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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 14AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 14

The following stories from the April 4, 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 Interest
The FAA has proposed an airworthiness directive that would clarify the definitions of "sudden stoppage" and "propeller strike" in an existing AD for Lycoming engines. This affects Lycoming piston engines with the exception of models O-145, O-320H, O-360E, LO-360E, LTO-360E, O-435, and TIO-541. The comment period ends May 27. Click here to download the document online.

My ePilot - Experimental Interest
If you're looking for lower cost and shorter build time, Lancair International says it has an aircraft kit for you. Lancair has introduced a fixed-gear version of the Legacy, called the Legacy FG. The airframe configuration is almost the same for both aircraft, but the new version is constructed primarily of fiberglass instead of carbon fiber. It will also accept four-cylinder Lycoming engines and has simplified interior features. Fitted with a 200-hp Lycoming engine, Lancair says the airplane will cruise at 174 knots. The introductory kit price is $32,900.

My ePilot - Other Interest
A company has taken one small step for backyard rocket science and one giant leap for space tourism. XCOR Aerospace has begun test firings of a more powerful rocket engine able to generate far more thrust than the company's previous version, which was successfully flown next to a second engine on a Long-EZ airplane. Instead of isopropyl alcohol, the new engine, dubbed the XR-45K5, consumes liquid oxygen and kerosene; it produces 1,800 pounds of thrust. "We are very excited about the new engine since it moves us closer to our goal of a reliable and economical vehicle for space tourism as well as educational and commercial uses," said Jeff Greason, XCOR CEO.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
The VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) is no longer the highest-tech navigation system available to general aviation pilots. It does still form the backbone of ground-based aerial navigation, however, and it provides VOR-equipped aircraft with voice communications about en route and hazardous weather. VOR proficiency can help a disoriented pilot get reestablished on course. To review "The ABCs of VORs," see David Montoya's article of that title in the December 2000 AOPA Flight Training.

A pilot navigates via VOR by intercepting a predetermined "radial" and following it either "from" the VOR station to the destination (or the next VOR station or other waypoint on a longer journey), or inbound "to" the VOR. If your home airport is directly south of a VOR, the airport lies along the 180-degree radial from that VOR. Coming home from a cross-country, for instance, you could fly to the VOR, intercept the 180-degree radial, and fly it outbound to the airport on a 180-degree magnetic heading-plus or minus wind correction-with a "From" indication on the to/from indicator. Or, when taking off from your home field, you could fly to the VOR (on a magnetic heading of 360 degrees and a "To" indication), then intercept the appropriate radial to fly from the VOR to your destination.

Once established on course, try this: tune in a second VOR, center the course deviation indicator (CDI) needle with a "From" indication, identify the radial you are crossing from that VOR on the omni bearing selector (OBS), then draw on your chart the line along that radial until it intersects your course. This should match your position-a technique that can also help you to confirm visual checkpoints. Remember that a VOR should only be used for navigation after identifying its Morse Code or voice identification feature as explained in Section 1-1-3 of the Aeronautical Information Manual.

Some VORs allow pilots to receive radio transmissions from Flight Service Stations and/or transcribed weather broadcasts (TWEBs), hazardous in-flight weather advisory service broadcasts (HIWAS), or even automatic terminal information system (ATIS) arrival information for a nearby towered airport. Aeronautical chart symbols depict communications capabilities of a VOR; see Section 3 of the Aeronautical Chart Users Guide ( click here to download). For more ways to become a VOR virtuoso, see the June 2002 AOPA Flight Training feature "Art of the Chart", as well as the September 1994 Flight Training feature "How to read a Sectional Chart". With a little practice you'll soon be VOR-hopping like a pro.

My ePilot - Training Products
In his latest book, Rod Machado's Instrument Pilot's Survival Manual, Machado, a columnist for AOPA Flight Training and AOPA Pilot magazines, focuses on the most commonly asked questions about flying under instrument flight rules and answers them in prose peppered with levity. The topic of instrument flying is certainly serious, of course, and Machado injects serious subjects in the book. It includes an in-depth look at the new meat-and-potatoes IFR approach-RNAV (GPS)-and GPS avionics. Rod Machado's Instrument Pilot's Survival Manual is published by the Aviation Speaker's Bureau. The softbound book is $34.95. To order, visit the Web site or call 800/437-7080.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: What are "rail lights" at an airport?

Answer: According to the Aeronautical Information Manual, RAIL (Runway Alignment Indicator Lights) are sequenced flashing lights which are installed only in combination with other light systems. But, you may also hear other pilots talking about "REIL" lights, which are Runway End Identifier Lights. In this case, REIL lights are two synchronized flashing lights, one on each side of the runway threshold, which provide rapid and positive identification of the approach end of a particular runway, especially when it's surrounded by a lot of other lighting or in a time of reduced visibility. For more information on lights, both RAIL and REIL, take a look at "Light Up Your Night; A Guide to Airport Lighting Systems" and "Shedding More Light on Those Approach Lights, Part 2".

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