The following stories from the May 20, 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 TRANSITIONING AMONG SINGLES: DIFFERENCES CAN BE SURPRISING
When you transition from one single-engine aircraft to another, the checkout process can vary depending upon the aircraft, your experience, and other factors. Going from a Cessna 150 to a Cessna 172 might not be that difficult, but transitioning from a high wing to a low wing or a nosewheel to a tailwheel can require more time. Budd Davisson provides a general guide to follow when transitioning among singles in the April 2003 AOPA Flight Training
feature "Formal Introduction: Get properly acquainted with a new make and mode."
Davisson recommends reading the pilot's operating handbook, studying the takeoff and landing performance and flap settings, and becoming familiar with the cockpit. He also lists some maneuvers that can help you understand the handling characteristics. My ePilot - Jet Interest HONDA JET ENGINE GETTING READY FOR MARKET
Early testing has already improved efficiency and lowered fuel flow for Honda's 1,700-pound-thrust HF118 jet engine aimed at the very-light jet market. Testing is performed jointly with GE under a new company, GE Honda Aero Engines. Future HF118 models will reach 3,500 pounds of thrust. While much of the testing is done in Japan, a test facility in Peebles, Ohio, has been constructed and has already hosted one test run. The company expects to achieve a precedent-setting 5,000-hour TBO with no interim hot-section inspection. My ePilot - Turboprop Interest TURBINES AND PISTONS: MORE IN COMMON THAN YOU THINK
Whether you spend most of your time cruising the flight levels in a turboprop or dream of that from your piston single, those who don't fly both types of aircraft regularly might not notice how similar flying them can be. "Minute-by-minute planning isn't something faced only by piston pilots attempting to pick their way through weather and from fuel stop to fuel stop. Despite the greater capabilities of their airplanes, turbine pilots face similar issues," explains AOPA Pilot
Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines in his column, "Waypoints: The turbine-vs.-piston debate"
in the December 2002 AOPA Pilot
magazine. Haines has flown many piston and turbine airplanes and describes the similarities while recounting a couple of his cross-countries in a turboprop, including a transatlantic flight. My ePilot - Multiengine Interest A TALE OF TWIN TRAINING
Hang out at any airport long enough, and you'll have shared and listened to more stories about flying and flight training than you can count. As a multi-rated pilot, you have gathered experience and wisdom that you can pass on to those building hours. But you can still learn from other pilots' tales as well. Greg Brown shares portions of his multiengine training and checkride in the "Flying Carpet" column "Sky King and the Apache"
in the August 2003 AOPA Flight Training
. If you are getting ready for a checkride or flight review in your twin, test your multiengine knowledge first with Sporty's Safety Quiz
. My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips DESCENT PLANNING
When you begin cross-country flying, altitude decisions require a new kind of planning. When flying locally, altitude selection consists of observing local airspace rules, performing maneuvers safely, and satisfying any noise-abatement procedures. Climbs are brief on short hops to airports to practice takeoffs and landings. When you start flying longer distances, you'll climb higher to reach safe cruise altitudes or to take advantage of favorable winds aloft.
That may leave you wondering when to begin your descent. "On one of those rare good days when you have a strong tailwind in cruise, it can be tough to leave that fantastic groundspeed up there and begin a descent to the destination airport. The urge is to delay beginning the descent until the last possible moment. Doing so, however, creates the potential for having to descend too rapidly near the airport to avoid overshooting it, or arriving too high and probably too fast to make a normal, stable final descent and approach," Mark Twombly observed in the March 2005 AOPA Flight Training
column "Continuing Ed: Going Up, Coming Down."
You can base your descent planning on either the distance to be consumed or time. Assuming a typical trainer's comfortable 500-foot-per-minute descent rate from cruise altitude, how much distance will a 7,000-foot descent require? "Drop those zeros and you have seven; multiply that by three, and you've got your ballpark range for starting the descent: 21 miles," Thomas A. Horne explained in "Letdown Lowdown,"
April 2000 AOPA Pilot
. To make the decision based on time required, determine how much altitude you must lose to descend to the destination's traffic pattern. Divide by the descent rate. Descending 7,000 feet will take 14 minutes at 500 fpm. If you know your aircraft, you already know which power settings deliver the desired descent rate at the selected airspeed.
"Personally, when I am 30 miles out and high, I start thinking about getting down. I consider high to be anything above 5,000 feet agl. I can then amend the 500-foot-per-minute rule to fit the altitude," advised Alton K. Marsh in his comprehensive descent-planning primer "Get Down!"
in the February 2003 AOPA Pilot
Let these veteran pilots' ideas and experience help you take the guesswork out of descending from unfamiliar altitudes. My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products SAFEGUARD APPROACH PLATES WITH SPORTY'S CHART PROTECTORS
It's nice to keep things tidy in the cockpit. Sporty's announces Quick Release Chart Protectors, which are plastic sleeves designed to hold instrument approach plates in their binder. The sleeves are designed to permit pilots to insert or remove the approach plates without opening the binder, keeping charts in good shape. The sleeves are 89 cents each or 50 for $35. They're available in sizes to fit both Jeppesen and FAA charts. For more information or to order, see the Web site
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:
During my research to find a flight school, I noticed that some schools advertise being Part 61 and others Part 141. Can you tell me what this means? Answer:
The terms "Part 61" and "Part 141" refer to the Federal Aviation Regulations under which flight training is conducted. Both kinds of flight schools are approved to instruct candidates for pilot certificates and train pilots to meet the same practical test standards. Some schools offer both training options. A Part 61 school
offers a flexible training program geared to meet the student's specific needs and schedule. The minimum number of flight hours required for private pilot certification at a Part 61 school is 40 hours. A Part 141 school
has greater FAA oversight, more rigid schedules, and more paperwork. However, because of this, the minimum required flight hours for private pilot certification is reduced to 35 hours. (Bear in mind, though, that most student pilots log more flight training hours than the minimum-the average is 60 to 70 hours at either type of school.) For more information, read AOPA's subject report, Part 61 and Part 141 Flight Schools