AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition --Vol. 4, Issue 11

March 12, 2004

Volume 4, Issue 11 • March 12, 2004
In this issue:
Possible ATC privatization effort scaled back
Whirly-Girls present 2004 scholarships
AOPA appeals backcountry airstrip closure

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Training Tips
SPLITTING THE DIFFERENCE THROUGH 'INTERPOLATION'
No pilot always flies at the exact altitudes, and encounters the exact outside air temperatures, published in performance charts in the pilot's operating handbook for your aircraft. Therefore, you must adjust published values before calculating groundspeed, fuel consumption, and the percentage of engine power produced by a particular throttle setting, altitude, and temperature. But how? Your flight instructor will explain that this is done by "interpolating." To interpolate is defined in one dictionary as "to insert or introduce between other elements or parts."

Some interpolations are done for you by flight-planning software. AOPA's Real-Time Flight Planner interpolates winds aloft data, providing forecast values for the precise altitude of your proposed flight. Machteld Smith describes how the Real-Time Flight Planner works in "TFR Not Recommended" in the January 2004 AOPA Pilot magazine. Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to study winds and temperatures predicted for the 3,000-foot intervals in the winds aloft forecasts. Abrupt changes between adjacent levels imply the presence of "wind shear." "Wind shear refers to a change in wind direction or speed over a horizontal or vertical distance. Meteorologists describe wind shear in terms of the amount of wind change over a distance. For example, a report might say there's a shear of 25 mph over 1,000 feet," writes meteorologist Jack Williams in "The Weather Never Sleeps: Shifting Winds" in the November 2000 AOPA Flight Training.

Interpolation is not always the answer to an unclear performance calculation. When planning arrivals or departures on short or obstructed runways, consider putting interpolation aside in favor of another, potentially safer, method. "Bruce Landsberg, executive director of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, suggests that the average pilot can take a shortcut. Just use the next higher takeoff or landing distance for an extra margin of safety," comments Alton K. Marsh in the May 2001 AOPA Pilot feature, "Quick and Legal Flight Planning."

Accurate flight planning is the mark of a conscientious pilot. Especially as seasons change and warmer temperatures arrive, aircraft performance can vary greatly from what you have come to expect-the subject of "Training Tips" in the May 31, 2002, edition of this newsletter. So make your flight planning count, as David Montoya urged in his January 2001 AOPA Flight Training feature "Make Your Planning Count."

Your Partner in Training
Using the radio tends to be a bit intimidating when you are first learning to fly. Chapter 4 of the FAA's Aeronautical Information Manual provides the call sign for each type of ground facility. The chapter also includes information on communicating the phonetic alphabet, numbers, altitudes, directions, speeds, and time. For more information on the subject, take a look at AOPA's subject report on air traffic control communications.

Do you have a question? Call our experienced pilots-available weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time toll-free at 800/872-2672. AOPA Flight Training Members have access to all of the features within AOPA Online. Login information is available online.

Flight Training News
POSSIBLE ATC PRIVATIZATION EFFORT SCALED BACK
Boeing, the manufacturer of large commercial aircraft, quietly let it be known that the company is scaling back its private efforts to develop new technologies and systems for a next-generation air traffic control system. "Boeing's decision removes the specter of an industry-driven push for privatized air traffic control, at least for now," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Boeing has assured us that they have no interest in privatizing air traffic control-only pushing the system forward. But we have remained concerned all along that having a private company develop the entire system could be just one short step away from the government saying, 'Why don't you just run it for us?' That's something neither AOPA nor our members would stand for." Preliminary work by the Boeing Air Traffic Management (ATM) group, established two years ago, indicated that the system would rely heavily on new technologies-but pilots who did not choose to install potentially costly new avionics could have found themselves excluded from sizable portions of the National Airspace System.

WHIRLY-GIRLS PRESENT 2004 SCHOLARSHIPS
Whirly-Girls, the international organization of women helicopter pilots, has announced nine scholarship winners for 2004. The scholarship awards for helicopter training totaled $40,490. The winners were Terri Watson, Lander, Wyoming; Patricia Boyer, Wilbraham, Massachusetts; Angela Wittenberg, Medford, Oregon; Lisa Pendergrass, Tryon, North Carolina; Pam Gallina, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Patricia Calder, Wuppertal, Germany; Melanie Real, San Pedro, California; Cathy Yelle, Schenectady, New York; and Danielle Smiley, Vancouver, British Columbia. The winners were to be announced March 11 at the Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information, see the Web site.

