News from Aero Friedrichshafen News in brief.

46 Test Pilot Silk scarves.


29 Found

86 Technology Experimental avionics show the way.

30 FAA News

89 On Instruments

20 hours allowed.

Transitioning up and down.

32 AOPA News

6 President’s Position Join the club.

16 Waypoints

12 Letters Savvy Maintenance: Who’s guarding the henhouse?

108 Fly by Wire

Crossing the border.

Index of advertisers.

18 Proficient Pilot

109 Answers for Pilots

IM SAFE (or not).

Alaska: Scenic wonder

20 Safety Pilot Wolves and crowdsourcing.

112 Pilots Billy FitzGerald.

22 License to Learn Budget buy.

24 Pilot Counsel

Senate passes reauthorization bill.

91 Savvy Maintenance

35 Action in the States

95 ADS-B

Is repair a lost art?

This month’s focus: Western Pacific Region

Installing a UAT.

98 Never Again

36 Budget Buy

Where lesser angels roam.

The ‘safety’ airplane.

38 FAA News Two fuels in Phase 2

40 AOPA 172 Sweepstakes In our own back yard.

41 Sun ’n Fun News

MEMBERSHIP NEWS & NOTES 102 You Can Fly Start a flying club.

News in brief.

104 Products and Services

42 Musings

Are you tapping into ASI’s free programs?

The man inside.

Lifetime revocation for parts fraud. Denied.


Wright brothers’ patent application discovered.


26 Fly Well


106 Pilot Protection Services Unwanted attention.



Is repair a lost art?

Major or Minor Looking Ahead Panel Possibilities THE BASICS OF REPAIR


The Voice of General Aviation


June 2016


NAvion restoration | Alpine Airpark | Annual Report

North American NAvion


David Wakefield’s transformed 1947 NAvion, which once belonged to his father, shows off its new look between Chino Airport and Catalina Island (see “Seeing is Believing,” page 50). Photo by Mike Fizer.

p. 50

Western Utopia



Contact us at 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672) 2 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

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June 2016

Take your reading experience beyond these pages |

Ready for our future




FLYING CLUBS support the pilot community by making flying more accessible and bringing people together for fun and camaraderie.

the next Setting the stage for n Golden Age of Aviatio

World War II brought a similar boost to the community, with whole new wave of pilots. However, returning pilots faced a more heavily regulated environment that, at times, has undermined the growth of the industry, as AOPA’s founders predicted. Since World War II, most of GA’s peaks and valleys have been driven by regulatory changes. One key peak came in the years following 1994 when the General Aviation Revitalization Act (GARA) was passed. By altering a statute that mandated outdated terms of liability for aircraft manufacturers, GARA helped drive down product liability costs that were ratcheting up aircraft prices and thus the cost of flying. As a result, GA took off, with total GA operations increasing about 14 percent from 1995 to 1999. The future for GA again looks bright. We are on the cusp of key regulatory changes that will make flying more accessible, and emerging economic and generational trends


I and World War between World War General aviation, like is an oversimplification. , has seen ups and downs most other industries

in the past century. of GA in the United Fluctuations in the health nts to two key determina States can be attributed . community and regulation of success: the pilot y, trainthe pilot communit World War I created largely came home to fly in ing new pilots who It was during this so-called unregulated skies. of people had the foregroup a that Age Golden if they what could happen sight to understand creto aviation—so they didn’t preserve access that launched AOPA ated AOPA. The mission the golden era still drives during aviation’s first rk for a it lays the groundwo association today as bright future.


76 | AOPA PILOT June PILOT 2016

74 | AOPA PILOT June

Amounts in ($000s) (Unaudited)

LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES Facing the challenges from Washington, D.C., and beyond

AOPA was founded to protect the freedom to fly. Our staff of legislative and regulatory affairs specialists is dedicated to continuing that vision by working hard every day for your interests. Here are some of AOPA’s top priorities for 2016:

2015 REVENUE (Total revenue $48,342)

Product sales and services 4,558

The future looks bright for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Learn about your association’s initiatives, see its forwardthinking goals, and delve into AOPA’s financial profile. annualreport2015

Contributions, contracts and grants 3,072 Other income 1,485

Advertising fees 8,080

Commissions and royalties 14,036

Membership dues and subscriptions 17,111

2015 EXPENSES (Total expenses $50,292)

AGE OF ABOUT THE “GOLDEN WHEN PEOPLE TALK period usually referring to the AVIATION” they are II, but this




present opportunities we have not seen in the past. AOPA is well positioned to capitalize on these shifts in its ongoing effort to make flying more accessible to everyone. AOPA’s revenue is up, expenses are down, and we are making long-term investments that will allow us to capitalize on a changing environment and do an even better job at facilitating access to aviation. AOPA is already the leader in news, insurance, advocacy, safety, training, and legal guidance in and around general aviation; we will harness those strengths and build new ones as we grow and become even more effective in a changing environment. Yet our mission remains the same: protecting your freedom to fly. The first major change on the horizon is third class medical reform, which will reduce the cost of flying and keep more pilots flying safely. Third class medical reform has been a top priority for AOPA and our members for years and language has passed the Senate twice in the last few months: as the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 in December 2015 and more recently in the chamber’s FAA reauthorization legislation. The House has also included third class medical reform language in

PILOT | 75

Third class medical reform. Reform has never been closer. When this effort passes Congress it will be the first major change in medical certification in more than half a century. FAA reauthorization. Although the prospect of user fees remains, AOPA is committed to ensuring we continue to pay through the fuel tax. Non-STC equipment and Part 23 reform. Technology exists today that can make flying safer and more affordable. AOPA is working to see that it can make the transition from strictly Experimental aircraft to certificated aircraft. State legislative issues. State legislatures continue to look at aviation as a way to increase revenue, but AOPA has defeated these tax increases time and time again. Saving airports. Through a reinvigorated Airport Support Network, AOPA is active in your area with volunteer members who keep their eyes and ears open in an effort to keep airports strong and secure. Unleaded fuel. AOPA is a key player in ensuring a smooth transition away from a leaded fuel source.

Fundraising 518 Advocacy and representation 13,442

Management and general 4,798 Member engagement 2,728 Membership development 5,921

Publications 13,071

Products and services 9,814 AOPA PILOT | 77




These and other great videos can be accessed in the AOPA Pilot Enhanced Digital Edition. WWW.AOPA.ORG/DIGITALEDITIONS

You’re not going to believe your eyes— yes, this is a 1947 NAvion. Senior Editor Al Marsh finds out what amazing things $360,000 can do.

AOPA LIVE THIS WEEK Flying is an international pastime, as our traveling video team discovers. Join the AOPA Live This Week crew as they see electric aircraft at Aero Friedrichshafen in Germany, tour the beaches of Normandy with an Earthrounder, and meet the members of AOPA Egypt.


Join Editor in Chief Tom Haines in a “pilot’s paradise,” Wyoming’s Alpine Airpark, where the superlative doesn’t do this slice of Western life justice.

4 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

2016-2017 SWEEPS AIRCRAFT DONATED Meet Thomas Johnson, a pilot near Clearview Airport in Westminster, Maryland, who has donated his Cessna 172 to AOPA’s annual sweepstakes program.

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Join the club


Airplane giveaway to help a club take off


first airplane was a Cessna 150.

6 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

MANY OF YOU ALREADY KNOW that flying clubs have been an important part of my own aviation journey. So you probably won’t be surprised to learn that I want to “pay it forward” and make it easier than ever for more people to enjoy the special benefits of flying club membership. As a member of a flying club, I’ve been able to fly airplanes I could never have afforded on my own. I’ve been able to use airplanes for vacations and weekend getaways—things I could never really do as a renter. I’ve made lifelong friendships with pilots who love to fly just as much as I do. And my experiences are by no means unique. In fact, I hear similar stories again and again from pilots who belong to flying clubs of all types and sizes, all over the United States. Over the course of the past year or so, all of us at AOPA have been working on ways to get pilots flying and keep them flying, and we’ve done it under the banner of You Can Fly—a collection of initiatives and programs including Rusty Pilots seminars, the Flight Training Initiative, support for high school STEM programs, and, of course, the AOPA Flying Club Network. Through You Can Fly and the AOPA Flying Club Network, we want to make flying club membership more accessible to more people. That means offering support to existing clubs, developing ways to help pilots connect with clubs near their homes, and helping to start new clubs wherever pilots are ready to enjoy the fun and camaraderie that clubs have to offer. We want these new clubs to get off to a great start, so this year we’ll be giving away a Reimagined Cessna 150 to one lucky startup club (see “Flying Club 150 Giveaway,” p. 102). If you’ve been to an AOPA Fly-In or visited with us at an airshow recently, you’ve probably seen the bright yellow 150s and 152s flown by our AOPA Ambassadors. These Reimagined Aircraft are older airplanes that have been updated from tip to tail. They’re fun to fly, easy to own, and affordable to operate—a perfect starter airplane for a new club. Entering the giveaway is easy. Your club must meet some eligibility requirements and then fill out the online application. To be eligible your club must have at least four members, a named set of club officers, a set of bylaws, be listed as a “club in formation” on AOPA’s Flying Club Finder, and meet a couple of other simple requirements. The online application form asks

questions about your startup club, including the vision for what the group hopes to be and accomplish. Once we’ve received all the applications, a panel will review the submissions and pick a winner. All the details and the application form are available online (www.aopa. org/flyingclubgiveaway). Starting a club can take some legwork, but AOPA has plenty of practical experience that can help smooth the path, and we want to share our knowledge with you. If you’re putting together a club, or just want a better understanding of what’s involved, visit the Resource Library in the AOPA Flying Club Network section of our website. If you’re ready to take the next step, list your group as a Flying Club in Formation in AOPA’s Flying Club Network of 700 new and existing clubs. The network is free to join and comes with great benefits that can help you start or sustain your club. In addition to the Resource Library, startup clubs can get hands-on assistance from AOPA Ambassadors. In the past year or so, they’ve helped start new clubs all across the country, and there are more clubs in the works. As your club gets rolling, you can also take advantage of additional benefits of network membership like free scheduling and invoicing software, the help and support of AOPA’s flying club experts, and a premium entry in AOPA’s Flying Club Finder to help people who are looking to join a club find you. For pilots, club membership offers the very best elements of aircraft ownership at a much lower cost. And, unlike solo ownership, clubs can offer a social network as well as fly-outs and group activities that give you a reason to try something new or offer an easy way to get the nonflying members of your family out to the airport. As a member of a flying club, you can count on support from other pilots who share your experiences, concerns, and excitement. You may even be able to get training right from members of your own club. Some of my very best aviation experiences have been with flying clubs, and I’d like you to have the same opportunity. Give a club a try or start your own. Soon you could be flying for as little as $3,000 to $4,000 a year—and you might even win an airplane to get your club off to a great start. AOPA EMAIL


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Copyright 2016, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. All rights reserved. No part of this monthly publication may be reproduced or translated, stored in a database or retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or other means, except as expressly permitted by the publisher; requests should be directed to the editor.



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- Photo Airborne Films



Savvy Maintenance: Who’s guarding the henhouse? Mike Busch’s take on the rules governing Light Sport aircraft elicited strong responses from pilots of Light Sport models. I have always enjoyed the writing of Mike Busch, but I must take exception to some of the opinions he expressed in his recent article about Special Light Sport aircraft (SLSA) maintenance and flight into instrument meteorological conditions by SLSAs. A few years ago when the FAA began more focused oversight of the SLSA industry, it found that although the overall safety record of the industry was good, some of the documentation of a few manufacturers was lacking. It also saw that several manufacturers were advertising and selling “IFR approved” products. Although the FAA regulation on IFR use was ambiguous, as Busch noted, it was pointed out that SLSA aircraft were not intended to be operated in IMC. It was felt that our standards, while fine for day and night VFR, were not adequate for planned flight into IMC. We had a choice as a committee to restrict the use of our products for flight into known IMC or lose the possibility of developing increased requirements for

flight into known IMC, which as the industry has matured we are now ready to do. It was not collusion by the SLSA manufacturers to reduce our liability and trick our customers. The use of advanced EFIS systems with synthetic vision was implied as a waste on SLSAs. I disagree. Our customers’ safety is every bit as important to them as it is to owners of other general aviation aircraft. The situational awareness provided by synthetic vision, coupled autopilots, and ADS-B In is the way of the future and should be inexpensively available to all aircraft owners. I am certain that some of our owners have used the systems and the capable autopilots to bail themselves out of tough situations. That is quite different from taking off in a snowstorm to fly to Cincinnati. Tom Peghiny AOPA 801261 President, Flight Design USA South Woodstock, Connecticut

I enjoyed Mike Busch’s article and was pleased at the discussion of re-registering SLSAs

How many fly-in events do you plan to attend this year? 3% 0-2 3-5 6-9 10 or more

72% 23% 3% 3%


David McConnell AOPA 211060 Novata, California 

23% 72%

Aviation eBrief poll For a schedule of AOPA’s 2016 fly-ins, see p. 41.

12 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

as Experimental. I bought a 2012 Sky Arrow and wanted to upgrade it by adding an angle of attack indicator, which was as simple as changing out the pitot tube to the Dynon-supplied one. As he noted, that cannot be done on a SLSA without a letter of authorization, which the airframe manufacturer was unwilling to supply because it had concerns about the calibration if I did the installation. Never mind that I am an A&P and have built three aircraft, and that the calibration process is individual to each airplane. I reregistered the airplane as Experimental. I was warned that doing so would negatively affect the value of my airplane. Since doing so I have added the AOA and ADS-B In, modified the tail spring, changed the main gear tires to Michelins, and added a port in the glareshield to give access to the back of the panel. I am considering adding lateral trim. I am convinced I have enhanced the value of my airplane because I can present it as having been factory built, but with enhancements not available on factory machines, and with the option of additional enhancements that a purchaser might personally desire.

Pilots: Caitlyn Jenner Looking to the April issue of AOPA Pilot, it seems that AOPA

has fixed all legitimate GA issues and is looking for something else to do. Therefore it has decided to introduce itself into gender-identity politics. Mercifully for the AOPA membership, the toilets on aircraft are always single user. Eliacim Cortes AOPA 5357038 Arlington, Texas

One of the things that have always been a part of general aviation and its press has been the total lack of political “correctness” concerning sexual orientation. It was about flying and all the joy, trials, and triumphs it entails. To find an article in AOPA Pilot promoting a transgender pilot, regardless of his success as a sports figure, is a sad day for AOPA. This whole topic has no place in aviation, and you do no one a favor writing an article like this. Hugh G. Dudley AOPA 856677 Albion, New York

I’ve followed Barry Schiff for years and enjoyed his articles. But he lost me with the Jenner article in AOPA Pilot. I don’t think a publicity-seeking nut from Hollywood has a place in the magazine. Doug Ehmann AOPA 986804 Phoenix, Maryland

When Bruce Jenner opened his aircraft sales company I was annoyed, thinking it just another example of a famous person trying to capitalize on

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LETTERS Do-it-yourself ADS-B In

In March, our local EAA chapter sponsored a workshop where 50 attendees had the opportunity to hear Chris Young explain Stratux and then assist in several builds. Amazing to see how this project has swept across the country and will be more interesting to see where it is a year from now.

Randy Passeno AOPA 1395022 Grand Rapids, Michigan

his name in a business. I had no idea until today that he/she had a sincere interest in aviation. Four thousand hours isn’t all that much, but it isn’t just a few hundred hours, either. I hope Ms. Jenner enjoys her Bonanza and whatever flying pleasure it brings. William Zollinger AOPA 569727 Cordova, Tennessee


As a longtime member, I want to send a quick thank-you to AOPA for its position of inclusion with regard to the Caitlyn Jenner profile. Being an Airbus pilot, I have worked with

14 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

transgender men and women and witnessed firsthand some of the discrimination they can face. I am more proud to say that I support AOPA knowing that it stands for all pilots. Mike Wallace AOPA 9243108 Denver, Colorado

Barry Schiff responds: The general aviation airport represents a unique slice of society. It is a place and an activity relatively free of crime, bigotry, and other societal ailments. A pilot’s race, religion, ethnicity, social status, gender, sexual preference, or political persuasion is of no

concern. All that matters is his or her passion for wings. When I recently discovered that Caitlyn Jenner (née Bruce Jenner) was based at my home airport in Camarillo, California, and had just purchased a Beech Bonanza, it seemed natural that I write a profile about her. Jenner was a world-famous Olympic athlete—the first to wave an American flag in victory—and is an accomplished pilot who was returning to flying after an extended absence. If I had known 10 years ago that Jenner was a pilot, I would have written about him then because he was one of the greatest track-and-field athletes to walk the planet. And he was a pilot. That I only recently learned that she was transgender did not change a thing. That aspect of her life was irrelevant to me and only incidental to her story. It has always been my goal to write about subjects and people in a way that benefited and was of interest and value to members in one way or another. We seem to live in an age of polarization. There is no shortage of subjects that divide us. Aviation and belonging to AOPA, it seems, should be the glue that unites us.


In the March 2016 installment of “Dogfight,” we asserted that an FAA-approved instrument approach was one in which the full procedure, including the missed approach, must be performed in order to earn credit. The statement is not true; the missed approach procedure is not required for credit toward instrument currency. A list of aviation history sites in “Summer Camp” (March 2016 AOPA Pilot) incorrectly stated that visitors to the Sikorsky Aircraft facility in Connecticut may sit at Igor Sikorsky’s desk. The office is infrequently available for viewing behind a protective screen, and no one is allowed to enter. The May issue of AOPA Pilot contained an incorrect airplane identification in the caption on page 50. The airplane pictured is a Lockheed 12A. AOPA Pilot regrets the errors. We welcome your comments. Editor, AOPA Pilot, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701 or email ( Letters may be edited for length and style before publication.

When AOPA Photographer CHRIS ROSE reviewed his photographs from Alpine, Wyoming (see “LIVING A WESTERN LIFE,” p. 58), the picturesque airpark’s scenery shone through in vivid colors. In fact, it was one of the few times in recent memory Rose has actually had to desaturate the images from a photo shoot. “The blues were so blue, the greens were so green, the oranges were so orange that it almost didn’t seem real,” said Rose of the region that has earned itself the nickname “America’s Little Switzerland.” There really is something for everyone in this outdoorsman’s haven: fishing, hunting, boating, and, of course, flying. But as much as the area’s natural grandeur impressed Rose, he said the best part of his visit was the hospitality of Alpine’s residents. “They’re as proud of their community as we are to feature it,” Rose said. “They understand how good they have it.”

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Crossing the border

BY THOMAS B. HAINES Editor in Chief

High tech makes for low-stress adventures MY FRIEND ADRIAN EICHHORN spent the better part of five years planning an around-the-world trip in his Beechcraft Bonanza, to include the complete disassembly of the airplane to replace anything in the 50-year-old airframe that might be even a little worn. In addition to the aircraft, he spent months poring over routes and weather patterns, learning international flight rules, and considering fueling locations in parts of the world where avgas is a real novelty. Good on him, as my mates in Australia say. But for those wanting an international general aviation experience, the hurdles needn’t be so high—or so far apart,

Editor in Chief TOM HAINES has flown GA airplanes in some two dozen countries around the world, on six continents.

