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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 9AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 5, Issue 9

The following stories from the February 28, 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 - Piston Single Engine Interest
Overestimating one's flying abilities, particularly when continuing VFR into instrument weather conditions, often proves fatal. On March 12, 2001, a noninstrument-rated private pilot and his three passengers died when their Beech A36 Bonanza crashed while approaching Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming. Read about what went wrong in a report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, exclusively for ePilot readers.

My ePilot - Experimental Interest
Investigators are probing the crash of a BD-10 jet-powered kit aircraft that crashed off the coast of California last Friday, killing the pilot onboard. The aircraft was registered to Frank Everett of Laguna Beach, California. The Orange County Sheriff's Department said that Everett was flying the aircraft at the time of the accident. The "Los Angeles Times" reported the aircraft had taken off from John Wayne Airport-Orange County in Santa Ana, California, for Catalina Island. Airport officials told the paper that the aircraft had been based at John Wayne Airport for three years. The BD-10 was developed by Jim Bede in the mid-1980s and was originally envisioned as a supersonic kit airplane.

Terry Black of Caldwell, Idaho, didn't waste any time assembling his SkyStar Kitfox Series 7 homebuilt. Recently Black completed the first customer flight, less than a year after the kit arrived from the factory. The project also marked Black's first homebuilt venture, a registered nurse by profession. Black worked with EAA Chapter 103, which is aggressively working on completing 13 other Kitfox Series 7 airplanes. Black's airplane is powered by a Rotax 912S. See the company's Web site for more information on the airplane.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
More than one pilot has taken off after performing what seemed like a careful preflight inspection, only to discover that an undetected blockage in the pitot-static system was causing inaccurate instrument indications. If the pitot tube and outside static vents become clogged, which instruments would be affected? (This is the wording of a question that you might encounter on the Private Pilot Knowledge Test; click here to view a listing of sample questions). "A pitot tube blockage affects the airspeed indicator, which will drop to zero because no air pressure is entering the pitot tube," explained David Montoya in the February 2002 AOPA Flight Training feature "Mastering the Flight Instruments."

"A static port blockage affects the ASI, altimeter, and VSI," he continued. "The ASI will indicate a lower-than-correct airspeed when the airplane is at an altitude above where the blockage occurred, and a higher-than-correct airspeed when the airplane is at an altitude below where blockage occurred. The altimeter freezes on the altitude where the error occurred, and the VSI settles on zero fpm vertical velocity." (For a comprehensive discussion of the pitot-static system components and instruments, refer to Chapter 6 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. Click here to download the chapter.

Many general aviation aircraft are equipped with a pitot heater and/or an alternate static source. It is also possible, if your aircraft is not so equipped, to bypass a blocked static port by breaking the glass on one of the instruments-usually the vertical speed indicator-thus venting the system to the cabin. In either case, slight corrections may be required when interpreting instrument readouts, as noted in the July 1997 Flight Training feature "Altimetry Basics," by Robert N. Rossier.

While the circumstances depicted above could be startling, they will be no problem for a pilot who can sense aircraft performance and maintain control by feel. This concept was discussed in the February 15, 2002, "Training Tips" article, "Airspeed Awareness." Just remember that whether the potential culprit is ice, mud, or an insect nesting in your pitot-static system, a little prevention goes a long way.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
If you rent airplanes but don't have a pilot's operating handbook for the specific aircraft you fly, an airplane information manual could be your best friend. Airplane information manuals for a variety of aircraft and model years are now available from Sporty's. These original manuals include checklists, limitations, systems descriptions, and performance charts. Ranging in price from $24.95 to $49.95, manuals are available for the Cessna 150, 152, and 172, as well as the Piper Cherokee 140, 150/160, and 180; Archer II and III; Cadet; and Warrior II and III. Specify aircraft year when ordering. Call 800/SPORTYS or visit the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: I suffer from hay fever and allergies. What medications can I use that won't be a problem for flying?

Answer: The FAA allows the use of non-sedating antihistamine medications, including loratidine (Claritin) and fexofenadine (Allegra). Other prescription or "over the counter" (OTC) drugs might also be acceptable if there are no adverse side effects. At the time of your next scheduled FAA medical examination, if you're taking any medication(s), it's best to provide a report from your treating physician providing a summary of your condition and the medications being used. The AME can issue your medical at the time of examination provided the symptoms are under control, the medication is acceptable to the FAA, and there are no adverse side effects. AOPA provides a list of FAA-accepted medications, which includes medications generally "approved" by the FAA. In addition, before you go to your aviation medical examiner (AME), fill out AOPA's TurboMedical. This Web-based, interactive tool will help you prepare to obtain your medical certificate by providing pop-up informative boxes and warnings to guide you as you fill out the form.

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