Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today

AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 6AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 6

The following stories from the February 7, 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
Servicing an oxygen system with the incorrect type of oxygen can have deadly consequences. On April 1, 1997, a pilot succumbed to hypoxia and was killed during an uncontrolled descent from 27,700 feet and the subsequent breakup of the aircraft. A passenger on board sustained only minor injuries. Click here to see the report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation exclusively for ePilot subscribers.

My ePilot - Other Interest
Robinson Helicopter Company is now equipping its new line of R44 Raven II helicopters with Unison's SlickStart magneto start booster. SlickStart improves engine starting by delivering up to 340 percent more spark energy to the spark plugs than conventional systems. It also reduces stress on starter motors and batteries.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Safety consciousness is built into virtually everything a student pilot learns about flying. Before the decision is made to launch on a flight, weather observations and forecasts are carefully examined. A cross-country flight is meticulously planned, and flight logs are prepared. Next, the aircraft gets a rigorous preflight inspection. For a cross-country, we ensure that sufficient fuel plus reserves are available, and that there are alternate airports along the route. A safe altitude is selected, often balancing groundspeed considerations against the need for adequate terrain clearance. This is when a pilot applies the so-called "hemispherical rule," actually part of Federal Aviation Regulation 91.159 that governs altitudes to be flown by aircraft operating under visual flight rules. See David Montoya's January 2001 AOPA Flight Training feature "Make Your Planning Count."

You have scrutinized the rule, so here is a quiz: Suppose you are in level cruise flight, in no-wind conditions, flying a magnetic heading that equals your magnetic course of 005 degrees at 5,500 feet in accordance with the hemispherical rule. As your flight progresses, the wind begins to blow from the west-you realize this because you have to initiate a wind-drift correction. You find that it takes 12 degrees of westerly correction to maintain your track; you are now flying a heading of 353 degrees. Must you change altitude to comply with the rule?

No. Your magnetic course (true course adjusted for magnetic variation) has not changed. A question about the hemispherical rule may appear on your Private Pilot Knowledge Test. Click here to review sample questions.

Adherence to the rule builds predictability and some automatic separation into VFR operations. But as John Yodice notes in his "Pilot Counsel" column in the April 2000 AOPA Pilot, "Operating VFR at 3,000 feet agl or below, regardless of msl altitude, you should know that you do not have the benefit of the rule, and that you should expect aircraft at any altitude." Click here to read his discussion of the hemispherical rule. His words remind us that scanning for other traffic remains the responsibility of the pilot in command. See the feature "Avoiding Close Calls" in the December 2001 AOPA Flight Training for insights into how to sharpen your skills, and put these techniques into use on your next flight.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
When he set out to write Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane, Greg Brown sought not only to create a lively account of his experiences for other pilots, but also to open up the adventure of general aviation to the person on the street. By weaving installments of his monthly AOPA Flight Training column Flying Carpet with tales previously published in AOPA Pilot and elsewhere, Brown traces not only the reasons why flying his own airplane is vital to his soul, but also how that ability has benefited his family and friends in both practical and intangible ways. The 256-page book, published by Iowa State Press, includes many photos and sells for $29.99. For more information or to order, visit the Web site or call 800/862-6657.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: As I get ready to study for the FAA private pilot knowledge test, I'd like to look at some samples of the questions I'll be facing on the test. Is there anywhere I can see these?

Answer: The FAA offers a bank of questions (but not the answers) that are similar to the ones you will encounter on the private pilot knowledge test. You can find sample airmen knowledge test questions for all the various certificates and ratings on AOPA Online. Supplemental materials like graphics, legends, and maps support these questions and are needed to successfully respond to some of them. A number of aviation publishers also provide study guides to the FAA knowledge tests, which can help you to prepare for the tests. These study guides, available in print or computer formats, include sample questions, answers, and explanations, as well as the needed supplemental materials. For more information on preparing for and taking the knowledge tests, take a look at "Ground School Strategies" from the May 1998 edition of Flight Training magazine.

Related Articles