16 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

as I recently discovered on my first trip back to the Bahamas in several years. The islands are as close as ever—just 50 nautical miles to Bimini from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. But with GPS, online flight planning, satellite tracking, and cellphones, the distances seem to have shrunk. Technology has made it easier than ever to traverse the diverse island chains of the Bahamas. We departed Florida Keys Marathon International Airport under scattered skies. The navigation databases in the panel-mount avionics never blinked as we entered San Andros Airport, our destination for clearing customs. The digital charts in the electronic flight bag stretched beyond the farthest Bahamian island. A quick call to the Miami flight service station and our international VFR flight plan was activated. As we progressed, the deep blue water shallowed and we could make out sharks and rays stirring up the sandy bottom just a couple of thousand feet below us. Touching down at San Andros, everyone’s cellphones

began beeping as messages came in, just as they might at an airport in the States. Bahamian customs and immigration quickly ushered us through the paperwork and offered us some of the famed Andros water, said to restore health and bring longevity. There was a time when assessing fuel availability at the remote islands and filing flight plans back to the States was a huge challenge in the Bahamas. In the 1990s the government installed special phones with direct lines to Nassau Radio and Miami Radio in an attempt improve the situation. But mostly the phones were out of service. These days it doesn’t matter, because cell service is good throughout most of the islands. Wi-Fi is as prevalent as it is in the States, although the connection speed is often slow. Satellite phones, once the salvation for flying the islands, are no longer necessary. Returning to the States is the most difficult part of any international excursion. Although filing the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) eAPIS electronic passenger and crew manifest form is tedious, the site is fairly straightforward (eAPIS forms must be filed outbound as well). Coming into the United States, give Customs at your point of entry a phone call as a heads-up. En route, call Miami Center on the radio and get a squawk code before crossing the U.S. Air Defense Identification Zone. The AOPA website has all the details on flying to and from the islands. Many pilots seem put off by the idea of crossing the border in a GA airplane. Given CBP’s reputation for being difficult and inconsistent in interpretation of the regulations, it’s no wonder. AOPA is working with the CBP staff to improve the situation, and has successfully stopped the agency’s program of unwarranted stops of innocent pilots. Many of us learned to fly to take advantage of the unique places a GA airplane can go. With grottos, blue holes, amazing fishing, friendly people, and incredible sunsets, the Bahamas qualifies in spades. And while many of us are not “Earthrounder” candidates like Eichhorn, it doesn’t mean we can’t explore nearby regions. The border, after all, is just a line on the map. With today’s technology the line blurs, making it easier than ever to cross. AOPA EMAIL


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IM SAFE (or not)


Sometimes you need to ground yourself A WELCOME ASPECT of piloting an aircraft is that it can be a form of escape. Flying seems to temporarily distract and relieve us from life’s turmoil and the curveballs that are thrown our way on the ground. Earthly problems seem to blur and dim as we take to the sky, even though we know that they will still be there upon our return. So it is that the challenges of daily life generally do not interfere with flight safety.


author’s 13-year-old Havanese dog.


has written more than 1,700 magazine articles and 12 books (including two novels) dealing with aviation.

18 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

I recently discovered, however, that this relief valve is not as reliable as I had come to believe. Five days before writing this, my wife, Dorie, and I (with the counsel of our veterinarian) were forced to concede that Boychik, our 13-year-old Havanese dog, was in store for a painful passing that likely would occur in a matter of days. We decided with gutwrenching consternation that it would be in his best interest to end his suffering and send him on his way to the “Rainbow Bridge.” His journey, we decided, should begin at home, where he would be most comfortable. The thought of abandoning him at the vet’s office to be put down while on a cold, stainless-steel table was unbearable. The vet arrived at our home that afternoon, and Boychik was soon cradled in my arms, his beautiful, trusting eyes looking at me one last time. He was made to fall asleep and soon passed into another world while snuggled in Dorie’s lap. It did not matter that ending Boychik’s suffering was the right thing to do. I felt as though I had betrayed my best friend. The grief and heartbreak was unlike anything I had ever felt. It was as though a part of my soul had been ripped away.

That night I finally managed to cry myself to sleep but awoke to more tears after only a few hours. Unable to return to sleep, I crawled out of bed and spent the predawn hours stumbling about the house like a zombie. There were reminders of Boychik everywhere. There was a cookie “buried” in a remote corner; his half-filled water bowl sat next to a kitchen wall; a leash hung from a doorknob; his favorite toy, a squeaky squirrel, lay forlornly on the living room floor. Our home seemed devoid of energy, as if the essence of life had been sucked out and replaced with a heavy cloud of sadness. (“Dog people” might better understand these sentiments than others.) Thankfully, I had access to relief. The day after Boychik departed I was to fly a rented Cessna 172SP from Camarillo, California, to Santa Monica to have lunch with friends. It was a short, 20-minute flight that I had made what seemed like a thousand times before. I could fly there in my sleep. I conducted the preflight inspection in a perfunctory manner, finding that I had to repeat certain steps to convince myself that I really had checked this or that. I soon began to recognize that I also needed to preflight myself. The FAA’s acronym “IM SAFE” came to mind. (The letters stand for illness, medication, stress, alcohol, fatigue, and emotion, factors that can impact flight safety.) I admit that I had always made fun of this and some of the FAA’s other seemingly unnecessary acronyms. After all, I thought, if I weren’t fit to fly, I would simply know it. I discovered in the Aeronautical Information Manual, however, that relying on intuition can lead to disastrous results. The AIM says that emotional distress can decrease alertness and lead to risk-taking that borders on selfdestruction. This could apply to me. I was a basket case, and I knew it. I locked the airplane, reattached the tiedown chains, returned the keys to the rental desk, and called my friends to explain why I had temporarily grounded myself. I then climbed into my car and began driving home, tears returning when thoughts of Boychik drifted across my consciousness. This experience taught me in a different way that there are times when the most successful flights are those that never leave the ground. AOPA WEB

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Wolves and crowdsourcing


Better pireps, better forecasts


is the former president of the AOPA Foundation and is a senior safety advisor to the AOPA Air Safety Institute.

20 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TOLD that VFR was not recommended, or that there was moderate turbulence ahead, or icing—and nothing bad happened? Ever expected to have an easy flight, and all of those things happened? Weather is, without doubt, our biggest challenge. It’s responsible for canceled trips, missed appointments, airsickness, and vows by friends and spouses never to fly with us again. Misjudged, it can lead to wrecked aircraft—or worse. But there may be an opportunity to improve this significantly. One of the biggest advancements in cross-country flight is the ability to know the location of precipitation (a derivative of convection), and avoid it with in-cockpit weather. The “cry wolf” aspect of overforecasting has been discussed in the past. New pilots typically are cautious with airmets and won’t fly because they believe the forecast—but the inclement weather may not be there, or to the extent warned. They learn that conditions frequently are flyable, and some start to ignore the warnings. A dossier of success is built up, perhaps over several years. Then the wolf really does show up and wishful thinking kicks in: I’ve seen this before; it will get better; they always overforecast; the wolf isn’t that big. On average, we lose between a dozen and 20 aircraft a year to VFR into IMC—almost always with fatal results. Icing typically will claim another five or six. Innumerable flights are canceled when they don’t need to be. The lives are irreplaceable and the cost runs into the hundreds of millions—annually. The AOPA Air Safety Institute has several fatal accident case studies on its website in which pilots were surprised by weather that was known to air traffic control, but the pilots did not know—or made a bad choice. The National Weather Service gets blasted when it misses a forecast, but all too often it can only rely on history and archaic models, because there is little feedback into the system. Imagine shooting an instrument approach with a crosswind but without lateral guidance. That’s essentially what the Aviation Weather Center (AWC) does when it forecasts airmets for IMC, icing, and turbulence. It’s a best guess given general conditions; and without feedback, there’s little opportunity for a midcourse correction. The guidance for issuing airmets is broad. Unless amended, they will be in effect for six hours and cover no fewer than 3,000 square miles. Often, the forecast conditions will cover several states and the vertical

extent is described broadly—often in 5,000-foot increments. The criteria include ceilings of less than 1,000 feet and/or visibility less than three miles, mountain obscuration, moderate turbulence, sustained surface winds of 30 knots or greater, moderate icing, and low-level wind shear within 2,000 feet of the surface. That’s vitally important if it’s really there, but if the conditions will even be in a small portion of the area for only a short time, the airmet must cover the entire area for the entire period unless amended. Not so good. Pilot reports (pireps) help forecasters tremendously. Imagine actually observing the weather and making corrections as needed! But without airborne observations from us, these corrections can’t happen. Cost-effective automated sensors for aircraft flying below 10,000 feet agl don’t yet exist, so we need to say what we see. Most of us don’t, but you can volunteer one anytime. ATC is required to solicit pireps any time airmets are in the forecast, and controllers generally try to comply, but entering information is cumbersome. It is anything but standardized throughout the various ATC facilities, but technology may solve this. Enter crowdsourcing. Suppose we could bypass ATC by downlinking off a tablet (electronic flight bag) directly into AWC and copy ATC. A few aircraft with internet access can do this now, but the big breakthrough may come if we can use the UAT datalink channel on Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast. Since the aircraft type, altitude, and location already are known, a pirep on any weather condition could be entered in seconds, with a few taps on your tablet. That has the potential to change pilots’ decision-making process— based on actual observations and reality. If VFR were not recommended but pireps indicated safe conditions, many more flights could be completed. Conversely, if conditions deteriorated, pilots could know immediately. Airmets could be amended, issued, canceled, or expanded much more accurately than today’s system allows. The NTSB will hold a public summit June 21 and 22. There’s plenty to discuss, and you can submit comments at or join in person. Yogi Berra once noted that “You can observe a lot just by looking.” Key the mic for now, but stay tuned as we work to improve the safety and utility of light aircraft. AOPA WEB


Budget buy


Young people and career choices


holds degrees in aviation science and psychology.

22 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

I REMEMBER A TIME when an airplane would fly over our house during dinner and I’d run outside shirtless—in my tiny pants and bare feet—and then point skyward and yell, “Airpwane! Airpwane! Airpwane!” I remember that because it happened last week. OK, I exaggerate. But I’ve always loved airplanes. As a youngster, I intuitively knew that aviation was the career choice for me. Our family, however, didn’t have deep pockets, so I had to find an inexpensive way to earn my pilot certificates and a college degree. That’s exactly what I did. You can do the same if you consider the following strategy. During high school, I got something called a “job.” Our president says he has created millions of these, so they should be easy pickings for anyone interested in having one. Except for teenagers, of course. Today’s teenagers, who typically don’t have skills that merit pay at the current minimum wage, often find employment nothing more than a pipe dream. Instead, they frequently pursue scholarships. That’s fine—if you can get one. Unfortunately, you stand a better chance of getting hit by lightning than obtaining a scholarship. At least a lightning strike pays greater dividends, because you can rent yourself out as a human flashlight for a week. In any case, even if you obtained a scholarship, most pay only a small percentage of flight-training costs. It seems as though jobs and scholarships both are pipe dreams, only without the pipe. Absent a “deep-pocket daddy,” most teenagers are left with little choice but to generate their own entrepreneurial revenue stream. Any young person with more than a handful of neurons can do a Google search on the subject and find hundreds of ways to make money for flying lessons. That’s not a throwaway line, either. I’ve known many teenagers who’ve done this and paid for their own flight training. Of course, you’ll need a college degree for employment with a major airline. So let me disabuse you of a galactic-sized misconception about college. The airlines couldn’t care less where you went to college, as long as the college doesn’t have the word “clown” in its name. They only care that you have a four-year degree, regardless of the number of years you took to earn it. Nor do the airlines care what you studied in college, even if the word “clown” is in your degree title.

My advice is to study what interests you. Period. Your objective in choosing an area of study is to give yourself a reason to finish school. If studying aviation makes you happy, then study aviation. If you want to make bad guys unhappy, study law enforcement. What you study doesn’t matter with respect to an aviation career. Just show up for class, don’t clown around, and graduate. Wait! How do you get a four-year degree if you can’t afford to go to a big-name aviation school? Simple. Go to a community college for two years, and then transfer to a local, four-year state college. Not everyone can afford the $150,000 to $200,000 it takes to attend a big-name aviation school. Sure, you can ride the student-loan train to graduation, but there’s always a price to pay as you disembark. I’m speaking of the fact that you’ll leave school owing more money than most young adults spend purchasing their first home. Is it really wise to begin an aviation career with such debt? I think not. You can even transfer to an accredited, four-year distance-learning institution to complete your bachelor’s degree at home. This gives you flexibility in your schedule to continue earning flight-training money. Your objective should be to earn your CFI certificate in the least expensive way possible. This involves finding a good instructor and a not-too-fancy airplane to fly. Once you become a CFI, you can build flight time and earn money while completing college. Finally, what about plopping down $60,000 to attend a mega-sized flight school that promises fasttrack airline training? Please, do your homework and research the company first. If it’s reputable, then sign up. But always remember Rod’s Flight Training “What Happened to My Money?” Rule Number 1: Don’t give anyone more money than you care to lose at any one time. Period. Better yet, deposit your money into an escrow account that’s tapped by the flight school, but only under your supervision. The fact is that companies tend to treat you better when you have money they want, but have not yet obtained. Want an aviation career? Go to local two- and fouryear colleges, and use good instructors in non-fancy airplanes to pursue your flight instructor certificate. Yes, there are other ways to pursue a career in aviation, but this is one way to do it on a budget. AOPA WEB

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Lifetime revocation for parts fraud


A second precedent for an uncommon enforcement action


is an aviation attorney, pilot, flight instructor, and longtime aircraft owner.

24 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

HAVING ONE’S PILOT CERTIFICATES revoked for life is an FAA enforcement procedure that is not well known or understood in the pilot community. The usual enforcement procedures include certificate revocations (but not lifetime), suspensions, or the imposition of fines for regulatory and statutory violations. In April 2016 AOPA Pilot (“Pilot Counsel: Lifetime Revocation”), I reported on one lifetime revocation. This month, I’ll report on a second. In the first, an aircraft was used to facilitate the commission of certain serious drug offenses (not simple possession). The second was conducted under laws banning airplane parts fraud and counterfeiting. The first revocation case involved a pilot who was criminally charged, among other charges, with transporting co-conspirators in a general aviation aircraft for the purpose of delivering the illegal proceeds of drug sales to be laundered. The pilot was convicted of conspiracy to possess, with the intent to distribute, cocaine; conspiracy to import cocaine; and conspiracy to launder money. Based on these convictions, the FAA issued an order revoking his commercial pilot, mechanic, and ground instructor certificates. His appeal to the National Transportation Safety Board was unsuccessful. He then filed a lawsuit claiming that the lifetime revocation of his certificates was unlawful. This suit was unsuccessful. It stands as a leading precedent for lifetime revocation. What distinguishes the “permanent” revocation from the usual enforcement revocation is the inability of the FAA to reissue the certificate during the lifetime of the offending pilot, except in one narrow instance. In that instance, the FAA administrator has the authority, strictly applied, to waive the lifetime revocation requirement if so requested by a law enforcement officer, and if the waiver will facilitate law enforcement efforts. In the second lifetime revocation case, an aircraft mechanic, also a pilot, fraudulently sold helicopter rotor blades for $42,000 with maintenance and inspection records altered to hide the fact that another mechanic had deemed the blades to be unrepairable scrap. The pilot-mechanic represented that the blades were in good shape with thousands of hours of useful life remaining. When the buyer attempted a takeoff in the helicopter, he was unable to balance the blades for takeoff. A subsequent inspection revealed the fraudulent documentation.

The case became complicated because of the mixing of the permanent with the traditional revocation procedures. The Federal Aviation Act requires the FAA to revoke permanently the pilot and mechanic certificates of (A) anyone criminally convicted of violating federal law related to airplane-parts fraud or counterfeiting; or (B) anyone who the agency finds has engaged in such conduct whether that person has or will be criminally prosecuted. In 2006, before any criminal prosecution was initiated, the FAA brought administrative charges against the pilot-mechanic under both subsection (B) and the more traditional revocation statute, Section 44709 (not lifetime revocation). The parties then settled the case under the more traditional statute, with the FAA revoking the mechanic certificate only temporarily and leaving the pilot certificate intact. The complication came five years later when the United States Attorney successfully criminally prosecuted the pilot-mechanic for the same fraud, resulting in the permanent revocation of both certificates. The pilot-mechanic challenged the permanent revocation through proceeding before the NTSB and into the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He contended that the FAA’s earlier administrative action bars the FAA’s permanent revocation order by operation of various preclusion doctrines, double jeopardy, and due process. The court disagreed. “Subsection (A) of the statute plainly authorizes revocation of any airman certificate after a qualifying conviction, even if the FAA unsuccessfully pursued a prior subsection (B) administrative action. Revocation of airman certificates in those circumstances is a civil, remedial measure aimed at protecting public safety that does not offend principles of preclusion, double jeopardy, or due process. We therefore deny [the pilotmechanic’s] petition for review.” So, the permanent revocation of a pilot and mechanic certificate in the two instances cited—where an aircraft was used to facilitate the commission of certain serious drug offenses, and under laws banning airplane parts-fraud and counterfeiting—are now established by precedent in the FAA’s enforcement arsenal. AOPA WEB




Preparation can help you avoid unnecessary deferrals, denials


answers AOPA members’ medical questions through the AOPA Pilot Protection Services program ( pps).

26 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

I AM CONTEMPLATING AN UPCOMING VISIT to my aviation medical examiner, which is always enjoyable. No, I am not a masochist. It is his conversation that is pleasurable, not the prodding, poking, or potential to hear those dreaded words: “deferred” or “denied.” But like many risks in aviation, there are mitigating steps one can take to reduce one’s chances of walking out of the AME’s office without a medical certificate in hand. To put things in perspective, out of 450,000 annual medical applications, fewer than 400 are denied and 98 percent of those are ultimately granted. Each time I visit a doctor or other health care provider, I keep a note on my smartphone and back it up in the cloud, noting who saw me, when, why, and what was done. I also obtain any documents I might need. For instance, when I saw an ophthalmologist for a “floater” I made sure I had the FAA Eye Form 8500-7 all signed, sealed, and delivered, ready to hand over. Failure to have papers to hand causes numerous unnecessary delays. Complete the FAA MedXPress application ahead of time and prepare any necessary documentation for reported conditions. Should my doctor find a squawk, it would be good to have time to fix it before my medical expires, so I don’t make the appointment at the end of the month my medical expires. If you have your own airplane, you may time its annual at the same time as your own inspection to minimize time lost aloft. You may also help yourself by having your blood pressure checked twice a year and staying on top of any screening tests such as colonoscopy; preemptive interventions are far less likely to interfere with your flying than waiting for disease to declare itself. Prior to your visit have an eye exam, and you can even take proactive steps such as checking your hearing with an online test, and buying urine dipsticks to ensure there is no mischief lurking in your kidneys, ureter, bladder, or elsewhere. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and eating good food minimize many health conditions that could endanger your flying and your life. If your AME issues a certificate but the FAA follows up with a request for “additional information,” under no circumstances ignore that letter. If you do, your application will be denied and the FAA will request that you surrender your medical certificate because of your

failure to provide requested information within the time frame specified. Only send what the FAA asks for, but send everything it asks for, and, of course, if you are having problems pulling information together, inform the FAA as it might grant an extension. The most common reasons for a denial are quite predictable: heart attacks or other cardiac disease, stroke or transient ischemic attacks, two manifestations of disturbed blood flow to the brain. However, after recovery, a suitable and safe time interval, submission of important documentation, and review, one can return to the left seat after resolution of the administrative reason for denial. Less easy to understand are denials because of taking nonallowed medications. It astounds me that this last reason continues to be a problem given how often we write about it and the wide availability of resources to advise pilots and their doctors about which drugs to avoid. We receive a lot of communication about this topic. Helping aviators deal with aeromedical issues is a prime directive of Pilot Protection Services, so you may want to consider joining. I am a member. Inefficiency of this area of the FAA is one of the main reasons AOPA has fought so hard for third class medical reform. Delays in processing deferred medical applications may actually create a more serious safety issue than the medical condition the FAA is reviewing, as time while grounded erodes pilot proficiency and competency. If you are experiencing tardiness obtaining responses from the FAA, you might try your regional FAA medical office as staff there are often able to pull your case from the queue and work it locally if it is not too complicated. You can locate the contact information for your region online ( FAAmedoffices). A denial of a medical certificate based upon an application that indicates a disqualifying condition is not final in the eyes of the FAA. If at any time in the future you can provide sufficient medical information about your condition to the FAA, your case can be reevaluated and, if found eligible, a medical can be issued under a special issuance authorization. Stay well, plan your medical well, and fly well. AOPA EMAIL

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THE WRIGHT BROTHERS filed for the patent for their flying machine in 1903. Three years later it was granted. In 2000, archivists went to look for the files and discovered they’d been missing since 1980. Sixteen years later, look what they found.

