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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 37AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 37

The following stories from the September 10, 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
Micro AeroDynamics recently received FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) approval for its Micro Vortex Generator kit for Mooney M20 series aircraft. Vortex generators energize the boundary layer of air on the surface to reduce stall speed on the Mooney by 8 percent, reduce approach speed, and improve flight characteristics and controllability. The vortex generators are mounted on the wings and vertical and horizontal stabilizers. An airframe and powerplant mechanic can install the kit in one day, according to Micro AeroDynamics. Kits also are available for certain models of Cessna, Piper, Beechcraft, Aviat, Champion, Maule, and more. For more information about the kits, visit the Web site.

My ePilot - Other Interest
During the first half of 2004, Robinson Helicopter Company sales increased to total almost 80 percent of all piston and turbine helicopter sales in North America. The Aerospace Industries Association report on U.S. and North American Commercial Helicopter shipments shows that Robinson accounts for 343 of the 433 produced--115 R22s and 228 R44s. Bell follows with 36, Schweizer 24, Sikorsky 16, MD Helicopters 8, and Enstrom 6. Robinson, which is cranking out 15 helicopters per week, increased production by 54 percent from 187 helicopters for the same period last year. In the second quarter of 2004 alone, Robinson produced 185. And the company plans to increase production again to meet the backlog for its R22 and R44, which is more than five months.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Any pilot should revisit basic concepts periodically. As the March 7, 2003, newsletter recommended, crosswind operations make an excellent subject to review on a continuing basis. An important but often overlooked element of a safe crosswind takeoff is a correct rotation. The technique calls for rotating the nose to the takeoff attitude at a slightly higher airspeed than on a normal takeoff. This delayed-rotation method is also employed during takeoffs in gusty winds whether or not a crosswind exists. Why? "During takeoffs in gusty conditions, expect the airplane to lift off earlier in the takeoff roll because of a sudden increase in the headwind component. In a tricycle-gear airplane, you can offset this somewhat with forward pressure on the yoke, holding the airplane on the ground until a faster-than-normal rotation speed is attained. With a faster airspeed, your margin above stall speed is greater, and the settling effects of the headwind shearing to a crosswind or tailwind are diminished," explains Julie K. Boatman in the June 2001 AOPA Pilot column "Ounce of Prevention." Some aircraft pilot's operating handbooks (POH) also call for a more aggressive rotation than usual. Check your POH for specifics.

A related tip: On any takeoff, don't confuse the moment of rotation with the moment of liftoff. Under normal circumstances the airplane will continue accelerating on the ground before the increased angle of attack created by rotation enables flight. Don't rush the process or overrotate-doing so may negate the benefit of the technique. Timing is key. "Rotate too early and drag increases, increasing the takeoff distance. Rotate too late and the airplane could skitter down the runway with the nosewheel on terra firma and the main gear in the air, in a condition commonly called wheelbarrowing," explains Christopher Parker in "Instructor Report" in the April 2003 AOPA Flight Training.

When practicing crosswind operations, be mindful of the crosswind component (read the February 27, 2004, Training Tips) and the demonstrated crosswind velocity of your aircraft, explained by AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg in "Charting the Wind," July 2000 AOPA Flight Training. It is not a limiting value. However, he notes that many instructors consider it an informal limit for safety reasons.

Perfect your rotation technique and see how this simple refinement makes your windy-day takeoffs smoother and easier.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
As cell phone use in the cockpit becomes more common, it's no surprise that avionics manufacturers are hurrying to keep up with the trend. Pilot USA adds two moderately priced headset options to the mix with the 11-81T and 21-70T. Both provide passive noise reduction and come with cell phone/satellite phone interface and an auxiliary interface for listening to an audible checklist or music. The 11-81T features a push-to-talk button on the ear cup, weighs 13.4 ounces, and includes a fleece head pad and gel ear seals. The 21-70T weighs 10.9 ounces and comes with a foam head pad and foam ear seals. sells the 11-81T for $169.99 and the 21-70T for $139.99. Visit the Web site for more information or to order.

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: With regard to maintenance records, what is time in service and how is it tracked?

Answer: Time in service, with respect to maintenance time records, means the time from the moment an aircraft leaves the ground until it touches down at the next point of landing or, to put it more simply, the time the aircraft is airborne. Tracking this airborne time with complete accuracy is virtually impossible, because there is no instrument generic to all airplanes that tracks only airborne time (although some aircraft have instruments that come close to doing this). Hobbs meters and tachometers track time from engine start to shutdown, and of course, a fraction of that time is ground time. However, for consistency across the board (and for lack of a better way to do it) time in service is, in fact, tracked with either a Hobbs meter or a tachometer. The result is that each 100 hours of Hobbs or tach time actually may be only 90 hours of airborne time and 10 hours of ground time. Nevertheless, the Hobbs' or tachometer's 100-hour cycle is what is used to determine 100 hours of time in service. For more information on maintenance inspections, visit AOPA Online.

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