June 30, 2006
Volume 6, Issue 26 • June 30, 2006
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THERMAL TURBULENCE One of the most notable characteristics of fair-weather summer flying is the turbulence that seems to materialize out of nowhere on nice days, especially on days when wind, fronts, and stormy conditions of any kind are absent. Aside from being unpleasant and distracting, the first encounter with this roughness of the air, known simply as thermal turbulence, can instill in a pilot a sense of surprise and even betrayal. Whether or not it appears in the forecast, however, thermal turbulence is a perfectly normal, predictable result of the day's solar heating. That's why you are less likely to encounter it in the early hours than later on.
Thermal turbulence is also most likely encountered when high pressure is controlling the weather of an area and no other adverse conditions are in the forecast. "That daytime heating also causes heat to bubble up and form thermals. By midday this thermal activity can be enough to cause annoying turbulence and surface gusts as upward-moving air creates vacuums that are filled by neighboring air masses that rush in to fill them," Thomas A. Horne explained in " Wx Watch: History of a High" in the July 2004 AOPA Pilot. He added these tips that experienced pilots have learned for spotting and avoiding the worst of the bumpiness: "These vertical currents cool as they rise, and when they cool to the dew point, moisture condenses. That's how we get that 4,000-scattered layer so typical of high pressure. Want to avoid turbulence? Then fly above those scattered clouds, where there's much less thermal activity." See the February 18, 2005, Training Tips for an illustration of this effect on the air and a discussion of sources of turbulence.
Flying in "chop"-that is, continuously turbulent air-takes patience and restraint, if it can't be avoided. Don't overcontrol in response to every jolt or updraft; don't chase every vertical displacement displayed on the instrument panel, as described in the July 22, 2005, Training Tips article " Chasing the Needle." Doing so will only make the ride worse. Now that you know about thermal turbulence, keep it in mind when planning altitudes, and even times of departure, for cross-country flights. On a long trip under a blazing sun, comfort counts!
How sharp is your understanding of wake turbulence? Just exactly what is the proper procedure when you're following a heavy aircraft on approach? Take the Sporty's Safety Quiz on wake turbulence to expand your knowledge from the privacy of your own personal computer. And for guidance on wake turbulence, note Chapter 7, Section 3 of the Aeronautical Information Manual.
Do you have a question? Call the experienced pilots in AOPA's Pilot Information Center at 800/USA-AOPA. They're available to take your calls weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern. 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.
DIAMOND FLIGHT CENTER OPENS IN FLORIDA The first Diamond Brilliance Flight Center has opened in Naples, Florida. The flight center is operated by Europe-American Aviation and uses Diamond aircraft and flight training devices exclusively. The fleet consists of two DA20-C1 aircraft, seven Garmin G1000-equipped DA40 Diamond Stars, and one turbodiesel DA42 Twin Star. A DA42-specific Level 5 flight training device with wrap-around visual system, said to be the first of its kind in the United States, has been installed at the flight school. For more information, see the Web site.
LEARN THE LESSONS OF HIGH DENSITY ALTITUDE When the temperatures start pushing 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, that 2,500-foot runway you typically have no trouble flying out of suddenly might not be long enough for your takeoff roll. Hot summer days equal high density altitude, which means aircraft performance will decrease with the less dense air, the takeoff roll will eat up more runway, and the rate of climb won't be so hot. The propeller can't get the same "bite" out of less dense air because the air molecules are spaced farther apart, and that results in lowered aircraft performance. Decreased takeoff performance is a big deal, especially if you have to clear an obstacle. Check out AOPA's density altitude subject report for tips on safe flying in high-density-altitude conditions. Remember to run weight-and-balance calculations and check your aircraft's performance charts before each flight.
GEORGIA FLIGHT SCHOOL OPEN FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS Falcon Aviation Academy, located at Falcon Field in Peachtree City, Georgia, is now approved to accept international students who obtain an M-1 visa. The school offers instruction for all levels of ratings and certificates, including an airline pilot career path. Its fleet includes a Diamond Eclipse and Garmin G1000-equipped DA40 Diamond Star, as well as a Cessna 172 and 182 and a Piper Seminole and Navajo. For more information, see the Web site.
FLOATPLANE TEAM PLACES FIFTH IN AIR RACE CLASSIC Seaplane pilots take note: Mary Build and Jenny Jorgenson, the team from Maine who flew a 1975 Cessna 182 on floats in last week's Air Race Classic, took fifth place in the all-women's cross-country event, a respectable outcome for a first-time racing team-on floats, no less. First place went to Gretchen Jahn and Carol Foy, while Denise Waters and Ruth Maestre took second place. For complete results, see the Web site.
PROFESSIONAL PILOT SEMINAR SET FOR DALLAS As of the end of May, the airlines had hired 3,584 pilots, according to the airline pilot summary released by AIR, Inc., on June 22. If you are looking for a job change or have built enough hours to apply for a first officer position, the AIR, Inc., job fair will take place Saturday, July 22, at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Dallas. The job fair will include an airline pilot job market forecast for 2006 through 2016. Airline representatives from AirTrain, UPS, FedEx, Comair, Southwest, and others will be on hand to recruit. Pilot workshops are scheduled for Friday, June 21, and Sunday, June 23, and will cover topics including interview techniques and making the military/airline pilot transition. For more information, see the Web site.
LOCKHEED MARTIN FLIGHT SERVICE WEB SITE GOES LIVE Are you put on hold for several minutes when you call 800/WX-BRIEF? You shouldn't be. Are you getting detailed security and weather briefings when you call? You should be. That's part of Lockheed Martin's promise to pilots while it is modernizing the FSS system, which it took over from the FAA on October 4 last year. If they aren't, you now have a way to report service difficulties to Lockheed Martin-through its new Web site. The site provides pilots with a means to report any difficulties they experience with flight service, along with updates on the progress of the modernization, known as FS21, and information for flight planning. "From the beginning, AOPA demanded performance standards to hold Lockheed Martin accountable for the commitments they made to serve pilots," said Melissa Rudinger, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. "We want to make sure the modernization is done right, and this Web site allows pilots to report what services are and aren't working for them." See AOPA Online.
