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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 13AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 13

The following stories from the April 1, 2005, 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 - Experimental Interest
Carter Aviation Technologies said it hopes to fly its CarterCopter concept vehicle by the end of this week. The last round of flight testing ended in February. The hybrid gyroplane has the ability to slow its rotor and transfer weight to its small wings. It recently was fitted with a new rotor, and prerotation proof tests have produced 335 rpm. During the last flight test, CarterCopter reached a maximum airspeed of 163 mph. Because of drag over the rear lower section of the fuselage, the company expects that its maximum speed this time around will be about 170 mph. However, the company said it plans to eventually reduce the amount of drag, increasing the cruise speed to 180 to 200 mph. For weekly updates on CarterCopter, visit the company's Web site.

My ePilot - Renter Interest
Rental aircraft often take a beating--pilots don't care for them as they would their own aircraft. Some pilots ride the brakes; some repeatedly land hard. Some rental aircraft are exposed to more sunlight, contaminants, and other conditions that speed the wear of tires. Before you fly rental aircraft, make sure you carefully check the tires for flat spots, signs that the tread is wearing unevenly, deep cuts in the tread, bulges, and cracking. To learn more about the signs of tire wear and when a tire needs immediate attention from a mechanic, read "What it looks like: When aircraft tires are worn" in the June 1999 column "Flying Smart" in AOPA Flight Training.

My ePilot - Light Sport Aircraft Interest
You've completed the necessary training for the sport pilot certificate, filled out FAA Form 8710-11, and are ready for your checkride, but first you need to find an examiner. That is getting easier. The FAA appointed seven new sport pilot examiners Saturday. Examiners now are located in 14 states. The second class of examiners to complete the FAA's sport pilot examiner initial course are Jim Leon, Illinois; Jim MacLeay, Tennessee; Sean Curry, Wisconsin; Charles Burgoon, Texas; Earl Downs, Oklahoma; Ben Methvin, Georgia; and John Ballantyne, Maryland. The Light Sport Aviation Branch posts examiners' contact information on its Web site.

My ePilot - Piston Multiengine Interest
Diamond Aircraft delivered its first two DA42 Twin Stars to French customers last week. The company plans to deliver four to five aircraft per week after April. Because of demand for the Twin Star, Diamond says it will increase production from 10 to 17 aircraft per month in May. There are nearly 500 advance orders for the aircraft worldwide, including about 230 from the United States. Diamond will have the diesel engine twin on display at Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland, Florida, and plans to have a Lycoming-powered version of the aircraft at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

My ePilot - Other Interest
Junior soaring pilots Mike Westbrook, 20, of Midlothian, Texas, and Garret Willat, 23, of Warner Springs, California, will represent the United States July 31 at the fourth Junior World Gliding Championships taking place in England. The event brings together 80 of the world's best glider pilots under age 26 from 20 countries including Australia, South Africa, Germany, and the United States to compete for 10 or more days for the title of Junior World Gliding Champion.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
An aircraft engine without oil is like...well, let's not go there. To avoid going there, give oil the attention that it deserves on preflight inspections. Look up recommended oil levels for your training aircraft. Know the recommended oil viscosity for the temperature range for the current season's flying. Because engine problems frequently reveal themselves as abnormal readings on oil-system gauges, remember to scan oil temperature and pressure gauges frequently in flight, and know something about their design. Most oil temperature gauges are electric. Strange indications (unaccompanied by odd oil pressure readings) may merely indicate a chafed, short-circuited wire. That's not true of oil pressure gauges, however.

"In most trainers, the oil pressure gauge is mechanical and is connected to a port on the engine by a small-diameter oil line. A restrictor inside the line keeps oil loss to a minimum and reduces the amount of oil inside the cabin in the event of a line break. Inside the instrument, you'll find a curled-up Bourdon tube resembling a watch spring. As the oil pressure increases in the engine and thus in the tube, the Bourdon tube tries to unwind itself. This movement is translated by a link to the needle on the face of the instrument," Marc E. Cook explained in the May 1999 AOPA Flight Training column, "Engine Gauges: Form and Function."

Student pilots learn that critically low oil pressure is a signal of imminent engine failure. Look for a place to land immediately and try to get down before you lose power. Less is said about high oil pressure-is that a problem? Too much can be as bad as too little, explains Steven W. Ells in the April 2005 AOPA Pilot article, "Find the Right Balance." Note that something as innocent as an engine start without preheat, and with too much power, in very cold weather can cause trouble.

What about oil leaks? It depends. So make sure you check on the cause, as Peter A. Bedell counseled a pilot in "No Dumb Questions: Are Oil Leaks OK?" in the May 2000 AOPA Flight Training. Also see his discussion of what changes in an engine's rate of oil consumption mean.

You are required to demonstrate knowledge of the oil system on the private pilot practical test. Understanding your oil system is also a good way to assess the mechanical condition of an aircraft you may fly.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Airspace-the classes, the dimensions, the radio and equipment requirements-often proves to be one of the most challenging lessons for the student pilot. It's a complicated set of requirements that can be difficult to remember. A new computer tutorial from Sporty's, Virtual Airspace, aims to turn the complex subject into a meaningful, three-dimensional lesson. The program covers all classes of airspace as well as special-use airspace. Virtual Airspace runs on Windows and is available for $19.95. Order online or call 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: I just started training for my private pilot certificate, with hopes of someday becoming a professional pilot. Can AOPA provide any guidance on flying careers?

Answer: AOPA's Guide to Flying Careers provides detailed information on various flying careers, including flight instructing, air taxi, airlines, business flying, agricultural flying, and many others. It includes articles from both AOPA Pilot and AOPA Flight Training magazines discussing the aviation industry, how to get your foot in the door, and how to prepare for an interview. In addition, AOPA has subject reports on Aviation Colleges and Universities and Aviation Loans and Scholarships and offers Flight Training Funds to help finance your flight training.

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