May 1, 2009
In This Issue: Tecnam gives airplane to ERAU flight team What's that burning smell…? Airspace violations remind pilots to beware
There are many reasons why thorough practice of slow flight, minimum controllable airspeed, and stalls should be enlightening. These maneuvers should also be performed at a safe and legal altitude as discussed in last week’s “ Training Tip.” The most important lesson provided by slow-airspeed flight training is that an aircraft that flies smoothly and responsively at cruise can become sloppy and disobedient in the slower realm. Furthermore, the reduced control effectiveness and the effect of increased induced drag at high angles of attack provide the alert pilot with early warning of an approach to a stall.
One method for experiencing the slow-flight behavior of your trainer is to fly it level for short intervals at successively slower airspeeds, starting at cruise, noting the power and pitch combinations required with each reduction. Use 10-knot intervals or less for your decelerations. The result is a curve resembling the one presented in the March 23, 2007, “ Training Tip: Mapping the power curve.”
At a certain point in this drill, the procedure you have been using—reducing power and increasing pitch to maintain straight, constant-altitude flight—no longer seems to work. At that point it becomes necessary to use the opposite inputs. Welcome to the aerodynamic neighborhood known as the “region of reverse command.” If the term sounds a little unclear, the “Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge” describes it as the “flight regime in which flight at a higher airspeed requires a lower power setting and a lower airspeed requires a higher power setting in order to maintain altitude.” The handbook explains that induced drag “increases with a decrease in airspeed,” an effect that influences the pitch and power requirements of slow flight.
Not everyone likes the term. In his March 2002 AOPA Pilot feature “ An awakening,” William K. Kershner, the much-admired flight instructor and writer, expressed preference for another well-known description of this aerodynamic realm as “the back side of the power curve.” Call it what you will, as long as you can recognize when your aircraft is sending you these important messages about its aerodynamic condition.
Every AOPA member—including those who have accepted AOPA's six-month introductory membership offer—has free, live access to our in-house flight instructors and aviation experts who are standing by to answer your questions. Call the AOPA Pilot Information Center at 800/USA-AOPA, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, or check out our online Pilot Information Center Subject Reports. Topics for these reports are drawn from the real-life concerns of AOPA members who call our staff for help about 100,000 times every year.
Did you know that student pilots who join AOPA are three times more likely to complete their flight training? Membership includes unlimited access to aviation information by phone (800/USA-AOPA, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time) or from AOPA Flight Training Online or AOPA Online. If you're not already a member, join today and get the pilot's edge. Login information is available online.
The flight team at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s (ERAU’s) Daytona Beach, Fla., campus received a brand-new airplane at Sun ’n Fun. The 2009 Tecnam P-92 Echo Classic, a light sport aircraft valued at $125,000, was donated by Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam Srl, manufacturer of the Tecnam aircraft line, and Michael and Lynn Birmingham, its U.S. distributors. ERAU’s flight team will be the first in the nation to fly the model in a National Intercollegiate Flying Association competition. NIFA’s annual Safecon event will take place May 17 through 29 at Parks College of St. Louis University. Tecnam and the Birminghams donated the airplane after becoming familiar with Embry-Riddle’s flight training program at a recent National Training Aircraft Symposium sponsored by ERAU’s College of Aviation.
Although rare, in-flight electrical fires can happen at any time—and they can be disastrous, as was the case in the fatal July 2007accident involving a Cessna 310 owned by NASCAR. To help raise awareness, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation has produced a new Safety Brief that helps pilots recognize the symptoms and take action in the event of an electrical fire. Download the new brief, and then check out additional resources—including Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg's May 2009 Safety Pilot article on the NASCAR accident—on the new "Electrical System Know-How" Safety Hot Spot page.
The FAA’s bird-strike database, operated and maintained by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., is now open to the public and undergoing changes to make it more user friendly. The database consists of reports made voluntarily by airports and may not contain all bird-strike incidents, but pilots and the public now have the capability to look up individual airports. So where is the most highly reported area for bird strikes? (This isn’t necessarily the worst area, simply an area where airports have sophisticated bird-strike reporting programs.) It’s the East Coast flyway, including the states of New York, New Jersey, and Florida.
Airline Transport Professionals (ATP) said April 20 that its new Tampa, Fla., Flight Training Center will open May 4 at St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport. The center, one of five new facilities ATP is slated to open this year, will offer single- and multiengine flight training from private through airline transport pilot, including ATP’s Airline Career Pilot Program. A San Diego, Calif., center opened in February, and a facility in Charlotte, N.C., also is scheduled to open in May. Other centers are planned for Indianapolis, Ind., and Oakland, Calif.
