The Aviation Year Starts Here

The Aviation Year Starts Here

The Aviation Year Starts Here

If you’re headed to the 2010 Sun ’n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida, there’s plenty to check out at the FAASTeam National Resource Center. More than 25 seminars are scheduled over the six-day event, including several that directly support the FAASTeam’s first-ever Safety Stand Down, a safety and education initiative designed to improve your flying safety. Bring your questions to Administrator Randy Babbitt at the “Meet the FAA” forum on Friday, April 16, at 1yikes0 pm. There’s also “Maintaining Your Medical” with FAA Deputy Federal Air Surgeon Dr. James Fraser on Friday morning and FAA Safety Briefing Editor Susan Parson’s “Cloudy Skies, Clear Judgment” on Wednesday morning. To learn more and to see the FAA forum schedule, go to

FAA Issues Notice on Amateur-Built Safety Concerns

On March 9, 2010, FAA issued an InFO (Information for Operators) notice to communicate a safety concern regarding amateur-built experimental Lancair and other amateur-built airplanes possessing high-wing loading and stall speeds in excess of 61 knots. In the InFO, the FAA suggests pilots thoroughly review all available information regarding slow-flight and stall characteristics of these aircraft, as well as obtain specialized flight training with an experienced flight instructor to reinforce this knowledge. To read the InFO, go to: … O10001.pdf

FAA Changes Policy on Antidepressants for Pilots

On April 2, FAA announced it will allow some pilots to fly while taking one of four approved medications—Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, or Lexapro—provided they have been stable on the medication for at least 12 months. For more information, go to

Getting It Right in Maneuvering Flight

According to statistics kept by AOPA Air Safety Foundation, nearly one-third of all fatal accidents in the last 10 years occurred from loss of control during maneuvering flight. FAA Safety Briefing Editor Susan Parson explores this sobering statistic further in her article, “Getting It Right in Maneuvering Flight,” and recognizes the importance of stall/spin aerodynamic awareness in maintaining a safe flight. Parson asks what many pilots might ponder when considering the relationship between airspeed and critical angle-of-attack (AOA): Can’t I prevent a stall by keeping my airplane above the published “stall speed?” The answer (which is yes…and no) requires understanding the effect both airspeed and weight can have on lift. “Since an airfoil always stalls at the same AOA,” says Parson, “an aircraft loaded by additional physical weight or aerodynamic “weight” (e.g., g-force from turning flight) flies at an AOA closer to the critical AOA.” For more information on maneuvering safely, see the page 15 article of the March/April 2010 issue.
Correction:  In the article “Flying by the Numbers” in the March/April 2010 FAA Safety Briefing, several readers noted an error in a final approach speed calculation for a Cessna 182S. Calibrated, not indicated, airspeed should have been used as the basis for calculating Vref, or reference landing speed. Using calibrated airspeed shows that the published final approach speed is not greater than Vref, as the article indicated, and is the minimum speed a pilot should fly. Although atmospheric conditions might dictate flying faster approach speeds, using Vref will enable a pilot a better chance of meeting the published performance numbers. The online edition of FAA Safety Briefing has been corrected to reflect this change. Thanks to the astute readers who helped us flag this.

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