IN THE SOUP AND OUT OF LUCK: BEAT PNEUMATIC SYSTEMS FAILURES The attitude indicator suddenly shows you're in a descending 60-degree-bank turn to the right, and the directional gyro shows your heading is off slightly. You can't see the horizon because you're in the clouds, but your compass and other flight instruments indicate you are flying straight and level. You could have a pneumatic systems failure, which can be terrifying or even catastrophic when flying at night or in the clouds. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation's latest minicourse, Pneumatic Systems , describes pressure and vacuum systems (known as "pneumatic systems") and teaches how to recognize pneumatic systems failure by describing some early warning signs. It also discusses system redundancy options and gives an overview of the common causes of failures and how they can be avoided. Download the Pneumatic Systems Safety Brief to see a print companion of the online training course.
TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY MINETA TO STEP DOWN The June 23 announcement of Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta's resignation is a big loss to general aviation. His resignation will be effective July 7. "During the 16 years I have been the president of AOPA, Norman Mineta always had an open door for us," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Whether it was during his tenure as a U.S. representative for California's San Jose area, the chairman of the House aviation subcommittee and the House Public Works and Transportation Committee, or as the secretary of Transportation, he always welcomed and valued what we had to say regarding GA. If he saw a friend across a crowded room, he'd always reach out with a warm greeting and treat you like the only person in that room. Too often those in politics or government are only looking for all the right hands to shake or ears to bend. Norm truly valued personal relationships-and I will miss that." Boyer added that it is critical that the Bush administration choose a successor who has the same level of understanding of the value of general aviation as Mineta consistently displayed. "He understood the importance of GA pilots and promoting safety. That's one reason he has repeatedly opposed user fees on GA," Boyer continued. See AOPA Online. NEW YORK LOOKS AT ADDING BARRIERS TO FLIGHT TRAINING Typical prospective student pilots go to the airport, get an introductory flight, talk to a flight instructor about the cost and time required to become a pilot, and begin training (once citizenship status has been verified). It’s that simple. But that won’t be the case for would-be student pilots in New York if Gov. George Pataki signs Assembly Bill 2122. Before beginning flight training, a person in New York would need to have a criminal background check and wait for written permission to be sent to his or her flight school of choice. And the flight school must request the criminal history information of any new prospective student. “This is an extreme and unnecessary measure that would greatly discourage aviation enthusiasts from pursuing their dreams of becoming a pilot,” said AOPA President Phil Boyer. “This is something we cannot let happen-and that’s why AOPA and its more than 14,000 New York members are calling on Gov. Pataki to veto the bill.” In a letter to Pataki, Boyer reminded the governor that AOPA had filed a federal suit against a similar Michigan law, which the state repealed. “We would like to prevent a similar sequence of events in New York,” Boyer said. See AOPA Online. 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.
INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE FOR ELECTRONIC E6B Do you use a Sporty's electronic E6B flight computer when planning cross-country flights? Many pilots prefer the electronic version over the traditional "whiz wheel" device but may not be familiar with all of the functions. Sporty's introduces interactive software designed to help you go beyond the basics. Sporty's E6B Virtual Tips & Tricks interactive software shows each function's operation in detail and includes shortcuts and tips for everyday use. It runs on Windows and sells for $19.95. Order it online or call 800/SPORTYS.
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.
Answer: Federal Aviation Regulation 91.211 outlines when supplemental oxygen is required and who has to use it. A required flight crewmember must use supplemental oxygen while flying at cabin pressure altitudes for longer than 30 minutes above 12,500 feet mean sea level up to and including 14,000 feet msl. A required flight crewmember must use supplemental oxygen for the entire time spent flying above 14,000 feet msl cabin pressure altitude. Above 15,000 feet msl, all occupants of the aircraft, other than required crewmembers, must at least be provided with supplemental oxygen. To learn more about high-altitude flying, see AOPA Online.
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.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.
Arlington, Washington. The 38th Annual Arlington Northwest EAA Fly-In takes place July 5 through 9 at Arlington Municipal (AWO). This annual extravaganza includes airshows, vendors, forums, exhibits, and camping. For more information, contact Betty, 360/435-5857, or visit the Web site.
Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The Cape Girardeau Regional Air Festival takes place July 7 and 8 at Cape Girardeau Regional (CGI). The event begins on Friday evening with a spectacular night show, and continues on Saturday with day and evening performances. Performers to include: Aeroshell aerobatic team, Skip Stewart Airshows, World Parobatic Swoop Team, and much more! Contact Bruce Loy/Angela Ahrens, 573/334-6230, or visit the Web site.
St. Joseph, Missouri. The Sound of Speed Airshow and Fly-In takes place July 8 and 9 at Rosecrans Memorial (STJ). U.S. Representative Sam Graves will host his third annual fly-in in conjunction with the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri National Guard. Contact Congressman Graves' office, 816/233-9818, or visit the Web site.
Fredericksburg, Texas. The 2006 American Yankee Association International Convention takes place July 10 through 13 at Gillespie County (T82). The owners group for American, Grumman, Gulfstream, American General, and Tiger light aircraft. Convention activities range from seminars and clinics to competitions and social events. Contact Denny Arar, 415/267-4546, 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 Jacksonville, Florida, and Portland, Maine, July 15 and 16. Clinics are also scheduled in Pittsburgh, and Memphis, Tennessee, July 22 and 23. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
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AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.