Aviation treasure unearthed after 36 years AOPA PILOT | 29


20 hours allowed Use of ATD time approved AN FAA FINAL RULE that took effect May 12 makes it possible, once again, for pilots training for the instrument rating to count up to 20 hours of use in an approved aviation training device (ATD) toward their flight time requirements. AOPA and much of the flight training industry strongly advocated for the new rule, which doubles the amount of approved ATD time allowed. The rule restores the amount of approved ATD time pilots counted toward the instrument rating until early 2014, when an FAA policy statement cut the hours to 10. In December 2014, the FAA fasttracked a rulemaking proceeding to restore the 20-hour limit—but that process ran into procedural obstacles when two adverse comments required the FAA to withdraw the rule, which it revised and resubmitted. The rule allows instrument students to log a maximum of 10 hours using a basic ATD (BATD) and a maximum of 20

hours using an advanced ATD (AATD). Using a combination of the two, however, credit may not exceed 20 hours. Allowances have been increased for Part 141 programs as well. Students training for an instrument rating in a Part 141 program may credit no more than 40 percent of training toward total time requirements in an AATD. The limit for using a BATD will increase to 25 percent of total time requirements, and the limit for the combined use of both types is 40 percent. Previously, Part 141 training time was limited to 10 percent for either type, or both combined. The now-final rule drops a requirement for students to wear a view-limiting device when logging instrument time in an approved ATD, if the student is operating solely by reference to the instruments and the device is representing instrument meteorological conditions. “AOPA pushed strongly for all of these changes,” said David Oord, AOPA

vice president of regulatory affairs. “The new provisions will benefit the safety of training while significantly reducing the costs associated with it. Training using simulation has proven to be safe, effective, and economical for commercial aviation, and we support its increased use in GA flight training.” The FAA said it gave weight to comments stressing the importance of instrument students being able to learn emergency procedures “using meaningful repetition” until mastery of the skills can be confirmed. The final rule acknowledges AOPA’s support of this view. The FAA added that people will use the new provisions “only if the benefit they will accrue from their use exceeds the costs they might incur to comply.” Given the high use of ATDs in the training industry, “the change in requirements is likely to be relieving.” WEB


June 6, 1944 A HUGE AIRBORNE ARMADA, nine airplanes wide and 200 miles long—the world’s largest and longest formation flight—flew American and British troops across the English Channel shortly after midnight for the liberation of German-occupied western Europe. Of the D-Day operation, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said:

30 | AOPA PILOT June 2016


“This vast operation is undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever occurred.”

Lost and found Wright brothers’ patent application discovered BY DAN NAMOWITZ

ARCHIVISTS study the documents found in a cave on March 22.

A LONG-LOST FILE containing the patent application filed by the Wright brothers in March 1903 for a “flying machine,” and the patent issued three years later, has been found and is now on display at the National Archives Museum in Washington, D.C. Displaying the document—last seen 37 years ago—will mark the 110th anniversary of the awarding of the patent to Orville and Wilbur Wright on May 22, 1906, the National Archives Museum said.

The most recent display of portions of the file was at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight. “However, after the loaned pages were returned to the National Archives, the patent file went missing,” the museum said. The document was found “in the wrong box” through a special program launched in 2006 to recover “alienated and stolen archival materials.” The patent file “was discovered to have been misfiled among more than 269 million pages of patent records held by the National Archives,” said the museum. It was found March 22 “in a limestone cave outside Kansas City,” where the National Archives stores some historic records. “The discovery of this misfiled record highlights our unwavering commitment to the recovery of alienated and stolen historical records as part of our immense responsibility as stewards of the records we hold in trust for the American people,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. The National Archives holds more than 107,600 cubic feet of patent files. EMAIL

Save Wright brothers’ factory, McCullough says Touring the two buildings in Dayton, Ohio, that once comprised the original Wright brothers’ factory, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough and author of The Wright Brothers, said the century-old factory should be preserved. “I am a great believer in historic preservation because you’re reminding people that you’re living in a community that has a sustained connection to the past, and those who went before us here and did things of merit and changed the world deserve to be present, as it were, among us,” McCullough said. The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) hopes to raise awareness of the now-vacant factory. “These [two factory buildings] are symbolic or emblematic structures in that they contain stories that are of importance not just to this community, but to the country and the world,” McCullough said. WEB AOPA PILOT | 31



Senate passes reauthorization bill Includes third class medical reform THE SENATE HAS PASSED FAA reauthorization legislation, including third class medical reform, on a 95-to-3 vote with strong bipartisan support. The measure would authorize FAA programs until September 30, 2017. Final passage on April 19 followed a procedural vote the previous day. AOPA President Mark Baker noted that the FAA reauthorization bill marks the second time in five months that the Senate has passed bipartisan third class medical reform. “There are now several bills in the House of Representatives that will get third class medical reform across the finish line thanks to the leadership


on the news:

“This is a solid bill for general aviation. The third class medical reform language goes far beyond the AOPA-EAA 2012 petition and means that hundreds of thousands of pilots will never need another FAA medical exam." WEB

32 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

of our members and Senators John Thune, Jim Inhofe, Joe Manchin, John Boozman, and Bill Nelson,” Baker said. Under the Senate bill, most pilots who have had a regular or special issuance third class medical certificate within 10 years of enactment will never need to see an aviation medical examiner again. Pilots would need to see a personal physician every four years, make note of the visit in their logbook, and keep a form signed by the doctor in their logbook following the examination. Additionally, should a pilot develop certain specific cardiac, mental health, or neurological conditions, he or she will only have to get an FAA special issuance medical once. “I am pleased that the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 was included in the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act that passed the Senate,” said Inhofe, who sponsored the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 legislation. “I am grateful for the strong and consistent voice of AOPA members who shared why third class medical reform is necessary. I want to thank Mark Baker, the president of AOPA, and his team for their leadership and support from the beginning. I look forward to continuing to work with AOPA and the whole general aviation community to see the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 be enacted into law.” Compared to the earlier third class medical petition, the legislation would give pilots greater latitude, allowing them to fly aircraft up to 6,000 pounds and carrying up to five passengers at altitudes below 18,000 feet and speeds up to 250 knots. And unlike an earlier House bill, the Senate FAA reauthorization legislation does not include user fees for GA, nor does it privatize air traffic control. The FAA is currently operating under an extension through July. With the Senate bill now passed, the House will have to move swiftly to consider the Senate measure or adopt its own bill in order for FAA reauthorization to become law ahead of the July deadline.


Recent news from the aviation world

ICON MAY REVISE CUSTOMER AGREEMENT In an open letter to customers, the California maker of the A5 Light Sport amphibian says it might tweak its controversial purchase agreement. —Flying magazine COMMENT PERIOD EXTENDED ON AREA FORECAST REPLACEMENT The National Weather Service’s Aviation Weather Center extended the public comment period on the experimental graphical forecasts for aviation until June 11. —


MEET YOUR REGIONAL MANAGER Melissa McCaffrey, Western Pacific Region



This month’s focus: Western Pacific Region AOPA HOSTED the first ever Hawaii State Aviation Day on April 6 to raise awareness among lawmakers regarding the vital role aviation plays in the state. In preparation for the event, AOPA Director of State Government Affairs Jared Esselman met with Ross Higachi, deputy director of airports for Hawaii. The two discussed their concerns about general aviation in the state as well as opportunities to support the GA industry. “One of the major issues surfacing in those meetings was the number of runway incursions at Honolulu International Airport, which has the highest number of runway incursions in the nation, according to the FAA,” Esselman said. “AOPA will work with the FAA and local organizations such as the General Aviation Council of Hawaii, EAA, and the Civil Air Patrol to promote the Air Safety Institute’s Runway Safety online course for pilots in an effort to help reduce the number of incursions.” AOPA also hosted a meeting of Airport Support Network volunteers in Hawaii to hear their concerns and bring them up to date on AOPA’s important initiatives. AOPA’s Western Pacific Regional Manager Melissa McCaffrey took part in a recent state aviation day in Arizona. State aviation days are a great opportunity to educate legislators and the public about the value of general aviation airports, including their contributions to the economy, job creation, business growth, and more.

ADVOCATING FOR YOUR REGION Through AOPA staff, a network of seven regional managers, and a corps of 2,500 Airport Support Network volunteers, AOPA advocates for its members at the state and local levels to: • Promote, protect, and defend America’s community airports. • Maintain sufficient state and local funding for GA airports and infrastructure. • Prevent excess state taxation on flying. • Protect general aviation from unnecessary state and local regulation. • View proposed releases of airport property that could affect your local airport. • Please click on your state on the map online ( to see news, blogs posts, and tweets for your region.

34 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

Melissa McCaffrey has served as the Western Pacific regional manager since 2015. She is responsible for general aviation state advocacy, policy, and other aviation-related issues in Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada. McCaffrey has been with AOPA since 2012 and was previously responsible for air traffic and airspace-related issues for the AOPA Government Affairs division. She is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, has a bachelor’s degree in air traffic management, and is a private pilot. McCaffrey lives in Temecula, California, with her husband and sons and flies out of French Valley Airport in Murrieta, California.

ALASKA REGION Tom George Fairbanks, Alaska NORTHWEST MOUNTAIN REGION Warren Hendrickson Seattle, Washington WESTERN PACIFIC REGION Melissa McCaffrey Temecula, California CENTRAL SOUTHWEST REGION Yasmina Platt Houston, Texas GREAT LAKES REGION Jared Esselman Frederick, Maryland SOUTHERN REGION Steve Hedges Columbus, North Carolina EASTERN REGION Sean Collins Bangor, Maine sean.collins@aopa,org

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Vref, the AOPA partner offering aircraft value estimates, suggests a base value for the Ercoupe of $18,600 for a 1946 model and $22,500 for a 1967 model. RECENT ADVERTISED PRICES

Listed in Trade-A-Plane at the time this was written were four Ercoupes, including three 1946 models and one 1948 model, ranging in price from $18,900 to $29,900. had seven Ercoupes ranging from $16,000 to $35,000. INSURANCE COSTS

AOPA Insurance Services estimates that an $18,600 to $22,500 Ercoupe flown by a low-time pilot will cost from $1,140 to $1,189 per year to insure. An agent said that is the high end: Get just 29 hours in an Ercoupe and the rate drops below $1,000.

The ‘safety’ airplane


Ercoupes are spin-proof B Y A LTO N K . M A R S H ONLY ONE GROUP of aircraft goes by the name Ercoupe, and those are the ones built by the Engineering and Research Corp. (ERCO). Others built the airframe under different names. It was called the “spin-proof” airplane with “no footwork” because half of all made had no rudder pedals. After ERCO stopped production, the aircraft was built into the 1960s as the Aircoupe by Alon. Mooney based its Model 10 Cadet on the Ercoupe. Most of the Ercoupes on the market today were built from 1946 to 1948, although the airplane first flew prior to World War II. There are 1,000 still left on the FAA registry, of which some may be flown as Light Sport aircraft. “There were two models that were Light Sport compliant—the 415C and the 415CD,” said Larry Snyder, executive director of the Ercoupe Owners Club.

Skip Carden was the founder of the Ercoupe Owners Club and personally knew Ercoupe designer Fred E. Wieck. He estimates that you can make the hamburger hop or build hours for $40 an hour, not including an engine overhaul fund. The Ercoupe first came out with a 75-horsepower engine but most have been converted to 85 horsepower. Some use the 100-horsepower Continental O-200. A few owners have even boosted the power to 135 or 150 horsepower, but fly their aircraft in the Experimental category. Carden calls it “a sweetflying airplane that is easy to pick up,” even if you haven’t flown it for six months. Don’t worry about crosswinds, because the trailing link gear takes the shock out of landing in a crab. Parts are not a problem, Carden said—you can get most parts from Univair Aircraft Corp. For the best examples, he has seen prices all the way up to $39,000, especially if the aircraft qualifies as an LSA. As with any aircraft, be sure to look at engine time and past damage. Not all past damage was recorded, so you may need to check for wrinkled skin WHOM TO CONTACT and popped rivets. Prepurchase inspections are especially imporErcoupe Owners Club, P.O. Box tant for older airplanes, Carden said.

36 | AOPA PILOT June 2016


AOPA Finance estimates $355 per month for a $22,500 loan for five years at 6.9 percent with $4,500 down. For an $18,600 loan, you would pay $294 a month for five years at 6.9 percent with a down payment of $3,720. AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES



AIRPAC PlaneBase shows an FAA-registered fleet of 987 Ercoupes. There are 200 that were built by others.

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TWO FUELS IN PHASE 2 THE FAA HAS SELECTED two unleaded fuels to move to the next phase of testing for use in general aviation aircraft. Fuels from Shell and Swift Fuels will move to Phase 2 testing in engines and aircraft. The fuels were selected from four initial candidates—two from Swift Fuels, one from Shell, and one from TOTAL—identified in September 2014. Additional tests on the finalist fuels are scheduled to begin this summer, and will be completed in 2018. Data from those tests will be used to help the companies obtain an ASTM International production specification for their fuels, which would allow the FAA to authorize the use of the new fuels in the existing GA fleet. The first phase of testing includes tests for low-temperature fuel flow, carburetor icing, hot surface ignition, storage stability, detonation, particulate emissions, and more. The process also included a review of production and distribution costs and environmental factors. A lead additive in today’s fuel for piston-engine aircraft helps boost fuel octane, prevents knock, and prevents valve seat recession and subsequent loss of compression for engines without hardened valves. The development and deployment of a new unleaded aviation fuel to replace leaded avgas is being facilitated through the Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI), a government-industry partnership that includes AOPA. Congress appropriated $7 million in the fiscal year 2016 budget to support the PAFI test program. The reauthorization bills that are currently pending in the House and Senate include future funding for the program.

38 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

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*The 2% cash back on grocery store purchases and 3% cash back on gas purchases apply to the frst $1,500 in combined purchases in these categories each quarter. After that the base 1% earn rate applies to those purchases. By opening and/or using these products from Bank of America, you’ll be providing valuable fnancial support to Aircraft Owners & Pilots Assoc.. This credit card program is issued and administered by Bank of America, N.A. Visa and Visa Signature are registered trademarks of Visa International Service Association, and are used by the issuer pursuant to license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. BankAmericard Cash Rewards is a trademark and Bank of America and the Bank of America logo are registered trademarks of Bank of America Corporation. ©2015 Bank of America Corporation




In our own back yard The 172 Sweepstakes bird has a local tale to tell B Y J I L L W. TA L L M A N


are automatically entered to win the 2016 AOPA 172 Sweepstakes. Members on Automatic Annual Renewal (AAR) receive additional entries (www. sweepstakes).

WE THOUGHT we’d have to search high and low for our next sweep- Rules Area, which swallowed up a number of small private airstakes airplane. Luckily, the perfect airframe was practically in ports like Haysfield and prompted pilots to take their airplanes our own back yard. elsewhere. Once a vibrant general aviation community, the propClearview Airport (2W2) is a small public-use airport in erty eventually was sold to housing developers, and the airport Westminster, Maryland. It’s legendary among local pilots because closed in 2012. of its 1,840-foot runway with trees and displaced thresholds at While N739HW has been a trainer, Johnson also used it for both ends. The owner of the pilot supply shop at Clearview will recreational flying. “I’ve done a lot of personal flying in it,” he said. sell you a coffee mug that says “I landed at Clearview Airport”— “I’ve had this airplane down to the Bahamas, down to Key West, but only if you actually flew in. out to Oshkosh many times. I’ve done a lot of flying in it. AOPA member Thomas Johnson has owned a home just off “It’s been a very good airplane,” Johnson said. “I’ve enjoyed the approach end of Runway 32 since 1990. He happened to be every minute of it, but it’s time to finish other projects.” When asked on a flight lesson with a student one afternoon, and while per- what those are, he smiled and said, “The list would get too long.” forming a runup in his 1978 Cessna 172, he noticed a “For Sale” sign on a house a few hundred yards away. The building’s prox- EMAIL imity to Clearview made it an ideal home for someone like Johnson, who as a young THOMAS JOHNSON boy collected airline wing pins on transdonated N739HW to atlantic flights with his family. AOPA so that it can become the AOPA 172 That same Cessna 172 has served Sweepstakes airplane. Johnson well in the 30 years he’s owned it, but now he’s ready to make room in his garage/hangar (which also houses a Cessna 182, a Piper J–3 Cub, and a Cessna 195 project). He donated N739HW to AOPA so that it can become your 2016/2017 sweepstakes airplane— and, like you, he’s looking forward to watching the transformation that it will undergo at Yingling Aviation in Wichita (see “Reborn in the U.S.A.,” February 2016 AOPA Pilot). Johnson learned to fly in Cessna 150s and 152s at Haysfield Airport, a grass strip in Clarksville, Maryland. He purchased N739HW from Alfred Bassler, the owner of the airport, who also operated a flight school there. Johnson put the airplane on leaseback at Haysfield and based it there until after September 11, 2001. The terrorist attacks prompted the creation of an Air Defense Identification Zone, and eventually the Baltimore-Washington Special Flight

40 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

SUN ’N FUN NEWS IN BRIEF The Piper M600 turboprop is on target for certification later this year and is seeing a 274-knot top speed in testing. The new 135-horsepower Rotax 915 iS turbocharged and intercooled engine will enter ground testing this summer, and deliveries to the mass market are expected to begin in the second half of 2017. Aircraft modification specialist Wipaire Inc. announced supplemental type certificate approval to install Hartzell’s composite Trailblazer propeller on Cessna T206H models. Lightspeed’s wireless Tango headsets are selling faster than the company expected and getting positive reviews among buyers. “To have conquered the wireless thing is a pretty big deal,” said Teresa De Mers, executive vice president. EQ-1 Wireless Communications released the EQ-Multiplace Wireless Hub, which allows up to six EQ-1 wireless headsets to connect in full duplex mode through a single aircraft connection. Flight Design introduced new recommended ADS-B solutions for its aircraft. Appareo Systems has lowered the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of its Stratus ESG ADS-B Out transponder from $3,490 to $2,995. Bose is offering a special program for CFIs on the purchase of noisecanceling headsets. WEB

For more news from the Sun ’n Fun International Fly-In, visit the website (



Beaufort, North Carolina May 21, 2016


Bremerton, Washington August 20, 2016


Battle Creek, Michigan September 17, 2016


Prescott, Arizona October 1, 2016 AOPA PILOT | 41




of this was churning about in the far, dark places of my mind. It wasn’t in the pilot’s mind. It was in the man’s. Before we took off for home, I walked out to the edge of the strip and looked at that power line. The setting sun behind made the red balls glow. I thought I was looking at it from a pilot’s view. But it was with the eyes of a simple, fallible man. A pilot never would have walked out to look. A pilot would have taxied the long, bumpy way back to the east end and just taken off. Wolfgang Langewiesche writes on fatalities, “there is an obvious element of exhibitionism. The element is so strong that the layman is likely to decide that pilots are a curious breed, one with a marked deficiency in common sense.” The man, now the one in charge of the airplane, taxied to the edge of the strip and waved to the good people left behind. They waved back. He made an S-turn to check for traffic. That was the only act that he made as a pilot. He hesitated. There was a struggle going on in that cockpit. The pilot forced the man to a compromise. The man turned east and backtracked. How far? All the way! screamed the pilot. The man heard the crowd instead. Somewhere near the middle of that half mile of grass the man swung the airplane around and faced the slope. The man held the brakes and eased up to full power. In moments, his feet released the bird to the air. The airplane bounced across the hummocks and passed the people on the ground. It was also still on the ground. This amazed the man. He should be flying. The slope ate at him and held him firm. Finally, the huge wings took hold and hauled the man and his wife a foot or so above the slope. The airplane climbed with the land. It could not escape. Somewhere along this ground-effect journey the man turned to his bride and said, “We seem a bit heavy.” She smiled. The man looked at the approaching line of wires. The hanging balls were vivid now. He glanced at the airspeed. It was not enough for anything but to stay where he was, skimming the ground like a spring swallow. The pilot sat on the man’s shoulder and calmly said, Now is a good time to abort. Land the airplane and taxi back to where you should have started your takeoff and begin this whole mess again. The man turned to the woman beside him and said, “Well, we could abort or go under the wires.” That’s not what I said! shouted the pilot. Set it down and go back! The man thought about this. There still was lots of time. The Maverick flew quite slowly. He looked at the space between the wires and the barbed wire fence beneath them. The option of flying under the wires had been in his head all along. Yet another piece of derring-do with which to marvel the crowd! He looked to his girl and smiled. “I guess we’re going under.”

