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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 16AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 16

The following stories from the April 21, 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 - Turbine Interest
Eclipse. Adam. Embraer. Honda. Cessna. Diamond. So many companies are entering the very light jet market, it's hard to keep up with who's doing what. AOPA contributor John W. Olcott, the past president of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), dubbed 2006 "the year of the very light jet." AOPA will keep you current on the latest in the VLJ industry with exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes looks at these companies. AOPA's online "VLJ Update" page contains a Q&A with Eclipse Aviation CEO Vern Raburn, an exclusive look at the HondaJet, and updates on where several companies are in the development and certification process, along with several articles from AOPA Pilot and AOPA Online.

Abu Dhabi, through its investment company Mubadala Development, has purchased 35 percent of the equity in Piaggio Aero. Piaggio has 100 aircraft in its order book valued at $820 million. Piaggio officials said they will expand in the European and North American markets, and explore new markets in the Middle East, Far East, and South America.

My ePilot - Piston Multiengine Interest
After an aircraft is repaired or inspected, every pilot knows to give it a thorough preflight. But not everything can be caught by a preflight. Charles B. Husick tells how he learned that lesson the hard way when both engines in the PA-39 Twin Comanche he was flying temporarily quit after he switched to the wingtip fuel tanks. "I found myself 'enjoying' a flight in the quietest PA-39 in history," he recalled in the February 2002 "Never Again Online: Too Quiet Twin." "Both engines had quit cold." A later inspection revealed that wires from the tip tanks had not been properly reconnected. That's why it is imperative to remain vigilant during those first several flights after return to service.

My ePilot - Instrument Interest
Getting your instrument rating is a significant accomplishment. But have you broken in that new rating yet? Your first solo trip into the soup can be nerve-racking, but once it's complete, you'll feel more like a true instrument-rated pilot. "For the first time I felt like a true all-weather pilot, with a whole new world of flight opened to me," said AOPA Flight Training columnist Greg Brown in the August 2000 "Flying Carpet: Alone in the Soup." "Plenty of IFR adventures still lay ahead, but that single trip stimulated a fascination with instrument flying that has never left me." Brown also points out that it is important to put those butterflies aside and accurately judge whether the flight can be completed safely in IMC.

My ePilot - Other Interest
Kevin Eldredge, pilot of the NemesisNXT kitplane Relentess and a partner with Jon Sharp in the production of the aircraft, suffered an engine malfunction while flying at 300 knots some 12,500 feet above Glenwood, New Mexico, and landed on a dirt landing strip where one of the landing gear struck a rock. Both main gear and a spar were damaged. Eldredge had flown the aircraft to third-place finishes in three races at Reno's National Championship Air Races. He was uninjured. Severe turbulence had dislodged an engine seal allowing oil to reach hot parts of the engine and causing toxic smoke to enter the cockpit, so Eldredge was forced to shut the engine down as the oil temperature rose. He was on his way home to California after showing the aircraft at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Florida.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
A student pilot who has soloed, flown dual cross-countries, and flown some solo cross-countries is on the way to completing the private pilot training course. Adding night flying to the mix introduces you to a new brand of aviation. (See the February 1, 2002, Training Tips.) Then comes dual night cross-country flying, a uniquely thrilling form of flight.

Night flying regulatory requirements for training include "one cross-country flight of over 100 nautical miles total distance." But getting your feet wet on a short, local outing first may be how you make your introduction to night flying. One fine method is to allow a local-area dual flight begun in daylight to transition to night flying, and finish it up with some traffic pattern practice. One reason for this is that you must log at least 10 landings to satisfy training requirements.

Generous margins of error are needed when evaluating weather forecasts for night visual cross-country flying. Planning will focus on information about airport lighting, how to activate lights, hours of any part-time control tower operation, and any special night traffic patterns or noise-abatement requirements. For example, see information on lighted obstacles and how to control lights for the Frederick, Maryland, airport in AOPA's Airport Directory .

It's important to fly under a variety of nocturnal conditions. Compare navigating under a moonlit sky to flying on moonless nights or under a high overcast. Piloting an aircraft with few outside references will give you new appreciation for your basic skills at flying solely by flight instruments. Obstacle clearance requires new strategies; electronic navigation will play a major role in getting you there and keeping you clear of dark hazards below. The extra altitude that now seems so prudent for cruise can help you spot that feeble airport rotating beacon in the glow below. Activating pilot-controlled airport lighting (PCL) at a strategic moment may reveal the elusive airport to your eager eyes. For 10 night-flying tips, see the October 2002 AOPA Flight Training feature "The After-Hours Club."

Night flying, with its special requirements, makes up a small percentage of training time. This remains so for most private pilots. That's why it's important to get the max from your night training, then revisit the night scene later with caution and an experienced guide.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
Flight schools and instructors need to keep organized records of students' progress, particularly in today's security-conscious environment. Aviation Supplies and Academics has updated its Flight Record Folder for CFIs to incorporate a four-panel design in which flight instructors can record the accomplishments of each lesson, flight hours, notes, endorsements, aircraft used, stage checks, and ground school completion dates. Evaluation tools to follow the FAA/Industry Training Standards (FITS) format are also new. The Private Pilot Student Flight Record Folder sells for $2.95 each and may be ordered online from ASA. Flight record folders are also available for commercial, instrument, and helicopter training programs.

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: Does AOPA have any information that can help me learn about flying in windy weather?

Answer: Yes. From dealing with crosswind takeoffs and landings, to turbulence and wind shear, to determining which way the wind is blowing, AOPA's subject report, "Windy Flight Operations," is packed with articles that will help you to learn more about the challenges of taming an airplane in windy weather. Read one new pilot's experience in nailing a great crosswind landing, only to lose control of the airplane on the ground.

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