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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 15AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 15

The following stories from the April 14, 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
Cirrus Design announced the availability of air conditioning in its SR22 single-engine airplanes. The system includes a three-speed fan and weighs 62 pounds. The factory-installed option runs $19,990; a more basic, yet improved environmental system with a two-speed fan (no air conditioning) can be had for $4,850.

My ePilot - Light Sport Aircraft Interest
Evektor Aerotechnik, based in the Czech Republic, debuted its light sport aircraft SportStar II during Sun 'n Fun. It's similar to the company's current SportStar, but it offers long-range tanks. With long-range tanks, the aircraft has a fuel capacity of 31.2 gallons with a range of 700 nm at 105 knots. Despite the increase in fuel-carrying capacity, the gross weight of the SportStar II did not increase with the upgrade, so the extra fuel cuts into the aircraft's useful load. However, with full fuel, the aircraft can take on an extra 400 pounds. A fully equipped SportStar II costs $98,500. The U.S. distributor, Evektor America, already has pre-sold 45 of the 50 aircraft it plans to import this year.

My ePilot - Own/May Own Interest
Need additional incentive to go ahead with that panel upgrade? Avidyne Corporation announced that it is offering a 12-month subscription to XM WX's Aviator LT satellite datalink weather service with the purchase of its FlightMax EX500 multifunction display through June 30. The Aviator LT service includes Nexrad weather radar graphics, and textual and graphical METARs and TFRs for the continental United States. The subscription normally costs $29.99 per month. XM account activation charges are not included in the offer. The EX500 is a 5.5-inch MFD with multiple interfaces to traffic, radar, TAWS, and lightning detection systems, and the capability to display Jeppesen's JeppView charts through CMax.

My ePilot - Other Interest
It's a gyroplane and a motorcycle. Larry Neal, president of The Butterfly Company, announced that the company recently received a U.S. patent for the Super Sky Cycle, which can fly legally as an experimental aircraft and drive on the highway as a homebuilt motorcycle. The vehicle can be transformed from a three-wheel motorcycle to a gyroplane in about five minutes, according to Neal. It can be flown at 70 mph or driven at 60 mph and only needs 30 feet for takeoff. The kit costs $25,000 and when completed can fit in a typical garage that is 7 feet tall.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Of all the questions facing a student pilot planning a solo cross-country flight, when to depart gets little attention. A block of time may be a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, considering your schedule, aircraft availability, and how much time you'll need. Be selective. Schedule with a generous fudge factor built in for delays. Time not a problem? Great. Then what's the ideal estimated time of departure (ETD)? Generally, earlier is better. But advantages will be lost if you don't see to certain details.

Why go early? Flying in smooth air not yet destabilized by solar heating is comfortable, and those fair-weather clouds and bumps commonly encountered at lower VFR cruising altitudes may still be hours away. See the discussion of flying in turbulence in the February 18, 2005, Training Tips. Early departure carries less risk of your flight being delayed, or scuttled, by a previous pilot returning late.

Arrange to have your training aircraft fueled and positioned outside for an easy getaway from the home field. Request that an appropriate flight instructor be available to give final approval for your trip, and endorse your logbook as required in the Federal Aviation Regulations. You asked that the trainer be waiting with full fuel-but preflight carefully. Did an even earlier bird than you show up for a session of takeoffs and landings today? Double-check that fuel, and remember to check oil levels as well. A safety tip: Departing into a rising sun on an east-facing runway, or landing to the west in the late afternoon, requires extra care.

Conditions such as lingering ground fog at the destination could delay your departure. Watch the airport's weather behavior days or weeks beforehand. When briefing on the day you fly, focus on trends in the temperature-dew point spread. Remember when studying forecasts or filing a VFR flight plan that your local time's relationship to Coordinated Universal Time changed when daylight-saving time took effect this month. (See the July 11, 2003, Training Tips discussion of time conversions.)

Never rush to complete a cross-country because of scheduling. If delays occur in spite of your careful planning, so be it. Let them know back at the base, circumstances permitting, but stay safe. That's the most important lesson of all.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
An active flight instructor will write a lot of logbook endorsements during his or her career. You owe it to your students to produce clear, concise, and accurate endorsements, according to Drew Chitiea, a designated pilot examiner and airline transport pilot (ATP) who holds all fixed-wing flight and ground instructor ratings. His book, Flight Instructor's Guide to Endorsements, proposes to help flight instructors do that by listing all endorsements in order of use that a flight instructor would have to make and including samples with notes and guidance to the instructor. The 112-page soft-cover book also includes a Transportation Security Administration training log and a section on flight reviews and instrument proficiency checks with tips to keep clients coming back for repeat business. The book sells for $20 and may be ordered online.

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 difference between an annual inspection and a 100-hour inspection?

Answer: In terms of what is actually inspected, the annual and the 100-hour inspections are identical in scope and detail as noted in appendix D to Part 43 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. The difference is in who is allowed to perform the inspection. According to FARs 65.85 and 65.87, an airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic may perform a 100-hour inspection required by Part 91, while FAR 65.95 allows only an A&P mechanic with Inspection Authorization (IA) to perform the annual inspection. More information on aircraft inspections can be found on AOPA Online.

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