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Copyright Â© 2003 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
| VOR VIRTUOSITY |
The VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) is no longer the highest-tech navigation system available to general aviation pilots. It does still form the backbone of ground-based aerial navigation, however, and it provides VOR-equipped aircraft with voice communications about en route and hazardous weather. VOR proficiency can help a disoriented pilot get reestablished on course. To review "The ABCs of VORs," see David Montoya's article of that title in the December 2000 AOPA Flight Training.
A pilot navigates via VOR by intercepting a predetermined "radial" and following it either "from" the VOR station to the destination (or the next VOR station or other waypoint on a longer journey), or inbound "to" the VOR. If your home airport is directly south of a VOR, the airport lies along the 180-degree radial from that VOR. Coming home from a cross-country, for instance, you could fly to the VOR, intercept the 180-degree radial, and fly it outbound to the airport on a 180-degree magnetic headingÂ–plus or minus wind correctionÂ–with a "From" indication on the to/from indicator. Or, when taking off from your home field, you could fly to the VOR (on a magnetic heading of 360 degrees and a "To" indication), then intercept the appropriate radial to fly from the VOR to your destination.
Once established on course, try this: tune in a second VOR, center the course deviation indicator (CDI) needle with a "From" indication, identify the radial you are crossing from that VOR on the omni bearing selector (OBS), then draw on your chart the line along that radial until it intersects your course. This should match your positionÂ–a technique that can also help you to confirm visual checkpoints. Remember that a VOR should only be used for navigation after identifying its Morse Code or voice identification feature as explained in Section 1-1-3 of the Aeronautical Information Manual.
Some VORs allow pilots to receive radio transmissions from Flight Service Stations and/or transcribed weather broadcasts (TWEBs), hazardous in-flight weather advisory service broadcasts (HIWAS), or even automatic terminal information system (ATIS) arrival information for a nearby towered airport. Aeronautical chart symbols depict communications capabilities of a VOR; see Section 3 of the Aeronautical Chart Users Guide ( click here to download). For more ways to become a VOR virtuoso, see the June 2002 AOPA Flight Training feature "Art of the Chart", as well as the September 1994 Flight Training feature "How to read a Sectional Chart". With a little practice you'll soon be VOR-hopping like a pro.
| Your Partner in Training |
|Well, you did itÂ–you decided to learn to fly this summer. Now for the big debate: Should I learn to fly at a towered or nontowered airport? Get some practical advice and good insight by reading an article online. Then download the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Operations at Towered Airports Safety Advisor Â–and its nontowered-airport companion. Still have questions? Call our aviation experts at 800/USA-AOPA weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time. |
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 |
| CHICAGO MAYOR BULLDOZES LAKEFRONT AIRPORT |
Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago launched his own shock and awe campaign in the wee hours Monday morning by using heavy equipment to tear up the runway of the city's historic lakefront airport, Merrill C. Meigs Field. The nocturnal move caught everybody by surprise, including state legislators, the FAA, and even the controllers who work the tower on the field that will no longer monitor the airspace near downtown Chicago. City crews dug six huge Xs deep into the runway's surface, closing the airport and trapping 16 aircraft, many of which departed later in the week by taking off from a taxiway. A testy Daley at a media conference used "homeland security reasons" to justify his actions-and admitted that there was no pending terrorist threat. "We are absolutely shocked and dismayed," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Daley has no honor and his word has no value. The sneaky way he did this shows that he knows it was wrong."
...AOPA HAS 'ONLY JUST BEGUN TO FIGHT'
AOPA, along with other members of the General Aviation Coalition, has written a letter to President Bush, asking him to speak out against the destruction of Meigs Field and take steps to prevent similar local actions in other communities. But AOPA is doing more than just asking the president to reaffirm federal authority over security matters affecting the nation's air transportation system. Taking a line from Revolutionary War hero John Paul Jones, AOPA's Boyer said, "We have not yet begun to fight. Pilots around the world are incensed by Daley's wanton destruction of Meigs. We're going to use every guerilla tactic in the book to restore that airport. And if in the end that fails, at the very least we'll make Daley feel the pain." Boyer cancelled a planned trip to the Sun 'n Fun EAA Fly-In in Florida and spent Wednesday and Thursday in strategy sessions with AOPA staff and legal counsel. AOPA has already uncovered some legal options that could cost Chicago money and impact the city's other airports. For updates on this rapidly developing situation, see AOPA Online.
...SUDDEN CLOSURES NOT LIKELY TO OCCUR ELSEWHERE
The destruction of Meigs Field has led many pilots to wonder if this could happen to their airport. "Mayor Daley tore up Meigs because he could," said AOPA's chief legal counsel, John Yodice. "He could do it because of legal circumstances that apply only to Meigs and, of course, special political considerations unique to Chicago. Those conditions don't apply to other airports." Yodice explained that most public-use airports in the United States are protected by grant obligations, contracts that require the airport to stay open because it received federal money. Others are covered by surplus property agreements through which the federal government gives land in exchange for a commitment to maintain an airport. For more detail on this aspect of the situation, see the Web site.
COMM1 CONTINUES AVIATION SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
ePublishing Group of Frederick, Maryland, is accepting applications for its third annual Comm1 Aviation Scholarship Program. The scholarship is intended to help offset flight training costs for aspiring aviators who plan to pursue a career in aviation. Two recipients will be awarded $1,000 each, and the winners will be announced October 30 at AOPA Expo 2003 in Philadelphia. Scholarship applicants must submit a 75-word essay on the financial and practical benefits of integrating interactive radio communications training into a flight training curriculum. The deadline to apply is September 30. For more information or to obtain a scholarship application, go to the Web site or call 888/333-2855. The company produces interactive pilot communication training products.
