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AOPA ePilot Custom ContentAOPA ePilot Custom Content

The following stories from the December 7, 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 - Turbine Interest ~
Hawker Beechcraft, formerly Raytheon Aircraft, has received certification for the Beechcraft King Air B200GT twin-engine turboprop aircraft. It has two recently certified Pratt and Whitney PT6A-52 engines designed specifically for it and rated at 850 shaft horsepower. The engines, which are able to generate that power to a much higher altitude than earlier models, were made by mating the 1,050-shp PT6A-60A used on the King Air 350 with the existing King Air B200 PT6A-42 gearbox. The average price out the door for the B200GT is $5.3 million.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
A highly instructional set of in-flight circumstances recently came up in the AOPA Aviation Forums, thanks to a pilot who related an experience he had while practicing takeoffs and landings at a towered airport. After reporting that he was about to turn base, he was instructed to extend his downwind. The controller said, "I'll call your base." The reason was a twin-engine Cessna preparing for takeoff.

When the controller eventually radioed clearance to land, the pilot saw that the twin still had not departed. "He says my call sign and 'cleared to land.' This is right after the twin read back his takeoff clearance. The twin had still not come onto the runway, so I figured I was still waiting for him to call my base," he wrote. The controller saw that the aircraft had not turned base and called back to restate and clarify the landing clearance.

The point that the landing pilot did not recognize was that, although the controller never actually called his base, the landing clearance sufficed to do so. "Cleared to land" is defined this way in the Pilot/Controller Glossary : "ATC authorization for an aircraft to land. It is predicated on known traffic and known physical airport conditions." The twin Cessna on the ground certainly qualifies as "known traffic."

The pilot can be commended for erring on the side of caution; however, an instructor might have suggested that the pilot query ATC as soon as doubts arose. This is true when resolving an airborne conflict, too. In that case AOPA's Handbook For Pilots offers this guidance: "Should you decide that maneuvering turns are required to maintain proper spacing, advise the controller if possible. Except for an emergency situation, never execute a 360-degree turn in the traffic pattern without first advising the controller."

Communication and cooperation make it all work. Don't hesitate to speak up when in doubt. Safety suffers if a misunderstanding is allowed to blossom into something worse, as the January 1999 AOPA Pilot column "Pilot Counsel: Defying ATC Instruction" demonstrates. Many pilots will hear the words "I'll call your base" someday. Thanks to a pilot who shared a learning experience, they'll be better prepared for what follows.

My ePilot - Training Product
Landings, landings, landings. We talk about them, analyze them, and constantly strive to make them better. Gold Seal Flight, publisher of the Gold Seal Online Ground School, has released a new book that aims to improve your landing techniques by breaking the process into a series of steps. What's unusual about The Art and Science of Better Landings is the presentation: It's a two-part system consisting of a 63-page e-book in .pdf format coupled with an online component. The idea is that you read a chapter in the e-book, then watch a multimedia presentation on the Internet to broaden your understanding. The Art and Science of Better Landings is available for download and sells for $16.95.

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: In a discussion with my flight instructor about chart revisions, we questioned the FAA's procedure for making the revisions known between chart cycles. Do you have any information on how that is done?

Answer: While major changes, such as airspace redesigns, are scheduled to coincide with the charting cycle, the FAA's National Aeronautical Charting Office receives input for changes to its aeronautical and base information every day. The significant changes are put in the Aeronautical Chart Bulletin at the back of the Airport Facility/Directory (A/FD) until the chart itself is updated. Flip through that portion of an A/FD, and you'll see a lot of added obstructions, identified by latitude and longitude. You'll also see potentially important frequency changes, additions or deletions of airports, and navaid changes. There may be changes to military operations areas, military training routes, warning areas, or other special-use airspace. Read more on this topic in the August 2005 AOPA Flight Training .

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.

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