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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 21AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 21

The following stories from the May 27, 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 - Personal/Recreational Interest
June 17 is the target date for pilot Ted Waltman and his family to start a journey (with the aid of the AOPA Real-Time Flight Planner) in a huge Canadian-produced Murphy Moose tailwheel airplane to and around Alaska. The journey will be documented on a new Web site. They will make several stops in Canada after departing from Lakewood, Colorado, and plan stops in more remote regions of Alaska. Waltman promises planning tips on his Web site for others going to Alaska, because he found present-day planning sources like videos and Web surfing efforts to be either out of date or time consuming.

My ePilot - Jet Interest
With its May 3 announcement that it will design and build a very light jet (VLJ) for the owner-flown and entry-level jet market, Brazilian manufacturer Embraer, known for its commuter and regional aircraft, begins a major thrust into general and business aviation. See this special report on AOPA Online.

On June 5, NASA, private industry, and numerous university aviation research departments will offer a demonstration in Danville, Virginia, of what they call the small aircraft transportation system (SATS), now more commonly referred to as a nationwide point-to-point air taxi system. How large a market will it be? Best guesses of government, industry, and market analysts range from 3,500 aircraft to 4,500 aircraft over a 10-year period. However, one analyst told The Salt Lake Tribune that the revolution isn't going to happen. Richard Aboulafia of the Fairfax, Virginia-based Teal Group called the idea of small general aviation airports nationwide linked by air taxis "fantasyland," and said it will not revolutionize air travel. In that same Tribune article on May 21 an FAA spokesman was quoted saying the opposite, that traditional aviation (an apparent reference to airline travel) is "going away."

My ePilot - Own/May Own Interest
Choosing to buy an aircraft is a major decision. If you opt for a used aircraft, you'll need to do some extra research. You have to sort through advertising resources to find an aircraft, consider its condition and price, test fly the one you are interested in, do some background checks on its past, and much more. AOPA provides a "Tips for buying used aircraft" guide to lead you through the process. You'll find information on financing, insurance, registration, the spare parts market, and more. Links to more than a dozen articles from AOPA Pilot and AOPA Flight Training are listed on the page, pointing you to additional information.

My ePilot - Other Interest
The FAA has granted supplemental type certificate approval for installing Chelton's FlightLogic synthetic vision EFIS systems in the Bell 204/205 helicopter. The systems feature the Chelton primary flight display with forward-looking synthetic vision, a multifunction moving map display, GPS WAAS, full FMS, helicopter TAWS, air data computer with fuel totalizer, solid-state strap-down AHRS, master caution voice warning system, digital flight recorder, and NVG compatibility. The system is already approved for the Bell 206, 206L, 407, and the Eurocopter AS350/355.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Nothing about a cross-country flight is more basic, or more informative, than the line on a chart representing the route that flight will take: its course line. Why is a little line so big on information?

Its length represents the distance you'll fly, measured in nautical miles. Its bearing, corrected through several calculations to a compass heading, allows you to select an altitude using the hemispheric rule (discussed in the February 7, 2003 Training Tips), considering limiting factors such as terrain elevation. Your course line may cross different classes of regulated airspace (review Chapter 3 of the Aeronautical Information Manual), requiring you to comply with communications responsibilities or avoid restricted areas. One of the most valuable, least-appreciated benefits of careful course line scrutiny is that it gives you an excellent idea of how close you will come to alternate airports while aloft. Survey those fields as you prepare for your flight.

The line on your sectional chart will alert you to the need to look up other information. What if your line penetrates a National Park Service or U.S. Forest Service area? How do you identify such boundaries? Find the appropriate information along the margins of your sectional chart. Note that aircraft are requested to maintain at least 2,000 feet above such areas. Other data provided on the information panels of your chart include frequencies for control towers or approach control and operational details, including altitudes and hours of use, of restricted areas and military operations areas (MOAs). Augment this information by checking notices to airmen (notams) during your preflight briefing.

Now you and your instructor can do even more to get ready for cross-countries using AOPA's Real-Time Flight Planner, which was the subject of the "Instructor Report" column in the February 2004 AOPA Flight Training. Manually chart some practice routes, plug in forecast winds aloft for your groundspeed and fuel calculations, then check your work against this versatile program's output. "Especially in areas where temporary flight restrictions are common and ever-changing in dimension, review these theoretical routes often to impress on your new pilots the urgency of getting up-to-date information about flight restrictions," the article counsels instructors. With so much information at your disposal, any pilot's cross-country planning can be thorough and efficient.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Student pilots of fixed-wing aircraft are familiar with "kits"-books, software, and/or other learning tools packaged together. Here's one for the rotary-wing student: the Jeppesen Schweizer Helicopter Training Program Private/Commercial Standard Student Kit, available from The kit's helicopter training manual is tailored to the Schweizer Model 300CB but can be used in any helicopter training program. Included in the $210.43 price are a workbook, FAR Part 141 training syllabus, file folder, FAA testing materials, FAR/AIM book, and a Schweizer 300CB information manual, all in one bag.

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 one of my recent solo cross-country flights, I heard a pilot request "flight following." Can you tell me what this means?

Answer: Flight following is an air traffic control service that provides traffic advisories to VFR pilots as controller workload permits. (Providing services to IFR flights is the priority for ATC.) To request flight following, contact the nearest ATC facility such as an approach control or center. After telling them who you are, where you are, and where you are headed, you will be assigned a transponder code. You then become a radar target on the controller's screen, identified by your transponder code. ATC will advise you of traffic that might conflict with your route of flight. Even though ATC is providing traffic advisories, you, as pilot in command, are still responsible for traffic avoidance, so maintain your traffic scan at all times! For more information, read "VFR Traffic Advisories."

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