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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 9, Issue 10AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 9, Issue 10

The following stories from the March 9, 2007, 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 – Turbine Interest
Seven airframe manufacturers and a cadre of curious buyers and potential buyers attended the VLJ Exhibition and Trade Show at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in North Carolina on March 4. Produced and promoted by JetPool, the first-ever event was held in one of Wilson Air Center's hangars. Seven very light jet (VLJ) manufacturers exhibited: Cessna, Eclipse, Honda, Adam, Spectrum, Diamond, and Embraer, covering nearly the entire market segment. And buyers were there, too. At the end of the event, all of the exhibitors reported meetings with good prospects. The show didn't stop with showing the product. There were seminars covering the entire gamut of how to own and operate a VLJ. Insurance, financing, legal issues, and safety were covered. It is no secret that this is a new breed of aircraft, which will appeal to a wide variety of owners. Some will be owner flown, which raises questions of past experience and future training. The presenters were surprisingly candid about such subjects, providing quality information to the customers.

My ePilot – Student Interest, Training Tips
You flew a precise departure from the terminal area, complying with rapid instructions from air traffic control (ATC) (see the March 2, 2007, Training Tips). While getting established on course, you contact departure control and begin receiving radar traffic advisories. This is a comfort, as it seems that there are numerous arriving and departing aircraft around you. But even when making use of ATC radar services, you know that you are responsible for spotting opposing traffic under visual flight rules (VFR). This requires carefully scanning of the airspace, keeping in mind the blind spots characteristic to your aircraft, as explained in Christopher L. Parker's March 2002 AOPA Flight Training feature "Beyond see and avoid: Reduce the midair collision risk with hot-spot vigilance."

When ATC does provide you with traffic advisories [ see Chapter 5 of the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)], correct communications from the pilot are what make it a team effort. According to the following AIM-prescribed formula, the pilot:

  1. "Acknowledges receipt of traffic advisories.
  2. Informs controller if traffic in sight.
  3. Advises ATC if a vector to avoid traffic is desired.
  4. Does not expect to receive radar traffic advisories on all traffic. Some aircraft may not appear on the radar display. Be aware that the controller may be occupied with higher priority duties and unable to issue traffic information for a variety of reasons.
  5. Advises controller if service is not desired."

When a controller is monitoring traffic that you were unable to spot when it was called to your attention, you may get a follow-up communication informing you that the traffic is either "no longer a factor," or "no longer observed." Listen carefully to the wording; the meanings are very different. According to the AIM's Pilot/Controller Glossary, traffic that is no longer observed "is no longer depicted on radar, but may still be a factor."

Obviously, in that case, the pilot should maintain a lookout for the previously called traffic while scanning for any other airborne conflicts. Remember this on your flight test, and on all other flights, and give safety a big boost when flying under VFR.

My ePilot – Training Product
Shopping for a new flashlight? Momentum Interactive offers the dual-intensity FliteLite pilot's light, a hands-free LED flashlight that clips onto a headset. It runs on AAA batteries (included) or an optional lithium battery pack. The unit retails for about $50, depending on the model of headset. For more information, see the Web site.

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: What is the aircraft takeoff and landing criteria used by air traffic controllers when utilizing a single runway?

Answer: Air traffic controllers have minimum separation standards for aircraft using the same runway, making it possible for you to land on a runway that has another aircraft on it. The distance permitted between aircraft using the same runway is based on the category of aircraft. There are three aircraft categories: Category I includes aircraft that weigh less than 12,500 pounds with a single propeller-driven engine and all helicopters; Category II aircraft weigh less than 12,500 pounds with propeller-driven twin engines; and Category III encompasses all other aircraft. The specifics on separation for arriving and departing traffic are outlined in the FAA's Air Traffic Controllers Handbook .

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