December 27, 2013
December 27, 2013 - VOL 13, ISSUE 52
A pilot returns to the two-runway home airport after a local-area flight to find the wind blowing at eight knots, but almost a direct crosswind to the runway in use. For reasons unknown to the pilot, the airport's other runway—a much better match for the surface wind—has not been offered for use.
The pilot is a little out of practice with crosswind landings, and executes a go-around after being unable to maintain directional control close in. The second approach goes better, and the pilot completes a safe, directionally stable landing. Still, the pilot is left wondering why arrivals were being assigned to that runway when the other was aligned almost directly into the wind.
As it turned out, a similar debate had been taking place in the tower.
"They asked me after I landed what the winds were like, because they were debating on whether to change runways," the pilot said in an email. "I said I was debating whether to ask them to let me land on the other runway. They said next time that happened, I should go ahead and ask."
"Go ahead and ask" is a pretty simple formula, yet many pilots hesitate. Others pass up opportunities already available to use the most favorable runway, as accident reports reveal.
The exchange between controllers and the private pilot occurred at a general aviation airport. A slightly different scenario could develop under similar circumstances at a commercial-service airport where larger aircraft may be unable to use runways available to the trainer fleet.
Approaching a large airport on a cross-country, you may hear an automated terminal information service broadcast advise that a particular runway is in use for landings, but that an alternative runway is available. If the other runway's availability is not mentioned, go ahead and ask!
Making the request promptly after establishing radio communications will make it easier for the approach controller to accommodate your request, especially under high-workload conditions.
It's not unusual for a new pilot to experience self-doubt when debating whether to request handling that goes against the flow, especially if doing so calls attention to lack of recent practice or inexperience. Let the radio exchange described here between the pilot and the tower staff serve as a reminder that safety is the first priority for all parties, and teamwork makes it happen.
Nothing about 2013 was easy—from early user-fee battles to major sequestration cuts, the year was marked by challenges for general aviation. But that didn't make it a year of gloom and doom. AOPA’s advocacy efforts paid off with big wins on taxes, towers, aircraft certification reform, airman training standards, and more.
A general aviation advocate hopes that a new tour will help give the industry a shot in the arm and inspire more people to become pilots.
Regardless of a pilot's certification level, constant practice and refinement are needed to maintain hard-earned skills, according to the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE). The free "Maintaining Aircraft Control" paper introduces pilots to key terminology and concepts of aircraft control. It is co-authored by SAFE members and loss-of-control subject matter experts Randy Brooks, Jeff Edwards, Janeen Kochan, Paul Ransbury, and Rich Stowell.
Eight of the 535 students graduating from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., campuses in December earned the first Ph.D.s awarded by the school. Five students earned Ph.D.s in aviation, while three earned Ph.D.s in engineering physics. The programs were launched in 2010.
Students at Sunlake High School in Land O' Lakes, Fla., will have the chance to learn to fly unmanned aircraft systems, thanks to a new partnership between the school's aviation academy and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, reports the Pasco Tribune. The class begins in the spring semester, while the aviation academy launches full time in August.
An average winter will see about a dozen general aviation accidents caused by icing. But there are ways to determine if your aircraft is accumulating ice before the problem becomes an emergency. Learn some of the telltale signs that you may be picking up some extra baggage.
Watch the video...
One of the more common navigational systems in GA aircraft today is the Garmin 430/530 line of panel-mounted GPS units. Learn more about the functions that a typical pilot will use this for, like com/nav frequency tuning and waypoint selection, by taking the Air Safety Institute's
VFR GPS Guide: Garmin 430/530 online course.
"Safety Pilot Landmark Accidents," appearing regularly in AOPA Pilot, dissects accidents to show you what can go wrong from a pilot's perspective and provides tips on how to avoid a similar scenario. Now, you can peruse these reports in a new e-book and ponder the learning points each accident has to offer. The cost of the e-book is $9.99.
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 8 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.
After 55 weeks of training, Virgin Australia has hired its first group of graduating pilot cadets. The new pilots will be deployed around the country as first officers on the carrier's fleet of Fokker 50 or ATR-72 turboprop aircraft. Under the program, Virgin Australia hired the cadets from day one, advanced up-front training course costs, and paid their salaries while at Flight Training Adelaide.
For more aviation career news, see the Flight Training website.
