May 23, 2008
In this issue: New regulation on FTDs exempts most schools Pilots live to tell about dangers in the pattern FSS tip of the week: Find a local briefer fast
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HORIZONTAL LIFT What force makes an airplane turn? Expect that question on the private pilot knowledge test or flight test, and be able to answer it for yourself when deflecting the controls to practice turns in flight. The basic idea is that the same force that sustains an airplane in flight—lift—enables turns. A thorough answer also recognizes aerodynamic forces and piloting demands created when an airplane enters turning flight.
How does lift turn an airplane? Banking the airplane allows some wing lift to act horizontally. "An airplane, like any moving object, requires a sideward force to make it turn. In a normal turn, this force is supplied by banking the airplane so that lift is exerted inward as well as upward. The force of lift during a turn is separated into two components at right angles to each other. One component, which acts vertically and opposite to the weight (gravity), is called the 'vertical component of lift.' The other, which acts horizontally toward the center of the turn, is called the 'horizontal component of lift,'" explains Chapter 3 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.
Wait a minute. If lift is "borrowed" to turn an airplane that was flying straight and level, won't the aircraft descend? Good question. Total lift must increase to maintain altitude during a turn; how much depends on how steep the bank angle. Here's how it all works, according to "All types of turns" on AOPA Flight Training Online: "Total lift, composed of vertical and horizontal components when banked, still acts perpendicular to the relative wind and to the wingspan. And backpressure on the yoke then increases G-load and total lift. It's the growing horizontal component of lift that forces the airplane away from a straight flight path. As the flight path bends in the direction of this force, the tail assembly continually weathercocks the nose into the changing relative wind, resulting in a smooth, sweeping arc."
Clearly there's much more to turns than the terse answer to questions on a knowledge test. And as a query about turns from a novice pilot revealed to retired airline pilot Barry Schiff [see "Proficient Pilot" in the July 2002 AOPA Pilot ], understanding the nuances of how they work is a continuing process, even for experienced pilots.
Warm weather is upon most parts of the nation, and student pilots need to understand density altitude and how it affects aircraft performance. Conditions that result in high density altitude are high elevations, low atmospheric pressure, high temperatures, high humidity, or some combination of these factors. Your airplane likes dense air best, and its performance deteriorates gradually as density altitude increases. On a hot day at high elevation, you'll notice this particularly on takeoff, where you may need twice the runway to get off the ground compared to what's needed in cooler temperatures at lower altitudes. At high density altitudes you also can expect the aircraft to climb very slowly. Find out more in AOPA's subject report, " Density Altitude," and take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's interactive online course on mountain flying.
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NEW REG ON FLIGHT TRAINING DEVICES EXEMPTS MOST SCHOOLS The FAA has created a new section of the federal aviation regulations to cover flight simulation training devices (FSTDs), but it won't affect most general aviation training programs. The new FAR Part 60 deals with the equipment performance standards for FSTDs, consolidating the information now contained in various sections of the FARs and advisory circulars. It also requires operators to implement a mandatory FAA-approved quality assurance program for FSTD training. The regulation covers the types of devices used by the airlines as well as aircraft make- and model-specific sims used in general aviation, but it does not include so-called Level 2 and Level 3 simulators, the kinds found at most GA flight schools. Read more on AOPA Online.
PILOTS LIVE TO TELL ABOUT DANGERS IN THE PATTERN Airplanes converging on final approach can find themselves in precarious spots. On a few occasions they've flown so close, they've gotten stuck together. On May 15, a Piper Cherokee landed on top of a Stinson at Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke, Tex. The Piper was carrying a flight instructor and a student while only the pilot was aboard the Stinson. The Piper was apparently landing while the Stinson was starting its takeoff, according to press reports. Luckily, no one was seriously injured. Read more on AOPA Online.
WOMEN'S TRANSCONTINENTAL AIR RACE TO LIFT OFF JUNE 24 The thirty-second Air Race Classic, a women's racing event that will exceed 2,000 nautical miles, will be held June 24 through 27. The starting point is Bozeman, Mont., with stops in Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and New York. The finish line is Mansfield, Mass. As of April 22, 36 teams were registered for the event. The top 10 finishing pilot and copilot teams receive a cash prize. For more information, see the Web site.
MENTOR HELPS MOTHER OF TWINS EARN CERTIFICATE Every mother with young children is desperate for it—a little "me time" to focus on her own needs. But when Melissa Williams-Brown, mother of 3-year-old twin boys, decided to do something for herself, she was looking for more than a manicure. "I wanted to do something that wasn't mainstream. It had to be mentally challenging, and it had to be something that was considered 'hard to do' but yet attainable—especially considering my hectic schedule with the boys," She explained. Read more on AOPA Online.
DREAM AIRCRAFT ON DISPLAY AT AOPA FLY-IN If money wasn't a limitation, what aircraft would you buy? A Mustang, Cirrus SR22, Diamond DA-42, G36 Bonanza, Evektor SportStar? Well, you'll have the chance to see all of these aircraft and more all shined up and on display at AOPA's Fly-In and Open House in Frederick, Md., on Saturday, June 7. Plus you can stock up on pilot supplies in our exhibit area, attend safety seminars, talk to AOPA President Phil Boyer about general aviation issues, and more. Remember to bring a friend. This is the perfect show to introduce the nonflying community to the joys of GA.
