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AOPA ePilot Custom ContentAOPA ePilot Custom Content

The following stories from the May 9, 2008, edition of AOPA ePilot were provided to AOPA members who expressed an interest in the particular subject areas. Any AOPA member can receive information tailored to their areas of interest by updating their preferences online.

~ My ePilot - Turbine Interest ~
Sandel Avionics has begun shipping a new version of its SA4550 Primary Attitude Display, designed as a replacement for 1970s-vintage Collins flight directors. The Vista, Calif., company has received STC approval to install the unit aboard Cessna Citations, Dassault Falcon Jets, Gulfstreams, Beech King Airs, Beechjets, and other turbine aircraft with electromechanical ADI installations. Priced at $20,950, the SA4550 is plug-in compatible with the Collins ADI-84, ADI-84A, and 329B-7R series of flight directors. Another, earlier SA4550 version is offered as well; it is designed to replace Sperry flight directors. Both versions can be combined with Sandel's SNR400 Primary Navigation Display, an HSI replacement. Its list price is also $20,950.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
One of the first examples of thinking ahead while flying is the idea of "leading" the completion of a climb, descent, or turn. Don't wait until you reach your altitude or heading before leveling off or rolling out. That process must begin somewhat earlier. Techniques differ, depending on the rate at which the maneuver is performed or whether a power adjustment is involved. But one lesson all the maneuvers teach is developing timing and precision. With that knowledge comes smoothness and the ability to avoid high load factors or approaches to stalls such as might occur if a pilot roughly leveled off from a power-off glide.

Consider the method for rolling out accurately from a turn. "When you begin to roll out of the turn to your predetermined heading, lead the rollout by one-half the number of degrees of your bank angle. For example, in a 30-degree bank turn, begin to level the wings 15 degrees before you reach your desired heading (check the heading indicator). In a 45-degree turn lead the rollout to heading by 22 degrees," according to David Montoya's article "Climbs, descents, turns, and stalls" on the AOPA Flight Training Web site.

Leveling off from a climb was discussed in the Dec. 9, 2005, "Training Tip." Among other points, it stressed the importance of maintaining climb power setting for a time after the nose is lowered, to allow the aircraft to accelerate from climb to cruise airspeed.

Acceleration also may be required while leveling off from a power-off glide-because best-glide speed is typically below cruise airspeed. "With too little lead, there will be a tendency to descend below the selected altitude. For example, assuming a 500-foot-per-minute rate of descent, the altitude must be led by 100 to 150 feet to level off at an airspeed higher than the glide speed," explains Chapter 3 of the Airplane Flying Handbook.

Learning to lead your level-offs and rollouts correctly during training assures that you will remain within altitude or heading tolerances when demonstrating the maneuvers on practical tests for a private pilot or sport pilot certificate. Doing so will also showcase your smoothness and sharpen the all-important ability to think ahead in your flying.

CORRECTION: In the May 2, 2008, "Training Tip," we had an incorrect statement regarding the adjustment of the fuel-air mixture. The sentence should have read, "You should also consider richening the fuel-air mixture. Leaning affects engine temperature as well as power and fuel efficiency and was discussed in the July 29, 2005, Training Tip 'Overheat Season.'" We regret the error.

My ePilot - Training Product
Operating, reading, and interpreting VORs is a stumbling block for many student pilots, and if you don't fully grasp VORs during primary training, your deficiency will come back to bite you when you train for the instrument rating. VORs At-A-Glance Flashcards may be able to help. The set of more than 160 quiz cards covers the difference between courses and radials; what the VOR does not show you; the best way to think about the course deviation indicator; inbound versus outbound course indications, and more. The manufacturer says using these cards will help you to read course, radial, and location information with just a quick glance at the receiver. The cards are $45 per set and may be ordered online from

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: What are displaced thresholds, and can I land on them?

Answer: A displaced threshold is a portion of the runway not available for touchdown, but it is available for takeoffs in either direction, or landings from the opposite direction. So, if you are landing on the displaced threshold end of the runway, you must touch down beyond the threshold markings, but if you are landing on the opposite end of the runway, you can roll out onto the displaced threshold area. To learn more about the runway environment, view the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Runway Flashcards and take the interactive Runway Safety course.

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.

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