Pipeline aerial patrols stepped up as fuel crisis eases

The impact of the hack, which was perpetrated by a group called Darkside, according to the FBI, was most severely felt by motorists in the U.S. Southeast with gasoline shortages causing long lines at filling stations and some reports of frenzied fuel buying.

On May 13 Colonial Pipeline, of Alpharetta, Georgia, reported “substantial progress in safely restarting our pipeline system” and noted “that product delivery has commenced in a majority of the markets we service.”

The pipeline, which had been offline since suffering the cyberattack on May 7, is a 5,500-mile system that transports fuels from Texas as far north as New Jersey for distribution.  

In earlier updates, Colonial Pipeline said it had accepted 84 million gallons of product from refineries in anticipation of resuming operation—still cautioning that service could be intermittent during the initial startup phase. Normally the pipeline transports more than 100 million gallons of fuel daily, according to Colonial.

General aviation was playing a stepped-up role in the recovery: “Consistent with our safety policies and regulatory requirements, Colonial has increased aerial patrols of our pipeline right of way and deployed more than 50 personnel” to inspect it daily on the ground, Colonial said.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a regional emergency declaration that granted regulatory relief to “commercial motor vehicle operations while providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products” to 19 states in the affected area, and the District of Columbia. The 100LL avgas used in piston aircraft is not shipped by the pipeline and is unaffected by the disruption.

Several commercial-service airports were working to lock down backup fuel sources, and some airlines altered some routes in response to the crisis, according to news reports.

Although most of AOPA’s seven regions reported no disruptions of supply or price volatility related to the hack, all was not business as usual in the hard-hit Southeast. In South Carolina, for example, Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport/Simpson Field ran out of jet fuel on May 10, although Terry Connorton, the airport manager, attributed the rare outage to a variety of factors, including the pipeline problem. Other unusual conditions included a surge in demand from the easing of the coronavirus pandemic, and “not enough delivery drivers.” He expected a new delivery of jet fuel later in the week.

Much depended on an individual airport’s fuel inventory at the time supplies could not be replenished, said Michael Mattern, a quality control official at Titan Aviation Fuels of New Bern, North Carolina.

Aviation fuel supplier Avfuel was watching developments closely and was prepared for any lingering disruptions, said Marci Ammerman, Avfuel vice president of marketing.

“Despite this potential for short-term outages, our Avfuel Network of Branded FBOs can expect continued supply of fuel as Avfuel’s supply and logistics team is able to capitalize on redundant supply relationships to deliver fuel from backup terminals when necessary. However, backup terminals often mean longer hauling distances, so we’re advising customers to order their fuel as far in advance as feasible,” she said in a May 12 email.

In a general discussion of aviation fuel availability, Exxon Mobil Aviation notes on its website that it has established “proprietary Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) to analyze risks for various global scenarios and develop appropriate mitigation plans for all of our locations.”

Those plans “provide customers with added assurance and confidence that our global network is prepared to manage supply disruptions,” it said. 

uAvionix retrofit enables AV-30 traffic display via Wi-Fi

The AV-30 display was certified in September, less than a year following its experimental aircraft debut. The multifunction display can serve as a primary attitude indicator or directional gyro, with selectable features far beyond the single-function legacy instrument it was made to replace. The AV-30 also incorporates angle of attack (without requiring a probe), barometrically corrected altitude, airspeeds, non-slaved heading, electric bus voltage, G Load, GPS navigation data, and more.

The AV-Link module announced May 4 enables Wi-Fi connection to additional data sources and devices, starting with several widely used ADS-B receivers, or any portable ADS-B receiver with GPS that uses the standard GDL 90 Wi-Fi protocol. The AV-30 firmware can also be updated wirelessly via the AV-Link, which has a compact form factor allowing it to plug into the back of the installed display.

“Additionally, AV-Link opens AV-30 to future functionality and connectivity with other wireless-enabled avionics in the cockpit,” the company noted in its announcement. “AV-Link is now available for experimental aircraft with the certified model expected to be available later this year.”

The $299 plug-in retrofit is not the only new product rolled out this month. uAvionix added to its growing list of offerings for unmanned aircraft with the Ping200XR, a Mode S ADS-B transponder with integrated, aviation-certified GPS.

The AV-Link Wi-Fi module plugs into the back of the AV-30 panel display. Photo courtesy of uAvionix.

Tucker’s ‘Oracle Challenger III’ arrives at Smithsonian

The familiar red aircraft made its final journey in preparation for hanging inverted above guests entering the museum’s first GA-specific exhibit in more than 40 years.

