How close have you come to breaking the sound barrier in your trainer?
Possibly closer than you think. Even if your aircraft lurks in the 100-knot airspeed range, its propeller is turning much faster. At the engine's highest rpm, the propeller can produce tip speeds approaching the transonic or supersonic realm, generating the power needed for takeoff, but also plenty of noise.
Noise is one reason why some aircraft equipped with two-bladed propellers have been modified via a supplemental type certificate for three-bladed (or more) props. Other aircraft come factory-equipped with props of more than two blades. In either case, a prop with more blades (of lesser diameter) may afford an aircraft more speed, better ground clearance, and reduced noise.
Take some time to read up on your trainer's prop's specifications. How much does it weigh? What is its diameter? A 1977 Cessna 150 Commuter's two-bladed fixed-pitch prop has a diameter of 69 inches; the prop on a 1978 Cessna Skyhawk has a 75-inch diameter, according to the pilot's operating handbooks.
"Of course, propeller blades are airfoils; propeller tips can reach transonic speeds at high rpm; and the larger the propeller diameter, the faster the propeller tip speeds will be," wrote AOPA Editor at Large Thomas A. Horne in this article about a prop modification for the twin turboprop Beechcraft King Air. (The props on this powerful aircraft are 96 inches in diameter.)
A supplemental type certificate for the piston twin Beechcraft Baron made available three-bladed props "that provide increased ground clearance, less noise, and better speed. Owners should see a 5.8 dB decrease in sound over the standard two-blade prop, and 1.1 dB lower than other three-blade models."
Speaking of ground clearance, how much does your trainer afford its prop?
Not very much—which you can discern at a glance. That's why it is so important for you to inspect the prop carefully during preflight inspections for nicks or dents, and why proper technique calls for you to taxi at low power over a gravel surface, broken pavement, or uneven ground. Also use care when exiting a paved taxiway onto an unpaved parking area. Always make sure that your nosewheel tire and nosewheel shock strut are properly inflated and serviced.
Your trainer's prop may lack the sophisticated design of higher performance aircraft and aftermarket "mods." But knowing its "specs" helps you achieve the safest, most efficient, and "friendly" use of your aircraft.
Flight Training News
The San Carlos Flight Center and Conor Dancy are the best flight school and instructor in the country, as voted on by students as part of AOPA's second annual Flight Training Excellence Awards. The winners were celebrated during an event held just prior to AOPA Aviation Summit on Oct. 9 in Fort Worth, Texas. Read more >>
Safety presentations at your command
Chances are, you've participated in one of the Air Safety Institute's free safety education programs. Now, the institute has launched a new way to bring this content to anyone interested in sharing general aviation safety information at local community events. Just visit the newly launched Web page to select the programs you want, download them, and you're all set for your next flying club or fly-in safety meeting, or ground school event at your FBO and flight school. More seminars and videos will be added quarterly. Read more >>
Stay sharp with simulation
Properly using a computer-based simulator doesn't have to be confusing or complicated. That was the message from PC simulator expert Bruce Williams during his seminar, "Using computer-based simulations effectively." Williams, who spent many years as part of the team that developed Microsoft Flight Sim, covered the differences between a flight simulator and an aviation training device, various examples of how these devices can be used, and some of the impending changes to the FAA's guidance. Read more >>
Teens win visit to EAA Advanced Air Academy
Four teens from the Phoenix area won scholarships from Casa Grande, Ariz.-based Copperstate Fly-In Inc. to attend the Experimental Aircraft Association's (EAA) Advanced Air Academy 2013 during EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. This year's scholarship recipients are 18-year-old Tyler Traina from Peoria, Ariz.; Rebecca Weinstock, 17, from Mesa, Ariz.; Jacob Jelinek, 17, from Peoria, Ariz; and Cameron Smith, 16, of Scottsdale, Ariz. The winners will also be honored during the forty-first annual Copperstate Fly-In Oct. 24 through 26 at the Casa Grande Municipal Airport in Casa Grande, Ariz.
Embry-Riddle offers master's degree for UAVs
The Daytona Beach, Fla., campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is now offering a master's degree in unmanned aerial vehicles, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal. The field could see "explosive growth," according to Dan Macchiarella, chair of Embry-Riddle's aeronautical science department.
Columbia Helicopters takes delivery of first simulator
Columbia Helicopters of Portland, Ore., has taken delivery of its first simulator for pilot training. The simulator, built by Elite Simulation Solutions of Dubendorf, Switzerland, under the Elite Evolution brand, emulates the Eurocopter AS350 helicopter cockpit, and has FAA, European Aviation Safety Agency, and Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority approval.
