December 30, 2005
Volume 5, Issue 52 • December 30, 2005
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THE QUIET SIDE Arrival and departure in airspace bustling with traffic, discussed in the December 23, 2005, Training Tips, can be both hectic and exhilarating for a pilot. It's also essential training. At the far end of the spectrum is airspace-and there's a lot of it out where a pilot flying visually is on his or her own. Cruising with the radios quiet is great fun, allowing time to enjoy the view and the ride. But here, too, a pilot has ample opportunities to have an early warning system to inform you when a change of plans is needed. This is important anywhere, as Thomas A. Horne discusses in the August 2000 AOPA Pilot article "Escape Chutes: What's Your Way Out?" There are resources available, even when squawking transponder code 1200 and with no assigned frequency set on your com radio. Put other frequencies to work! Airports you pass by have automated weather broadcasts to alert you to local cloud cover and surface winds. On common traffic advisory frequencies (CTAF) at those airports, pilots may discuss conditions. Maybe you aren't receiving radar flight following, by choice or because you are too low for coverage. There is usually an air route traffic control (ARTCC) or approach/departure control frequency covering the airspace-a source of current altimeter settings (see Chapter 7, Section 2 of the Aeronautical Information Manual) and alerts to hazardous conditions. You may also hear pilots giving ride reports-that is, turbulence estimates-to a controller. Navaids appropriately labeled on sectional charts offer hazardous in-flight weather advisory service (HIWAS) reports and transcribed weather broadcasts (TWEBs). Your chart shows frequencies for contacting Flight Service along your route; you can monitor weather briefings being delivered or pilot reports being filed. The En route Flight Advisory Service (EFAS) is generally available on 122.0 MHz. Tune a spare radio to the well-monitored emergency frequency of 121.5 MHz, discussed in the March 28, 2003, Training Tips. Pick some routes to study on sectional charts. Think about how you would stay informed, or establish contact, from the remotest places. Now you're ready to tackle the quiet side of the airspace in which we fly.
2005: A YEAR OF CHALLENGES AND SUCCESSES FOR GA It has been a year of challenge, of opportunity, of success for general aviation. And 2006 promises more of the same. Into the new year, AOPA will continue the fight to keep the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) from becoming permanent. Also, a showdown is looming over the FAA's budget. Although the FAA's next reauthorization legislation is not due for nearly two years, the agency is already laying the groundwork for a fee-for-service funding system, claiming that the aviation trust fund is going broke, even though numbers from the White House's own Office of Management and Budget disagree. There were vital changes in 2005 regarding the flight service station system. The FAA took the first steps to modernize it by signing a contract with Lockheed Martin. Early indications after the changeover show that pilots are experiencing shorter hold times and more timely service. AOPA's challenge in 2006 will be to ensure that Lockheed Martin delivers the full promise of its FS21 system to pilots. The association will keep pressure on the FAA to deliver more Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) instrument approaches. AOPA also will work with the FAA in 2006 as the agency explores the possible benefits of using ADS-B-automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast-nationwide. Of course, AOPA will continue to try to improve general aviation safety through the efforts of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. During 2006, the foundation will greatly expand its online safety course offerings, seeking to continue the decades-long downward trend in aviation accidents and fatalities. For more, see AOPA Online. YOU CAN WIN A CHEROKEE SIX IN '06 WITH AOPA's SWEEPSTAKES In 2006 we'll be giving away a fully refurbished 260-horsepower 1967 Cherokee Six, and it'll be one of the nicest Sixes ever. The airplane now is going through the first stages of its transformation from a well-loved family wagon to a luxury travel machine with the latest in avionics, engine, and airframe speed mods. Of course, it's the Six's load-hauling ability that makes the Cherokee Six a desirable airplane indeed. But there are plenty of other reasons why this airplane has managed to stay in production for nearly 40 years. And why it makes a great sweepstakes airplane. It's easy to fly, forgiving, and has simple systems and fixed landing gear-all of which make for manageable insurance rates for even low-time pilots. Go to our special Web page to read more about your Six in '06. And no, we haven't picked the winner of the 2005 AOPA Sweepstakes Commander Countdown airplane. But we will soon. Stay tuned. PROTECT YOURSELF: ENROLL IN AOPA LEGAL SERVICES PLAN Members are using the AOPA Legal Services Plan for consultations at record levels. And the call volume is expected to continue to rise thanks to flight restrictions that have been popping up all over. While AOPA urges pilots to check notams before they fly and remain vigilant once in the air, the AOPA Legal Services Plan is there to help members who find themselves in a jam. But only enrolled members can take advantage of the unlimited free consultation and assistance on aviation legal matters. Enroll online or call 800/USA-AOPA (800/872-2672). HAVE YOU UPDATED YOUR AOPA MEMBER PROFILE? To make the most of your membership and allow us to serve you better, please visit AOPA Online and update your personal member profile.
GLEIM WEB SITE OFFERS FREE TOOLS FOR CFIs Gleim Publications, publishers of the aviation training manuals with the bright red covers, offers free instructional tools and other goodies for flight instructors. CFIs who provide a certificate number and e-mail address will be added to Gleim's online CFI Directory. In return, they'll receive an analysis of changes to the practical test standards, a flight maneuver analysis sheet, discounts on Gleim products, and more. For more information, see the Web site. 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.
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AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.