Powered by a 400-horsepower Lycoming AEIO-540 engine and maneuvered with eight ailerons, the biplane with Tucker at the controls delighted scores of airshow spectators during countless snap rolls, half-Cubans, and hammerheads.

“It’s the most sophisticated aerobatic airplane out there,” Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Aeronautics Curator Dorothy Cochrane told The Washington Post. “No other plane has eight ailerons that I’m aware of.” The aircraft will act as a beacon for other GA achievements in the facility’s new exhibit space.

The display will celebrate GA and highlight sport, private, business, humanitarian, and utility flight. Plans also call for a Cessna 180 flown around the world by Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock in 1964, the oldest Gates Learjet, and a Cirrus SR22. The exhibition will include engaging videos along with interactive technology that will “explore the valuable impact of general aviation on society and encourage the public to join in,” the facility announced.

Tucker’s airplane was originally announced as the exhibit centerpiece in 2019 with intentions for it to be on display in 2021, but the coronavirus pandemic and other factors delayed the grand entrance. Social distancing measures that eliminated airshows, along with an economic slowdown, severely curtailed Tucker’s livelihood in the midst of his preparations for a new multi-ship airshow routine. The financial pressure on Tucker and his team led to an offer from fellow aerobatic pilot, Skydance Media founder, film producer, and friend David Ellison, who purchased the biplane and donated it to the museum on Tucker’s behalf.

“When you see those kids go into that National Mall during spring break, it is just like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ They’re so alive and vibrant and excited and in awe,” Tucker told the newspaper. “And to have that plane there welcoming them. … I’m not just some guy who wants to talk about the past. I want to talk about the future.” Tucker has a soft spot in his heart for youth and cofounded the Bob Hoover Academy in his Salinas, California, hometown to provide opportunity for at-risk teens to explore science, technology, engineering, and math concepts through aviation.

Udvar-Hazy Center reopens

After months of inactivity, the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, reopened on May 5, in time to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of Alan Shepard becoming the first American in space. The Freedom 7 capsule from that historic mission is on display along with a Blue Angels Boeing F–18. An X–wing prop from the film Star Wars: Episode IX—The Rise of Skywalker is in the restoration hangar being prepped for display in the Washington, D.C., facility in 2022.

Attendees are asked to practice social distancing when inside the building, and there’s a limit to the number of visitors each day. Free, timed entry passes are required in advance. Face coverings for those over the age of 2 are also required, museum staff said. Though the museum store is open, other amenities including the restaurant, IMAX theater, observation tower, and flight simulators are closed as a safety precaution until further notice.

World War II aviation exhibition planned

In February, a $10 million donation from the Kislak Family Foundation supported the creation of a new “World War II in the Air” exhibition. An additional $3 million donation from the Daniels Fund in honor of Bill Daniels will support construction of the gallery, which is scheduled to open in 2022. The World War II aviation exhibit will examine how the revolution in warfare “redefined the promise and peril of military aviation,” the museum announced. The exhibit will also explore the “dramatic changes to flight and culture that continue to reverberate through society today.” The exhibition will feature rare fighter aircraft such as the North American P–51D Mustang, the Eastern Aircraft (Grumman) FM–1 Wildcat, and the Messerschmitt Bf 109 G.

The renovation and expansion are part of the museum’s ongoing transformation of all its galleries at the flagship building in Washington, D.C. To date, more than 350 million people have visited the popular air and space exhibits. The museum effort began in 2018 and will feature the Nemesis air racer, the Turner RT–14 Meteor, and other artifacts in the “Nation of Speed” exhibit.

Avidyne certifies business-class FMS

Introduced at the National Business Aviation Association’s 2019 conference, the Atlas multifunction FMS is designed to be an easy retrofit installation for turbine aircraft that is also easy to use, Avidyne Corp. noted in a May 10 news release. Dzus mounts (twist-lock fasteners and rails for avionics) and Avidyne-designed GPS Legacy Avionics Support allow Atlas to support a wide range of legacy avionics, including direct interfaces with Collins Aerospace ProLine 21 and Honeywell Primus electronic flight information systems for vertical approach guidance. That allows Atlas to take advantage of localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) and satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) capabilities, even when connected to legacy avionics that do not support this level of navigation precision.

“This unique integration capability enables EFISs certified before the availability of LPV approaches to have coupled approach guidance on these and other SBAS approaches,” the company noted.