If the slightly squared-off twin on the ramp looks like it would be equally at home flying a variety of missions from short-hop scheduled service to hauling freight or parachutists, you may be in the presence of a Britten-Norman Islander, designed for easy access "to remote locations," says its maker, the United Kingdom's only private aircraft manufacturer. The BN2 series of aircraft also includes the Defender and a three-engine Islander variant appropriately named Trislander. Three Islanders are in service with this carrier that specializes in "the transportation needs of island communities."
Sporty's has released the schedule for its series of free, live, multimedia webinars. Webinars for 2014 include "iPad 101," "Cockpit Video Cameras—From GoPro to iPhone, Get the Most out of Every Flight Lesson," "Flying with ForeFlight," and "What's new in Aviation Headsets." The webinars start Jan. 21.
With ASA's Instrument Pilot Virtual Test Prep, users can learn the material needed to ace the FAA knowledge exam. It features animations, 3-D graphics and special effects, expert instructors, and in-flight footage. The cost is $199.95, and includes free 24-month access to prepware 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.
Flight instructors who provide flight training to aliens or to TSA-designated individuals must abide by the rules in Subpart A of 49 CFR Part 1552, and Subpart B applies more generally to flight and ground instructors, whether or not the student is a U.S. citizen.
Can't find a new place to go for that $100 hamburger, or looking for a new mission for your trusty bird? Consider charitable flights. AOPA Insurance Services offers advice on the requirements for this type of flying.
The weather outside is frightful, so how can you keep your focus on flying? Student pilot Benét Wilson has some ideas.
Pilots spend a great deal of time discussing how to bring young people into flying, so they can grow up, get their tickets, and eventually become the aviation consumers and advocates of tomorrow.
Ask 300 or so instrument pilots what would make them more proficient. You will likely get 300 or so answers.
When you change the altimeter setting in the Kollsman window by 1 inch of mercury, you have changed the altitude indicated by approximately how many feet?
One inch of mercury is equal to approximately 1,000 feet of altitude. (Source: FAA Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, page 7-6.)
Got a question for our technical services staff? Contact AOPA.
AOPA career opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for an account manager II, event planner, aviation insurance agent, director of business operations, and Web graphic designer I. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities,
visit AOPA Online.
Aviation job board
Applications are now being accepted for the permanent tenure-track position of assistant professor, aviation at San Diego Miramar College beginning fall 2014. This position reports to the dean, School of Business, Technical Careers, and Workforce Initiatives. Primary responsibilities include teaching lecture and laboratory courses in aviation operations, flight ground school, and related areas. The position also serves as the chief instructor, coordinating the college's FAA Part 141 certification.
Learn more now or search for other exciting career opportunities.
Jan 4-5 - Ypsilanti, Mich.; Portland, Ore.; San Jose, Calif.; and San Antonio, Texas
Jan 11-12 - Knoxville, Tenn.; Jackson, Miss.; Seattle, Wash.; and Charlotte, N.C.
Jan 25-26 - Baltimore, Md., and Long Beach, Calif.
Feb 8-9 - Fairfax, Va.; Nashua, N.H.; New Orleans, La.; and Louisville, Ky.
For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the Air Safety Institute's new Online eFIRC.
Jan 13 - Mesa, Ariz.; and Reno, Nev.
Jan 14 -Tucson, Ariz.; and Sacramento, Calif.
Jan 15 - Milpitas, Calif.; and El Paso, Texas
Jan 16 - Albuquerque, N.M.; and Santa Rosa, Calif.
Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Want something to do this weekend? Planning an aviation getaway? See AOPA's enhanced calendar of events. Now you can filter events by date range, airport ID, state, or region. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.
To include an event or to search all events in the calendar, visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices, see AOPA Airports.
AOPA's online photo gallery allows you to upload your own aviation photography as well as view, rate, and comment on others' photos.
Take a look, and submit your own photos!
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Pilot Training and Certification,
Able Flight, the nonprofit organization that works to provide free flight training to individuals with physical disabilities, announced the awards of a record-setting nine scholarships in 2014.
Smith Field in Fort Wayne, Ind., has withstood three separate attacks—in the 1970s, 1990s, and 2002—to close it and redevelop the land. Now, it's thriving.
Internet giant Google will acquire Titan Aerospace, the New Mexico-based developer of high-altitude unmanned aircraft systems.
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