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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 7AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 7

The following stories from the February 14, 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
Gulfstream Aerospace announced that it will offer a British Aerospace Matador infrared countermeasures system to foil ground- and air-launched heat-seeking missiles. The system has been available as an option on the large-cabin Gulfstream G400 and G300 models since they were introduced last year, and on other existing models as a retrofit. Now Gulfstream will also offer the antimissile system on the long-range G550 and G500 aircraft. Twenty-three countries, including the United States, use Gulfstream aircraft to transport heads of state. They are also used by military forces in a variety of roles, including intelligence gathering and aerial surveillance.

My ePilot - Experimental Interest
The Seawind 300C, a fiberglass amphibious airplane sold as a kit, will enter a testing program seeking Canadian and U.S. certification by mid-2004, the Seawind company has announced. Seawind is located in Kimberton, Pennsylvania. The four-place single-engine aircraft is powered by a 300-horsepower Lycoming IO-540 engine. The company claims a cruise speed of 166 knots and a no-fuel reserve range of more than 1,260 nm. When certified, the company plans to put it into production in Quebec, Canada. Company officials hope to announce a price by April. For information on the kitplane model, visit the Web site.

My ePilot - Professional Pilot Interest
A new one-day career seminar is being offered for airline pilots who want to continue flying after they reach the age of 60. The seminar, conducted by Aviation Career Counseling, covers the types of flying opportunities that are available, who's hiring, what they offer, and how the jobs can differ markedly from Part 121 flying. The seminar will be offered first in Santa Barbara, California, on March 27, then will travel to other major U.S. cities. For complete information, see the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
When you fly beyond the practice area, how regularly do you file a VFR flight plan? If you don't, is there somebody who knows where you went, and when you should be back? Filing and activating a VFR flight plan ensures all that, plus a bonus: If something goes awry, search and rescue operations commence once you are 30 minutes overdue. This may start with a simple check of the ramp to see if you have arrived. But if you are truly overdue, efforts to locate you begin.

Practice filing and activating VFR flight plans with your instructor. For a good start, read Robert Snow's feature "To File or Not to File" in the May 2000 AOPA Flight Training. Make it standard procedure to file and open a VFR flight plan on solo outings. On multi-leg cross-countries, file your flight plan as recommended in Chapter 6 of the Aeronautical Information Manual: "For maximum protection, file only to the point of first intended landing, and refile for each leg to final destination. When a lengthy flight plan is filed, with several stops en route and an ETE [estimated time en route] to final destination, a mishap could occur on any leg, and unless other information is received, it is probable that no one would start looking for you until 30 minutes after your ETA at your final destination." ( Click here to review search and rescue services in the AIM.)

Filing VFR flight plans usually is optional. But some temporary flight restrictions require VFR flights to be on an active flight plan. See "AOPA Action" in the December 2002 AOPA Flight Training.

The quality of a pilot's planning is scrutinized when investigators seek the cause of a mishap. "Accident Analysis," in the December 2002 AOPA Flight Training, discusses a student pilot who made a successful forced landing but was faulted for improper decisions.

Some pilots hesitate to file, fearing that they will forget to close the flight plan. See "Why We Don't File" in the May 2000 AOPA Flight Training's Flight Forum. Then read the response, "No Excuse Not to File," published in the August 2000 issue. One way to avoid the problem is to request that a control tower or other air traffic control facility relay your closing to the nearest flight service station. Another is to make closing your flight plan part of your shutdown checklist, maintaining maximum safety margins on every flight.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Combining two important aviation topics on one DVD, Sporty's Pilot Shop offers Airspace and Weather Format Review for students, pilots who are prepping for a flight review, or those who simply want to bone up on these subjects. The first program, "What You Should Know About Airspace Reclassification," includes three-dimensional graphics and animation to describe the classes of airspace in use today. The second program explains METAR and TAF weather codes and has an interactive on-screen weather decoder among other features. The 40-minute DVD is available for $24.95. For more information or to order, go to the Web site, or call 800/SPORTYS.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: I heard the term "closed traffic" from an instructor who was practicing takeoffs and landings. Also, while I was making an approach at a towered airport, I was told by the tower to abort the landing and go around and maintain "close traffic". What does this mean?

Answer: According to the Aeronautical Information Manual , "closed traffic" is "successive operations involving takeoffs and landings or low approaches where the aircraft does not exit the traffic pattern." For more information on operations at towered airports, see the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor, Operations at Towered Airports. ( Click here to download.)

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