The following stories from the December 15, 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
PILOTS BRING CHRISTMAS CHEER TO HOSPITALIZED CHILDREN
A group of FedEx pilots this week made a special delivery to a Memphis day-care center for children who are infected with or whose lives have been affected by HIV or AIDs. The FedEx pilots took food baskets and presents to Hope House as part of Pilots for Kids, a nonprofit organization of professional pilots and flight crewmembers who take gifts to hospitalized children during the holidays. Pilots for Kids reaches children across the United States and the world, including the Caribbean, Guam, Tokyo, and Bangkok, according to the Web site.
My ePilot - Multiengine Interest
VALUES FOR TWINS DECLINE, BUT SOME ARE BRINGING TOP DOLLAR
Average values for light multiengine airplanes dropped slightly from the beginning of 2006, according to Vref, the aircraft value reference. The average value for the 1982 Beechcraft B55 Baron, 1990 Beechraft 58 Baron, 1981 Cessna 310R, 1981 Piper Aztec, and the 1990 Piper Seneca III stood at $225,600 at the beginning of the year and fell to $220,600 by the end. The high-water mark was $268,600 in mid-2000 and early 2001. Values for pressurized twins dropped as well over the course of this year. Although there hasn't been a lot of activity among twins in the past few years, Vref reports that late-model airplanes such as Cessna 421Cs are bringing top dollar while the Cessna 310Rs are in demand and the Piper Chieftans in good condition are moving up. Perform your own aircraft valuations using AOPA's free service on AOPA Online. Also, see Vref's Web site.
My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
CRITICAL ANGLE OF ATTACK
Pilots learn that a stall can occur "at any airspeed, in any attitude, with any power setting," as explained in Chapter 4 of the FAA's Airplane Flying Handbook. How well do you understand this concept?
The typical method of practicing and demonstrating straight-and-level stalls and recoveries is to slow the aircraft down in the takeoff or departure configuration until it reaches the minimum controllable airspeed (MCA) depicted on the airspeed indicator, inducing the stall, and recovering. (See the February 10, 2006, Training Tips article "Pre-solo Stalls.") This is a safe way to demonstrate the effects of exceeding the critical angle of attack. But letting the discussion end there carries the risk of fixing in a student's mind the inaccurate notion that exceeding that angle of attack can be prevented simply by flying above minimum controllable airspeed (MCA). That's not so.
Suppose you are on your final approach glide with flaps down, throttle at idle, and maintaining an indicated airspeed of 65 knots, well above MCA for your airplane. Another aircraft suddenly appears below and in front of you. Your first reaction is to haul back sharply on the yoke to avoid collision. Without decelerating to MCA, the aircraft wing exceeds its critical angle of attack and stalls-unexpectedly and at low altitude. Because this is a so-called accelerated stall, the added lift induces a load on the airframe. To understand maneuvering speed's importance to stall avoidance, see Rod Machado's "A New Look at Maneuvering Speed" in the March 1999 AOPA Flight Training.
A glance at your pilot's operating handbook reminds you that stall speeds increase with bank angle. Practicing a level-flight steep turn, or increasing bank to complete a turn in the pattern, you are surprised to hear stall-warning activation at what seems to be a healthy airspeed. Remember that you are flying a maneuver with a high-load factor, meaning that the aircraft wing is producing horizontally inclined lift to turn the aircraft plus the necessary vertical component of lift to regulate altitude. It is flying closer to its critical angle of attack than in unaccelerated level flight.
Managing angle of attack at any airspeed, attitude, or power setting is the key, as the opening words above remind us.
My ePilot - Training Product
CORADINE LOGBOOK SOFTWARE INCLUDES 40 HOURS FREE USE
Coradine Aviation Systems, makers of the LogTen Pro version 3.0 software for Macintosh OS X, has changed its "Try Before You Buy" program so that the first 40 hours of logged flight time on the software are free. The company says it's trying to do its part to help reduce the high cost of becoming a pilot. The announcement came in conjunction with the release of the latest version of LogTen Pro. Upgrades and new features for LogTen Pro 3.0 include a flight journal that lets pilots keep a more detailed record of their trips, a resource manager that lets users manage aircraft, airports, people, and certificates; inline totals; and the Smart Group system, which can be used to track currency and duty requirements for pilots operating under any international regulatory criteria. To download the software, see the Web site. If you commit to purchase, the retail price is $89.
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: Other than during the night, when is an airport location beacon used?
Answer: The use of a beacon during daylight hours in Class B, C, D, or E surface areas will typically mean ground visibility is less than 3 miles and/or the ceiling is less than 1,000 feet. At many airports a photoelectric cell or clock timer will automatically operate the beacon; however, some airports manually control the beacon through ATC personnel, so the beacon may be on before sunset until after sunrise. There are varying color combinations of beacons to distinguish between different types of airports and heliports. For additional insight review the FAA's advisory circular, AC 150/5345-12E, and "Airport Lights" from the May 1998 Flight Training.