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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 24AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 24

The following stories from the June 13, 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 - Jet Interest
Bombardier Aerospace's new Challenger 300 broke an unofficial world speed record on Wednesday during a flight from Miami to Seattle. The flight-test aircraft, with nearly 300 hours on its airframe, took off at 6:41 a.m. from Miami International Airport and arrived at Seattle's Boeing Field five hours and 48 minutes later, cruising at Mach 0.80 at 45,000 feet. On board were two Bombardier pilots and eight passengers, including Stan Nelson, chairman of the National Aeronautic Association's contest and record board, and former U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon. Ratification of the record is pending by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. The aircraft will be making its first public appearance at the Paris Air Show.

My ePilot - Experimental Interest
Aircraft Spruce & Specialty has acquired the design rights to the Stolp Starduster line of homebuilt aircraft and will sell plans and complete materials packages for all Starduster models. Builders will be able to purchase materials in one or several installments as they progress through the construction phases. Many prefabricated components, such as fiberglass turtlebacks, nose cowlings, wheel pants, cockpit cowlings, complete fuel systems, windshields, canopies, and "plug-in" instrument panels will also be available. Designed in the 1960s by legendary aircraft designer Lou Stolp, the line includes the Starduster Too, AcroDuster Too, Starlet, V-Star, Super Starduster, and Starduster One. More than a thousand sets of plans have been sold and it is estimated that more than 300 Starduster models are flying. For more, see the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
A runway equipped with a full battery of lighting facilities is a technological marvel. To a student pilot, learning about runway lighting also introduces a new set of acronyms-VASI, PAPI, ALSF, and so on-into the pilot's vocabulary. Some components, such as visual glideslope indicators, are of immediate importance to a student. Others, such as runway edge lighting, taxiway lighting, and approach lighting systems, emerge in training when night flights begin.

Usually students first become acquainted with visual glidepath indicators such as the "VASI" (visual approach slope indicator). The introduction occurs, at any VASI-equipped runway, as soon as takeoff and landing practice begins. Most VASIs and similar devices provide a 3-degree glidepath visible from several miles out on final, even during daylight, allowing the pilot to set up a stabilized approach quickly. See a full description of VASI and other runway lighting systems in the AOPA Handbook for Pilots . Then see which systems are in use at airports you will visit in AOPA's Airport Directory Online .

Use of a VASI is a regulatory requirement at an airport with an operating control tower; you should be familiar with the requirements of Federal Aviation Regulation 91.129 and the related discussion by John Yodice in his "Pilot Counsel" column in the November 1992 AOPA Pilot.

No VASI or other glideslope guidance at your field? "When flying an approach to a runway not equipped with a VASI or PAPI, the pilot must use another means to maintain the proper glidepath. The most common method is called the spot landing method. By keeping a reference landing target in a fixed position on the windscreen, we maintain a flight path that takes us to that spot," says Robert N. Rossier in his February 2000 AOPA Flight Training feature, "A Solid Foundation for Landing." Of course, you'll learn to handle either method comfortably. Pointers on incorporating VASI information into the workload-intensive moments before landing may be found in Joel Stoller's April 2003 AOPA Flight Training feature "Panel Discussion." Have fun and test your understanding by taking the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's online Airport Lighting Quiz.

Visual glideslope indicators exist to make your job easier. Take the time to help them help you!

My ePilot - Training Products
Flying Dynamics, a provider of flight training software, has released the latest version of its "Flight Trainer" software series. The programs include navigation training, quizzes, and navigation simulations (ADF, VOR, HSI, and DME) for private and instrument pilots, as well as ground reference maneuver training and simulation (traffic patterns, s-turns, turns about a point, eights on pylons) for private and commercial pilots. The software shows the airplane in a given maneuver or course alongside several cockpit instruments and navaids with the appropriate indications for each phase of that maneuver. Prices range from $34.95 for the ground reference maneuvers software to $119.95 for the works. For more information, see the Web site or call 650/627-8898.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: I got my third class medical certificate on May 14, 2003. I am 39 years old. Since I will have my fortieth birthday in a few months, is my medical certificate good for 36 months or 24 months?

Answer: Third class medical certificates are valid for 36 calendar months if you are under 40 years of age, and 24 calendar months if you are 40 years old or older. Since your medical certificate was issued while you were 39, it is valid for 36 calendar months-until May 31, 2006. If you have other medical questions, check out AOPA Online, where you can find answers to the most frequently asked aviation medical questions, along with a list of documents providing detailed information on medical subjects important to pilots.

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