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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 3AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 3

The following stories from the January 21, 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
Bombardier's Global Express XRS business jet completed its first flight last Sunday. Manny Garyfalakis flew the aircraft for four hours, conducting stall system checks, lateral stability testing, and a series of engine, pressurization, and environmental control checks. Garyfalakis reached an altitude of 47,000 feet and a maximum true airspeed of 518 knots during the flight. The ultra-long-range jet has a maximum fuel weight of 44,975 pounds and can fly 6,150 nautical miles at Mach 0.85 non-stop under certain conditions. The jet features a zero flaps takeoff capability that allows it to operate at airports at higher altitudes and temperatures, according to the company. Customer deliveries of the aircraft are on schedule to begin the first quarter of 2006.

My ePilot - Own/May Own
Short flights for $100 hamburgers, aerobatics, long cross-countries to business or vacation destinations-what's your flying style? When deciding what kind of aircraft to buy, the type of flying you enjoy will play a major role in what you choose. A twin isn't practical for short, 50-nautical-mile flights, and a Champ won't work for frequent 500-nm trips. Your certification and ratings, the length of runways you typically fly into, family size, and other factors also will influence your decision. To learn how to find an aircraft that suits your flying style, read Robert Snow's February 1997 Flight Training article "I'll take one of those, please: How to find out what airplane you need."

My ePilot - Sport Pilot Interest
Participants in the first sport pilot examiner initial training course now have something to fly. The FAA's Light Sport Aviation Branch certified five aircraft as Experimental Light-Sport Aircraft (ELSA) so that the pilots would be able to complete training. This came just in time for the course, January 17 through 22, in Sebring, Florida. The FAA approved a MaxAir Drifter ultralight, two Air Creation weight-shift control, and two Powrachute Pegasus aircraft for the course.

The Sport Pilot and Light-Sport Aircraft rule created two new aircraft categories for the private pilot certificate: weight-shift control and powered parachute. Last week, the FAA released the practical test standards (PTS) for each. Download the PTS from AOPA Online.

My ePilot - Professional Pilot Interest
Pilot hiring increased almost 50 percent from 4,743 in 2003 to 9,382 in 2004, according to the latest hiring summary by AIR, Inc. It marks the most pilot hires in one year since 2001. National carriers hired 3,948; jet operators 2,012; non-jets 1,446; majors 1,139; and fractionals 482. The numbers are still low, but each is nearly double its 2003 total. Airlines hit the bottom of the cycle in 2003; now the number of pilots on furlough has leveled off and should decrease during 2005, said AIR, Inc. President Kit Darby. About 9,100 pilots currently are on furlough. AIR, Inc. forecasts 8,000 to 10,000 new hires for 2005. Major cargo carriers, fractional operators, and national airlines show the most promise, according to Darby. He also expects some major airlines gradually to return to hiring.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
As temperatures bottom out for the year during mid-winter, more pilots must switch into cold-weather operating mode. This includes using the proper engine oil, preheating aircraft engines, and verifying during preflight inspections that pitot tubes and static ports are not iced over and that any frost (see the January 17, 2003 "Training Tips") is removed from wings and control surfaces before takeoff.

You have probably learned that engine preheats make start-ups easier, reducing the risk of flooded carburetors and possible engine fires-but that's not the only reason to spend the extra time (and perhaps, money) on a preheat. "Failure to switch to a less viscous oil, or failure to adequately preheat an engine when temperatures drop, can result in metal-to-metal contact within the engine because of lack of lubrication. This type of wear is called 'scuffing.' Camshaft lobes and lifter bodies, pistons, and cylinder walls are especially susceptible to scuffing wear caused by inadequate lubrication during cold starts," wrote Steven W. Ells in the December 2000 AOPA Pilot article "Cold Weather Whys and Hows."

Pilot safety and engine protection-two good reasons to preheat. But there's more to protect aboard your aircraft than just the engine. Once you are up and running, be cautious in how you warm up the cabin. Yes, it's cold sitting there, but windshields and cockpit instruments should be warmed up gradually. Be sure that chilled cables and trim actuators function correctly before you depart. For some insights into how working pilots cope with, and respect, truly cold weather, see the December 2004 AOPA Flight Training column "The Weather Never Sleeps" by Jack Williams.

Much information can be found on winter flying preparation and technique. A good place to start studying is AOPA Online's "Winter Flying" compilation of resources. Consult the pilot's operating handbook (POH) for your aircraft for specific recommendations from the manufacturer. Query your instructor or a mechanic about any questions that aren't addressed in the POH. Before flight, check notices to airmen (notams) for braking-action reports and any temporary runway closures caused by snow-removal operations. Dress for the cold conditions. And always keep emergency equipment on board so that you can stay warm and safe in the event of an off-airport landing. Winter flying requires careful preparation, but it also offers unique rewards. Go up and take a look!

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
What do you get when you meld a personal digital assistant (PDA) with a handheld GPS receiver? Garmin's iQue 3600a, said to be aviation's first "ready to fly" PDA, was announced on Monday. The device has a 3.8-inch color display, a built-in base map, terrain, obstacle, and Jeppesen database, plus the usual PDA functions. No stylus is needed to access the navigation features; place the device in its included yoke mount and navigate using dedicated Direct-To, Nearest, Menu, Escape, Enter, and directional rocker buttons common to Garmin's other handheld aviation GPS units. The iQue 3600a is expected to have a retail price of $1,099. 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: I just started my flight training for the private pilot certificate and am becoming more familiar with the aircraft preflight routine. When draining the fuel samples from the tanks, I noticed the samples sometimes contain water. I want to learn more about fuel systems and how to keep water out of the fuel tanks. Do you have any information online that would be helpful?

Answer: An article on fuel systems, types of fuel tanks, and preflight tips from the AOPA Pilot archives is available online, as is safety information on preventing water from getting into the fuel tanks from the January 2001 issue of AOPA Flight Training . Water can get into the fuel system several ways, but probably the most common problem is the condensation that can collect inside the fuel tanks when they are only partially full. A good practice is to keep the fuel tanks filled after each flight, and especially after the last flight of the day.

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