April 20, 2007
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WHAT IF... What would the density altitude be at your home airport if the temperature soared to 95 degrees F? Would it be safe to take off at maximum gross weight from your shortest runway? Could you climb over any nearby obstructions?
Crunching the numbers to answer questions like these is essential before flying under conditions that challenge your aircraft's performance capabilities. But there's no reason to wait until you are confronted with a dubious situation to see what you might be up against. To get an idea of the decisions you may face some day, and for more practice working with performance data, break out your flight computer and pilot's operating handbook or connect with an online flight-data calculator, and plug in some numbers for combinations of airports, atmospheric conditions, and aircraft that you are likely to experience.
Work out a cross-country route using a variety of winds-aloft forecasts to get a sense of whether an extra fuel stop should be planned into the flight. Challenge yourself further by working out the foregoing problem using aircraft loadings that prevent carrying full fuel. See the November 17, 2006, Training Tips article "Term review: Useful load."
Finding the density altitude is another good way to test theoretical flight conditions against your aircraft's capabilities (and your own). See the July 2003 AOPA Flight Training column, "The Weather Never Sleeps: Density Altitude." How will your aircraft perform on takeoff and climb under conditions of high elevation and hot temperatures? An airport sitting at 6,000 feet mean sea level would have a standard temperature of 37.6 degrees F. But if the temperature on the ground there is 95 degrees F when you must take off, your aircraft's performance will more closely resemble the much-diminished performance to be expected under standard conditions for 9,600 feet msl. Estimate the effects of various temperatures on density altitude quickly by using the chart in Figure 9-4 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge .
"What if" scenarios are frequently used to teach emergency preparedness, but they can prepare a pilot for normal operations too. All that's needed to make the exercise beneficial is a set of conditions that don't fit the usual pattern, and a resulting prediction of aircraft performance that makes the pilot sit up and take notice.
Students tell us that one of the most valuable benefits of their free six-month membership is AOPA's Real-Time Flight Planner (RTFP). AOPA's RTFP allows you to overlay your route with active temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) and current weather; tap into AOPA's Airport Directory Online for the latest information on 5,500 public-use airports and 7,000 fixed-base operations; and plan a route while your flight plan and navigation log are created automatically-ready to print in kneeboard format and to file online with DUAT.
As an AOPA Flight Training member, you have access to all of the features within AOPA Online and AOPA Flight Training Online. Login information is available online.
FAA WANTS TO EXTEND LIFE OF MEDICALS FOR YOUNGER PILOTS Good news for younger pilots: The FAA is proposing to lengthen the duration of certain medical certificates. For pilots under age 40, the duration of third class medicals would go from the current three years to five years, and first class certificates would go from six months to one year. There are indirect benefits for all pilots as well. "This is indeed good news from the FAA," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "Coupled with knowledge gained from the 'driver's license' standard for sport pilots and advancements in medical treatments in general, it should allow the FAA to make other changes beneficial to members in the future." See AOPA Online.
CESSNA TO DELIVER SKYHAWKS TO ERAU, SKYLANES TO CAP Cessna Aircraft Company said it will deliver 46 172 Skyhawks to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and 31 182 Skylanes to the Civil Air Patrol. ERAU's Prescott, Arizona, campus is replacing its training fleet with 17 Garmin G1000-equipped Skyhawks, while another 29 Skyhawks will go to the Daytona Beach, Florida, campus, which lost the majority of its fleet in a Christmas Day tornado. The CAP order includes 29 Skylanes and two turbocharged Skylanes. CAP uses more than 500 Cessnas for missions in their cadet programs, aerospace education, and search-and-rescue operations.
COMM1 OFFERS SCHOLARSHIP With the 2007 flying season under way, more scholarships are becoming available. The seventh annual Comm1 Aviation Scholarship Program offers $1,000 to an individual who demonstrates an interest in pursuing a career in aviation. Applicants also are asked to submit a 75-word essay that evaluates the financial and practical benefits of using interactive radio communications training as part of a flight training curriculum. The application period closes on October 15, and an award will be announced on November 30. See the Web site for more information and an application.
AIRSHOW FOUNDATION INCREASES SCHOLARSHIP VALUES The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) Foundation is accepting applications for seven different aviation scholarships. The memorial scholarships are intended to commemorate members of the airshow industry, and all grants provide awards to help aviation enthusiasts begin or continue their aviation training. This year, the ICAS Foundation has increased the amounts of several scholarships to make them more meaningful and effective, said ICAS Foundation scholarship chairman John Bowman. The deadline for submitting applications is July 1, and recipients will be notified by August 10. For more information and an application, see the Web site.
SPORTY'S LAUNCHES FOUNDATION TO BENEFIT YOUTH IN AVIATION Hal Shevers, founder and chairman of Sporty's, recently established the Sporty's Foundation to promote aviation education and safety initiatives with an emphasis on youth programs. "Whether it's future employees or new customers, all of us in the aviation community have a stake in attracting young people to our industry," Shevers said. He made the charitable organization's first donation-$5,000-on March 28 to the Aircraft Electronics Association Educational Foundation. While much of the foundation's funds will come from Sporty's Pilot Shop, donations from individuals, companies, and organizations will be accepted.