The man inside When you forget you need to be a pilot first BY TOM SCHROEDER

42 | AOPA PILOT June 2016


GIVEN THE ABILITY of seeing myself from afar, I never would have believed I was capable of killing someone with my airplane. I almost did in the autumn of 2015 in Alberta, Canada. I mostly fly a Murphy Maverick with an old Continental A-65 that sounds like a tractor when it floats by overhead. A friend of mine had invited my wife and me to the grass strip at his home for a friendly fly-in. My mind recalled his past praise. “I have never seen a plane perform like that on only 65 horses. You were barely rolling and you were up. You climbed like an elevator. You really are one with that plane.” A reputation had been forged. The fly-in strip rises to the west: not enough to make it a oneway strip, but enough to make a difference. Plus, at the west end of the runway is a power line. It is just a bit higher than normal, with colored balls hanging from it for pilots to marvel at. We came in against a west wind. A long, bumpy taxi and we joined the gaggle of airplanes at the turnout. We joined the party: hot dogs, salads, good friends, and lots of airplane talk. The family dog asked politely for scraps. A crisscross of wings like waiting angels filled our view. It was the best of days to be a pilot. It was an even better fly-in than in past years. There was a warplane to touch. An exhibition of remote-control airplanes buzzed about in swirls of aerobatic color. A STOL aircraft took off in little more than its own length, against that slope and against that wind. It didn’t care that the power line was not far away. I know that all

He heard her voice in the headset, “OK.� It was as a clearance from the tower. Fool, the pilot said and hung on. The man eased the airplane up to the proper height and held it steady. Just beyond the fence ran a county road. He concentrated on the fence, the colored balls, and the two poles. He would pass between them all. Barely outside of his vision, on that county road, a car full of people was on their way to the fly-in. The car would meet the airplane at precisely the same place. The man’s friend, now standing on the runway, saw the car. The people saw the car. Even the dog saw the car. They stood silent and watched. The pilot was mute on the man’s shoulder. The man flew on and placed the airplane with the tractor engine squarely in the middle and shot through the space into the clear air beyond. The people in the car suddenly saw the road ahead of them fill up with wings and slicing prop. The driver brought the car to a stop as the airborne apparition kissed the air across their bow. The pilot said, That was close, you bloody idiot. The man said, That wasn’t so bad. “I thought you were going to die,� said my friend, later, on the phone. “Many of my neighbors were there. They don’t fly. They were asking me why you would do that. I think I mumbled something about you having engine trouble. The people in the car were scared. Did you even see the car?� “No,� I said. “I didn’t see any car.� My friend is a good person. He is a true pilot. I apologized. I apologized again. It was not enough. It would never be enough. One of the main purposes of my friend’s fly-in was to promote flying. My stupid, total loss of judgment squashed the image of fly boys into a horrid thing. Now I am merely a man who drives airplanes around. The pilot is still there, but he talks to me differently. Gone is the trust. I promise to never let the man fly the airplane again. Tom Schroeder is a pilot living in Alberta, Canada. AOPA PILOT | 43









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'BEYOND THE POWDER,' a documentary that

meshes the history of women pilots during the 1929 Women’s Air Derby with their modern counterparts, will be made available to public television stations nationwide beginning in June. The one-hour documentary from Hemlock Films juxtaposes the experience of the women pilots who flew in the 1929 air race with pilots competing in the Air Race Classic, the all-women’s cross-country air race. Director Kara Martinelli was behind the camera for the 2014 Air Race Classic, but she also was a member of a racing team. Beyond the Powder uses historic photos and re-enacted footage to tell how the Women’s Air Derby pilots endured skepticism, sabotage, engine failures, and in-flight fires for a chance to compete. The 19 racers included Louise Thaden, Amelia Earhart, Florence “Pancho” Lowe Barnes, and Phoebe Omlie. The documentary’s title is a nod to the nickname “Powder Puff Derby,” which humorist Will Rogers dubbed the 1929 race. The contemporary footage shows 50 teams of women pilots flying from the West Coast to the East Coast. Martinelli said she wanted to make the movie to inspire young women to be interested in flying and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects. Beyond the Powder is available on DVD and Blu-ray. It will be offered to Public Broadcasting System stations nationally in June, Martinelli said. For more information, see the website (http://hemlockfilms. com/Hemlock_Films/Beyond_the_Powder. html). —Jill W. Tallman 44 | AOPA PILOT June 2016


NEWS FROM AERO FRIEDRICHSHAFEN The all-electric Magnus eFusion two-seat airplane may play a dual role in aviation—an efficient upset recovery training aircraft and a test bed for a battery system for electric powerplant manufacturer Siemens. The composite airplane made its first flight April 11 in Hungary and was first seen at Aero Friedrichshafen in Germany April 20. Honda Aircraft delivered its first European HondaJet April 20, the next step in the production ramp that will lead to approximately 40 deliveries in the next 12 months, according to President and CEO Michimasa Fujino. Eight FAA flight test pilots began evaluating the Piper M600, paving the way for certification of the new single-engine turboprop by early in the third quarter of 2016, according to Piper CEO Simon Caldecott. Continental Motors made good on its promise to increase the lifetime of its CD-100 series of diesel engines. The 135-horsepower and 155-horsepower engines now have times between replacement of 2,100 hours. Jeppesen VFR charts are now available on the Garmin GTN 750 GPS navigator. The introduction makes the famed Bottlang charts available across all Garmin systems that support digital charts in Chartview, including the G1000, G2000, G3000, and certain handhelds. Garmin released its Garmin Pilot iOS electronic flight bag app for Europeans. The new Pilot version for Apple products includes a host of features common on the previous version for U.S. pilots plus some additional enhancements for all.

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Phillips 66® and Phillips 66 Wings logo are registered trademarks owned by Phillips 66 Company. © 2016 Phillips 66 Company. All rights reserved. AOPA PILOT | 45




1. From reader John Grasberger: The Robinson R44 and R66 helicopters have maximum operating altitudes of 14,000 feet msl, so why are they not allowed to fly higher than 9,000 feet above the ground (agl)? 2. True or false? A pilot is making a visual, straight-in approach to a runway with a pronounced upslope. He will tend to overshoot the normal touchdown zone.

longitudinal axis of the aircraft) called a lubber (or lubber’s) line?

5. From reader John Schmidt: Why is the vertical line etched on the face of a magnetic compass (and aligned with the

7. From reader George Shanks: Why did pilots used to refer to an autopilot as George (as in “let George fly the airplane”)?

3. What is the difference between a wetsump engine and a dry-sump engine?

8. The empty weight and center of gravity of an airplane must be recalculated whenever items are removed or installed. Specifically how much weight or CG shift must occur before an amended weightand-balance statement is required? ANSWERS on page 48


Cool down A two-in-one idea BY MATTHEW ORLOFF SOMETIMES your cockpit’s air vents simply aren’t enough to keep you cool. As a result, a new batch of products is competing to attract pilots with a two-in-one idea. These look like coolers with air hoses at the top—and that’s exactly what they are. While keeping your refreshments cold, these coolers also use the chill from ice inside as an air conditioner. Add cold water and ice to your device, turn

Icybreeze (left) and B-Kool (right)

46 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

it on, and a fan draws cold air that comes out of a hose. AOPA staff writers put two leading brands to the test: Icybreeze and B-Kool. The products are similar, with slight variations. B-Kool is slightly smaller, making it easier to store in the airplane. Its hose is also wider, providing a larger stream of air, and it was nice controlling the power with a wireless remote. Icybreeze has no hoses or mechanisms exposed on the interior, unlike B-Kool. There are different power levels, and other nice features—including wheels for transporting, cup holders, and a longer hose. Do they work? Yes, but with a few caveats. If you think you can close your cockpit’s air vents and just replace them with one of these coolers, you won’t cool down until you reach your destination. Just one hose is providing all the cool air, so spreading air throughout the cockpit takes a time; it’s best to use the cooler as a source of direct air close to you. With this comes a natural conflict: passengers fighting over who gets to hold the hose and enjoy the cool air. So, which is better: Icybreeze or B-Kool? It really depends on your criteria. If you’re looking for a product specifically for flying, B-Kool with its larger hose may be a better choice. But if you’re looking for a product for flying, camping, picnics, et cetera, then you could probably consider Icybreeze and its myriad features. You can’t lose with either. PRICE: B-Kool $299-$429; Icybreeze $249-$432 CONTACT:; MATTHEW ORLOFF was a summer intern for AOPA Pilot.


4. Why did pilots of yore flying open-cockpit airplanes wear silk scarves?

6. When flying over relatively flat terrain, the lowest altitude at which a jet stream can be encountered is A. 20,000 feet agl. B. 10,000 feet agl. C. 5,000 feet agl. D. at ground level.





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from page 46

1. According to relatively new airworthiness standards for rotorcraft (FAR Part 27), a helicopter must be able to autorotate to the ground in a normal manner in five minutes in case of fire. Helicopters certified prior to this requirement are not limited in this manner. (If it were not for their relatively slow descent rates during autorotation, R44s and R66s would be allowed to fly higher above the ground.) 2. False. He will tend to fly a low approach and undershoot. A pronounced downslope most often leads to a high approach and an overshoot. 3. In the horizontally opposed piston engines used in aviation, oil is stored in the crankcase (the engine’s oil sump or wet sump). In a radial engine, oil is kept in an external tank. Oil circulates back and forth between this tank and the engine. The radial engine, therefore, has a dry sump. 4. American pilots started the custom during World War I. The scarves prevented skin irritation that otherwise was caused by rubbernecking (looking behind for enemy aircraft) while wearing heavy, scratchy uniform shirts (to keep warm at cold altitudes). 5. It is named after a landlubber, someone not adept at seamanship who needed the assistance of a line on the compass to keep a ship pointed in the desired direction. 6. D. Although rare, jet stream slivers can plunge to the surface of the Earth and blast the area with high-velocity wind. This phenomenon can last up to several minutes. 7. The use of “George” in this manner originated with Royal Air Force pilots during World War II and was a reference to their airplanes’ “owner,” King George VI. This was before “Let George Do It” first aired on commercial radio in 1946. 8. The weight change must equal or exceed one-half of 1 percent of the maximum-allowable landing weight, or the CG must change by at least one-half of 1 percent of the mean aerodynamic chord (of the wing).

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2016 SEASON MAY 21



AUG 20



SEP 17






Seeing is believing Yes, this is a 1947 NAvion B Y A LT O N K . M A R S H

MORE JUNK THAN AIRPLANE after 18 years as a derelict, this Navion (spelled NAvion by designer North American Aviation) sat in the tarmac at Bermuda Dunes Airport, California, not on it. The landing gear of N4110K were embedded by the last repaving, its skeleton brittle and corroded. Anyone else would have scrapped it. Not David Wakefield of rode in as a youngster, the one Norco, California, who had a that attracted him to aviation. personal connection to the air- Seeing it was confirmation, plane. In 2010 he had stopped and the seed was planted. With at Bermuda Dunes to check financial help from his fatherweather in the Banning Pass in-law, Jim Theis, Wakefield near Palm Springs, California, bought the airplane and trucked before returning to Chino. He it 90 miles to Navion Customs had heard N4110K was there: at Chino Airport. He told ownthe 1947 aircraft in which his ers Ryan Douthitt and Stephen dad learned to fly, the one he Stinis that he wanted it restored. PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIKE FIZER

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“You’re not going to find any two Navions alike.” —Ryan Douthitt, Navion Customs “David came to us and wanted us to do this airplane. He talked about the avionics suite, talked about paint and interior, and we tried to give it to him softly that, hey, there’s a little more to it than meets the eye here,” Douthitt said. The deeper they got into the fuselage, the more problems they found. Despite North American’s reputation for building sturdy aircraft—including the P–51 Mustang—Douthitt said the aircraft’s skin was compromised and needed to be re-created from sheet metal. N4110K was the last Navion built by North American before Ryan Aeronautical took over production and dropped the capital A from Navion (NA was North American’s stock symbol), Wakefield said. Introduced after World War II—2016 is the airplane’s seventieth anniversary—with a 185-horsepower engine, it was big, but slow. Also, North American was losing money on every one of the aircraft. A military version, the L–17, was used as the personal aircraft for U.S. Army Gens. Douglas MacArthur and Matthew Ridgeway between World War II and the Korean War. One even took off from the aircraft carrier USS Leyte in 1950; another launched from the USS Badoeng Strait. Over the years the Navion acquired the nicknames “flying staff car” and “poor man’s P–51.” The standard, no-frills model was called an “aerial pickup truck.”

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• Garmin G500 displays • Garmin GTN 750 touchscreen GPS/nav/com • Garmin SL30 nav/com • Electronics International MVP-50 engine display • Genesys Aerosystems S-Tec 30 autopilot with altitude hold

THE SEATS include an original logo with the

old spelling, NAvion (below). Look closely at the upper right corner of the instrument panel and you’ll see the mythical griffin, king of beasts, that was originally painted on the tail (bottom). AOPA PILOT | 53


Powerplant | 300-hp Lycoming GO 480G1D6     Recommended TBO 1,400 hrs Propeller | 3-blade Hartzell       Length | 27 ft 3 in Height | 8 ft 6 in Wingspan | 33 ft 5 in Seats | 4 Empty weight | 2,150 lb Max gross weight | 2,850 lb Useful load | 700 lb Payload w/full fuel | 346 lb (466 lb std fuel) Fuel capacity, std | 40 gal (39 gal usable) Fuel capacity, w/opt tank | 60 gal (59 gal usable)  Baggage capacity | 180 lb PERFORMANCE

Takeoff distance, ground roll | 561 ft Takeoff distance over 50-ft obstacle | 961 ft Max demonstrated crosswind component | 19 kt Rate of climb, sea level | 1,400 fpm

Cruise speed/endurance w/45-min rsv, (fuel consumption) @ 75% power, best economy | 178 mph/2.5 hr 8,500 ft   (73.8 pph/12.3 gph) Landing distance over 50-ft obstacle | 1,300 ft Landing distance, ground roll | 500 ft LIMITING AND RECOMMENDED AIRSPEEDS

VX (best angle of climb) | 70 mph VY (best rate of climb) | 95 mph VA (design maneuvering) | 124 mph VFE (max flap extended) | 100 mph VLE (max gear extended) | 100 mph VNO (max structural cruising) | 160 mph VNE (never exceed) | 190 mph VR (rotation)  | 66 mph VS1 (stall, clean) | 62 mph VSO (stall, in landing configuration) | 54 mph


It cost $9,000 to build. It was sold at a loss to compete with the Beechcraft Bonanza, the airplane that eventually defeated this design in both military and civilian sales.

27 feet 3 inches

8 feet 6 inches

33 feet 5 inches

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from this original three-view drawing, thanks to a streamlined canopy, fiberglass engine cowling, and baggage door on the left rear fuselage (bottom photo, opposite page). Opposite page, top: Gene Wakefield (left) learned to fly in the airplane now owned by his son, David (center), who rebuilt it with father-in-law, Jim Theis (right).

Wakefield’s restoration climbs like a taildragger at an Alaska short-field takeoff contest, thanks to its 300-horsepower Lycoming GO-480 engine. While his nonmilitary Navion never carried five stars on the side of the engine cowling as MacArthur’s did, it flew pipeline patrol in Saudi Arabia for oil company Aramco. North American bought it back, and it carried test pilots to their jobs from North American’s factory at Mines Field (today Los Angeles International Airport) to the Muroc Lake testing area (now Edwards Air Force Base). Wakefield learned two important lessons from the restoration: “Whatever you think you are going to spend, just double it. However long it’s going to take, double that time,” he said. He was hoping to keep the cost around $180,000, but it hit $360,000 and the restoration took nearly 15 months. Today Navions in top shape sell for $190,000. Wakefield said he hopes his experience doesn’t discourage others from restoring a Navion, and apparently it hasn’t; there are more than 1,000 registered with the FAA out of 2,469 built (some sources say a couple of hundred more). “Nothing is as easy as you think it is going to be,” said Douthitt, whose father, Bob, started Navion Customs. “Each one of these restorations is a little bit different, almost like a can of worms,” Douthitt added. “You’re not going to find any two Navions alike.” His father is responsible for a dozen of the nearly 15 supplemental type certificates used to make changes on Wakefield’s airplane, and he also founded the Imperial Valley Navion Club in 1960. Wakefield is the current president. Many of the changes were made prior to Wakefield purchasing the aircraft at the end of 2010 from Roger Griffin, Wakefield’s father’s flight instructor. Back then there was a griffin painted on the tail—a mythical king of beasts and birds with the head, wings, and forelegs of an eagle and the rear half of a lion. To honor the aircraft’s history, the mythical griffin now is painted on the instrument panel. The human Griffin was present on the day it flew again in 2012. Some of those modifications include a rear baggage door, a sloping windscreen, a beefed-up tail, a change in the twist of


“Whatever you think you are going to spend, just double it. However long it’s going to take, double that time.” —David Wakefield, owner of NAvion N4110K

56 | 

the wing, a fiberglass engine cowling by Reno Unlimited air racer Matt Jackson of Los Angeles, and changes to the fuel system that include a 20-gallon tank under the rear seat. The aircraft now has 60 gallons total—nearly five hours. The wing tips also are fiberglass. The geared engine was added under a field approval, although today similar approvals are not permitted. The engine’s unique sound identifies Wakefield to those on the ground who know his aircraft. The airplane sat glimmering in the sun near AIA Flight Center at Chino Airport when I arrived, ready for its closeup. Wakefield keeps the aircraft always spotless. We jumped over to Corona, where Wakefield made what appeared to be a 300-foot takeoff. Afterward we headed east to Lake Mathews for general maneuvering that resulted, as expected, in gentle stalls

and solid steep turns. A cruise-speed check resulted in 173 mph true airspeed (150 knots) below 3,000 feet with three aboard. “I rotate at 65 to 70 mph and get the gear sucked up as quickly as I can, because the gear speed is 100 miles per hour,” Wakefield said. “Then I pitch for 120 and climb at 600 to 900 feet per minute [at gross weight].” After takeoff he reduced engine speed from 3,400 revolutions per minute (2,100 propeller rpm) to 3,000 (1,875 propeller rpm). “For my descent I just set my rpm at 2,600—this engine’s really happy running all day long at that engine rpm—and pull the power back just a little bit.” A geared engine requires a delicate touch. “You do have to properly plan and manage your energy because you can’t pull back too quickly on the power— otherwise the gearbox can [be damaged]. That is not a good thing. I get it slowed to 100 mph where you can then drop the gear

and flaps for landing. I normally keep it at 80 [mph] for base and 70 over the fence. Stall speed is 54. I true out at 178 mph burning 12.3 gallons per hour at 8,000 to 9,000 feet,” Wakefield said. Engine operator tips from a 1996 article by mechanical and electrical engineer Chris Schuermann on the Aero Commander website he started include one that the pilot should never let the relative wind turn the prop—that is, it should never “unload” from the engine. When that happens, wind pushes the propeller gear to one side of the gear teeth, then after 15 or 20 degrees of rotation a pulse from the engine bangs it to the other side, then repeats, setting up a chattering sound. Pending at Navion Customs is a supplemental type certificate application to put a 315-horsepower Continental 550 engine in any Navion. The FAA will



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workers found the original North American property tag (far left). Wakefield decided to keep it. A three-blade Hartzell propeller was part of the restoration (left).

require it to be derated from 315 horsepower to 285. The one place Wakefield splurged was in the panel, adding a Garmin G500 display with a Garmin GTN 750 touchscreen GPS/ nav/com. Other goodies include a Genesys Aerosystems S-Tec 30 autopilot with altitude hold and an Electronics International MVP 50 engine instrument display. After all that work Wakefield has a solid 150-knot short-takeoff-and-landing airplane with a roomy interior and a 600-mile

range. His father-in-law, not a pilot, has reliable air transportation. Besides the satisfaction of owning an important part of his family’s history, Wakefield draws attention at airports he visits and gets this question: “What is that?” “I tell them, ‘A 1947 Navion.’ They’re usually a little surprised by that. Once they see the airplane, they can’t believe it’s a 1947 airplane.” AOPA EMAIL


Learn more about David Wakefield’s Navion on Facebook at www.facebook. com/n4110K

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The uncommon beauty of Wyoming’s Alpine Airpark BY THOMAS B. HAINES



THE “10-MINUTE WARNING” text message is simple enough. It might be “sunset flight” or “breakfast, Driggs” or “Costco.” With that, hangar doors yawn open and a pack of Aviat Huskys and maybe a few other brands fire up and trundle toward the end of Runway 13 or 31 at Wyoming’s Alpine Airpark. “Within minutes we’ll have five to 15 Huskys and they just go,” explains Scot Cook, owner of Landings Aviation, the FBO at Alpine. The text message might be initiated by any resident of the fly-in community, located 29 nautical miles southwest of Jackson Hole Airport—morning, noon, or evening.

