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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 19AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 19

The following stories from the May 7, 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
The first production Helio Courier, built in June 1954, will be on display at this year's EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh beginning in late July. Serial No. 1 was restored to flying condition at JAARS, a missionary aviation support group based in Waxhaw, North Carolina. A number of Helio Couriers will fly to Oshkosh to celebrate the event: 15 are now scheduled and more are expected. For information, visit the Web site.

My ePilot - Other Interest
Andy Keech, who may just be the Bruce Bohannon of the gyroplane crowd, likely set two new world records on April 20. Though unofficial until the flight data records are read, Keech reports that he reached 26,200 feet msl after departing from his home base at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Maryland. In the process of climbing to his record height-much in the style of Bohannon, another prodigious record-setter-Keech discovered that he'd also bested the previous time-to-climb record to 6,000 meters. Last fall Keech set the current transcontinental speed record in his yellow tractor gyroplane, Woodstock.

My ePilot - Instrument Interest
Top officials at the FAA have told AOPA that the agency is committed to maturing satellite-based navigation for the long haul using the wide area augmentation system (WAAS). During a meeting at AOPA headquarters on Tuesday, executives from the FAA's Air Traffic Organization said part of their plan for supporting general aviation's transition to WAAS is to develop 500 new WAAS approaches each year, making the system more useful to GA pilots. "Using WAAS to deliver all-weather access to airports increases a local community's access to the world," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "This is why AOPA embraced this navigation system early on." The FAA expects to be able to deliver Category I ILS-like performance throughout the continental United States and parts of Alaska using WAAS. But that won't happen until after a full constellation of new-generation GPS satellites are in place, expected sometime around 2013. AOPA has championed a conversion to a satellite-based navigation system since 1990. See AOPA Online.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
The April 30, 2004, "Training Tips" urged student pilots and flight instructors to give due attention to the flight-test task titled "Maneuvering During Slow Flight." This will help you to develop an expert feel for your aircraft's handling characteristics at high angles of attack (AOA), preventing you from becoming a stall-shy pilot. That will provide a smooth transition to the next two tasks in the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards: power-off stalls and power-on stalls, sometimes referred to, respectively, as "approach-to-landing stalls" and "takeoff-and-departure stalls." Download the PTS from AOPA Online.

Why are these maneuvers on the test? Grasping the why of maneuvers is as important as demonstrating them. "Context is everything when it comes to making flight training maneuvers meaningful to your students," columnist Rod Machado counsels in "Instructor Report" in the February 2002 AOPA Flight Training.

The maneuvers teach you to recognize and recover from stalls-covered in Chapter 3 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, which you can download from AOPA Online-at safe altitudes, but their intent is to safely educate pilots on how to avoid real-world stall encounters close to the ground during a landing approach or departure climb. Each task has eight objectives. Note that the entry is as important as any other aspect of the maneuver, as is ensuring that the maneuver be completed no lower than 1,500 feet above the ground. Make a smooth transition from the approach or takeoff configuration to the "pitch attitude that will induce the stall." Recover "promptly after the stall occurs," managing flap retraction as directed in the PTS. Minimize altitude loss; maintain specified heading or, in a turn, the assigned bank angle. It's a demanding set of requirements.

Here's a fine point about stalls: Although most aircraft have warning mechanisms such as horns or lights, these are not the only ways to identify a stalled condition. Airframe buffeting, a pitching down of the nose, or control ineffectiveness such as being unable to maintain altitude (informally called mushing) may be the clue, especially if the entry was hesitant or incomplete. These are "natural stall warnings," discussed in the "Flying Smart" column in the April 1998 AOPA Flight Training. Respond to them-with or without other cues. A stall is a stall, regardless of whether a horn is blowing!

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
A new flashlight from Sporty's is designed to give pilots a combination of modes so that they can carry one flashlight for all lighting needs. The Twin-Task flashlight uses a LED/Xenon bulb combination that operates up to 80 hours on two D-cell batteries. A toggle switch is used to move from the "ultra-long run time" LED mode, which provides two levels of brightness for cockpit use, to the bright Xenon mode, which is appropriate for preflight and post-flight tasks. The Twin-Task flashlight ($49.95) may be ordered online from Sporty's or by calling 800/SPORTYS.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: Can I get an FAA medical certificate if I'm color-blind?

Answer: Aviation medical examiners check color vision by using special color plates. If you can't pass the initial color vision test but otherwise meet medical standards, you would likely be issued a medical certificate with the limit, "Not valid for night flight or by color signal control." If you have a medical certificate bearing a color vision limitation, there are several optional color vision tests that the FAA will allow for the removal of the restriction. Complete information on color vision is available on AOPA Online.

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