February 27, 2009
In This Issue: Jeppesen offers online training Walk away from a Mayday Fuller announces aviation summit
Recent “Training Tips” have focused on the dos and don’ts of taxiing at busy airports, and airports with tricky surface routes. Knowing when you must hold short, when it is OK to cross runways and taxiways, and what should be read back to the ground controller, and understanding your route are all duties the pilot must perform, as discussed in the Feb. 13 “ Training Tip: Taxi tactics.”
With all these challenges facing the taxiing pilot, it might surprise you to learn that the most common taxiing error seen by instructors at airports large and small isn’t the problem of incursions or pilot disorientation. The most frequent infraction—you’ve probably observed it too—is excessive taxi speed.
That’s worth remembering while you’re out there intently trying to comply with all the other demands of proper taxiing. What a shame to strike a taxiway sign or the wing tip of an opposite-direction aircraft out of distraction, inattention, or impatience with a long taxi route. Maintaining moderate taxi speed is one of the six objectives of the taxi task in the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards. The objective also calls on the pilot to use correct technique: This means employing minimal power to maintain correct taxi speed, and minimal braking for turns and stops. No destructive riding of brakes allowed! Objective No. 4 requires that the pilot control direction and speed “without excessive use of brakes.”
What is the “correct” taxi speed? As always, pilot judgment provides the answer. “It is difficult to set any rule. What is safe under some conditions may be hazardous under others. A good practice is to avoid taxiing faster than a brisk walk. Remember that in congested areas, the safe taxi speed will be much slower. The primary requirement of safe taxiing is positive control—the ability to stop or turn where and when desired. You should taxi at a speed that is slow enough so that the aircraft can be stopped promptly and safely,” Christopher L. Parker said in the November 2003 AOPA Flight Training feature “ Power walking: The tricks you’ll need to taxi straight.”
Knowing the big picture is important while taxiing. But so is successfully navigating that next turn in the taxiway!
Perhaps you began your training last summer and spent some time on the ground thanks to the winter weather. But now you're back in the air, accumulating the hours and experience you need to take your private pilot checkride. Or perhaps you're just beginning your training, but you're already nervous about the checkride. The FAA's Private Pilot Practical Test Standards (PTS) tells you everything you must be able to do on your checkride, and you can download the PTS from AOPA Flight Training Online. While you're there, check out the section devoted to preparing for the flight test.
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 AOPA 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.
Jeppesen announced last week it is offering a private pilot training course in an online format. This is the company’s first foray into online pilot certificate training, although it has offered computer-based training on avionics. The course was developed using information from Jeppesen’s private pilot textbook, said Kert Thielen, manager of aviation training services and aviation courseware development. Three versions are available: a Part 61 enhanced ground school with maneuvers and knowledge test prep; a Part 61 course with stage exams and flight lessons; and a Part 141 version with stage exams and flight lessons. Online instrument and sport pilot courses are planned, Jeppesen said.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation's new interactive, graphics-rich Safety Quiz format was a big hit when it debuted two weeks ago: More than three times the average number of quiz-takers put their knowledge to the test. This week the foundation follows up with a brain-tickler on emergency procedures. Knowing what to do in an emergency—and practicing those procedures regularly—can mean the difference between surviving a mishap and becoming a statistic. See how much you remember about Mayday ops by taking the latest Safety Quiz.
Students, pilots, professors, and others came out in support of a New Jersey community college aviation program at a board of trustees meeting last week. In place for 39 years, the Mercer County Community College program has graduated more than 400 pilots, but it has lost money, manages an aging fleet, and graduates fewer students than it enrolls, according to a report in The Times of Trenton . Mercer County President Patricia Donohue suggested the program could survive by raising prices for flight training, selling its fleet of 11 airplanes, subcontracting with others, or looking at cheaper maintenance vehicles.
Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, Mass., has received FAA approval to conduct flight training in conjunction with its aviation program, and training kicked off in January. Bridgewater has leased eight Quartz Mountain Aerospace 11Es and two Piper Arrows, and has hired its own instructors, according to a report in the Boston Globe . Previously, aviation students took ground school at the college but had to arrange flight training with an outside provider.
AOPA Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg was recently appointed to the board of trustees of the Aviation Accreditation Board International. AABI is one of the only sources of accreditation for collegiate flight training programs. Landsberg, who has served as the head of the Air Safety Foundation for 17 years, said AABI seeks to promote excellence and self-improvement in collegiate aviation programs, and to establish uniform minimum educational quality standards. Earning AABI accreditation means the college has been evaluated by a third party and meets rigorous academic standards. Check to see if the school you are interested in has AABI accreditation in AOPA’s college directory.
