The following stories from the May 1, 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 – Turbine Interest -
Embraer revises delivery projections
Embraer’s first-quarter 2009 financial report reveals that the company delivered 40 of its commercial and executive jets in the period ending March 31. This is an 11.1-percent reduction compared to first-quarter 2008 deliveries, when 45 jets of all types were delivered. First-quarter 2009 net sales amounted to $1,154.1 million, and net losses were reported as $23.4 million. Read more >>
- My ePilot – Light Sport Aircraft Interest -
Lightning LSA certified
Arion Aircraft, maker of the Lightning experimental homebuilt, announced last week that it received a special light sport aircraft certificate for its LS-1 Lightning LSA. According to Arion Aircraft, the company had to work hard in testing to slow down the 140-knot Lightning to the LSA maximum. The result is a 120-knot airplane that burns five gallons per hour, according to the manufacturer. Read more >>
Region of reverse command
There are many reasons why thorough practice of slow flight, minimum controllable airspeed, and stalls should be enlightening. These maneuvers should also be performed at a safe and legal altitude as discussed in last week’s “ Training Tip.” The most important lesson provided by slow-airspeed flight training is that an aircraft that flies smoothly and responsively at cruise can become sloppy and disobedient in the slower realm. Furthermore, the reduced control effectiveness and the effect of increased induced drag at high angles of attack provide the alert pilot with early warning of an approach to a stall.
One method for experiencing the slow-flight behavior of your trainer is to fly it level for short intervals at successively slower airspeeds, starting at cruise, noting the power and pitch combinations required with each reduction. Use 10-knot intervals or less for your decelerations. The result is a curve resembling the one presented in the March 23, 2007, “ Training Tip: Mapping the power curve.”
At a certain point in this drill, the procedure you have been using—reducing power and increasing pitch to maintain straight, constant-altitude flight—no longer seems to work. At that point it becomes necessary to use the opposite inputs. Welcome to the aerodynamic neighborhood known as the “region of reverse command.” If the term sounds a little unclear, the “Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge” describes it as the “flight regime in which flight at a higher airspeed requires a lower power setting and a lower airspeed requires a higher power setting in order to maintain altitude.” The handbook explains that induced drag “increases with a decrease in airspeed,” an effect that influences the pitch and power requirements of slow flight.
Not everyone likes the term. In his March 2002 AOPA Pilot feature “ An awakening,” William K. Kershner, the much-admired flight instructor and writer, expressed preference for another well-known description of this aerodynamic realm as “the back side of the power curve.” Call it what you will, as long as you can recognize when your aircraft is sending you these important messages about its aerodynamic condition.
Jeppesen adds sport pilot to online collection
Attempting to appeal to a new generation of pilots who grew up using cell phones and personal computers, Jeppesen last week added a sport pilot online course to its curriculum. The sport pilot course joins the recently released private pilot online course in the Jeppesen Learning Center, a collection of online courses. Like the private pilot course, the sport pilot course provides the knowledge to pass the FAA written exam, whether for an FAR Part 61 or Part 141 flight school. A year-long access to the course can be purchased for $199.95. Additional years can be purchased for $39.