The following stories from the May 26, 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 - Renter Interest
SUMMER VACATION: AFFORDABLE RENTALS OFFER NEW POSSIBILITIES
Have your vacation plans been set? Perhaps you've toyed with the idea of flying to your getaway, but you're not sure if you can afford to rent an aircraft for a few days or a week. AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines offers tips on how you can fly to your destination without breaking the bank in his March 1999 column "Waypoints: Trips to travel by." The key? Negotiation. "Renter pilots with a knack for negotiating can often strike good deals with FBOs and flight schools to use aircraft during quieter times," Haines writes. You can also invite a fellow pilot and share the cost, rent a high-performance aircraft that doesn't have the student demand of a typical trainer, or opt for several long weekend trips throughout the year instead of one long vacation.
My ePilot - Light Sport Aircraft Interest
NEW CESSNA-LIKE SPORT PLANE COMING
TL Sport Planes, formerly TL Ultralights, located in the Czech Republic, will offer a new light sport aircraft this summer that is said by the company president, Jiri Tlusty, to resemble a Cessna 172. It will seat two people as limited under light sport rules. It also will be available on floats and could be seen this year at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. The company now makes the low-wing StingSport light sport aircraft and has delivered 320 of the aircraft worldwide, counting the TL96 model that is similar to the StingSport. In the past year, more than 50 have been ordered in the United States, while more than 30 have been delivered.
My ePilot - Other Interest
EXPERIMENTAL PRESSURIZED LANCAIR TAKES FLIGHT
The first Lancair ES-Pressurized kitplane received its experimental airworthiness certificate on April 28 and took its maiden flight on May 2. The four-seat, fixed-gear aircraft cruises at 260 knots at Flight Level 250 and has a high-speed range of 1,300 nautical miles. Owner Robert Simon of Columbus, Ohio, utilized the Lancair builder's assistance center in Redmond, Oregon, to complete the airplane. A quick-build kit costs $112,500, according to Lancair's Web site.
My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
WHAT DID THAT MEAN?
When a student pilot begins interacting with air traffic control (ATC), questions arise about exchanges heard over the radio between pilots and controllers. What exactly should you do if the tower instructs you to "make short approach"? Why did ATC instruct the pilot who was just cleared for takeoff to "expedite" his departure?
Such questions will lead a student pilot and instructor to a section of the Aeronautical Information Manual titled the "Pilot/Controller Glossary." "This Glossary was compiled to promote a common understanding of the terms used in the air traffic control system. It includes those terms which are intended for pilot/controller communications. Those terms most frequently used in pilot/controller communications are printed in bold italics," it explains.
A less-appreciated aspect of the glossary is that it conveys specific procedural expectations. How would you perform a go-around at a towered airport? Here's what the "Pilot/Controller Glossary" says. Note the procedure to fly unless otherwise instructed:
" Go around-Instructions for a pilot to abandon his/her approach to landing. Additional instructions may follow. Unless otherwise advised by ATC, a VFR aircraft or an aircraft conducting visual approach should overfly the runway while climbing to traffic pattern altitude and enter the traffic pattern via the crosswind leg."
Here's another definition. Note the desired outcome concerning the final approach:
" Make short approach-Used by ATC to inform a pilot to alter his/her traffic pattern so as to make a short final approach."
Sometimes when a controller uses a keyword in a clearance or instruction, it conveys a sense of urgency that you are expected to recognize:
" Expedite-Used by ATC when prompt compliance is required to avoid the development of an imminent situation. Expedite climb/descent normally indicates to a pilot that the approximate best rate of climb/descent should be used without requiring an exceptional change in aircraft handling characteristics."
Remember, you are still the final authority as to whether to accept a clearance, as reviewed in the July 16, 2004, Training Tips.
Not understanding precise meanings of instructions can lead to confusion and error as illustrated in the September 2004 AOPA Pilot feature "Loud and Clear." By researching phrases you hear in exchanges between ATC and other pilots, you will be doing your part to promote safety and smooth the flow.
My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products
PRIZEFLIGHT.COM OFFERS NEW ONLINE LOGBOOK SERVICE
Adam Bell wanted to take his two young sons for a flight one day last year, but when he went to his truck to drive to the airport, he found that someone had stolen his flight bag containing his logbook, headset, flight computer, pilot's operating handbook-everything. He wasn't able to recover his gear, but the incident sparked an idea. Bell recently launched PrizeFlight.com, home of the "AvJournal Logbook Software." It's a true online logbook-no software or patches to download and install. Members join the site for $39.95 per year. Information can be set up in either FAA or Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) format, and you can switch back and forth and create custom flight time categories. You also can set up a pilot profile with your medical certificate, flight review, CFI information, safety pilot information, and the like. The information is secure and encrypted, and Bell says it is backed up nightly. He offers another incentive to sign up: monthly random prize drawings for items like pilot kneeboards, Bose headsets, and a Garmin 396 GPS receiver. For more information or to view a demo, 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: How do I file, activate, and cancel a VFR flight plan?
Answer: You can file a VFR flight plan over the telephone with flight service by calling 800/WX-BRIEF or online via programs like AOPA's Real-Time Flight Planner, which can be used to access your DUAT(S) account for weather and online filing. To activate the filed flight plan, contact the nearest flight service station (FSS) to your departure airport using the radio frequency listed on top of the VOR communication box on the sectional chart. An "R" listed after the frequency indicates that flight service will only be able to receive your transmission and that you will have to listen over the VOR frequency for a response. You can cancel your VFR flight plan via an FSS frequency or by calling a briefer on the telephone after landing. Be sure to cancel within 30 minutes after your estimated time of arrival to avoid the initiation of search and rescue operations.