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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 44AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 44

The following stories from the November 3, 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
All Level 1 through 3 flight training devices are now classified as advanced aviation training devices (ATDs); PC-ATDs are now basic ATDs. These changes come because the FAA has created FAR Part 60 to regulate flight simulation training devices. AOPA worked to keep the basic and advanced ATDs exempt from this regulation, which will govern Level 4 flight training devices and above, along with all airline simulators. This means these devices will still be affordable to use, and the way you use them to log time toward a certificate or rating will stay the same. "AOPA is pleased that the FAA listened to our argument," said Luis Gutierrez, AOPA director of regulatory and certification policy. "These devices already have established safety records. Applying airline-style maintenance and record-keeping requirements would have only increased costs, with no safety benefit."

My ePilot - Turbine Interest
AOPA has requested that the FAA revise its proposed Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) on MU-2 training, experience, and operating requirements. While the association supports establishing an SFAR to address the special challenges of flying an MU-2, the current proposal is costly and burdensome. "MU-2 owners have already been subject to over $8 million in new airworthiness directive compliance costs as a result of the MU-2 safety evaluation, in addition to the $40 million that the agency estimates this rule will cost," wrote Luis Gutierrez, AOPA director of regulatory and certification policy, in comments to the FAA. AOPA recommended numerous changes to the proposal that would make the rule more affordable for pilots. The association also requested the FAA allow pilots one year to comply with the SFAR instead of the proposed 180 days.

My ePilot - Helicopter Interest
Sikorsky is wrapping up developmental flight testing of its S-92 helicopter equipped with a search and rescue automatic flight control system that can lock in and fly point-in-space approaches, hands off, and hover for rescues. The company claims this is the first system to fly automated approaches to a set position directed by search radar, flight management system waypoint, thermal imager, or digital map. Sikorsky expects to receive FAA certification in 2007.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
It looks like a go. The outlook briefing, described in the October 20, 2006, Training Tips, was encouraging. Now as you obtain the standard weather briefing on which your flight planning will be based, it's time to focus on details.

"What are the winds aloft?" This is one of the most important questions you'll ask when gathering weather data. You need to know the wind speed and direction-remember, the direction is referenced to true north-at the altitudes you want to fly. But there's more information available to a careful observer in the winds and temperatures aloft forecast (FD).

For example, a radical change of wind speed or direction between adjacent levels suggests wind shear. Also, you can derive the expected freezing level, discussed in the November 26, 2004, Training Tips, and a critical item to pilots flying in cold weather. Thomas A. Horne offers strategies for avoiding trouble when cold clouds lurk in his February 2006 AOPA Pilot article "The Perfect Ice Flight."

06-10-24 02:07:00DATA BASED ON 240000Z
VALID 241200Z FOR USE 0900-1800Z. TEMPS NEG ABV 24000

FT 3000 6000 9000 12000
BGR 0506 9900-04 9900-09 3406-15
BHM 3212 3037+00 3249-01 3158+01

In the FD excerpt above, the forecast for BHM predicts a freezing level of 6,000 feet msl. Note that there's a temperature inversion at 12,000 feet (the temperature is warmer than below). Some unusual code appears in the winds aloft forecasts at BGR. The series 9900 tells you that at 6,000 feet msl and 9,000 feet msl, the winds will be 5 knots or less: light and variable. See Chapter 11 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.

Pilot reports included in your briefing or picked up en route can help you keep a check on the FD's accuracy. Listen for temperatures aloft reported along the route and for real-time winds aloft given by aircraft equipped to do so.

It was noted that winds aloft are given with reference to true north. Why? You'll find the explanation in the March 5, 2004, Training Tips article "Winds of Change."

My ePilot - Training Product
A flight instructor certificate is a goal of many private pilots, even those who don't aspire to fly professionally. Gleim Publications offers a self-study kit for the CFI or ground instructor certificate. Each kit includes the latest edition of the Federal Aviation Regulations/Aeronautical Information Manual, Flight Instructor Flight Maneuvers, the flight/ground instructor FAA knowledge test, Flight/Ground Instructor and Fundamentals of Instructing (FOI) test prep CD-ROM, FOI FAA knowledge test, access to Gleim's flight/ground instructor and FOI online ground schools, and the Gleim Pilot Handbook, a consolidated, organized book of relevant FAA reference materials for pilots. All items come with a Gleim flight bag. The complete kit costs $154.95, and items within the kit can be ordered separately. Order online.

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'm having a difficult time understanding the difference between magnetic deviation and dip errors related to the magnetic compass. What's the difference, if any?

Answer: Magnetic deviation occurs when items such as radios generate weak local magnetic disturbances of their own and cause the compass to deviate from its correct magnetic north indication. This is why a deviation card is installed. The dip error occurs because of the magnetic compass's floating compass card. If the compass is level, it aligns itself with the magnetic field's horizontal component only. If the compass is tilted, it tries to align itself with the vertical component as well. When an aircraft makes a coordinated turn, the compass card tilts relative to the Earth's surface, and the north-seeking end of the compass dips earthward as well as to the north. Additional information can be found in the article "Mastering the Flight Instruments" from the February 2002 issue of AOPA Flight Training.

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