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Jack Schulte (far left) awake to bucolic mountain vistas every morning. Their Aviat Husky provides an aerial perch for even broader views of Wyoming’s Star Valley. Community gatherings at various fire pits are an Alpine tradition.

The frequent fly-outs are just one of the everyday events that help weave the social fabric of Alpine Airpark. And it is a tight weave. “Everybody gets together,” says Cook. “There’s fire in the hole, fire in the bowl, or an impromptu potluck dinner at someone’s hangar at least weekly.” Fire pits and fire bowls seem almost mandatory among the airport’s 70-some homes and hangars. Huskys, built just down the valley in Afton, Wyoming, seem almost universal. And the official runabout for the airport seems to be the Polaris Ranger. There are many themes at the picturesque airpark, tucked into the Star Valley, where the Greys and Salt rivers feed into the Snake River to form the Palisades Reservoir on the Idaho border. “People who move here love the West and the outdoors and the mountains,” says Cook.

“They’ve all achieved something in life. They’ve got nothing to prove. They’re good neighbors.” Homeowner Dave Hermel concurs. While the astounding recreational activities in the region caused him to consider a home at Alpine, it was the people who made him want to stay. “We met the neighbors and they were just good people,” he explains. Hermel and his wife, Darcy, bought a log cabin at Alpine in 2010 after first considering it in 2008. “With the economic meltdown, we sat back and waited to see what would happen. Clearly the airpark was solid financially.” Their two-bedroom home once was a guest home to a larger property on the other side of the taxiway. Developer Bill Weimann moved it to the runway side and converted a barn next door into a hangar. The Hermels updated the cabin and added sleeping facilities to the hangar—and a bar and entertainment system. Plus, of course, a fire pit, making it a regular hangout for their sons and other community residents. The Hermels are from Minnesota, where they own a wholesale distribution business and vending food service company. Dave is the third-generation owner; their sons will take over soon. They use their Daher TBM 900 and Piper Malibu to make trips as frequently as they can from Minnesota to Alpine. “I have to pinch myself. I can’t believe I’m here,” he says. They make regular outings up and down the valley and throughout the region, exploring the mountains in their Carbon Cub, Husky, or AirCam. Pop over the ridge just north of the airport and you’re staring at the Grand Tetons, quite a different view from flat Minnesota. “We all took mountain flying courses once we moved here, and now feel comfortable flying into backcountry strips,” Hermel says. In extolling the community, Hermel comes across like a chamber of commerce cheerleader. “Hunting, fishing, hiking, world-class skiing, the Palisades—17 miles long—even a rugby field. This is the greatest recreational area in the world. We’re the gateway to the West,” he proclaims. If appreciation for the outdoors is a theme among residents, so is an appreciation for the tax structure in Wyoming. AOPA PILOT | 61

There’s no income or estate tax in the state, especially attractive to Hermel because the Minnesota estate tax can climb as high as 16 percent. Resident Stan Dardis says the tax structure didn’t enter into his decision to move to Alpine, “but it doesn’t hurt.” He and his wife, Sharon, lived in the Twin Cities of Minnesota but retired to Alpine in 2010. “It’s a lifestyle, a good community. Good people. Wholesome,” he says. Although retired, almost daily he lays out challenges for himself. “By 8 a.m. I roll out the Husky and tell myself I won’t come back until I find a moose, an elk, and a deer. It might be 30 minutes or it might be an hour and a half,” he says. “Other days, I will declare that I will not fly over 80 mph.” Sharon also chimes in about the lifestyle. “Friends call and by 10 a.m. we’re headed to kayak the Snake River. We’ll stop on a sandbar for lunch. Home by 3 p.m. Then we might make a late-day flight or meet around the fire hole for an informal dinner. We call it terminal fun.” 62 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

Noting the years ticking by, Stan takes full advantage of the lifestyle. “There’s a bit of a sense of urgency to live every day wide open because these things, they do pass.” He also sees it as his responsibility to help carry on the vision that developer Bill Weimann had for the narrow dirt runway he first encountered in Alpine. Weimann is credited with turning the privately owned airpark into one of the finest fly-in communities in the country. The dirt strip is now a paved 5,800-foot runway with a recently installed AWOS. The community used its well-financed development fund to privately commission a GPS approach to the field, which the FAA will soon approve. Weimann two years ago turned the airport over to the residents, and Stan Dardis is the head of the homeowners association. Runway lights and widening of the runway are in the future, he says. The privately owned airpark receives no FAA or state funds, according to Dardis. While Dardis is justifiably proud of the freshly paved and striped runway, his

TURNING FINAL for Alpine’s Runway 31—the

Palisades Reservoir is at the far end of the 5,800-foot runway (left). Dave Hermel’s barn converted into a hangar, complete with bar and entertainment center, is a favorite community hangout (top). Stan and Sharon Dardis relish in the recreational activities found around Alpine (above). In the Star Valley on the Idaho border, Alpine is a short distance from Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons.


neighbor Jack Schulte prefers the shorter parallel grass runway for his Husky and Cessna 182. Like Dardis, Schulte retired from the city—Chicago, in this case— to Alpine, leaving behind his career as a futures trader. Like many residents, Schulte and his wife, Marion, spend only part of the year at Alpine. The winters can be long and cold, which attracts those who like winter sports. However, the Schultes and others prefer warmer climes part of the year. They spend about seven months a year at Alpine and five months in Marion’s native New Zealand, living an endless summer. The Schultes live in one of the original six houses on the runway, there when Weimann discovered the place. Schulte loves the outdoors and especially the rural nature of the region. Wyoming has only a half-million residents. “There’s still a cowboy mentality here. People mind their own business,” he says.

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Keeping that small community feeling is the task of the various developers selling property at Alpine. Marion Schulte is a real estate agent on the field. As a resident she quickly sizes up those who show an interest in the airpark. “Most people are just wonderful, but sometimes I can tell that a person just won’t fit in here. If high-end shopping is more important to them than fishing, for example, I quickly point out the benefits of living in Jackson,” she says with a sly smile. The airport has about 53 homes and 71 hangars. It will accommodate at most 125 homes under the current plans, helping calm any concerns about the place being overrun. Developer Steve Funk bought 64 acres on the north side of the runway that was originally meant to accommodate 180 homes. Instead he carved it up into 25 two-acre lots for hangar homes, a development he calls The Refuge. If prospective

residents can’t afford to build both the home and the hangar at once, they must first build the hangar. Nearby, a group of standalone hangars accommodate those who live nearby but want access to the runway. The airpark also includes a few condo-style hangars with residences overhead. “There’s a wide variety of price points available,” says Schulte. Hermel is confident the unique venue can maintain its beauty and charm even while maturing. He describes the developers at Alpine as “very responsible.” One of the things he enjoys most about the community is the feeling of responsibility shared by all to enjoy the outdoors while respecting it. “There are no attitudes in Alpine,” he explains. AOPA EMAIL


JACK SCHULTE maneuvers

his Husky out for a scenic flight down the Star Valley (far left). Custom homes with a Western theme line the taxiways at Alpine (above). Fishing trumps shopping in this upscale community (left). AOPA PILOT | 65









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DURING WORLD WAR II, the United States had a variety of small liaison airplanes, many of which were affectionately called Grasshoppers. Most were built by Aeronca, Piper, Stinson, and Taylorcraft. Germany, however, had only one: the Fieseler Storch (Stork) Fi 156. It was so capable, versatile, and rugged that the Luftwaffe apparently did not need another. The airplane was the brainchild of Gerhard Fieseler, a four-time German ace in the Great War. He later developed inverted fuel and oil systems; was first to fly inverted for a sustained period of time; and became the 1934 world aerobatic champion in an airplane of his own design. He is credited with being first to perform a hammerhead turn (also called a Fieseler). AOPA PILOT | 67

The Storch first flew on May 24, 1936, and nearly 3,000 were delivered to the Luftwaffe between 1936 and 1944. One landed on an Alpine slope at an elevation of 9,000 feet to liberate Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from mountaintop imprisonment in September 1943. Test pilot Hanna Reitsch flew a Storch into Berlin shortly before V-E Day with the hope of rescuing Adolf Hitler from a city under siege by the Allies. A Storch was the last victim of a World War II dogfight. Using .45-caliber pistols, the American pilots of a Piper L–4 (essentially a J–3 Cub) forced the Fieseler to land and its pilots to surrender. So impressed was Ryan Aeronautical with the Storch’s short-field performance that it attempted in 1940 to develop a competitive airplane, but the Ryan YO–51 Dragonfly did not match the Storch’s extraordinary slow-flight capability. The subject of this report, N436FS, was built in 1943 and flown by the Luftwaffe in occupied Europe and on the Russian Front. It eventually was discovered

as an abandoned basket case in East Germany and became one of five that were meticulously restored by the Fieseler Corp. of Canton, Michigan. It was purchased in December 2000 by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen for his Flying Heritage Collection of World War II aircraft at Paine Field in Everett, Washington. Founded in 1990, the collection is open to the public. The Storch is larger than you might expect and sits high on stilt-like landing-gear legs. They incorporate long-stroke, oleo-type shock absorbers that can withstand enormous loads and soften landings made on irregular surfaces at high sink rates. (The tailwheel also has an oleo strut.) The tires, however, seem incongruously small for an airplane operated from rough landing areas. Heavy-duty inspection zippers allow easy access to the aft interior of the fabric-covered, tubular-steel fuselage. This is much more revealing than peering through the small holes left after removing the inspection plates found on most fabric-covered airplanes.

The Storch is larger than you might expect and sits high on stilt-like landing-gear legs. They incorporate long-stroke, oleo-type shock absorbers that can withstand enormous loads and soften landings made on irregular surfaces at high sink rates.

68 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

A RHEINMETALL MG-15, 7.92-mm machine gun (left)

was used to defend the Storch against attack. All instruments, controls, knobs, switches, and levers (below) are labeled in German and many bear little resemblance to those used in American airplanes.

The 47-foot-long wings are made of wood and have fixed, full-span slats along their leading edges that contribute significantly to the Storch’s astounding slow-flight performance. The wings can be folded rearward and flush alongside the fuselage, like those of a Grumman F4F Wildcat, to facilitate ground transportation and storage. The Storch has only one set of flight controls, so getting checked out in one involves an unusual protocol. Flying Heritage Collection pilot Jason Muszala led me to the back seat and then took me on a flight to demonstrate the low-speed edges of the performance envelope and familiarize me with what to expect when I would be alone. Back on the ground, he gave me a thorough cockpit checkout. After swapping seats, Muszala talked me through an engine start and then observed my handling of the airplane while taxiing. After that, he got out and sent me on my way to solo the airplane for the first time. The Storch carries two in tandem, but a third emergency seat in the rear could be used by a gunner to defend the airplane using a 7.92-mm machine gun, which could be mounted at the rear of the cabin. Climbing up and into the front seat takes a bit of effort, but once inside, long-legged pilots discover that the rudder pedals are way too close. My legs were bent more and my knees were positioned higher than in any other airplane I have flown. Complicating this anatomical difficulty is that you cannot rest your heels on the floor and move the pedals with the balls of your feet. You instead position your feet flat on the pedals at an awkward angle so that your heels fit into curved rests, or lips, on the bottoms of the pedals. You then push each pedal using the entire foot—an arrangement that made me susceptible to inadvertently applying the toe brakes at inappropriate times. An adjustable seat or adjustable rudder pedals would have made conditions much more comfortable. There is, however, ample shoulder and head room. Engine start is challenging because all instruments, switches, and controls are labeled in German. For example, vertical speed is shown as Steigt (climb) and Sinkt (sink) in meters per second, the tachometer is labeled U/min (rpm), the airspeed indicator is labeled Fahrt (speed) and reads in kilometers per hour, AOPA PILOT | 69

the Höhenmesser shows altitude in kilometers, and so forth. At least the fuel selector is labeled L-R, but this is not for Left-Right—it stands for Links-Rechts. Many of the switches and levers are completely unfamiliar in appearance. No wonder legendary pilot Bob Hoover had to put a pistol to the head of a German mechanic to start the engine of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 in which he escaped from Nazi Germany during World War II. The Storch does not have an electric fuel pump but instead has two engine-driven pumps and a wobble pump to manually build pressure for starting. The 240-horsepower Argus AS 10C-3 air-cooled, inverted V-8 engine turns a wooden, 102-inch Schwarz propeller. These engines reputedly run hot, which explains why vintage photos of the Storch often show them flying with their side cowl panels removed. The steerable tailwheel is not all that steerable. After applying full rudder in the direction of turn, you often need to apply same-side braking to obtain a

70 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

decent turn radius. Some power is then used to assist in “ruddering” through the turn. It reminded me of taxiing an airplane with a tailskid. The preflight runup includes checking the mags at 1,800 rpm, setting the adjustable horizontal stabilizer, and extending the slotted flaps to 15 degrees. The flaps may be fully extended to 40 degrees when operating from rough or short fields, or when departing over obstacles. They are operated by cranking a sprocket wheel on the left cockpit sidewall that drives an exposed bicycle chain, which positions the flaps. This action is reminiscent of what it was like to manually crank open and close windows on antique automobiles. There is an interesting relationship between the flaps and the ailerons. As the flaps extend beyond 30 degrees, the ailerons begin to droop, reaching 15 degrees of droop as the flaps reach 40 degrees. The effective result is full-span flaps.

The mixture control is adjacent to the throttle on the left sidewall and operates backwards. Pull it aft for rich and push forward for lean. When retarding the throttle, a small horizontal extension on the throttle arm also pulls the mixture control aft (rich) to ensure that you don’t inadvertently land lean. Takeoff happens quickly. The tail rises slightly as you advance the throttle, and the airplane leaps off the ground before you have much chance to think about it. Zero-wind ground roll at a maximum gross weight of 2,780 pounds is as little as 180 feet, less than the distance between two runway lights. Best rate of climb speed is 45 mph, and normal climbs are made at 55 mph. When on the ground, you can look out the side windows and see the main wheels. After liftoff, however, the wide-spread, hinged landing-gear legs fall almost straight down, and the wheels no longer can be seen. With the gear legs hanging in this manner, the airplane resembles its namesake, the stork. When touching down, the gear legs spread to re-enlarge the wheel base. Cockpit visibility is outstanding through 30 thermoplastic windows that give the feeling of being in an airborne greenhouse. The outward-angled windows near your elbows allow looking straight down on both sides of the aircraft, an excellent feature for its reconnaissance mission. The greenhouse effect of increasing cockpit temperature is dramatic. Flying a Storch for German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in the North African theater during the 1944 Saharan summer must have been like sitting in a sauna.

The ailerons have servo tabs to reduce roll forces, but larger tabs or stronger pilots are needed. The long wings create significant roll damping, resulting in a heavy control stick and a sluggish roll rate. Both hands are needed on the stick to rush into and out of turns. Combining this with the Storch’s light wing loading and lack of dihedral makes the airplane a handful in turbulence. The Storch has a large rudder, and you need it— especially when coordinating turn entry and recovery during slow flight. Although heavy and sluggish, the ailerons nevertheless remain effective even when the aircraft is in a near-stall condition. You can maintain complete control of the airplane at a calibrated airspeed of only 31 mph, although the Fahrt gauge indicates near zero. Recovery from power-on stalls in a Storch is conventional, but an excellent piece of advice is to avoid power-off stalls, which is completely opposite to what you might expect. A power-off stall requires an extremely nose-high attitude, and with so little airspeed, the controls lose the effectiveness needed to prevent the airplane from rolling onto its back. During a power-on stall, there is sufficient propwash across the tail surfaces to effect recovery from the stall. The Storch was not built for speed. Normal cruise at 3,280 feet msl (one kilometer) is only 93 mph. Maximum cruise at sea level is 109 mph. The 39.6 gallons of fuel in the wing tanks provide a no-reserve

The ailerons have servo tabs to reduce roll forces, but larger tabs or stronger pilots are needed. The long wings create significant roll damping, resulting in a heavy control stick and a sluggish roll rate.

THE STORCH CABIN has 30 thermoplastic panes

(opposite) that give the appearance and effect of an airborne greenhouse. Flying it under the sun feels as though you are in a sauna. The leading edges of the wings have fixed, full-span slats (left), auxiliary airfoils that form fixed, leading-edge slots, which dramatically enhance low-speed performance. AOPA PILOT | 71

range of 248 miles, or several hours of low-power loitering. Interestingly, the airplane glides best (at 56 mph) with the flaps lowered to 15 degrees. You approach the runway and cross the fence at 43 mph. Touchdown typically occurs at 32 mph (only 28 knots). You can go around and climb safely with the flaps fully extended. A three-point or so-called full-stall landing is better described as a full-mush landing. You can actually feel the rapid drag rise and developing sink rate early in the flare. To avoid premature touchdown, you need to pull the stick back aggressively and fully. The long-stroke oleos then squish and the gear legs spread as the airplane settles onto the ground at what seems like a standstill. The landing sequence is much like a large bird alighting on a rock, its great wings extended and angled to catch the wind. You can land in as little as 246 feet. If ever there were a flying speed brake, the Fieseler Storch would be it. It lands on a dime and gives a nickel change. The mixture control does not have an idle-cutoff position. The engine is shut down by turning off the fuel

supply to the pumps, and then waiting a minute or so for the engine to tick to a stop. Paul Allen says that his fascination with World War II airplanes began when he built models of them during boyhood. “I began to collect actual aircraft partly as a tribute to my father, who landed on Omaha Beach and subsequently was awarded a Bronze Star and a battlefield commission,” he says. “Our vintage warplanes represent the primary combatants of the war and are intended to pay homage to the sacrifice, bravery, and heroism of those who answered the call to serve their country. All are fully restored and most are kept airworthy so that the public can experience their power and majesty as they fly over and around the airport on scheduled Fly Days.” Although there is nothing powerful or majestic about the Storch, it is a fascinating airplane to fly—or to watch being flown. More about Allen’s collection can be found online ( AOPA WEB

If ever there were a flying speed brake, the Fieseler Storch would be it. It lands on a dime and gives a nickel change.

THIS AIRPLANE is an actual combat veteran and

displays summer 1943 Luftwaffe markings. 72 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

AOPA PREMIER MEMBERSHIP More of what you want from AOPA! EXPERIENCE A HIGHER LEVEL of benefits, services and savings with an AOPA Premier membership. AOPA Premier members get priority access to Pilot Information Center aviation specialists, one-on-one concierge service, a complimentary digital subscription to the AOPA magazine of choice and advanced screening of AOPA Air Safety Institute online courses. AOPA Premier members also save 10% on AOPA Pilot Protection Services coverage and 20% on Pilot Gear merchandise. Not to mention, additional savings from other aviation manufacturers and retailers. AND THERE’S MORE! Get even more value when you choose AOPA Premier Plus which includes Pilot Protection Services Plus coverage—protect your pilot certificate and your medical, all in one convenient package. Visit for a complete list of AOPA Premier benefits and upgrade your membership today!

