June 22, 2007
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In this issue: Liberty XL2 gets European certification CAE to operate flight schools in India Don't be a statistic: Take the 'Runway Safety' course
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OPERATING LIMITATIONS Exploring an aircraft's handling characteristics and capabilities is what makes flying fun. Knowing its operating limitations keeps the flying safe and is a pilot's basic responsibility. Your understanding of operating limitations, and your ability to apply them to specific flight circumstances, will be examined in your planning and your performance on the private pilot flight test.
An aircraft's operating limitations are found in several places. The color-coded arc on the airspeed indicator (ASI) is an example. Placards located on the instrument panel and near cockpit controls, fuel tanks, baggage compartments, etc., provide limitations. Section 2 of a standard pilot's operating handbook (POH) contains many important operating limitations; the pilot should be familiar with them for every aircraft he or she flies. Which limitations does Section 2 include? See Chapter 7 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge [ download]. The "Limitations" section contains only those limitations required by regulation or that are necessary for the safe operation of the airplane, powerplant, systems, and equipment. Some of those limitations are airspeed, powerplant, weight and loading distribution, and flight.
An important airspeed limitation in Section 2 that does not appear on an ASI is V A, design maneuvering speed. One of its most important applications is its use when flying through turbulence. In his "Proficient Pilot" column in the March 2007 AOPA Pilot, Barry Schiff, quoting another veteran pilot, offers advice. "He said to regard V A as a limit, not a target, a maximum speed that should not be exceeded when the going gets rough. This is because airspeed can fluctuate wildly in turbulence, and a pilot may find that he is flying beyond V A just when a powerful gust strikes the airplane, which, of course, can dangerously increase airspeed even further."
Want more information on operating limitations? See a student pilot's inquiry about them in the March 30, 2007, AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition newsletter. Study the question and response—then give the "Limitations" section of your POH a fresh look.
How sharp is your understanding of wake turbulence? What is the proper procedure when you're following a heavy aircraft on approach? Take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Quiz on wake turbulence to expand your knowledge from the privacy of your own personal computer. And for guidance on wake turbulence, note Chapter 7, Section 3 of the Aeronautical Information Manual .
Do you have a question? Call the experienced pilots in AOPA's Pilot Information Center at 800/USA-AOPA. They're available to take your calls weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern. 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.
LIBERTY XL2 GETS EUROPEAN CERTIFICATION Liberty Aerospace, which manufacturers the Liberty XL2, has received European Aviation Safety Agency certification for the two-place training aircraft. "Certification was a milestone in bringing the XL2 to the market on an international stage," said Liberty Aerospace President and CEO Keith Markley. The first XL2 to be registered in Europe will cross the continent from Cape North to Greece and from Portugal to Poland, the company said. In-flight pictures will be posted online.
CAE TO OPERATE FLIGHT SCHOOLS IN INDIA CAE and the government of India have signed an agreement that indicates CAE will provide pilot training at two flight schools there under a joint venture with the Airport Authority of India. More than 400 pilots would be licensed annually through the new schools. India has about 2,500 active pilots, and an estimated additional 5,000 pilots will be needed over the next five years to meet the demands of the industry, according to Praful Patel, India's minister of civil aviation.
DON'T BE A STATISTIC: TAKE THE 'RUNWAY SAFETY' ONLINE COURSE Runway incursions are on the rise this year. According to FAA data, there have been 147 incursions so far this year, compared to 126 over the same period last year. And they can happen at airports of all sizes, not just large airports that handle lots of commercial traffic. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Runway Safety online course is designed to give pilots the information they need to avoid problems when operating on the ground. The course discusses the danger of runway incursions, looks at why airport accidents and incursions happen, and discusses strategies for maintaining situational awareness. Plus, there's a section that reviews airport signs and ATC communications during ground operations.
TSA GRANTS THREE-MONTH WINDOW FOR SECURITY TRAINING Flight training providers and flight instructors have more time to complete recurrent security awareness training. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued an exemption on June 8, allowing flight school employees and instructors to take the recurrent training up to one month before or one month after their annual renewal month. The TSA granted the three-month window because flight training providers and flight schools commented that the one-month time frame for recurrent training was too restrictive. See AOPA Online.
VISA PROGRAM TO CONTINUE FOR VISITING FLIGHT STUDENTS After hearing from AOPA and other groups about how new regulations would stifle business, the Department of State has determined that flight schools will continue operating under current regulations for students visiting from other countries for flight training. "This is a victory for flight schools and for all of general aviation," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "The Department of State recognizes that the existing requirements are adequate." Accredited flight schools that participate in the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor program will be able to accept international flight students under the current J-1 regulations and screening by the Transportation Security Administration. See AOPA Online.
