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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 35AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 35

The following stories from the August 27, 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
Thanks to the efforts of AOPA and major Cessna owner organizations, the FAA has agreed to a more reasonable approach to remedy a wing spar cap problem with many 400-series Cessna twin-engine aircraft. Earlier this year the FAA issued, and subsequently withdrew, a proposal that would have required an expensive modification to many of the 400-series twins. At a recent public meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, the FAA said it will issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) by the end of the year, with an AD coming out by mid-2005. The AD will be phased on over a five-year period. See AOPA Online.

My ePilot - Experimental Interest
Building your own aircraft is a time-consuming task. And if it’s your first time, it could seem overwhelming. Zenith Aircraft offers hands-on introductory workshops at its factory at Mexico Memorial Airport in Mexico, Missouri, to help boost first-time kitplane builders’ confidence. The workshops offer two programs and teach you how to build either the Zenith Zodiac series or the STOL CH 701/801. In the first program, you build the rudder section of your kitplane. The second program lets you observe and assist other builders. Both teach you the essentials of reading blue prints, metal aircraft building, assembly techniques, maintenance, and more. For more information or to register for a workshop, visit the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
The August 20, 2004, "Training Tips" reminded student pilots of the importance of using best rate of climb airspeed (Vy) to reach a safe altitude quickly after takeoff. You should also know that climb performance in the pilot's operating handbook (POH) is usually based on Vy-something to remember when calculating fuel burn.

Don't forget to include this initial climb in your cross-country planning. For the necessary information, consult the time, fuel, and distance to climb chart in your aircraft's POH. The cruise phase should begin at the point along your route where your planning indicates that the climb leg will be completed. Avoid rough estimates or rules of thumb when planning this initial climb. "This chart allows you to estimate with great precision the time, distance, and fuel required to make a climb to cruise altitude. For example, the chart shows that you'll cover 12 nm in 10 minutes and use 1.9 gallons of fuel as you climb through an altitude difference of 6,000 feet at a 60-knot IAS [indicated airspeed]. With this information, as well as any headwind or tailwind component you've calculated, your student can easily estimate his or her arrival time and fuel usage at the first checkpoint," wrote Rod Machado, responding to a flight instructor's query in "Since You Asked" in the August 2002 AOPA Flight Training.

This information will be one of the last items you plug into your plan. That's because figuring the distance covered in the climb requires your expected groundspeed-and for that you need the winds aloft provided in your preflight weather briefing. (See the December 12, 2003, "Training Tips.") David Montoya described an orderly process of pulling together all the necessary information for accurate flight planning in the January 2001 AOPA Flight Training feature "Make Your Planning Count."

Another tip: Few student pilots fly brand-new aircraft. Learn from each flight what kind of actual climb performance to expect from your trainer, compared to numbers published for a brand-new machine, giving yourself an additional safety margin. See the June 2004 AOPA Flight Training feature "How Not to Run Out of Gas."

Neatness counts in planning! So don't forget to plan for the initial climb.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
If you're in the habit of setting your handheld GPS on the aircraft's right seat or on top of the instrument panel, you probably hope that it won't go scooting around during the flight. PropellerHead Pilot Essentials offers one solution: the G-Force GPS Mount. The mount allows a pilot to attach the GPS to a variety of places in the cockpit using a suction cup. The mount's dual adjustments allow users to display the GPS in a nearly infinite range of positions. A button engaging a piston at the mount's base locks it securely in place by "vacuuming" the cup to the surface. The G-Force GPS Mount works with all current production GPS units from Garmin (including the GPSMap 195) and other manufacturers, too. It sells for $49.90 and may be ordered online, or by calling 434/985-2002.

Note: Products listed have not been evaluated by ePilot editors unless otherwise noted. AOPA assumes no responsibility for products or services listed or for claims or actions by manufacturers or vendors.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: Is it possible for an airport to have a control tower without being in Class D airspace?

Answer: Actually, yes it is possible. Chapter 4, Section 3 (Paragraph 4-3-2) of the Aeronautical Information Manual states: "Not all airports with an operating control tower will have Class D airspace. These airports do not have weather reporting which is a requirement for surface-based controlled airspace." The controlled airspace over these airports normally begins at 700 feet or 1,200 feet above ground level, as depicted on the aeronautical charts. Pilots are expected to communicate with the tower as if it were Class D airspace and to use good operating practices when transitioning through these areas. If you would like some examples of these types of airports, contact the AOPA Pilot Information Center.

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