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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition -- Vol. 5, Issue 6AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition -- Vol. 5, Issue 6

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Volume 5, Issue 6 • February 11, 2005
In this issue:
Training Tip: Altimeter settings
Air Force seeks out GA for intro flight center
Missouri voters defeat ballot measure


Garmin International


Exxon/Mobil Survey

Pilot Insurance Center

Sporty's Pilot Shop

Eclipse Aviation

Scheyden Eye Wear

Minnesota Life Insurance

Comm1 Radio Simulator

King Schools

Do not reply to this e-mail. Got news? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].

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Copyright © 2005 AOPA.

Breaking News
"I'm dreaming, I'm dreaming," was all Roy Wilbanks could say Thursday night when he learned that he is the proud new owner of AOPA's 2004 Sweepstakes Twin Comanche. AOPA President Phil Boyer surprised Wilbanks, a 12-year AOPA member, during the South Carolina Aviation Association's annual hall of fame banquet in Myrtle Beach, telling Wilbanks that he will be taking home the fully restored, updated, upgraded, better-than-new 1965 Piper Twin Comanche. AOPA worked closely with Kip Pratt of the SCAA to arrange the surprise for Wilbanks, who thought he had been selected at random by the group to represent all South Carolina pilots at the event. Hal Shevers, chairman of Sporty's Pilot Shop, ensured that Wilbanks was on time by picking him up in Sporty's jet at his home airport in Greenwood. During the presentation, Boyer asked Wilbanks, who co-owns a Piper J-3 Cub, if he'd like to step up to a more advanced aircraft. When Wilbanks responded that he had been looking to step up, Boyer asked, "How about this Twin Comanche?" as an image of the sweepstakes airplane appeared on the screen behind the pair. Wilbanks' enthusiastic response was matched by that of the crowd of nearly 300, who gave the winner a standing ovation. Wilbanks then telephoned his wife from the stage to tell her about his good fortune. "I won it, honey! We don't need the J-3 anymore," he enthused. After the presentation, a red-faced Wilbanks, 62, realized that he had one more piece of good luck. "It's a good thing I just had a physical," he said. Because the dinner ended so late, Wilbanks won't get his first look at his new airplane until this morning. Don't fret because you didn't win the twin. All current AOPA members will have a chance to claim the Rockwell "Commander Countdown" 112 during the drawing this time next year. For more on the excitement surrounding Wilbanks' new toy, see AOPA Online.

Training Tips
When you started flight training, much about the aircraft and its systems might have surprised you. Take the altimeter. You learned that if you fly from an airport at an elevation of 500 feet above sea level, the aircraft's altimeter, when correctly set, reads about 500 feet (not zero) on the ground. When you came out to fly after a weather change you noticed that the altimeter read wrong. You had to reset it-a reminder that the altimeter must be set to the correct barometric pressure to be accurate. Barometric pressure (expressed in inches of mercury) can change significantly from day to day or between airports with different weather. "Once in flight, it is very important to frequently obtain current altimeter settings en route. If you do not reset your altimeter when flying from an area of high pressure into an area of low pressure, your aircraft will be closer to the surface than your altimeter indicates. A one-inch error in the altimeter setting equals 1,000 feet of altitude," explains Section 2 of the Aeronautical Information Manual.

While en route, give flight service a call or monitor the automated weather broadcast of a nearby airport to acquire the correct setting. Adjust altitude if necessary. "Since pressure decreases when you go up, the altimeter is made to read a higher altitude when the pressure decreases. Anything that lowers air pressure makes the altimeter read a higher altitude," meteorologist Jack Williams explained in the April 1999 "The Weather Never Sleeps" column in AOPA Flight Training. See Williams' September 2003 "The Weather Never Sleeps" column for five rules for understanding how altimeters work.

Sometimes pilots are told by air traffic control that the altitude displayed on radar along with the aircraft's transponder return differs from what the pilot sees on the altimeter. What then? Again, check the barometric-pressure setting on the instrument. "If your altimeter setting is correct, your 'altitude encoder' (a component of a Mode C transponder) is not transmitting the correct altitude," explains the "Flying Smart" article about encoders in the September 1998 issue of Flight Training. Recycling the transponder by turning it off then on again may fix the problem. If not, it's time for a trip to the avionics shop.

Stay alert to barometric pressure changes! It's a small detail with big implications for your flight's safety.

Your Partner in Training
Should I choose a Part 61 or Part 141 school? Is there an easy mental note to use in recovering from an inadvertent spin? Are my flight-training expenses tax deductible? No question is too tough or too trivial for the aviation specialists at 800/USA-AOPA. Do you have a question that you're too embarrassed to ask your flight instructor, or that must be answered quickly and you can't reach your instructor? Our specialists are available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time to answer all your questions.

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.

Flight Training News
How do Air Force pilot candidates win the right to enter pilot training? Right now they do it the same way most of us do-by going to the local FBO. They must pass a standard pilot-training course at a general aviation FBO somewhere near them. But this autumn, the Air Force will reestablish a single introductory flight training center run by a contractor like the former center at Hondo, Texas. Bidders range from minority-owned FBOs to giants like Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Finalists will be chosen in May or June. In addition to naming the site, the winning contractor works with an aircraft manufacturer that will provide a number of aircraft. Models from Cessna Aircraft and Diamond Aircraft are known to be under consideration. The Hondo school closed when its Slingsby Firefly T-3A trainers, fitted with larger engines than intended in the original aircraft design, were grounded following several fatal accidents at the Air Force Academy. Details on bidding for the new training center are being kept secret for the time being. The program is expected to train only a few hundred students during the first and second years, then ramp up to 1,300 students a year. In times of military need, the program could accommodate 1,800 students a year.

