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The following stories from the April 10, 2009, 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 – Recreational Interest -

Wright buildings enter National Park Service

The Wright brothers’ home and the Wright Company factory in Dayton, Ohio, are now under the care of the National Park Service following the signing of a bill by President Barack Obama. Hawthorn Hill was designed by Wilbur and Orville Wright and was the home of the Wright family until 1948. Read more >>

- My ePilot – Light Sport Aircraft Interest -

EuroFox is renamed Aerotrek

Two light sport aircraft models previously known under the EuroFox brand have been renamed the Aerotrek A240 (tricycle gear) and the Aerotrek A220 (tailwheel model). They are manufactured by Aeropro, located in the Czech Republic. Aeropro has produced nearly 300 aircraft. The model designations were changed to reflect the evolution of the aircraft since 1990 and especially since 2005 when sales began in the United States. They are based on the Avid Flyer kitplane designed by Dean Wilson but are factory built. The base price is $62,950, but the aircraft typically go out the door at about $72,000 with the most-often requested options. They are distributed in the United States by Rollison Light Sport Aircraft of Bloomfield, Ind.

Tecnam gets Garmin G950 and G600

Garmin International announced that its G950 and G600 displays will be available as optional equipment on Tecnam’s P2006T, P2002 JF, and P2002 JR airplanes. The G950—based on Garmin’s G1000—will be for the twin-engine P2006T, while the G600 is available for the single-engine models. The P2002 JF is a fixed-gear model; the JR version has retractable landing gear. The G600 consists of a separate primary flight display (PFD) and multifunction display (MFD) setup, and is designed to interface with Garmin’s panel-mount WAAS GPS products for more precise approaches to more airports. The PFD replaces the traditional “six-pack” of round-gauge gyroscopically driven instruments with Garmin’s solid state attitude heading and reference system (AHRS). The AHRS has much better reliability than gyroscopic instruments, and can align rapidly—even while in flight. The G600 PFD’s display area is 50-percent larger than that of a standard three-inch diameter attitude indicator.

- My ePilot – Helicopter Interest -

Sikorsky defends S-92 helicopter

According to a report published April 6 by The Globe and Mail, the Sikorsky S-92 couldn't meet a specification that calls for the main gearbox to run for half an hour without oil. The aircraft is certified under FAR 29, which calls for a dry run time of 30 minutes. But certification documents filed with the Joint Aviation Authorities, the European counterpart to the FAA, show that the S-92 couldn't meet the specification. Instead, it was certified under a clause that allows an exemption if the chances of gearbox oil loss are extremely remote. Read more >>


‘Splashes of yellow’

A pilot writing in the AOPA Forums wrestled with a question about a familiar characteristic of VFR navigation charts. “I have looked and can't find a definitive answer to the intent of the yellow areas on sectional charts. I know some people are absolutely convinced it is an identification of ‘populated places,’ which they interpret to mean congested areas requiring at least 1,000 feet agl (of altitude). While I see the reference to ‘populated places’ in some documents, that does not match well with what I see on the charts, and makes me wonder what the purpose would be in identifying the populated places on a sectional chart.”


The pilot weighed various explanations for yellow splashes but found them in conflict with the reality on the ground. Complicating matters, the pilot added, “the yellow is not identified on the legend for the chart.”


How would you answer this excellent question?


A good place to start your research would be the Aeronautical Chart User’s Guide . Page 20 illustrates three categories of outlines for populated places. The smaller the populated place, the less the detail.


Further insight is gleaned from the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge . Discussing cross-country navigation, Chapter 14 says: “Appropriate checkpoints should be selected along the route and noted in some way. These should be easy-to-locate points, such as large towns, large lakes and rivers, or combinations of recognizable points, such as towns with an airport, towns with a network of highways, and railroads entering and departing. Normally, choose only towns indicated by splashes of yellow on the chart.”


Perhaps the best application of the yellow splashes is for nocturnal navigation: “Larger towns and cities are shown in yellow, and the yellow closely resembles the overall pattern of city lights you'll see on a clear night,” wrote Robert N. Rossier in the August 1997 AOPA Flight Training feature, “ Chart basics.” Indeed, the pilot asking the question was leaning toward this conclusion, but hesitated because to “rely” on charts for night navigation was of only limited value.


Don’t rely on a single, ambiguous source—that’s the most instructive lesson of the inquiry. Gathering multiple sources and erring on the side of caution promote safety and compliance with altitude regulations.

Correction: The April 3 “ Training Tip” gave an erroneous reference for reviewing the results of some airman knowledge tests. For knowledge tests taken on or after Sept. 28, 2007, refer to the Learning Statement Codes provided in this FAA reference guide to determine the applicable subject material to review. For tests taken before that date, the subject codes listed in Advisory Circular 60-25F remain in effect until the last of those knowledge-test results expires on Sept. 30, 2009.


AvWxWorkshops offers interactive weather training

AvWxWorkshops is offering detailed weather training on specific topics with Web-based videos in a subscription service. The site has a growing library of short videos that are “designed to take you beyond the basics and help fill in those gaps in knowledge and touch on areas you have yet to explore.” The workshops are based on scenarios from real or theoretical flights. Topics range from TAFs and convective outlooks to cloud types and air mass modification. Individual videos can be purchased for under $10, and yearly subscriptions are offered for $99.

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’s the difference between a generator and an alternator?


Answer: The alternator and the generator both create electricity for use in the airplane. The primary difference between the two lies in the moving parts. In a generator, the wire armature moves back and forth near a magnet to create an electrical current. In an alternator, a magnet spins inside a coil of wire (usually copper). While both alternators and generators create electricity, the alternator gets the job done much more efficiently. Most aircraft in production today utilize an alternator for electrical current.

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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