July 25, 2008
In this issue: Work-study visas for foreign flight students to end Ohio University flight students get fuel surcharge Give flight briefers the info they need
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SELF-ANNOUNCEMENTS Most student pilots can describe the proper radio self-announcements to be made during arrival and departure operations at airports without operating control towers. Fewer can say with certainty when those announcements are most effectively broadcast on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). In busy airport traffic patterns, radioing your position and intentions may not always be possible at ideal moments because of frequency congestion. But when possible, make your calls when other pilots can make best use of the information.
How often have you flown in the traffic pattern during a practice session and been surprised to hear someone announce that he or she is entering the 45-degree downwind leg, or taxiing onto the runway for departure? In both cases, recommended procedure calls for an earlier first announcement. When flying inbound to land, the best practice as set out in the Aeronautical Information Manual is to make your first announcement over the CTAF and then when entering downwind, base, and final legs. A departing aircraft is expected to self-announce "before taxiing and before taxiing on the runway for departure."
Note that the arriving aircraft's self-announcements in the traffic pattern are to be made when entering downwind, base, and final. "Announcements made just before 'turning the corners' give other pilots in the pattern a definite place to look for traffic. Banking airplanes are easier for others at the same altitude to spot. High-wing aircraft should always pick up a wing and look before turning," says the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor Operations at Nontowered Airports .
An aircraft cockpit is a busy place during the arrival phase of a flight, so don't get preoccupied and omit that 10-miles-out self-announcement from your to-do list—even if you haven't yet found the field. "You may be 10 miles out and still have no clue where the airport is, especially if it is hidden amidst city clutter, but other pilots will be able to avoid you," Alton K. Marsh wrote in the February 2003 AOPA Pilot feature "Get Down!"
And whether arriving or departing, turn on that landing light as an additional safety measure.
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. And see AOPA Online's Career Pilot section, complete with industry news, hiring statistics, and other important information for the professional pilot.
Did you know that student pilots who join AOPA are three times more likely to complete their flight training? Membership includes unlimited access to aviation information by phone (800/USA-AOPA, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time) or from Flight Training Online or AOPA Online. If you're not already a member, join today and get the pilot's edge. Login information is available online.
FRASCA TURNS 50 As a student pilot, you've probably seen or even spent some time in a Frasca simulator. Its manufacturer, Frasca International, marked its fiftieth anniversary this month by inviting more than 600 people to a celebration at its Urbana, Ill., facility. Rudy Frasca, 77, an aviation icon, founded the company in 1958. His first product allowed the venerable Link trainer to be used for teaching VOR and ADF navigation. Frasca constructed his earliest simulators from wood in the garage behind his home. Read more on AOPA Online.
WORK-STUDY VISAS FOR FOREIGN FLIGHT STUDENTS SET TO END The U.S. State Department has announced its intention to end a program that allows foreign flight students to work while they study in the United States. The J-1 visa program, which is slated to end in June 2010, allows foreign students a two-year visa to go through their flight training and work as flight instructors to build flying time. Other training options will still exist, although they won't permit students to work. Read more on AOPA Online.
OHIO UNIVERSITY AVIATION STUDENTS TO PAY FUEL SURCHARGE Aviation students at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, will pay a fuel surcharge beginning in the fall, according to a report in the university's newspaper, The Post . The surcharge will vary by student and will depend on hours flown and aircraft used, and will rise with the price of fuel. The university's aviation department had budgeted $4.24 per gallon for fuel; it was about $5.25 per gallon at the beginning of July.
GO BEYOND TRANSLATION WITH NEW SAFETY QUIZ ON METARS All pilots learn to decode METARs, or aviation routine meteorological reports, early in their training, but simply being able to translate the codes isn't enough: It's important to understand what the information means—and how to incorporate it into preflight planning and decision making. For example, if a METAR says lightning is in the vicinity, how close is that? Are clouds reported in msl or agl? What effect will "VV010" have on your go/no-go decision? Test your knowledge of METARs with the latest Safety Quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Then challenge yourself with previous Safety Quizzes.
GIVE FLIGHT BRIEFERS THE INFO THEY NEED When you call flight service for a briefing, the specialist's computer system starts with a screen called the "flight plan mask," which should be filled in by the specialist before he or she gives you the briefing. To reduce briefing times—and potential errors—you need to supply specific information at the beginning of each briefing. If filing a flight plan, follow the flight plan form. For pilots who want only a briefing, just nine items are needed (first half of the flight plan form, excluding airspeed). Print this quick reference card for the specific order. For more tips, take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's minicourse, A Pilot's Guide to Flight Service .
SATISFYING THE SQUAWKS Completely refurbishing and upgrading an instrument panel doesn't make it immune from squawks, as we discussed in last week's sweepstakes update. The AOPA Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer spent some time in the shop recently undergoing minor work to install some software upgrades and add an exciting new piece of equipment to the panel. Stop by this week to learn how the squawks were resolved and to get a preview of our AirVenture 2008 coverage.
SPORTY'S FLIGHT GEAR VFR TRI-FOLD KNEEBOARD Most pilots would agree that a kneeboard is an essential tool for the cockpit, since you'll use it to keep a chart, flight planning sheet, E6B, writing tool, taxiway diagram, or other necessities within easy reach. Sporty's new Flight Gear VFR Tri-Fold Kneeboard includes two zippered storage compartments, two mesh pockets, a clear chart pocket, and two pen loops. The kneeboard also features a clipboard displaying a VFR placard of the cruising altitudes, flight plan sequence, and more. The kneeboard measures 20 inches by 11 and one-half inches open, or seven and one-quarter inches by 11 and one-half inches closed. It sells for $24.95. 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.
Question: I recently started flight training, and I am eager to make my first solo flight. What is required of me before my instructor will finally let me go?
Answer: After you have received and logged training for the maneuvers and procedures specified in Federal Aviation Regulation 61.87, you must demonstrate proficiency and safety as judged by a certificated flight instructor. This not only involves maneuvers and procedures, but also passing a pre-solo written exam covering the applicable sections of the federal aviation regulations, airspace rules and procedures, and the training aircraft's characteristics and limitations. When the CFI is satisfied that you are proficient and safe, he or she will endorse your student pilot certificate for the specific make and model of aircraft to be flown and endorse your logbook certifying that appropriate instruction has been given for solo flight. Now you're free! You'll quickly see that solo flights can be just as educational as instructional flights. Read about pilot Gary Frisch's first solo flight.
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to email@example.com 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.
A seaplane rating is one of the most fun ways to continue learning after you earn your private pilot certificate. Spend a day with AOPA Pilot Associate Editor Ian J. Twombly at Jack Brown's Seaplane Base in Winter Haven, Fla., one of the world's busiest floatplane training centers, in the August issue of AOPA Pilot .
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 or send an e-postcard. For more details, see AOPA Online.
Want something to do this weekend? Wanting to plan an aviation getaway? See our online calendar of events. We’ve enhanced our calendar so that with one click, you can see all of the events listed in the calendar regions you selected when personalizing ePilot. Now you can browse events listed two weeks to a few months out to make your planning easier. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.
To submit an event or to search all events in the calendar visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices see AOPA's Airport Directory Online.
FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Jacksonville, Fla., and Memphis, Tenn., July 26 and 27; and in Champaign, Ill., and Fort Worth, Texas, Aug. 2 and 3. 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 Wichita, Kan.; Ypsilanti, Mich.; and Germantown, Tenn., on Sept. 8. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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