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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 16AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 16

The following stories from the April 18, 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 - Personal/Recreational Interest
The recent crash of a Dassault Falcon 20 on its second instrument approach into St. Louis underscores the importance of carrying enough fuel to not only meet the regulatory requirements, but enough to cover what is actually needed. This accident is under preliminary investigation so it is too soon to speculate on the details. But fuel mismanagement is a leading cause of accidents and is generally caused by one of two things; either not having enough fuel onboard or failing to switch over to the full fuel tank. See the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's analysis of some accidents involving general aviation aircraft, exclusively for ePilot readers.

My ePilot - Instrument Interest
Filing IFR? Change notices for instrument approach charts went into effect yesterday (April 17) as part of the FAA's 28-day update schedule. See AOPA's Airport Directory Online for the updated information and to downloaded the up-to-date charts.

My ePilot - Turboprop Interest
AOPA is criticizing a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) the FAA recently issued that withdraws a single altimeter equipage agreement. When the domestic reduced vertical separation minima (DRVSM) NPRM was introduced, turboprop aircraft operating above Flight Level 290 would have been permitted to be equipped with just a single RVSM-compliant altimeter rather than two. However, in the most recent supplementary notice, the FAA would require these operators to install and certify two RVSM-compliant altimeters, citing a desire to align the rule with international civil aviation regulations. "Most U.S.-based turboprops are used for domestic travel; not international, and it is AOPA's position that operators should retain the ability to decide how their aircraft will be equipped; not the federal government," AOPA stated in its comments on the proposal.

My ePilot - Jet Interest
Cessna's newest business jet, the Citation CJ3, completed its maiden flight yesterday. The airplane departed from McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas and landed at Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport after a 1.7-hour flight. Cessna test pilots evaluated basic stability and operated the landing gear, flaps, speed brakes, and trim system. Unique to the Citation family for the new model are the dual-channel FADEC-controlled (full authority digital engine control) Williams engines and upgraded Collins avionics. Cessna officials said the flight occurred ahead of schedule. Cessna is hoping to receive FAA type certification in the second quarter of 2004.

My ePilot - Other Interest
Despite the economic woes experienced by the rest of the general aviation industry, Robinson Helicopter Company can't seem to make enough aircraft. To meet the demand, the company has hired 100 more production workers, increasing its total workforce from 600 to 700. Robinson said deliveries of R22 and R44 helicopters were up 58 percent during the first quarter of 2003 compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Even with the additional workers, the R44 remains sold out five months in advance. The popularity of the four-seat helicopter has even surprised Robinson officials.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
What has five legs, is from 600 to 1,000 feet high, is usually left-handed but can also be right-handed? The answer, of course, is a "standard" nontowered airport traffic pattern. (Some instructors will count "upwind" as a sixth leg, although you won't fly an upwind leg in addition to departure and final approach legs.) But what's standard on paper is not always the traffic pattern flown by pilots, as flight instructors and designated pilot examiners will attest. Traffic patterns vary so widely-from breathtakingly close in to so remote that it is uncertain if the observed aircraft is really landing at all-that a review of the fundamentals is warranted. A good start is the description and illustrations in Section 4-3-3 of the Aeronautical Information Manual.

"Safe flight operation begins with knowing the structure of a standard traffic pattern," notes the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Operations at Nontowered Airports Safety Advisor publication ( click here to download), which offers a step-by-step example of entering and flying a traffic pattern at an airport without a control tower-using the Frederick, Maryland, airport as its example. Standard procedures lend predictability to airport operations and make it easier to scan for other traffic. When establishing yourself in the pattern, be sure you can glide safely to the runway in the event of a power loss. Similar procedures and pattern terminology are used at tower-controlled airports, but there, air traffic controllers can make use of partial or non-standard procedures to expedite the flow.

Check your airport's published procedures for any exceptions to standard distances, altitudes, and left-hand-traffic rules. Be prepared to discuss them, and demonstrate your proficiency-especially the requirement to maintain "proper spacing from other aircraft"-to your designated pilot examiner as set out in Task B, Area of Operation III of the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards ( click here to download).

If nontowered airports are new to you, see the July 3, 2002, edition of this newsletter and read the Training Tips article, "Taming Nontowered Airports." "Merging into the flow of a traffic pattern requires you to display knowledge and judgment so that you can avoid unexpected maneuvers in the pattern. The ability to consistently do this well marks a milestone in your development as a pilot," counsels Dave Wilkerson in his September 2000 AOPA Flight Training article, "Checkride: Patterns of Safety." Heed his advice and your skill will be recognized by the other pilots at your field.

My ePilot - Training Products
Aviation Tutorials has released version 2.0 of its "VOR/NDB Simulator" CD-ROM software. New features include an instrument manager that lets pilots select flight and navigation instruments in a variety of combinations and arrange them to match a particular cockpit. Also, a "random" button generates aircraft headings, positions, and wind elements to challenge budding skills; and VOR and NDB navigation can be performed simultaneously. The software is priced at $69. You can sample the program by downloading a 2.6-Megabyte demo version. For more information or to order, see the Web site or call 414/761-9331.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: When I am cleared to "taxi to" the active runway, may I cross other taxiways and runways on my way there?

Answer: Paragraph 4-3-18 of the Aeronautical Information Manual explains that when ATC clears an aircraft to "taxi to" an assigned takeoff runway, the absence of hold-short instructions authorizes the aircraft to cross all runways that the taxi route intersects except the assigned takeoff runway. Such a clearance does not include the authorization to "taxi onto" or "cross" the assigned takeoff runway at any point. So, you may cross a taxiway or inactive runway on your way to the active or takeoff runway-while exercising caution, of course. For more information on taxiing, you may want to look at "Does 'Cross' Mean 'Taxi On'?" from the March 2002 AOPA Flight Training, or complete the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's online Runway Safety Program.

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