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The following stories from the June 26, 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 -- Instrument Interest -

Kindle your plates

A new company has launched a beta version of a Web site for downloading approach plates for free to the Kindle, Sony eBook, or even a tablet PC. U.S. Terminal Procedures are downloaded by the company from the FAA and converted to PDF files. Each region is downloaded separately. Plans include downloading the Airport Facility Directories for various regions, terminal procedures organized by state, and terminal procedures for the next cycle so that you’ll never be out of date.

- My ePilot -- Helicopter Interest -

Whirly Girls accepting applications for training scholarships

The Whirly Girls, a nonprofit organization of international female helicopter pilots, is accepting applications for its 2010 scholarships. Whirly Girls members in good standing for at least one year prior to the application deadline are eligible for several scholarships this year. Applications need to be postmarked by Oct. 1, and members may apply for up to five scholarships. A recipient may not receive more than one scholarship. Read more >>


Two-minute turns

The June 12 Training Tip discussed the inclinometer, a component of the turn coordinator that helps a pilot correct yaw during flight. Another feature of the turn coordinator in an analog cockpit is the message “2 min” displayed on the instrument’s face. What does this mean, and why is it displayed prominently on the instrument?


You will learn about the standard-rate turn, also called the two-minute turn, while studying and practicing the basic instrument flying skills required by the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards. This kind of turn employs a shallow bank angle—a safe and reliable way to achieve heading changes when flying without visual references to the surface. For a noninstrument-rated pilot, it could be a life-saver.


“A turn to specific heading should be made at standard rate. Standard rate is defined as a turning rate of 3° per second, which will yield a complete 360° turn in 2 minutes. A turning rate of 3° per second will allow for a timely heading change, as well as allowing the pilot sufficient time to crosscheck the flight instruments and avoid drastic changes to the aerodynamic forces being exerted on the aircraft,” explains Chapter 5 of the Instrument Flying Handbook , one of the reference materials cited in the test standards for your basic instrument training.


To perform a standard-rate turn, establish pitch and bank on the attitude indicator, and then verify the standard rate on the turn coordinator. Bank angle is not shown on the turn coordinator (see Chapter 6 of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge ).


Of course, the best use of standard-rate turning after an inadvertent cloud penetration is to fly a one-minute course reversal to escape instrument conditions. A testimonial to this emergency technique—and some useful commentary on the challenge of handling a real emergency—is found in a pilot’s letter to Flight Forum in the November 1999 AOPA Flight Training: “My flight instructor had prepared me well to navigate my way back out of the cloud by maintaining attitude and using a standard-rate, timed turn to a reciprocal heading. However, I was not quite prepared for the ‘startle factor’ of actually flying from VFR to IMC.”


The student’s experience is a perfect example of how mastering fundamental skills can solve big problems.


Multisump allows for more sumping, less dumping

Sporty’s has a new fuel-testing device that combines the familiar, smaller fuel-testing cup with a larger reservoir that holds enough fuel for multiple tests. The Multisump has a small sampling cup at the top so you can visually check samples and then dump them into a larger area at the bottom to store tested fuel. The larger reservoir holds up to eight samples. The Multisump sells for $24.95 and can be ordered online or by calling 800/SPORTYS.


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: My instructor has been teaching me about sectional chart symbols. He wasn’t sure why airports with runways longer than 8,069 feet are shown in the actual shape of the airport instead of a circle. Why is that?


Answer: Sectional charts are drawn to scale. The round airport symbol is approximately 0.192 inches in width. The cartographers who create the charts decided that runways longer than 8,069 feet would be rounded to 8,100. At the sectional chart scale, this would make the runway bigger than the airport circle symbol. For more information on sectional chart symbols, take a look at the Aeronautical Chart User’s Guide .


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