The following stories from the September 22, 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 - Professional Pilot Interest
ERAU TO HOST ICING SEMINAR FOR CORPORATE PILOTS
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's (ERAU's) Center for Professional Education will be offering a one-day seminar, "Managing Aircraft Icing for Corporate Flight Operations," at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention in Orlando, Florida. The seminar is designed to help pilots of fixed-wing corporate, regional air carrier, and very light jet aircraft understand the limitations of ice protection systems, aircraft design, and meteorology. It also will teach how to evaluate specific aircraft and weather conditions, the differences between ground and in-flight icing, and how to apply lessons learned that day in the real-world environment. The seminar will take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando on October 16. More information is available from ERAU.
My ePilot - Helicopter Interest
BELL RELOCATES, EXPANDS TRAINING FACILITY
Bell Helicopter's training academy has moved to the Alliance Airport north of Fort Worth, Texas. The facility includes a newly designed customer center with 18 large classrooms and three overhaul labs, as well as more than 41,000 square feet of hangar space for maintenance training. A helicopter-specific landing strip and helipads located within a few minutes' flight time from the customer training academy are dedicated to autorotation and emergency procedure flight time. The facility has a fleet of seven helicopters and uses two flight training devices. In addition to transition training for fixed-wing pilots, the center offers technician training and professional pilot programs for advanced pilots throughout the year. For more information, see the Web site.
My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
You know the rule. It's Federal Aviation Regulation 91.151, and you consider it every time you plan a flight. It basically says that when you land, there should be at least 30 minutes of fuel in your tanks after a VFR day flight and 45 minutes' worth at night. That quantity is determined using a fuel-consumption standard that assumes "normal cruising speed." The rule reminds pilots that flying at power settings that increase fuel consumption-higher airspeeds or climbs to higher altitudes than planned-erode reserves.
One reliable way to track your fuel is to fly the profile you planned (altitude and power setting) and to know in advance how changes to your plan would affect fuel burn. Remember that fuel burns given in your pilot's operating handbook are based on proper leaning technique. (See Mark Twombly's article "Fuel School" in the September 2002 AOPA Flight Training.) It's critical to monitor groundspeed. Are stronger headwinds slowing your progress? The importance to flight planning and safety of this performance parameter was discussed in the December 12, 2003, Training Tips article "Grasping Groundspeed."
Most training flights won't approach the fuel capacity of your aircraft. For those that do, why not set your minimum reserve at more fuel remaining than required by regulations, even if that means an extra fuel stop for safety (and practice)? "What's the major cause of engine stoppages? You got it: running out of fuel. This makes having plenty of fuel one of your best outs. But how much is enough? Regulations require that you plan your flights so as to land with 30 minutes' fuel reserve on day VFR flights and 45 minutes' worth of fuel on night VFR and flights under IFR. Those are the legal minimums, but personally it makes me nervous to land with that little fuel aboard," Thomas A. Horne counseled in his August 2000 AOPA Pilot article "Escape Chutes: What's Your Way Out?" For more information, download the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Fuel Awareness Safety Advisor.
A related issue: Do you know how much fuel was in your tanks when you began your flight? If your aircraft is topped off each time it flies, no problem. If not, some guesswork or measuring may be involved. Yet another reason to include an extra margin of safety in your planning!
My ePilot - Training Product
SPORTY'S DVD FOCUSES ON TAKEOFFS AND LANDINGS
All pilots are trying to improve their takeoffs and landings (and some are working on that elusive greaser). A new DVD from Sporty's explores the different types of takeoffs and landings and the many factors that affect their outcome. Takeoffs and Landings attempts to provide viewers with a comprehensive review of the basics and offers some tips and tricks for consistently smooth operation. In-flight footage shows different techniques and methods, and the DVD covers crosswind techniques, slips, crabs, no-flap landings, emergencies, and recoveries from less-than-perfect landings. Takeoffs and Landings is available for $29.95 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: When can I log night time for the purposes of meeting the requirements for getting a private pilot certificate?
Answer: Under 14 CFR 1.1, "night" is defined as the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the American Air Almanac, converted to local time. There is a calculator that can help you determine when civil twilight is based on the date and your location. For more information on night regulations, visit AOPA Online.