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Mark Baker, 55, a native of Minnesota and a long-time GA pilot, has been named by AOPA as the next president and CEO, taking over from Craig Fuller. "Mark brings 35 years of involvement in the GA community as a pilot, and decades of experience in leadership positions in the home-improvement industry, such as Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and The Home Depot," said Bill Trimble, AOPA's chairman of the board of trustees, on Tuesday afternoon. Baker has been flying since his twenties, AOPA said, and has logged more than 7,500 hours in the air. His favorite airplane is his Piper Super Cub. “Many of my happiest moments have been spent flying and sharing my passion for aviation with others," Baker said in Tuesday's news release. "I am committed to the priorities of the membership and will ensure that AOPA’s focus remains on carrying out our mission of protecting the freedom to fly." Baker will be the fifth president since the association was founded nearly 75 years ago.

“I am very much looking forward to getting out and meeting and listening to the members, and then using the feedback to focus valuable resources where they will most benefit GA pilots and increase the value of membership," Baker said. "I believe this approach can also be useful in increasing member participation in AOPA and driving increased GA flight activity.” Fuller served for five years, and told the board earlier this year he was ready to move on. The board retained a search firm to help identify final candidates from among the association’s nearly 400,000 members. Fuller spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles last month about the coming transition and the advice he would offer to the new president; click here to listen to the podcast.

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Photo: USAF

A B-1B Lancer, the Cold War-era swing-wing bomber, crashed in a remote part of southeastern Montana on Monday, but all four crew members ejected. The four were taken to local hospitals but all are expected to survive, officials said. The bomber, which was destroyed, was one of about 60 still in the U.S. Air Force fleet, and was worth about $283 million. Photos of the crash site show a massive charred area with no apparent aircraft parts visible, according to The Associated Press. The flight was a routine training mission out of South Dakota's Ellsworth Air Force Base, according to U.S. Air Force officials.

The last crash of one of the bombers was in 2001, when one of the airplanes involved in the war in Afghanistan was lost in the Indian Ocean. The crew ejected safely, and the pilots later said they had problems controlling the airplane. The wreck was not recovered and no official cause for the crash was ever found. The Air Force will investigate this week's crash to determine a cause. The B-1B fleet of 100 aircraft was produced by Rockwell in the 1980s to carry nuclear weapons. In the 1990s, the airplanes were transitioned to a conventional-weapons mission. They can fly at speeds up to Mach 1.25.

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In a letter sent to distributors last week (see link below), Continental Motors aimed to ease concerns about the FAA's recently proposed airworthiness directive for ECi cylinders, noting that "no Continental Motors factory-new/rebuilt engines or parts are affected." Continental said it has never used the ECi cylinders, so owners "can be confident that no AEC [Airmotive Engineering Corp., a sister company of ECi] or ECi cylinder(s) has ever shipped from Continental Motors on engines or aftermarket spare parts." However, if aftermarket cylinders were installed after engine shipment from the factory, verification with ECi should be made, the company said. The FAA said its proposed directive could affect up to 6,000 Continental engines.

Continental also said it is increasing production of its 520/550 cylinders "in order to meet potential demand" that would be created if the AD takes effect as proposed. Last week, AVweb editorial director Paul Bertorelli took a closer look at the proposed AD. AOPA and EAA are at work on detailed responses to the FAA proposal. As of Tuesday, 53 comments have been filed in the FAA docket.

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The publication is a consumer's directory loaded with educational articles and timely information about the avionics industry, its products and its people, which helps pilots and aircraft owners make better buying decisions and locate more than 1,300 AEA member companies, including government-certified repair stations, around the world.

The National Association of Flight Instructors will hold a one-hour webinar tonight (Aug. 21) at 7 p.m. Central on the topic of attracting new students. The webinar will be hosted by NAFI Chairman Bob Meder and it's a continuation of the series of monthly webinars held by NAFI on topics of concern to those in the flight education business. "We'll be talking about how we can do better at attracting new students," said Meder.

Instructions to take part are as follows: At the scheduled date and time, dial into the conference line 530-881-1212. When prompted, enter the meeting ID (540-716-061), followed by the pound key. To join the online meeting, click on the meeting link, then press "Join." On the next page, complete your name and email address, then press "Submit." The system will guide you through the process of downloading the meeting dashboard to participate in the online meeting. To ensure easier access to your meeting at the scheduled time, we recommend downloading the Start Meeting software in advance. For 24/7 customer service please call them at (800) 644-9070.

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Twin Otters are nothing new in the Canadian North but a California company has supplied an Alberta company with a new version of the venerable design. G-Sky Aviation of Fort McMurray recently took delivery of a IKHANA RWMI DHC-6-200HG Twin Otter. The aircraft is a top-to-bottom rebuild and modification of a de Havilland DHC-6-200 that gives it increased payload and modernization throughout. G-Sky is building its business around the workhorse as it serves the booming bitumen industry in the resource-rich area of Canada. "I love seeing new operations move into business around one of our products and I think we will see G-Sky Aviation prove to be a savvy enterprise," said Bo Alksninis, CEO of IKHANA.

IKHANA, of Murietta, Calif., takes high-time Twin Otters and refurbishes them to as-new status structurally and adds modern amenities like new avionics, better air conditioning, new cabin options and a multitude of options. The STC also permits a gross-weight increase for the 200 Series aircraft to 12,500 pounds and other enhancements. "Operations are allowed with the full 620 shaft horsepower of its PT6A-27 engines effectively transforming the operation of a DHC-6-200 to match the capabilities of a DHC-6-300 aircraft," IKHANA said in a news release. De Havilland stopped making Twin Otters in the mid-1980s. The current type certificate holder, Viking Air, of Victoria, British Columbia, is now manufacturing a current model of the aircraft and has dubbed it the 400 Series.

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There's a need for affordable audio system upgrades for basic aircraft.  PS Engineering attempts to answer the call with the PAR200 -- a three-in-one system that combines an advanced audio panel, a stereo intercom, and a remote comm radio.  In this video, Aviation Consumer's Larry Anglisano takes a look at the unit during it's introduction at AirVenture 2013 at Oshkosh.

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As the quest for a replacement for 100LL drags into its third decade, our sister publication Aviation Consumer, is seeking opinions from owners, pilots and aircraft operators on how you think the process is going. The FAA has established a special office devoted to a replacement for 100LL and piston fuels in general. We would like to know if you've followed the process and, if so, what you think of it.

And what what about mogas? In some cases, it's $2 cheaper than avgas. Are you using it? If so, what are your experiences and if you haven't used it, why not? You can take the survey by clicking here. It'll take about five minutes.

We'll compile the results and compare them to the same questions we asked two years ago.


Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something the flying world might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via e-mail here. (Or send them direct to Newstips at

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

Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
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Russ Niles

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Contributing Editors
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Larry Anglisano

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The XGPS170 is a combination GPS and ADS-B weather and traffic receiver from Dual Electronics.  Dual's Greg Lukins gives a tour of the unit at AirVenture 2013.


As AirVenture 2013, ForeFlight was showing off the latest version of its popular app, and it now includes Canadian charts, a unique plate overlay feature, and helicopter charts for U.S. pilots.  In this AVweb Product Minute, ForeFlight's Jason Miller gives us a tour of the app's new high points.