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Copyright © 2002 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
| STABLE AND STEADY |
What is a "stabilized approach"? This question is of more than passing interest to a student pilot because an approach must be stabilized to satisfy the requirements of the Practical Test Standards ( click here to download) for the private pilot flight test. It is the same standard that must be met by applicants seeking any level of pilot certification.
One definition, from the FAA Air Transportation Operations Inspector's Handbook, states that "the stabilized approach concept involves maintaining a stable speed, descent rate, vertical flight path, and configuration during the final stages of the landing approach. Doing so makes it easier for us to spot deviations from the desired course and glidepath." (See a discussion in the February 2000 AOPA Flight Training article, "A Solid Foundation for Landing.") A more condensed definition might be that the pilot establishes recommended configuration, airspeed, and descent rate as soon as possible, needing to make only small corrections from then until touchdown. Proficiency in stabilized approaches is known to advance safety; see "Risk Management for New Pilots" in the October 2002 AOPA Flight Training for a look at the statistical danger zones for beginning aviators. Then for a mirror-image view, see "Botched Bounce," from the July 2001 AOPA Air Safety Foundation Instructor Report, which illustrates both the risks inherent in failing to stabilize an approach to a short runway, and the importance of knowing when (and how) to abort a landing gone wrong. (For tips on honing the correct landing technique under all conditions, see "Don't Fly Flat-Practicing Proper Approaches" in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's October 2001 Instructor Report.)
Airlines have long appreciated the relationship between stabilized approaches and safety, as recounted by pilot/writer Michael Maya Charles in the November 2000 AOPA Pilot article, "The Stabilized Approach," who urges lightplane pilots to adopt similar practices. Remember also that on the practical test, one of the five "successful performance" criteria for any maneuver is that it must be flown in a way that demonstrates "mastery of the aircraft" with a successful outcome "never seriously in doubt." Under any definition, a stabilized approach guarantees such an outcome!
| Your Partner in Training |
|What are "pireps"? Pilot reports or "pireps" are reports of weather and flight conditions normally made while airborne. They are provided to other pilots through their weather briefings, and also help to increase the quality of weather forecasts. To improve pirep quality and quantity the AOPA Air Safety Foundation offers the online SkySpotter program, co-sponsored by the FAA and the National Weather Service Aviation Weather Center. Click here to download the easy-to-use pilot report checklist online, then read more about pireps. And don't forget, our aviation experts are available weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern to answer your questions toll-free at 800/872-2672. |
As an AOPA Flight Training Member, you have access to all of the features within AOPA Online. For login information click here.
| Flight Training News |
| ASF STUDY SHOWS PILOTS CAN HANDLE INSTRUMENT FAILURES |
A recent study by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation and the FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) shows that pilots are better able to cope with vacuum pump failures in actual aircraft than previous simulator-based studies would indicate. About three accidents a year are attributed to spatial disorientation. Despite that relatively low number of accidents, some previous studies using visual simulators suggested that the majority of pilots in aircraft with retractable landing gear weren't prepared to deal with the emergencies and fly partial panel. But the ASF/CAMI study, which used real aircraft, shows that the loss of the attitude indicator or other gyroscopic instruments need not be a killer if a pilot receives adequate training and keeps current on the ability to recognize a vacuum system failure and fly using a partial panel. See AOPA Online.
MAINTENANCE SCHOLARSHIPS OFFERED TO WOMEN
The Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance is accepting applications for its 2003 scholarships. Four new scholarships are available, including funding for human factors training, textbooks for beginning airframe and powerplant students, and education or training in aviation maintenance or homebuilding. Applications are due December 31. Scholarships will be awarded in March and May 2003. For more information and applications, see the AWAM Web site.
| Inside AOPA |
| AIRPORT WATCH HOTLINE IS ACTIVE |
As promised, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Monday activated the toll-free hotline for AOPA's Airport Watch program, 866/GA-SECURE (866/427-3287). The number is one of 20 lines answered by the National Response Center (NRC). AOPA worked closely with the TSA to educate the NRC about general aviation and GA airports and helped develop the types of questions the NRC operators will ask people who call in. On Monday afternoon AOPA's Aviation Services staff members placed several calls to 866/GA-SECURE as part of a previously arranged simulation to give the NRC operators a chance to use the newly developed protocols. AOPA will be mailing Airport Watch brochures to its entire membership in late December. Additional program items such as the video, posters, and signs will be available in January 2003. See AOPA Online.
