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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 46AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 46

The following stories from the November 18, 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 - Light Sport Aircraft Interest
Pacific Sport Aircraft expects to open a finishing center December 1 at its training and maintenance facility at McNary Field in Salem, Oregon, for the West Coast sales of StingSport aircraft. The StingSport, a light sport aircraft manufactured by TL-Ultralight in the Czech Republic, will be shipped to and assembled and inspected at the facility. The company said it should take one day to attach the wings and tail feathers to the aircraft and make sure it is airworthy. Pacific Sport contracted with Val Avionics and Maintenance to perform the maintenance, warranty, and custom avionics installation. The first StingSport is scheduled to arrive December 1 and another at the end of the month. Initially the company expects to receive two aircraft per month and then increase to six per month by mid-2006.

My ePilot - Renter Interest
Whether your idea of escaping the wintertime blues is a trip to a ski resort or an exotic beach, you can use your pilot certificate as your getaway ticket. Plan a trip, rent an aircraft from the local FBO for a long weekend, and gather up your buddies or family for some time away. "Five hours in most small aircraft will take pilot and passengers to another region of the United States," points out Tim Snider in "Get Out of Town" in the February 2001 AOPA Pilot. Snider and his wife flew from Connecticut to North Carolina. "It would have been 1,500 miles in a car, with freeway sights rather than aerial views..." Remember, if you have at least a sport pilot certificate, you can share the expense of fuel, oil, rental, and tiedown fees with passengers, as long as you pay your pro rata share.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
The November 11, 2005, Training Tips analyzed the problem, common to new pilots, of landing too far down the runway. Other trainees find themselves missing the mark on the short side. Frequently, these approaches conclude with the aircraft being "dragged" to the runway with excessive power and insufficient airspeed, well below the proper glidepath. What is wrong with these approaches?

Just as pilots who land long should ensure that they have stabilized their final-approach airspeed at the correct value, so must those who land short. If it is on target but the sight picture of the runway ahead seems to be moving up in your windscreen, or if a runway-glidepath indicator shows a trend to the low side, increase power to recapture the correct glidepath, then reduce throttle again slightly to maintain it.

Know the wind. Stronger-than-usual headwinds mean slower groundspeed on final at a given airspeed. In addition to power setting and flap configuration, this is the other variable that affects your glide. "A change in any one of these variables will require an appropriate coordinated change in the other two controllable variables. For example, if the pitch attitude is raised too high without an increase of power, the airplane will settle very rapidly and touch down short of the desired spot," explains Chapter 8 of the FAA's Airplane Flying Handbook. Trying to stretch a glide just by raising the nose to a high-drag, high-sink-rate angle of attack is a common error causing many undershoot accidents, as well as the kind of high-power, low-airspeed arrivals described above.

Remember: Winds change. Typically but not always, wind loses velocity near the ground, requiring the pilot to make small, coordinated adjustments until touchdown. Sudden or pronounced glidepath deviations or airspeed fluctuations suggest the presence of wind shear. Be especially alert for airspeed loss at low altitude-it could cause you to touch down short. "In decreasing-headwind shears, the pilot's response should be to apply power, and perform a go-around or missed approach if the airplane is so low that the situation warrants it," counseled Thomas A. Horne in the March 1999 AOPA Pilot feature "Ill Winds." For even more information, download the Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings Safety Advisor from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Web site.

Arm yourself with understanding and preparedness, and undershooting your approaches will become a thing of the past.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Whether you fly regularly from a towered airport, at some point in your training you will get to know the automatic terminal information service (ATIS). This recorded weather and airport information is a critical piece of preflight preparation-or landing preparation-and you'll need to remember the details. The ATIS Wheel is an instrument-approach-chart-size card that is punched to fit into approach chart booklets or Jeppesen binders. The heavy-gauge cardstock has several plastic and paper wheels with which you can set weather and runway information-including a wheel that has the ATIS identifier (Alpha through Zulu) so that you can recall it easily when contacting air traffic control. The ATIS Wheel lists for $29.95 and is available through several distributors and dealers, including Sporty's Pilot Shop and Aircraft Spruce & Specialty.

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: When I call flight service for a standard weather briefing, how can I ensure that I receive all pertinent notams for my flight?

Answer: A standard briefing will include available notams (L) pertinent to your departure and/or local area, as well as notams (D) and FDC notams pertinent to your route of flight. However, you must specifically request any notams (D) or FDC notams that are published in the Notices to Airmen publication or on the FAA's Web site. Published notams are also known as Class II notams. Chapter 7 of the Aeronautical Information Manual describes the different types of preflight briefings and what information is contained within them. As a reminder, if you receive your official weather briefings through online products, you will also need to check published notams and talk to flight service to obtain any notams (L). Regardless of which method you choose, be sure to check for any flight restrictions along your route of flight. For other useful tools to use in your preflight planning, see AOPA Online and use AOPA's Real Time Flight Planner.

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