March 23, 2007
Volume 7, Issue 12 • March 23, 2007
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MAPPING THE POWER CURVE Performance charts in your trainer's pilot's operating handbook reflect results of test flights in your make and model aircraft. Student pilots study the airspeeds, power settings, and configurations the charts say to use in various flight phases. One of the most educational lessons you can have is to create a performance diagram. This diagram will tell you just what level-flight airspeeds to expect at the various power settings. And it will show you the airspeed at which your airplane is flying at the angle of attack (AOA) that produces the maximum lift for the total drag created-known as L/D max. The result will be a graph resembling the total-drag curve in Figure 3-5, Chapter 3 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. The chapter notes: "If the airplane is operated in steady flight at L/D max, the total drag is at a minimum. Any angle of attack lower or higher than that for L/D max reduces the lift/drag ratio and consequently increases the total drag for a given airplane's lift."
On your next dual lesson, take along a pencil and a pad to come up with a power curve for your aircraft. In the same exercise, explore how your aircraft behaves when flying "on the backside of the power curve," an expression you may have heard. Here's what to do, wrote Larry Randlett in the January 2002 AOPA Flight Training feature "Behind the Power Curve": "Trim the aircraft for level flight at a given power setting. Write down both the airspeed and power setting. Then reduce your airspeed in 10-kt increments without changing your altitude and continue to record airspeed and power settings. Eventually, you will reach a point at which more power is required to maintain a slower airspeed. You are now officially 'behind the power curve.' Once you know you're on the back side, push the nose over and observe what happens. Then raise the nose and make some similar observations."
An aerodynamic point to remember: On the backside of the power curve, it is induced drag that increases rapidly with increased AOA. Check out "Flying Forces" on AOPA Online, in which AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Thomas A. Horne discusses the types and effects of aerodynamic drag.
Do you train at a tower-controlled airport? If so, you're getting a lot of valuable exposure to the everyday operations of the air traffic control (ATC) system. It's important to understand what ATC expects from you and how to respond properly on the radio. Download the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Operations at Towered Airports Safety Advisor and review the "New pilot's guide to ATC communication" on AOPA Online.
Have a question? Call our experienced pilots-available weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time to answer your questions toll-free at 800/872-2672. 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.
NORTHWESTERN MICHIGAN COLLEGE GETS SKYHAWKS Northwestern Michigan College, a community college located in Traverse City, Michigan, took delivery of three new Cessna Skyhawks the week of March 12. The aircraft, each equipped with Garmin G1000 glass panel avionics, are the first installment of an order of 11 Skyhawks that will be delivered over 14 months. Aaron Cook, director of aviation at Northwestern Michigan, said the department considered six different aircraft models when it made the decision to upgrade its fleet. The college offers an associate's degree in aviation, or students can work toward full university credit in pursuit of a bachelor's degree at several participating area universities.
MOELLER NAMED SEATTLE 2006 FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR OF THE YEAR The Seattle Flight Standards District Office has selected Carolyn F. Moeller as flight instructor of the year for 2006. Moeller is chief flight instructor of Regal Air at Paine Field, where she supervises as many as 15 flight instructors. She has been a flight instructor since 1982 and has given more than 6,000 hours of flight instruction.
AEROBATICS SCHOLARSHIP PROMOTES SAFETY Minnesota Cloud Dancers, Chapter 78 of the International Aerobatic Club, is accepting applications for an aerobatics scholarship. The Douglas Yost Memorial Aerobatic Scholarship Grant was established to promote air safety through aerobatics training. The recipient will receive 10 hours of aerobatics and stall/spin recovery training. For more information or to download an application, see the Web site. The application deadline is June 1.
AVIATION MAINTENANCE STUDENTS BUILDING WWI AIRCRAFT Teams of students at Aviation Institute of Maintenance's campuses are building replica World War I aircraft in a competition that could secure the winning team $100,000. Each campus will select contemporary plans for a single-engine aircraft, and students will perform most of the construction work. Each aircraft will be flight-tested at a local airport, and the aircraft will be available for display at local recruiting events and airshows. When the eight airplanes are completed, they and the teams will be transported to Virginia Beach, Virginia, where students will get a chance to see their projects fly and the aircraft will be judged. The winning team will receive $100,000 for school equipment acquisition. All of the aircraft will remain on permanent display in Virginia. For more information about the competition and to read team progress on student blogs, see the Web site.