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74 | AOPA PILOT June 2016


Ready for our future Setting the stage for the next Golden Age of Aviation

WHEN PEOPLE TALK ABOUT THE “GOLDEN AGE OF AVIATION” they are usually referring to the

period between World War I and World War II—but this is an oversimplification. General aviation, like most other industries, has seen ups and downs in the past century. Fluctuations in the health of GA in the United States can be attributed to many factors, including the pilot community, regulation, and the economy. World War I created the pilot community, training new pilots who came home to fly in largely unregulated skies. It was during this so-called Golden Age that a group of people had the foresight to understand what could happen if they didn’t preserve access to aviation—so they created AOPA. The mission that launched AOPA during aviation’s first golden era still drives the association today, as it lays the groundwork for a bright future. PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS ROSE AOPA PILOT | 75



FLYING CLUBS support the pilot

community by making flying more accessible and bringing people together for fun and camaraderie.

76 | AOPA PILOT June PILOT 2016

World War II brought a similar boost to the community, with a whole new wave of pilots. Since that boom, the economy and regulatory changes have at times undermined the growth of the industry, as AOPA’s founders predicted. Through ups and downs, the joy of flight has never left. There have been many challenges over the years to the health and vitality of U.S. aviation, and AOPA has remained steadfast in its defense of your freedom to fly. The future for GA again looks bright. We are on the cusp of key regulatory changes that will make flying more accessible, and emerging economic and generational trends present opportunities we have not seen in the past. AOPA is well positioned to capitalize on these shifts in its ongoing effort to make flying more accessible to everyone. AOPA’s year-over-year revenue is up, expenses are down, and we are making

long-term investments that will allow us to capitalize on a changing environment and do an even better job at facilitating access to aviation. Income from advertising and partnerships, along with charitable donations from members like you, allows us to provide a wide variety of services while keeping dues as low as possible. AOPA is already the leader in news, insurance, advocacy, safety, training, and legal guidance in and around general aviation; we will harness those strengths and build new ones as we grow and become even more effective in a dynamic environment. The first major change on the horizon is third class medical reform, which will reduce the cost of flying and keep more pilots flying safely. Third class medical reform has been a top priority for AOPA and our members for years, and language has passed the Senate twice in the past few months: as the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 in December 2015 and more recently in the chamber’s FAA reauthorization legislation. The House has also included third class medical reform language in its FAA reauthorization legislation. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science,

AOPA CONSOLIDATED Amounts in ($000s) (Unaudited)

LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES Facing the challenges from Washington, D.C., and beyond AOPA was founded to protect the freedom to fly. Our staff of legislative and regulatory affairs specialists is dedicated to continuing that vision by working hard every day for your interests. Here are some of AOPA’s top priorities for 2016:

2015 REVENUE (Total revenue $48,342)

Product sales and services $4,558

Contributions, contracts, and grants $3,072 Other income $1,485

Advertising fees $8,080

Commissions and royalties $14,036

Membership dues and subscriptions $17,111

2015 EXPENSES (Total expenses $50,292) AOPA PRESIDENT and CEO Mark Baker testifies

Fundraising $518

to Congress.

Third class medical reform. Reform has never been closer. When this effort passes Congress it will be the first major change in medical certification in more than half a century. FAA reauthorization. Although the prospect of user fees remains, AOPA is committed to ensuring that we continue to pay through the fuel tax. Non-TSO equipment and Part 23 reform. Technology exists today that can make flying safer and more affordable. AOPA is working to see that it can make the transition from strictly Experimental aircraft to certificated aircraft. State legislative issues. AOPA works with state legislatures to help grow GA with the passing of maintenance tax exemptions, flyaway exemptions, and recreational use statutes that include GA, and by ensuring that airports are funded and protected. Saving airports. Through a reinvigorated Airport Support Network, AOPA is active in your area with nearly 2,500 volunteer members who keep their eyes and ears open in an effort to keep airports strong and secure. Unleaded fuel. AOPA is a key player in ensuring a smooth transition away from a leaded fuel source.

Advocacy and representation $13,442

Management and general $4,798 Member engagement $2,728 Membership development $5,921

Publications $13,071

Products and services $9,814

ALTHOUGH AOPA incurred an operating loss in 2015,

revenue continues to grow, and we are able to rely on our reserves to make continued investments in our mission activities. AOPA PILOT | 77



DID YOU KNOW? AOPA is active in numerous areas you may not be aware of • Have you called 800-USA-AOPA? If so, you’ve spoken to one of 30 specialists who handle more than 250,000 contacts each year. • The association has a staff of four attorneys and hundreds of panel attorneys around the country ready to assist Pilot Protection Service participants in personal legal and regulatory challenges. • Our AOPA Go mobile flight planning and weather application was designed by a team of in-house developer-pilots who are passionate about providing the most relevant information in the most efficient way. • A team of three full-time Ambassadors with two more soon to come on board is scattered around the country to work with flying clubs and flight schools on a local level. • Our local hangar and event space, the National Aviation Community Center, has hosted weddings, social gatherings, corporate meetings, Cub Scout camps, and paper airplane contests. It also houses multiple simulators, a classroom, and a few airplanes. • A group of dedicated staff members works to solidify corporate partnerships and other relationships that help keep dues low. • The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy team represents your interests in Congress and inside dozens of federal agencies, including the FAA, EPA, Homeland Security, and more. • An events staff of six people coordinated seven shows and events last year, reaching tens of thousands of attendees. • The media team produces 2,272 magazine pages, many hours of video content, and hundreds of web stories each year.

78 | AOPA PILOT June PILOT 2016

and Transportation Committee, has stated that this third class medical reform will “reduce regulatory burdens…while still maintaining safety.” We agree. Under the legislation that passed the Senate, most pilots who have had a regular or special issuance third class medical certificate within 10 years of enactment would never need to see an aviation medical examiner again. Pilots would need to see a personal physician every four years, make note of the visit in their logbook, and keep a certification signed by the doctor in their logbook following the examination. These pilots would complete a free online medical education course every two years and be permitted to fly aircraft up to 6,000 pounds and carry up to five passengers at altitudes below 18,000 feet and speeds up to 250 knots, under VFR or IFR. Once the legislation is signed into law, there is still more to do. AOPA is prepared to work with the FAA, pilots, insurers, and doctors during the rulemaking process to ensure the law is implemented effectively and all stakeholders understand that the changes replace an unnecessary and burdensome process. Once third class medical reform is implemented, AOPA’s Rusty Pilots program is ready to turn this influx of lapsed pilots to current ones. The program has already had great success in getting pilots back in the air: Rusty pilots attended 103 seminars nationwide in 2015, and 25 percent of attendees completed their flight review. Over the past two years, we estimate that Rusty Pilots has put more than 1,200 pilots back in the air, and third class medical reform will surely drive those numbers higher. Additionally, the FAA recently proposed a new rule that would replace the current prescriptive design requirements for new aircraft with performance- and risk-based standards: Part 23 reform. AOPA is working with the FAA to usher in similar reforms that will permit owners of legacy aircraft to install proven modern safety equipment such as angle of attack indicators. Once a pathway has been established, it will be easier and less expensive to get modern safety equipment into GA aircraft. While the FAA works with industry on these changes, it also is working to accommodate the exponential growth of another type of aircraft: unmanned aircraft systems. AOPA has long contributed to regulatory efforts to lay the groundwork for the safe integration of drones. Now it is expanding on those efforts with plans to offer educational resources for drone operators under the banner of its You Can Fly initiative. These reforms and others will go a long way in ushering GA into a new era of vibrancy—and we even have more reasons to be optimistic.

ASK MARK AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker takes your questions 1. How is AOPA improving access to aviation? AOPA is already making significant gains in advocacy that will reduce costs and unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles, and our You Can Fly program is focused on strengthening the GA community and increasing access to aviation, no matter if you are a current, lapsed, or future pilot. You Can Fly’s initiatives support flying clubs, encourage best practices in flight training, get lapsed pilots back in the air, bring AOPA’s resources and expertise to pilot groups across the country, and help high school students learn more about aviation opportunities. In 2015 alone, we helped start 10 new flying clubs and held 103 Rusty Pilot seminars, and at the most recent Sun ’n Fun AOPA announced we will give away a Reimagined 150 to a startup flying club. To learn more about the giveaway and our other programs, visit 2. How can we pass third class medical reform? AOPA will continue to pursue every possible opportunity to accomplish third class medical reform, and there are now three bills in the House of Representatives to get it across the finish line. In late 2015, the Senate passed the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2, which contains aeromedical reform, and both the House

and Senate included reforms in each of their FAA reauthorization packages. If a long-term FAA reauthorization bill does not become law this year, the House can still act on the Senate Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2. 3. What is AOPA doing to improve cross-border operations? Cross-border GA is an important part of our economy as well as our freedom to fly. AOPA recently worked with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to end unwarranted searches of GA aircraft, and that has led to new discussions about how the process can improve, especially through the use of new technology. These changes will decrease the cost and bureaucracy for pilots and at the same time increase border security. We are also working directly with foreign governments, including those in the Bahamas, Canada, Mexico, and others, to improve the experience our pilots have when they fly outside of the United States. 4. Where can I meet and talk to AOPA representatives? First, we hope you can come visit us at our Maryland headquarters at Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK), where we offer our members free tiedowns at the AOPA ramp and personalized tours Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., no appointment necessary. Additionally, we will host four AOPA Fly-Ins this summer in North Carolina,

As the next generation begins to look for fulfilling and good-paying careers, the growing pilot shortage and premium on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs means more young people will turn to aviation. GA is the gateway to these opportunities. Aviation is an effective way to reach young people and teach them skills that will lead to great careers, and this can be accomplished through formalized classroom programs or by simply learning to fly at a local airport. AOPA’s High School Aviation Initiative works with educators, students, and aviation organizations to develop curriculums and programs so that through aviation, students can learn needed skills, which will enrich their lives and careers as well as our nation’s economy. Whether they enter aviation for a career or simply for the love of flying, young people bring a fresh perspective to the pilot community—including an evolving concept of ownership. A Goldman Sachs

Washington, Michigan, and Arizona, and you can also stop by the AOPA tent this July at EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Finally, if you have an important or time-sensitive matter, you can contact our Pilot Information Center (800-USA-AOPA) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Eastern time or email Our skilled group of pilots and flight instructors has more than 70,000 hours of collective flight experience. During the course of a given year, our specialists respond to more than 250,000 member questions via phone, emails, and letters.

report said that millennials are “turning to a new set of services that provide access to products without the burdens of ownership.” This shift is an opportunity for GA in the form of flying clubs. AOPA’s You Can Fly initiative has already taken the lead by establishing a network of more than 700 flying clubs across the country, which make flying accessible to people who don’t want to own an airplane but still want to fly. Innovative approaches such as this will bring new opportunities to pilots old and new to fly in a cost-effective and personalized manner. The next generation of pilots will strengthen GA in the United States and our economy through the highs and lows— AOPA will be here to make sure we make the most of these opportunities. AOPA




A message from Bill Ayer, chairman of the AOPA Foundation Board of Visitors I am proud to support AOPA by contributing my time to the AOPA Foundation Board of Visitors and by contributing financially to the AOPA Foundation. The money raised by the AOPA Foundation is used to pay for AOPA projects critical to general aviation, and together we are making a positive impact to improve aviation safety and to enhance the pilot community. While a lot has been accomplished, much more remains to be done. Support from donors like us funds educational efforts of the AOPA Air Safety Institute. ASI is one of the flagship programs for the association, setting the industry standard for aviation safety education and research. In 2015, pilots around the world accessed nearly two million safety products online, and the twenty-fourth edition of the annual Joseph T. Nall accident analysis report was published. In 2015, ASI also brought to pilots: • three new online courses. • two Accident Case Studies. • 10 safety videos. • 200 in-person safety seminars. • 11,000 CFI renewals. Our support also funds the You Can Fly program and its goal to get more people flying, and to keep them flying with access to affordable aircraft and shared cost arrangements. Here are some highlights from 2015: • Conducted 103 free Rusty Pilot seminars, with 3,500 attendees. Since program inception, more than 1,200 lapsed pilots are now back in the left seat. • Helped start 10 new flying clubs in 2015 (with 20 more on track in 2016). • Three full-time AOPA Ambassadors across the country promoting safety education, encouraging the formation of flying clubs, and bringing AOPA’s resources to the pilot community.

• 25 flight training scholarships for aspiring pilots of all ages. We also are making great strides in promoting aviation and related careers to young men and women of high school age. Of particular note, AOPA launched the first High School Aviation Symposium in November 2015. More than 150 educators, pilots, and aviation industry leaders came together to learn how to incorporate aviation components into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curricula in high schools nationwide. The AOPA High School Initiative will grow the number of future pilots, aerospace technicians, and engineers—and it’s funded solely by charitable contributions to the AOPA Foundation. Also, the five regional Fly-ins in 2015 were funded by gifts to the Foundation. More than 13,000 members and guests attended seminars and enjoyed the warm camaraderie surrounding these events. All of this work in outreach, safety, the You Can Fly program, and community-building is aimed at securing the future for general aviation. AOPA is ideally positioned to lead the effort. I have spent a lot of time with the AOPA team over the past year and you can have confidence in their work to expand these successful programs and to explore new areas for improvement. Thank you. With our continued support, AOPA can move forward with confidence. Fly Safely,

Bill Ayer Volunteer Chairman, AOPA Board of Visitors Former Chairman and CEO of Alaska Air Group ATP, CFII, and Malibu owner since 1984 

THE AOPA FOUNDATION INC. Amounts in ($000s) (Unaudited) 2015 REVENUE (Total revenue $7,442) Other income $20 Program service revenue $1,405

Management and general $804 Fundraising $479

Contributions $6,017 80 | AOPA PILOT PILOT June 2016

2015 EXPENSES (Total expenses $8,859)

Education and safety programs $7,576



82 | AOPA PILOT June 2016 AOPA PILOT | 83


84 | AOPA PILOT June 2016 AOPA PILOT | 85




95 ADS-B


Dynon avionics are in

›› 15,000 Experimental and

Light Sport aircraft.



Experimental avionics show the way Path to new avionics for old airplanes B Y D AV E H I R S C H M A N

86 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

The significance of the EAA/Dynon STC extends far beyond attitude indicators. It has the potential to bring newer, more reliable autopilots, engine monitors, fuel gauges, and even ADS-B traffic and weather systems to Standard category aircraft thereby reducing prices. Dynon officials said their company is pursuing similar STCs across its entire product line, up to and including its integrated SkyView electronics suite, a single- or multi-screen system that can include redundant air data computers, a digital autopilot, GPS-derived synthetic vision, and weather, traffic, and terrain warnings. The SkyView system typically sells for about $10,000—less than half the cost of similar TSO equipment. Dynon avionics are installed in 15,000 Experimental and Light Sport aircraft, of which there are roughly 35,000 in the United States. The new STC gives the Washington-based firm access to a far larger market of about 140,000 active piston aircraft in the United States. The move also is sure to spur other Experimental avionics manufacturers to pursue their own STCs and broaden them far beyond the Cessna 150/152, 172, Piper PA–28, and PA–38 that the FAA has approved so far. Advanced, GRT Avionics, and MGL are a few of the firms that are dedicated to the Experimental market, and industry leader Garmin makes both FAA-certified and Experimental products. For a small firm like


THE FAA’S RECENT APPROVAL of the installation of a 14-year-old avionics product in certain Cessna and Piper trainers may not sound like earth-shaking news—but it’s a watershed for general aviation. The news came with little fanfare on the third day of the Sun ’n Fun International Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Florida, and it was stunning. Dynon’s D-10A, a non-TSO electronic flight instrument system popular in Experimental and Light Sport aircraft, has been approved as a replacement to the primary attitude indicator in the Experimental Aircraft Association’s flying club Cessna 172 via a supplemental type certificate (STC). The STC, a joint project between EAA and Dynon, will be available through EAA, although the association has not yet released details or pricing information. By granting that single STC, however, the FAA has created a precedent that will allow other avionics firms to bring their own extremely capable, proven, relatively inexpensive, safety-enhancing avionics to Standard-category aircraft for the first time. Until now, non-TSO avionics had been strictly limited to Experimental and Light Sport aircraft. “This is one of the biggest breakthroughs we’ve had in a long time,” EAA President Jack Pelton said with characteristic understatement. “This is the bridge that will allow other innovative, safety-enhancing products into the existing aircraft fleet.” The move brings the benefits of Experimental avionics— perhaps aviation’s most competitive, dynamic, and technically innovative niche—to the relative backwater of Standard-category aircraft where the staggering cost and slow pace of developing new products has meant little progress.

GRT, the decision to seek a broader market for its existing engine monitors and primary flight displays is automatic. “This is obviously great news for us and we’ll be on it right away,” said Todd Stehouwer, a principal at the Michiganbased company. “We’ve got products that GA pilots want but they can’t have unless they fly Experimental or Light Sport airplanes.” For Garmin, the move puts new emphasis on its Experimental product line, which includes the integrated G3X avionics suite and the new G5, an all-in-one attitude instrument that can be used as a primary or backup CERTIFICATION VERSUS SAFETY Like many others, my airplane, a Van’s Aircraft RV–3, is equipped with both certified and noncertified avionics. Far from being an overlooked backup, the noncertified equipment makes flying in the clouds easy and safe. While being vectored for a localizer approach to Runway 23 at Frederick, Maryland, I had the choice of following the monochromatic black dots on an FAA-certified KX-125 screen, or the magenta line on a GRT EFIS screen. The GRT counted down the turn to final, and since it knows groundspeed and ground track, compensating for winds during rollout was automatic. Once the airplane symbol on the GPS screen was tracking the final approach course, a glance at the nav radio screen confirmed the localizer was centered. Nothing to it. One could make a strong case that there’s nothing wrong with this situation since both the certified nav radio and non-TSO EFIS were being

display. Garmin’s “Team X” developers use the company’s extensive product line to produce new products ranging from audio panels to autopilots for the Experimental market. Freed from the restrictive and timeconsuming process of obtaining technical standard order approval, manufacturers of Experimental avionics can innovate and improve their products; because the cost of certifying isn’t passed on to the consumer, aircraft owners can afford to equip with newer, more capable systems. For pilots, flying with the new generation

used for their intended purposes. The moving map on the EFIS enhances situational awareness, and the nav radio provides IFR course guidance. Everybody’s happy. But what happens when information from the certified equipment and unapproved gear is at odds? What should you believe then? I tend to favor the unapproved gear. While practicing GPS approaches using my IFR-approved but fairly ancient Garmin G300XL on a sunny day, I was dismayed by its inaccuracy. I had put the 15-year-old box in a demanding situation: a nearly 90-degree intercept of the final approach course six miles from the runway threshold. The old box did its best, but upon intercepting the final approach course, the map screen was achingly slow at redrawing the course line to follow to the runway. Once it did, the G300XL guidance was about 20 degrees off. The box recalibrated and provided an accurate course to steer at about three miles. But strictly following its indications would have resulted in a serpentine

Continued on p. 88 ground track and unstable approach. In actual IMC, the situation would have called for a missed approach. Throughout all these machinations, however, a portable aera 660 was rock steady. It tracked the airplane’s movements with absolute fidelity and wasn’t thrown off by the steep intercept. There’s nothing magical about FAA certification or IFR-approved avionics. The FAA’s new “performance-based” metrics for evaluating new equipment such as non-TSO avionics will make these proven technologies welcome additions to the panels of Standard aircraft. Pilots, particularly IFR pilots, are taught to trust their instruments. But some are inherently more trustworthy than others— reliability and ease of use have little correlation to FAA certification. My GRT EFIS and portable aera 660 are WAASenabled, GPS units that update their positions five times a second. In a pinch, I’ll rely on them over any IFR-approved but older non-WAAS navigator. In truth, I already do. —DMH AOPA PILOT | 87

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of Experimental avionics is typically far simpler than TSO products. For example, Garmin’s FAA-approved G1000 avionics suite is a tremendously capable system that has multiple menus, sub-menus, buttons, knobs, and soft keys that can be used in a dizzying variety of combinations to accomplish many tasks. By contrast, the company’s Experimental G3X has familiar icons, a far shallower menu structure, and a touchscreen display that is much more intuitive to use. The G3X owner’s manual is 328 pages. That’s a lot, but it’s nearly 300 pages fewer than Garmin’s G1000 manual. I flew a G3X-equipped Carbon Cub on an extended trip through the Idaho backcountry and regarded the colorful box with the integrated autopilot as technological overkill. But it vastly enhanced the experience of flying in that rugged and remote part of the country by providing the seeming super power of always knowing what’s around the next bend, wind strength and direction, and whether a particular climb rate is sufficient to clear the next ridge. Similarly, Dynon has gone to a great deal of effort to make its SkyView system simple to operate. It has a touch-screen option and two knobs and a single row of clearly marked buttons that control everything from the aircraft checklist to the transponder, autopilot, and moving map. Whether you’re flying VFR or IFR, you can’t help but be impressed with the thoughtful, orderly way it presents pilots with critical navigation, weather, and performance information and updates it in flight. My introduction to the SkyView came on a transcontinental winter journey with powerful winds aloft, and the integrated autopilot kept the Van’s Aircraft RV–7A on an arrow-straight course, managed climbs and descents beautifully, and never clicked off in turbulence. These and other Experimental avionics manufacturers design and build mature systems that are proven and refined. While no instrument is infallible, all of these modern devices provide better information and greater reliability than the vacuum systems they replace. AOPA EMAIL

Sigtronics Corporation

909 305-9399

178 East Arrow Highway, San Dimas, CA 91773 88 | AOPA PILOT June 2016



Transitioning up and down Flying through altitudes and levels BY THOMAS A. HORNE


Accuracy & reliability from the classroom to the cockpit.