Inside AOPA
AOPA APPEALS BACKCOUNTRY AIRSTRIP CLOSURE
AOPA and members of Congress from the western United States are working together to ensure millions of acres of wilderness remain accessible by air. The Idaho congressional delegation has called on Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman to guarantee public access to four backcountry airstrips in the Frank Church-River of No Return Federal Wilderness Area. The U.S. Forest Service has issued a decision closing the Dewey Moore, Mile-Hi, Simonds, and Vines airstrips to all but emergency operations. AOPA has appealed that decision. "Whether it's a downtown airport in a big city, like Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg, Florida, or small airstrips in the wilds of the American West, AOPA believes all of America's landing facilities need to be preserved," AOPA President Phil Boyer said. "Working closely with a state's entire congressional delegation, as we've done in Idaho, helps us take that argument to the highest levels of the government."

Training Products
SPORTY'S WEATHER COMPUTER: CLIMATE FACTS TO GO
Ever spied a cloud system in flight and wondered what it might mean for your trip? Sporty's Weather Computer is a meteorological whiz wheel that can be used for quick reference in flight or a leisurely review on the ground. The Weather Computer includes information on frontal and seasonal air mass weather (descriptions, cloud systems, and the flight conditions associated with each). Thunderstorm types and icing conditions are described, along with causes, conditions, and recommended courses of action. The Weather Computer is $8.95 and may be ordered from Sporty's via the Web site or by calling 800/SPORTYS (800/776-7897).

Final Exam
Question: I know I'm supposed to fly with current charts, and I do, but does the information on sectionals or terminal area charts really change much over a year or so?

Answer: The FAA's National Aeronautical Charting Office (NACO) updates terminal area charts and sectional charts every six months. An average of 100 changes are incorporated into each terminal chart update; an average of 278 changes are included in each sectional chart update! These changes reflect current aeronautical, terrain, and cultural information. Obviously, since information changes so often, it is in a pilot's best interest to have the most current chart available-and the regulations require it.

Got a technical question for AOPA specialists? E-mail to askft@aopa.org or call 800/872-2672. Don't forget the online archive of "Final Exam" questions and answers, searchable by keyword or topic.

AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? AOPA is seeking a Vice President, Media and Public Relations. This position directs all appropriate communications channels to effectively advance AOPA's messages while overseeing all media relations, aviation trade press, media analysis, and public relations. This position also coordinates the Pilot Town Meetings. To learn more about this opportunity, visit AOPA Online.

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
Looking for a fun and educational event to kick off your summer? AOPA's fourteenth annual Fly-In and Open House will be held Saturday, June 5, at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Maryland. Free seminars throughout the day, a static display, and dozens of vendors are just some of the highlights of this annual event. Seminar topics and fly-in procedures have just been posted on  AOPA Online.

Weekend Weather
See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix.

ePilot Calendar
WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS
Titusville, Florida. The Tico Warbird Airshow 2004 takes place March 13 and 14 at Space Coast Regional (TIX). Featuring the B-17 Memphis Belle and Col. Robert Morgan. Contact Valiant Air Command, 321/268-1941, or visit the Web site.

Macon, Georgia. The Cherry Blossom Festival Airshow, Balloon Fest, and Fly-in takes place March 19 through 21 at Herbert Smart Downtown (MAC). Contact Tamara Fleischhaker, 478/751-7414, or visit the Web site.

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
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic is scheduled in San Mateo, California, March 20 and 21. Clinics are also scheduled in Orlando, Florida, and Baltimore, March 27 and 28. 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
The next Pinch-Hitter® Ground School will take place in Atlanta, April 4. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.

ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Rockford, Illinois, March 15; Carol Stream, Illinois, March 16; Peoria, Illinois, March 17; and Northbrook, Illinois, March 18. The topic is Maneuvering Flight-Hazardous to Your Health? For complete details, see AOPA Online.

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