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Normally aspirated engines
“Tell me some facts about your aircraft’s engine,” says the designated pilot examiner as you prepare to fly for your private pilot practical test.
You are training in a 1986 Cessna 172P, so you reply that the engine is a normally aspirated, air-cooled, carburetor-equipped, four-cylinder engine. You also know from studying the pilot’s operating handbook (POH) that this piston engine is rated at 160 horsepower at 2,700 rpm. The examiner is satisfied with your answer, but poses another question: What is the difference between a normally aspirated engine and a turbocharged engine?
You’ve done your homework, and you’re ready with a response. As explained in the article “Turbochargers: Better Performance at Altitude” (that you can read on the AOPA Flight Training Web site), a piston engine “produces its maximum power when it breathes air at sea-level pressure. Because air pressure and density decrease with altitude, an engine becomes increasingly breathless as it climbs. As a result, its power output decreases.” The article adds that “exhaust-driven turbochargers solve this problem because they compress the thin air, restoring its density, before the engine inhales it.”
A related difference, then, is that a normally aspirated aircraft will have a lower service ceiling than a turbocharged version of the same make and model. “Service ceiling” is a term found in your aircraft POH and discussed in the Aug. 5, 2005, “ Training Tip.”
Just because your normally aspirated engine isn’t capable of the same power output at altitude as a turbocharged engine doesn’t mean that you need never be concerned about exceeding rated power limitations. That’s especially true in the cold dense air of winter, when temperatures fall well below standard (see the Jan. 2, 2009, “ Training Tip” on standard temperature). Consider this guidance provided in the FAA publication Tips on Winter Flying, also available at AOPA Online: “Care should be exercised in operating normally aspirated engines. Power output increases at about 1 percent for each 10 degrees of temperature below that of standard air. At -40 degrees F an engine will develop 10 percent more than rated power even though RPM and MP (manifold pressure) limits are not exceeded.”
Hot weather or cold, power management is an art that all pilots must practice.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
A checklist is an important document that you'll use on the first flight lesson and for every flight going forward. People who learned to fly simpler airplanes often could memorize their checklists, but today's sophisticated aircraft have so many additional features and settings that it's no longer a good idea to rely on memory alone. Refer to your checklist as you go through your preflight, and make sure you have actually followed through on each of the items to check. You can customize your checklist to make it more user friendly. Consider reproducing it in a smaller (or larger) size or printing emergency items in bright colors. Christopher L. Parker gives you more ideas in the September 2005 issue of AOPA Flight Training. If you have questions or concerns, call the Pilot Information Center at 800/USA-AOPA weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern.
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 FAA has proposed closing the Center Weather Service Forecasting Units (CWSUs) located at the nation’s Air Route Traffic Control Centers and firing 39 meteorologists as a cost-cutting move. The FAA plan would consolidate ATC en-route weather advisory positions at two new sites—one in Kansas City and one in suburban Washington, D.C. CWSUs, established in 1978, serve as a vital means of communicating late-breaking weather warnings and advisories to pilots. A test of the prototype consolidation is planned for late 2009. For more, see the complete story on AOPA Online.
AOPA is sponsoring a safety seminar at the 20th Annual International Women in Aviation conference in Atlanta, Feb. 26 to 28. Kathleen Vasconcelos, manager of safety education for the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, will present ASF’s “Top 5 Mistakes Pilots Make” seminar. Three-quarters of all accidents in an average year are caused by pilot error—and for the most part, they result from the same mistakes pilots have been making for decades. This seminar is full of practical tips for avoiding these errors. The seminar will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26. It is free and open to the public. Earlier that evening, AOPA—in conjunction with the University Aviation Association—will present a college/university student seminar and social. The 5 p.m. event is open to students registered for the WAI conference. The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. For more information or to register, see the Women in Aviation International Web site.
East Central Ohio pilots offer scholarship
The East Central Ohio Pilots Association is sponsoring a flight scholarship of at least $1,800 to enable an area individual get started with a career in aviation. Previous recipients have completed their private pilot certificates, enrolled in college, and are pursuing careers in the industry, according to Forrest A. Barber, secretary and past president of the association. The deadline to apply to the scholarship is April 1. For details and requirements, see the Web site.
Fatigue would seem one of the easiest hazards for pilots to avoid—but it has proven one of the most difficult. Even multi-crew airliners with mandated rest periods have succumbed to fatigue in accidents over the years. And general aviation pilots face myriad business and personal stresses that can tire us out, mentally and physically, and harm our performance in the cockpit. Get 10 tips to help you avoid becoming a statistic, and check out new resources from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation and the AOPA Pilot Information Center.
AOPA members get free weekend day with Hertz
Hertz is giving you a weekend day completely free. There’s no limit on the amount of days you need to book to get the free day. You can rent for one day and get that day for free. This offer is available through March 31. Just include priority code “127595” in your reservation for economy through full-size class cars. Simply reserve a car online, or call 800/654-2200. Use your AOPA discount code “10232” and save up to 25 percent. Each time you use your AOPA discount code, you are generating valuable revenue for the association that is reinvested to fund our daily efforts to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation.
Max Trescott produces ‘Learn to Fly’ ebook
Max Trescott, 2008 CFI of the Year, has created an electronic book that you can send to friends who are interested in learning to fly. The 37-page .pdf file looks at case studies of three individuals who learned to fly for different reasons: for pleasure, as a business tool, and as a career. The book can be downloaded free from the Web site.
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: If I do all of my private pilot training in a tailwheel aircraft, do I still need the tailwheel endorsement before I can solo in a tailwheel airplane?
Answer: A student pilot needs a lot of endorsements in order to complete his or her initial solo flight. The required endorsements include the presolo aeronautical knowledge, presolo flight training, and the actual solo endorsement. And yes, if you plan to complete your solo in a tailwheel airplane, you will also need a tailwheel endorsement. For some additional insight, see this Flight Training magazine article on the pros and cons of training in a taildragger.
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.
WHAT'S NEW ONLINE
If you haven’t stopped by the AOPA Forums lately, it’s time to check them out again. Look for a brand-new forum directed at sim pilots—all of you who like to fly simulators of all kinds—and a new blog to go with it. We’ve also created a number of new sub-forums. Under Aircraft Ownership, for example, you’ll now find discussions pertaining to light sport aircraft, helicopters, and home-built/experimental aircraft. And under International Flying, look for sub-forums dealing specifically with flying in the Bahamas/Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico.
AOPA CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a Director of Planned Giving, ePublishing Editor, Vice President of Media and Public Relations, Aviation Technical Specialist, and AOPA Air Safety Foundation Summer 2009 Intern. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
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 700 photos and counting. Highly rated photos will get put into rotation on the AOPA home page!
AVIATION EVENTS & WEATHER
Want something to do this weekend? Wanting to plan 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 calendar 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.
Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in San Jose, Calif., and Baltimore, Md., Jan. 24 and 25, and Louisville KY, Baton Rouge, La., and Las Vegas, Nev., Feb 7 and 8. 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
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Raymond, Miss., Jan. 20; Baton Rouge, La., Jan. 21; San Diego, Calif. and Fort Worth, Texas, Jan. 26; Costa Mesa, Calif. and Houston, Texas, Jan. 27; Ontario, Calif and San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 28. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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Editorial Team : ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller | Contributors: Warren Morningstar, Alton Marsh