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The following stories from the November 20, 2009, 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 -

R44 gets enhanced vision system

Forward Vision Systems Inc. and One Sky Aviation announced supplemental type certificate (STC) approval for installation of the company’s enhanced vision system EVS 100/600 on the Robinson R44 helicopter. STC installation kits are being produced at this time and EVS systems are in stock. For more information, visit the Web site.



Say request

The Oct. 30 “ Training Tip: Expecting a Call” pointed out that the predictability of aviation radio transmissions helps pilots learn communications skills. Predictability also helps you sense when ATC might want to contact you. But what about times when you have something to say that doesn’t fit the mold?


Returning to the airport from the practice area, your flight instructor says, “Tell the tower that we’d like a stop-and-go landing on Runway 4, then we’ll re-enter the pattern for crosswind landings on Runway 35, traffic permitting.”


You press your push-to-talk switch to initiate contact. Are you going to say that mouthful on your first call?


There’s a better way. Contact the tower, state your N number, as you would on any inbound flight, and then add one word: “Request.” Now you have the tower’s attention, and you have let the controller know that something’s on your mind. Having heard that one key word, the controller can decide whether to solicit your request immediately or deal with other chores first.


What should you expect to hear? “The response will be ‘Stand by’ or ‘Say request.’ Your prime objective is to fly the airplane, while the controller's task is to separate traffic. Help them to do their job by being professional on the radio,” Joel Stoller explained in the February 2003 AOPA Flight Training article “ Great expectations.”


When it’s time to say your request, boil it down to the basics. Once the request is granted, listen for specifics, such as an assigned heading to fly after your stop-and-go, or for you to “make right closed traffic” to Runway 35 during your crosswind circuits. (Jill Tallman explained the term "closed traffic" in the August 2004 AOPA Flight Training’s “Flying Smart” column.)


Stating requests this way has other applications too. For example, in cruise flight in a one-radio aircraft, you might need to leave an ATC frequency on which you are receiving radar traffic advisories to contact Flight Watch.


Sometimes an air traffic facility you have contacted en route will ask you to “say your request.” Be prepared and state your needs tightly—knowing that your thoughtful technique is appreciated by the voice in your ear, and by all your fellow pilots on the frequency.


Heatsheets survival blanket from

Do you carry a survival kit when you fly? Many believe it’s a smart thing to do, particularly if you’re crossing rugged terrain. Heatsheets’ two-person survival blanket is fluorescent orange, weighs about a pound, and has survival instructions printed right on it. The blanket sells for $5.49 and may be ordered online from


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.


Question: I am planning to purchase an airplane in the near future, and during my research I came across an unfamiliar term. What is specific range, and why is it important to me?


Answer: Specific range is the distance an aircraft will travel on a given unit of fuel. It’s similar to an automobile miles-per-gallon measure, but for airplanes. You can calculate the specific range by dividing an airplane’s true airspeed by the hourly fuel flow in pounds. For example, aircraft A travels 200 miles in one hour while burning 20 gallons (120 pounds) of fuel and has a specific range of 1.7. Aircraft B travels 100 miles an hour while burning 15 gallons (90 pounds) of fuel, giving it a specific range of 1.1. Airplane A's specific range shows it to be more efficient. For additional information on specific range, check out this short article by Barry Schiff.


Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail [email protected] or call the Pilot Information Center, 800/872-2672. Don’t forget the online archive of "Final Exam" questions and answers, searchable by keyword or topic.

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