Atlas also includes other features not found on rival FMS, including a hybrid touch-screen interface and a spill-proof QWERTY keyboard. Creating a flight plan is facilitated by one-touch departure, airway, and arrival inputs coupled with Avidyne’s patented GeoFill waypoint nomination feature. Atlas meets TSO-C146c requirements for full SBAS/LPV guidance, and is an approved position source for ADS-B. Weather and traffic information can be added to the moving map as an overlay, and Atlas can connect via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to a range of popular electronic flight bag apps including ForeFlight.

The form factor—7.5 inches tall, 5.75 inches wide, and 10.615 inches deep—is compatible with a range of legacy FMS that Atlas was made to replace. The Melbourne, Florida, firm hopes many operators of Cessna Citation 560XL, Excel, and XLS models, the first supplemental type certificate approvals to go with the recently granted technical standard order, will exercise that option. Avidyne has been collaborating with maintenance, repair, and overhaul firms to identify additional aircraft for which to seek STC approvals, and the company noted additional Part 25 and Part 23 STCs will be forthcoming. Avidyne announced an introductory price of $44,999 for Atlas, including the relevant STC, and the new FMS will be sold and installed by its MRO partners.

“Certification of the Avidyne Atlas is a huge step forward in FMS capability for turbine-class aircraft, and a big leap forward for our company as we continue our growth into the turbine markets,” said Avidyne CEO Dan Schwinn, in the news release. “We’ve targeted Atlas as an FMS replacement specifically for console-equipped jet operators to provide a highly-capable navigation and flight management solution that pilots will find incredibly easy to use.”

Fight for airport transparency wages on

Transparency continues to be a watchword for AOPA and the general aviation community in 2021, as we maintain our laser focus on bringing more clarity, understanding, and peace of mind to the thousands of pilots—consumers in this case—who use the nation’s GA airports every day, said AOPA President Mark Baker.

The effort for increased airport transparency—under the Know Before You Go umbrella that began two years ago—is focused on two primary fronts: streamlined airport parking terminology and transparency in fees charged by the nation’s FBOs, especially the larger chain operations. The initiative now has the support of over 330 pilot organizations across the country.

“Just like any other consumer, pilots have the right to know their options when they land at a destination,” said Mike Ginter, AOPA vice president of airports and state advocacy. “It’s challenging, however, when it’s hard to figure out where to park at an airport, and how much you actually need to pay for that parking. Our regional managers are tirelessly working with airport and FBO managers to help educate them on the desire and simplicity of transparency. Quite frankly, we would like the industry to address this issue because pilots are tired of being surprised by unknown fees at some airports. That simply isn’t good customer service.”

And, with the FAA soon to increase the number of GA airports required to publish an airport diagram from nearly 700 to over 3,000, the need for transparency in parking terminology is becoming more vital. AOPA and other aviation organizations continue to engage with airport managers to encourage voluntary adoption of the three GA parking terms on their diagrams (GA Transient Ramp, GA Tenant Ramp, and FBO Ramp where they exist).

Pilots simply want to know their parking options at a destination airport and, so far, only a handful of airports have committed to this change. Such labeling provides GA pilots with the information they need to make informed choices.

“A lot of pilots are flying to many airports across the country, only to find airport diagrams that do not accurately depict all of the parking options available to them,” said Ginter. “We need to see more airports understand the need for clarity and transparency. How can anyone be opposed to being transparent, especially at public-use airports?”

AOPA also continues to push FBOs for more fee transparency. In an April letter to GA industry leaders, AOPA President Mark Baker outlined the status of acceptance of FBO ramp fee transparency and called on the industry to communicate its support for the initiative to FBOs—especially larger chain FBOs, such as Signature Flight Support and Atlantic Aviation—and encourage them to participate.

The National Air Transportation Association, which represents the interests of GA-related businesses and which was an original signatory to the Know Before You Go campaign, recently published a letter that called on its FBO members to be more forthright in their marketing and communications materials for charges and fees.

AOPA previously noted that Signature posts its ramp fees for piston aircraft online, but not for turbines or jets; Atlantic Aviation does not post any of its fees or prices online. Both require turbine and jet pilots to join a loyalty program before revealing any prices, although Atlantic does post a $400 facility fee when accessing its loyalty program. These two specific FBOs represent nearly 200 locations across the country.

AOPA will continue to update members and the GA community on our push for increased airport transparency. If you fly to an airport with a diagram that doesn’t include the three GA parking terms, inquire with the airport manager to consider updating their diagram if appropriate. AOPA staff is ready to help any airport manager with this process with a simple call to 800-USA-AOPA.

