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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 17AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 17

The following stories from the April 29, 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 - Piston Single-engine Interest
Diamond Aircraft's fixed-pitch propeller version of the Diamond Star is expected to receive FAA certification in mid-May. The company said the DA40-FP is attractive to flight schools because of its lower acquisition and operating cost and simplified operation and maintenance. Airline Transport Professionals flight school already has ordered 10 aircraft. Diamond said that it also could be popular with private owners who would like to put the aircraft on leaseback. The DA40-FP features a carbureted Lycoming O-360-A4M engine and is based at $187,800. Diamond plans to begin delivery of the aircraft in June.

My ePilot - Own/May Own Interest
Buying your first aircraft can be exciting yet nerve racking. You might be wondering what type of aircraft to buy, whether to get a new or used one, and what type of insurance to purchase. However, there are many resources you can use to find answers to your questions. Talking to aircraft owners and analyzing your flying skills and needs can help you select the right model of aircraft to buy. Dale Smith provides a list of "10 tips for first-time buyers" and "First-time favorites" of popular aircraft for the inexperienced buyer in "Buying your first airplane" in the April 2005 AOPA Flight Training. The AOPA Insurance Agency can help walk you through obtaining affordable, first-time aircraft owner insurance.

My ePilot - Light Sport Aircraft Interest ~
Interplane's Skyboy, to be renamed the DS1 Cobra, will be offered soon on the ready-to-fly light-sport aircraft market. While its base price is $46,000, most will go out the door at about $60,000 to $65,000 when options such as leather interiors and electronic engine monitoring equipment are added. It cruises at 100 mph and burns 3.5 gph. The upgraded aircraft will be available for delivery in July. For information, visit the Web site. Interplane is located in the Czech Republic, while the dealer is in North Vernon, Indiana.

My ePilot - Other Interest ~
Robinson Helicopter Company recently announced that it has delivered its 6,000th helicopter, an R44 Raven II. The helicopter went to Airborne Energy Solutions of Alberta, Canada. Robinson has produced 2,207 R44s and 3,837 R22s in the past 25 years. The company reached an all-time high of 690 helicopter sales last year and said it hopes to break 700 in 2005. To meet demand, Robinson has added a new 220,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and plans to ramp up production from 15 to 20 helicopters per week. Currently, the company has a backlog for the R44 Raven I and Raven II that extends into October.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Even quiet airports have rush hours. Spikes in activity follow predictable schedules at some fields, but elsewhere, surges in activity are random. Training in arrival procedures and distraction avoidance means you're ready no matter how busy the traffic pattern.

Consider this situation at a nontowered airport. (Review this Safety Hot Spot from the AOPA Online Safety Center.) A student pilot departs at midday on a cross-country, with the field deserted and the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) silent. Hours later, monitoring CTAF from many miles out suggests that all is as before. But as the student enters the traffic pattern, everything changes. Put yourself in this cockpit and bring the flight to its conclusion.

Someone calling from another training airplane radios that he is taxiing to the runway. Will he get there before you land? An arriving Cessna 152 radios an entry to the downwind leg. Logically this aircraft would show up behind you, but be wary. (See the July 3, 2003, " Training Tips: Taming Nontowered Airports.") Verifying that your landing light is on for all to see, you turn base. Your position broadcast brings an answer from a helicopter arriving on a path that will take it across the final approach course-normal, but something to watch during your descent. A Piper single calls in from five miles west. No factor, but if you need to perform a go-around, you'll want to know its position. You turn final with four other aircraft to think about.

Complicated, but manageable. You spot the helo passing ahead and below. There's good separation, but you shallow your descent slightly, delaying throttling back to idle power until you are clear. (Making such decisions is a key skill for new pilots. See Dave Wilkerson's " Checkride: Patterns of Safety" in the September 2000 AOPA Flight Training.) Now the Cessna pilot has lost situational awareness and is asking whether he is number two to land, or number three. You know the answer, but you need to focus on flying.

Fighting distraction, you touch down, never relinquishing your concentration on speed and directional control. You expeditiously but carefully taxi to the nearest runway exit point.

Nicely done! Quite the learning experience but, for the well-trained pilot, routine.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
If you've been thinking about upgrading your flight computer to an electronic model, Sporty's offers an incentive to make the switch. Its electronic E6B now lets you calculate the required rate of climb. Enter the groundspeed and the required climb rate, and the E6B calculates the climb requirement in feet per minute. For now, the function is available only on the electronic E6B ($59.95) and E6B software for the Palm operating system ($19.95). It will be available on Sporty's flat E6B within a year. Order online from Sporty's 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: My instructor and I have been debating whether a terminal radar service area (TRSA) is a type of controlled airspace. Can AOPA provide clarification on this?

Answer: According to the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), Chapter 3, Section 5, Paragraph 3-5-6, terminal radar service areas were never designated as controlled airspace from a regulatory standpoint because the establishment of TRSAs was never subject to the FAA's rule-making process. Consequently, TRSAs are not contained in 14 CFR Part 71 nor are there any TRSA operating rules in 14 CFR Part 91. The primary airport within the TRSA becomes Class D airspace. The remaining portion of the TRSA overlies other controlled airspace, which is normally Class E airspace beginning at 700 or 1,200 feet agl and established to transition to/from the en route/terminal environment. Pilots operating under VFR are encouraged to contact the radar approach control and avail themselves of the TRSA services. However, participation is voluntary on the part of the pilot. See AIM Chapter 3, Airspace, for details and procedures.

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