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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 31AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 31

The following stories from the July 30, 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 Multiengine Interest
The FAA will hold the second of two hearings on fatigue cracking in wing spars of 400-series Cessna twin-engine aircraft. The hearing will start at 8:30 a.m. on August 18 at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown in Kansas City, Missouri. The purpose is to develop alternative means of addressing what may be an unsafe condition in some Cessna 401, 401A, 401B, 402, 402A, 402B, 402C, 411, 411A, and 414A-series aircraft. The FAA had originally issued two expensive proposed airworthiness directives on these aircraft but withdrew the proposals after vehement objections from AOPA and major Cessna owner organizations. See AOPA Online.

My ePilot - Experimental Interest
Superior Air Parts has teamed up with the Thielert Group of Germany to offer an upgraded XP-360-Plus engine for the Experimental aircraft market. The 180-horsepower engine uses new cams and automotive-inspired roller lifters. In addition, Superior will begin offering a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) as an option to Lancair Legacy builders who use the turbonormalized version of the XP-360 engine. Thielert makes the FADEC system.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
You complete your preflight inspection, bring the engine to life, and taxi away, ready to fly. Or not. Sometimes turning the ignition key brings forth other results. A thorough pilot knows enough about the aircraft engine's design to solve start-up problems without running down the battery, damaging engine components, or having a fire break out.

Although cold-weather starting is known to be difficult, prone to flooding of carbureted engines from over-priming and resultant fires, starting on warm days or shortly after an engine has been shut down can also be tricky. See "Hot Starts: Getting the Ball Rolling on Those Steamy Summer Days" from the August 1996 AOPA Pilot magazine, as well as the discussion of cold weather start-up issues in the November 2002 AOPA Flight Training article "Frigid Flight Fundamentals."

Depending on an aircraft's age, the information you need may or may not be available when you need it. What will you do then? "The owner's handbook for my airplane doesn't list hot-start procedures, only normal and flooded starts. That's because the airplane was manufactured before the industry agreed in the mid-1970s on a standard for writing a pilot's operating handbook. The new standard calls for normal, cold, hot, flooded, and external power source starting procedures," explains Mark Twombly in "Continuing Ed," April 2001 AOPA Flight Training.

In the past, most pilots trained in aircraft equipped with carbureted engines, but this is changing-more of the training fleet now uses fuel-injection technology. Say goodbye to such engine-management concerns as flooded engines during start-ups or in-flight carburetor ice buildups as discussed in the August 23, 2002, "Training Tips." But understand how "vapor lock" could occur in a hot, fuel-injected powerplant, preventing you from restarting the engine. "One of the marks of a pilot who understands fuel-injection systems is his ability to quickly start a heat-soaked engine," notes Steven W. Ells in the "Airframe and Powerplant" column in the July 2000 AOPA Pilot.

Engine starting is an operation pilots tend to take for granted. Knowing what to do when faced with a non-start promotes safety, avoids damage, complies with practical test standards, and-best of all-gets you back in the air!

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: It's been more than 10 years since I've flown, and now that the kids have finished college, I'm ready to jump in again. I know there have been a lot of changes in 10 years. Is there information on the Web that would help me get back up to speed?

Answer: Congratulations on your decision! AOPA's publication, Getting Back into Flying, is a "one-stop shop" for an overview of the information you'll need to know. It has been divided into sections based on when you last piloted an airplane. Reading through the entire publication is a great way to get an overview of the major changes that have affected general aviation pilots over the past few decades, and you can focus on the sections covering the years since you sat in the left seat. Included are many links to other Web resources, such as AOPA's Real-Time Flight Planner (RTFP), a valuable flight-planning tool.

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