AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition -- Vol. 6, Issue 17

April 28, 2006

To view the AOPA ePilot archives, click here.

Volume 6, Issue 17 • April 28, 2006
In this issue:
Airshow foundation announces scholarships
Thunderstorms: How to avoid surprise encounters
AOPA Fly-In set for June 3

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Training Tips

NIGHTS AND LIGHTS
The April 21, 2006, Training Tips focused on the skills and thrills associated with learning how to fly and navigate cross-country at night. When doing your preflight research on the airports you will visit on night training flights, make careful note of their lighting systems and how to use them.

A small nontowered airport may have only modest lighting facilities consisting of a rotating beacon and pilot-controlled runway lights. Many smaller airports do not have taxiways, which are usually illuminated by blue edge lights, so be sure to know the layout of runways, intersections, and ramp areas for your ground operations. There may be an illuminated wind sock, and perhaps an approach lighting system such as a visual approach slope indicator (VASI) on one or more runways. See the June 13, 2003, Training Tips on "Glidepath Guidance." There may also be the very helpful REIL (runway end identifier lights) system. Remember that not all runways may be lighted. The magnetic bearing of illuminated runways can help you to spot the airport from a distance after you activate the lights. A backup radio is even more important equipment at night because a radio may be your only means of activating airport lighting. See the June 20, 2003, Training Tips.

By contrast, a tower-controlled airport or a nontowered airport with instrument approaches can have an impressive array of lighting systems. At larger airports these may include such amenities as runway centerline lights, taxiway lead-off lights, illuminated taxiway markings-the works! See Chapter 2, Section 1 of the Aeronautical Information Manual on airport lighting aids for descriptions and illustrations of systems. While on the subject of lighting systems of importance to night flying, be sure to give the AIM discussion of aviation obstruction lighting a review, then look over the elevation and lighting features of all such hazards along your route. Check notams-it's not uncommon for some obstruction lights to be temporarily out of service or for new obstructions to appear after the publication of aeronautical charts.

And now that spring has sprung, hours of daylight are increasing, so don't overlook the need to get your required night flying done while it is still possible to coordinate schedules for student, instructor, and aircraft.

Your Partner in Training
The FAA's Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) is the best reference for learning good ATC communication skills and phraseology. Your most important lesson as you learn to use the right words is learning not to be afraid of using the wrong words. Regardless of the form it takes, communication is the goal. Read more on effective communication in AOPA Flight Training . Still have questions? Call our aviation experts at 800/USA-AOPA weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time.

As an AOPA Flight Training Member, you have access to all of the features within AOPA Online and AOPA Flight Training Online. Login information is available online.

Flight Training News

AIRSHOW FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIPS
The International Council of Air Shows Foundation invites qualified men and women seeking to enhance or expand their aviation training and aerobatic skills to apply for one of several aviation-related scholarships available. The scholarships range in value from $1,000 to $2,000. They include the Jan Jones Memorial Scholarship, which offers $1,000 for aerobatic training to any female who holds a private pilot certificate; the French Connection Memorial Scholarship, which provides $1,000 for certificated flight instructors who wish to either teach aerobatics or improve their aerobatic skills; and the Charlie Hillard Scholarship, which provides $1,000 to further the aviation training of any individual ages 18 to 30 who has demonstrated community involvement. For more information and application guidelines, see the Web site. The application deadline is July 1.

THUNDERSTORMS: HOW TO AVOID SURPRISE ENCOUNTERS
The United States experiences about 100,000 thunderstorms each year. Lightning from these storms can strike the Earth 100 times a second. And thunderstorms may appear alone, in clusters, or in lines. Twenty-five percent of general aviation's fatal weather accidents during 2004 were a result of pilots flying into convective activity, according to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Joseph T. Nall Report that was released in March. ASF has developed the new Weather Wise: Thunderstorms and ATC online course. The course includes re-creations of real accidents caused by pilots flying into precipitation and discusses the recent changes in air traffic control terminology used to describe precipitation. The course also provides tips on how to communicate with ATC to ensure that you know what services are being provided-miscommunications can have grave consequences. So don't wait. Take the course today.

