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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 9, Issue 2AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 9, Issue 2

The following stories from the January 12, 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 – Helicopter Interest
Eagle Eye Solutions LLC, a company that provides academic helicopter training programs, will be hosting a helicopter CFI renewal clinic on February 17 and 18 in Dayton, Ohio. If you can't make it to a renewal clinic, course instructors can travel to you—flight schools and companies can host a seminar. Eagle Eye Solutions also can custom design a seminar to meet your needs if one of its others doesn't fit. The company offers "Helicopter Fundamentals and Beyond," which is open to pilots of all levels, along with two seminars for emergency medical service pilots and one for flight instructor candidates.

My ePilot – Instrument Interest
Icing conditions can bring down even the most experienced pilots, as Tom Horne discusses in "Icing accidents: Learning from the stats" in the January 2007 AOPA Pilot. Read tips from Horne on how to recognize, avoid, and escape icing conditions in "A Perfect Ice Flight" and "Escaping the Frozen Zone." Horne doesn't just dish out advice about icing conditions—he practices what he preaches. Read about his recent go/no-go decision in "Icing, the Win a Six, and Expo."

My ePilot – Turbine Interest
Diamond Aircraft kicked off the 2007 tour of its full-scale D-Jet cabin mock-up this week in Groton, Connecticut. The mock-up includes the full avionics suit and five-place interior. Find out when the tour will make a stop near you. Meanwhile, Diamond continues flight testing and development of the single-engine jet that took flight on April 18, 2006.

My ePilot – Student Interest, Training Tips
Describe your aircraft's fuel system. How is the primer used during engine start? Describe the trim system and its use. Should you retrim every time you change airspeeds and configurations? Are there times when trim should simply be "overpowered" with manual yoke pressure? Learning the answers to such questions is what becoming a pilot is about.

You learned that trimming is the final step in setting up your aircraft for steady-state flight after power and pitch have been established for a climb, level cruise, or descent. A stable landing approach requires proper trim. "It is critical to retrim the airplane every time you change the power or flap settings. Trim for the proper approach speed as recommended by the manufacturer. It is common for pilots to underuse the trim," Alton K. Marsh wrote in the March 2002 AOPA Pilot column "Out of the Pattern: Consistent Landings."

What if you need to execute a go-around? When you add climb power, how will your aircraft respond? By pitching up to maintain its trimmed airspeed in a climb. However, that airspeed may not be correct now—it may be too slow. You will also be occupied retracting flaps and monitoring whatever situation made you abort the landing. Is this a time to retrim? "Don't try to trim the elevator pressure out before the flaps are up because you'll have to retrim. If you trim the airplane to cancel the nose-up pitch while the flaps are still down, the trim will want to push the nose toward the ground when you retract the flaps. Just overpower the trim until the flaps are up," Budd Davisson advised in the September 2005 AOPA Flight Training feature "Going, Going, Go Around."

Even basic operations such as engine starts tell an observer (such as a designated examiner) whether a pilot possesses real-world systems knowledge. "A carbureted fuel system is just one example. When I ask a pilot to describe that system, he will usually recite the general system description that's illustrated in the pilot's operating handbook for the aircraft. Then, in the airplane, he will make several operational fuel-system errors," Ralph Butcher said in "Insights: Systems Knowledge" in the May 2005 AOPA Flight Training. Read his article to see how experience builds on book knowledge to produce excellence in the cockpit. For an interactive look at engine operations, take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's free online course, Engine and Propeller.  

My ePilot – Training Product
How well do you know the Garmin 430/530? This widely utilized nav/com system is installed in the panels of numerous training aircraft. King Schools Inc.'s new interactive video course, Flying the Garmin 430/530, includes hundreds of video lessons to demonstrate how to use the 430/530, along with interactive questions so that you can practice what you just learned. The course covers all aspects of the system, including best practices, moving maps, flight plans, "Direct To" usage, page groups, nearest airport, navigation aids, what to do when there is an in-flight problem, approaches, course reversals, holding, missed approaches, terrain features, system customization, and how to handle possible malfunctions. The course provides seven CD-ROMs and runs about four hours before the interactive questions. It sells for $249. 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: When flying in the traffic pattern, my flight instructor recommends that I fly 1,000 feet agl, but I've heard other instructors teaching their students to fly at a lower traffic pattern altitude. I'm a bit confused on this issue and want to know if AOPA can help straighten this out.

Answer: Chapter 4 of the Aeronautical Information Manual recommends using a 1,000-foot-agl altitude above the airport elevation. On a case-by-case basis, the airport management may implement a different traffic pattern altitude because of noise abatement concerns and/or ground obstacle clearance safety. Traffic pattern altitudes for propeller-driven aircraft can range from 600 to 1,500 feet agl; if a traffic pattern altitude is not listed for a particular airport, the 1,000-foot-agl altitude would apply. When planning a flight, if you are in doubt as to what traffic pattern altitude to use, we recommend calling the airport before you depart. Review the AOPA Pilot article "Pattern Perfection" as well download the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Operations at Nontowered Airports Safety Advisor for more information.

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