The following stories from the March 21, 2003, edition of AOPA ePilot were provided to AOPA members who expressed an interest in the particular subject areas. Any AOPA member can receive information customized to their areas of interest by updating their member record file online.
My ePilot - Piston Single Engine Interest VFR NOT RECOMMENDED ON THIS FLIGHT
Studies by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation have shown numerous times that VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) continue to be one of the deadliest accident causes. On March 8, 2001, a newly certificated Canadian ATP with more than 30,000 hours proved it once again in a Cessna 206. Read the accident report prepared exclusively for ePilot
readers on AOPA Online
. My ePilot - Turboprop Interest NEW SOCATA TBM 700 HAULS GREATER LOAD
Eads Socata has received FAA certification for its latest version of the TBM 700 turboprop, the TBM 700C2, which offers a greater takeoff weight. The 700C2 has a maximum takeoff weight of 7,394 pounds, compared to 6,578 for the 700C1. It has a maximum payload of 804 pounds with full fuel, compared to 452 pounds for the 700C1. The aircraft has 10-ply tires to haul the extra weight, compared to eight-ply for the 700C1. Like the 700C1, the C2 has a cruise speed at economy power settings of 255 KTAS. It does, however, require 2,832 feet to clear a 50-foot obstacle on takeoff and 2,427 feet for landing over the obstacle. That compares to 2,133 feet needed by the C1 model for takeoff and landing over a 50-foot obstacle. My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips DEWS AND DON'TS
Happy spring! It has been a rugged winter in much of the country, but warmer weather is on the way. Flying activity picks up at this time of year; indeed, a 20-degree increase in temperature over winter norms can make a big difference in comfort.
Twenty degrees of temperature increase has another effect on an air mass-it roughly doubles its capacity to hold moisture. Stated differently, as an air mass cools down by 20 degrees, it can hold only half as much moisture as before. To know how close an air mass is to its moisture condensation point, pilots must be aware of the temperature/dew point spread. You will find the temperature and dew point in METARs
, or "meteorological aerodrome reports" and hear them in recorded terminal information broadcasts.
"When temperature reaches the dew point, water vapor can no longer remain invisible, but is forced to condense, becoming visible on the ground as dew or frost; appearing in the air as fog or clouds; or falling to the earth as rain, snow or hail," says the discussion of the temperature/dew point relationship in Chapter 10 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
( click here
to download). This process also extracts moisture from air inside a less-than-full fuel tank, so be sure to check your fuel for the presence of water before flying. "As we move into the warmer months of the year, keep an eye on dew points. Dew points above, say, 60 degrees F (15.5 degrees C) mean that not much cooling is needed to create fog or clouds," advises AOPA Pilot
Editor at Large Thomas A. Horne in his March article "Dew Point Review." ( Click here
to see the article.)
One obvious time to monitor the temperature/dew point spread is in the late afternoon when the air begins to cool. Ensure that you can land before fog forms-which can happen with surprising abruptness. Frontal passage can reduce the temperature/dew point spread to zero. Stay updated on current conditions and be skeptical of forecasts. See how one pilot's reaction to deteriorating weather resulted in a diversion; the experience was the subject of a "Learning Experiences"
article in the April 2000 AOPA Flight Training
Review this topic and you will have no trouble answering dew-point questions on the Private Pilot Knowledge Test or your Private Pilot Practical Test. Nor will you be surprised by adverse conditions sometimes caused by the arrival of warmer weather! My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam Question:
I am very interested in learning to fly but have diabetes. Is it still possible for me to obtain my pilot certificate? Answer:
It is possible, depending on your individual circumstances. The FAA looks at how your diabetes is controlled and goes from there. Pilots with a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus controlled by diet alone are considered to meet the medical standards and are eligible for medical certification under the revised Part 67 medical standards. Medical documentation is required at the time of the FAA medical examination. Use of oral diabetes medication is disqualifying for medical certification under the regulations, but the application will be forwarded to the FAA, which will review the case under the Special Issuance provisions of the federal aviation regulations. For more, see AOPA's subject report, Diabetes Specifications: Oral and Diet Controlled
. Individuals with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM) may also be considered for certification under the Special Issuance provisions; some restrictions apply. See AOPA's subject report, Special Issuance Procedure: Insulin-Treated Diabetes Mellitus