AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition --Vol. 3, Issue 32

August 8, 2003

Volume 3, Issue 32 • August 8, 2003
In this issue:
Michigan pilot background checks repealed
Bush vacation means many TFRs in western U.S.
ASF continues successful incursion education effort

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Training Tips
OBSTRUCTION AVOIDANCE
Two kinds of physical obstacles confront a pilot when planning or conducting a flight. First are the obstacles in the vicinity of the airport; they require us to be sure we can obtain the aircraft performance needed to safely take off or land over them. The second type of obstacle consists of those we must overfly or circumnavigate during the en route phase of the flight. Flying into high country, this can be the terrain itself, not just some object or natural feature protruding high above the landscape. This is especially so if a high density altitude condition exists, robbing your engine of climb power. (Read about density altitude in Chapter 9 of FAA Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, which you can click here to download.)

The first kind of obstacles can be identified in an airport's listing in AOPA's Airport Directory Online or the FAA's Airport/Facilities Directory. Use information on the height and location of these obstructions when determining climb-performance requirements for your departure, or the landing distance over an obstruction on arrival.

The second type of obstacle is depicted on VFR aeronautical charts. Study your course line, and plan your cruising altitudes to pass well above the maximum elevation figures along and near your route of flight. These are discussed in AOPA Online's Frequently Asked Questions database; find more in the Aeronautical Chart User's Guide . Also, remember to observe the hemispheric rule governing altitudes to be flown based on an aircraft's magnetic course. This is reviewed in the February 7, 2003, "Training Tips."

Use caution-and a current chart! MEFs are "based on information available concerning the highest known feature in each quadrangle, including terrain and obstructions (trees, towers, antennas etc)," warns a note published with an example of an MEF on the information panel of sectional aeronautical charts. Check notices to airmen for any new obstructions being erected along the route, and keep a visual lookout while flying.

Does that mean flying higher than you usually would to comply with the demands of the proposed route? This brand of aviation can be accomplished safely in many single-engine, fixed-pitch-propeller aircraft, especially if you heed the advice given in "Flying at 10,000 feet with 160 Horses," which accompanies "Postcards: A Western Adventure" in the February 2003 AOPA Pilot. Plan carefully. Get your instructor's approval. Then enjoy the ride!
Your Partner in Training
Questions about the flight review have always plagued pilots. Simply put, you cannot act as pilot in command (even when solo) without a current signoff for a flight review. See AOPA Online to learn more about the requirements and expectations for the flight review. Then, read the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Pilot's Guide to Flight Review Safety Advisor online.

As an AOPA Flight Training Member, you have access to all of the features within AOPA Online. For login information click here.
Flight Training News
MICHIGAN PILOT BACKGROUND CHECKS REPEALED
Effective immediately, no one seeking flight instruction in Michigan will have to subject themselves to a criminal background check. Gov. Jennifer Granholm on August 4 signed an AOPA-supported bill repealing that state's onerous background check law. The new Michigan law repeals the criminal background check requirement and substitutes a number of common-sense security requirements for flight schools. Those requirements include procedures to identify a student pilot or renter, controlling aircraft keys, and displaying signs requesting pilots to report suspicious activities. Last year, the Michigan legislature passed a law requiring any student pilot or pilot seeking a new rating or certificate in the state to submit to being fingerprinted and obtain a criminal background check. AOPA vigorously opposed the law and sued the state in federal court, arguing that the law was unconstitutional because it violated the supremacy clause. Both the FAA and the Transportation Security Administration submitted letters to the court supporting AOPA's position that only the federal government can regulate airman certification.

BUSH VACATION MEANS MANY TFRs IN WESTERN U.S.
President Bush is visiting his ranch in Crawford, Texas for his annual summer break from Washington, D.C. During his stay there, he'll make at least four trips to other areas, which will mean temporary flight restrictions in each place. These locations include Denver on August 11; San Diego and Miramar, California, August 14; and Orange County, California, August 15. Later in the month, he'll be in Oregon and in Bellevue, Washington. On August 26, Bush will visit Minneapolis and St. Louis. AOPA has been aggressively searching public and unclassified sources for information about the president's travels. The association has been forced to make the extra effort to give pilots timely notice of anticipated presidential movement TFRs, because the FAA has consistently failed to do so. "With just the Internet and a little bit of searching, AOPA was able to determine where the president's going to be several weeks to a month from now, and give pilots an early heads up," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We do not understand why, when this information is easily available, the FAA can't get notams out until 12 hours or less before the TFR goes into effect." For a listing of announced and anticipated presidential TFRs, see AOPA Online.

