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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 34AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 34

The following stories from the August 26, 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
Pilots who have flown Aviat Aircraft's Husky know that operating the flaps is not the most convenient of tasks. But Aviat recently created a new flap handle that provides three settings, requires less travel, and is always extended in front of the pilot. The new handle will come standard on all future Huskys and can be retrofitted to older models. The retrofit kit runs $532. For more information, see the Web site.

My ePilot - Jet Interest
The FAA has adopted a new airworthiness directive for certain Cessna Citation 525, 525A, and 525B airplanes. The AD requires owners to install identification sleeves on the wiring for both engine fire extinguisher bottles. The FAA acted on reports of incorrectly connecting wires to the extinguisher bottles. The FAA estimates that the AD affects 578 airplanes in the U.S. registry. The AD becomes effective October 7. Read the AD on AOPA Online.

My ePilot - Helicopter Interest
Many fixed-wing pilots have a fascination with helicopters-their ability to make vertical takeoffs and landings, hover, and even fly backwards. But have you ever thought about getting a helicopter add-on to your certificate? Read how Karen Kahn, a writer and a captain for a major U.S. airline, learned how to fly a helicopter in "Give it a whirl," in the May 2004 AOPA Flight Training. "Flying helicopters is a look at the world of very precise aviating," she writes. "On the one hand, it's a whole new world of exciting slow-speed flying, and on the other a different view of an aviation world you already know and love."

My ePilot - Own/May Own Interest
One of the responsibilities, and costs, that comes with owning your own aircraft is making sure that it complies with all applicable airworthiness directives (ADs). An airworthiness inspector (AI) confirms that an aircraft is in an airworthy condition (and all ADs have been complied with) when he or she signs off the aircraft after an annual. But there is a lot that you, as an owner, can do to help. Steven W. Ells, himself an AI, suggests creating an AD list in "ADs for the Owner," in the December 2001 AOPA Pilot. He provides helpful tips on how to access and keep track of new ADs.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Have you sometimes wondered why flight instructors make such a fuss about your remembering to hold back-pressure on the yoke after the aircraft touches down during a normal landing? Why not simply lower the nose and apply brakes?

The answer lies in something called aerodynamic braking. Before the rolling aircraft is firmly planted on its wheels, the same drag induced by flying at a high angle of attack helps to slow the aircraft on the ground. Lowering the nose at this stage would cause the aircraft to accelerate, making control on the ground tricky. "After the main wheels make initial contact with the ground, back-elevator pressure should be held to maintain a positive angle of attack for aerodynamic braking, and to hold the nosewheel off the ground until the airplane decelerates. As the airplane's momentum decreases, back-elevator pressure may be gradually relaxed to allow the nosewheel to gently settle onto the runway," explains Chapter 8 of the Airplane Flying Handbook. That's when nosewheel steering and any needed braking come in.

Gain comfort with the concept and use of aerodynamic braking, and you will find that not-so-normal landings also are easier than they seem. No-flap landings are one example; the technique is described in the January 2005 AOPA Flight Training feature "No Flaps? No Problem." In this case, the use of aerodynamic braking helps make up for the absence of the drag that would have been added by using flaps. So then it will come as no surprise that aerodynamic braking plays an important role in a proper soft-field landing-definitely a situation where prompt deceleration after touchdown is desired, but so is keeping the nosewheel off rough ground as long as possible. Quite a balancing act, or so it seems. But not really. "During a soft-field landing, how much aerodynamic braking is enough? Expect your examiner to ask such questions. In your answers, remember that controllability is the overriding concern," counsels Dave Wilkerson in his informative "Checkride" column in the May 2001 AOPA Flight Training.

Aerodynamic braking is a control resource when you need it most: That delicate interval when an aircraft is part flying machine, part ground vehicle.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Pilots who fly or aspire to fly pressurized aircraft can complete the ground training requirement for an FAA high-altitude endorsement through a new online course offered by King Schools. "High Altitude Endorsement Ground Training" covers high-altitude aerodynamics, high-altitude meteorology, respiration and hypoxia, using supplemental oxygen, pressurization, and FAA oxygen requirements. The training takes two hours to complete, and you can review the material up to 90 days after you've completed the course. It costs $249. 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've been experiencing difficulty transitioning smoothly from the approach into the flare for landing. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer: Each landing consists of several phases, and more often than not, student pilots learning to perform consistent and smooth landings miss a critical phase of the landing-leveling off. A momentary level-off can help you "feel" what the airplane wants to do and provide indications as to when you should flare or apply more back-pressure on the controls. Too much airspeed and the airplane isn't ready to touch down; too little airspeed and it might drop too quickly, indicating the need for a little power. Once you've mastered this technique you'll find that the flare is timed more appropriately and you'll make better landings. For more information, see AOPA Online.

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