EXTENDED-DURATION MEDICAL CERTIFICATES A GOOD MOVE, AOPA SAYS AOPA is supporting an FAA proposal to extend the duration of first class and third class medical certificates for pilots under age 40. But the association is going a step further. In formal comments to the FAA, AOPA requested additional research to possibly grant that extension to pilots over 40 as well. "Research might indicate that the age for an extension can be increased beyond 40 without negatively impacting general aviation pilots' safety," said Rob Hackman, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs. According to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's accident and incident database, medical factors contribute to only 1.9 percent of accidents. In its comments, AOPA also requested that the FAA grant "driver's license" medicals to recreational pilots. The association has advocated for this for decades, and it would allow pilots to self-certify that they were fit to fly. This is the same method the FAA currently allows for sport pilots. For more, see the story on AOPA Online.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MAINTENANCE? A TEST FLIGHT When an aircraft undergoes maintenance, the work is not complete until a pilot performs a test flight to return the aircraft to service. We've certainly undergone major maintenance on the 1977 Cessna Cardinal we're refurbishing for this year's AOPA sweepstakes, so our test-flight plan is quite extensive and has taken much preparation. Still, the moment has arrived when we'll launch the Cardinal into the air again. Learn more about it in this week's Catch-A-Cardinal update.
DESIRE TO FLY BRINGS STUDENT PILOT TO U.S. FROM JAPAN All the way from Okinawa, Japan, comes AOPA Project Pilot Student Koichi Mitani to fulfill his dream of becoming a general aviation pilot. With the guidance of his Project Pilot Mentor Tom Kingzett of Vancouver, Washington, he accomplished his first solo in April. Although a Japanese national, Mitani resides in the United States on visa status during his flight training. The dedicated aviation enthusiast has maintained a friendship with Kingzett through e-mail and personal visits for 15 years. "When Koichi is in the United States for flight training, he is a guest in my home," said Kingzett, who is eager to help see Mitani through to the completion of his private pilot certificate. Being a Mentor or Student through AOPA Project Pilot is simple, even from 6,000 miles away.
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.
NEED A KNEEBOARD? A kneeboard is a staple of the pilot's flight bag. This handy device holds a checklist, a chart, or your notes in place, and keeps pens or pencils within reach for when air traffic control calls with an amended clearance. Sporty's VFR Tri-Fold Kneeboard includes an aluminum clipboard, two clear vinyl pockets, two nylon pockets to hold plotters and other sundries, and two pen/pencil holders. An elastic leg strap keeps it in place with a buckle closure. The device measures 20 inches by 11 inches open, 7-1/4 by 11-1/2 closed. It sells for $19.95 and can be ordered online or by calling 800/SPORTYS.
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 reviewing the subject of weather and am having a difficult time grasping the concept of atmospheric stability. I understand that the uneven heating of the Earth creates all weather, but can you expand on the specifics of adiabatic heating and cooling?
Answer: The adiabatic process takes place in all upward and downward moving air. When air rises into an area of lower pressure, it expands. As the molecules of air expand, the air temperature drops. As a result, when a parcel of air rises, pressure decreases, temperature decreases, and volume increases. When air descends, the opposite is true. The rate at which temperature decreases as it gains altitude is referred to as its lapse rate. As air ascends through the atmosphere, the average rate of temperature change is 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) per 1,000 feet. Adiabatic cooling is the term used when rising air expands and cools. On the other hand, adiabatic heating describes descending air that increases in pressure and in temperature. Read more on this topic in "The Weather Never Sleeps" from the September 2001 issue of AOPA Flight Training.
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to email@example.com 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.
What excuses have you made to go flying? Paul and Erin Fink of Flagstaff, Arizona, have developed a good one—reuniting pets with their owners. “Flying is our best past time, our greatest love, and passion…next to each other,” said Erin. Read about their adventures in “Flying Dogs,“ the latest installment of our Joy of Flight series. Past articles are available online.
Gardner, KS. The Greater Kansas City Vintage Fly-In, Pancake Breakfast, and Cookout takes place June 22 through June 23 at Gardner Municipal (K34). Contact Jeff Sullens, 816/729-3151.
Galveston, TX. The International Cessna 170 Association Convention takes place June 24 through June 30 at Scholes International (GLS). Contact George Horn, 307/587-6397, or visit the Web site.
Ellsworth AFB, SD. The Open House, Fly-In, and Airshow takes place on June 23 at Ellsworth Air Force Base (RCA). Contact Capt. Dave Marten, 605/385-4246, or visit the Web site.
Dayton, OH. The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Air Force on June 29 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Contact Sarah Swan, 937/255-3286, or visit the Web site.
Evansville, IN. The Balloon Glow takes place June 29 through July 31 at Evansville Regional (EVV). Contact Nelson Bailes, 812/421-4401, or visit the Web site.
Des Moines, IA. Fly Iowa 2007 takes place June 30 at Des Moines International (DSM). Contact Roy Criss, 515/256-5093, or visit the Web site.
To submit an event to the calendar or to search all events visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online.
FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic is scheduled in Charlotte, NC, June 23 and 24. Clinics are also scheduled in Newark, NJ, and Memphis, TN, July 21 and 22. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
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AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.