AOPA WACO FLIES
Rare Aircraft officials said the AOPA Sweepstakes Waco UPF-7 flew for the first time on December 3 at Owatonna, Minnesota. The open-cockpit biplane, restored by Rare Aircraft in Owatonna, was used in the Civilian Pilot Training Program to train World War II pilots on Long Island, New York. It was considered an advanced trainer when used in the government's training program, and was used to teach aerobatics. Test pilot Ben Redman said the aircraft maintained hands-off level flight, but it did a lot more than that during its first return to the air since 1998: It also looped and did aileron rolls. The aircraft will be awarded in January 2004 to the winner of the AOPA Centennial of Flight Sweepstakes. To read more about the airplane, see AOPA Online.
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| Training Products |
| SPORTY's STUDY BUDDY ASKS MILLIONTH QUESTION |
Sporty's Study Buddy, an interactive test site for studying FAA knowledge test questions, served up its millionth question in November. The free page, on the Sporty's Pilot Shop Web site, asks random questions from selected study topics and tells the participant whether the answer is correct. Study Buddy keeps track of how many questions are answered on the first try. Sporty's also offers a free online practice FAA knowledge test.
| Final Exam |
| Question: Do the federal aviation regulations (FARs) require a pilot to carry his pilot certificate on his person, or can the certificate be in the aircraft glove compartment or with the pilot's logbook in a flight bag in the aircraft? |
Answer: The answer lies in FAR 61.3, which states that "a person may not act as pilot in command or in any other capacity as a required pilot flight crewmember of a civil aircraft of U.S. registry, unless that person...has a valid pilot certificate or special purpose pilot authorization issued under this part in that person's physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft when exercising the privileges of that pilot certificate or authorization." Remember also that subsection (2) further requires the person to have "a photo identification that is in that person's physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft when exercising the privileges of that pilot certificate or authorization." The regulation lists the photo identification that is acceptable to the FAA.
Got a technical question for AOPA specialists? E-mail to [email protected] or call 800/872-2672.
| Picture Perfect |
Looking for a unique gift this holiday season? Order high-quality prints from the AOPA Online Gallery. Search the hundreds of fabulous images, select your favorite, and with just a few keystrokes, a beautiful print will be shipped directly to your doorstep! Of course, you can still download your favorite images to use for wallpaper or send a personalized e-card. For more details, see AOPA Online.
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS |
Dayton, Ohio. A Wright Flyer Exhibit will be on display December 17 at James M. Cox Dayton International Airport (DAY). Don't miss this replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer. E-mail Nick Engler.
Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. The annual celebration of the first flight takes place December 17 at First Flight Airport (FFA). For more information, contact Rex Peters, 252/441-1903, or visit the Web site.
Aviation activities traditionally slow down at this time of year, and you may not receive a regional calendar each week. To submit an event to the calendar, or search all events, visit AOPA Online. For airport details, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online .
For comments on calendar items, contact [email protected].
ASF FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Orlando, Florida; Chicago; and Lincoln, Nebraska December 14 and 15. Clinics are also scheduled in Fresno, California, and Reston, Virginia, December 21 and 22. Attend a FIRC during the month of December and receive a free ASF umbrella! For the Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic schedule, see AOPA Online.
ASF PINCH-HITTER GROUND-SCHOOL COURSES
(Pinch-Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
The next Pinch-Hitter® Ground School will take place in Orlando, Florida, December 15. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.
ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminar schedule will resume in January, featuring The Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings. See video clips and read the Safety Advisor publication that accompanies this new program on the ASF Web site.