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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 45AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 8, Issue 45

The following stories from the November 10, 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
Ever wondered where the air route traffic control centers (ARTCCs) that you contact on an IFR flight get weather information? Currently, one to two National Weather Service employees are based at each center to provide weather advice to air traffic management, but that could be changing. A National Weather Service proposal to the FAA would consolidate these positions and move them from the centers to neighboring weather forecast offices. The FAA has contracted its weather forecasting and strategic advice services to the National Weather Service for 28 years but is now looking for ways to cut costs, enhance services, and improve efficiency. The National Weather Service sees its proposal as one way to accomplish this and keep its contract with the agency. AOPA has contacted the FAA and National Weather Service to ensure that any changes will not adversely affect the level of service pilots receive. If the FAA accepts the National Weather Service proposal, the transition would be completed by the end of 2009.

My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
Does flight training continue through fall and into the winter? You bet it does. Don't let shorter days and cold break your stride. This is a time for learning new things about aircraft operations and weather. As flight training moves into the cold-weather time of year, all-new terms and procedures enter your flying routine. Get ready by taking a look at the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Hot Spot on winter weather. Then break out your pilot's operating handbook (POH) and see what to do during cold-weather operations. Follow up by asking your FBO or flight school whether modifications such as winterization kits are added to your training aircraft, and when. You may come out to fly and notice that your trainer's wheelpants have been removed. Why? Find the answer and read seasonal flying pointers in the January 2002 AOPA Pilot's "Answers for Pilots."

Policies may be in effect for preheating engines, or temperatures below which you should not fly. Your POH may give different startup checklists for starts with or without preheat. There are a number of ways to preheat an aircraft engine. Ideally, it is kept in a heated building, and the pilot's only concern is to complete the preflight inspection and get under way before the machine cools down. Most pilots are less fortunate and must call (and pay) for an external preheat, then wait while they cool down and the engine warms up. Save time, call ahead. Some aircraft have electric engine heaters. Remember to plug it back in after your flight, for the next pilot!

Shock cooling of engine cylinders is a risk of cold weather flying. It can happen when a warm engine is idled on a final approach in extremely cold air. For more details on shock cooling, winterization, and other engine-care topics, see the January 2, 2004, Training Tips article "Engine TLC" and the related links.

Keep warm, and keep flying as winter approaches!

My ePilot - Training Product
SafeAviator has introduced a yoke-mount clipboard that incorporates a flexible-neck miniflashlight. The rugged aluminum board has a rubber-coated clip at the top and a mount attached to the back. Velcro strips are provided to give additional stability to the board when it's installed on the yoke--so it doesn't slide back and forth when you move the yoke. The board features a printed list of "pilot briefing aids" targeted to single-engine general aviation airplanes. These include before-takeoff passenger and pilot briefings, abbreviated checklists for an engine failure after takeoff and in cruise flight, and a prelanding checklist. The flight desk sells for $39.95 and can be ordered online from the manufacturer.

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: Can a student pilot fly a high-performance airplane during his or her training for a private pilot certificate?

Answer: Yes, a student pilot may fly a high-performance airplane while training for the private pilot certificate. If you choose to use a high-performance airplane your flight instructor will need to provide you with the necessary training specific to high-performance operations and endorse your logbook. When you have the endorsement (download the advisory circular), you will be legal to fly solo as long as your student pilot certificate has the proper endorsement. Keep in mind that building hours in a high-performance airplane can make it easier to get owners or renters insurance. For more insight, review the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's aircraft-specific Safety Highlights.

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