THE FAA STUDENT PILOT GUIDE
If you or a friend are interested in learning to fly, the FAA publishes a Student Pilot's Guide (FAA-H-8083-27A) to introduce you to the world of general aviation. The 21-page guide features frequently asked questions and also covers such topics as choosing a flight school, medical requirements, suggested study materials, recommendations for good study habits, and knowledge and practical tests. Download a free copy from the FAA Web site.

91-YEAR-OLD MAN SOLOS CESSNA
Cliff Garl (AOPA 5271619) had always been interested in learning to fly, but he wouldn't get around to it until he was almost a century old. On April 24, the 91-year-old Seattle area resident soloed in a Cessna 172. "It went fine," he said. "Maybe it's a little unusual, but I'm enjoying it." Garl wanted to fly when he was younger but couldn't afford it once he got married. He also said his wife wasn't too keen on flying. After she died, he was looking for something to do to keep his mind working. He was experiencing shoulder pain from playing golf and was intrigued by a Be A Pilot ad offering an introductory flight. He began his training two years ago, having no intention of pursuing a pilot certificate, just wanting to fly around. Then he started to get the hang of it. The biggest challenge, however, was the medical certificate. He passed the exam, but the FAA was concerned about some prior health issues. Garl didn't give up on the paperwork process and eventually was granted a medical, but only for six weeks. That provided the window for the solo at Snohomish County (Paine Field) in Everett. Following test results and more paperwork, the FAA may extend the medical for a year. Garl now is thinking of pursuing a recreational or private pilot certificate.

GOVERNMENT GETS MORE CUSTOMER FRIENDLY
First the FAA revamped its Web site to make it more user friendly. Now the agency's Flight Standards Service has posted a customer service feedback form on the site to make it easier for pilots to give feedback about service received from flight standards district office employees, or to report unsafe conditions or practices at their local airports. The form asks for name, phone number, and e-mail address, but these are not required fields to leave a comment. For more information, see the Web site.

Inside AOPA

AOPA FLY-IN SET FOR JUNE 3
AOPA will open its doors on Saturday, June 3, to host its sixteenth annual Fly-In and Open House at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland. Thousands of people are expected to attend the free event, which has become one of the nation's largest one-day fly-ins. "Fly-In is our chance to meet face to face with the members we serve throughout the year," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. See 100 exhibits and more than 40 aircraft on display, attend free safety seminars, and hear presentations by aviation humorist Rod Machado. Get the latest airspace updates by attending the 12:30 p.m. Q&A session with Boyer. Exhibits are open from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more details, visit AOPA Online.

SAFETY HOT SPOT: SPRING PREFLIGHT
Has your aircraft been in hibernation all winter? If so, a thorough aircraft preflight is in order, and the AOPA Air Safety Foundation has compiled numerous resources to prepare you for this challenge. Like all Safety Hot Spots, Spring Preflight focuses on a timely issue within the general aviation community and offers a host of resources, including interactive online courses, pertinent accident reports, and AOPA and AOPA Air Safety Foundation publications. Also in each free Hot Spot is a special Safety Checkup written by foundation staff pilots, as well as a Sporty's Safety Quiz and links to related Web sites. Previous Safety Hot Spots are available in the archive.

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.

Training Products

MAKE FLIGHTS MORE FUN FOR PASSENGERS
Few things are more disappointing to a pilot than the inability to share his or her passion for flight with a friend or loved one. And if you've tried to do that and had less-than-successful results, a new interactive course from King Schools may be just the ticket. Practical Risk Management for Reluctant Passengers and Their Pilots is designed to allow passengers and pilots to work together to create meaningful preflight and in-flight roles that lead to shared enjoyment and roles in the risk management of the flight. "The passenger will become engaged as the pilot shares control, and both of you will gain immense satisfaction that will make your flying fun," King Schools says. The course includes two CD-ROMs with a run time of 53 minutes before the interactive questions. It sells for $49 and may be ordered online or by calling 800/854-1001.

