Wind shift bends Cessna

Aircraft: Cessna 182. Injuries: None. Location: Bellview, Texas. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: Before setting up to practice touch-and-go landings, the pilot overflew the airport, checked the windsock, and verified the wind was from the south at 10 knots. He entered the traffic pattern for a landing on runway 15.

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Planes vs. birds

Landing on the Harbor Visual Runway 29 Approach into KPWM can be a 95-second joy ride if the time of day and the time of year are just right. For us, that flight, it was.

I flew the crowded 50-seat regional jet in a descending arc, starting at Elizabeth City, Maine. We traveled north along the Maine coast past the airport, giving the passengers views of the cobalt blue Casco Bay and the mossy green Ram and Peaks Islands, before we banked left and headed south along the coast, over the narrow, inky blue Portland Harbor.

“Glorious,” crowed the captain.

“Birds,” was my reply. I pointed to a small flock of large, brown waterfowl taking wing from the run-up area of Runway 29 off my starboard side.

“They’ll be gone before you cross the fence,” he assured me.

Cleared to land, I banked right into a smooth intercept of the localizer needle. Gliding over the airport perimeter, I let the jet drift left of the runway center line.

“What are you doing? Center line!”

“Birds,” I replied, just as three big birds arrowed straight for us. I evaded two before crossing the numbers. I swung back toward center line. I heard a resounding “THUNK.”

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Pilots appointed to House Transportation Committee

Two more pilots are joining the powerful U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee when the 114th Congress convenes in January. The Committee and its Aviation Subcommittee will play a vital role in setting long-term spending priorities for the FAA during the 2015 Reauthorization process.

Rep. Todd Rokita, (R-Ind.), is among the 12 new committee members announced on Dec. 10. Rokita is an active pilot and member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He is also an original co-sponsor of the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act (GAPPA), which reforms the third-class medical certification process, as well as a member of the House GA Caucus and one of general aviation’s staunchest allies in Congress.

Also joining the committee is freshman Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), an inactive pilot and past AOPA member.

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