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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 36AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 36

The following stories from the September 3, 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 - Other Interest
About 100 lighter-than-air pilots took to the sky in Indianola, Iowa, to compete in the 2004 National Balloon Classic from July 30 to August 7. Not even a little wind and rain during the first part of the classic slowed the pilots who were vying for the first-place title and cash prizes totaling $20,000, said Brad Craig, a member of the pilot relations committee for the classic. Harold Graves took first place with the most total points, 8,753. Benji Clemons followed with 8,181, and Jim Thompson, 8,057. Pilots competed for points in 11 different tasks that tested their skill. In one, pilots tried to throw their beanbag with an attached streamer the closest to an X placed on the field.

The University of Maryland took first place among graduate school entries in a student design competition sponsored by AgustaWestland and the American Helicopter Society (AHS). The first-place entry in the undergraduate category was submitted by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The AHS Student Design Competition, which aims to promote student interest in vertical flight technology, challenges entrants to create a vertical lift aircraft that meets specified requirements. This year's competitors were to develop a helicopter specifically designed for altitude rescue operations. It had to be certified for single-pilot day/night operations with cruise speeds of at least 145 knots. Corporate sponsorship of the design competition rotates among AgustaWestland, Sikorsky, Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., and Boeing.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Have you ever taxied out for takeoff, or entered the traffic pattern for landing, and been surprised at the sudden appearance of another aircraft you did not hear making position reports on the radio? Remember that at any nontowered airport-and even at some that are tower-controlled-aircraft without radios may be present. Some of the aircraft may be antiques or experimental aircraft; others are simply unequipped with radios.

In the see-and-avoid flight environment, a radio helps but is not required. Surprised? Then consider what this frequently heard term really means: "'When weather conditions permit, regardless of whether an operation is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft.' It is this rule that has every flight instructor harping on student pilots to 'keep your head on a swivel' and monitor unicom calls," wrote Kathy Yodice in "Legal Briefing," June 1999 AOPA Flight Training. Her discussion is worth a read!

If a no-radio aircraft is flying in the traffic pattern at a tower-controlled airport, the controllers will advise you of its position and intentions if necessary. If you find yourself flying a no-radio aircraft as a result of a communications failure, be sure you can comply with air traffic control light-gun signals (see Chapter 4 of the Aeronautical Information Manual to review the signals).

With your radio working normally, broadcast brief and clear transmissions. Don't be the kind of aviator that other pilots flying in the area wish had no radio, as described in the October 2000 AOPA Flight Training's "Flight Forum" item titled "Too Much Talk."

The air is to be shared! Doing so safely means using your eyes and ears.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
A new entry in the weather data arena lets you receive weather reports in the form of text messages on a cell phone. WX2ME ("weather to me") will deliver METARs and TAFs in the United States and Canada. Here's how it works: You send a text message containing the letter M for METAR or T for TAF, plus the ICAO or IATA airport code; you receive the coded report in reply. If you don't know the airport code, you enter its name and WX2ME sends you a choice of airports if more than one matches your entry. The service includes unlimited access to METARs and TAFs for $5 a month or $55 a year. For more information or to sign up for a free trial, see the Web site.

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: Assume that you are planning to fly directly from point A to point B, and then return directly to point A. Further assume that you will have a 50-knot headwind as you fly one direction and a 50-kt tailwind in the other direction. Finally, assume that these winds-along with your airspeed-will remain constant over the trip. Will the total time required for your flight be less than, equal to, or greater than the time required for the same trip in no-wind conditions?

Answer: Although one might intuitively assume that the headwind and tailwind would cancel each other out, in fact the total time required for the trip will be greater than that for the same trip in no-wind conditions. This is because the headwind acts on the aircraft longer than the tailwind. For example, a 200-nm round trip in an aircraft flying 100 kt, in no-wind conditions, would take two hours. If the headwind/tailwind over the same trip were 50 kt, the total time required would be two hours and 40 minutes.

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