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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 29AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 29

The following stories from the July 22, 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
Aeronautical engineer and entrepreneur Robert Bornhofen, designer of the five-place Maverick TwinJet homebuilt, has refocused his efforts on a single-engine aircraft known as the Sport-Jet. Designed for the Williams FJ33 engine, the very-light jet (VLJ) is aimed at the owner-pilot market and incorporates features that Bornhofen believes will address issues such as insurability for aviators without previous experience either with turbine aircraft or high-altitude operations. See AOPA Online for more on this project.

My ePilot - Experimental Interest
Zenith Aircraft Company recently announced that it is offering its Zodiac XL as a quick-build kit that should require 50 percent less build time than a standard kit. The aircraft meets the light-sport aircraft standards and can be flown by a sport pilot, but the kits will be certified as experimental amateur built. The kit, which will make its debut next week at EAA AirVenture, comes with the tail and fuselage sections riveted together. The wings will be built, taken apart for shipping, and then need to be reassembled by the builder. Zenith already has about 25 orders for the quick-build kit. The Zodiac XL cruises at 118 knots, burns 5 gallons per hour at 75 percent power, and can land and take off in about 550 feet. The quick-build kit costs $23,975. For more information, see the Web site.

My ePilot - Helicopter Interest
The first International Helicopter Safety Symposium will be held September 26 through 29 in Montreal, Canada. The event is being sponsored by the American Helicopter Society International, the FAA, Transport Canada Civil Aviation, the NTSB, and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, among others. The symposium is the first in a series of efforts to reduce the number of accidents involving helicopters. The participating organizations have set a goal of reducing the industry-wide accident rate by 80 percent within 10 years. For more information or to register for the conference, see the Web site.

My ePilot - Light-Sport Aircraft Interest
Another entrant is headed for the light-sport aircraft market. The Sport Cub, featuring a cabin 4 inches wider than the older style Piper Cub, recently made its maiden flight as part of the effort to win certification. The aircraft, featuring a full glass cockpit, will be on display at Oshkosh and already has 27 orders. An AOPA Pilot editor and photographer have been at work at CubCrafters in Yakima, Washington, on an upcoming report for the magazine. CubCrafters has refurbished Cubs for 25 years and has built new Cubs for six years.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
It's a fortunate truth that some of the challenges that face student pilots are easily resolved.

Many trainees struggle to maintain altitude in straight-and-level flight, until a revelation makes the problem disappear. What obstacle could be so formidable yet vanish so quickly? An obsession with the tiny movements of your flight instruments' needles. Relying excessively on an instrument such as the vertical speed indicator (VSI) is a common example. Don't chase needles! It can add hours, cost, and pain to your training.

The VSI is a useful instrument, with its display of trends, and then after a lag, rates of climb or descent. Using it incorrectly-or overreacting to its display-can leave a pilot despairing of being able to hold an altitude. But turbulence, thermal currents, or pitch oscillations can put the needle momentarily in motion. It may just as suddenly settle down.

When you begin a climb or descent, the VSI senses a change in static pressure and displays the initial trend on the face of the instrument. The time between this display and the indication of a stabilized rate is the lag, as explained in Chapter 6 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. Note: "Rough control technique and turbulence can extend the lag period and cause erratic and unstable rate indications." For a mechanical analysis of why a VSI is prone to these inaccuracies, see "Getting to the Point: Systems Made Simple" in the March 2004 AOPA Flight Training.

As noted, the VSI is linked to the aircraft's static port, which is a component of the pitot-static system. The airspeed indicator (ASI) and altimeter also harness pitot-static information, and all respond differently to static-port blockages. Recapping from David Montoya's February 2002 AOPA Flight Training feature "Mastering the Flight Instruments." "The ASI will indicate a lower-than-correct airspeed when the airplane is at an altitude above where the blockage occurred, and a higher-than-correct airspeed when the airplane is at an altitude below where blockage occurred. The altimeter freezes on the altitude where the error occurred, and the VSI settles on zero fpm vertical velocity."

Use your VSI to confirm desired climb or descent rates. Don't let it lead you astray when the task at hand is flying straight and level by visual references.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
So you're a whiz at operating the Garmin GNS 530 or 430 nav/com, and it holds no mysteries for you. Pegasus Interactive Inc. invites you to take your proficiency to the next level with its new series of advanced computer-based training programs for Garmin 530/430 users. Volume 1 of the VFLITE GNS 530/430 Advanced Training Series teaches challenging IFR procedures and tasks such as amended routings, intercepting radials, and unpublished holds. The program utilizes a visual, hands-on approach facilitated by animated sequences that use GNS imagery with supporting animation. Volume 1 is available for Windows and Macintosh systems and sells for $99. For more information, 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: My student pilot certificate recently expired, and I was wondering if the solo endorsements on the expired certificate are still valid, or does my CFI need to provide new solo endorsements to replace those on the original certificate?

Answer: According to Chapter 6 of the Pilot Examiner's Handbook, 8710.3D, upon expiration of a student pilot certificate, the airman may apply for a new student pilot certificate and should keep the original certificate bearing all the endorsements that still remain valid.

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