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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 20AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 20

The following stories from the May 19, 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 - Instrument Interest
Can you predict what kind of flying conditions you would encounter on any given day just by looking at the clouds in the sky? If you know your stuff, you should have a good idea. AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Thomas A. Horne discusses the characteristics of "good, uh-oh, and bad" cumulus clouds, including wind direction, turbulence, and icing, in "Among the Clouds: What's it like in there?" in the March 1997 AOPA Pilot. For information on avoiding "bad cumulus" and thunderstorms-even when in contact with ATC on an IFR flight plan-check out the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Weather Wise: Thunderstorms and ATC online course.

My ePilot - Own/May Own Interest
Hangar and maintenance fees are two of the biggest expenses of owning an aircraft. But there are ways to make that and other aspects of aircraft ownership more affordable. AOPA's Guide to Reducing the Cost of Flying offers dozens of tips from searching nearby airports for the most economical hangar rental fees, to changing your oil regularly, to making full-stall landings to save wear and tear on your tires and brakes. Other tips include buying or selling your aircraft directly-eliminate the middleman. Individually, these savings might seem small, but take a look at all of the guide's cost-saving strategies. When combined, the savings can add up.

My ePilot - Helicopter Interest
Helicopters from around the country will descend on the California Bay Area on June 17 for the seventh annual Vertical Challenge hosted by Hiller Aviation Museum. The event is geared toward educating the general public about the role helicopters play in their daily lives-from news reporting, to search and rescue, to national security. The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 17, at the San Carlos Airport and Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, California. More information is available online.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips

The May 5, 2006, Training Tips urged pilots to pay attention to detail when preparing maneuvers for flight-test demonstration, giving the example of the need to avoid excessive loss of altitude during stall recovery. Another such fine point of preparation for the checkride-and beyond-is knowing and using recommended airspeeds or appropriate V speeds during maneuvers, takeoffs, and landings. Your designated examiner is likely to probe your knowledge in this area before and during your flight.

Look over the tasks in the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards to see how important target airspeeds are. Note that in many cases, you must decide whether an airspeed recommended by the aircraft manufacturer, or a published V speed, will apply. Both are found in the pilot's operating handbook for your aircraft. Observe that some flight-test tasks, such as the short-field takeoff, use two V speeds or recommended airspeeds: V x (best angle of climb speed) until an obstacle is cleared or until you are 50 feet above ground, and then V y (best rate of climb airspeed). For example, the POH for a Cessna 150M calls for using 60 knots indicated airspeed "with obstacles ahead" followed by a 65- to 75-KIAS climb. Alternatively, it refers pilots to a performance chart for airspeed selection if a maximum-performance climb is still needed.

Some V speeds are given only for the maximum gross weight of the aircraft; others, such as V A (maneuvering speed) may be published for various weights in the pilot's operating handbook. If not, be ready to apply some easy rules of thumb to adjust the airspeed to a value appropriate to lighter weights, as explained in Section 3 of AOPA's Handbook for Pilots. Definitions of the various V speeds also are provided in the handbook. In connection with your research, the question may arise as to why some V speeds such as V x and V y change, not just with aircraft loaded weight, but with altitude. See Rod Machado's explanation in the June 1999 AOPA Flight Training.

Knowing and using recommended airspeeds represents good piloting now, and will ease your transition to complex and multiengine aircraft, with their additional V speeds and operating procedures, later. Insist that your training program meet this demanding but rewarding standard from the start!

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
We've all seen clip-on sunglasses, and they work well for some and not so well for others. Sporty's introduces Clip and Flip sunglasses, which attach to the brim of a hat-not your glasses-and never touch your face. They flip down for sunlight protection and flip back up when you don't need them, don't interfere with headsets, and can easily be worn over prescription glasses. The fully adjustable glasses have a polycarbonate gray lens that is scratch- and shatter-resistant. Clip and Flip sunglasses cost $19.95 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: What basic radar services does air traffic control provide to VFR aircraft?

Answer: Provided you are communicating with air traffic control and they can identify you by radar, ATC will provide traffic advisories and safety alerts. Workload permitting, ATC will also provide radar navigation assistance (vectors). Review the Aeronautical Information Manual, Chapter 4, Section 1, for more information on services available to pilots by air traffic control. To learn terminology and how to effectively communicate with ATC, view the article on AOPA Online.

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