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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 39AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 39

The following stories from the September 30, 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 - Personal/Recreational Interest
Remember why you first fell in love with flying? Was it the images passed down from early aviators of flying an open-cockpit biplane and wearing a leather flight cap, goggles, and white scarf that billows in the wind? Fortunately, you don't have to live the fantasy through a book-you can experience it firsthand at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida. From October 1, 2005, through May 30, 2006, Waldo Wright's Flying Service will offer rides in a restored 1929 New Standard D-25 Biplane or 1942 Boeing Stearman PT-17. You can see what it was like for barnstorming pilots who took curious spectators on their first flights, or you can take the controls of the World War II trainer. For more information about these flights, visit the company's Web site.

My ePilot - Experimental Interest
Groen Brothers Aviation announced September 22 that it had sold its 100th SparrowHawk Gyroplane kit. During the three years the company has been selling the kits, it has sold 27 SparrowHawk P kits (an early model) and 73 SparrowHawk kits. The gyroplanes are built under the Experimental category but, depending upon the weight, can be flown by sport pilots, according to the company. A SparrowHawk can take off in as little as 100 feet, climb at 500 fpm, and cruise at 70 knots, while burning 6 gph at 80-percent power. The SparrowHawk kit costs $34,500.

My ePilot - Light Sport Aircraft Interest
The list of special light sport aircraft continues to grow, and the newest addition, the MD-3 SportRider, received certification on September 15. The aircraft is produced in the Czech Republic by Italian manufacturer FlyItalia and is distributed in the United States by AveoUSA in Boerne, Texas. A 100-horsepower Rotax 912S engine powers the aircraft, producing a maximum cruise speed of 120 knots and a 1,180-fpm rate of climb, while burning only 4 gph at economy power settings. The aircraft has a stall speed of about 37 knots with flaps extended, takeoff distance of 350 feet, and landing distance of 450 feet. The base price for the SportRider is $69,000. Customization options include a ballistic parachute, folding wings, a choice of control stick or yoke, and more. AveoUSA expects to take delivery of one aircraft per month through December. For more information, see the Web site.

Van's Aircraft is at work on a light sport model you won't see until late in 2006 to be called the RV-12. The bubble-canopy aircraft will have removable wings, be trailerable, and seat two people side by side. The engine is a 100-horsepower Rotax 912S. So far the company has built the wings and tail, and has a wooden mockup of the cabin. The company emphasizes it is a proof-of-concept airplane, not a prototype. The tricycle-gear aircraft will be offered first as a kit and then as a factory-built aircraft. Fuel will be carried in the fuselage behind the passengers. Because the seats are located near the leading edge of the wing, occupants will have excellent forward visibility. The design calls for the ability to carry two 190-pound people, 120 pounds of fuel, and 50 pounds of baggage.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
How many runways does your airport have? Airport diagrams in AOPA's Airport Directory Online show that many airports have multiple runways of varying lengths and widths. Some airports' runways run parallel to one another, but more often the runways' magnetic bearings differ. Often those runways intersect.

When an airport with intersecting runways has a control tower, using more than one runway at a time helps air traffic control streamline the flow of traffic. A program for simultaneous operations on intersecting runways, known as land and hold short operations (LAHSO), is used at designated airports. Under LAHSO a flight could be cleared to land on one runway while another aircraft either takes off or lands on an intersecting runway, provided the landing pilot can stop before reaching the intersection or other point specified. LAHSO is described in Section 4 of AOPA's Handbook for Pilots. Note that although LAHSO is a special emphasis area for flight examiners to cover on the private pilot practical test, the program is not for use by student pilots except when flying with their instructors.

At a nontowered airport, there is no such thing as LAHSO, but it is still possible for simultaneous operations to be occurring on multiple runways. Be alert! For example, a glider-towing aircraft operating on the field may prefer to use the runway closest to its base (so would the glider when it lands). Or there might be a grass or sod runway in use for pilot training even when the wind favors the main paved strip. At many nontowered airports with commuter-airline service, the longest runway may be the only one approved for airline operations, whereas the light single-engine aircraft use whichever runway is most favorably aligned with the wind.

If the multiple-runway airport does not have a complete network of parallel taxiways, aircraft may have to taxi on, and cross, runways. Under these conditions pilots must see and avoid each other, coordinating their intentions on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). So before arrival or departure, be sure to request an airport advisory (see the September 16, 2005, Training Tips) and listen carefully to the CTAF broadcasts of other pilots. Then use your judgment to select the runway most consistent with safety!

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Checking your training aircraft's fuel for sediment or water is an integral part of each and every preflight. After you draw a sample of fuel into a tester, should you dump out the dirty contents onto the tarmac? Not unless your flight school wants a visit from the Environmental Protection Agency. Sporty's Heavy-Duty Fuel Tester with Strainer has a filter screen that removes water and contaminates from a fuel sample so that you can return clean fuel to the tanks. It features a magnified viewing area to permit close inspection of contaminated fuel, a removable splash guard, and a metal actuator pin that is said to fit all popular quick drain valves. It sells for $19.95. Order it online or call 800/SPORTYS.

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 having difficulty understanding what maneuvering speed (V A) is. Can you explain it to me?

Answer: Maneuvering speed, or V A, is the airspeed at which you can use full, abrupt control movement without overstressing the airframe. The purpose of maneuvering speed is to ensure the airplane reaches its critical angle of attack and stalls prior to exceeding the design limit load factor if turbulent conditions arise or sudden full deflection of the flight controls occurs in flight. Exceeding the design limit load factor, positive 3.8 Gs for a normal category aircraft, could cause structural damage to the aircraft. As weight decreases, the maneuvering speed will also decrease. An aircraft flying at lighter weights is subject to more rapid acceleration from gusts or turbulence than a heavier aircraft and requires a slower airspeed to prevent structural damage from occurring in that situation. It is important that you review your aircraft's operating handbook to determine the appropriate maneuvering speed. To learn more about the relationship of maneuvering speed to weight, see AOPA Online.

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