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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 25AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 25

The following stories from the June 24, 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 - Own/May Own Interest
Aircraft owners and pilots can perform many preventive maintenance tasks to learn more about their aircraft and save some money. "These chores-which include tasks such as touch-up painting, changing tires, servicing shock struts, and even making simple repairs to fairings and cowlings-help owners learn about their airplanes, and can eventually help move a few maintenance bucks over to the flying budget," writes Steven W. Ells in " Preventive Maintenance Primer" in the October 2001 AOPA Pilot. But pilots must approach all preventive maintenance tasks with a disciplined mindset, he cautions. AOPA's A Pilot' s Guide to Preventive Maintenance provides some helpful tips.

My ePilot - Other Interest
The airshow stars of today-Sean D. Tucker, Mike Goulian, Wayne Handley, and Red Baron Pizza Squadron wingman Bill Stein-want to give something back to the industry by training the stars of tomorrow. This year they chose three young pilots for personal training and to perform this summer at Oshkosh: 22-year-old Nick Nilmeyer, a college student who flies an Extra 300; Jessy Panzer, 26, a former U.S. Air Force Academy flight instructor and now an air ambulance jet pilot from Lincoln, Nebraska; and 23-year-old Eric Tucker, Sean Tucker's son, who is a senior at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo and pilots a Pitts S-2C. The pilots will perform at airshows in Pittsburgh, Dayton, and Muskegon, Michigan, before going to Oshkosh.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Maybe you fly from a swanky flight school where your training aircraft always awaits you just the way you need it, fueled to your specifications, engine oil levels full, windshield sparkling. Perhaps you aviate in more of a do-it-yourself environment where you see to your own needs, including sometimes having to move your airplane onto the ramp with the help of your instructor or a line attendant. In either case, once you start flying to new destinations, you can be sure that you will someday find yourself maneuvering your aircraft on a crowded ramp into a tight parking spot. To avoid damaging your aircraft or someone else's, and to maneuver into tight parking most effectively, there's nothing like a towbar. Make sure you have one aboard. Then haul it out and use it when parking or preparing to depart from snug surroundings.

"Towbars are essential gear for ground handling, and untold numbers of prop spinners have been damaged when someone decided to move an airplane by pushing on the spinner. The damage may not be immediately apparent, but chances are good that the backing plate will be weakened or cracked by this kind of maneuver. Likewise, horizontal stabilizers have been damaged when someone lifts the nose of an aircraft to pivot it around," wrote Bruce Landsberg, executive director of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, in his February 2001 "Instructor Report" column in AOPA Flight Training. That may seem surprising considering how often some pilots manipulate aircraft this way. A look at your aircraft's pilot's operating handbook (POH), however, will probably reveal a recommendation to use a towbar when possible. And the foundation's Safety Advisor on propeller safety also argues persuasively against using the prop as a ground-handling device. Download it from the AOPA Online Safety Center.

Consult your aircraft's POH to learn the limits on how far you can turn the nosewheel during a tow. For example, the 1980 Cessna 152's limit is 30 degrees. After positioning for parking, complete the process by securely tying down the aircraft, as discussed in the January 23, 2004, Training Tips. Later, when preparing to depart from tight quarters, haul out the towbar again and position your aircraft for an engine startup that will respect the safety of people and property nearby.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
If your flight school needs some functional wall decor, here's a full-color plastic laminated map of the United States that shows time zones, selected VORs, and landmarks like major cities, rivers, mountains, lakes, national parks, and ski areas. Obviously it doesn't depict such things as temporary flight restrictions and other prohibited airspace, so you'll need to purchase the appropriate charts for a journey, but this map could provide a starting point by allowing you to mark tentative routes in grease pencil, then wipe them away. It measures 26 inches by 52 inches and sells for $38.50. Order it online from Aircraft Spruce and Specialty.

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: I am not yet a pilot, and I am interested in earning a sport pilot certificate. Does AOPA have information on what training is required?

Answer: A sport pilot applicant will need to have at least 20 hours of total flight time and 15 hours of flight training from an instructor, plus meet other aeronautical knowledge training requirements. Unlike other pilot certificate levels (i.e., recreational, private, commercial, or airline transport pilot) that require a pilot to hold a medical certificate, the sport pilot certificate requires the pilot to hold a valid U.S. driver's license. For additional information, read AOPA's recently updated publication, Learning to Fly and see AOPA's Sport Pilot Web page.

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