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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 18AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 18

The following stories from the May 2, 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
As pilots, we are trained to handle most emergencies based on checklist procedures, but what happens when there is no checklist? The mantra is "aviate, navigate, communicate." If we don't fly the airplane, the rest doesn't matter. When a door or engine cowl cover opens in flight, it's a distraction, but not usually something that will by itself cause an airplane to crash. See what happens to a Beechcraft Bonanza when the pilot gets distracted in a report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation exclusively for ePilot readers.

~ My ePilot - Experimental Interest ~
The first flight of the Ullmann Panther, a 200-knot high-wing kit aircraft reminiscent of the Cessna 182, has been completed at Newton, Kansas, north of Wichita. Speed tests have not been conducted as yet. The father/son-owned company will ship parts by the end of the year. The price of the kit is $51,000, minus the engine, propeller, avionics, interior, and paint. The aircraft is intended to use a 300-hp Continental IO-520 engine and lift 560 pounds with full fuel (75 gallons). The main gear is made from solid spring steel rods weighing 34 pounds each, while the nose gear is of similar design and weighs 18 pounds. For information, visit the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Many pilots learn to fly at airports that are beehives of activity. Many kinds of aircraft may share your local airspace. If there is no control tower on the field, how should you coordinate your arrival, say, with a glider returning to the pattern? Which way should you turn during cruise flight if you observe another aircraft approaching you head-on?

Such questions are addressed by Section 91.113 of the federal aviation regulations, Right-of-Way Rules: Except Water Operations (those are found in Section 91.115). But right-of-way scenarios can be complex. Expect your understanding of them to be questioned on the Private Pilot Knowledge Test and the oral component of your private pilot practical test.

Basically, says the regulation, "A balloon has the right-of-way over any other category of aircraft; a glider has the right-of-way over an airship, airplane, or rotorcraft; and an airship has the right-of-way over an airplane or rotorcraft." However, an aircraft in distress has priority over any other. An aircraft towing another (such as a glider-tow airplane) has priority over other powered craft. If you must give way to another aircraft, be sure to "not pass over, under, or ahead of it unless well clear." When approaching another aircraft head-on, alter course to the right. (At night, look for the green light on the right wing tip and the red one on the left wing tip.) If you are being overtaken, you have the right of way (but make your presence known!). Landing, the lower aircraft has the right of way "but it shall not take advantage of this rule to cut in front of another which is on final approach to land or to overtake that aircraft."

If you are receiving radar flight following en route, air traffic controllers can help to resolve conflicts by issuing safety alerts, as author Robert I. Snow explains in his November 2000 AOPA Flight Training feature article When ATC calls Traffic . Kathy Yodice's Legal Briefing column in that issue discusses blending right-of-way rules with recommended traffic-pattern procedures. "Obviously, these rules don't cover every possible traffic situation. In other circumstances, a pilot must exercise judgment consistent with the intent of these right-of-way rules," she notes in another treatment of the subject in the August 1999 AOPA Flight Training .

As usual in flying, knowledge and judgment pave the way!

My ePilot - Training Products
The seventh edition of William K. Kershner's The Advanced Pilot's Flight Manual, updated to include a closer look at the basics of flight instruments and navigation, is now available from Iowa State Press. The book's aim is to teach pilots the principles of performance so that they can readily understand the effects of altitude, temperature, and other variables of airplane operation. Some math is included to help the aspiring professional pilot better understand the basics of airplane performance and other issues that affect the operation of a particular airplane. Kershner is the author of numerous aviation texts, including The Student Pilot's Flight Manual and The Flight Instructor's Manual. The 344-page softcover book sells for $39.99. For more information or to order, see the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: On a sectional aeronautical chart, what does the "3" mean after the letters AWOS in the information given about an airport? It is not explained on the chart legend.

Answer: AWOS (Automated Weather Observing System) installations are classified into four basic levels. "AWOS-A" only reports altimeter settings. "AWOS-1" usually reports altimeter setting, wind data, temperature, dew point, and density altitude. "AWOS-2" provides the same information as AWOS-1 plus visibility. The designation "AWOS-3" shows that this particular AWOS provides the same information as an AWOS-2 plus cloud and ceiling data. For more information on automated observing systems, you may be interested in downloading the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's ASOS; Automated Surface Observing System Safety Advisor or reading Automatic Weather from the October 1998 issue of Flight Training magazine.

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