FAA TO ISSUE NEW, SECURE AIRMAN CERTIFICATES
The FAA plans to begin issuing new airman certificates, replacing the current paper with plastic credit-card-sized certificates that incorporate security features. "AOPA has been urging the FAA to revamp pilots' certificates," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "This new certificate will benefit pilots because it is sturdier and less likely to become lost or damaged, and at the same time addresses many of the concerns for security officials. The new certificate complements an AOPA proposal that the FAA turned into a rule, requiring pilots to carry a government-issued photo ID as well as a pilot certificate, that effectively addressed the identity issue." The FAA will issue the new certificates as pilots earn higher certificate levels or additional ratings, and as lost or damaged certificates are replaced. In addition, pilots who would like to replace their paper certificate with the new plastic one may submit an application ( click here to download) to replace a lost or destroyed certificate, along with the $2 fee. When the new certificate arrives, it becomes the pilot's valid certificate, and the old paper certificate should be destroyed.
Inside AOPA
ASF CONTINUES SUCCESSFUL INCURSION EDUCATION EFFORT
Pilot education efforts appear to be paying off. A new FAA report shows the number of runway incursions dropped last year. AOPA and the Air Safety Foundation have been active participants in the FAA's efforts to reduce the incursions, through such projects as ASF's online Runway Safety Program course. The report claimed that general aviation pilots were responsible for slightly more than half of the incursions-a point noted by some news reports-but GA also accounts for about the same proportion of operations at the airports surveyed, indicating that GA pilots are no more likely to cause an incursion than an airline pilot. "It's worth noting that the vast majority of GA runway incursions pose little or no danger of collision," said ASF Executive Director Bruce Landsberg. ASF has hosted seminars on runway safety and published Safety Advisors on ground operations at both towered ( click to download) and nontowered ( click to download) airports.

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Training Products
DVD COURSE EXPLAINS WEATHER FLYING
More than six hours of instruction on weather flying is available in an Advanced Weather Flying DVD Course offered by Sporty's Pilot Shop. The two-DVD set includes 42 lessons presented by veteran pilot Richard L. Collins. It addresses subjects such as frontal weather, fog, and thunderstorms that are relevant to VFR and IFR pilots alike. It retails for $49.95. For more information or to order, see the Web site or call 800/SPORTYS.
Final Exam
Question: I had my private pilot checkride nearly three months ago, passed it, and the examiner issued a temporary pilot's certificate. I still haven't received my permanent certificate. Do I need to contact the FAA?

Answer: The FAA allows itself up to 120 days after the submission of your checkride paperwork to issue a permanent certificate, and we have found that the agency typically takes nearly that long-in other words, your case is not unusual. We would suggest that you give it a bit more time. If you haven't received the certificate by the end of the 120-day period, you will need to call the FAA at 800/350-5286 (option 3), and the FAA may have to issue you an extension to your temporary certificate.

Got a technical question for AOPA specialists? E-mail to askft@aopa.org or call 800/872-2672. Don't forget the archive of questions and answers from AOPA's ePilot and ePilot Flight Training. FAQs are searchable by keyword or topic.
Picture Perfect

The AOPA Online Gallery allows you to download your favorite images to use for wallpaper, send a personalized e-card, and order high-quality prints to be shipped directly to your doorstep. Search the hundreds of fabulous images in our archives and select your favorites today! For more details, see AOPA Online.

What's New At AOPA Online
Did you know that AOPA offers a comprehensive library of FAA advisory circulars, available to members 24 hours a day on AOPA Online? The library has just been updated-check it out today.
Weekend Weather
See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix.
ePilot Calendar
WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS
Reading, Pennsylvania. Barnstormer Day takes place August 16 at Reading Regional/Carl A. Spaatz Field (RDG), 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Old-fashion airshow with wing walkers, aerobatics, and other classic aviation acts. Airport tours, an evening band concert, and a chicken barbecue will be available. Contact 610/372-4666.

Baker City, Oregon. The Baker Fly-in and Airshow takes place August 16 at Baker City Municipal Airport (BKE). Fly-in huckleberry pancake breakfast, military demonstrations, military memorabilia display, airshow, steak feed, Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, free shuttles, free prizes, contests for the kids, and souvenirs. Contact Mel Cross, 541/523-6366.

To submit an event to the calendar, or search all events, visit AOPA Online. For airport details, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online .

ASF FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Oakland, California, and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, August 16 and 17. Clinics are also scheduled in Reno, Nevada, and Reston, Virginia, August 23 and 24. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Renewal Online.

ASF PINCH-HITTER GROUND-SCHOOL COURSES
(Pinch-Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
The next Pinch-Hitter® Ground School takes place in Oakland, California, August 17. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.

ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and Kansas City, Missouri, September 8; St. Louis, Missouri, and Allentown, Pennsylvania, September 9; Springfield, Missouri, and New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, September 10; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 11. The topic is Say Intentions. For complete details, see AOPA Online.

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