The following stories from the October 14, 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 - Professional Pilot Interest MOTION SIMULATORS AND THE PROFICIENCY CHECK
If you are pilot in command of an aircraft that requires more than one crewmember, then you know about the rigorous proficiency check. Mark R. Twombly compares it to a "root canal without the pain attenuating medication," in "Pilotage: Recurrent rite of passage"
in the May 2004 AOPA Pilot
. Twombly recommends selecting a training provider that uses motion simulators so that you can experience any possible emergency or weather condition. It also allows instructors to stop the simulation and discuss subjects pertaining to that scenario with the crew. My ePilot - Renter Interest PREFLIGHT CHECK: COMPLACENCY CAN BE DISASTROUS
After renting the same aircraft for a number of years, pilots can become too comfortable with an aircraft and its maintenance and become complacent during preflight. Peter A. Bedell warns about abbreviating your preflight in "A Prelude to Takeoff"
in the May 2000 AOPA Pilot
. He not only explains what took look for, but also why it is important to understand what you are checking. "If you find yourself going through the motions without knowing why, it's time to ask an instructor or even a mechanic what the purpose of the action is all about," he says. Bedell also recommends creating your own checklist with more detail than is provided by the manufacturer. My ePilot - Helicopter Interest ROBINSON TO OFFER AIR CONDITIONING FOR R44 RAVEN II
R44 Raven II owners soon will be a lot cooler. The Robinson Helicopter Company says it will start delivering Raven IIs with air conditioning systems in 2006. The system, which weighs only 33 pounds, does not take up any baggage compartment space and uses about 3 horsepower. (Pilots still must factor in the extra weight.) Vents are located above each seat, and the system is controlled by a toggle switch with three positions: off, low, and high. However, whenever the helicopter is near full throttle, the system will turn off automatically to ensure maximum performance. The option for the R44 Raven II costs $18,000, and it is not yet available for the Clipper II or for retrofit. My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips TRUE AIRSPEED INDICATORS
Your flight test examiner points to the airspeed indicator on your trainer's panel and asks, "What is that ring around the outside of the instrument for?" If you are a master of systems knowledge, discussed in the October 7, 2005, Training Tips
, your answer should be, "That is the true airspeed indicator." If you have practiced using this handy device during your cross-country flying, you will be ready to provide a demonstration of how it works.
Many aircraft have a true airspeed indicator as part of the airspeed indicator. Does yours? True airspeed (TAS) is the basis for your flight performance calculations. Noting any TAS changes in flight lets you keep precise track of your expected fuel consumption, an excellent safety practice as noted in the feature "How Not to Run Out of Gas"
in the June 2004 AOPA Flight Training
The meaning and uses of the various airspeeds, and links to further reading, can be found in the February 6, 2004, Training Tips
. Think of the true airspeed indicator as a flight computer co-located with your airspeed indicator, letting you determine true airspeed at a glance, free from the distraction and time-consuming effort involved in reaching for flight gear in your case. To use it you will need to know the outside air temperature (OAT) and the pressure altitude-get this by setting your altimeter momentarily to 29.92 inches Hg, noting the pressure altitude reading, then returning to the current altimeter setting. Match up the OAT and the pressure altitude and read your TAS at your airspeed indicator's pointer. For maximum accuracy, adjust indicated airspeed to calibrated airspeed from charts in your pilot's operating handbook. Read TAS opposite that value.
Is this moot if your examiner probed your knowledge of airspeeds and altitudes during ground review of cross-country and performance planning? No. The question could still come up in the cockpit. "Since there is no formal division between the oral and skills portion of the practical test, this becomes an ongoing process throughout the test," notes the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards
. So know if your aircraft is equipped with a true airspeed indicator and how to use it-one more way to become an efficient and informed pilot for the long haul. My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products BLACKWELL PUBLISHING OFFERS AVIATION LAW WORKBOOK
You may well be a weather guru and an aerodynamics whiz kid, but how well do you know aviation law? The latest edition of Practical Aviation Law
, by J. Scott Hamilton, has been released with an accompanying workbook. Published by Blackwell Publishing, Practical Aviation Law
serves as a textbook in aviation law courses, but it also makes a valuable reference tool for any pilot who wants to know more about the aviation legal system, regulations, and law. The textbook is $39.99; the workbook is $24.99. For more information, see the Web site
or call 800/862-6657. 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:
What conditions are favorable for carburetor ice formation, and how would I know if I have it? Answer:
Conditions are prime for carburetor ice formation when outside air temperatures are between 20 degrees (minus 7 Celsius) and 70 degrees (20 C) Fahrenheit with visible moisture or humid air. It may also form with low or closed throttle settings. As the mixture passes through the carburetor, it cools as a result of fuel vaporization and air expansion. This cooling forces water vapor out of the mixture. If the temperature is below freezing inside the carburetor, the water vapor freezes inside. You would notice it as a drop in rpm in an airplane with a fixed-pitch propeller or a drop in manifold pressure if you have a constant-speed propeller. When you first apply carburetor heat you are effectively making the mixture richer, and you will notice a drop in rpm or manifold pressure. If ice is present, the rpm or manifold pressure should rise as it is removed, and the engine may run rough. Once the carburetor heat is turned off, the rpm or manifold pressure should rise to a higher setting than before you turned it on if ice was present. Make sure you are familiar with any procedures in your aircraft's operating handbook for carburetor heat. AC 20-113
and AOPA Online
offer additional information.