FSS TIP OF THE WEEK: FIND A LOCAL BRIEFER FAST Under the old flight service system, it was easy to get in touch with a local preflight briefer if you called from a landline—your call was routed based on your area code. But it didn't work for cell phones. Lockheed Martin's FSS system, however, asks for your state and, depending on where you live, in which division of the state you are located. These divisions are called areas of responsibility. Find out if your state is divided and in which area of responsibility you are located. If you don't want to use voice prompts, simply dial 1 plus your state code after 800/WX-BRIEF. Selecting the right area will put you in touch with a briefer who has local knowledge. For more tips, take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's online minicourse.
ENTER YOUR BEST PICS IN 'AOPA PILOT'S' PHOTO CONTEST Get ready to take a winning picture and upload it to AOPA Pilot's General Aviation Photography Contest. You can submit photos in five categories—general aviation aircraft, airports, pilots, aerials, and altered images—to vie for cash prizes totaling more than $5,000, including a grand prize of $1,000. The winning photos will be published in AOPA Pilot's December 2008 issue. In addition, your photo may be selected as the photo of the month and published in ePilot and AOPA Pilot. So grab your camera, go flying, and snap a winning shot. View the 2007 winning photos and a slideshow of honorable mentions online. The contest runs through Sept. 2.
PANEL PROGRESS Last week we updated you on the initial installation of some radios and other equipment for AOPA's 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer. The work continues this week as Penn Avionics in West Chester, Pa., attempts to perform the first installation of a certified Aspen Avionics EFD1000 primary flight display. Since this unit will become more prevalent as a retrofit to training airplanes, it's important to know how it works and why it's such a useful tool. Learn more in this week's update.
SERVICE KEEPS MEMBERS RETURNING TO AOPA INSURANCE AGENCY It sounds simple: Buy an airplane, get it insured, and fly, fly, fly. But sometimes the reality can be more complex. How much insurance should you buy and exactly what type of coverage do you need? When Nina Ortega, a California pilot, ventured into aircraft ownership, she discovered that her needs weren't the only ones she had to consider when buying aircraft insurance. Read more on AOPA Online.
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 'TAKEOFFS AND LANDINGS' DVD Are landings troubling you? Do the principles of short- and soft-field operations elude you? If so, a visual aid such as Sporty's Takeoffs and Landings DVD may be able to put things in perspective. The 51-minute DVD covers slips, crabs, no-flap landings, and emergencies, among other topics. A section on maximum performance takeoffs and landings discusses how to safely operate from short and soft fields. The DVD includes 3-D graphics to help reinforce key topics. The DVD sells for $29.95 and may 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: What is required to operate under special VFR minimums?
Answer: As stated in FAR 91.157, the pilot must receive a clearance from air traffic control, have at least one statute mile flight visibility, and remain clear of clouds. When taking off or landing, a minimum ground visibility of one statute mile is required. If ground visibility is not reported at a minimum of one statute mile, flight visibility may replace ground visibility. Special VFR operations are only permitted between sunrise and sunset unless the pilot and aircraft are appropriately rated for instrument flight. For additional information, read "Pilot Counsel: Special VFR."
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.
AOPA Pilot Editor-at-Large Tom Horne is executing a really long cross-country—he's flying across the Atlantic. And though he's going to some exotic destinations, he is dogged by the same concern that student pilots know all too well: What's the weather going to be like? Horne chronicles each leg of the journey in AOPA 's new blog, "Reporting Points."
Looking for some really fabulous aviation photography? All the air-to-air photos and beautifully detailed ground images used by AOPA Pilot magazine over the years are yours at the click of a mouse button. Download your favorite images to use for wallpaper or send an e-postcard. For more details, see AOPA Online.
UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS: Janesville, Wis. AirFest '08 takes place May 24 and 25 at Southern Wisconsin Regional (JVL). For more information, contact Julia Dacy, 608/754-5405, or visit the Web site.
Columbia, Mo. A Salute to Veterans Airshow takes place May 24 and 25 at Columbia Regional (COU). For more information, contact Mary Posner, 573/449-6520, or visit the Web site.
Ranger, Texas. An annual Memorial Day weekend airshow and fly-in takes place May 24 at Ranger Municipal (F23). For more information, contact Jared Calvert, 254/433-1267.
Danville, Va. The Southside Skyfest takes place May 31 and June 1 at Danville Regional (DAN). For more information, contact Marc Adelman, 434/799-5110, or visit the Web site.
Stevens Point, Wis. A fly-in takes place June 1 at Stevens Point Municipal (STE). For more information, contact Phil Branham, 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 Clinics are scheduled in Orlando, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., and Reston, Va., June 7 and 8. Clinics are also scheduled in Phoenix, Minneapolis, and Columbus, Ohio, June 21 and 22 and in San Jose, Calif., June 28 and 29. 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 at the AOPA Fly-In and Open House, June 7, in Frederick, Md. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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