SIUC-ATA INTERNSHIPS PLANNED
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and America Trans Air Inc. have developed a new internship program through which flight-student interns from SIUC's aviation program will work in various departments throughout the airline. ATA, the nation's tenth largest passenger carrier, will assign interns to flight operations, flight standards and training, flight safety, and the chief pilot's office. "Students who participate in this program will get the benefit of real-world experience in a hands-on environment," according to David A. NewMyer, chairman of SIUC's aviation management and flight department. "And ATA will provide us feedback that will help us tailor our curriculum." The department already has internship agreements with United Air Lines, Delta, American, TWA, Northwest, Chicago Express, and United Parcel Service. For more information, see the university's news story online.
PREMAIR, TAB EXPRESS TEAM UP TO PROVIDE TRAINING
PremAir, Inc. and Tab Express International announced a new agreement in which PremAir will offer FAR Part 142 training to Tab Express's "Express Direct" advanced airline training program at its DeLand, Florida, facility. The goal is to provide fully trained and certified airline crews faster and more efficiently and offer significant savings for airlines, PremAir said in a news release. Based in Seattle, PremAir is an FAA Part 142 certified training center for Part 121 and Part 91, 125, or 135 operators. Tab Express, headquartered in DeLand, prepares first officer candidates for regional airline positions. For more information, see the PremAir or Tab Express Web sites.
ALABAMA FLIGHT SERVICE STATION CLOSES TEMPORARILY
The Anniston, Alabama, Automated Flight Service Station will be closed from April 7 through April 13 while the building is renovated. AFSSs in Jackson and Nashville, Tennessee, and Louisville, Kentucky, will handle pilot weather briefings, although some Anniston radio frequencies will be off the air. Pilots flying over Alabama next week should use Flight Watch frequencies to obtain in-flight information. For more information, see AOPA Online.
| Inside AOPA |
| AOPA MEETS WITH FBI, SECRET SERVICE ON AVIATION SECURITY |
AOPA and other industry organizations sat down with representatives of government agencies March 28 to discuss aviation security and the impact of recent airspace rules on general aviation pilots. It was the first meeting between AOPA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service. Five other government agencies and six other industry organizations also attended the meeting at FAA headquarters. Among other issues, AOPA President Phil Boyer told the gathering that AOPA members say flight instructors are having trouble convincing students to continue their flight training because they don't find it "anywhere near enjoyable." Aircraft owners are wondering whether they should just turn in their aircraft keys now, Boyer said. The meeting closed with a pledge from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense to more closely cooperate with AOPA and offer a forum for operational solutions to their security concerns.
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| Training Products |
| 'ROD MACHADO'S INSTRUMENT PILOT'S SURVIVAL MANUAL' |
In his latest book, Rod Machado's Instrument Pilot's Survival Manual, Machado, a columnist for AOPA Flight Training and AOPA Pilot magazines, focuses on the most commonly asked questions about flying under instrument flight rules and answers them in prose peppered with levity. The topic of instrument flying is certainly serious, of course, and Machado injects serious subjects in the book. It includes an in-depth look at the new meat-and-potatoes IFR approachÂ–RNAV (GPS)Â–and GPS avionics. Rod Machado's Instrument Pilot's Survival Manual is published by the Aviation Speaker's Bureau. The softbound book is $34.95. To order, visit the Web site or call 800/437-7080.
| Final Exam |
| Question: What are "rail lights" at an airport? |
Answer: According to the Aeronautical Information Manual, RAIL (Runway Alignment Indicator Lights) are sequenced flashing lights which are installed only in combination with other light systems. But, you may also hear other pilots talking about "REIL" lights, which are Runway End Identifier Lights. In this case, REIL lights are two synchronized flashing lights, one on each side of the runway threshold, which provide rapid and positive identification of the approach end of a particular runway, especially when it's surrounded by a lot of other lighting or in a time of reduced visibility. For more information on lights, both RAIL and REIL, take a look at "Light Up Your Night; A Guide to Airport Lighting Systems" and "Shedding More Light on Those Approach Lights, Part 2".
Got a technical question for AOPA specialists? E-mail to [email protected] or call 800/872-2672. Don't forget the archive of questions and answers from AOPA's ePilot and ePilot Flight Training. FAQs are searchable by keyword or topic.
| Picture Perfect |
The AOPA Online Gallery allows you to download your favorite images to use for wallpaper, send a personalized e-card, and order high-quality prints to be shipped directly to your doorstep. Search the hundreds of fabulous images in our archives and select your favorites today! For more details, see AOPA Online.
| What's New At AOPA Online |
|Ever thought about participating in the FAA Wings pilot proficiency program to build upon your aviation knowledge? If you already have a pilot certificate, completing a phase of the Wings program counts as a flight reviewÂ–but student pilots are always welcome at the safety seminars. Click here to learn more. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS |
Burnet, Texas. The Twelfth Annual Commemorative Air Force Bluebonnet Airshow takes place April 12 at Burnet Municipal Kate Craddock Field (BMQ). Warbirds, aerobatic acts, and current military aircraft are highlighted from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Contact Howard W. Martin, 512/756-2226, or visit the Web site.
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 Denver, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati, April 12 and 13. Clinics are also scheduled in Tampa, Florida; Atlanta; and Reston, Virginia; April 26 and 27. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Renewal Online.
ASF PINCH-HITTER GROUND-SCHOOL COURSES
(Pinch-Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
The next Pinch-HitterÂ® Ground School will take place in Indianapolis, April 13. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.
ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, April 14; Raymond, Mississippi, April 15; Pearl River, Louisiana, April 16; and Pensacola, Florida, April 17. The topic is The Ups & Downs of Takeoffs and Landings; for complete details, see AOPA Online.