About the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)

The AOPA is the nation’s largest organization helping pilot’s with a wide range of information and useful services. Some of the members’ products include general and aircraft insurance services, financial services including flight training funds or aircraft financing, and pilot services like legal plans and aircraft title services.

Joining the AOPA is done online and costs $39 a year. Once you’re a member, you can take advantage of several benefits: up-to-the-minute airport directory, toll-free advice on buying and maintaining an aircraft, advice on flight planning, answers to aviation questions, and many other special benefits from the members-only section of their Web site.

Helicopter Route Charts

stylespilotshop_1890_11003431.jpg Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the available information of an area is part of the FAA’s guidelines for preflight action (FAR 91.103). You should also familiarize yourself with terms and symbols used on the latest edition of these helicopter route charts.

The 4-color charts clearly delineate all current aeronautical information useful in areas where highly populated helicopter traffic occurs. You can easily pick out routes, NAVAIDS, obstructions in the area, and pertinent heliport descriptions and locations.

Click for map coverage.

Hypersonic Flight

Scramjet is tested for hypersonic flights between Australia and Britain. The current 20 hour flight can be reduced to 2 hours at about 4,970 miles per hour. Considerably faster than the speed of sound, mach 1 (approximately 761 mph at sea-level), the scramjet flies at mach 5. The implications are many: "The possible future defence applications for hypersonic vehicles include long-range reconnaissance of potentially global proportions, while civilian applications include low-cost satellite launching and high-speed aircraft."

Scramjet-powered passenger vehicles may still be a long way off, but other hypersonic flight vehicles will likely be developed within the next decade.

MV-22 Osprey Tilt Rotor

It’s 20 years of aeronautical engineering that makes the Osprey tilt rotor fly farther and faster than any helicopter into places where airplanes cannot go. It takes off like a helicopter and then flies like an airplane. The MV-22 is the first tilt rotor aircraft ever and costs 71 million dollars. The Osprey will enter military service in 2007 at speeds of 275 mph for 500 miles with one refueling.

In fact, the Osprey has been commissioned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron-263. General Michael W. Hagee, 33rd commandant of the Marine Corps said "it will change the way we fight; it’s faster, larger, air refuelable and the technology is state-of-the-art," and "it’s the safest aircraft in our inventory."

The AirScooter II Personal Aircraft

"Get Ready for the AirScooter" and fly through rush-hour commutes without a pilot’s license. In fact, it’s unclear whether a driver’s license is required to operate the new AirScooter II personal aircraft designed to fly at 55 knots and to hover when necessary. This type of personal, light-weight flight vehicle could mark the end to traditional commutes.

It may be that light-weight aircraft will fill the skies between major points of interest for passengers. If companies like Jetson Systems and Pogo Jet are successful, they will create a commuter-style mass transportation system in the sky. As for the AirScooter, release is expected this year with a price tag that rivals many automobiles.

Advanced Flight Instruction

There are some things that may not be covered in a beginner’s flight instruction. Seasoned pilots know that crosswinds, short runways, poor visibility, and loaded aircraft are inevitable conditions that a pilot may or may not be comfortable with. However, ability to master these situations are directly related to the amount of time dedicated to special training. Focusing on these problem spots will give pilots the confidence needed to fly safely through difficult encounters to a perfect landing. 

Not all instructors are willing to fly a student-pilot onto a 2,000 foot runway or into 12+ knot crosswinds. But there are some instructor’s who are more than willing to do so and who are qualified to really teach aspiring pilots. When it comes to poor visibility, fly in conditions just above the legal threshold for flight with an instructor who has mastered the instrumentation. Pilots are among some of the most trusted individuals there are, so gain the confidence needed with extra training.

Learning to Fly

Flying is a lot of fun and, according to the FAA, is safer than many forms of transportation. To get started, you’ll need to decide what type of aircraft you want to fly and for what purposes. You can choose from among airplanes, gyroplanes, helicopters, gliders, balloons, or airships. By-the-way, no license is required to fly ultra-lights.

After you’ve decided what you want to fly, you’ll need a physical and lessons from a flight instructor. The instructor will teach you to maintain full control of the aircraft. Takeoffs and landings are the most important things to learn. Once those are mastered, you can obtain a medical certificate and a student’s pilot license in order to fly solo. After that, the sky is the limit.

3-D Flight Simulator

3d_motion_simulator.jpg

The ultimate sky geek toy, a $300,000 3-D motion simulator by Morphis takes geeking out to new heights. Blavish calls it an aviation quality simulator, and bornrich claims it’s great for a science-geek. SkyGeek sees it as some of the most fun you can have on the ground. 

The Morphis 3-D flight simulator comes equipped with an eight-seat capacity, ergonomic design, full audiovisual, and custom interior options. Many of the adventures include roller coaster rides, glacier excursions, slot car races, and outer space flights. But virtually any flight plan and vehicle can be custom created for any purpose. This is a special order item.

VFR Sectional Aeronautical Charts

stylespilotshop_1884_1119137.gifWhen navigating slow or medium speed aircraft under visual flight rules, it’s important to have topographic references and points of interest mapped out. With sectional aeronautical charts, topographic information, visual checkpoints of populated places, drainage patterns, roads, railroads, and other distinctive landmarks, you can establish a clear basis of bearing. The charts also include visual and radio aids to airports, controlled airspace, restricted areas, and obstructions.

A Storage Solution that Could Really Take Off

Your aircraft takes you from point A to point B safely and in comfort. But what do you with this investment when it’s not in use? You could purchase or lease an upscale private hangar with custom options. Ascend Development, a California based airport real estate company builds state-of-the-art corporate aircraft hangars. The hangars are an investment in real estate with substantial returns as much as it is an investment in the protection of your aircraft. With a deluxe hangar, you can arguably maximize your aircraft’s return on and off the ground.

Ascend Hangars offer wine cellars, custom flooring (a great place to include a company logo or family crest), relaxation rooms, private crew quarters with showers, private offices, 24/7 online security, biometrics and keypad security access, gated entrances, and round-the-clock Web surveillance, and anything else you can think of. So dare to dream. I’m going to let my imagination soar.

For more information, check out Ascend Hangars