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: Are there any special requirements for me, as a student pilot, to fly into Class B airspace for my solo cross-country?

Answer: Yes. In addition to the solo cross-country flight requirements stated in FAR 61.93, FARs 61.94 and 61.95 detail student pilot requirements to operate both within Class B airspace and at an airport within Class B airspace. Keep in mind, the flight training you are required to receive must be conducted within the Class B airspace in which you plan to fly solo. If you intend to operate at an airport within Class B airspace, you must receive both ground and flight training at that specific airport. Also, many Class B airports do not allow student pilot operations, so be sure to check Section 4 of Appendix D of Part 91 for a complete list of those airports. For additional information, see AOPA Online.

Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to askft@aopa.org 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.

Picture Perfect
Looking for some really fabulous aviation photography? All the air-to-air photos and beautifully detailed ground images used by AOPA Pilot magazine over the years are yours at the click of a mouse button. Download your favorite images to use for wallpaper, send an e-postcard, or order prints online. For more details, see AOPA Online.

What's New At AOPA Online
AOPA recently updated its "Pilot Skills: Currency vs. Proficiency" subject report, with AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh's April 2006 article "Proficiency: Oops, Wrong Airport." Marsh discusses how 22 of 50 pilots who e-mailed him got lost-even though they had GPS. That's not all; you can read other AOPA members' accounts of how they landed at the wrong airport.

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

ePilot Calendar
UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS:
Lincoln Park, New Jersey. An Airport Open House takes place April 29 at Lincoln Park (N07) from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Civilian astronaut Brian Binney piloted SpaceShipOne into history as the world's first reusable civilian spacecraft. He will give two presentations: 10 a.m., "2004: A space oddity"; and 2 p.m., "Innovation and space." Contact Emery Dupuis, 973/321-4455, or visit the Web site.

Galveston, Texas. Gulf Coast Wings Weekend 2006 takes place April 29 and 30 at Scholes International at the Galveston Island Convention Center. The event will include over 70 seminars, 22,000 square feet of exhibit space, flying companion seminar, kids programs, and more. Contact Tre Deathe, 512/454-9476, or visit the Web site.

Rochester, New York. Rochester WINGS 2006 takes place May 5 and 6 at Greater Rochester International (ROC). New York's largest aviation expo and fly-in. Free admission, seminars, exhibits, airport tours, Young Eagle rides, aircraft displays, motion simulator, warbird rides, and more. Contact Brian Blazey, 585/463-3815, or visit the Web site.

Temple, Texas. The Central Texas Airshow takes place May 5 through 7 at Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional (TPL). Shows all three days, with an exciting night show on Friday. Contact Beth Ann Jenkins, 512/869-1759, or visit the Web site.

Anchorage, Alaska. The Alaska State Aviation Trade Show & Conference takes place May 6 and 7 in the FedEx Maintenance Hangar at Ted Steven's Anchorage International (ANC). With 19,000 attendees, this show is slated as Alaska's largest general aviation event. Over 250 exhibitors, aircraft display, and safety conference. Free and open to the general public. Contact Dee Hanson, 907/245-1251, or visit the Web site.

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

FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Pensacola, Florida; Overland Park, Kansas; Albany, New York; and Seattle, May 6 and 7. Clinics are also scheduled in Sacramento, California; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Houston, May 20 and 21. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.

AOPA AIR SAFETY FOUNDATION SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Schenectady, New York, May 2; Frederick, Maryland, and North Syracuse, New York, May 3; East Elmhurst, New York, May 4; and Rochester, New York, May 6. The topic is "Do the Right Thing-Decision Making for Pilots." For more details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.


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