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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 12AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 12

The following stories from the March 19, 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 - Piston Single-engine Interest
VFR flight into IMC continues its reign as one of the most deadly accident categories in general aviation. Flights where the pilot chooses to "scud run" can sometimes fall into this category. Add a dark night to the equation, and it can equal disaster. On March 12, 2002, the noninstrument-rated private pilot of a Piper Arrow and his passenger were killed after hitting terrain near Marianna, Arkansas. See the report prepared by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, exclusively for ePilot readers.

My ePilot - Jet Interest
The price of the Safire owner-flown jet now in development will increase from $1.395 million to $1.495 million after the first flight of the prototype, which is expected later this year. The Miami-based company currently holds orders for 396 of the twin-engine, six-place aircraft; deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2006.

My ePilot - Experimental Interest
Now you can build your own pressurized Lancair ES, called the ES-P, using a $94,900 fast-build kit just announced by Lancair International. Options include air conditioning and a second cabin door. It will cruise at a promised 255 knots at 24,000 feet behind a 310-hp Continental TSIO-550C engine. The aircraft is said to have a range of 1,200 statute miles and will carry 105 gallons of fuel. Although the gross weight has increased to 3,550 pounds, the aircraft retains the 61-knot stall speed of the original ES model.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Aircraft can have drastically altered handling characteristics at opposite ends of their weight or center-of-gravity limits. The load you carry may change how the aircraft must be flown. Practice explaining this concept before you schedule your private pilot flight test.

To have the facts, check two ready sources of information. Review the limitations placed on flight operations by the manufacturer, found in the pilot's operating handbook (POH) or aircraft flight manual. Also make sure that you know the "category" in which the aircraft is certificated. You can find this information in the POH, or in Item 4 of the aircraft's airworthiness certificate-download Chapter 7 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, and see page 6.

Most trainers are certificated in the Normal or Utility category, but some are dual-category-meaning they can be operated in more than one category, as long as you comply with any limitations regarding use in a specific category. For example, a 1978 Cessna 172 POH says the airplane may be flown in the Utility category only at lower weights and within narrower center-of-gravity constraints than Normal category limits. Both ranges are shown in the handbook.

Other aircraft carry Aerobatic category certification, allowing them to be subjected to still higher load factors. "Each category has stress limits of: +3.8Gs and -1.52Gs for Normal category airplanes; +4.4Gs and -1.76Gs for the Utility category airplane; +6Gs and -3Gs for the Aerobatic category airplane," explains Rod Machado in a March 1999 AOPA Flight Training article, "A New Look at Maneuvering Speed." Remember that this speed (Va) is the maximum speed at which you can use abrupt control inputs; the aircraft should stall before structural limits are exceeded during maneuvers or in turbulence.

"Airplanes certificated in the Normal category are designed for nonaerobatic flight operations; that is, these airplanes are intended for normal flying, which includes most stalls and steep turns where the angle of bank is not more than 60 degrees. Airplanes certificated in the Utility category are intended for limited aerobatic flight, such as steep turns that exceed 60 degrees of bank," explains Kathy Yodice in her July 2002 AOPA Flight Training "Legal Briefing" column, the third article in a series. Also see "One Good Turn" in the June 2003 AOPA Flight Training.

Remember, this is how aircraft are certificated. The word category also appears in "pilot certification," but with a different meaning. Your new private pilot certificate (but not your student certificate) will authorize you to pilot an aircraft in one of the following categories: airplane, rotorcraft, glider, lighter-than-air, or powered-lift. Review the other elements of pilot certification in Section 61.1 of the federal aviation regulations.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
If you've ever had a chart slide off your lap or a pencil go roaming around the cockpit, or spent time rummaging in your flight bag while trying to keep your eyes outside, it may be time for a little help. The Nav Notebook from Aviation World is an extra-big zippered case (think "portfolio") made of weather-resistant 1000 Denier Cordura. Big enough to hold an 11-by-14-inch legal pad, with pockets and slots for plotters, pens, flight-planning forms, etc., the Nav Notebook comes in black or navy blue. It sells for $28.31. Order it online.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: I have been surprised a few times when clouds did not form when the temperature was the same as dew point. What other factors affect cloud formation?

Answer: When the temperature reaches the dew point, clouds form at the level where this happens. The temperature/dew point conditions vary considerably with altitude, so conditions on the surface rarely reflect the temperature/dew point conditions aloft. The only time that surface temperature and dew point play a role in cloud formation is with fog. If the temperature and dew point are the same but fog does not form, it is probably due to drier conditions just above the surface.

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