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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 38AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 38

The following stories from the September 23, 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
Eclipse Aviation says it has successfully completed airframe static testing on the Eclipse 500 jet, and the FAA has initially cleared it to a 10,000-hour airframe lifetime. Testing was conducted on the wings, fuselage, and flight control systems without failure, which means there won't be a need for any additional testing or redesign work, Eclipse said. Another test airframe will undergo fatigue testing next spring to validate continued airworthiness. The results of the fatigue testing will determine if the airframe lifetime can be extended. Eclipse estimates that the lifetime will be more than 20,000 hours.

My ePilot - Own/May Own Interest
Thinking about installing some new instruments in your aircraft or making other modifications? Before you do, make sure you understand the regulations regarding the installation of parts. You can find information about installing replacement parts on type-certificated aircraft in FAR 21.303. Steven W. Ells also provides helpful insight in "Making Modifications: Parts installation guidelines" in the November 2004 AOPA Pilot. He even explains owner-produced parts: "This sounds a little strange but it's true-owner-produced parts are acceptable replacement parts-provided they conform to FAA approved data and are installed only on the owner's airplane."

My ePilot - Helicopter Interest
If you love helicopters or enjoy tinkering with aircraft, you might consider pursuing helicopter maintenance as a career. The Helicopter Association International is offering the 2005 Bill Sanderson Aviation Maintenance Technician Scholarship Award Program, which will give five winners a boost into that profession. Applicants should recently have earned their airframe and powerplant certificate or be close to graduation from an FAA approved Part 147 aviation maintenance technician school. Winners can choose to attend a course from companies like Agusta Aerospace Corporation, Bell Helicopter Textron, and others, or a course by Southern Illinois University. The application deadline is October 31. See the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
What cruise-power setting do you employ on cross-country flights and when commuting to and from your practice area? With fuel prices high and training budget limited, revisit your pilot's operating handbook and look up your trainer's economy power settings. Use them at the next opportunity (especially if you own your aircraft or pay for avgas each flight) and note the performance. This is not only efficient piloting but good practice for later, when you may likely fly more complicated aircraft and manage their fuel systems. Next, review the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor Fuel Awareness , which you can download from the AOPA Online Safety Center.

"An engine produces the most power at the best power mixture setting, which is slightly richer than best economy. At best power, the exhaust temperature is typically 100 degrees F to 150 degrees F cooler than peak exhaust gas temperature (EGT). Although best power results in a higher airspeed, it also increases fuel consumption," Robert N. Rossier explained in the April 1997 Flight Training feature "Power Management."

Using best economy power settings recommended for your aircraft involves a combination of reduced throttle settings and leaning the fuel-air mixture to specific settings referenced to peak EGT. How to lean with an EGT was the subject of the October 3, 2003, Training Tips. No EGT on board? You can set economy power manually using power settings provided in cruise performance charts and leaning as recommended. The results are impressive! For example, according to the performance figures given for a 1980 Cessna 152 in cruise at 8,000 feet under standard conditions, cutting back from 71 percent brake horsepower (bhp) to 58 percent bhp (a 200-rpm throttle reduction) reduces fuel flow by 1.1 gallons per hour; true airspeed decreases from 104 knots to 94 kt. That is to say, an 18.3-percent power reduction cuts fuel burn by 19 percent, while speed is reduced only 9 percent. Even during training operations, the Cessna 152 POH predicts fuel savings of 13 percent using economy power instead of a full rich mixture. Your training aircraft may provide similar fuel savings.

Burning fewer gallons per hour lets your aircraft stay aloft longer if necessary: That's your aircraft's endurance profile. So start thinking of fuel economy as a key component of your flight planning.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Once upon a time everybody calculated weight and balance with pencil, paper, and a pilot's operating handbook. Times change, of course, and so do the tools: W&B can be determined with electronic flight computers, software programs, personal digital assistants-and now, mobile phones. Smartsoft's Flight WTK 2.1 weight-and-balance software program allows pilots of airplanes and helicopters to perform W&B calculations on a cellular telephone in under one minute. It can be used on any phone that supports Java. Version 2.1 comes with a selection of aircraft and is $59.95. A free version, Flight WTK Lite, includes all of the features of the regular version but comes with just one aircraft (the Piper PA28 181) installed. If you like the program, you pay $29.95 to download each additional aircraft. 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 almost completed flight training toward a sport pilot certificate. Once I complete the checkride, what documents will I need to carry with me when I fly?

Answer: According to FAR 61.3(a), in order to act as pilot in command (PIC) or as a required crewmember of a U.S.-registered aircraft, you are required to carry your pilot certificate and a government-issued photo identification card. Exercising the privileges of a sport pilot certificate does not require a current and valid airman medical certificate, but it does require a current and valid U.S. driver's license. Finally, FAR 61.51(i) requires a sport pilot to carry evidence of any required authorized instructor endorsements. These logbook endorsements contain the category, class, and make and model of aircraft authorized to be flown by the sport pilot. To review what endorsements you may need, review Part 61 Subpart J. You can also view additional information on sport pilot in AOPA's subject report on sport pilot and light sport aircraft.

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