FAA to issue stabilizer AD on two Grumman singles

According to notice NOTC1827, issued May 4, a Grumman American AA–5 single-engine airplane was involved in an in-flight loss-of-pitch-control accident, after which inspection revealed separation, or debonding, of the left horizontal stabilizer skin surfaces from the end rib mounting flanges.

“Examination was also conducted on an exemplar aircraft for comparison, during which similar compromise of the structure was identified,” it said.

The FAA said it is preparing the AD for immediate adoption—an exception to its usual process that allows for a period of public comment before an AD takes effect.

Public comments would still be accepted, however; according to the FAA website, an AD issued as a final rule “may be changed later if substantive comments are received.”

AOPA opposes $1,000 ‘climate fee’ for Massachusetts landings

A Cirrus SR22 flies over Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Photo by Chris Rose.

The effects would ripple through local economies like a fiscal bomb going off, with businesses closing and jobs lost.

A fantasy-nightmare scenario? Perhaps.

But while general aviation works on numerous fronts to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint, a Massachusetts bill would weaponize exorbitant landing fees in the name of aviation’s climate impact, thereby jeopardizing the $24 billion industry and the 200,000 jobs it supports in the Bay State.

Crazy as it sounds, the threat to Massachusetts’ vital aviation industry (and $1 billion in tax revenue) surfaced with the introduction of S.B.2305, a measure proposed by Sen. Julian Cyr (D-Truro) “to mitigate the climate impact of private and corporate air travel” with landing fees of not less than $1,000.

The bill, referred to the Joint Committee on Transportation, would require officials who govern municipal or county-owned airports to assess the “climate impact landing fee” on “personal aircraft, corporate owned aircraft and charter rental aircraft each time that any such an aircraft is to land at an airport in the commonwealth.”

A fund would be established with proceeds (of any flying still happening in the state) to be “used by the Massachusetts department of transportation to invest in infrastructure owned by the commonwealth that requires repair and adaptation due to the effects of climate change.”

AOPA is already at work pointing out the proposal’s adverse impacts and its conflicts with federal airport grant rules, and will keep members informed in subsequent reporting on this new priority issue for our advocacy efforts at the state legislative level.

“Obviously, this ill-advised bill would blow up thousands of jobs, impacting families who depend on general aviation in the commonwealth, hurt communities that sponsor airports, and deter tourism—especially around the senator’s Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket district,” said Sean Collins, AOPA Eastern regional manager.

Students enrolled in public aviation education programs such as those of Bridgewater State University’s Department of Aviation Science and the aviation maintenance technology program of Cape Cod Community College would be negatively impacted.

In Cyr’s district alone, five public airports provide an economic output of $669 million and create jobs for 6,939 workers while generating a payroll of $240 million, Collins said.

On May 13, a Boston news outlet reported that Cyr was “further explaining” his proposal after the area’s aviation community reacted.

AOPA will continue to work with industry, Congress, and the FAA to improve our nation’s air quality, but this proposal is full of shortcomings. The economic damage in Massachusetts that would ensue should this go forward would be debilitating to job creation, and it would adversely affect anyone seeking good paying jobs in the aviation sector.

Metroliner pilot after midair: ‘I’m good, though’

First responders who fielded calls from eyewitnesses starting around 10:25 a.m. Mountain time, and radio traffic recorded by LiveATC.net, along with photographs and video posted on social media provide an unusually detailed early account of the May 12 collision that badly damaged a Swearingen Metroliner operated by Key Lime Air, ripping several feet off the top of the turboprop’s fuselage. The resulting damage reminded Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Deputy John Bartmann of Aloha Airlines Flight 243, which landed safely on April 28, 1988, after decompression and structural failure in flight tore off much of the upper fuselage. Flight attendant Clarabelle Lansing was killed in the Aloha Airlines incident, but the Key Lime Air Metroliner was hauling cargo and landed with nobody hurt, or even apparently fully aware that the aircraft had been struck by a Cirrus SR22 about 30 seconds after the flight was cleared to land on Runway 17L.

“Tower, Key Lime 970 declaring an emergency. We had, looks like the right engine failed, so I’m going to continue my landing, here,” the pilot said, according to the air traffic control audio recording. Other pilots on the frequency reported seeing the Cirrus parachute deploy.

“Tower, that was a definite midair on short final,” another pilot reported as the Metroliner was landing, shortly after which the tower controller inquired if Key Lime 970 required assistance.