A smarter way to fly
GPS units are everywhere: in our phones, cars, and an increasing number of aircraft. And while knowing how to navigate via pilotage and navaids is vital, a strong knowledge of GPS capabilities is critical today, even in VFR flight. Learn more about this by taking the Air Safety Institute's GPS for VFR Operations online course. Log in to take the course >>
You've checked the weather and notams, and calculated your weight and balance and performance, but how much thought have you given to the aircraft preflight? Take this Air Safety Institute quiz to see how the preflight inspection can save the day. Log in to take the quiz >>
Did you know that student pilots who join AOPA are three times more likely to complete their flight training? Membership includes unlimited access to aviation information by phone (800/USA-AOPA, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time) or from Flight Training Online or AOPA Online. If you're not already a member, join today and get the pilot's edge.
Turboprop Bonanza, headset challenge
Got speed? See what a 500-horsepower turboprop does for a Bonanza. Aviation headsets square off in a noisy dogfight at AOPA Aviation Summit, and AOPA recognizes the best in flight training. Also this week, an update on Santa Monica, and AOPA offers ideas for federal cost savings. AOPA Live This Week,® Oct. 17.
Restrained growth seen in regional aircraft market, says study
Newtown, Conn.-based Forecast International predicts that 4,035 regional aircraft will be built from 2013 through 2022 in a new study, "The Market for Regional Transport Aircraft." Growing air traffic on regional routes and a need for regional carriers to replace economically inefficient aircraft are among the factors fueling increasing market demand for regional aircraft, according to a news release. However, the study states that restraining factors will place some limits on growth. For example, the consolidation of major airlines has led to fewer opportunities for feeder work at regional carriers. "Too many regional airlines are chasing too few opportunities," the release notes.
AirTran flight attendants ratify new contract
AirTran Airways flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), voted in favor of a new agreement with Southwest Airlines management that would cover more than 1,700 flight attendants who have not yet been integrated into the Southwest system. "This agreement provides flight attendants with some immediate economic improvements until management completes the integration process," Alison Head, AFA AirTran president, said Sept. 30.
For more aviation career news, see the Flight Training website.
"Sleek yet compact" might appear in a plane spotter's notes when learning the look of a Brazilian bizjet that first appeared on general aviation ramps in 2008 and has become an increasingly common presence ever since. With its two rear-fuselage-mounted engines and T-tail, Embraer describes its 42-foot-long Phenom 100 as an entry-level jet with the newest technology. Plane-spotting features include big cabin windows, called the largest among light jets. With the manufacturer celebrating 400 Phenoms now delivered, keep the type in mind whenever you study arrivals on your airport's ramp.
Authors offer Skyhawk training manual
Authors Danielle Bruckert and Oleg Roud have written Cessna 172 Training Manual, a training and reference guidebook. It serves as a companion to the pilot's operating handbook, expanding on the information provided, explaining in depth the technical information and operating procedures, and providing tips to improve airmanship. The cost is $20.
FAA releases runway safety film
The FAA film, Heads Up, Hold Short, Fly Right, is part of the agency's runway safety series and was produced for the FAA Flight Standards Safety Program Office. The film features Patty Wagstaff, a six-time member of the US Aerobatic Team. Wagstaff has won the gold, silver, and bronze medals in international aerobatic competition.
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.
The top five medical conditions in the FAA
Warren Silberman shares the top five diagnoses for airmen according to a statistical manual published in January 2013 and explains how to get certified. Read more >>
It's up to you to protect yourself as a renter
Many pilots fly a rental or training aircraft with the assumption that insurance isn't their responsibility—that the flight school or FBO is responsible. Some believe that an accident won't happen to them. These are dangerous beliefs because accidents happen to even the best pilots, and FBOs and schools are protecting themselves, not you. Read more >>
You don't always get what you want…
Blogger Jean Moule walked into the Salem Flight Training office to begin her 10 a.m. flight lesson. She was surprised to see Mark instead of Steve. "Steve had some work for the state," Mark said when he saw Moule's expression. Read more >>
The aircraft I'd love to fly: AOPA Facebook fans weigh in
On Wednesdays, eNewsletters/Social Media Editor Benét Wilson occasionally likes to post a fill-in-the-blank statement on the AOPA Facebook fan page. The page currently has 36,348 likes, and those who visit never hesitate to comment on the content posted there. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a web applications developer III, financial analyst, staff assistant/PAC coordinator, and AOPA Live editor/graphic artist. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
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