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A new free app from King Schools makes it easy for users to transfer their content to a variety of electronic devices, John King told AVweb in an interview at AOPA Summit in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday. "You can now be in an airliner and put on your earphones and take a course on your iPad or other device, and you don't have to be connected to the Internet," John King said. Martha King said the school also has created a new flight instructor refresher course especially for helicopter instructors that is ready to go, but it awaits official approval from a now shut-down FAA office.

John King added that his approach to the FIRC is different from others that focus on reviewing the basic private-pilot content, instead providing tools for instructors to meet the various challenges they face when dealing with students. The Kings also have a new sweepstakes now running, with a mentoring theme. "We want to encourage mentoring by everyone in aviation," Martha King said.

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In a conversation with AVweb's Mary Grady at AOPA Summit this week, John and Martha King of King Schools said they want to encourage all pilots to be mentors to other pilots who are less experienced than themselves.  They also talked about a new app that makes it easy to take their computer-based courses on the road with you, and they offered some insight into their approach to flight instructor refresher training.

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CSC Duats, which provides free FAA weather, flight planning, and flight-plan filing at its website, is now working to bring free Duats weather services into the cockpit, program manager Leon Thomas said at AOPA Summit on Friday. The company is working with a satellite provider to develop a system that will deliver full current weather at no charge, although users may need to purchase hardware to access the system, and will have to pay for the satellite link. "We'll be able to pump everything up to the cockpit," Thomas said. Launch of the product is 12 to 18 months away, he said. He also said CSC Duats has recently launched a Tripkit function, which makes it easier for pilots to organize their data.

"As you go through your briefing, there's a tab on every page, and you can click it to add that page to your Tripkit," he said. "You can include your departure, en route, SIDS and STARS approaches -- as much as you want -- and create a PDF file for printing out or download it to your iPad." Each Tripkit will remain on file for 24 hours, he said. Thomas added that Duats keeps a history of your activity for 15 days, so it will show that you got a weather briefing and all the details of your flight planning, a service he said that some commercial flight-planning applications might not provide.

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If you’re interested in comparing the top-performing noise-cancelling headsets, AOPA Summit is the place to be. A mysterious booth called Giant of Quiet offers all of the major brands for a trial against a noise generator and you can compare five of the top models from Lightspeed, Sennheiser, Bose and David Clark. If you buy any of the brands tested after you’ve taken the headset challenge, Giant of Quiet will pitch a $25 coupon your way.

So who are these guys? We’ll allow as how the booth is associated with a major headset maker and they’ll tell you if asked. But in the interests in unbiased consumer research, we’ll keep the secret. Give the headsets a spin at Summit and, we’re told, look for Giant of Quiet at other airshows in the future and find more details in today’s AVweb coverage of AOPA Summit.

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At AOPA Summit, you can try all of the major ANR headsets in a single booth and fill out a survey form to quantify exactly what you think of each one.  If you buy any of the headsets from any manufacturer, Giant of Quiet will give you a $25 coupon toward the purchase.  We'll play the game here and refrain from identifying which company is sponsoring the mystery headset challenge.

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Come check it out at AOPA Summit booth #1102.
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The cost of fuel is a constant concern for pilots, and Jack Pelton told AVweb's Paul Bertorelli at AOPA Summit this week that EAA will do what it can to help control those costs and keep airplanes flying.  Pelton also discussed EAA's conflict with FAA over paying for controller staff at AirVenture.

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Photo courtesy of RAF

When leaders of the Recreational Aviation Foundation work to protect access to backcountry airstrips, one objection they often hear from park officials is that the noise disturbs wildlife, says RAF executive director John McKenna -- a claim he hopes to dispute, thanks to a $10,000 research grant from AOPA's new "Giving Back" grant program. "We don't know for sure if the noise disturbs the animals or if it doesn't," he said. "But with this study, we'll be able to get some data." The RAF grant application was written by four Ph.Ds from various universities, said McKenna, who have volunteered to do the study and plan to submit their research to a peer-reviewed publication to provide scholarly credibility to their results.