“I’m gonna taxi off here, and I think I’ll just park over at Signature,” the pilot responded. “I’m good, though.”

Traffic for the shorter, parallel Runway 17R was being handled by a different controller on another frequency. That controller was also handling several aircraft, and advised the Cirrus about two aircraft to watch for, a Cessna and the Metroliner. The acknowledgement “traffic in sight” was the last transmission from the Cirrus, and it is not clear if he was referring to the Cessna, the Metroliner, or both.

“Cirrus 6 Delta Juliet do not overshoot the final,” the controller advised, and followed almost in the same breath by: “Cirrus 6 Delta Juliet, do you require assistance?” After a brief pause: “Cirrus 6 Delta Juliet, if you hear this transmission, we have emergency vehicles your direction.”

Among the responders was Eric Hurst, a public information officer for South Metro Fire Rescue, who said in a telephone interview that the rescue crews arrived to find two occupants already out of the Cirrus under their own power, and both of them declined medical attention. According to local media accounts, the Cirrus belongs to Independence Aviation, a flight school and Cirrus Training Center.

The collision occurred over Cherry Creek State Park, Hurst said, which includes an 880-acre reservoir that is a popular boating destination, along with various hiking and bicycle trails from which witnesses had a clear view of both the violent collision and the surprisingly uneventful aftermath.

“We’re all really happy that it wasn’t worse,” Hurst said. While fire-and-rescue services were not required, Hurst and fellow responders did visit the airport after securing wreckage found in the park on behalf of the FAA and the NTSB. From the point of collision to the runway, the Metroliner overflew many buildings and people, including one South Metro Fire Rescue station, Hurst said. He said falling debris or a crash of the damaged turboprop would likely have led to much more disastrous consequences. “Obviously, we’re super grateful that didn’t happen.”

Hurst said examination of the damaged Metroliner made it all the more amazing that nobody was hurt. “Looking at it is a head-scratcher, to see that amount of damage on an aircraft that was able to land without incident.”

Bartmann, the sheriff’s deputy, shared that view: “The fact that that pilot was able to land that aircraft in the condition it was, is shocking,” Bartmann said. “I mean, I’m surprised.”

He said others at the airport had a similar assessment: “We heard things like, ‘that pilot needs to buy a lottery ticket.’”

Bartmann said several cellphone videos of the incident posted online within hours of the event document the SR22 descent under the canopy of its airframe parachute. He said he could not personally confirm reports that one or more witnesses in the state park approached the Cirrus pilot bearing pieces of one or the other aircraft.

A Cirrus SR22 with two people aboard touched down under its airframe parachute after colliding with a Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner hauling cargo as both aircraft approached parallel runways at Centennial Airport in Denver on May 12. The badly damaged Metroliner landed without incident or injuries. Photo courtesy of South Metro Fire Rescue.

Aviation career specialists: Hiring trends looking up

JSfirm.com Executive Director Abbey Hutter, whose company focuses on a variety of aviation jobs, and Future and Active Pilot Advisors (FAPA) President Louis Smith, whose company specializes in airline pilot positions, monitor aviation industry jobs and hiring trends. AOPA asked these experts about the overall jobs outlook, hiring trends, challenges, and any resources that are available to help career aviators dive into the market. A second-quarter 2021 hiring snapshot follows.

What is the overall aviation jobs outlook during the second quarter?

Hutter: As more of the country begins to reopen and travel restrictions are lifted, the hiring needs are responding in kind. We hear the same mantra from many of the companies that use our site: “We need employees!” From pilots, to mechanics, to managers, aviation employees are once again finding companies competing for them. It’s a great time to be a skilled aviation professional looking for a job.

Smith: It has continued to be a very dynamic time, indeed, with more companies making exciting announcements. There’s more confidence now than was previously forecast. Hiring numbers at the major airlines are increasing and more than half of the regional airlines announced hiring opportunities. FedEx, UPS, and Atlas Air added more than 100 pilots to their flight decks by the end of the first quarter. Spirit Airlines joined the trio by bringing 24 new pilots on board in April and in May, with 48 more expected by the end of June.

What job application trends or hiring trends have you identified lately?

Hutter: We’ve identified that the maintenance, pilot, and avionics sectors have seen the most growth since we began our “return to normal.” People want to travel for pleasure and business again. This demand hits all levels of aviation companies—everyone is hiring.

