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Copyright © 2003 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
| PROPER PATTERN PROCEDURES |
What has five legs, is from 600 to 1,000 feet high, is usually left-handed but can also be right-handed? The answer, of course, is a "standard" nontowered airport traffic pattern. (Some instructors will count "upwind" as a sixth leg, although you won't fly an upwind leg in addition to departure and final approach legs.) But what's standard on paper is not always the traffic pattern flown by pilots, as flight instructors and designated pilot examiners will attest. Traffic patterns vary so widely-from breathtakingly close in to so remote that it is uncertain if the observed aircraft is really landing at all-that a review of the fundamentals is warranted. A good start is the description and illustrations in Section 4-3-3 of the Aeronautical Information Manual.
"Safe flight operation begins with knowing the structure of a standard traffic pattern," notes the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Operations at Nontowered Airports Safety Advisor publication ( click here to download), which offers a step-by-step example of entering and flying a traffic pattern at an airport without a control tower-using the Frederick, Maryland, airport as its example. Standard procedures lend predictability to airport operations and make it easier to scan for other traffic. When establishing yourself in the pattern, be sure you can glide safely to the runway in the event of a power loss. Similar procedures and pattern terminology are used at tower-controlled airports, but there, air traffic controllers can make use of partial or non-standard procedures to expedite the flow.
Check your airport's published procedures for any exceptions to standard distances, altitudes, and left-hand-traffic rules. Be prepared to discuss them, and demonstrate your proficiency-especially the requirement to maintain "proper spacing from other aircraft"-to your designated pilot examiner as set out in Task B, Area of Operation III of the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards ( click here to download).
If nontowered airports are new to you, see the July 3, 2002, edition of this newsletter and read the Training Tips article, "Taming Nontowered Airports." "Merging into the flow of a traffic pattern requires you to display knowledge and judgment so that you can avoid unexpected maneuvers in the pattern. The ability to consistently do this well marks a milestone in your development as a pilot," counsels Dave Wilkerson in his September 2000 AOPA Flight Training article, "Checkride: Patterns of Safety." Heed his advice and your skill will be recognized by the other pilots at your field.
| Your Partner in Training |
|Here's the scenario: It's almost time for your cross-country solos, so in preparation you'll be planning and flying cross-countries with your instructor. The use of aeronautical charts is key at this point in your training. Log on to AOPA Online and you'll find the Aeronautical Chart User's Guide to be a useful learning aid and reference tool. If you have any questions, don't forget that our experienced pilots are available to answer your questions at 800/872-2672 (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 |
| TSA LIFTS NEW YORK ADIZ, CHICAGO TFR |
Late yesterday the FAA issued notams canceling the New York Metropolitan Area Air Defense identification Zone (ADIZ) and the downtown Chicago temporary flight restriction (TFR). The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said the restrictions are being eliminated because of the reduced threat of terrorism now that major hostilities in Iraq have ceased and the threat level has been reduced. "AOPA is pleased that the Department of Homeland Security has taken this action," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Ever since the ADIZ areas were established, AOPA has been campaigning for the restrictions to be eliminated as soon as the threat level was reduced. With today's action, we can claim partial success, but we question why we are not seeing a similar lifting of the Washington, D.C., ADIZ." AOPA has been relentless in insisting to government officials that airspace restrictions be tied to specific, credible threats. On Wednesday, after the threat level was lowered, Boyer sent a strongly worded letter to the Department of Homeland Security demanding that the ADIZ areas be lifted. "I'm firmly convinced our constant pressure-particularly with the power of nearly 400,000 members behind us-kept GA pilots' concerns about these restricted areas at the forefront of officials' minds," said Boyer. For the latest information, see AOPA Online.
NO STATE PILOT BACKGROUND CHECKS: TSA AGREES WITH AOPA
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says in no uncertain terms that individual states do not have the authority to require pilot background security checks; that power lies solely with the federal government. The April 10 letter was a response to AOPA's request for TSA's opinion on state-imposed aviation security regulations. Assistant Administrator for Transportation Security Policy Thomas Blank wrote, "State imposed measures to require criminal background checks on flight school applicants would create a patchwork of requirements in this area.... It is TSA's view that while such efforts by states are motivated by legitimate concerns for the security of the nation, they are nevertheless not permissible." The FAA also has backed AOPA's position. "This letter is powerful ammunition in our fight to strike down Michigan's pilot background check law," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "And it ought to make other state and local lawmakers stop and think twice about their own inappropriate efforts to regulate aviation security and pilot licensing." See AOPA Online.
