February 14, 2014
February 14, 2014 - VOL 14, ISSUE 7
It was growing dark, but a clear night as a pilot departed Nebraska's Ainsworth Regional Airport westbound toward Chadron Municipal on the final leg of a cross-country. Valentine, Nebraska's "Heart City," was visible off the right wing. The pilot saw the lights of Gordon, near the destination, ahead.
Or was it? The leg "called for a 275-degree heading, but to fly to what I thought was Gordon required a 300-degree heading," the pilot recalled.
Conflicted but still convinced that Gordon lay ahead, the pilot continued on the 300-degree heading while seeking navigation guidance from a VOR near Chadron.
Unfortunately, the flight was too far away to receive the navaid. When the VOR did finally come in, the interpretation made no sense to the pilot, who rejected the indication of a 240-degree degree course to the VOR.
Just then, the lights of a larger city appeared. Chadron at last!
However, "upon arrival it was not, and I simply did not know where I was."
That prompted a call to flight service for assistance. But the pilot was "unable to raise them on the radio."
This was getting serious. "I had been in the air for three hours without refueling now and I was becoming concerned."
Amidst the city lights the pilot spotted two airports. Time to land, but at which?
Reasoning that the larger airport was more likely to have fuel, the pilot headed for it, discovering on arrival that the flight had landed at Ellsworth Air Force Base, in Rapid City, S.D., many miles northeast of Chadron.
The pilot shared details of the eventful night in a report to the Aviation Safety Reporting System, making use of the opportunity ASRS offers to chronicle, without penalty, lapses of airmanship that led the flight astray.
One lapse noted was "fixation on a city while night flying." "Not believing my instruments" was another.
Fixation (in this case, on lights instead of the course) is a rather common cause of piloting errors. Disbelief of instrument indications may strike when a pilot confronts the first irrefutable evidence of error or bad news (in this case, the off-course situation hinted at by the 240-degree course to the VOR).
Left to do their mischief, fixation and disbelief can produce a wide variety of adverse results, as this instance of a flight lost at night with low fuel makes crystal clear.
Able Flight is pushing hard to get more physically disabled women to apply for scholarships for its next flight training class, scheduled to begin in May.
A 75-year-old pilot says it's never too late to get hooked on flying. In the past 10 years, he earned his private pilot certificate and an instrument rating, and bought a Piper Archer III.
Apps of the week
With nasty weather grounding many pilots, you can still get in your flying fix by playing these five aviation game apps.
A flight center is being opened at South Carolina's Greenville Downtown Airport by local businessman Mitchell West. The center, a partnership between Aviation Access Project and Airwolf Aviation Services, will provide residents in the area low-cost aircraft ownership with a flight training option. Flight operations will begin on May 24, in conjunction with the airport's Take Flight 5K, a fundraiser for the aviation-themed community park that is being completed.
Upper Limit Aviation (ULA) kicked off the spring 2014 semester at Southern Utah University by welcoming 75 new students to the university's professional pilot program. The students join another 61 currently enrolled in the program. SUU and ULA began a partnership in fall 2013 to train new pilots to fly helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
Managing a crosswind landing correctly is both art and science. Pilots learn the technique (the science) during their training, but rarely is emphasis placed on the art. And if the science is not practiced often, the art can slip away.
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Could you recognize an imminent tail stall caused by ice accumulation? Avoid hazardous conditions that cause airframe icing with this Air Safety Institute quiz.
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GPS is a great tool for pilots, but there's more to it than just the Direct-to button. Get a clear explanation of how GPS works and how you can use it to make your next VFR flight more efficient, enjoyable, and safe with this course from the Air Safety Institute.
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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.
AOPA Live This Week
AOPA teams with the National Business Aviation Association to fight the good fight over Santa Monica Municipal Airport. Mooney is back, but the Skycatcher is gone. Learn how Honeywell is making takeoffs safer for heavy iron pilots. And what does a pokey pig have to do with aviation?
AOPA Live This Week®, Feb. 13...
U.S. airlines are facing a shortage of qualified pilots sooner than expected, leading carriers to boost hiring and cut routes, according to The Wall Street Journal. The situation has been exacerbated recently due to expected pilot retirements and new FAA regulations that require new airline pilots to have logged at least 1,500 hours of flight time, and that all airline pilots get more rest.