Smith: The airline industry is notable for its up-and-down cycle, but it looks like the worst of the coronavirus travel industry slowdown is behind us. There’s a lot of activity in the industry right now and the airlines are resuming the hiring and training programs that were previously in place but put on hold during 2020.

United Airlines made several noteworthy announcements. The air carrier announced it would hire 90 pilots in May, and monthly classes of 100 or more pilots through December 31. The company is also recalling approximately 300 pilots whose classes were deferred because of the pandemic. The Phoenix area’s United Aviate Academy is ramping up with an inaugural goal of training 100 new students this year—and a total of 5,000 over the next decade. Over 3,500 future pilots have already submitted their applications!

American Airlines announced plans to hire 300 pilots in 2021 and will resume flow-through programs with their wholly owned regional partners.

With an eye on the return of summer leisure travel, Southwest Airlines recalled all pilots who had been placed on extended leave in 2020.

Delta Air Lines is planning on upgrading more than 1,000 first officers to the left seat and is expected to hire 25 pilots per month from June through August, and then 75 per month beginning in September.

Frontier Airlines is actively recruiting and plans to add 210 pilots in 2021.

Cargo operator Kalitta Air opened its application window for first officers with an airline transport pilot certificate.

What are the biggest challenges facing us this quarter?

Hutter: The biggest challenge facing aviation businesses right now, remains the talent shortage. The aviation industry was experiencing an unprecedented shortage of aviation professionals prior to the pandemic—and now that travel is resuming, companies are feeling the pain of that shortage more than ever. On the other side, job seekers who just one year ago were getting laid off in droves are now finding that they are in-demand!

Smith: Confidence in the traveling public is a key to a healthy commercial aviation industry. Leisure passengers coming back and flying like they did before the coronavirus pandemic is an example of that. However, the big question will be business travel. It’s difficult to replace certain face-to-face meetings, so insiders don’t yet know if business travel will come back as it was, or stay muted.

What are your upcoming webinars, learning opportunities, and other events?

Hutter: Make plans now to attend the week-long career fair taking place during AirVenture at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in July! It’ll be the first in-person career fair (of its size) since the coronavirus pandemic began.

In May, we attended The Great Alaska Aviation Gathering and will participate in an MRO Association and Global Licensed Aircraft Dealers Association webinar at the end of the month. We’re also working with the Aviation Institute of Maintenance’s Texas and Florida campuses, and with the Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology in Oklahoma. We continue to host free webinars with schools, and educators can email [email protected] to learn more.

Smith: Our big news is that FAPA now offers interview preparation services. Five coaches who were former recruiters can help pilots be more productive when applying for a job. FAPA is also returning to in-person events beginning with the July 17 Future Pilot Forum and Pilot Job Fair in Chicago. Additional locations will be announced soon. Don’t forget that professional pilots who are AOPA members can receive a special $40 discount applied to their $89 FAPA Basic membership fee.

May 22 – Virtual Future Pilot Forum

May 26 – Virtual Pilot Job Fair

July 17 – Chicago: Future Pilot Forum

July 17 – Chicago: Pilot Job Fair

FAA proposes more Cessna wing spar inspections

The AD, which is open for public comments until June 25, was proposed in response to the May 2019 in-flight breakup of a Cessna 210M flying a low-altitude aerial survey mission in Australia, after which examination “identified fatigue cracking that initiated at a corrosion pit.” It would apply to about 3,421 U.S.-registered aircraft of Textron Aviation Inc.’s Cessna models 210N, 210R, P210N, P210R, T210N, T210R, 177, 177A, 177B, 177RG, and F177RG models.

A previous AD that took effect in March 2020 covered about 1,520 aircraft of earlier Cessna 210 models. AOPA reported on that AD and follow-up actions the FAA has taken to help owners and operators comply.

Reports of corrosion on the later Cessna 210 models and Cessna 177s, suggesting that the corrosion “is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design,” prompted the new proposal. It calls for “visual and eddy current inspections of the [carrythrough] spar lower cap, corrective action if necessary, application of a protective coating and corrosion inhibiting compound (CIC), and reporting the inspection results to the FAA.”

AOPA is carefully evaluating the AD, said Christopher Cooper, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs.

The FAA estimated the compliance cost for inspecting the aircraft, applying the protective coating, and reporting inspection results to the FAA at $1,827.50 per aircraft.

Comments on the proposed AD may be submitted online or by mail to U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.

Please include Docket No. FAA-2020-1078; Project Identifier AD-2020-00716-A at the beginning of your comments.