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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 9, Issue 15AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 9, Issue 15

The following stories from the April 13, 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 – Instrument Interest
Like any component on an airplane installed under a supplemental type certificate (STC), the 400- and 500-series Garmin GPS navigators incorporating WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) require compliance with "instructions for continued airworthiness" or ICA at each annual. In the past, this has simply involved a functional check of the system: On start-up, if the display sequences normally, your system is in the clear. But when Garmin completed the STC for the 400/500W units, additional checks had to be incorporated into the ICA. On first read, it looks like something an avionics shop might need to accomplish—but that's not the case, according to a Garmin technical specialist. The three steps require a relatively simple, visual inspection and a functional check, should only take 5 minutes, and can be accomplished by any A&P during an annual. The inspection must be noted in the annual's associated paperwork—or the unit cannot be used in any way during flight. For more information, visit Garmin's Web site.

My ePilot – Piston Single-Engine Interest
The FAA is considering airworthiness action on Diamond DA40 airplanes. This follows an airworthiness directive put out by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regarding abnormal manufacturing variations of the universal joints in combination with mechanical wear. EASA said the pilot could have problems with the fuel selector, which could lead to fuel starvation or the unavailability of the emergency fuel shutoff. It would affect an estimated 476 airplanes in the U.S. registry. The comment deadline is May 2. Download the proposed AD.

My ePilot – Other Interest
Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS) has surpassed a new milestone in the "human saves" business. A Cirrus SR22 pilot recently pulled the rocket-launched parachute system and became the 200th documented save by a BRS product. It was the tenth deployment by a certified airplane. Shortly after, the company heard that a German ultralight pilot pulled a chute, bringing the number to 201 lives saved. "When I first got the news that we'd just saved our 200th life, I just closed my eyes and took a deep breath," said BRS CEO Larry Williams. "We all feel like we're so fortunate to produce a product that has saved so many lives."

A 90-second freefall might seem like eternity to some, but it was just enough time for 39 students in the U.S. Air Force Academy's Wings of Blue Competition and Demonstration Parachute Team to join and hold formation for 10 seconds. The academy claims the team set a "collegiate world big-way record" during the March 31 jump, in which the cadets bailed out of three aircraft at 17,500 feet. A big-way formation must have more than four people join as a single unit during freefall before deploying their parachutes, according to the academy. In 2000, the academy's team formed a 35-person big-way formation.

My ePilot – Light Sport Aircraft Interest
If you order a new Allegro light sport aircraft this year, expect to receive something extra with your shiny new aircraft: a code of conduct. Fantasy Air USA of Sanford, North Carolina, the U.S. distributor for the aircraft, says it has adopted a Light Sport Aviators' Model Code of Conduct, which presents broad guidance and recommendations to advance flight safety and responsible airmanship in the light sport community. The Code of Conduct will be included in each new Allegro delivery. The Code "presents a vision of excellence in light sport aircraft" within seven sections that deal with such topics as general responsibilities of aviators, passengers, and people on the surface; training and proficiency; and advancement and promotion of light sport aviation.

My ePilot – Student Interest, Training Tips
When you train on emergency procedures for your aircraft, much of the emphasis falls on procedural knowledge: lowering the nose immediately after an engine failure, combating a cabin fire, maintaining control solely by reference to instruments during an inadvertent encounter with instrument meteorological conditions.

No emergency procedure will be performed as smoothly as possible without one critical ingredient. The pilot must be able to remain calm and composed under the stress of unexpected difficulty. In the absence of this element, problems grow into emergencies, and emergencies are less likely to conclude safely.

It's not uncommon in training to witness a student pilot, or even a pilot working on advanced training, tense up and fly clumsily when given an emergency to handle. By contrast, a pilot who learned early that the light touch makes everything easier in the cockpit will fare much better (see the December 22, 2006, "Training Tips" article "Relax").

The typical stress response in an emergency is to rush through procedures. Some pilots panic and try to land as quickly as possible regardless of other considerations. Even without a true emergency, a pilot may throw judgment out the window. Consider this first-hand account of a private pilot's takeoff into unexpectedly strong winds and a subsequent panicked attempt to return to the ground. "I wanted to get back on the ground so bad I didn't do what I had been trained to do. So, instead, I struggled to get the airplane back on the extended centerline. By the time I had done that I was over the threshold, very fast and very high. Of course during all of the excitement, I had neglected to lower the flaps beyond 10 degrees," Patrick J. Timmerman recalled in his description of a harrowing landing in the February 2004 AOPA Pilot "Never Again."

Another example of a pilot seeking to get back down as quickly as possible, and other mental mistakes contributing to accidents, are discussed in the August 2006 AOPA Flight Training "Accident Analysis" column, which studied mishaps involving soloing student pilots.

Train thoroughly in emergency procedures—and don't consider the course complete until you can give yourself a better-than-just-passing grade on remaining composed under fire.

My ePilot – Training Product
King Schools' Cleared for Flying the Garmin G1000 multimedia training system has been updated and expanded. First issued in 2006, the course covers VFR and IFR operations, navigation, communications, loading and activating instrument approaches, departure and arrival procedures, and more. The new version includes additional lessons and questions covering terrain awareness and warning system, XM satellite weather, en route and approach holding, and OBS lessons, as well as expanded coverage about setting fuel information, bearing pointers, updating the Jeppesen database, and course reversals, including procedure turns. The course contains nine CD-ROMs and runs approximately five hours before interactive questions. The course sells for $249. To order, visit the Web site or call 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 read in the April 6, 2007, "Final Exam" that a VFR flight plan is generally not required (although filing one is a good idea for search and rescue)—but can you tell me when a VFR flight plan is required?

Answer: VFR flight plans are required for the following flight operations: international flights to or from the United States; crossing the off-shore coastal air defense identification zones (ADIZs) or the Washington, D.C., ADIZ; or if specifically required by an FAA notice to airmen issued for a specific ground-based event in the form of a temporary flight restriction (such as presidential visits, natural disasters requiring rescue operations, and the like).

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