AOPA ASKS JUDGE TO OVERTURN N.Y. BACKGROUND CHECK LAW AOPA recently filed a motion for summary judgment in federal court, asking the judge to overturn the state's requirement that student pilots have a background check and receive permission from the state's commissioner of criminal justice information services before beginning flight training. In its lawsuit, AOPA contends that the law is unconstitutional because the regulation of aviation has been reserved to the federal government. "The issue is not about security, but rather what part of government has the authority and responsibility for aviation security," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "This is a federal responsibility, and the FAA and Transportation Security Administration already have a number of specific regulatory requirements for those learning to fly. This law is a barrier to those who want to learn to fly in New York." See AOPA Online.
SWEEPS CARDINAL MAKES THE TRIP TO SUN 'N FUN Ever wonder what an airplane looks like under the floor boards? Do you sometimes puzzle over how an airplane is put together to strike a balance between strength and weight? AOPA's 2007 Catch-A-Cardinal airplane, a 1977 Cessna Cardinal, has been on display at Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida, all week with the interior removed for passersby to see just what's inside. But it didn't make the journey in the way you might expect. Read all about it in this week's update. And check out all the contributors, including those exhibiting at the show. For complete coverage of Sun 'n Fun, including industry news, AOPA happenings, and photo galleries, see AOPA Online.
AIR SAFETY FOUNDATION HOME PAGE GETS A NEW LOOK The AOPA Air Safety Foundation home page is your one-stop shop for some of the most innovative safety education tools available. And now we've redesigned the home page to make it easier for you to locate what you need, whether it's an online safety seminar, a schedule of upcoming popular Safety Seminars in your area, or an aviation subject report. New browser bars let you search by safety program or topic, ensuring you'll get to your safety resource as quickly as possible. The new design features the foundation's newest interactive course, SkySpotter: Pireps Made Easy , as well as featured programs like our newest live seminar, "Say It Right!," and the Safety Hot Spot on spring preflight.
FLIGHT SCHOOLS, FBOs WIN $100 FROM AOPA Want a chance to win some cash for your flight school or fixed-base operation? Just display the AOPA sweepstakes airplane brochures that we send you and e-mail a photo of the display to us for a chance to win $100. The winners of the $100 drawing for 2007 are Fresno Jet Center in Madera, California; Perry-Foley Airport in Perry, Florida; Northern Skies Aviation, Inc. in Laurel, Montana; Louisville Aviation in Louisville, Kentucky; and Valley Air in Frenchville, Maine. Your next chance to enter for the drawing will be the end of this year when AOPA sends out brochures for our 2008 sweepstakes airplane. Stay tuned!
HAVE YOU UPDATED YOUR AOPA MEMBER PROFILE? To make the most of your membership and allow us to serve you better, please visit AOPA Online and update your personal member profile.
SPORTY'S CROSS-COUNTRY BACKPACK HOLDS YOUR GEAR Who says you have to carry a traditional flight bag on your cross-country flights? Sporty's offers a backpack-style flight bag that is customized to suit a pilot's needs. It features a built-in hook-and-loop strip at the top to suspend a headset within the pack for extra protection, pockets inside the main compartment to hold charts, logbooks, and other essentials, and a padded electronic accessory pocket that could store a GPS handheld unit or electronic E6B. The backpack comes in five colors and sells for $79.95. For more information or to order, see the Web site.
Note: Products listed have not been evaluated by ePilot editors unless otherwise noted. AOPA assumes no responsibility for products or services listed or for claims or actions by manufacturers or vendors.
Question: I've just started studying the different classes of airspace and notice that my home airport has a couple of rectangular-shaped, magenta-dashed lined outcroppings from the airport. What type of airspace is covered in those specific areas?
Answer: These areas are classified as Class E airspace that extends down to the surface and requires the appropriate weather minimums of Class E airspace. The primary purpose of these areas is to allow for additional protection of controlled airspace for those pilots flying instrument approach procedures into the airport. The FAA's Aeronautical Chart User's Guide outlines the many different VFR and IFR symbols you may come across during your flight planning. Additional information on airspace is covered in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Know Before You Go online course.
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Pilot Information Center, 800/872-2672. Don't forget the online archive of "Final Exam" questions and answers, searchable by keyword or topic.
To submit an event to the calendar or to search all events visit AOPA Online. For airport details, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online.
FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in San Diego, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City, April 28 and 29. Clinics are also scheduled in Fort Lauderdale, FL; Pensacola, FL; and Albany, NY, May 5 and 6. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
AOPA AIR SAFETY FOUNDATION SAFETY SEMINARS AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Urbana, IL, April 23; Clayton, MO, April 24; Warrensburg, MO, April 25; Fairfield, NJ, April 26; and El Cajon, CA, and Greensboro, NC, April 28. The topic is "Say it Right! Radio communications for today's airspace." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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