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Custom content for the June 01, 2012, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletterCustom content for the June 01, 2012, issue of 'AOPA ePilot' newsletter

The following stories from the June 01, 2012, 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

training tips

Cool in the climb

Training TipYou are airborne, cleared on course and climbing to cruise altitude. You flight-planned a higher cruise than usual today because of the jagged terrain that lies between here and your destination.

After climbing initially at best rate to a safe altitude, you jotted down your takeoff time, and calculated an estimated time and distance to level off. Now all that remains is to maintain your on-course heading, keep tabs on the altimeter, and watch for that first checkpoint to appear.

Well, there is more to it than that. That long climb requires a lot of attention, both for collision avoidance and to keep your aircraft’s engine from overheating.

As you climb, lower the nose at regular intervals for better forward visibility. Check to the sides as well. Raise each wing momentarily and give the area a thorough scanning.

Lowering the nose has the added benefit of increasing air flow through the engine cowling, which should help control the temperature of an air-cooled aircraft engine. If it is a hot day, keep a close check on engine oil temperature (or cylinder-head temperature if so equipped) during the climb—especially if extended engine operation on the ground preceded your takeoff.

If engine temperature is abnormally high, try a higher climb airspeed. Remember that an excessively lean fuel-air mixture can raise engine temperatures beyond recommended limits.

Monitor outside temperatures at altitude on your outside air temperature gauge, and expect reduced climb performance as altitude increases. At 20 degrees Celsius and 8,000 feet, a 1978 Cessna 172N at gross weight produces a 335-foot-per-minute climb rate, compared to a 650-fpm climb rate at 20 C and 2,000 feet, according to the pilot’s operating handbook.

The aircraft’s POH recommends climbing at speeds five to 10 knots higher than best rate of climb speeds “for the best combination of performance, visibility, and engine cooling.”

What does your aircraft's POH recommend? It may also have specific advice about leaning, including a recommended altitude for beginning that process (3,000 feet for the Cessna 172N).

The busy time immediately after takeoff can be hectic as you depart the local airport area and establish your flight on course. Make sure to include engine management and collision avoidance on your list of piloting tasks for this critical phase.

training products

Interactive Practical Test Standards

As you read this, the FAA has released a new version of the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards, effective June 1. The new version includes a new task, the emergency descent. If you haven't yet seen the new PTS, Gold Seal has you covered. The company has put together an interactive PTS that it is making available free of charge. The Flash-based PTS can be viewed on any computer with an Internet connection, and can be downloaded and viewed on an iPad with the use of the free Articulate Mobile Player app.


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.

final exam

Question: Can I use a GPS receiver in lieu of automatic direction finder (ADF)?


Answer: Yes, for certain operations. The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) Chapter 1-2-3 paragraph (c) lists the various procedures for which you can substitute an appropriate RNAV (area navigation) system. Some of the most common uses are determining an aircraft’s position relative to a VHF omnidirectional radio range navaid (VOR), nondirectional beacon (NDB), or compass locator. You can also navigate to or from or hold over a VOR, tactical air navigation aid (TACAN), NDB, or compass locator, as well as fly an arc based on distance measuring equipment (DME). For all of the uses as well as additional notes, see the AIM.


Got a question for our technical services staff? Email [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.

Topics: AOPA, Technique, Airspace

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