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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 6AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 6

The following stories from the February 11, 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 - Piston Single-Engine Interest
Hartzell Propeller is offering a new propeller conversion kit for the Cessna R172K Hawk XP aircraft. Hartzell claims the new prop improves takeoff acceleration, climb performance, and cruise speed. The 75-inch, three-blade Top Prop system replaces the original 76-inch, two-blade McCauley prop. Hartzell says the system offers a 1- to 3-knot increase in cruise speed at 60- to 80-percent power settings. It is compatible with the Isham supplemental type certificates (STCs) that increase R172K engine ratings up to 210 horsepower. The Hartzell kit costs $8,995 and includes a polished spinner and STC paperwork.

My ePilot - Instrument Interest
During your instrument flight training, you may have felt like punching the attitude indicator, but Ralph Butcher's "Boxing-the-Attitude-Indicator" maneuver has nothing to do with disfiguring the instrument panel. Butcher's technique focuses on using reasonable attitude and power settings to make safe transitions to climbs and descents. Use the attitude indicator and tachometer or manifold pressure gauge while flying at constant cruise, then start a two-bar width climb and make the proper power adjustments; level off, turn to the right, and descend at one-bar width and make the proper power adjustments. Repeat the process, alternating left and right turns when you level off to draw a box in the air with the nose of the airplane. "It proves that attitude and power are the keys to safe flight, and it reinforces the importance of control coordination and trimming," Butcher explains in "Instrument Training: Instrument Scan, Part 1" in the February 1998 issue of Flight Training.

My ePilot - Professional Interest
You're building time, working toward your dream job as a pilot for an airline. How do you know when you have built enough experience to send in your resume? Often, pilots wait until they meet the average number of hours. However, you can start applying once you reach the lower limit of the range of hours. Apply for the position as soon as you meet the minimums-you have nothing to lose, and in a seniority-driven profession, it's best to get in as early as possible, advised AIR, Inc. in its November 2004 newsletter. Also consider the type of aircraft you have used to build most of your time. For example, you might be at the lower end of the range of hours, but if 90 percent of those are in a twin, you could be more appealing than someone who is at the average but has little multi time. For more information about apply for jobs, visit the Web site.

My ePilot - Other Interest
Frank Robinson, founder and president of the helicopter company bearing his name, announced at the Helicopter Association International's Heli-Expo that his company sold 63-percent more helicopters in 2004 compared to the previous year. Total production for the year was 690 helicopters-234 two-place R22s and 456 four-place R44s. In response to a strong order backlog-the R44 order book is filled through September-Robinson plans to increase production from 15 to 20 helicopters per week. Robinson said that an air conditioning system will be an option on R44s beginning near the end of 2005. The cost is estimated to be $18,000. The unit will weigh 33 pounds but will not be available for retrofit in earlier R44s. Robinson said his company is researching the feasibility of a five-place model-he termed it the R66-but would not give further details.

Bell Helicopter unveiled its new Bell 429 light twin helicopter model during Heli-Expo this week. The light twin helicopter has two versions: one for corporate use and the other for emergency medical services. The company claims the Bell 429 will surpass other light twins in cabin volume, useful load, range, and more. It is also more than 70 percent larger than the Bell 427, the company's current light twin. The first Bell 429 helicopter deliveries are planned for the first half of 2007. For more news from the Heli-Expo in Anaheim, California, see AOPA Online.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
When you started flight training, much about the aircraft and its systems might have surprised you. Take the altimeter. You learned that if you fly from an airport at an elevation of 500 feet above sea level, the aircraft's altimeter, when correctly set, reads about 500 feet (not zero) on the ground. When you came out to fly after a weather change you noticed that the altimeter read wrong. You had to reset it-a reminder that the altimeter must be set to the correct barometric pressure to be accurate. Barometric pressure (expressed in inches of mercury) can change significantly from day to day or between airports with different weather. "Once in flight, it is very important to frequently obtain current altimeter settings en route. If you do not reset your altimeter when flying from an area of high pressure into an area of low pressure, your aircraft will be closer to the surface than your altimeter indicates. A one-inch error in the altimeter setting equals 1,000 feet of altitude," explains Section 2 of the Aeronautical Information Manual.

While en route, give flight service a call or monitor the automated weather broadcast of a nearby airport to acquire the correct setting. Adjust altitude if necessary. "Since pressure decreases when you go up, the altimeter is made to read a higher altitude when the pressure decreases. Anything that lowers air pressure makes the altimeter read a higher altitude," meteorologist Jack Williams explained in the April 1999 "The Weather Never Sleeps" column in AOPA Flight Training. See Williams' September 2003 "The Weather Never Sleeps" column for five rules for understanding how altimeters work.

Sometimes pilots are told by air traffic control that the altitude displayed on radar along with the aircraft's transponder return differs from what the pilot sees on the altimeter. What then? Again, check the barometric-pressure setting on the instrument. "If your altimeter setting is correct, your 'altitude encoder' (a component of a Mode C transponder) is not transmitting the correct altitude," explains the "Flying Smart" article about encoders in the September 1998 issue of Flight Training. Recycling the transponder by turning it off then on again may fix the problem. If not, it's time for a trip to the avionics shop.

Stay alert to barometric pressure changes! It's a small detail with big implications for your flight's safety.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Above It All Aviation, makers of F.A.S.T. (Flashcard Aviation Systematic Training) pilot training courses, has introduced a F.A.S.T. course for the sport pilot knowledge test. F.A.S.T. cards are portable 'flashcards' not unlike what we used in school for math and spelling drills. About the size of a deck of playing cards, F.A.S.T. cards can be carried in a pocket or purse and easily retrieved for study. Each deck is color-coded by topic (for example, aviation weather and weather services, or airport operations and airport lighting and markings). The sport pilot F.A.S.T. course sells for $15.95 plus $5 shipping and can be ordered online or by calling 316/729-9115.

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 recently took a pre-solo written exam. One of the questions was about whether student pilots are required to carry their logbooks during solo flights. I was told this was required at one time, but I couldn't find a regulation for it. Can you tell me if this is a requirement?

Answer: As a student pilot, you are required to have your logbook with you for all of your solo cross-country flights, but not for every solo flight. According to Part 61.51(i)(2), "Presentation of required documents," a student pilot must carry the following items in the aircraft on all solo cross-country flights as evidence of the required authorized instructor clearances and endorsements: pilot logbook, student pilot certificate, and "any other record required by this section." There's more information on logbooks and logging time on AOPA Online.

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