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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 40AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 40

The following stories from the October 7, 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
AOPA is asking the Treasury Department to write rules so that individual pilots and aircraft owners can save money and not be hassled by jet fuel tax refunds. Because the federal jet fuel tax is 2.5 cents per gallon cheaper than the highway tax on diesel fuel, officials feared some truckers might be saving money by fueling up at the airport instead of at the truck stop. Congress put a stop to that with public law 109-59, which says aviation fuel will be taxed at the same rate as highway fuel but the "ultimate vendor" of aviation fuel can apply for a refund of the tax difference. Some in government think "ultimate vendor" means the final consumer. So in a letter to Secretary of the Treasury John Snow, AOPA President Phil Boyer said that the department should clarify that the end user is not the ultimate vendor and should not be charged the additional tax or be required to request a refund. "It is unrealistic and uneconomical to expect thousands of turbine-powered aircraft operators to apply as registered ultimate vendors to collect individual refunds," Boyer said.

Cessna Aircraft Company announced Monday that its Citation CJ2+ received FAA type certification. The jet had more than 80 flights and 190 hours of flight time. The CJ2+ is powered by two Williams FJ44-3A-24 engines. At maximum weight limits, the jet can climb to 45,000 feet in 34 minutes, take off in 3,360 feet, and land in less than 3,000 feet. The single-pilot aircraft also cruises at 413 knots at 31,000 feet and has a 1,550-nautical-mile NBAA IFR range with four passengers on board.

My ePilot - Helicopter Interest
Eurocopter plans to build its A-Star 350 B2 and B3 helicopters in American Eurocopter's facility in Columbus, Mississippi. The company said it initially plans to build more than 30 of the helicopters each year and then will increase as needed to meet sales. Customization for several Eurocopter helicopters along with part and subassembly manufacturing for the AS355 and 365 Dauphin will occur at the Mississippi facility as well.

My ePilot - Professional Pilot Interest
Chelton Flight Systems has received certification of an approved model list supplemental type certificate for Part 23 jets and commuters. The latest aircraft models approved for the Chelton EFIS are the Beech 1900, King Air 350, Twin Otter, Paris Jet, Cessna Citation 525, Lear 23, Merlin/Metro, Shorts Skyvan, Dornier 228, Britten-Norman Islander, BAe Jetstream, Embraer Bandeirante, and Skytruck M28. Chelton EFIS capabilities have been demonstrated in Alaska through the AOPA-supported Capstone program, an industry and FAA initiative to improve aviation safety using the latest technology. The system also offers highway-in-the-sky technology.

My ePilot - Other Interest
The Belgium 1 balloon team, Bob Berben and Benoit Simeons, flew from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to just north of Maine's border in Quebec during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The two departed Saturday evening, October 1, as part of the Coupe Gordon Bennett, a long-distance gas balloon race, and traveled more than 2,100 miles before stopping in Quebec on Wednesday. According to the event Web site, they established the longest competitive gas balloon flight made from Albuquerque. Fourteen balloons from eight countries participated in the race. The balloon fiesta continues through Sunday.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
What kind of engine oil does your aircraft use? How is that engine cooled in flight? Is the aircraft's battery installed under the cowling or somewhere back in the tail cone? Speaking of the electrical system, must you turn on every piece of electrical equipment separately, or is there an avionics master switch installed to simplify the process? These are some of the questions a pilot can answer with confidence after studying the texts referenced for Task G: Operation of Systems in the Area of Operations covering preflight preparation in the Practical Test Standards for the private pilot flight test. See the PTS task for the aircraft systems that pilots must be able to explain.

"You cannot command what you don't understand. An acceptable level of understanding demands questions, curiosity, and probing on your part," counsels Dave Wilkerson, writing from a designated examiner's point of view in "Checkride: Tests Are About Systems" in the November 2002 AOPA Flight Training. Source material is easy to find. The texts cited at the top of the PTS task describe general design principles. Next, move on to your pilot's operating handbook, which gives specifics for your trainer. To confirm that you really understand system design and function, draw a simple schematic or diagram. Want to make your examiner smile with admiration? Go the extra mile and talk to a mechanic or an avionics technician about the systems' strengths and weaknesses. Note what this skilled professional's experience teaches about the systems you use in the air.

What if you go out to fly and discover that something isn't working? It's not uncommon. Can you still fly? Should you still fly? A "yes" answer to the first question is not always an affirmative response to the second. Light training aircraft are not subject to the minimum equipment list (MEL) regulations covering airliners and advanced aircraft, but read Chip Wright's March 2005 AOPA Pilot article "A Personal MEL: A list for effectively using your airplane while maximizing safety" for insights into how pilots flying aircraft with many systems strike the right balance. Then explain to your examiner how the systems knowledge that you have already acquired, combined with the experience you gain, will always lead you to make the right call about your flying.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Lots of pilots are tongued-tied when it comes to talking on the radio and with good reason. It's important to communicate properly so as not to tie up the airwaves and aggravate air traffic control. A new book from Aviation Supplies and Academics Inc. offers help. Aviation Radio Communications Made Easy: VFR Edition by Hugh C. Ward Jr., utilizes templates that function as a script for VFR flights. (An IFR edition is also available.) The idea is to take these templates with you in the cockpit and use them as memory aids, training tools, and confidence builders during your flight. You fill out most of the blanks in the template during preflight, tear them out of the spiral-bound book, and fix them to a kneeboard; multiple copies of each template are included. The 280-page soft-cover book sells for $19.95 and may be ordered online or by calling 800/426-8338.

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: Once I complete my private pilot training in a single-engine land airplane, can I fly any single-engine land airplane as the pilot in command?

Answer: Yes, provided you also have any required endorsements. For example, tailwheel, complex, and high-performance airplanes and aircraft capable of operating at high altitudes will require further training for you to act as pilot in command (PIC) if your initial flight training did not include it. A complex airplane is one with retractable landing gear, flaps, and a controllable-pitch propeller. A high-performance airplane has an engine with more than 200 horsepower. A high-altitude aircraft is pressurized and has a service ceiling or maximum operating altitude of, whichever is lower, above 25,000 feet mean sea level. To show that you have received the appropriate training in a tailwheel, complex, or high-performance airplane or high-altitude aircraft, you need to receive and log ground and flight training and get a logbook endorsement from an authorized instructor. For further information on these and other endorsements and their requirements, you can view FAR 61.31. Also review AOPA's aviation subject report on ratings and endorsements as well as one on transitioning to high-performance aircraft.

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