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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 18AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 18

The following stories from the May 6, 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 - Jet Interest
Gulfstream's wide-cabin G150 business jet reached an altitude of 20,000 feet and speeds up to 250 knots Tuesday during its first flight, which lasted 4 hours and 13 minutes. During the flight, Ronen Shapira, Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) chief test pilot, and Yoram Geva, the G150 project test pilot, performed checks on all of the aircraft systems and cycled the landing gear and flap systems. (The jet was designed and built in collaboration with IAI.) Gulfstream expects the G150 to receive certification from the Israel Civil Aviation Authority during the first quarter of 2006, with certification from the FAA to come shortly after. After FAA certification, the G150 will go to the company's facility in Dallas for the final phase of manufacturing. The jet is scheduled to enter service during third quarter 2006.

My ePilot - Renter Interest
You know you need to thoroughly preflight rental aircraft, checking for anything that could make the aircraft unairworthy. Part of that includes checking the aircraft's logbooks to make sure airworthiness directives (ADs) have been complied with. After all, you, the pilot in command, are responsible for every aspect of every flight. "If an FAA inspector were to stop you for a ramp check and determine that your aircraft had not complied with an AD, then you could be held responsible for failing to check on the airworthiness of the aircraft before flying it. The owner or operator would be held responsible for failing to meet the conditions of the airworthiness directive itself," explained Elizabeth A. Tennyson in the "Flying Smart" column "No Dumb Questions: Responsibility for Airworthiness" in the August 1999 AOPA Flight Training.

My ePilot - Other Interest
The thought of earning a seaplane rating probably has crossed your mind, but you may have dismissed the idea because you don't live on the coast or near the Great Lakes. However, more than 179 public-use seaplane bases dot the United States, showing up on rivers, lakes, and other waterways. AOPA has updated its Seaplane Flying subject report to provide members with more information about adding the rating. Use AOPA's Airport Directory Online to find a seaplane base near you.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Every student pilot must demonstrate soft-field takeoffs (and landings) on the private pilot practical test. Too often, this demonstration consists of a simulation on a smooth, paved runway. With many unpaved airports now ready for spring flying, seek opportunities for real-world training. The experience you gain will be apparent to your flight-test examiner, and it will build your confidence.

Procedures for soft-field takeoffs vary among aircraft, but the goals remain the same (see Area of Operation IV, Task C of the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards. You can download the PTS from AOPA Online). The aircraft is taxied onto the takeoff surface at a safe speed and without stopping, and the throttle is advanced to takeoff power. Throughout the takeoff run, the aircraft is held with back-elevator pressure in an attitude that will lift the nosewheel off the soft, perhaps rough, surface as soon as possible. The pilot coaxes the aircraft into the air at "the lowest possible airspeed." Because this speed is too low for a safe climb, the aircraft is held in "ground effect" (explained in the January 31, 2003, "Training Tips") with forward pressure until it accelerates to the appropriate climb speed.

But wait-your soft-field takeoff is not complete! "When your examiner says, 'Let's do a soft-field takeoff,' you should know that the request includes the climbout. Knowing the manufacturer's recommendations for this part of the procedure will save you grief. Some manuals instruct pilots to keep the flaps at the recommended extension until they have cleared any obstacles. Others might advise that the flaps be fully retracted once you are airborne. Manufacturers' procedures vary, and the FAA expects pilots to perform them with the precision outlined in the PTS," wrote Dave Wilkerson in the May 2001 AOPA Flight Training column "Checkride: Soft Touch."

Cautionary notes about using soft runways: Some airports emerging from winter may still be too wet for safety. Walk the surface, or talk to someone who knows, before flying. Check notams for airport closures. Review takeoff performance data in your pilot's operating handbook, correcting for the effect of unpaved surfaces as noted on charts and discussed in Chapter 9 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. Mastering soft-field skills opens up new runways for your flying and adds choices for final or alternate destinations on every flight.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Aviation Supplies and Academics has released the latest edition of Bob Gardner's Say Again, Please: Guide to Radio Communications. The new edition adds material on GPS procedures, runway incursion avoidance, and instrument flight rules (IFR) procedures, while updating information on the latest communications equipment. The book features examples of typical radio transmissions to clearly demonstrate the correct communication procedures so you learn it right the first time and know how to say what needs to be said. The price is $19.95. For more information or to order, see the Web site.

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: While planning for a solo cross-country flight, I overheard another pilot talk about high density altitude affecting his airplane's performance. I'm not sure why this is a problem. Can AOPA help explain this phenomenon?

Answer: High density altitude is a condition resulting primarily from hot temperatures and/or high altitude. Simply put, air pressure decreases as temperature and/or altitude increases. The result is diminished aircraft performance. Heat fools aircraft into thinking they are higher than they really are, causing takeoff and landing distances to be longer, reducing climb rates, and lowering service and absolute ceilings. Humidity also is a factor in density altitude; its effect is primarily related to engine power and secondarily related to aerodynamic efficiency. A pilot should refer to the airplane's operating handbook for performance considerations and calculations. For more information, read AOPA's subject report, Density Altitude .

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