AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition - Volume 8, Issue 9

February 29, 2008

 Volume 8, Issue 9 • February 29, 2008

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 Training Tips WHAT'S THE CEILING? When it comes time for you to fly solo, your instructor will note limiting weather conditions for your flights in your logbook. One limit likely will be the lowest ceiling under which you are permitted to solo. Another may be a minimum visibility value. [See the Jan. 27, 2006, Training Tip "Solo Limitations."] Not all cloud cover represents a ceiling. It depends on how much of the sky is visible. The definitions used to describe sky cover carry inferences as to whether a ceiling exists. "A ceiling, for aviation purposes, is the lowest layer of clouds reported as being broken or overcast, or the vertical visibility into an obscuration like fog or haze. Clouds are reported as broken when five-eighths to seven-eighths of the sky is covered with clouds. Overcast means the entire sky is covered with clouds," explains chapter 10, page 17 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge . You'll find current sky conditions in aviation routine weather reports (METARs) and many automated observations. Sky cover reported as less than broken (few clouds, or scattered layers) does not constitute a ceiling. See the table of contractions on chapter 11, page 6 of the handbook for sky cover, represented in eighths (octas) of the sky from horizon to horizon, for each description. Why octas? "Students frequently ask why sky cover and obscurations are reported in octas rather than tenths. The four cardinal points of the compass (N, E, W, S) and the four intercardinal points (NE, NW, SE, SW) divide the compass into eight sectors. Cloud cover and obscurations are easy to evaluate if you observe the conditions that exist in each of the eight sectors and base your report on how many sectors that condition occupies," Ralph Butcher explains in the August 2002 AOPA Flight Training column "Insights." Sky cover is also an element in pilot reports (pireps). See "Answers for Pilots" in the February 2006 AOPA Pilot and be sure to scan pireps for those valuable observations that only airborne pilots can provide. On nonflying days, practice estimating sky cover and comparing your conclusions with aviation weather reports. Also check out the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's online course "Weather Wise: Ceilings and Visibility" to further sharpen your skills.
 Your Partner in Training Is a professional flying job in your future? Read AOPA's Guide to Flying Careers , written for people who envision themselves earning a living as a pilot, and learn about the possibilities. More information about professional training and career development is available in AOPA's Career Pilot section of AOPA Online. 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 EMBRY-RIDDLE WINS SAFECON REGIONAL FLYING COMPETITION Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Golden Eagles Flight Team won its twenty-second consecutive regional championship at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Safecon Region II competition. The flying competition, in which teams compete to win points in such events as power-off landing, short-field landing, and message drop, took place Feb. 14 through 17 at Ernest A. Love Field in Prescott, Ariz. Teams from Cypress College, Mount San Antonio College, San Diego Christian College, and San Jose State University joined the competition. Embry-Riddle, San Jose State University, and Mount San Antonio College advanced to the national event, which is scheduled for May 5 through 10 in Smyrna, Tenn. ROBINSON FOUNDER HOPES R44s WILL PLAY GREATER TRAINING ROLE The founder of Robinson Helicopter Company said Feb. 24 that he would like to see the carbureted R44 Raven I augment and ultimately replace the two-seat R22 in the primary training role. At the 2008 Heli-Expo event in Houston, Texas, Frank Robinson spoke mainly about his company's foray into the turbine helicopter market—a prototype of the R66 has been flying for several months—but also discussed how the company is positioning piston helicopters for future sales. "The R44 Raven I is always going to burn much more fuel than an R22, but it's still a much better training aircraft, with better autorotation characteristics," he said. "This is particularly important among older [student] pilots." For more coverage of Heli-Expo, see AOPA Online. AIRPORT'S NEW OWNERS TO ADD SPORT PILOT TRAINING Four men who inherited a Massachusetts airport, flight school, and charter business say they hope to expand the operation to include light sport flight training. Ed Ivas, Tom Vigneron, Rick Solan, and John Guarnieri had all worked in some capacity at Walter J. Koladza Airport in Great Barrington before becoming its owners. Longtime owner Walter J. Koladza, who died in 2004, deeded them the operation, and probate was completed in January, according to an article in The Berkshire Eagle . The new owners are expanding the maintenance shop and want to bring light sport training to the area. "We really want to concentrate on student instruction," Solan said, noting that Koladza, who founded the Berkshire Aviation flight school in 1944, considered his tutelage of at least 100 students one of his greatest accomplishments.