Cable failure brings down airplane

Aircraft: Rans S12-XL. Injuries: None. Location: Gordon, Ala. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot reported that the takeoff was normal, but as he accelerated to cruise airspeed the elevator suddenly began to flutter violently, shaking the airplane.

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GA advocates return to Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The mid-term election was a surprise to many people. Some it pleased. To others it caused discomfort. But to officials of general aviation advocacy groups who deal regularly with Congress, election results are neutral.

The associations deal with both political parties over the years and there is no desire to make a comment that could be filed away to remind a person or party that a particular association was not nice in what was said at any time.

Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), said “we know the value of the industry will continue to be recognized by members of both parties, as demonstrated by the large, bipartisan nature of the House and Senate GA Caucuses.”

He added the caucuses are about evenly divided along party lines. Lawmakers come from urban and rural districts, coastal areas and the middle of the country. In all these places business aviation is essential in creating jobs, helping companies of all sizes succeed, and providing an economic lifeline, he noted.

Officials at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) said they are encouraged as many key general aviation supporters kept their positions. Two of the incoming Republicans are also AOPA members — Barry Loudermilk of Georgia and former Governor Mike Rounds, elected to fill one of South Dakota’s Senate seats.

There will need to be some rebuilding in the House and Senate Caucuses. According to AOPA, the Senate Caucus will lose at least seven members; the House will need to seek new leadership after Rep. John Barrow (R-Ga.) was defeated.

Tom Cotton, a representative from Arkansas who co-sponsored the House’s General Aviation Protection Act, will be moving from the House to the Senate.

Even with all the changes, the House GA Caucus is still one of the largest in the Congress.

Santa Monica airport problems continue

Although not a Washington subject, the future of Santa Monica Airport (SMO) had a disappointing election result for GA advocates. Currently this important airport in the Los Angeles area is teetering on the edge. Developers want to build industrial sites and offices on the airport. Over recent years there have been exorbitant landing and rental fees and other attempts to strangle the airport.

A measure passed by the voters leaves the City Council in charge of the airport. AOPA worked over the years to keep the airport operating. The association supported an initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot that would have required voter approval before the city could make any changes. This measure failed.

Airport advocates know the importance of an airport in the Los Angeles area to relieve Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and to provide the economic connection with the world that an airport brings.

Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports, said that association will continue to work to keep the airport open.

Having flown into SMO on a few occasions on business, I recognize the value of the airport as a business asset.

‘Serious’ victory for repair stations

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thanks to a coalition of aviation trade associations and the responsiveness of the FAA, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) will retain seven important letters. The word “serious” has been reinserted into the paragraph of 14 CFR part 145 requiring repair stations to report failures, malfunctions or defects in articles received for work to the agency within 96 hours.

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Amended deliveries report includes rotorcraft


The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has provided updated rotorcraft shipment data through the third quarter of 2014 to augment the general aviation airplane shipment data published last week.

The rotorcraft industry delivered 648 helicopters in the first nine months of 2014, a decline of approximately one-third in deliveries compared to the same period last year.

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Dec. 8 release set for children’s aviation book


The Kickstarter-funded children’s book, “Turbo the Flying Dog,” is expected to be available for purchase online Dec. 8.

Turbo the Flying Dog tells the story of Turbo, a lonely shelter mutt. The day Turbo discovers he will finally have a new home and a family he learns he must first get there by plane. Turbo has never seen a plane before, let alone flown in one, and as the story unfolds he discovers that he just may enjoy flying.

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Accelerated stall kills Piper pilot

Aircraft: Piper Cherokee. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: Anadarko, Okla. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: According to a witness, the pilot’s first attempt to land resulted in the airplane bouncing. He did a go-around and entered the traffic pattern to land again.

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MZero Aviation: A new kind of online ground school

Jason Schappert

You may know someone who attempted to do private pilot ground school online. The courses often consist of reading pages of material, followed by quizzes to see if you learned the material. It can be a challenge to stay motivated and it’s not unusual for student pilots to give up.

It happens at brick and mortar classes as well when hard copy books are used. The amount of material can be overwhelming, and to some people, especially millennials — those born in the late 1990s — the book work seems archaic. No wonder the drop-out rate tops 80%.

Jason Schappert, the founder of, an online ground school, has beaten those odds and, in fact, reversed them by embracing the digital age.

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