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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 40AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 40

The following stories from the October 6, 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 - Personal/Recreational Interest
General aviation pilots can enjoy a luxury that many only dream of-flying low and slow above brilliant gold, orange, and red hilltops during leaf-peeping season. To help you catch the peak fall foliage colors, The Foliage Network and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Web sites provide fall foliage reports to let you know what areas of the United States are at peak color. The Forest Service also provides a list of national forest fall foliage hotspots along with regional sites. Once you've selected your aerial leaf-peeping route, use AOPA's Airport Directory Online to select fuel and rest stops along the way.

My ePilot - Light Sport Aircraft Interest
The number of certified special light sport aircraft (LSA) has increased, again. Jabiru USA Sport Aircraft has announced that its smallest LSA received certification September 8 and is available to customers. The Calypso can cruise at 100 knots with an 85-horsepower Jabiru 2200 engine, while burning only 3.5 gallons per hour, according to the company. The two-seat aircraft with standard equipment costs $69,900, which includes three hours of transition training in the aircraft with one of Jabiru's instructors. For more information, visit the Web site.

My ePilot - Other Interest
If you've ever dreamed about extreme soaring, a video has been posted on Google, capturing some great scenes of gliders flying in the remote Australian outback near a morning glory cloud. To learn more about the cadre of glider pilots who come from around the world to experience this unique phenomenon, see the Cloud Appreciation Society's Web site.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Bird hazards are ever-present in aviation, especially at certain times of the year. It's estimated that 500 million to 1 billion birds fly over the country during migrations. So while conflict between aircraft and birds may seem random and unpredictable, that's not the case. There's a lot of history in the relationship. New pilots should be familiar with that information.

A good start is making sure you aren't the victim of a misimpression. "Pilots may associate bird activity with nesting activities: That's not the problem. The worst months for bird strikes are August through October, not spring, because young birds have grown up enough to learn to fly but lack air smarts," Alton K. Marsh explained in the August 2005 AOPA Pilot feature "Bird Strike! What to Do When a Bird Fills the Screen." To see the results of bird strikes, see the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's bird strike photo page.

Migratory seasons and known flyways aren't the only time and place for bird hazards. Here's another fact pilots should know: "About 90 percent of bird strikes take place on or around airports, usually while taking off or landing." This valuable information is a sample of what you'll find in the Bird Strikes Subject Overview on AOPA Online, prepared by the AOPA Pilot Information Center. The overview also suggests ways of recognizing and staying away from bird-hazard hot spots:

  • Avoid marshlands and landfills.
  • Don't fly beneath a flock. Birds have a tendency to dive when they sense danger in the air. If you are approaching a flock, you should always pitch up.
  • When flying in an area with birds, you should turn on your landing lights. The birds may see you in time to move. Don't rely on this too much, though-many birds on the ground face into the wind so it is possible that they may have their back toward you and will not even see the lights.

More information can be found in Chapter 7 of the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM). The AIM also explains how to report incidents involving birds and encourages pilots to do so in the interest of increasing safety through knowledge.

It's not just other aircraft we're watching for when we look for opposing traffic. Birds are out there, too.

My ePilot - Training Product
Pilots don't deliberately take off and fly into weather that they know will be too much for them. What generally happens is that weather changes en route and pilots fail to notice and manage the changing weather risks. A new DVD from King Schools aims to help pilots recognize the risks associated with weather and its constantly changing reality and how to make weather-related decisions quickly. The lessons in Practical Risk Management for Weather include how to manage risks in poor weather; defining your personal weather minimums; using conservatism without guilt; safe flying in haze; and many others. The DVD runs 113 minutes before interactive questions and is approved for the FAA Wings and Avemco Safety Rewards programs. It sells for $49 and can be ordered online or by calling 800/854-1001.

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: I operate my Piper J-3 Cub out of a nontowered airport, and there is a Class D airport relatively close by. Can I legally fly into this airport if I have no radio?

Answer: Although two-way communications is a requirement to operate in Class D airspace, you could contact the tower controller ( download a list of phone numbers and locations) for authorization beforehand. Chances are good you will receive light gun signals while operating in the airport environment, so brush up on your knowledge of the signals. While talking with the controllers, you will also get a chance to discuss any special operational considerations specific to the airport. FAR 91.129 and the Aeronautical Information Manual Chapter 3, Airspace, discuss the operational considerations of Class D airspace. Additional information can be reviewed in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation Airspace for Everyone Safety Advisor.

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