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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 39AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 39

The following stories from the September 24, 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 ~
Piper Malibu and Mirage owners now can reduce the drag, vibration, and noise caused by having main landing gear tires that protrude into the airstream under the wing. Enhanced Flight Group received an FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) for its modification to the Malibu and Mirage. It involves installing aerodynamic fairings to the lower wing surface around part of the main landing gear tires. The composite fairings are attached to the wing's skin with stainless steel screws and are located fore and aft of the tires. See the company's Web site.

My ePilot - Other Interest
UltraFlight Radio, an Internet radio show, targets light-aviation enthusiasts interested in fixed-wing ultralights, rotorcraft, hang gliders, parachutes, and more. Special guests include record-setting pilots, instructors, manufacturers, political figures, and members of aviation organizations who talk about subjects ranging from navigation to aircraft maintenance. Hosts Roy Beisswenger and Michael Purdy chat with guests and callers on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon Eastern time. For those who cannot listen live, the site archives its shows for four to six weeks. To listen to the show or for more information, visit the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Looking up the specs of a runway you are about to use for the first time is educational, as well as your responsibility as a pilot. Having checked it out in the FAA's Airport Facility/Directory (AF/D) or AOPA's Airport Directory Online , you then study the forecast surface winds and apply the information to your calculation of takeoff and landing performance requirements. However, there's an easily overlooked item that might alter your calculations: runway slope or gradient. Did you check for that?

Many aircraft pilot's operating handbooks give performance data that assume you are flying from a dry, paved, level runway. When does runway slope become a factor in your planning? "If it's enough of an upslope that you can actually see it, the normal under-150-horsepower light airplane will feel its effect and may take 10- to 15-percent more runway to get off. If it looks fairly steep, then it really is steep and you'd be amazed how hard the airplane has to work to get up to speed," writes Budd Davisson in his 1998 Flight Training essay "What Makes a Runway Short?"

Here is a rule of thumb: For every 1 degree of upslope, add 10 percent to your takeoff roll. Or add 10 percent to your landing roll when touching down on a 1-degree down-sloping runway. There are extreme cases, such as some mountain airstrips, where a steeply sloped runway combined with obstructions and frequent high-density altitude conditions require that all takeoffs and landings be in a designated direction, regardless of winds. Such airports are called one-way strips. Read more about the topic in the July 2003 AOPA Flight Training column "The Weather Never Sleeps: Density Altitude."

The next time you research an unfamiliar runway in AOPA's Airport Directory Online, review the airport diagram in the terminal procedures section for notations about runway slope. To see how such notes appear in the AF/D, download Chapter 12 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. Slope notations may be obscure and difficult to locate, but finding them will help you have the complete picture of that next takeoff or landing.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Apart from spending quality time with an airframe and powerplant technician, you can't get as close to your aircraft systems as you can with VTS Inc. software for the Cessna Skyhawk, and Piper Seminole and Warrior. The animation and simple simulations help you to clarify and understand each aircraft system's function. AOPA Flight Training Contributing Editor Julie K. Boatman found the graphics in the Piper Seminole CD to be professional and clear and the menu navigation easy, with the ability to right-click on many items for further explanation of how they function within the system. A Skyhawk CD released in 2001 features similar animation and graphics; a Piper Warrior CD also is available. The software sells for $179.95 (Seminole); $89.95 (Skyhawk); and $79.95 (Warrior). For more information, 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: I own my airplane and am taking flight lessons in it. Although I pay the flight instructor, the airplane itself is not a rental nor is it for hire. Do I need to comply with the 100-hour inspections required of rental aircraft?

Answer: Good question. Although FAR 91.409(b) states that "no person may give flight instruction for hire in an aircraft which that person provides, unless within the preceding 100 hours of time in service the aircraft has received an annual or 100-hour inspection...," this applies when the flight instructor "provides" the aircraft for instruction or hire. If an aircraft owner, who is not a flight instructor, hires an independent CFI to receive dual instruction, the 100-hour inspection is NOT required. For more information, see AOPA Online.

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