McKenna said that when his group is advocating to protect access, disturbance to wildlife often is raised as a concern. "This is just one box on a list," he said. "But it's close to the top of the list. It's not the only factor, but it's a big one." He said the scientists who will conduct the study hope to use the AOPA grant as seed money to attract more funding. They will try to determine the stress effects by measuring hormone levels in blood samples and scat from wildlife in noisy areas, and compare it to similar tests done in quiet areas. McKenna added that since airplanes don't require roads, they actually have a lower impact than many other modes of transportation into parks. AOPA awarded $10,000 grants to nine other nonprofit groups to support their work in the aviation community. The winners were chosen from a pool of more than 80 applicants.

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ASA would like to congratulate Greg Brown as he receives the 2013 Let's Go Flying Award for his ongoing contributions and inspiration to the flight training community. This award honors an individual or organization that best demonstrates the passion and commitment needed to secure the future of general aviation by ensuring that there are pilots to fly. Greg is the author of numerous ASA books, including Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane, The Savvy Flight Instructor, and You Can Fly! Learn more about Greg and his books here.

Cirrus has created a new program to help train pilots about using the parachute on their aircraft, company spokesman Todd Simmons said at AOPA Summit this week. Activating the chute is a simple procedure, he said, but too often, pilots hesitate or decide not to pull when they should have. The new training aims to help pilots navigate that thought process in advance so they know what to do if the time ever comes. "We started the program about six months ago, and it's growing now," Simmons told AVweb. "We're starting to see real results." Simmons also said the company has seen a recent upturn in orders, with demand stronger now than it has been in the last five years. Several new features will debut on the 2014 models of the SR22, he said.

New brakes on the airplanes will be lighter and more effective. The new fleet also will be fitted with tubeless tires, which are easier to maintain. Bright and reliable new LED lighting makes it easier and safer for pilots and passengers to navigate on a dark ramp, Simmons said. "The airplane will just sort of glow," he said. The flush-mount installation reduces drag, according to Cirrus. The lights can be activated using either a key fob or switches inside the cockpit.

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Mark Scheuer, the founder of PS Engineering, came to AOPA Summit this week to announce a special offer for pilots who are now flying with Garmin's GMA340 -- ask your avionics shop to swap in a PMA8000B audio panel for a free trial, and fly with it for up to two weeks. "Really, you're going to know after that first flight, if this is what you want," said Scheuer. But if you want to keep it for a week or two, that's fine, he said. Among its other features, the panel enables pilots to monitor radio calls while passengers hear only music. "We also have tweaked it so the pilot can hear music too, but any communications from the radio will cut in," Scheuer said. The offer covers installation and labor costs, so there is no risk for the pilot.

The system provides automatic adjustments so the pilot hears audio from various sources all at the same level, Scheuer said. It also includes an auto-squelch feature and a digital aircraft radio recorder. The 8000BT version adds Bluetooth. The upgrade also can help to reduce the workload when flying single-pilot IFR, said Scheuer, and it features a cellphone interface. The panel lists for $1,895, and $2,095 for the BT version.

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SocialFlight, a free app and web tool that helps aviators find local aviation events, now will be listing online events such as interactive seminars or webcams at airshows, company president Jeff Simon said Friday, at AOPA Summit in Fort Worth, Texas. "Now anyone can host an event," said Simon. "That's the key." A variety of widely available web tools make it easy to produce and host events online, and SocialFlight's "active and vibrant community" provides a ready audience, unrestricted by geography, Simon said. The new feature will launch with two events hosted by Spencer Aircraft, in Puyallup, Wash. -- a live interactive demo about how to cover a fabric airplane, and a live seminar about mountain flying in the Northwest. Times and dates are still being finalized, but will be announced soon, Simon said.

"Our hope is that SocialFlight will promote the creation of more live online opportunities to learn and grow as pilots and aviation enthusiasts; just as it has done for traditional events," Simon said. SocialFlight attracted more than 20,000 users last year and mapped more than 5,000 events, according to a company news release, including fly-ins, airshows, pancake breakfasts, conventions, FAA safety seminars and more. Subscribers now can sign up for a free weekly newsletter that will appear in their email inbox every Wednesday, listing coming events that meet parameters they selected. More than 17,000 already have signed up for those emails, Simon said.

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Meet the AVweb Team

AVweb is the world's premier independent aviation news resource, online since 1995. Our reporting, features, and newsletters are brought to you by:

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Tom Bliss

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Paul Bertorelli

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Russ Niles

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Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
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Glenn Pew

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Larry Anglisano

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Kevin Lane-Cummings
Paul Berge

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Karen Lund

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