FRESNO STUDENT WINS FULL TRAINING SCHOLARSHIP
Adam Peterson of Fresno, California, is the first recipient of a full flight training scholarship through the Welcome Sky Aviation Scholarship Program, which was begun by the Central Valley Aviation Association in Sanger, California. The 17-year-old won the package, valued at $4,600, after he had completed ground school at Memley Aviation in Fresno and passed the FAA private pilot knowledge test. He will receive 35 hours of dual and solo aircraft time at Mazzei Flying Service, plus 20 hours of ground instruction and related training materials. Welcome Sky funds primary flight training for Central California students aged 16 to 21 who live in the six-county area around Fresno. Program goals include encouraging more young women to apply for the scholarship and finding another $5,000 donor to underwrite a flight training package, Welcome Sky Program Director Dan Pimentel said. For more information or to download an application or donation form, see the Web site.
PAN AM PROVIDES SAAB 340 TRAINING
Pan Am International Flight Academy (PAIFA) is providing Saab 340 pilot and maintenance training to Quebecair Express under a two-year agreement announced last month. Pilots began ground school in January at Quebecair's base in Quebec City and simulator training at PAIFA's Minneapolis center. The first maintenance courses were held in February at the carrier's base. Other Saab 340 operators that receive training from PAIFA include Calm Air and TransWest, the company said. In other international regional carrier news, PAIFA announced it has signed a three-year contract with British Airways CitiExpress to provide Avro regional jet training in Minneapolis. British Airways CitiExpress is the first non-U.S. Avro operator to train at the center, PAIFA said.
| Inside AOPA |
| BOYER EXPLAINS GA OPPOSITION TO N.Y. 'NO-FLY' ZONE |
AOPA President Phil Boyer met with Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) Monday to explain why general aviation opposes Rothman's proposal to establish a 15-nm no-fly zone for GA aircraft around New York City. Rothman's plan, which he initially said was to provide New York City with the same protections as Washington, D.C., would encompass Teterboro Airport, one of the nation's busiest GA airports. Rothman later told Boyer that he wants to preserve the "present character" of Teterboro as an exclusively GA airport. Charter carrier Indigo Airlines has begun offering four daily flights from Teterboro to Chicago's Midway airport, without the security controls of a regularly scheduled passenger airline. Rothman indicated he wants to ensure that passenger-carrying airlines do not use Teterboro, and that there are other airports in the New York/New Jersey system that are better suited to airline service. For more, see AOPA Online.
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| Training Products |
| PRACTICE NAVIGATION WITH 'VOR/NDB SIMULATOR' |
Aviation Tutorials has released version 2.0 of its "VOR/NDB Simulator" CD-ROM software. New features include an instrument manager that lets pilots select flight and navigation instruments in a variety of combinations and arrange them to match a particular cockpit. Also, a "random" button generates aircraft headings, positions, and wind elements to challenge budding skills; and VOR and NDB navigation can be performed simultaneously. The software is priced at $69. You can sample the program by downloading a 2.6-Megabyte demo version. For more information or to order, see the Web site or call 414/761-9331.
| Final Exam |
| Question: When I am cleared to "taxi to" the active runway, may I cross other taxiways and runways on my way there? |
Answer: Paragraph 4-3-18 of the Aeronautical Information Manual explains that when ATC clears an aircraft to "taxi to" an assigned takeoff runway, the absence of hold-short instructions authorizes the aircraft to cross all runways that the taxi route intersects except the assigned takeoff runway. Such a clearance does not include the authorization to "taxi onto" or "cross" the assigned takeoff runway at any point. So, you may cross a taxiway or inactive runway on your way to the active or takeoff runway-while exercising caution, of course. For more information on taxiing, you may want to look at "Does 'Cross' Mean 'Taxi On'?" from the March 2002 AOPA Flight Training, or complete the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's online Runway Safety Program.
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 has been updated with photos from the May issue of AOPA Pilot magazine, featuring Raytheon's Beechcraft King Air C90B from the "Turbine Pilot" section. 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. See AOPA Online.
| What's New At AOPA Online |
|With many parts of the country now experiencing balmy temperatures, it's time to review "density altitude"-what it is, how it affects your airplane's performance, and how high density altitude can cause problems if you don't calculate its effects properly. AOPA's subject report on density altitude is now available online. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS |
Nacogdoches, Texas. The East Texas Air Show takes place April 26 and 27 at A.L. Mangham Jr. Regional Airport (OCH). Events include World War II airpower demonstration, aerobatics, WWII German glider, and displays from the D-Day museum. Contact Bob Dunn, 936/564-7212.
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 Tampa, Florida; Atlanta; and Reston, Virginia; April 26 and 27. Clinics are also scheduled in Irvine, California; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Kansas City, Missouri; May 3 and 4. 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-Hitter® Ground School will take place in Irvine, California, and Kansas City, Missouri, May 4. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.
ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Springfield, Missouri, April 28; St. Louis, April 29; and Springfield, Illinois, April 30. The topic is The Ups & Downs of Takeoffs and Landings; for complete details, see AOPA Online.