Instrument Rating

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Many pilots play roles in next chapter of spaceflight

Article | Apr 26, 2012

A successful test of parachutes that will safely ease the Orion manned spacecraft to landing was overshadowed by the final flight of the space shuttle Discovery on April 17. In Houston, the Arizona desert, and elsewhere, Orion's test and development crew, many of them pilots, were focused on the future.

IFR Fix: Knowledge is power

IFR Fix | Apr 20, 2012

A pilot is seeking rainy-day advice from two IFR-rated friends about training for the instrument rating. When should he take the knowledge test? One says hit the books first; the other recommends getting instrument experience before taking the test. Who's right?

Resuming the Journey: Takeoffs and landings

Article | Apr 19, 2012

A pilot's first lesson after a nine-year hiatus left her feeling increasingly confident in regaining her skills. But how would she handle the second lesson: takeoffs and landings with winds of 13 knots gusting to 18?

IFR Fix: A truer test

IFR Fix | Apr 06, 2012

Looking for a challenge that will tax your IFR knowledge to the limit and hone your skills, leaving you dry-mouthed and drained? Try explaining what it means to be an instrument pilot to someone who knows nothing about aviation.

Resuming the Journey: Aircraft familiarization

Article | Apr 04, 2012

After being out of the cockpit for nine years, a pilot getting back into flying might be a little nervous. Is taking off and landing like riding a bicycle again after nearly a decade?

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2012

‘This is what I must do’ Namesake pursues Amelia Earhart's dream A Denver TV news reporter with a distinctly aeronautical name is reaching for a future in aviation modeled on an ancestor’s historic past. KUSA-TV 9 News reporter Amelia Rose Earhart says she knew after taking a first flight lesson in 2004 that she and her famous ancestor had more than a name in common.

IFR Fix: 'Coupled' approaches

Article | Mar 30, 2012

"Will you be my safety pilot on Saturday?" A fellow pilot has popped The Question. Assuming no red flags have surfaced this can be a learning experience for you and good service to the other.

IFR Fix: The instrument takeoff

IFR Fix | Mar 23, 2012

Would you depart under IFR if you would be unable to return immediately and land? Even if you're a pilot whose personal minimums prohibit departure under low conditions, much learning arises from practicing an instrument takeoff with a CFII.

AOPA Aviation Roundtable group descends on SimCom

Article | Mar 22, 2012

For some, it was a chance to visit an airplane from the past. For others, a chance to experience a whole new category of flying. For all, a chance to meet other pilots from across the country and share flying stories. Typical of AOPA Aviation Roundtable experiences, the strangers in the room became instant friends once aviation pleasantries were exchanged.

Resuming the journey: A pilot's return to flight

Article | Mar 20, 2012

A journey that began with backcountry flights in Alaska takes twists and turns for one woman to become a pilot, only to have to put those dreams aside as life events interfere. Now, an opportunity to return to Alaska for some summer flights has once again ignited the desire to get back in the left seat.

IFR Fix: Just answer the question

IFR Fix | Mar 16, 2012

Lucky you. It's instrument proficiency check day! In honor of spring, this ride will also count as a rental checkout at the FBO. First stop is the classroom, where the chief instructor goes over the aircraft, then asks you to ponder this IFR scenario for any questionable elements.

IFR Fix: Not to be redundant

IFR Fix | Mar 02, 2012

Any pilot who has ever dropped a pen into the abyss beneath the seats while copying a complicated clearance immediately learns one of aviation's overarching lessons: Carry more pens.

New Voices for GA

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2012

A new crew is ready for takeoff. Their mission: Build strong local general aviation communities and strengthen AOPA's relationships with state and local governments across the country. AOPA's new team of regional managers has deep roots in aviation, and their arrival marks the first overhaul of AOPA regional advocacy and representation in decades.

IFR Fix: Real or imagined?

IFR Fix | Feb 24, 2012

How are things in the real world today? Give flight service a call. Tell the briefer we need weather for a trip from here to the real world and back. In the remarks section, please be sure to note when you file that this is a training flight with a focus on IFR flying under real-world conditions.

Flying the Pacific on 93 gallons of fuel

Article | Feb 22, 2012

Matevz Lenarcic completed the longest over-water leg of his round-the-world journey on Feb. 22, landing on Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean after more than 15 hours in the air, crossing 1,984 nautical miles of trackless ocean in a single-engine motor glider.

IFR Fix: The case of the misplaced planet

IFR Fix | Feb 13, 2012

The Cessna was tracking outbound for an NDB approach, timer ticking. Stabilized on course and altitude, it seemed to the pilot a good chance to check on the rear-seat passengers, who were experiencing instrument conditions--a medium-low stratus deck--for the first time.

IFR Fix: Did you peek?

IFR Fix | Feb 03, 2012

Whether the view-limiting device you use makes you look like a welder, a scuba diver, or a student in a college chem lab, remember that you are preparing for the time when you can't just peel off the gizmo and squint at splendid scenery.

Rally GA: Pay Up

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2012

Imagine paying $25 per landing, $15 for a flight service briefing, or $50 to utilize an ILS approach.

IFR Fix: Not on speaking terms

IFR Fix | Jan 06, 2012

Flying IFR is a contact sport. Sooner or later you will need to contact ATC, with a strong bias toward sooner. When the plan isn't working, people can get into trouble.

AOPA fields team of talented representatives

Advocacy | Jan 03, 2012

The new crew is ready for takeoff. The mission: build strong local general aviation communities and strengthen AOPA's relationships with state and local governments across the country.

Never Again

Article | Nov 01, 2011

As a fairly new pilot with 120 hours, I was very excited about an upcoming flight from my home airport in Blue Ash, Ohio, to my favorite vacation spot: Traverse City, Michigan. I was looking forward to the opportunity to fly this trip during the fall color season.

Walking back on

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2011

Jane Wicker was seated on the floor of the living room in her Northern Virginia townhome a few years ago, sorting through a pile of videocassettes. She had a batch of memories she wanted to transfer to DVDs—memories of her former life as a wing walker. She put a videocassette into the player and watched her younger self standing on top of a 1943 Stearman, waving to the crowd as her then-husband, Kirk Wicker, put the airplane through its paces.