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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 43AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 43

The following stories from the October 24, 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
Sino Swearingen Aircraft is continuing to push toward FAA type certification with the successful maiden flight of its second SJ30-2 conforming twinjet last Friday. The jet, Serial Number 0004, flew to the planned altitude of 8,500 feet and reached a speed of 180 knots in level flight. During the one-hour flight, test pilots operated the slats and flaps and checked the general handling characteristics and stability. A third conforming aircraft is expected to join the other two in the next few months. On April 26 Sino Swearingen lost a test aircraft in Texas, killing test pilot Carroll Beeler. The company says it has stepped up its flight-test program to seven days a week and plans to announce a new certification schedule soon.

My ePilot - Experimental Interest
Van's Aircraft has begun shipping RV-10 kits, the first four-place design from the Oregon manufacturer. The company so far has taken 112 orders for the metal airplane that features a 170-knot cruise speed and a useful load of 1,100 pounds. A prototype first flew in May. For more, see the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
As the weather turns colder and icing begins to appear in aviation weather forecasts and pilot reports, don't disregard that information as strictly of concern to instrument-rated pilots flying in and out of clouds. Structural icing can form on an aircraft whenever the temperature is below freezing and visible moisture is present, as discussed in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Aircraft Icing Safety Advisor, which can be downloaded from AOPA Online. Supercooled water droplets-chilled below freezing temperature but still in liquid form-are the culprit. You do not have to be flying in clouds to encounter them.

"The basic rule to remember is that visible moisture and below-freezing temperatures are needed to produce structural icing," writes meteorologist Jack Williams in AOPA Flight Training's November 2002 article, "The Weather Never Sleeps: Dangers of Frozen Precipitation." He describes the hazard: "As ice builds up on an airplane's wings it creates random shapes that disrupt the flow of air over the wings. The airplane's designers, or course, had carefully calculated the wing shape needed to create lift. In minutes ice can, in effect, wipe out some of the designers' efforts."

The weather phenomenon most likely to bring a pilot flying in the clear into contact with supercooled water is freezing drizzle or rain. In warm-front conditions, for example, rain falling from an overcast into colder (but clear) air may chill below the freezing point yet not turn to ice until it strikes an object-like an aircraft. In the meantime, the droplets may grow to considerable size. "Those giant supercooled drops splatter, run back a great distance, then instantly freeze, coating large portions of the airframe with a tenacious clear ice." Even sophisticated airplanes approved for flight into known icing conditions can have a difficult time with this kind of ice, cautions AOPA Pilot Editor-at-Large Thomas A. Horne in "Wx Watch: Fighting Freezing Rain" in the September 1999 AOPA Flight Training. Read his strategies for handling the problem, beginning with avoidance.

Until now you may have considered frost-the subject of the January 17, 2003, "Training Tips"-to be a student pilot's only structural-icing concern. That is not the case. To test your knowledge, take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's online Safety Quiz on aircraft icing, and then fly on safely though the coming winter months!

My ePilot - Training Products
For pilots who enjoy aerobatic flight, or CFIs who simply want a new way to illustrate the load factor caused by more basic maneuvers like steep turns and unusual attitudes, Sporty's offers the Electronic G-meter. A G meter does what its name implies: It records the number of Gs you're pulling during a particular maneuver. (One G equals the force of gravity.) The portable Electronic G-Meter can be placed inside an airplane using Vecro or double-sided tape, and it operates on two AAA batteries. It shows instantaneous readings with a range of -4.0 to +8.0 Gs, and it also records maximum/minimum values to review after a maneuver is complete. The Electronic G-Meter sells for $199. For more information or to order, visit Sporty's Web site or call 800/SPORTYS.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: I am 15 years old, taking flying lessons, and I want to solo on my sixteenth birthday, which falls on a Sunday. Is there a way to obtain my medical and student pilot certificate before my birthday, so I can solo on that Sunday?

Answer: Yes, there is! Ask your aviation medical examiner to issue the Airman Medical and Student Pilot Certificate, FAA Form 8420-2 (yellow), with the following statement in the limitations block of the student pilot certificate: "Not valid until [month, day, and year of sixteenth birthday]." This can be requested within 30 days of your birthday. Good luck!

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