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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 15AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 15

The following stories from the April 15, 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
Aerocomp announced that its kit-built, all-composite Comp Air Jet is available for order, and the first kits could be delivered in September. The company is finishing work on the jet's environmental system and expects to reach 29,500 feet and speeds of 340 knots. During flight tests, the jet has reached 20,000 feet and 313 kt. The company expects to sell six kits this year and eight in 2006. Aerocomp also announced that it is taking orders for its Comp Air 12, a kit powered by a 1,400-horsepower Lycoming turboprop engine. (It has the same airframe as the Comp Air Jet). The turbine version is expected to take its maiden flight within three months and complete the flight test phase within another three to four months. The aircraft's projected speed is 275 kt with a 2,800-mile range. Each kit costs $449,000 without avionics.

My ePilot - Other Interest
Forward Vision is finishing up the first export license for its Forward Vision Infrared System to be installed on a Eurocopter in Belgium. The system helps to prevent accidents in reduced visibility conditions by providing pilots with real-time enhanced vision capabilities. The system makes it easier to spot roads, animals on the runway, other aircraft, tree lines, and more. The camera pod weighs only 3.6 pounds. During Sun 'n Fun, the system was selling for $17,680; its regular price is $18,680. Those ordering the system can receive it within six weeks.

My ePilot - Light-Sport Aircraft Interest
Jabiru Aircraft and Engines, an Australian company, is targeting the sport pilot training market with its J170SP, a high-wing, all-composite, two-seat trainer with a four-cylinder Jabiru engine. The J170SP has a maximum straight-and-level speed of 115 knots, 700-fpm rate of climb, and 575-nautical-mile range. The aircraft is manufactured as a kit in Australia and then shipped to the U.S. distributor, Jabiru USA Sport Aircraft LLC in Shelbyville, Tennessee, where the aircraft is completed. The company said it would take about six months from the time an aircraft is ordered until the customer takes delivery. However, the company expects to produce one aircraft per week within the next two to three years. Certified as a light-sport aircraft, the J170SP trainer costs $74,900.

Zenith Aircraft Company already is receiving orders for its Zodiac XL, the first aircraft that the company is producing as a light-sport aircraft (LSA). The aircraft comes with basic instruments, nav/com, and transponder. The Zodiac XL is fitted with the Rotax 912S, burns about 5 gph, has a maximum cruise speed of 117 knots, and a rate of climb of 1,000 fpm. Zenith plans to produce about eight Zodiac XLs per month and expects to start manufacturing its STOL CH 701 as an LSA by the end of the year or early in 2006. The Zodiac XL costs $65,000 and is distributed through

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Making your first arrival at a large and busy airport can be an exhilarating, if hectic experience. There are multiple runways-some of them intersecting-and taxiways everywhere you look. No matter how well you prepare, it will take extra care to navigate an unfamiliar taxi route, while complying with any hold-short instructions issued to keep you at a safe distance from active runways. At such a time, consider requesting "progressive taxi" instructions from the ground controller. "With a progressive taxi, controllers give you step-by-step directions to your destination on the airport. If you are unsure of where to go, come to a complete stop (after taxiing clear of the runway) and request this service from ground control," Alyssa Miller explained in "Flying Smart: Aviation Speak" in the December 2004 AOPA Flight Training.

Progressive taxiing is explained further in Chapter 4 of the Aeronautical Information Manual. Note that sometimes it is air traffic control, not the pilot, who makes the decision to use this method. "Progressive instructions may also be issued if the controller deems it necessary due to traffic or field conditions; i.e., construction or closed taxiways," the AIM says.

If after landing you receive a regular taxi clearance but then become uncertain of your position on the airport, it's not too late to ask for progressive taxi assistance. It is also available when you taxi back out for takeoff. In either case, if there are numerous aircraft taxiing nearby, it is a good idea when you make your request to inform ground control that you are a student pilot. This can be a magic phrase, as described in the October 10, 2003, "Training Tips."

But don't get the idea that only student pilots ask for progressive taxiing. Even the experienced aviator should ask for assistance with taxiing rather than risk a runway incursion or other mishap. See Alton K. Marsh's August 2004 AOPA Pilot feature "Incursions R Us" for some insights on the problem of incursions and how progressive taxiing can help to avoid them.

Add progressive taxiing to your pilot's toolbox, and approach busy new airports with confidence.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Thinking about buying a light-sport aircraft? Got a friend who's interested in flying but intimidated by aerodynamics and such? The Complete Idiot's Guide to Sport Flying may be just the ticket. Information, tips, and advice are presented in a straightforward, jargon-free format. This installment in the popular Idiot's Guide consumer series treats sport flying and flying in general with affection and respect. Authors Dan Ramsey and Earl Downs are pilots; Downs is also a flight instructor and sport pilot examiner. The 316-page soft-cover book retails for $18.99. You can read an excerpt or order online.

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: My flight school offers flight training in glass cockpit aircraft and in aircraft equipped with conventional instruments, but I'm not sure which aircraft I should train in. Can AOPA provide me with some guidance?

Answer: Your ultimate goal will likely drive your decision on this. As a student pilot you will first become familiar with the environment outside the airplane, otherwise known as "attitude flying." The advanced cockpit technology that is now in many single-engine general aviation airplanes has been tested and proven in airliner cockpits for more than a decade, so if you are thinking of a career as an airline or corporate pilot, you might want to consider training within the glass cockpit environment from the beginning. In the end, the decision is a personal one, and you will find many pilots and flight instructors with varying opinions. For more information, read AOPA's aviation subject report, Glass Cockpit Technology .

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