Robinson Helicopter Company produced 690 new helicopters in 2004, a 63-percent increase over the 422 helicopters it produced in 2003. The company shipped 234 R22s, a popular two-seat training helicopter, and 456 R44s last year. Production will be increased from 15 to 20 helicopters per week. A new 215,000-square-foot manufacturing facility should help to facilitate that increase, Robinson said.

A record 1,011 pilots attended Robinson's three-day helicopter safety course in 2004. All that interest has prompted Robinson to build a new, larger training facility within the new manufacturing facility. Safety classes will now be held twice monthly, and class size has been expanded to 65 pilots per session. For more information, see the Web site.

The National Association of Flight Instructors recently announced a new batch of Master CFIs, or flight instructors who have earned national accreditation through continuing education and peer review. NAFI says that fewer than 500 of the approximately 85,000 CFIs have earned Master CFI status. Joining the list in January were Raymond Norbert Klaus, Park Ridge, Illinois; Kelly Lynn Ross, Seattle; and Lara Ann Zook, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Named as Master CFIs in December were James Joseph Pitman of Glendale, Arizona; Robert James Miller of East Amherst, New York; James Robert McIrvin of San Antonio, Texas; and Gary William Kiteley of Auburn, Alabama.

Inside AOPA

Thanks to local pilots and the support of AOPA, voters in Lee's Summit, Missouri, on Tuesday soundly defeated a ballot measure that would have wrested control of Lee's Summit Municipal Airport from where it belongs-in the hands of public officials. The proposed amendment to the city charter would have required virtually any change to the airport to be approved by a majority of registered voters. "Once again, 'reason' prevailed against a ridiculous public policy, which is what this was really all about," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Other city and county governments should be thankful for the effort in Lee's Summit. Had this been successful it could have spread like wildfire, not just to stop airport expansion, but to harness the authority we are supposed to be giving elected officials." AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Gary Fox, The Friends of Lee's Summit Airport, and the Lee's Summit Chamber of Commerce mounted a public information campaign to protect the airport. AOPA took out a full-page advertisement in a local edition of The Kansas City Star a few days before the election, encouraging west-central Missouri voters to reject the change in the city code. For more, see AOPA Online.

With the belt tightening in Washington, D.C., President Bush is proposing a slight cut in the FAA's budget under the $2.57 trillion budget plan he submitted to Congress on Tuesday. This would bring the FAA's budget to roughly $13.8 billion, a 1.27-percent cut. The best news is that there will be no user fees for the air traffic control system in 2006 and there is continued funding for technologies such as the wide area augmentation system. WAAS is a ground-based system that augments the GPS signal and will eventually bring instrument approaches with vertical guidance into nearly every general aviation airport. But there's bad news for airports, with a $600-million cut from previously authorized funding for the Airport Improvement Program. The cuts would hit general aviation airports harder than the big airports if the budget proposal makes it through Congress intact. The reason is tied up in the somewhat arcane formulas written into the law. "The airlines are already prowling the halls of Congress lobbying for them to pay less and GA to pay more. We'll be lobbying just as hard to make sure GA is treated equitably in all areas," Boyer pledged. For more, see AOPA Online.

To make the most of your membership and allow us to serve you better, please visit AOPA Online and update your personal member profile.

Training Products
Above It All Aviation, makers of F.A.S.T. (Flashcard Aviation Systematic Training) pilot training courses, has introduced a F.A.S.T. course for the sport pilot knowledge test. F.A.S.T. cards are portable 'flashcards' not unlike what we used in school for math and spelling drills. About the size of a deck of playing cards, F.A.S.T. cards can be carried in a pocket or purse and easily retrieved for study. Each deck is color-coded by topic (for example, aviation weather and weather services, or airport operations and airport lighting and markings). The sport pilot F.A.S.T. course sells for $15.95 plus $5 shipping and can be ordered online or by calling 316/729-9115.

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.

Final Exam
Question: I recently took a pre-solo written exam. One of the questions was about whether student pilots are required to carry their logbooks during solo flights. I was told this was required at one time, but I couldn't find a regulation for it. Can you tell me if this is a requirement?

Answer: As a student pilot, you are required to have your logbook with you for all of your solo cross-country flights, but not for every solo flight. According to Part 61.51(i)(2), "Presentation of required documents," a student pilot must carry the following items in the aircraft on all solo cross-country flights as evidence of the required authorized instructor clearances and endorsements: pilot logbook, student pilot certificate, and "any other record required by this section." There's more information on logbooks and logging time on AOPA Online.

Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to [email protected] 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.

Picture Perfect
The AOPA Online Gallery allows you to download your favorite images to use for wallpaper, send a personalized e-card, and order high-quality prints to be shipped directly to your doorstep. Search the hundreds of images in our archives and select your favorites today! For more details, see AOPA Online.

What's New At AOPA Online
The pilot of the Piper Clipper was on the lookout for the T-28 pilot. She made three position reports and thought that he had heard them as he entered the pattern. What happened next reminds us never to assume. Read the outcome in the latest installment of "Never Again Online."

Weekend Weather
See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix.

ePilot Calendar
Ontario, California. The Soaring Society of America National Convention takes place February 9 through 12 at Ontario, California. Seminars, demonstrations, full-scale glider flight simulator, 25 vintage, and state-of-the-art sailplanes on display. Contact Gaynell Temple, 505/392-1177, 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 .

The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Sacramento, California; Nashua, New Hampshire; Las Vegas; and Ft. Worth, Texas, February 19 and 20. Courses are also scheduled in Cocoa Beach, Florida; Kent, Ohio; and Reston, Virginia, February 26 and 27. 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 Greeley, Colorado, February 15; and Colorado Springs, Colorado, February 16. The seminar is Weather Wise. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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