The following stories from the November 9, 2007, 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 - Student Interest, Training Tips
As pilots continue the transition from fall to winter flying, they need to account for more than changing weather. (See the discussion of weather changes in the Nov. 2, 2007, Training Tips.) Pilots also must adjust their flight-planning habits, remembering to look up and employ seasonally different aircraft performance values. Also, with the recent switch back to standard time from daylight-saving time, remember to change the way you convert local time to Coordinated Universal Time, so-called "Zulu" time. For instance, pilots flying in the Eastern time zone now should add five hours to local time (using the 24-hour clock) to determine Zulu time; during daylight-saving time they added four hours. See the July 11, 2003, Training Tips article "What time is it?" for more on time zones and conversions.
The aircraft performance changes a pilot can expect in cooler, denser air add up to a good news/bad news proposition. Lower density altitudes mean more power is available to shorten takeoff runs and liven up climbs to altitude-reassuring when flying from high-elevation airports or with heavy loads. But there are performance penalties too.
A Cessna 152 cruising at 95 knots true airspeed (KTAS) at 4,000 feet msl in summer air warmed to 20 degrees above standard temperature burns 4.9 gallons per hour (gph). Achieving that same 95 KTAS at 4,000 feet at standard temperature-more typical of this season-occurs at a higher fuel burn: 5.1 gph. In very cold air the burn increases to almost 5.4 gph. Do you have sufficient fuel in reserve? A great way to review aircraft performance is to visit the AOPA Online Pilot Information Center and download Chapter 9 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. For more comparative analysis of aircraft performance under a variety of atmospheric conditions, see the December 2005 AOPA Flight Training feature "Don't fight the charts."
Avoid getting into the rut of using the "same old" performance figures when making mental estimates of fuel burn, true airspeeds, and climb performance. Even if you have no training flights scheduled for a few days, log some quality armchair time reviewing your pilot's operating handbook for the numbers you'll use during the cool days ahead.
My ePilot - Training Product
AVIATION TUTORIALS' 'WEATHER STATEMENT GROUNDSCHOOL'
Ever wished your flight instructor had spent just a little more time teaching you about aviation routine meteorological reports (METARs) and terminal area forecasts (TAFs)? Still stumbling over what these reports are telling you when you get a computerized weather briefing? Aviation Tutorials' new CD-ROM, Weather Statement Groundschool, may be able to fill in the blanks. The two-hour program, available for Windows-based personal computers, examines the basics of METARs and TAFs and also provides interactive features, including a "speak it" button that lets you hear what a weather code means. The program is $49 and may be ordered online or by calling 414/761-9331.
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.
My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: I just realized that some of my flight time has been logged incorrectly, and I would like to make corrections where needed. What recommendation does AOPA have in order to best accomplish this?
Answer: You should first discuss the situation with your instructor(s) and do a quick audit of your logbook just to make sure that corrections are valid and necessary. If it's only a couple of errors that need to be corrected on the same page, you can line through the errors within each column with a pencil, make the necessary adjustments, and initial each correction. If there are a lot of incorrect entries that span multiple pages, you should make a small notation (an asterisk or cross symbol, for instance) next to each line entry that is incorrect, calculate the new corrected flight time for each column, and then make a single one-line adjustment in your logbook.
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.