In springtime, as clear skies and sunny days beckon, it is important for pilots to stay vigilant about airspace restrictions—particularly around security-conscious areas such as the nation’s capital. Two single-engine airplanes that wandered into the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ) April 24 underscore the importance of knowing the types of airspace that lie in your path before you take off. The FRZ airspace violations led to brief security alerts in the capital area. Anyone planning to fly within 60 nautical miles of the DCA VOR/DME must complete the FAA’s online training course, Navigating the DC Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) . Pilots that enter the 30-nm-radius SFRA, formerly known as the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), must also follow special procedures. Read More >>
In tough economic times, building up your bank account becomes priority No. 1. The AOPA Credit Card from Bank of America is now offering a new WorldPoints enhancement to help you save. With the AOPA Credit Card, you can redeem your points for cash and now have that cash directly deposited into your checking or savings account. This new feature is easy to set up and will allow you to access cash through your personal accounts when you need it most. Visit Bank of America’s Web site and click on the “get cash now” option to sign up and start saving today.
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) toured AOPA headquarters during a recent trip to Frederick, which included visits to Frederick Municipal Airport and the Maryland State Police helicopter barracks, both adjacent to the association’s buildings. Cardin said association staffers are the people who are out front on what’s happening in the economy—“You are talking to people all over the country; you can tell us how the economy is doing”—noting that the AOPA Pilot Information Center and Membership Services employ more than 50 individuals who respond to calls from all over the country. Cardin was surprised at the magnitude of work accomplished at AOPA and the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Told the number of calls and e-mails received daily, he remarked in disbelief, “That much?” and when told that the Air Safety Foundation receives more than 11,000 hits online per month, he repeated, “A month?” Read more >>
Attempting to appeal to a new generation of pilots who grew up using cell phones and personal computers, Jeppesen last week added a sport pilot online course to its curriculum. The sport pilot course joins the recently released private pilot online course in the Jeppesen Learning Center, a collection of online courses. Like the private pilot course, the sport pilot course provides the knowledge to pass the FAA written exam, whether for an FAR Part 61 or Part 141 flight school. A year-long access to the course can be purchased for $199.95. Additional years can be purchased for $39.
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: A local charity is holding a silent auction, and I would like to donate a 30-minute scenic flight. Am I allowed to do this as a private pilot?
Answer: Private pilots are permitted to donate their time and aircraft (or rental aircraft) to charitable events. There are some specific requirements you must follow, which are detailed in FAR 91.146. You will need to have a minimum of 500 hours of total flight time and notify your local Flight Standards District Office at least seven days prior to the event. Read more about charity flying in AOPA’s regulatory brief and subject report, and the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s safety brief on the topic.
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Pilots love to take photos, and they love to share them with other pilots. Now you can upload your flying photos to our brand-new online gallery, "Air Mail." Share your special aviation images, or view and rate more than 1,000 photos and counting. Highly rated photos will get put into rotation on the AOPA home page!
Want something to do this weekend? Planning an aviation getaway? See your personalized online calendar of events . We've enhanced our calendar so that with one click you can see all of the events listed in the regions you selected when personalizing ePilot . Now you can browse events listed two weeks to a few months out to make your planning easier. You can also bookmark the personalized calender page to check it as often as you want. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.
To submit an event or to search all events in the calendar, visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online.
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Albany, N.Y., May 16 and 17; Sacramento, Calif., and Kansas City, Mo., May 30 and 31; San Jose, Calif., Charlotte, N.C., and Ashburn, Va., June 6 and 7; Phoenix, Ariz., and Minneapolis, Minn., June 13 and 14; Orlando, Fla., and Columbus, Ohio, June 27 and 28; Newark, N.J., July 11 and 12. 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 are scheduled in Hickory, N.C., and Poughkeepsie, N.Y., May 4; Graham, N.C., and Cohoes, N.Y., May 5; New Bern, N.C., and Liverpool, N.Y., May 6; Rochester, N.Y., May 7; Madison, Wis., May 11; Milwaukee, Wis., May 12; Manitowoc, Wis., May 13; Morristown, N.J., May 18. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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Editorial Team : ePilot Flight Training Editor : Jill Tallman | ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller | Contributor: Alton Marsh
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