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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 32AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 32

The following stories from the August 8, 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
Weight and balance calculations are an important part of a pilot's preflight preparation. Failure to ensure that an airplane is loaded within limits can be deadly. The crash of a Piper Malibu Mirage on August 4, 2000, is a prime example of what can happen if takeoff is attempted in an overloaded airplane. Read the report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, exclusively for ePilot readers.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Two kinds of physical obstacles confront a pilot when planning or conducting a flight. First are the obstacles in the vicinity of the airport; they require us to be sure we can obtain the aircraft performance needed to safely take off or land over them. The second type of obstacle consists of those we must overfly or circumnavigate during the en route phase of the flight. Flying into high country, this can be the terrain itself, not just some object or natural feature protruding high above the landscape. This is especially so if a high density altitude condition exists, robbing your engine of climb power. (Read about density altitude in Chapter 9 of FAA Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, which you can click here to download.)

The first kind of obstacles can be identified in an airport's listing in AOPA's Airport Directory Online or the FAA's Airport/Facilities Directory. Use information on the height and location of these obstructions when determining climb-performance requirements for your departure, or the landing distance over an obstruction on arrival.

The second type of obstacle is depicted on VFR aeronautical charts. Study your course line, and plan your cruising altitudes to pass well above the maximum elevations figures along and near your route of flight. These are discussed in AOPA Online's Frequently Asked Questions database; find more in the Aeronautical Chart User's Guide . Also, remember to observe the hemispheric rule governing altitudes to be flown based on an aircraft's magnetic course. This is reviewed in the February 7, 2003, "Training Tips."

Use caution-and a current chart! MEFs are "based on information available concerning the highest known feature in each quadrangle, including terrain and obstructions (trees, towers, antennas etc)," warns a note published with an example of an MEF on the information panel of sectional aeronautical charts. Check notices to airmen for any new obstructions being erected along the route, and keep a visual lookout while flying.

Does that mean flying higher than you usually would to comply with the demands of the proposed route? This brand of aviation can be accomplished safely in many single-engine, fixed-pitch-propeller aircraft, especially if you heed the advice given in "Flying at 10,000 feet with 160 Horses," which accompanies "Postcards: A Western Adventure" in the February 2003 AOPA Pilot. Plan carefully. Get your instructor's approval. Then enjoy the ride!

My ePilot - Training Products
More than six hours of instruction on weather flying is available in an Advanced Weather Flying DVD Course offered by Sporty's Pilot Shop. The two-DVD set includes 42 lessons presented by veteran pilot Richard L. Collins. It addresses subjects such as frontal weather, fog, and thunderstorms that are relevant to VFR and IFR pilots alike. It retails for $49.95. For more information or to order, see the Web site or call 800/SPORTYS.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: I had my private pilot checkride nearly three months ago, passed it, and the examiner issued a temporary pilot's certificate. I still haven't received my permanent certificate. Do I need to contact the FAA?

Answer: The FAA allows itself up to 120 days after the submission of your checkride paperwork to issue a permanent certificate, and we have found that the agency typically takes nearly that long-n other words, your case is not unusual. We would suggest that you give it a bit more time. If you haven't received the certificate by the end of the 120-day period, you will need to call the FAA at 800/350-5286 (option 3), and the FAA may have to issue you an extension to your temporary certificate.

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