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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 15AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 15

The following stories from the April 11, 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
Teledyne Continental Motors has received a supplemental type certificate (STC) that permits the retrofitting of TCM-Aerosance full authority digital engine control (FADEC) in certain Beechcraft Bonanza model airplanes. According to TCM, installation of a FADEC system eases starting, reduces pilot workload, increases fuel economy, and automatically monitors and controls critical engine parameters. The STC covers models S35, V35, V35A, V35B, C33A, E33A, F33A, E33C, F33C, 36, and A36. For more information on the system, see AOPA Online.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Pilots in training are exhorted to get as much information as possible about a proposed flight. So it can be frustrating when the result is confusion-not clarity-about whether to go ahead. Experience and continuing study of topics such as weather will make the process less mysterious; in the meantime, caution and "personal minimums" set by you and your instructor are good guides. See Jeff Pardo's feature article "Risk Management for New Pilots" in the October 2002 AOPA Flight Training.

It is also a good idea to understand the meaning of certain terminology used during weather briefings. It may look nice outside, but if the briefer uses the phrase "VFR not recommended," be alert, as Elizabeth Tennyson discusses in "Aviation Speak" from the January 2001 AOPA Flight Training. This phrase is commonly misunderstood by new pilots who have yet to accept the notion that they alone-not the briefer-are empowered to make the go/no-go decision. Briefers provide you with the information you need, but they cannot order you not to fly. Saying "VFR not recommended" is all they can do (even if there is a line of tornadoes hovering over the field). Sound complicated? Click here to read Rod Machado's response to a new pilot's question on judging the weather in the July 2001 AOPA Flight Training.

If, after you complete your briefing, you remain doubtful, it means that you need more information to resolve the conflict between wanting to go and satisfying yourself that you should. Perhaps the forecast (such as a lingering fog) says "stay," but your own observation (that the fog is breaking up) says "go." Maybe a forecast of light winds and calm conditions has been belied by a pirep of gusts and turbulence. Click here to view the August 30, 2002, newsletter's discussion of "The Benefits of PIREPs."

"It's the ones who don't question, who don't feel self-doubt, who are most apt to get in over their heads," counsels AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Thomas A. Horne in his article, "The Weather Never Sleeps: To Go or Not to Go," in the January 2000 AOPA Flight Training. So, listen to your doubts; don't disparage the fact that you are having them. Evaluating their meaning is a critical part of learning how to make sound aeronautical decisions!

My ePilot - Training Products
Aviation consultant Cheryl Cage's career planning books and software are now available through Aviation Supplies and Academics, Inc. Her titles include Checklist for Success, Reporting Clear, Calm in the Face of Conflict, and The Resilient Pilot. Cage is a regular speaker at aviation conferences and most recently has been presenting business job search seminars to furloughed United Airlines pilots. For more information, contact ASA at 800/ASA2FLY or visit the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: What does it mean when I receive a flashing red light gun signal from an air traffic control tower?

Answer: If your aircraft is on the ground, the flashing red light is telling you to taxi clear of the runway in use. If your aircraft is in flight, the same signal means the airport is unsafe-do not land. Acknowledge receipt of a light gun signal by either moving the ailerons or rudder of your aircraft during the day, or by blinking the landing or navigation lights at night. Air traffic control tower light gun signals are explained in section 4-3-13 of the Aeronautical Information Manual. For more information on light gun signals, see "Operations at Towered Airports" from the November 1998 issue of Flight Training magazine.

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