May 25, 2012
Have you logged any gliding time lately?
Not true glider time—but how frequently have you drilled on engine-out scenarios during your recent powered-aircraft training flights?
If you were taken by surprise and had to struggle to remember procedures the last time your instructor idled the power and declared an engine “failure,” get some more practice soon. Focus on developing a continuing awareness of how you would proceed during each phase of flight. If it's going to be a few days or weeks before you have another lesson, take the Air Safety Institute quiz on emergency procedures.
Would your altitude give you time to turn back to the airport? Is there time to attempt to restart your engine, or would it be a better call to concentrate on a safe off-airport landing?
In cruise flight, keep tabs on possible emergency landing spots you pass. Estimate their distance off your course line, and accept or discard them based on your altitude, wind direction, and your experience with your aircraft's glide characteristics. Staying aware of approximate surface wind speed and direction along a route could pay big dividends in the event of an engine failure. Observe water surfaces, trees, and smokestacks for clues. Monitor weather-reporting stations along the way.
That landing site down below looks usable—so now inspect the approach path for obstructions. Look carefully for hidden traps like a low fence or hedge row near your chosen touchdown spot.
Arriving at a cross-country destination, it's comforting to know that you have the runway “made” after descent to traffic pattern altitude. Don't drift out of glide range by flying too wide a pattern, or by allowing yourself to get too low on final approach.
Too high on final? A forward slip can help you lose altitude before you are ready to commit to using flaps.
Clearing the engine is essential during sustained periods of power-off flight such as a simulated engine failure glide to a landing site (or to a minimum safe altitude when practicing off-airport). Make your practice safer by recognizing likely conditions for the formation of carburetor ice—common this time of year in many areas.
You may be able to recite your aircraft's emergency procedures checklists from memory when sitting at home in your favorite armchair. Regular practice using them assures that you can make them flow as advertised when it counts.
Whether you prefer to study via your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can complete your ground school training with the ASA Private Pilot Ground School from Aviation Supplies & Academics. The curriculum includes nearly 11 hours of video instruction and enables you to take practice tests and obtain the FAA knowledge test endorsement via any Internet-connected device. The $179.95 fee gives you access to the course for 24 months after registration and includes a notebook that you can use to take notes, journal, or organize your studies. Order 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 got a speeding ticket recently. Do I need to report that to the FAA?
Answer: No, typically you do not need to report a traffic violation in which you had to pay a fine. However, you would be required to report it on your medical application in question 18(v) if the violation resulted “…in the denial, suspension, cancellation, or revocation of driving privileges or which resulted in attendance at an educational or rehabilitation program.” An example might be if you had multiple speeding tickets and your driver’s license was suspended for a period of time. That would need to be reported at your next visit to the aviation medical examiner. You do not need to report it to the FAA Aviation Security Division per FAR 61.15 unless it involved drugs or alcohol. You should also bring court documents/police reports of the incident with you to the AME. The FAA will likely want to see them. The FAA has access to the National Driver Register, so if you don't report it they will eventually find out.
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In my house, every Friday night is “Movie Night.” While the movies are rarely educational (I don’t think I learned anything from the Lego Movie), we look forward to the weekly opportunity to spend time together. Why not use the same concept for your Flying Club (with the addition of education, of course)?
The Aircraft Spotlight feature looks at an airplane type and evaluates it across six areas of particular interest to flying clubs and their members: Operating Cost, Maintenance, Insurability, Training, Cross-Country, and Fun Factor.
The AOPA Internet Flight Planner (AIFP) 2.0, powered by Jeppesen, is now available in beta for all AOPA members to test. The beta period is open through early 2015.
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