AOPA President Craig Fuller announced a new plan for the association’s annual convention and exposition, which will take place in Tampa, Fla., Nov. 5 through 7. AOPA Aviation Summit will be “a completely new take on AOPA’s annual convention gathering,” Fuller told the Northwest Aviation Conference in Puyallup, Wash., on Feb. 21. “The Summit’s collaborative and hands-on environment is designed to bring together pilots, aircraft owners, aviation businesses, students, enthusiasts, and policy makers, and to give all of them—all of you—new power to shape your future and the future of general aviation. And for the first time we will be reaching outside the aviation community to welcome the public into all that general aviation has to offer.” The Summit will still have all of the great experiences attendees have come to expect but will include an all-new layout that will provide opportunities for product demonstrations and other events right in the middle of it all. Read more >>
Mountain flying provides adventures—and challenges—that most flatlanders will never know. Tricky winds, mountain weather, density altitude, and unforgiving terrain are just a few of the risks covered in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's newly redesigned and updated Mountain Flying course. The popular free course has a fresh look, new features, and challenging interactive exercises. Could you safely turn around in a box canyon? Pick your airspeed, control the turn with your keyboard, and let's go flying. The course also includes dramatic, real-life video footage of the dangers of high density altitude—important lessons for pilots flying over any type of terrain.
Pilots often are drawn to online ads and mailings from life insurance companies promising low premium rates for pilots—only to find out later that they don’t apply to the type of flying you do. AOPA knows the importance of finding a reputable insurance company that understands aviation. That’s why we’ve been partners with Minnesota Life for more than 50 years. AOPA’s term life insurance programs, underwritten by Minnesota Life, offer pilot-friendly coverage at competitive rates, thanks to the group buying power of AOPA’s members. The group and individual programs are designed to insure virtually all types of flying. Obtaining a quote is simple. Call 888/879-2672 or visit the Web site.
Shopping around for auto insurance? Purchase AOPA Auto Insurance through 21st Century Insurance and you’ll receive great service, special rates, and exclusive aviation-related benefits. Up to $250 of the deductible is waived for a loss to a covered vehicle that is parked in an airport parking lot while you are operating a personal aircraft that you own, rent, or lease for private pleasure flying. Free roadside assistance and identity theft restoration service is at no additional cost. We’ll even provide transportation expense reimbursement (up to $900) if your aircraft malfunctions and leaves you stranded away from home. For more information, go online or call 877/659-2446, ext. 4572.
The checkride is one of the biggest milestones in a pilot’s career. Want to mark that milestone in a different way? Pilotmall.com offers a “pilot achievement plaque” that can be personalized to display your name; your certificate number; the date of your accomplishment; your home airport, city, and state; and the names of your flight instructor and examiner. The faux mahogany plaque measures 9-by-12 inches and sells for $29.99. Also available is a faux marble “first solo” plaque for $24.99. Order it online.
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 dread taking tests, and am worried that I may not pass the knowledge test to get my private pilot certificate. Can I retake the knowledge test?
Answer: Yes, you can retake the FAA knowledge test (or the “written exam”) as many times as you need. If you fail the test, you will need to receive some extra ground training from your instructor on the topics that you missed. Your instructor will then give you a new endorsement saying you are ready to retake the exam. You can prepare by studying the actual questions and answers that the FAA will use on your test. The entire private pilot knowledge exam question bank is available online.
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to [email protected] 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.
Two pilots on a mission for the ultimate chicken sandwich have to decide if braving a 45-knot crosswind is worth the risk. Find out what happens in the February installment of Never Again Online.
Pilots love to take photos, and they love to share them with other pilots. Now you can upload your flying photos to our brand-new online gallery, "Air Mail." Share your special aviation images, or view and rate more than 1,000 photos and counting. Highly rated photos will get put into rotation on the AOPA home page!
Want something to do this weekend? Wanting to plan an aviation getaway? See your personalized online calendar of events . We've enhanced our calendar so that with one click you can see all of the events listed in the regions you selected when personalizing ePilot . Now you can browse events listed two weeks to a few months out to make your planning easier. You can also bookmark the personalized calender page to check it as often as you want. 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.
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Baltimore Md., and King of Prussia Pa., March 7 and 8; Phoenix, Ariz., and Ontario, Calif., March 14 and 15; Orlando Fla., and Virginia Beach, Va., March 21 and 22; San Mateo, Calif., March 28 and 29; Atlanta, Ga., Northbrook, Ill., Salt Lake City, Utah, and Ashburn, Va., April 4 and 5. 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 are scheduled in Northbrook, Ill., and Ypsilanti, Mich., March 9; Bolingbrook, Ill., Bedford, Mass., and Cleveland, Ohio, March 10; Peoria, Ill., and Whitehall, Ohio, March 11; Rockford, Ill., and Indianapolis, Ind., March 12; Birmingham, Ala., March 16; Marietta, Ga., March 17; Randolph, N.J., March 19. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Got news? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected]. 421 Aviation Way Frederick, MD 21701 Tel: 800/USA-AOPA or 301/695-2000 Copyright Â© 2009 AOPA.
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Editorial Team : ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller | Contributors: Warren Morningstar, Alton Marsh
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