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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 2AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 2

The following stories from the January 9, 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 - Jet Interest
Honeywell has received FAA approval for a new avionics package that enables Cessna Citation 500 jets to meet the new domestic reduced vertical separation minimum (DRVSM) requirements. The mandate requires aircraft flying between 29,000 and 41,000 feet to more accurately control their altitudes so that controllers can space aircraft at 1,000-foot increments instead of the current 2,000-foot standard. The full Honeywell package includes two AM 250 altimeter systems coupled to a KFC 325 autopilot and EFIS 50 electronic flight instrumentation system.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
The FAA's Private Pilot Practical Test Standards ( click here to download from AOPA Online) decree that during the checkride, a private pilot applicant must demonstrate six tasks concerned with flight solely by reference to instruments. Four cover basic maneuvers, and one deals with communications-all critical if a noninstrument-rated pilot is to survive an inadvertent encounter with instrument meteorological conditions. But it is when learning the remaining task, "recovery from unusual flight attitudes," that a student pilot discovers how quickly losing outside references can lead to losing aircraft control.

Flight instructors often introduce this lesson by having the student look down at the floor of the aircraft (to obscure the view outside) and sit through a series of maneuvers. At various times the student may be asked to say whether he or she senses a climb, descent, level flight, or a turn. Next the student is instructed to look back up at the instrument panel, interpret the indications, and "recover" the aircraft to stabilized straight-and-level flight. The Training Tips in the February 8, 2002, edition of this newsletter review the recovery sequences and discuss student pilots' instrument training. Usually the senses betray you during this process. The lesson is that it is imperative to trust your instruments, because responding to other sensory cues usually leads to catastrophic loss of control.

There are other methods of introducing this task, as Richard Hiner writes in the December 1999 "Instructor Report" in AOPA Flight Training. His observation: "The students, without exception, expressed shock at how their senses had misled them and how easy it is for the airplane to go out of control when you don't have outside references or instruments."

Ralph Butcher forcefully states the case in AOPA Flight Training's August 2003 article "Elementary Instrument Flying." "Remember, student pilot instrument training is for emergency use only. If you want to enhance these skills after you receive your private pilot certificate, enroll in a good instrument training program. Upon completion, you'll realize the inadequacy of the private pilot certificate's required three hours of instrument flight."

If this realization has not been strongly imprinted on you during your instrument work, ask for a further demonstration-then hone a skill that your safety consciousness will keep you from ever having to use.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
You check the circuit breakers of your training aircraft at least once (and probably two or three times) during each preflight, but do you know which circuit breaker belongs to which system? Circuit Breaker Caps from Sporty's Pilot Shop are plastic caps that come in red, green, or yellow. They snap over most pull-type breakers and can be color-coded to the electric trim, autopilot, or landing gear for quick identification in the event of a malfunction. Circuit Breaker Caps are $2.95 each ($2.25 each for three or more). For more information or to order, see the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: Do you know the origin of the term "fixed-base operator" (FBO)?

Answer: There are undoubtedly several ideas on the answer to this question, but here are a few. In the very early days of flight, aircraft mechanics would drive ahead of an aircraft to be ready to refuel and service it when it landed. Obviously this was difficult and expensive. As a result, by the mid-1920s, aviation service groups began to establish "fixed-base operations" where aircraft could land for service. A 1963 publication from the Small Business Administration, Starting and Managing an Aviation Fixed-Base Operation, states: "The term arose from the fact that whereas the airlines historically have been transient in nature, carrying passengers and cargo from one city to another, the operator of private aircraft for training, charter, and service was 'fixed' to a specific base."

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