Southwest Airlines began selling seats Jan. 27 for the first scheduled international flights flown by Southwest. Beginning July 1, Southwest will operate daily nonstop flights from Atlanta to Aruba and Montego Bay, Jamaica, and from Baltimore/Washington to Aruba; Nassau, Bahamas; and Montego Bay, Jamaica. In this first phase of the carrier's international conversion plan, subsidiary AirTran Airways will continue its existing international service.
For more aviation career news, see the Flight Training website.
It started in the 1980s when a trim, pressurized, low-wing, 310-horsepower single-engine airplane called Malibu appeared. Stretches, more horsepower, and a turboprop followed, with names such as Mirage, for the 350-hp follow-on, and Meridian (a production turboprop). To a plane spotter, all members of the Piper PA-46 line of airplanes are easily ramp-recognizable by their high-aspect-ratio wing (that's the ratio of a wing's length to its chord), so designed with high-altitude cruise flight in mind. The aftermarket JetPROP DLX hits its stride at Flight Level 270 at 265 knots true airspeed.
University Aviation Press (UAP), which supplies e-books by aviation subject experts, has created a platform that allows users to publish and sell their ASA-vetted e-books via desktop computer, smartphone, and tablet devices. The deal includes copyright and digital rights management (DRM) to protect content.
Sporty's is now offering the GoPro HERO 3+ Prop Filter, created by NFlight Cam. The device attaches to the Hero 3+ to reduce prop blur. The aluminum bezel affixes to the lens portion of the case and doesn't block any of the camera's buttons. The included filter is designed to remove the propeller lines in 90 percent of the conditions encountered on a typical VFR flight. The device is $59.99.
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.
We are more at risk while we're traveling, so we're more likely to need help when we get hurt or sick in a place we don't know. That's why AOPA has developed MedFlight Freedom especially for AOPA members and their families.
The FAA doesn't care if you rent or lease an airplane with or without fuel. It certainly does care, however, about another type of wet lease operation that could run afoul of the regulations.
Jean Moule has been on the road, flying commercially—but she manages to find a connection to general aviation wherever she goes.
Autorotation is one of the most critical maneuvers that helicopter CFIs perform with their students. It requires precision, timing, and the ability to multitask.
The unpronounceable object is a computer navigation fix (CNF). Now that you know that, ignore it.
In the upper right corner of a VOR identification box on a sectional chart, you notice the letter "H" in the middle of a solid background circle. What does that letter "H" signify?
That letter "H" signifies that "Hazardous Inflight Weather Advisory Service" (HIWAS) is available on that VOR. (Source: AOPA VFR Aeronautical Chart Symbols.)
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AOPA career opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for an event planner, aviation technical writer contractor, coordinator of pilot community and development, director of insurance business operations, and member services and airport directory representative. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities,
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Feb 15-16 - Melbourne, Fla.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Las Vegas, Nev.; and Fort Worth, Texas
Feb 22-23 - Sacramento, Calif.
Mar 1-2 - Phoenix, Ariz.; Ontario, Calif.; and King of Prussia, Pa.
Mar 8-9 - Baltimore, Md.; and Orlando, Fla.
For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the Air Safety Institute's new Online eFIRC.
Feb 18 - Germantown, Tenn.
Feb 19 - Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Feb 20 - Alcoa, Tenn.
Feb 24 - Ocala, Fla.
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.
Apr 26 — San Marcos, Texas. San Marcos Municipal Airport (KHYI). AOPA Fly-in.
May 31 — Indianapolis, Indiana. Indianapolis Regional Airport (KMQJ). AOPA Fly-in.
Jul 12 — Plymouth, Massachusetts. Plymouth Airport (KPYM). AOPA Fly-in.
Aug 16 — Spokane, Washington. Spokane Felts Field (KSFF). AOPA Fly-in.
Sep 20 — Chino, California. Chino Airport (KCNO). AOPA Fly-in.
Oct 4 — Frederick, Maryland. Frederick Municipal Airport (KFDK). AOPA Homecoming.
Nov 8 — Brunswick, Georgia. Malcom McKinnon Airport (KSSI). AOPA Fly-in.
AOPA's online photo gallery allows you to upload your own aviation photography as well as view, rate, and comment on others' photos.
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