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

The following stories from the February 6, 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 - Jet Interest ~
Aviation Technology Group has selected Albuquerque as the manufacturing site for its high-performance, two-seat Javelin jet. ATG expects to employ more than 200 people in manufacturing and engineering as the company begins production of the Javelin in the next three to four years. The New Mexico State Investment Council has approved a significant investment in ATG.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
The word airspeed requires one of three modifiers in any precise discussion in flight training-see "Flying Smart: Aviation Speak" in the March 2000 AOPA Flight Training. The first of these modifiers that most students learn is indicated. Indicated airspeed is the value you read from the airspeed indicator (ASI) in flight.

There is also calibrated airspeed (CAS). Instruments do not always give exact indications, and airspeed indicators are no exception. Especially at higher angles of attack, what you see on the ASI may vary from what you actually get; the difference will be found as calibrated airspeed values in performance charts in your pilot's operating handbook. One example is the chart giving stall speeds at various flap settings and center-of-gravity loadings. In most cases the differences between calibrated and indicated airspeed will be almost negligible in cruise flight.

Next there's true airspeed (TAS). When temperature and/or pressure vary from so-called standard conditions, true airspeed will differ from CAS. "Think of your airspeed indicator as being calibrated to be accurate at sea level on a standard day when the barometric pressure is 29.92 inches of mercury and the temperature is 59 degrees Fahrenheit," explains Thomas B. Haines in "The Truth About True Airspeed" in the September 1998 AOPA Pilot magazine. TAS is used for cruise-performance calculations. Click here to download Chapter Six of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge for a full discussion of the three kinds of airspeed values.

Those are the basics, but awareness of imprecise airspeed indications does not begin and end with the terms described above. How old are the instruments on your trainer's panel? Have they been calibrated recently? "As an airspeed indicator ages, it tends to become less accurate. Many pilots have only an approximate idea of how fast their aircraft move through the air," writes Barry Schiff in "Airspeed Algebra" in the May 1999 AOPA Pilot.

System failures are also possible. David Montoya described symptoms in the February 2002 AOPA Flight Training feature "Mastering the Flight Instruments." Some aircraft are more susceptible to this risk than others. In order for an aircraft to be flown under instrument flight rules, its pitot-static instruments (ASI, altimeter, and vertical speed indicator) must be checked every 24 months. Other aircraft may undergo less scrutiny. Regardless of what you fly, understanding airspeed means not taking what you read at face value.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
You passed the private pilot checkride-no more dates with the FAA examiner until you're ready to add a new rating or certificate. In the meantime, you'll need to get a flight review every 24 months. Sporty's Pilot Shop has produced a new instructional DVD to help you prepare for the ground portion. Flight Review DVD covers regulations, weather reports and forecasts, airspace, aeromedical factors, aeronautical charts, and airport signs and markings. The 72-minute DVD sells for $24.95 and may be ordered online or by calling 800/SPORTYS.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: My instructor and I flew in to a rural airport recently and saw a segmented circle. Can you explain the information it gives?

Answer: Section 4-3-4 of the Aeronautical Information Manual discusses segmented circles. They are found at airports with no control tower and are a visual indicator giving information on the airport's traffic pattern, as well as wind or landing direction. It's located in a central position on the airport, easily seen by pilots in the air. A wind cone, sock, or tee is normally found within the circle and provides the pilot with information on wind or landing direction. You may also find landing strip indicators installed in pairs that show the alignment of landing strips, along with traffic pattern indicators that indicate the direction of turns when there is a variation from the normal left traffic pattern.

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