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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 5AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 5

The following stories from the February 4, 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 - Renter Interest
For many pilots, the time and investment of a career and family leave little time or money for flying. It's difficult to justify owning an aircraft if you don't fly that often. That's why most pilots rent-but that is expensive, too. You can get more for your rental dollars by buying block time, scheduling an aircraft during the week instead of the weekend, and joining a flying club, says AOPA President Phil Boyer in "President's Perspective: More Affordable Rentals" in the January 2005 AOPA Flight Training. For more tips about how to make aircraft rental more economical, visit AOPA's Guide to Reducing the Cost of Flying.

My ePilot - Own/May Own Interest
Radial Engines Ltd. received FAA supplemental type certification last week for its Jacobs 7-cylinder R755 radial engine with fuel injection system to be installed on Waco YMF F5 and F5C biplanes. Radial Engines claims the fuel injection system provides an easier start along with smoother operation and throttle response, reduces fuel consumption by about one gallon per hour, increases power, and more. WACO Classic Aircraft Corp./Centennial Aircraft Services in Battle Creek, Michigan, is certified to install the system. The company expects to convert two aircraft per month to the system that costs $11,900 plus installation. Systems can be installed 60 to 90 days after the order is taken. For more information, visit the Web site.

My ePilot - Turboprop Interest
Pilots use checklists from their first day of flight training until their last flight. Checklists regularly are used to help prevent pilots from skipping steps critical to the safety of the flight. But the overall safety of the flight also includes handling passengers, meeting insurance requirements and your personal standards, correctly completing postflight paperwork, and more. Create a detailed checklist that encompasses all of this. John Sheehan provides an outline for creating your own, personalized flight operations manual in the article "Driving the Machine: Who Needs a Flight Operations Manual?" from the February 2002 AOPA Pilot.

My ePilot - Jet Interest
Gulfstream received 43 orders for jets during the fourth quarter of 2004, bringing its total orders for new business jets for the year to 95-36 more than in 2003. The surge in orders at the end of the year resulted in a $586 million increase in Gulfstream's funded backlog, according to parent company General Dynamics. Gulfstream received 71 orders for its large production aircraft (G350, G450, G500, and G550) and 24 for its mid-size jets (G100, G150, and G200). The company already has buyers for 85 percent of the 86 aircraft that it is scheduled to produce in 2005; 20 of those will be mid-size aircraft, with the remainder being large production aircraft.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
It's been an exciting flight lesson. Now it's time to return to the airport and perform some soft-field and short-field landings [short-field landings were the subject of the January 28, 2005, "Training Tips"]. You elect to begin with a short-field procedure. Your instructor asks, "What will be your airspeed on final approach?"

Suppose you are training in a Cessna 152. The pilot's operating handbook (POH) recommends 54 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) for a short-field landing. So is that the number your instructor wants to hear? Not necessarily. The wind is blowing. You experienced its effects during your practice of ground-reference maneuvers. On your return to the airport, the control tower (or the automated weather broadcast) reported winds of 10 knots gusting to 20. The correct final-approach airspeed today would be 59 KIAS. Why?

"The target airspeed is published in your airplane's pilot's operating handbook. It's usually very near an airspeed that's 1.3 times the power-off stall speed [Vso] in the landing configuration," explained Thomas A. Horne in "Flying Final," July 2003 AOPA Pilot. He continued, "With gusty winds, add half the gust factor to your 1.3 Vso target, as protection against shear-induced stalls."

So now you've allowed for the gusts, but don't fixate on winds at the expense of your approach. "Once you obtain the wind from the tower, do not ask for subsequent wind checks. Wind is too dynamic for that information to be helpful. What you sense is what you have, and it will change every second," counseled AOPA Flight Training columnist Ralph Butcher in the June 2004 commentary "Dancing With Winds."

By asking you to justify your choice of airspeed, your instructor is doing more than probing your knowledge and planning. The query is preparation for your flight test, during which your designated examiner might well pose the same question. The examiner will be well pleased if your answer satisfies practical test standard language for landings, which calls for you to establish a target airspeed "with gust factor applied." Announce the correct speed-then fly it the way you planned it, demonstrating your skill!

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
You love your headset, but you wish it were a little more comfortable. Or quieter. Or perhaps you don't love your headset but can't afford to invest in a new one. Oregon Aero offers "painless and quieter" aviation headset upgrades in which you can choose various components like ear and headset cushions, ear seal covers, passive noise attenuation kits, or microphone muffs. Choose the bunch for one price, or buy them separately. Prices range from about $32 to $123 for the complete upgrade, depending on your headset's make and model. See the Web site for more information.

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 training for my private pilot certificate at an airport without a control tower but will soon be taking flight lessons into tower-controlled airports. I'm a little nervous about communicating with air traffic control (ATC). Does AOPA have any information that can help me?

Answer: It's not unusual for student pilots to feel a bit intimidated by ATC, but with knowledge of the system and a little practice, you'll soon feel more comfortable. AOPA has a publication, ATC Communications, that will provide you with helpful, practical information on communicating like the pros and also give you a broader understanding of how the ATC system works. A good rule of thumb for talking with ATC is to tell them who you are, where you are, and what you want to do. Chapter 4, Section 2 of the Aeronautical Information Manual discusses radio technique and gives examples of correct contact procedures. You might also want to download the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor, Operations at Towered Airports , which details proper airport procedures both in the air and on the ground.

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