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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 20AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 20

The following stories from the May 16, 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 Multiengine Interest
The FAA has issued a final rule AD for The New Piper Aircraft models PA-23; PA-23-160, -235, -250; and PA-E23-250 aircraft requiring owners to inspect the flap control torque tube for cracks, corrosion, wear, or elongation of the attachment bolt holes. The FAA said damage to the tube could result in a landing or takeoff with a split flap condition and potential loss of control. AD 2003-09-13 is effective June 23. See AOPA Online for the full text.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
This is an exciting but challenging time to be a general aviation pilot. Being a "good citizen" of the air-always a sign of any pilot's professionalism-takes more of a commitment than ever before, and asks more of student pilots than in the past. A good example is TFRs, or "temporary flight restrictions" ( click here to review critical information about them from AOPA Online). TFRs probably are more familiar to you as a student pilot than they would be to an inactive aviator returning to flying after any long absence.

Basically, TFRs can be considered no-fly zones for most aircraft. They temporarily prohibit flight over certain areas and are disseminated via notam. Review how the notices to airmen (notam) system works in Chapter 5 of the Aeronautical Information Manual . And be sure to check notams as part of your preflight planning. "TFRs are more common in some parts of the nation than in others, but if you don't do your homework before a flight, you could fly into one-with scary consequences. You could be intercepted by a military aircraft and required to land, and when you emerge from your aircraft you most certainly will be greeted by law enforcement officials," warns AOPA Flight Training's Jill W. Tallman in the April 2003 "Aviation Speak."

Several security-related TFRs have been in effect since September 2001, and all active pilots should know where they are and what they cover. Pilots are also responsible for knowing about " blanket notams" that, for example, restrict flight near athletic events and nuclear power plants. Check AOPA Online for updates. Another online source of information is an FAA Web page.

Remember, in a climate of heightened security and dynamic developments in airspace status, it is "your" responsibility to have the latest information pertinent to your proposed flight. Be sure to review the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's continually updated "Operation Airspace" online course, and consider downloading a copy of ASF's intercept procedures card for in-flight reference in the unlikely event that you find a military aircraft flying in formation with you.

Then go out and "do it right." Professionalism is a trait to which every pilot should aspire, whether or not he or she ever plans to earn a living in the air.

My ePilot - Training Products
It's always good to be able to try before you buy, and Gleim-a publisher of pilot training materials-lets you try one lesson of its eight-lesson Private Pilot Refresher Course free of charge. The course is actually designed to help private pilots prepare at home for a flight review. But at $29.95, this interactive program could also serve as an inexpensive study aid for student pilots who are prepping for the private pilot checkride several months after taking the FAA knowledge test. Each lesson is preceded by a 10-question true/false quiz to find out what you've retained as you've plowed through flight training. Answer 10 multiple-choice questions correctly before you move on to the next lesson. For more information, see the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: How do you gauge the wind by looking at the airport windsock? What does it mean when it's out at a 45-degree angle? When it's pointing straight out?

Answer: The windsock (or the "wind cone," as it is called by the FAA) is a good source of information for the pilot. It not only indicates wind direction, but also allows the pilot to estimate wind velocity and gusts. According to FAA Advisory Circular 150/5345-27C "Specification for Wind Cone Assemblies" ( download from AOPA Online), a windsock will take the form of a truncated cone when filled with air. It must move freely and indicate the wind direction within 5 degrees in a 3-knot wind. The AC also specifies that the cone will be fully extended in a wind of 15 kt. So, you may estimate that a limp windsock indicates a no-wind condition. A windsock extended at 45 degrees may indicate a wind of around 7 kt, and when the windsock is fully extended, the winds may be 15 kt or higher. Windsocks will tend to move back and forth when the wind is gusty. They point downwind, so when you land or take off, you will be flying from the smaller end of the cone toward the larger. For more information on windsocks or other wind indicators, take a look at "Wind Cones" and "Which Way is the Wind Blowing?" from the August 1996 issue of Flight Training magazine.

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