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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 41AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 41

The following stories from the October 10, 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
Instrument flying is a mental skill that can quickly atrophy. Being legally current is one thing, but being safe is another. Read "Is currency any easier?" the second of our 12-part series in AOPA Pilot from 1998 called "Instrument Insights" to help you become a better instrument pilot, no matter what stage you're at.

Piston Multiengine Interest
Pressed by AOPA and the Cessna Pilots Association (CPA), the FAA has reopened the comment period for two contentious and potentially costly proposed airworthiness directives. The ADs, affecting more than 1,000 Cessna 401, 402, and 411 model aircraft, would mandate inspection of wing spar caps for fatigue cracks and installation of a Cessna-manufactured spar strap modification kit. Estimates of the cost to comply with the ADs run as high as $70,000 per aircraft. AOPA and the CPA oppose the proposed ADs because they are not based on "real-world" reports. See AOPA Online.

My ePilot - Jet Interest
The Cessna Citation Sovereign has completed more than 2,000 hours of flight-testing and one thing is clear-the numbers are better than the engineers expected. The Sovereign is now expected to cruise at 417 knots at 45,000 feet, equating to Mach 0.80, rather than the original prediction of Mach 0.78. Also, range is better by 220 nm, and maximum gross weight has been increased by 200 pounds with commensurate increases in useful load. The company projects that the jet will be able to operate off of 3,800-foot runways. Deliveries will start in the first half of 2004. With certification of the Sovereign and the Citation CJ3 pending late this year and early next year, Cessna is on track to certify eight jets in a decade-an unprecedented number.

Bombardier announced a new long-range business jet, the Global Express XRS. With a range of 6,150 nm and a $45.5 million price tag, the first XRSs will be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2004 and eventually replace the currently produced Global Express. The extra range comes via additional fuel capacity provided by a new forward fuel tank with a 1,486-pound fuel capacity. An improved version of the basic Global Express design, the XRS will have more cabin windows and a higher-performance pressurization system. Cabin altitude at 51,000 feet will be 5,680 feet, Bombardier said.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Speaking two magic words on the aircraft radio-or during your preflight weather briefing-can make any flight easier and less stressful. Those words are "Student pilot." Many flight instructors recommend that their students inform air traffic control of their student status when venturing out solo. When obtaining a weather briefing it is good practice to provide the briefer with as much information as possible about yourself as a pilot, and your proposed flight. Chapter 11 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge ( click here to download) includes a discussion of the briefing process. It's also an excellent idea to add the words "student pilot" to the "remarks" section (Block 11) of your VFR flight plans-they are the subject of the February 14, 2003, "Training Tips."

Air traffic controllers or weather briefers will slow down their delivery of information or instructions in deference to your student status. Controllers will give you more leeway or perhaps vector you away from tight squeezes. "Timing is everything, and in a dynamic situation the more advance coordination there is, the less disruptive a change will be," counsels AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg in his "Safety Pilot" column from the May 2001 AOPA Pilot magazine. He advises any pilot, no matter how skilled, to reply "unable" to any ATC requests that the pilot deems unsafe.

Some student pilots are reluctant to admit out loud that they are novices. One new aviator recalled the day that all changed for him: "My instructor had suggested that I use those magic words to get extra help, but it seemed uncool to me. Sure, I had problems understanding what controllers and other pilots said on the radio-everyone does in the beginning. But confess that I was a student pilot? No way." He shared his experience in the "Training Topics" column from the August 1999 AOPA Flight Training.

Repeat your "student pilot" declaration whenever you contact each new ATC facility because the word does not always get passed along. This is also a good idea if you ever experience an emergency, as one pilot related in the "Learning Experiences" column in the October 2003 AOPA Flight Training. In general, however, if you as a VFR pilot want service from ATC, "All You Have to Do is Ask"-as the title of a feature in the July 1999 AOPA Flight Training assures.

My ePilot - Training Products
The first FAA book dedicated solely to glider flying is now available from Aviation Supplies and Academics, Inc. A technical manual for glider pilots and students, the Glider Flying Handbook includes flight information necessary to obtain a glider rating (regulations, performance limitations, maneuvers), as well as decision making, flight planning, soaring weather, radio navigation and communications, and more. Powered-flight students who tense up when asked to demonstrate a simulated emergency landing may benefit from a more thorough understanding of fluid and thermal dynamics that glider instruction can bring to the table. The 232-page softcover book sells for $29.95 and can be ordered online or by calling 800/ASA-2-FLY.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: The aviation medical examiner placed a color vision restriction on my medical. Can I get it removed so I can fly at night?

Answer: There are procedures available to demonstrate to the FAA that a color vision deficiency does not adversely affect aviation safety. The preferable method is to pass one of about 15 different color vision tests that the FAA accepts. This procedure allows you to meet the color vision standard of FAR Part 67. The other alternative is to take a color signal light test at an FAA air traffic control tower. That test results in the issuance of a waiver, or Statement of Demonstrated Ability (SODA). Use this method as a last resort. Read more about this at AOPA Online.

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