NEW YORK PILOTS DEFEAT PROPOSED AGE MINIMUM FOR FLYING After AOPA alerted New York pilots to a proposed age minimum for operating aircraft in the state, they made their displeasure known to state representatives. And the legislators have listened. During New York Aviation Day on March 13, AOPA learned that Assembly Bill 3424 has been removed from consideration. The bill would have prohibited anyone under the age of 17 from operating an aircraft or applying for a pilot certificate in New York. "Vocal New York pilots were the key to preventing this requirement," said AOPA Vice President of Regional Affairs Greg Pecoraro. "Legislators specifically told me that they were pulling the bill because they had heard from pilots who opposed it." Pecoraro and Craig Dotlo, AOPA's Northeast regional representative, also began discussions with legislators aimed at repealing the student pilot background check law. The association is currently suing the state, challenging the constitutionality of the state law.
NEED MONEY FOR FLIGHT TRAINING? Learning how to fly? Come to Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Florida, between April 17 and 20, and sign up for AOPA Project Pilot to enter for a chance to win $5,000 for flight training. Sign up at the admission gate, and the student will get in for free; or sign up at AOPA's Big Yellow Tent. When Mentor-Student pairs sign up for Project Pilot during those dates, students will receive a red sticker to wear-and that sticker is the key to winning money for training. AOPA's SurPRIZE Squad will be surprising four lucky students-who are wearing the stickers-each day from Tuesday, April 17, through Friday, April 20, with $250 for flight training. Then at the end of Friday, one of those 16 winners will win $5,000 for flight training. (See the official rules for more details.)
FINISHING TOUCHES ON THE SWEEPS CARDINAL'S AIRFRAME, PANEL When you're building an all-new cockpit-like the one we're overhauling in AOPA's 2007 Catch-A-Cardinal Sweepstakes airplane, a 1977 Cessna Cardinal-there are details to consider if you're going to do it right. We're replacing all the windows (including the windshield), installing a new glareshield, upgrading the yokes, and cutting new metal panels. Learn about how and why we make each step in the latest update.
READY TO FLY? TEST YOUR PREFLIGHT SKILLS Are you ready to go flying? Not without a thorough preflight, of course. Take the latest AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Quiz and test your preflight knowledge. You could win a Sporty's Air-Scan V aviation radio/scanner!
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.
SHORT VIDEOS FOR ON-THE-GO LEARNING For those who like to have something to do while waiting in an airport terminal or a doctor's office, add CFI Jason Miller to your list of downloads. Miller, creator of The Finer Points series of aviation audio podcasts, has produced several short subjects in high-definition video. The focused content is available in 5- to 15-minute segments. Subjects so far include Class C and D airspace communications, as well as segments introducing you to an airplane's flight controls and systems, and paperwork. The downloads are $1.99 each and are available at 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: With daylight-saving time starting earlier in the year than it has in previous years, I plan to take advantage of the additional daylight to schedule my lessons after work. If by chance I have a flight that doesn't end until after dark, how do I determine how much of my flight time can be considered night when logging my time?
Answer: FAR 1.1 defines "night" as the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight as published in the American Almanac converted to local time. For the purposes of logging time, you will need to determine when evening civil twilight has ended in your specific geographical area. The U.S. Naval Observatory has a helpful sunrise/sunset calculator that calculates the exact civil twilight starting time for any location in the country. For additional information on this subject, see "Pilot Counsel: Night Flying and the FARs" in the October 2005 AOPA Pilot.
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.
Bloomington, MN. The 2007 Minnesota Aviation Maintenance Conference takes place March 26 and 27 at the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel. Contact Janese Thatcher, 651/297-7652, or see the Web site.
Nashua, NH. The New England Aviation Expo takes place March 31 at Daniel Webster College, adjacent to Boire Field (ASH). Contact Karen Goff, 603/879-6807, or visit the Web site.
Slidell, LA. The 2007 Slidell Open House and Airshow takes place March 31 at Slidell (ASD). Contact Sam Carver, 985/641-7590, or visit the Web site.
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 Denver, Cincinnati, and Boston, April 14 and 15. Clinics are also scheduled in Tampa, FL; Chicago; Indianapolis; and Reston, VA, April 21 and 22. 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 Burlingame, CA, and Somerset, KY, April 2; Fresno, CA, and Highland Heights, KY, April 3; El Monte, CA, April 4; and San Luis Obispo, CA, April 5. 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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