MOST OF US FLY IN NORTH AMERICA, so we’re well acquainted with the need to change our altimeter settings when and if we ever climb or descend through the boundary of Class A airspace—18,000 feet msl, or Flight Level 180 (FL180). Climbing through 18,000 feet, you’ll need to change from an altimeter setting referenced to corrected sea level pressure to the standard atmospheric pressure setting of 29.92 inches of mercury (in Hg). You’ll also need to have an instrument rating

and be on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan, because 18,000 feet msl also happens to be the floor of positive-control airspace. In other words, when you climb into Class A airspace, your altitude switches from one based on your height above local, surface-based barometric pressure readings to an altitude based on a common pressure surface of 29.92 in Hg (dubbed “QNE”). Now you’re flying along the height of a constant pressure level. But so AOPA PILOT | 89


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is everyone else up there, so if the height of the pressure surface rises (as it does when temperatures are higher than standard) or falls (when temperatures are colder than standard) there will be adequate vertical separation as long as everyone maintains his or her assigned altitude. Above FL180, a 1,000-foot vertical separation is the rule for IFR operations. When the surface-based atmospheric pressure (called “QNH”) in the local area drops below 29.92 in Hg, then the lowest usable flight level is raised from FL180 to FL185—or higher—because otherwise, someone flying IFR at, say, 17,000 feet msl may be closer than 1,000 feet to aircraft flying in the lower flight levels. Descending through FL180, it’s time to change from 29.92 in Hg to whatever the local altimeter setting might be. So in North America, the boundary between QNH and QNE and positive-control Class A airspace and the airspace below it is easy to comprehend. There’s only one boundary—and it’s nearly always 18,000 feet msl. But I’m thinking that many pilots long for the day when they’ll get a chance to fly in foreign airspace. I hope you do. Altitudewise, that’s where the game changes, whether you’re flying IFR or VFR. TRANSITION ALTITUDE

Let’s say you’re taking off from an airport in Europe. When you receive the airport weather, you’ll be issued a local altimeter setting, just like in the United States. You’ll use that altimeter setting for takeoff and the initial climb, but at some point you’ll cross the boundary of what’s known as the transition altitude. That’s when you’ll make the change from a QNH altitude based on the airport’s sea-level setting to a standard altimeter setting of 29.92 in Hg. (Or, more likely, 1013.2 millibars, which is the equivalent.) Again, just like the United States. In most cases, however, this change doesn’t often come at altitudes as high as 18,000 feet msl. On the contrary, transition altitudes can be as low as 3,000 or 4,000 feet msl. In Germany, for example, typical transition altitudes run around 5,000 feet msl. In the United Kingdom, it’s usually 3,000 feet, but 6,000 feet in the London area. Transition altitudes can 90 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

be raised when local altimeter settings or temperatures drop below their standard levels. TRANSITION LEVEL

As for descents, foreign airspace uses what’s called a transition level to mark the change from standard to local altimeter settings. The transition level is the lowest flight level available for use above the transition altitude, and it’s published on approach plates. The height of the transition level depends, as with transition altitudes, on terrain, local altimeter settings, and temperature. Air traffic control doesn’t want airplanes coming out of the flight levels into high-to-low, lookout-below issues. So transition levels are not set in stone. As a procedural matter, ATC may issue an altimeter change at its discretion to a pilot in a descent. That amounts to a directive to switch from the standard altimeter setting to a local one. Comply with it, and, presto—you’ve left the flight levels. It can be confusing to keep the terms straight at first, so a memory aid helps. The “A” in transition altitude points upward, a reminder that these apply to climb situations. The “V” in transition level points downward, a reminder that leaving a transition level involves a descent. For all the talk about a united European community, its airspace still reflects a hodgepodge of transition altitudes and levels. There’s an initiative to combine them, United States-style—into one common altitude. But it’s been slow going, and until the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management System is fully implemented, it’s unlikely that local ATC jurisdictions will give up their practices. As for the rest of the world, expect the status quo to persist. Luckily for North American pilots flying domestically, 18,000 feet and FL180 remain transition altitude and transition level, all rolled into one. Still, there are hints that the terms may become internationalized. Jeppesen, for example, now publishes transition levels on United States approach plates. It’s always FL180, so we’re lucky that way. But be prepared if you fly to a foreign locale. AOPA EMAIL


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Is repair a lost art? When to get a second opinion B Y M I K E B U S C H A & P/ I A

WHEN THE CO-OWNER OF A 1976 Cessna 172M emailed me, she had just come from talking to her mechanic and was clearly in a state of sticker shock: “Where can I locate a used battery box for my Skyhawk without having to rob a bank? Our Gill battery (that has constantly leaked from shortly after we bought it) has caused corrosion that cannot be repaired, so we are told. Our plane is down for its annual, and apparently will remain unairworthy until this issue is resolved to the FAA’s standards. “In the past, we’ve used acid-proof paint to protect the aluminum box, and pads to soak up any leakage, but the problem has now become severe enough that the A&P says we have to replace the whole box. I thought our current one could be repaired, but according to the mechanic the bottom of the box has the stamp on it that makes it legal, and that area is damaged and needs to be replaced. New boxes from Cessna are nearly $1,000, which we find totally ridiculous and unacceptable. What can we do?” There is absolutely no reason that the existing battery box can’t be repaired. There’s no FAA rule that says the box needs some magic stamp to be legal. (It might need a stamp to be legal to sell, but not to use. Big difference!)



Repairing the battery box is a minor repair and can be done by any A&P mechanic using standard sheet metal repair techniques. Those techniques are thoroughly documented in FAA Advisory Circular AC 43.13-1B, Acceptable Methods, Techniques, and Practices— Aircraft Inspection and Repair. The resulting repair requires nothing more than a simple logbook entry. The regulations classify aircraft repairs as being either major or minor. A major repair is one “(1) That, if improperly done, might appreciably affect weight,

balance [limits], structural strength, performance, powerplant operation, flight characteristics, or other qualities affecting airworthiness; or (2) That is not done according to accepted practices or cannot be done by elementary operations.” Repairs other than major repairs are minor. FAR Part 43 Appendix A lists numerous examples of major repairs. It is not an exhaustive list, but provides helpful guidance in understanding how the FAA interprets the aforementioned definitions. A major repair is one that the FAA wants to know about. It must be done in accordance with “approved data” that has been officially blessed by an authorized representative of the administrator (typically an FAA engineer, inspector, or designated engineering representative). It must be inspected and approved by a technician with inspection authorization (IA), documented on an FAA Form 337 (record of major repair or alteration), and filed with the FAA Records Branch in Oklahoma City, where it becomes a permanent part of the aircraft’s official records. A minor repair does not require approved data, an IA’s involvement, or a Form 337. It may be performed by any A&P mechanic, and documented with a simple logbook entry. A minor repair may be done in accordance with “acceptable data,” which means materials, methods, and techniques that meet FAA certification AOPA PILOT | 91


92 | 


standards and conform with accepted industry practices. Acceptable data include FAA advisory circulars; manufacturer’s maintenance manuals, service bulletins and service kits; and military specifications (mil-specs) and technical manuals. Unlike approved data, acceptable data do not require FAA approval. The mechanic who is performing a particular repair makes the determination of whether it is major or minor, using FAR 1.1 and Part 43 Appendix A as guidance. In making this determination, the mechanic is essentially deciding whether the repair requires the FAA and an IA to get involved. The overwhelming majority of aircraft repairs are minor repairs. Repairing an aluminum battery box is a minor repair. The Skyhawk owner may have had other options. It’s likely that a PMA-approved battery box is available from a third-party source at a price substantially less than what Cessna charges. It’s also likely that a used but serviceable battery box can be obtained from a salvage yard.


Even if the Skyhawk’s battery box were on the verge of crumbling into dust and totally unrepairable, it would still be perfectly legal for the aircraft owner to produce one from scratch and document it in the logbooks as an ownerproduced part. In doing this, the owner could enlist the aid of his A&P, a machine shop, or anyone else he likes and it would still qualify as an owner-produced part. It’s an oddity of the FARs that mechanics may repair broken parts, but they have no authority to produce new parts from scratch. The FARs grant that authority to aircraft owners, so long as the parts they produce are for installation on their own aircraft and not for sale or for installation on an aircraft they do not own. (The FAA authorizes owners to produce parts for their own certified aircraft because “orphaned” aircraft whose manufacturers no longer exist might wind up grounded forever.) The FAA will consider a part to be owner-produced if the owner is meaningfully involved in its production in any

of these ways: provides the specifications or the part to be duplicated; provides the materials to make the part; provides manufacturing techniques or assembly methods; provides quality assurance; or supervises the manufacture of the part. To be legal, an owner-produced part has to be airworthy. For a part to be airworthy, it must conform to the aircraft’s type design. If you decide to fabricate a battery box for your Skyhawk, you must duplicate the original battery box as closely as possible, using the same dimensions, materials, and construction methods used in the original. Resist the urge to make it better than the original, because then it would legally become an alteration rather than a repair. You’ll need help in fabricating an ownerproduced part, and the most likely person to help is your A&P. That’s because the owner-produced part won’t do you much good unless your A&P is satisfied that it is airworthy and is willing to install it and approve your aircraft for return to service. Your mechanic can legally manufacture the

owner-produced part for you, provided you supervise his work. MAJOR REPAIR

Some of the confusion surrounding major and minor repairs is the personal judgment that is required for each case. While a Cirrus SR22 was undergoing its annual inspection at an authorized Cirrus Service Center, the inspecting mechanic discovered some light corrosion on the aircraft’s welded steel tubing engine mount, caused by an exhaust leak. The mechanic informed the owner that repair of an engine mount is a major repair that requires approved data. (Engine mount repair is listed as a major repair in Part 43 Appendix A.) He advised the owner that it would be necessary to obtain an Engineering Order (EO) from Cirrus for the repair, and that Cirrus had quoted an engineering fee of $2,000 to prepare the EO. This did not include parts or labor for the repair itself! Although an engine mount repair is a major repair, there was no need to pay Cirrus for an EO because the FAA has

already provided approved data for such a repair in AC 43.13-1B. The signature page of this advisory circular states, in pertinent part: “The repair data [in AC 43.13-1B] may also be used as approved data, and the AC chapter, page, and paragraph listed in block 8 of FAA form 337 when: a. the user has determined that it is appropriate to the product being repaired; b. it is directly applicable to the repair being made; and c. it is not contrary to manufacturer’s data.” The AC also states that if the corrosion is sufficiently minor it can be removed without reducing the tubing wall thickness by more than 10 percent, no further repair is necessary other than priming and painting. The owner approached his service center with this information, but the center would not budge. I counseled the owner to ask another A&P to look at the corroded mount. The independent mechanic confirmed my suspicion that the corrosion was so minor that it could simply be removed with ScotchBrite and elbow grease, and then primed and painted without

requiring any structural reinforcement. Under my advisement, the owner instructed the service center to finish the annual but without addressing the engine mount corrosion, and to sign off the annual with a discrepancy. The owner then proceeded to taxi his aircraft to the other A&P’s shop, where the corrosion was treated and the aircraft approved for return to service at a total cost of just a couple of hundred bucks. Shops and mechanics who are more interested in limiting their liability than in doing what’s right and reasonable for their aircraft owner customers practice too much “defensive maintenance.” There’s no reason for aircraft owners to put up with this. The next time an A&P tells you that you have to do something expensive because FAA regulations require it, you might consider doing what the Skyhawk and Cirrus owners did: Get a second opinion. AOPA MIKE BUSCH is an A&P/IA. EMAIL

| 93



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GENESAH DUFFY shines a flashlight

through the Cessna 152’s rear window as Bill Boege puts the finishing touches on the wiring.

Installing a UAT Can your A&P play a role? BY MIKE COLLINS P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y T H E AU T H O R

W E ’ V E TA L K E D A B O U T A u t o m a t i c Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast in these pages for months. Now, we’re going to do something about it—or with it, anyway. AOPA has installed 978-MHz universal access transceivers in three Cessna piston singles, providing them with both required ADS-B Out and the optional In capabilities. This month we’ll talk about the first one. ADS-B, which uses satellites instead of ground-based radar to determine aircraft location, is a key technology behind the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System. The FAA has mandated ADS-B Out equipage beginning January 1, 2020, for operations in most airspace where a transponder is required today. HARDWARE SELECTION

AOPA acknowledges the benefits of, and the need for, the transition to ADS-B. But the association also has advocated for less-expensive ADS-B Out hardware that complies with the mandate. Today several 978-MHz universal access transceivers (978UATs) are available for around $2,000. We also wanted to see whether having an

airframe and powerplant mechanic install the ADS-B hardware during the aircraft’s annual inspection—when the interior is already removed—might help to reduce installation labor costs. First up was N152UF, a Cessna 152 based in Florida. Because it doesn’t operate in the flight levels, or anywhere else that the 1090-MHz datalink is required, we selected NavWorx’s ADS600-B. The unit lists for $1,999 and includes an integral, rule-compliant WAAS GPS position source (152UF’s panel does not have a suitable GPS); the optional ADS-B In capability for traffic and subscription-free weather, with a Wi-Fi module that allows wireless display of traffic and weather on a tablet; and an approved model list (AML) supplemental type certificate (STC) that allows for its installation in many certified GA aircraft. The rule requires a single point of entry for your squawk code—the aircraft transponder. However, ADS-B Out equipment must know your transponder code, as well as your Mode C altitude. For aircraft with newer, digital transponders—such as the Garmin GTX 327, GTX 330, or SL70, AOPA PILOT | 95




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or the Sandia STX 165—the ADS600-B can receive that information digitally. Older transponders will require NavWorx’s $199 TransMonSPE, which slips over the transponder coax cable to receive its Mode A and Mode C replies. 152UF has a GTX 327, so we did not require that accessory. Many avionics manufacturers require that their products be installed by authorized dealers. NavWorx will sell directly to an aircraft owner. Hardware availability from any manufacturer can vary, and some avionics shops have said they won’t schedule an ADS-B installation until the hardware is in hand. Last fall a few AOPA members reported waits for NavWorx UATs, so we ordered early from the NavWorx website—and our purchase arrived in a timely manner about two weeks later. FINDING A SHOP

Bill Boege’s Propellerhead Aviation, an aircraft maintenance and flight training operation in Winter Haven, Florida, has been servicing 152UF, and he agreed to install the UAT during its annual in January. While mechanic José Roman completed the final tasks of the annual, Boege unpacked the UAT’s installation hardware on a table beside the yellow Cessna and began studying the installation manual. He also reviewed the installed Garmin GTX 327 transponder’s manual, and began the process of determining the pin configurations for the wiring harness. Once the proper locations for the UAT’s antenna and the antenna for its integral WAAS GPS were determined—placement is very important—their installations were routine. Boege determined that a position in the tail cone, just below the emergency locator transmitter, was best for the UAT transceiver; his team fabricated a mounting bracket. Work on the wiring harness was most time-consuming, he said. Boege has a fair amount of avionics experience, as well as the precision wire strippers, pin crimpers, and other special tools needed for this kind of job. Boege noticed in the manual that the NavWorx UAT should display traffic on the Garmin aera 560 mounted in the 152. “We should try to make this work,” said the pilot and active CFI, who understands the value 96 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

of the additional situational awareness that would provide. He did. Much of the installation time is spent on one’s stomach, reaching into the tail cone—or back, reaching up behind the panel. “You can’t do this for eight hours or 10 hours at a time—you’ve got to switch to something else, to save your back,” Boege said. “It doesn’t add hours to the job, but it adds calendar days, because you’re not working on it all day.” While Boege found nothing in the project that can’t be figured out by a mechanic with basic electrical skills, he said it might not be a good fit for a shop without some avionics experience. NavWorx’s customer support was excellent, he added. “It’s a good practice to really verify where those wires go ahead of time, instead of hooking them up and having to undo it later. It takes a lot of time to go back and forth.” The bill for the ADS-B install was 28 hours of labor, and $55 for parts (a circuit breaker, the bracket, and some wire). “I was pretty happy with the amount of time it took, being a first installation. After this one, the next couple will be a lot quicker,” he said. “The initial installation is really an investment, as far as a shop goes.” He could see an install time of 20 hours or less, and said area avionics shops were quoting about 25—at least some of that difference would be removal and reinstallation of the interior. Boege suggests that a mechanic or small shop research the available units, pick one, and stick with it. “You’ll get real familiar with the installation process. It’s a clean installation—it’s not a dirty job.” Incorporated with an annual inspection, he believes both customer and shop will benefit. Boege plans to offer ADS-B installations to other customers. CONSIDERATIONS

While it’s perfectly legal for an A&P/ IA to install a UAT, as Boege noted, not every mechanic is suited for the task. The Aircraft Electronics Association, the trade organization representing avionics manufacturers and installers, is not enthusiastic about the typical A&P tackling an ADS-B installation. “ADS-B is embedded in so many technologies, it’s difficult to say what ADS-B is,” said Ric Peri, AEA’s vice

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JOSÉ ROMAN and Bill Boege

measure the location for the UAT’s belly-mounted antenna (above). The universal access transceiver is mounted in the tail cone, just below the aircraft’s ELT (right).

president for government and industry affairs. “It’s one thing to talk about a blind box, but it’s another to alter the primary GPS navigation source in the aircraft.” Even if an A&P has a background in avionics work, Peri said, he cannot repair or alter an instrument—including a primary flight display. And tools and test equipment are required to do the job properly, he added. “If you encourage a random A&P to do [an ADS-B installation] without proper training, you’re setting yourself up for failure.” Peri suggests that an aircraft owner encourage his A&P to partner with an avionics shop. “There’s nothing to prevent the owner/operator from initiating that conversation.” Or coordinate the installation during your aircraft’s annual. While the interior is out, tow it to the radio shop for the installation. “We need to find creative ways to be frugal.” TO BE CONTINUED

Next month, we’ll look at two more ADS-B hardware installations—one by another A&P, and one by an avionics shop. While I don’t want to give away

