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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 40AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 40

The following stories from the October 3, 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 - Instrument Interest
Flying IFR? Change notices for FAA instrument approach charts have been posted on AOPA Online. They are published at the midpoint of the 56-day chart cycle for the conterminous United States. See AOPA Online.

My ePilot - Own/May Own Interest
This week the FAA for the second time pushed back the effective date of changes to repair station regulations. AOPA and other aviation associations wrote letters in support of the delay, because rushing the rule would have ultimately increased costs for aircraft owners. Under the rule, repair stations have to develop new manuals. To do so before the FAA issues guidelines and trains its own inspectors would inevitably lead to costly revisions of the manuals-costs that would be passed on to the aircraft owner in the form of higher repair costs. See AOPA Online.

My ePilot - Jet Interest
Bill Boisture, former president of Gulfstream Aerospace, has become president of NetJets, the fractional ownership company, and will direct North American operations. He will be based at the company's facility in Columbus, Ohio, where he will report directly to Chairman and CEO Richard T. Santulli. He has served in the past as president of British Aerospace Corporate Jets, Butler Aviation, and SimuFlite Training International. The former fighter pilot was also a vice president at Canadair in the early days of the Challenger jet program.

My ePilot - Experimental Interest
Do you have a partially completed Van's RV kit and are unsure what to do with it? Synergy Air, a training and maintenance organization for Van's Aircraft, and World Vision, a humanitarian group, have teamed up to offer a solution. Builders can donate kits at any stage of the construction process as a tax-deductible contribution. Synergy Air will assemble the kits and sell them. All proceeds will go toward World Vision's hunger relief program worldwide. For more information, contact Wally Anderson at Synergy Air, 541/913-0610, or by e-mail.

My ePilot - Other Interest
Despite economic woes elsewhere, Robinson Helicopter Company is seeing an increase in demand for its products around the world. The company is expanding its workforce to 850 employees, an increase of 150 since April, and is now producing 9.5 helicopters a week. The company plans to increase production to 11 helicopters per week by the end of this month. Robinson recently shipped its 5,000th helicopter to a company in South Africa and started construction on a new manufacturing facility.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
When you turn to the chapter on performance in your aircraft's pilot's operating handbook (POH) to look up expected cruise speed or fuel burn at various power settings, the figures you find are based on your having leaned the fuel-air mixture in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendation. For many aircraft, the POH may give two leaning methods. One technique is to lean until peak rpm is achieved, and then enrich the mixture slightly so that a stated setting below peak rpm is established. A more precise method can be used in aircraft outfitted with an exhaust gas temperature gauge (EGT). Sooner or later most pilots will fly an EGT-equipped aircraft. You can familiarize yourself with EGT and leaning techniques in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Fuel Awareness Safety Advisor ( click here to download it from AOPA Online).

Why is an EGT a good measure of power? "As you lean the mixture from the full-rich position, the exhaust gas temperature increases-the exhaust gases get hotter-up to a point, after which they begin to cool. The hottest temperature is called peak EGT. In general, you strive to achieve a fuel-air mixture that produces an EGT 50 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than peak EGT on the rich side," explains Mark Twombly in "What it Looks Like: When an EGT Probe is Installed" in the November 2000 AOPA Flight Training.

Correct leaning provides best-power or best-economy fuel-air mixtures for your flight. Improper leaning can lead to spark-plug fouling if the mixture is too rich, or detonation or overheating if the mixture is too lean. See Chapter 5 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge ( click here to download) for a fuel-system operation review.

Leaning is a pretakeoff must for pilots flying from high-elevation airports. Those flying from near sea level should still lean above 3,000 feet, according to many manufacturers. And of course the mixture should be enriched during the descent, as discussed by David Montoya in the July 2000 AOPA Flight Training feature article "Above it All."

In flight, don't forget to monitor your engine instruments as explained in the August 2002 AOPA Flight Training feature "Red, Green or In Between: Understanding What Engine Gauges are Telling You." Let these simple techniques help you get optimum performance and, therefore, optimum safety from your aircraft on every flight.

My ePilot - Training Products
Back in 1999 CFI Tom Shefchunas introduced the AlphaTrainer, a laminated airplane that graphically illustrates angle of attack and how it's affected by changes in an airplane's center of gravity and center of thrust, to help his colleagues teach this critical aspect of aerodynamics. Now Shefchunas has put the information on a CD that includes full text of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (AC61-23C) and Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3), plus teaching tips and other insights from his Web site, for easy referral. The price is $14.95 plus shipping. For more information or to order, see the Web site or call 877/542-1112.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: Can you suggest a way to determine how far from the airport to start descending to pattern altitude when flying cross-country?

Answer: A good suggestion is found in this article from AOPA Flight Training . Here's the formula the author suggests: Multiply the altitude you need to lose in thousands by four, and that's how many minutes it will take to descend at a passenger-pleasing 250 fpm. For example, if you are cruising at 9,500 feet msl and need to descend to 1,500 feet msl, you should begin your descent when 32 minutes from your target altitude waypoint (9.5 - 1.5 = 8 x 4 = 32). It works for any ground speed. Halving the multiplier to 2 cuts the time to 16 minutes and doubles the descent rate to 500 fpm, while a multiplier of 1 advances the descent rate to 1,000 fpm, regardless of ground speed.

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