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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 11AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 11

The following stories from the March 12, 2004, 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 - Turboprop Interest
Ibis Aerospace announced the recent liftoff of its second production Ae270 Propjet at Aero Vodochody's facilities near Prague, Czech Republic. Test pilots checked the functionality of the systems including the landing gear, wing flaps, and engine. The company is using five aircraft for flight testing under the certification program. Two more are being used as dynamic and static test articles. The Ae270 is designed to carry up to 10 people or be configured for cargo operations.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
No pilot always flies at the exact altitudes, and encounters the exact outside air temperatures, published in performance charts in the pilot's operating handbook for your aircraft. Therefore, you must adjust published values before calculating groundspeed, fuel consumption, and the percentage of engine power produced by a particular throttle setting, altitude, and temperature. But how? Your flight instructor will explain that this is done by "interpolating." To interpolate is defined in one dictionary as "to insert or introduce between other elements or parts."

Some interpolations are done for you by flight-planning software. AOPA's Real-Time Flight Planner interpolates winds aloft data, providing forecast values for the precise altitude of your proposed flight. Machteld Smith describes how the Real-Time Flight Planner works in "TFR Not Recommended" in the January 2004 AOPA Pilot magazine. Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to study winds and temperatures predicted for the 3,000-foot intervals in the winds aloft forecasts. Abrupt changes between adjacent levels imply the presence of "wind shear." "Wind shear refers to a change in wind direction or speed over a horizontal or vertical distance. Meteorologists describe wind shear in terms of the amount of wind change over a distance. For example, a report might say there's a shear of 25 mph over 1,000 feet," writes meteorologist Jack Williams in "The Weather Never Sleeps: Shifting Winds" in the November 2000 AOPA Flight Training.

Interpolation is not always the answer to an unclear performance calculation. When planning arrivals or departures on short or obstructed runways, consider putting interpolation aside in favor of another, potentially safer, method. "Bruce Landsberg, executive director of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, suggests that the average pilot can take a shortcut. Just use the next higher takeoff or landing distance for an extra margin of safety," comments Alton K. Marsh in the May 2001 AOPA Pilot feature, "Quick and Legal Flight Planning."

Accurate flight planning is the mark of a conscientious pilot. Especially as seasons change and warmer temperatures arrive, aircraft performance can vary greatly from what you have come to expect-the subject of "Training Tips" in the May 31, 2002, edition of this newsletter. So make your flight planning count, as David Montoya urged in his January 2001 AOPA Flight Training feature "Make Your Planning Count."

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Ever spied a cloud system in flight and wondered what it might mean for your trip? Sporty's Weather Computer is a meteorological whiz wheel that can be used for quick reference in flight or a leisurely review on the ground. The Weather Computer includes information on frontal and seasonal air mass weather (descriptions, cloud systems, and the flight conditions associated with each). Thunderstorm types and icing conditions are described, along with causes, conditions, and recommended courses of action. The Weather Computer is $8.95 and may be ordered from Sporty's via the Web site or by calling 800/SPORTYS (800/776-7897).

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: I know I'm supposed to fly with current charts, and I do, but does the information on sectionals or terminal area charts really change much over a year or so?

Answer: The FAA's National Aeronautical Charting Office (NACO) updates terminal area charts and sectional charts every six months. An average of 100 changes are incorporated into each terminal chart update; an average of 278 changes are included in a sectional chart each update! These changes reflect current aeronautical, terrain, and cultural information. Obviously, since information changes so often, it is in a pilot's best interest to have the most current chart available-and the regulations require it.

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