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all the conclusions, I don’t want to keep you hanging if your annual is almost due. So here’s some foreshadowing: Asking a qualified A&P, who is comfortable working with avionics, to install a UAT during your aircraft’s annual is an option worth exploring. Finding the right A&P may be a challenge. And if he or she isn’t comfortable with the required electrical work—move on. None of you will be happy with the result. AOPA

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Where lesser angels roam Four riders on a warm day BY JOHN CARROLL

98 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

skills, but my time spent as a commuter captain for a small airline warned me against trying to cheat the numbers. The Cessna was going to be challenged by current circumstance, and it was being flown by a guy in whom I didn’t have a lot of faith. The departure runway was several thousand feet longer than the little carving we were headed to. We rolled an exceptionally long distance down that first runway before liftoff. For most pilots, this warning would have been enough to abort, but I was the only one who seemed concerned. The trip to our airstrip took less time than the three failed approaches that were made once we were there. Nothing was said on the first attempt, which began with a downwind leg that was higher than the one I would have made. The pilot surprised me when he turned base leg so close to the runway. At first it appeared as though he was going to use some kind of chop-and-drop descent strategy, but it became obvious that he had no strategy at all. All of his go-arounds were sloppy, with the first one being the worst. I suggested that he try making his downwind lower the next time. I also sat a little more ready in the event that he began to lose control of the airplane. The second approach was better but much


AFTERNOON TEMPERATURES PEAKED close to 100 hot-and-humid degrees Fahrenheit. On an even hotter piece of asphalt, the air around us hung like a blanket in a hot parked car. The wind sock remained lifeless. Dad and I had been waiting for a ride home from a towered airport where we had delivered an Aeronca 7BCM Champ. We had planned to get a ride in a truck over a well-traveled toll road. But with a small fleet of aircraft rentals at their disposal, two pilots—one a designated pilot examiner, the other a flight school owner—had decided to take us on the short flight back to our home airport in one of their Cessnas. I had no objection to flying home. But when I found out that they intended for four well-fed guys to pile into a fuel-heavy Cessna 172, my common-sense alarm went off. The examiner should not have encouraged this idea. He was familiar with our small, tree-lined grass airstrip and knew that the airplane would be taking off in a very heavy condition on an exceptionally hot day. The Cessna 172 is a marvelous machine, but it was never a genuine four-place transport. I had used a similar model many years earlier to get my instrument rating and had seldom flown one since. Yet as we approached the aircraft, the examiner insisted that I sit up front. The weight and balance did favor this arrangement, but we were already well beyond anything reasonable. This did, however, afford me access to the controls, which I would need if things did not go well. I believed the airplane was capable of making the flight, but I thought this venture was both unnecessary and stupid. My objections were noted, but trivialized by the other pilots. We had all been trained at one time or another by the examiner, and most chose to favor his judgment. The left-seat pilot was the flight school owner, a multiengine airline transport pilot who operated his own on-demand charter service. Behind him sat the examiner, and beside the examiner sat my father, a private pilot. My experience in banner towing had helped to bestow in me some reasonable stick-and-rudder

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too fast. I could tell that he was upset and had been since the first abort. Now the examiner in the backseat was yelling for me to take the controls. But the frustrated charter pilot was more receptive to input, so I tried once to talk him through a landing. The last failed approach came nearer to success. But by this time I was the only calm person in that airplane. After his third attempt, the pilot threw up his hands in disgust and relinquished the controls. I then brought the airplane in for a mostly uneventful soft-field landing. I say “mostly uneventful” because the approach was intentionally low and slow over the last remaining tree on the south end of the field. Holding a small amount of power directly overhead of that obstacle, I chopped the throttle and nosed the aircraft down in contour over that form. The aircraft then accelerated into a mildly steep descent, losing much of that added kinetic energy with a large braking pitch change that ended barely six inches above the ground. My passengers weren’t

expecting this kind of maneuvering, and, given their already high level of anxiety, I didn’t tell them about my plan to do so beforehand. In doing this, I underestimated how much potential energy would be turned into airspeed by this burdened aircraft. The airspeed was safe but several knots fast. Rather than float down the runway, I released some of the back-pressure on the control wheel and allowed the airplane to land. I could have used some refined aerodynamic braking, but I thought everyone would feel better with the wheels on the ground. The aircraft’s unchecked momentum carried us over the remaining distance to the other end of the runway. I felt vindicated by my earlier caution, but condemned by my participation in the flight. I would never have participated in that flight had it not been to protect my father from harm. That night I spoke about the incident with my dad. I was angry. His

overconfidence in the examiner had helped to involve us in an ill-advised adventure. He vowed never again to take his former instructor’s opinion over mine when it involved the safety of a flight. The most frustrating thing for me was not being seriously considered in a matter of such grave importance. This kind of blind faith I find disturbing. My father is gone now. I hope to discover that better angels will prevail the next time something like this comes up, but I won’t be convinced again to partake, in case they don’t. AOPA JOHN CARROLL of Auburn, New Hamp-

shire, is a multiengine ATP with commercial glider privileges. He is a former tow pilot and commuter captain, with more than 9,000 hours. DIGITAL EXTRA Hear this and other

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of AOPA members own an aircraft.



AOPA is giving away a completely remanufactured Cessna 150 to a startup flying club. To be eligible to win the Cessna 150 giveaway, your club must meet the following criteria: •

Have a minimum of four members.

Have a named set of club officers including president, secretary, treasurer, safety officer, and maintenance officer.

Possess a set of bylaws (drafts are acceptable).

Receive a quote from AOPA Insurance.

Be listed as a “club in formation” on AOPA’s Flying Club Finder.

Complete an online application. WEB

Start a flying club Let’s get everyone into having fun WHAT IS A FLYING CLUB? Essentially, it’s an aviation co-op: a group of people coming together to share the cost of ownership to make flying more affordable. Spreading the acquisition cost of an aircraft—as well as its monthly recurring costs such as a hangar fees, annual maintenance, and insurance—among several people makes economic sense. But clubs offer so much more than just affordable flying. The benefits include quality flight training opportunities, access to a variety of aircraft, and the opportunity to build community. Flying clubs offer a great path to get into aviation or a way to reconnect to that passion. WHAT A FLYING CLUB CAN DO:

Flying club members can receive flight training in flying club aircraft from anyone authorized by the airport authority to provide flight instruction on field. Flying club members who are CFIs can provide instruction to other club members in club aircraft.

102 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

Flying club members who are mechanics can perform maintenance on aircraft that are components of their club. Compensation for member-performed maintenance and flight instruction is dependent on approval from your airport manager.


Flying clubs cannot offer scenic flights, charter service, or any other commercial activity. Flying clubs and their members cannot lease or sell any goods or services to anyone other than a member of the club (unless it is the sale or exchange of its capital equipment).


Call 1-800-USA-AOPA to chat with one of AOPA’s Flying Club Specialists.

MEET LES SMITH, AOPA SENIOR DIRECTOR OF PILOT COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT Les Smith joined AOPA in 2015, transferring from the Seattle area to AOPA’s Maryland headquarters to help lead the association’s initiatives to grow the pilot population. He was an active member of the Washington Pilots Association, including three terms as the president. Smith also was a founding member of the Washington State Aviation Alliance, which brings together various state aviation associations for common goals. He is a 1,200-hour instrument-rated private pilot. “Being part of a flying club can help turn flying from an activity into a lifestyle,” Smith says. “Clubs can be social hubs with activities and adventures for the whole family. Clubs give pilots the means and the reasons to fly.”


DONATE YOUR AIRCRAFT FAST EASY BENEFICIAL Selling your airplane? Don’t pay broker fees. Get the full value of your plane as an income tax deduction by donating it to the AOPA Foundation. A single donated airplane can make a signifcant diference to those who beneft from the AOPA Foundation’s work: 

Create scholarships for student pilots

Keep our 5,200 community airports open and accessible

Build a nationwide network of fying clubs

Save lives through free safety training

GET STARTED TODAY! Email us at, fll out our quick and easy online form at or call 1.800.872.2672 to get started




Together we can make a difference. Join AOPA member philanthropists who have funded AOPA Foundation initiatives this year (www.aopafoundation. org/donate). AIR SAFETY INSTITUTE


Are you tapping into ASI’s free programs? Get your safety fix online and in person A VISIT TO AOPA’S Air Safety Institute (ASI) website ( provides a good overview of the many free programs available, as well as an opportunity to hone your aviation knowledge and improve your skills. Check for new or updated courses, as some have undergone a facelift to improve user experience and incorporate updates as necessary, such as the Runway Safety course (www. Also, all new courses are produced in a tabletfriendly format, making it convenient to take a course when and where you want. ASI has expanded its lineup of brief, informative safety videos, providing an easy way to review a particular topic before your next flight, so look for new releases online ( New seminars are held across the United States each year, and if you attend this summer’s AOPA Fly-Ins and



DID YOU KNOW? WHEN FINANCING AN AIRCRAFT, a 15 to 20 percent down payment is common. Buyers may obtain a longer loan term by putting down a larger down payment. Adam Meredith, president of AOPA Aviation Finance, discusses factors that affect aircraft loan terms online (www.aopa. org/pilot/loanterms16). WEB

104 | AOPA PILOT June 2016

the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture, you’ll get a chance to hear from expert educators and seminar leaders, including ASI’s senior vice president George Perry ( seminars). For example, in “Mind Over Matter,” Perry discusses the importance of having more than good stick-and-rudder skills and simple techniques to increase pilot performance and reduce pilot error. If you want a quick brush-up on safety topics, see ASI’s safety advisors (www., or if you prefer to delve deeper into the statistical realities of aviation, download the Joseph T. Nall Report ( nall). ASI also produces a free digital newsletter, CFI to CFI. As the title suggests, the publication is aimed at flight instructors, but any pilot from student to ATP can subscribe ( to this digital resource for insightful tips from designated examiners and flight instructors. These free programs would not be possible without your support of the AOPA Foundation (, and ASI thanks donors and pilots like you for furthering its quest to keep pilots safe.

FLASH UPDATE: PREVENT SECURITY BREACHES If you use Adobe Flash Player to take some of ASI’s popular Flash-based courses, make sure you regularly update your computer’s Flash Player plug-in to keep your system secure. Adobe recently released an emergency update after security researchers discovered a flaw that permits system security breaches. Updates should only be downloaded from the Adobe website directly (




Unwanted attention

AOPA Pilot Protection Services


(ADS-B) Out equipment is already installed in your aircraft but isn’t functioning properly, you may receive some unwanted attention from the FAA. Once ADS-B Out equipment is installed, it must be operational and broadcast the required information at all times. While FAR 91.225 provides that aircraft must have ADS-B Out equipment installed to operate in designated airspace “after January 1, 2020,” the regulation also affects present-day operations by requiring that “each person operating an aircraft equipped with ADS-B Out must operate this equipment in the transmit mode at all times.” The FAA’s ADS-B Compliance Monitoring System is operational and is capable of detecting each flight of an aircraft with ADS-B Out equipment that is failing to broadcast the information required by FAR 91.227. The information required by the FAR includes 19 different indications, such as the aircraft’s latitude and longitude, barometric pressure altitude, and transponder identification code. We are aware of several cases in which aircraft owners have received a “Letter of Finding” from the FAA’s Avionics

Branch in Washington, D.C., notifying the owner of the date of the flight in question and the nature of the ADS-B Out equipment’s deficiency. The letter also provides a point of contact to call within 30 days to discuss a plan of corrective action. As with any potential FAR violation, aircraft owners and pilots are advised to contact an attorney prior to discussing the matter with anyone. How can you confirm that your ADS-B equipment is functioning properly? According to the FAA’s website, you can send an email to the agency ( with your aircraft’s registration number and request an ADS-B Out equipment check. However, consult with your attorney or the AOPA Legal Services Plan before you do so, as both the aircraft owner and the pilot of the aircraft could be liable for any regulatory violations discovered. JARED ALLEN is an attorney for AOPA’s Pilot Protection

Services Legal Services Plan.



Send your new address and AOPA membership number to AOPA: 421 Aviation Way Frederick, Maryland 21701-4798 Fax: 301-695-2375 TOLL-FREE PILOT INFORMATION CENTER

800-USA-AOPA (872-2672)







800-955-9115 800-638-3101 800-523-7666

800-622-AOPA (622-2672) 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672) 866-315-9155




Do you have questions or need information about an aviation topic? Access the team of aviation experts in our Pilot Information Center during our convenient weekday hours. Call 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Eastern time, with your questions and our staff will be happy to assist you. WEB Visit the website ( to learn about upgrading to the AOPA Premier membership.

106 | AOPA PILOT June 2016





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Accelerated Flight &


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Enterprise Holdings


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15 25 •

Garmin Communication

Aircraft Specialties Services 33 • 800-826-9252

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Airplane Things

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Alpine Airpark

93 • 307-248-2073

AOPA Services Air Safety Institute FIRCs 94 •

AOPA Aircraft Donation 103 • 800-872-2672

AOPA Aviation Finance T-6, 107 AOPA Credit Card by


Bank of America AOPA Flexible Aviation Loan • 800-62-PLANE


AOPA Flight Planner


AOPA Hangar Insurance

56 • 800-622-AOPA

AOPA Insurance Services 3 • 800-622-AOPA


AOPA Pilot Gear Online


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5 • 954-859-4632 • 954-859-4632

38 •

Jetwarbird Training Center 110 King Schools


L3 Avionics

Cover 2 • • 800-854-1001 •


110 •

Lightspeed Aviation

41 •


My Pillow • 800-821-1212 • 800-308-9855

Convention & Exhibition • 109



Pilatus Aircraft


Pilot Insurance Center


Pilots Choice


Piper Aircraft

T-11 • 772-299-2403

Preferred Airparts, LLC

110 • 800-433-0814

PS Engineering, Inc.

48 • 800-427-2376

Quest Aircraft

19 • • 800-USA-AOPA Rod Machado

97 • 800-437-7080

Sandy’s Airpark @ Sporty’s 109 • 800-908-4359 • • • 800-872-2672


Membership • 913-397-8200 90

NuShield •


Services • 855-359-3276 •

National Business Aviation T-19 •

AOPA Jobs Board • • 866-315-9155

Cover 4

Mid-Continent Instruments 43 • • • 844-GET-ADSB

Hilton Software


Internet • Telephone No. • 877-900-9192 • • 303-465-9099 • 800-380-8376 • 512-869-1759

AOPA Regional Fly-In

49 •


88 •




89 •

Aspen Avionics

57 •

Avemco Insurance Co.


Aviation Seminars

88 • 800-257-9444

Ball Watch USA

27 • 800-348-3332

Stemme USA

44 • 803-726-8884


17 • 855-250-7027

Tailwheels Etc.

109 • 863-401-3592

Tana Wire Markers

110 • 873-796-3812

Textron Aviation

T-5 • 844-44-TXTAV


90 • 800-337-5263

Worldwide Steel Buildings 110 • 800-825-0316 • 229-271-7905 • 800-276-5208

Breitling Watches



11 • 954-893-1414

David Clark

8 • 800-298-6235 •

Delaware Registry, LTD.

110 • 800-321-CORP

Desser Tire & Rubber Co.

110 • 800-247-8473

Double Eagle Aviation

111 • 800-505-0148

Schweiss Doors

110 • 800-746-8273

Sigtronics Corporation

88 • 909-305-9399

Simcom Training Centers


SiriusXM Aviation

Cover 3

Sport Plane, Inc.


Sporty’s Pilot Shop


WEB • 866-272-2760 • 855-838-8565 • • 800-SPORTYS

AOPA Pilot magazine (ISSN: 0001-2084), June 2016 (Vol. 59, No. 06), is produced and distributed monthly by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701. Distribution restricted to AOPA members, those in aeronautical education (faculty and schools), libraries, and the news media. U.S. membership dues are $59, of which $18 is for an annual subscription to Pilot. Canadian membership dues $64. All other foreign membership dues $79. Single copy price $6.95. Subscription rates to qualified organizations are $21 per year in the United States, its territories, and possessions. All funds payable in U.S. dollars only. Periodicals postage paid at Frederick, Maryland, and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to AOPA Member Services, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701. Publications Mail Agreement No. 41147511. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: PO Box 1051, Fort Erie, ON L2A 6C7. For change of address: Call 800-USA-AOPA or email

108 | AOPA PILOT June 2016






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Alaska: Scenic wonder BY KATHY DONDZILA WE CHOCKED THE CESSNA 182 at Soldotna Airport (SXQ) on the Kenai Peninsula, and I swapped my sneakers for black flats for the short walk through the woods to the riverside wedding. After the ceremony, with the heady aroma of barbecuing ribs in the air, we walked down to the dock. Several guests grabbed their rods to fish the Kenai River. A bald eagle watched from a nearby tree. The water, teeming with dozens of species of fish, was bright turquoise from the suspended silt it carries. From the Cook Inlet to Denali National Park and beyond, Alaska offers a changing panorama of vistas: glaciers, mountains, rivers, lakes, and wildlife. General aviation is often the only way to get from place to place. The flights I’ve made there are among the most memorable in my logbook. If you are thinking of checking out Alaska for yourself, there are some things to know. Most U.S. pilots depart from some point in the Lower 48 and fly through Canadian airspace. If you plan to land in Canada for any reason, even for a fuel stop, you will need to treat the trip as an international flight. That means you’ll need a passport, an eAPIS manifest, and an ICAO flight plan. U.S. Customs and Border Protection requires a user-fee decal. Details on these and more need-toknow information are on AOPA’s website (, including a short video on filling out the ICAO flight plan form. Have additional questions? Give AOPA a call, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672). We’d be glad to talk with you. AOPA KATHY DONDZILA is AOPA technical

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Billy FitzGerald Master guide in Alaska’s backcountry B Y K AT I E W R I T E R LOOKING AT PHOTOS OF BUSH PILOTS soaring over pristine wilderness, one might think, How could that person ever have a bad day? But there are reasons why there isn’t a surplus of bush pilots. In three decades of flying in the Alaskan bush, Billy FitzGerald has negotiated his share of fickle weather and mechanical problems. FitzGerald moved to Alaska from Boston in the 1970s. Through trial and error, he learned survival skills such as hunting, commercial fishing, and trapping with a dog team deep in the backcountry. After five years, FitzGerald was earning a living as a wilderness and hunting guide. He had always admired the skills of the bush pilots who took him in and out of the backcountry; after a successful commercial fishing season in 1986, he bought an Aeronca Chief. The Chief not only enabled him to complete his pilot certificate, but it also allowed him to start his Denali Trekking Co., which flies clients into the wilderness for guided hikes. The scenery is a photographer’s dream. There are bears, caribou, wolves, moose, and foxes amid tundra, lakes, and mountains. The ability to land and spend days hiking among

the flora and fauna makes these trips special. FitzGerald and his wife, Ute, are known for their spot-on airdrops of freshly made brownies and cinnamon rolls to their clients’ remote camps. Many of FitzGerald’s 4,000 hours have included flying biologists for wildlife studies. “We flew the proposed route of a natural gas line to identify live eagle nests and critical habitat in the corridor,” he said. “I flew for the Alaska Moose Federation to locate collision sites of moose with trains in order to identify problematic zones. I have also placed stream loggers for the Cook Inlet Keeper to measure young salmon habitat factors.” Being a bush pilot does have its downside. “Hand-propping my floatplane with the starter engaged while the wind was blowing me across the lake was no fun,” FitzGerald said. “Landing in a swamp after an engine failure sure made my heart pound. I had a job to do and there I was, in a swamp.” He managed, with the help of friends, to make a one-inch timber boardwalk for his wheels to gain enough momentum for flight; and when he did, his worries disappeared in the wind. AOPA WEB


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Alaska bush pilot and master guide HOURS | 4,000 CERTIFICATES | Commercial single-engine land and sea, instrument rating EXTRA | FitzGerald is a threetime Talkeetna Bird-A-Thon Champion and keeps a list of birds viewed while flying. “It’s the best when I see magnificent birds out there and we are both riding the wind.”


112 | AOPA PILOT June 201616


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Aopa pilot magazine june 2016