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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 51AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content --Vol. 6, Issue 51

The following stories from the December 17, 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 tailored to their areas of interest by updating their preferences online.

My ePilot - Light-sport Aircraft Interest
The FAA is moving forward to allow new, ready-to-fly light-sport airplanes to go into production. The agency has released procedures for the selection, training, and appointment of its light-sport aircraft designated airworthiness representatives (DARs). These representatives are needed to issue airworthiness certificates for the new ready-to-fly and kit aircraft. The FAA will be scheduling DAR training courses next year. In a related action needed for production to start, AOPA expects an announcement soon on the production standards manufacturers will be adhering to. Industry representatives, including AOPA, worked together with the FAA to draft the standards for this category of aircraft. These standards are the first to be developed by a nongovernmental agency for the recreational aviation industry. Download the DAR procedures information from the FAA's Web site. For the latest on the sport pilot/light-sport aircraft initiative, see AOPA Online.

My ePilot - Jet Interest
Citation operators now have a new maintenance facility available to them. Cessna opened a 443,000-square-foot facility that can service more than 100 Citations at the same time. The Wichita, Kansas, center has customer lounges, offices and flight planning areas-even a restaurant and gift shop. Outside are a runup area, two compass roses, and four fuel farms. The center should be fully operational by January 2005, and the company expects to hire 500 more employees to staff the facility during the next five years. This is the second Citation service center that Cessna has opened this year. The other was in June at Orlando, Florida. For more information, visit the Internet site.

My ePilot - Professional Pilot Interest
The airlines have hired 8,888 pilots so far this year-more than double the 4,300 new jobs forecast in January. By the end of December, the number of new airline pilot hires could reach 9,500, according to Air, Inc. National operators made the most new hires in November with 298, followed by non-jet operators with 208, and jet operators with 109.

My ePilot - Other Interest
Frasca International's helicopter flight training device (FTD) has received FAA approval for both VFR and IFR training. The TruFlite H can be configured to simulate Schweizer 300 and Robinson R22 and R44 models, as well as turbine single and twin helicopters. Frasca said the first TruFlite H was delivered to Silver State Helicopters, based in North Las Vegas, Nevada, which has ordered 10 units; other customers include the University of North Dakota and the New York Police Department. Frasca says the helicopter FTD uses technology developed for the company's Level 6 FTDs and Level C full flight simulators, and can provide VFR training in maneuvers such as hover, autorotation, settling with power, dynamic rollover, and sloped landings. For more information, see the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Sometimes on a cross-country flight when you are navigating by pilotage, dead reckoning, or ground-based navaids, you will have a general idea of your position but can only estimate the distance to the destination or the next checkpoint. You're on course, but you can't say whether that village below is the one 21 miles from the destination airport or the hamlet 20 miles out. Now it is time to contact approach control for arrival, stating your position and intentions as explained in Chapter 4 of the Aeronautical Information Manual: "Pilots of arriving aircraft should contact approach control on the publicized frequency and give their position, altitude, aircraft call sign, type aircraft, radar beacon code (if transponder equipped), destination, and request traffic information." What should you do?

If there are no visual checkpoints (see the August 6, 2004, "Training Tips") charted, you need another method. You want to be as exact as possible to aid the swift radar identification of your aircraft, especially if the terminal area is bustling. If you are tracking a VOR, one technique is to provide a position consisting of the radial on which you are flying and an estimated distance from the airport. If your aircraft is outfitted with DME (distance measuring equipment) give your radial and DME from the station. Be sure to give the radial-not the reciprocal (inbound) course.

Suppose you aren't tracking a navaid, but you can receive signals from multiple VORs. David Montoya offered another way to establish an exact position along your course in the December 2000 AOPA Flight Training feature, "The ABCs of VORs." "If you have two VOR indicators, tune each one to a different VOR frequency. Then center the CDI needles with a From indication and note the radials. Get out a chart and plot the extended radials. Where the lines intersect, there you are."

High controller workload or uncertainty where your radar return will appear may bring a request from ATC that you "ident" (see the November 21, 2003, "Training Tips") once you have been assigned a transponder code. Don't activate the ident function of your transponder unless requested to do so.

As in so many other areas of piloting, having multiple methods to get the job done is appreciated by ATC and smoothes the flow for everyone.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Two new knowledge test preparation guides are now available from Sporty's Pilot Shop. The guides feature all published FAA test questions, answers, and explanations written by certificated flight instructors with the pilot in mind. The explanations are intended to be concise yet as thorough as possible, and they include reference sources for further study. The Private Pilot/Recreational Pilot Test Prep Guide is 270 pages and sells for $13.95; the Instrument Pilot Test Prep Guide is 480 pages and sells for $15.95. Each can be ordered online or by calling 800/SPORTYS.

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: During one of my solo cross-country flights I noticed that the VOR reception wasn't consistent; the To/From flag wouldn't display a firm indication. What are the limits of a VOR's reception area?

Answer: The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) offers a good description of the service volumes (i.e., reception strength) for the various types of VORs in the National Airspace System. There are three standard service volume (SSV) class designators for VORs: Terminal (T), Low Altitude (L), and High Altitude (H). Terminal VORs are received at altitudes of 1,000 to 12,000 feet above ground level at radial distances out to 25 nm; Low Altitude VORs-at altitudes of 1,000 to 18,000 feet agl and out to radial distances of 40 nm, and High Altitude VORs-from 1,000 to 60,000 feet agl with radial distance varying (depending on altitude) from 40 to 130 nm. More information is available in AIM Chapter 1, "Navigation Aids," Paragraph 1-1-8 Navigational Aid (NAVAID) Service Volumes.

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