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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 21AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 21

The following stories from the May 23, 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 Engine Interest
More than 30 percent of all buzzing accidents are fatal, in part because maneuvering at low altitude limits the number of "outs" a pilot has available. This week's case in point, from just one year ago, tells the story of the pilot of a Beechcraft 23 and his two passengers who were killed when their airplane stalled at low altitude and hit trees. Read the report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, exclusively for ePilot readers.

~ My ePilot - Piston Multi Engine Interest ~
The FAA has proposed two ADs for Cessna twin-engine airplanes that would require repetitive inspection of wing spar caps for cracks and the installation of a spar strap kit. The FAA estimates the cost of initial AD compliance at $29,000 to $43,000 per airplane depending upon aircraft model. Industry compliance estimates are as high as $70,000 per airplane. The proposed actions apply to Cessna 401, 402, 411, and 414 series airplanes. "These ADs are based on manufacturer analysis rather than actual instances of service difficulties related to the area of concern," said Andy Werking, AOPA associate director of regulation and certification policy. "AOPA opposes the proposed actions on this basis, and is coordinating comment and response with appropriate aircraft type-clubs and organizations." Comments on both proposed ADs are due by August 8. Download the ADs and

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Visualize the near-perfect navigational instrument: It has no switches, but there is never a risk of it being in the wrong mode when you need it. It does not depend on satellites or line-of-sight ground transmitters for its signal reception. It runs independently of the aircraft electrical and vacuum system, so the chance of failure caused by dead batteries or malfunctioning air pumps is nil. Every aircraft should have such an excellent instrument-and virtually every aircraft does. It is the "magnetic compass," and it may have been one of the only things that you recognized the first time you sat in the pilot's seat.

If he could have only one instrument on his panel, it would be the compass, writes Ralph L. Butcher in his "Insights" column in the January 2002 AOPA Flight Training. But when you began flight training, you quickly learned that even such an apparently simple, passive gauge requires a sophisticated level of understanding to be used correctly: Its indications must be interpreted after allowing for such possible errors as deviation, caused by local magnetic fields within the aircraft, as well as acceleration or turning errors. Other direction-indicating instruments such as the vacuum-driven heading indicator are accurate only after being set by the compass and periodically cross-checked against it, to prevent error caused by gyroscopic precession. See the excellent discussion about using the magnetic compass in Chapter 6 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge ( click here to download).

Practicing compass-only turns or timed turns, which are explained in the September 1997 Flight Training feature "Which Way is West?" by Robert N. Rossier, during training will help you to better cope with a heading-indicator failure on a cross-country. Practicing those techniques, especially when combined with your skill at emergency flight by reference to instruments as described in the February 8, 2002, "Training Tips", might well prove key to dealing with an emergency such as inadvertent flight into instrument meteorological conditions.

See how the skilled pilot uses the magnetic compass in David Montoya's February 2002 AOPA Flight Training feature "Mastering the Flight Instruments". Then add your new understanding of this simple instrument as a cockpit resource to your own set of piloting skills!

My ePilot - Training Products
It can be as simple as a clipboard balanced on the lap or a fancier rig that straps to the thigh, but few pilots venture aloft without a kneeboard of some kind. The Zuluboard from Zuluworks offers an exterior pocket, interior vertical side pen pockets that can fit a standard mini flashlight for night flight, and another zippered mesh inside pocket for pens, flashlights, or batteries. The board comes with a Zulupad (dual-sided note pads) and six Zulucards (color-coded memory cards for such things as weather minimums and systems management). The Zuluboard sells for $39.95 in ballistic nylon or $44.95 for waxed canvas. For more information or to order, see the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: I'm a student pilot and most of my training has been in a Cessna 152. My instructor has endorsed my logbook for solo flight and I have flown solo a couple of times in the 152. Now I have a chance to do some training in a Cessna 172. Can I fly solo in the airplane after I've become familiar with it?

Answer: You will need another endorsement in your logbook to fly solo in the Cessna 172. According to 14 CFR 61.87 (l)(2), a student pilot cannot operate an aircraft in solo flight unless that student has received "an endorsement in the student's logbook for the specific make and model aircraft to be flown by an authorized instructor, who gave the training within the 90 days preceding the date of the flight." Since the endorsement you currently have in your logbook is for the 152, an instructor will need to provide another solo endorsement in your logbook for the 172. For more information on solo flight, see "What Dreams are Made Of" and "Congratulations, You've Soloed; Now What?" from AOPA Flight Training magazine.

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