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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 9, Issue 4AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Custom Content -- Vol. 9, Issue 4

The following stories from the January 26, 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 – Piston Multiengine Interest
During flight training, pilots are taught how to land if they have a flat tire or if the landing gear won't extend or lock. Not handling the situation correctly can cause major problems, as is evident from the crash of a Piper Aerostar that killed five people in the air and two on the ground. Read what happened in Bruce Landsberg's 2005 Landmark Accident article, "Down and Locked."

My ePilot – Own/May Own Interest
Looking for a way to make buying and owning an aircraft more affordable? Our aviation specialists in the Pilot Information Center offer practical tips in "AOPA's Guide to Reducing the Cost of Flying." The guide includes tips for maintenance, aircraft care, insurance, and ownership. One way to make aircraft ownership more feasible is to join a flying club. For more information about starting or joining one, see the flying clubs subject report..

My ePilot – Professional Pilot Interest
AIR, Inc. announced its 2007 Airline Pilot Hiring Forecast on Wednesday, predicting that the airlines will hire 8,500 pilots this year. The airline industry rounded out 2006 with 8,256 hires, lower than its 2005 total of 10,405. During 2006, the national carriers continued to hire the most, with 3,233 new pilots—national carriers have led hiring now for the past nine years. The majors followed with 2,276, non-jet operators with 918, and jet operators with 611. There were other categories as well that figured into the total.

My ePilot – Student Interest, Training Tips
The January 19, 2007, Training Tips discussed the hazards of launching on a flight without knowing the minimum altitude that keeps you clear of all obstructions along your route. Charts, notams, and flight publications provide information you need to stay safe, but you must correctly interpret it.

In your first moments of flying as a student pilot, you learned that the altimeter gives altitude information as a value above mean sea level (msl). You also learned that the instrument is accurate only when set to the local barometric pressure. (See the January 2006 AOPA Flight Training column "The Weather Never Sleeps: Understanding the Altimeter.") Msl is not the same as another important elevation value: agl, which stands for "above ground level." For example, if you are flying westbound at 6,500 feet msl, and you overfly a 4,000-foot mountain peak, your altimeter indicates 6,500 feet, but you are only 2,500 feet agl while flying over the mountaintop.

To see a presentation of various types of elevation figures, look at the expanded sectional chart excerpt for the airport and seaplane base in Greenville, Maine, in AOPA's Airport Directory Online. Note the airport elevation: 1,401 feet msl. There's an obstruction south of the airport. Two numbers appear beneath its symbol. The bold 1,732 is the elevation of the top of the obstruction in msl. So, is the obstruction 1,732 feet tall? No. The height of the object above ground level is 207 feet—the number in parentheses. A practiced chart reader will detect another clue. The obstruction's symbol is used for obstructions less than 1,000 feet agl. Also, this is a single obstruction, not a group obstruction. (For explanations, see the Aeronautical Chart User's Guide. )

There is a 2,660-foot-msl mountain peak southeast of the airport. That's a "spot elevation." Other nearby summits are similarly identified. Note also the maximum elevation figure (MEF) depicted just inside the northeast boundary of the Condor 2 MOA (military operations area).

Just as weather reports and forecasts deliver some information as msl values and other items in agl terms, charts showing airspace boundaries, obstructions, and airport data do the same. Learn how to know at a glance whether your safety margins are satisfactory.  

My ePilot – Training Product
As more people download video content to desktop computers, MP3 players, and other personal viewing devices, you can add Sporty's to your viewing list. Sporty's now offers video downloads for a selection of its educational programs. Currently available are the Richard Collins Air Facts series and three volumes from Sporty's What You Should Know series: Flying the Garmin G1000, Flying the Avidyne Entegra, and Flying the Garmin GPSMAP 396/496. Air Facts videos may be downloaded for $9.95 each; and the What You Should Know videos can be downloaded for $19.95 each. Once you download the programs, they're yours to keep. 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: My instructor asked me if it is acceptable to fly with expired charts and to find the regulation that discusses this. I've done some research and can't find anything. Can AOPA help me find the answer?

Answer: The term "charts" is not found in the FAA's Part 91 regulations (other than for large and turbine-powered multiengine airplanes in 91.503[a]). The specific FAA regulation, FAR 91.103 "Preflight Actions," states that each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. What is not specifically addressed in the regulation is a requirement for charts. You should always carry a current chart for safety's sake. An expired chart will not show new frequencies or newly constructed obstructions, some of which could be tall enough to be a hazard along your route of flight. For more information on this topic, review the August 2005 AOPA Flight Training feature "Charting Your Course" and "Database Debate II" from the August 1997 issue of AOPA Pilot.

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