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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 10AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 10

The following stories from the March 10, 2006, 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
Mooney Airplane Company has delivered its 11,000th production aircraft, an Ovation2 GX. The airplane went to Dennis F. Strigl of New Jersey on February 23. Strigl bought the airplane after he decided to get back into flying. He first flew a Mooney model back in the 1980s. Mooney delivered its first airplane in 1948 from its initial location in Wichita. In 1951 the company moved to its present location in Kerrville, Texas.

My ePilot - Turboprop Interest
King Air E90 owners can upgrade their aging flight control systems and instrument panel all at the same time with S-Tec equipment. S-Tec recently received FAA approval to install its MAGIC electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) and MAGIC 2100 digital flight control system (DFCS) in the E90. "Heavy pilot workload is always a concern, but together this flight control system and glass cockpit pays major dividends because of reduced workload," said Greg Plantz, S-Tec director of sales. "The result is a safer, more aware and capable pilot."

My ePilot - Jet Interest
The flight test program is continuing to move forward for the Javelin fighter-like jet. Aviation Technology Group (ATG) reported that the airplane on February 28 successfully raised and lowered its gear after flying out of Denver's Centennial Airport. ATG is developing two models of the jet, the Mk-10 for private travel and the Mk-20 for use as a military trainer. Following type certification, ATG hopes to start delivering the jet to customers in 2008.

My ePilot - Helicopter Interest
CAE SimuFlite has moved its Sikorsky S-76 simulator from Dallas to a new training center near Morristown, New Jersey. The company said the move is designed to serve the high concentration of S-76 operators in the northeastern United States. The simulator will alternate between the S-76C and the S-76D models. Meanwhile, the FAA recently certified a Bell 412 simulator built by CAE and installed at the Emirates-CAE Flight Training Facility in Dubai, the company said. For more information, see the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
A student pilot recently posted a message to the AOPA Aviation Forums, expressing frustration with two "mistakes" committed on his second solo cross-country. Of course, the so-called mistakes are precisely what solo cross-country training helps to eliminate from a new pilot's flying. Most responses to the post encouraged him to look at the trip in a more contented state of mind.

What were the problems? The student wrote, "First, I contacted approach too far from the airport-at 20 miles. The controller was nice and told me to call 10 miles from the airport. Second, after contacting the tower and being cleared to land, I realized that I was much too high; I simply hadn't properly planned my descent. By pulling power and descending at around 1,000 fpm, I was able to touch down about 2,500 feet down a 6,300-foot runway."

The controller's request that he call back in 10 miles does not mean the initial call-up was wrong. Controllers often have operational reasons for requesting a different reporting point. Or radar coverage may have been spotty. (There was a ridge between the student and the airport.) According to the Aeronautical Information Manual's discussion of terminal radar services for VFR aircraft, "Pilots of arriving VFR aircraft should initiate radio contact on the publicized frequency with approach control when approximately 25 miles from the airport at which sequencing services are being provided."

As for the second item-being "much too high"-did preoccupation with the communications issue distract him from arrival chores? If so, another lesson learned: Unexpected developments can throw you off stride. The end result of the two surprises he encountered on arrival at the destination was a long landing, fortunately on a very long runway. It will be remembered. So will various ways it perhaps might have been remedied: adding flaps sooner, reducing power to idle, gentle S-turns on final, slipping to land (see the February 24, 2006, Training Tips), a go-around-suggesting that this too nets out as a long-term plus. (See the May 20, 2005, Training Tips on "Descent Planning.")

Flying now, and evaluating it later, is how pilots learn. One student's experience will benefit countless others who read about it.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Skymark Technologies offers a free edition of its Aloft electronic logbook for student pilots who are just starting to log flight time. The student edition is limited to 100 flights of up to three hours per flight, but it offers features found in the Aloft private and commercial versions, such as the ability to make customized reports. For more information, see the Web site.

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: If I need to contact air traffic control while on a cross-country, how do I find what frequency to use?

Answer: If you want to contact an air route traffic control center (ARTCC), you can find a listing of frequencies for a particular region in the Airport/Facility Directory. Using the A/FD legend on the back cover can help you to quickly find the specific section that contains the list. The ARTCC frequencies in lightface type are designated for low-altitude operations. You will also find a listing of flight service station (FSS) frequencies in this section of the A/FD. A sectional chart has a complete listing of tower and approach control frequencies for those facilities found on that particular chart located inside the chart cover. For information on air traffic control services, see AOPA Online. Also, take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's free online course, Say Intentions, to learn how to utilize ATC services when you need help.

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