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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 9AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 7, Issue 9

The following stories from the March 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 - Sport Pilot Interest
Have you ever wondered exactly what you need to do to earn a sport pilot certificate or to operate under these new rules? What must you do to meet the maintenance requirements for your light-sport aircraft? Now the answers to these and other questions are available in simple, easy-to-read charts created by the FAA. Links to light-sport aircraft maintenance and certification requirements; pilot certification eligibility, training, and testing requirements; and a handout for pilots and flight instructors are available on AOPA’s sport pilot Web page.

My ePilot - Jet Interest
Aviation Technology Group, the Englewood, Colorado-based developer of the tandem-seat Javelin jet, has enlisted the help of Lockheed Martin in searching out worldwide contractors to build subassemblies of the aircraft. An agreement between the two companies allows Aviation Technology to tap into Lockheed's network of potential contractors and manufacturing expertise. Final assembly will be at Aviation Technology's headquarters at Denver's Centennial Airport. A prototype now in assembly will be test flown in the coming months, said company President George Bye (AOPA 01420512). He said there are 100 orders, and a handful of those are nonrefundable deposits. Besides being a personal transport machine, the aircraft is being offered to other nations as a military trainer.

My ePilot - Turboprop Interest
You've considered moving up to a turboprop in the past to make business travel easier for you and your employees, but quickly dismissed the idea when you thought of the increased expense. However, a turboprop could be the most efficient way for your company to travel. "Quite simply, many of the trips that you and your employees fly on the airlines can be accomplished on a turbine that has more room, more speed, and more range," wrote Walter Kraujalis in the April 2002 AOPA Pilot "Turbine Pilot: Is It Time to Turbine?" Kraujalis provides an example of a cost table that you can use as a model to determine whether it is time to switch to a turboprop.

My ePilot - Renter Interest
You've never been involved in an incident or accident. You take care of the FBO's aircraft as if they were your own. So why would you need renter's insurance? Besides, aren't you covered by your FBO's insurance policy? Most pilots are not. "Unfortunately, they don't learn the truth until it is too late, and they're faced with large repair costs or legal fees," said Greg Sterling, executive vice president and general manager of the AOPA Insurance Agency, Inc. in the March 2005 AOPA Flight Training feature "Risks and Rewards" by Dale Smith. Read the rental agreement to see what it says about "total renter pilot liability," Sterling recommended. For more information about renter's insurance, visit the AOPA Insurance Agency Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Have you started working weight-and-balance calculations for your training aircraft? The pilot must assure that the maximum gross weight is not exceeded, and that weight is distributed so the center of gravity or the "CG," as discussed in the December 26, 2003, Training Tips, remains within approved limits for the entire flight. Another weight-and-balance scenario that you might face is a last-minute loading change that must not be allowed to move the CG out of limits and jeopardize your aircraft's stability. "In stable designs, the CG is always ahead of the neutral point. When the CG is moved behind the neutral point in GA airplanes, you can get into trouble," explained Don Byers in the October 2003 AOPA Flight Training feature "Seeking Out Stability."

Suppose you and your instructor are departing on a cross-country flight in a four-seat trainer. You are carrying more than the usual baggage, or perhaps you were asked by the flight school to drop something off at the destination. You calculated weight and balance, but just before flying you decide to move some baggage from the rear seat to the aft storage area.

Should you recalculate the load? Weight is known. But total "moments" have increased. CG location is determined by dividing total moments by total weight, so the new total moments must be calculated. Save time and get good practice by using the weight-shifting method given in Chapter 8 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.

Always verify that you are using the latest loading data calculated for your individual aircraft. Also check the aircraft. "Some pilots like to carry a spare magneto or alternator in the baggage compartment of their airplane to prevent parts problems should a mechanical malfunction occur when away from home. Some Cessna 182 pilots find that a 50-pound toolbox tied down in the baggage compartment makes the airplane fly better and flare easier as the CG is moved away from the forward limit," Steven W. Ells reminds pilots in the feature "How Much Does Your Airplane Weigh?" from the January 2001 AOPA Pilot.

Experience in flying different loads will also demonstrate that a small CG change can affect aircraft handling on takeoffs and landings. Know the numbers-and what they are telling you about your next flight.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Studying for the commercial knowledge test? Sporty's recently unveiled a Commercial Test Prep Guide that features all published FAA test questions, answers, and explanations. It's organized into chapters, and the questions are then further broken down into minor sections and finally individual topics for ease of review. The 220-page guide is available for $15.95 and may be ordered online or by calling 800/SPORTYS.

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: During one of my recent solo cross-country flights, I encountered some turbulence and wanted to notify someone about it but wasn't sure how to do it. Who can I report this to and what procedure should I use? Does AOPA have any information that can help me?

Answer: Contact the nearest flight service station along your route, or Flight Watch on 122.0, and issue a pilot report, otherwise known as a "pirep." To report turbulence, you should include location, altitude or range of altitudes, and aircraft type, as well as whether in clouds or clear air, the degree of turbulence, intensity, and duration (occasional, intermittent, and continuous) as best determined by the pilot. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation free online course "SkySpotter" teaches all about pireps and how to give them.

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