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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 13AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 13

The following stories from the March 31, 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 - Personal/Recreational Interest
Airshows, fly-ins, and barbecue get-togethers are popping up all across the country. So get out your sectionals and plotters, and hit the airways. If you are looking for events near you, check out AOPA ePilot's calendar of events below, or search the online calendar of events. You can use AOPA's Airport Directory Online to gather information-like nearby attractions, lodging, and restaurants-for the airports you plan to visit.

My ePilot - Experimental Interest
Vans RV-10 owners can now install a custom-tailored Chelton EFIS system in their aircraft. Direct-To Avionics announced last week that the Chelton EFIS SV-10 is available for Vans RV-10 aircraft and includes an integrated prefabricated wiring harness to make installation easier. The harness eliminates and consolidates more than 130 electrical connections and includes wiring from wing tip to wing tip and firewall to rudder, according to the company. Direct-To Avionics said the system is designed to save installation time so that the customer can get back in the air faster. For more information, see the Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Soloing an aircraft for the first time is generally considered the most memorable moment for a pilot, but the "long cross-country" is the crowning achievement of a student pilot's solo flying. As explained in the March 24, 2006, Training Tips discussion about solo cross-country flights, this required mission is a flight of at least 150 nautical miles total distance, with full-stop landings at a minimum of three points, with one segment of the flight "consisting of a straight-line distance of at least 50 nautical miles between the takeoff and landing locations." Often, completion of this flight moves you along to your final flight-test preparation, magnifying its importance as a training milestone.

This flight is crucial for fulfilling training requirements, so be ready with a flexible schedule and an available aircraft for an opportunity to go. Plan several acceptable routes, studying potential destination airports in advance. A missed opportunity, followed by a patch of bad weather or lack of aircraft availability, are famous causes of training setbacks. Be aware that this kind of pressure could become the first test of your ability to resist temptation to make a bad go/no-go decision. Your flight instructor, who must approve your flight, will prevent that. But what if the weather starts to deteriorate en route? Your pilot judgment will be tested. "I once had a student in this predicament. He was on his final solo cross-country, and it started to snow in Virginia several hours ahead of the forecasted time. He was less than 50 miles from clear skies. He wanted to get the trip finished that day so that he could take his checkride the following week, before a long-planned vacation to his European homeland. He could have pressed on, but he was at the limits of his comfort, and he chose to land. We sent another airplane and two pilots to retrieve him," wrote Charles Wright in the January 2006 AOPA Flight Training feature "The Most Important Lesson."

Not all delays are avoidable. If you get caught in a cycle of schedule-and-cancel, don't lose heart. Draw encouragement from the advice and morale-boosting anecdotes in "Don't Let Delay Become Defeat" by Lee S. Kessler in the April 2006 AOPA Flight Training.

A promise: Patience will bring success.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Want to go on three different instrument flights, in differently equipped aircraft, all at the same time? It's possible in the "IFR Communications" DVD from Sporty's. A new installment in Sporty's What You Should Know series, the program is intended to give instrument pilots a fresh look at IFR operations through all phases of flight in a variety of airspace and weather conditions. The flights take place in a Cessna Skyhawk equipped with basic VOR navigation, a Garmin G1000-equipped Cessna Skylane, and a twin-engine Piper Aztec with multifunction display, GPS, traffic avoidance, and datalink weather. The flights present a variety of communications scenarios at several airports, and viewers will see how each pilot manages the available resources to complete each mission. Bonus features include a review of lost communications procedures. "IFR Communications" is $29.95 and may be ordered online from Sporty's.

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: What is the FAA's definition of a congested area?

Answer: This question often comes up when trying to determine the minimum safe altitude for operating an aircraft. In FAR 91.119, a "congested area" is defined as a city, town, settlement, or open-air assembly of persons. According to a Letter of Interpretation from FAA legal counsel, there is no standard definition for a congested area, but case law has indicated that a subdivision of homes and a small rural town constitute one. Because it has been interpreted loosely, consider an area congested if you are in doubt. For additional information on minimum safe altitudes for flying, see AOPA Online.

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