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The following stories from the December 18, 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 -- Helicopter Interest -

ALERTS system gaining in helicopter EMS market

Appareo Systems ALERTS (Aircraft Logging and Event Recording for Training and Safety) Vision 1000, a cockpit imaging and flight data monitoring device, is becoming popular with helicopter EMS operators. The system captures critical inertial and positioning data, as well as cockpit imagery and audio. The flight data and video are stored in a robust memory module as well as a removable SD card for use in flight operations quality assurance. Read more >>

Helicopter EMS company starts simulator training

Omniflight Helicopters Inc., a large national provider of air medical services, has signed an agreement with FlightSafety International to train in its new Level-7 AS350 simulator located in Tucson, Ariz. Omniflight's instructors will lead and conduct the training of nearly 200 pilots nationwide beginning in 2010. This includes newly hired as well as current pilots and will focus on regulatory, mission-specific, and scenario-based training. Read more >>

- My ePilot -- Owner Interest-

AD issued for SR22s equipped for known icing

The FAA is adopting an airworthiness directive for certain Cirrus Design Corp. Model SR22 airplanes equipped with an anti-ice system approved for flight into known icing conditions. Effective Dec. 21, owners and operators of affected aircraft must inspect the compression fittings on the anti-ice fluid distribution lines for proper installation and repair any fittings that were not properly installed. Read more >>

Rotax announces TBO extension for 912 series engines

The time between overhauls (TBO) for new Rotax 912 series engines has been extended from 1,500 hours or 12 years to 2,000 hours or 15 years, Rotax announced Dec. 14. New 912, 912UL, 912S, and 912ULS engines already carry the extended TBO, Rotax said. Older engines can have their TBO increased by complying with the provisions of Service Bulletin SB-912-057UL. The service bulletin calls for replacing a crankcase part and a plug screw, plus an associated test run. See the Web site for more information.



‘CTAF’ doesn’t mean uncontrolled

Any pilot who thinks that operations at an airport without an operating control tower are uncomplicated because air traffic control is absent quickly finds out otherwise. The lesson doesn’t always come easily. A decision you make about how to come and go at a nontowered airport may even subject you to on-air comment from a fellow pilot. Fair or unfair, you’ll learn from the experience. But stay focused on your flying. Revisit the situation or seek advice after you are safely back on the ground.


You learned that communications at an airport without an operating control tower are carried out on a designated frequency: the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). The Aeronautical Information Manual offers this description: “A CTAF is a frequency designated for the purpose of carrying out airport advisory practices while operating to or from an airport without an operating control tower. The CTAF may be a UNICOM, MULTICOM, FSS, or tower frequency and is identified in appropriate aeronautical publications.”


Basic procedures are straightforward: “Pilots of inbound traffic should monitor and communicate as appropriate on the designated CTAF from 10 miles to landing. Pilots of departing aircraft should monitor/communicate on the appropriate frequency from start-up, during taxi, and until 10 miles from the airport unless the CFRs (FARs) or local procedures require otherwise.” Making those broadcasts is known as the “self-announce” method, employing standard phraseology, of which examples are provided. The chapter also discourages certain radio practices that have entered use at some airports. For example: “Pilots stating, ‘Traffic in the area, please advise’ is not a recognized Self-Announce Position and/or Intention phrase and should not be used under any condition,” it says.


Occasionally someone goes a bit rogue in the pattern, endangering others. What happens then? In his blog entry titled “ Turkey of a pattern,” AOPA Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg described witnessing such an occurrence, and discussed how he reacted after spotting an unsafe maneuver. His blog generated lively discussion in the AOPA Aviation Forum.


But don’t think radios can solve all conflicts at nontowered airports. Stay watchful for your fellow pilots flying no-radio aircraft (see the September 3, 2004, “ Training Tip”). They’re your aviation partners too—and they rely on your vigilance to help keep everyone safe.


Wildfire collapsible bicycle

Ever wonder how you’ll get from the airport into town for lunch when you land on a long cross-country? Sometimes there are courtesy cars, but why not make your own plans and travel with the Wildfire collapsible bicycle? The bicycle fits into the back of an airplane, has an electric motor for pedal assist or full operation, and best of all, you get a tax credit. Read More >>


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 the best way to remove frost or ice from my airplane?


Answer: If you are not pressed for time, have your flight school or FBO put the airplane in a heated hangar for an hour or so to allow accumulated ice to melt off. Deicing fluid can be used if you need to get the job done quickly and don’t mind spending a few dollars. Be sure to check your aircraft’s pilot’s operating handbook to determine the correct type of fluid and application guidelines. For additional insight, take a look at the winter flying subject report from the AOPA Pilot Information Center.


Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail [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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