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Copyright © 2003 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
| ESTIMATING IN-FLIGHT VISIBILITY |
Pilots make many estimates during flight. Some (ground speed, time to destination) can be calculated with very precise results. Others (landing distance required, fuel burn) depend on technique or whether aircraft performance matches published values. One of the most important estimates is made without a manual or calculations to help: in-flight visibility. If the visibility is lower than forecast, or threatening to become marginal for visual flight rules requirements, it is time to update your weather information and reconsider your plans.
How do you know if your estimate is accurate? Practice estimating visibility with your flight instructor. Compare your estimates with surface reports and pilot reports. Ground-based weather observers estimate visibility as explained in Section 7-1-18 of the Aeronautical Information Manual. With some modifications, the same basic method of comparing how far you can see to whether you can see a checkpoint at a known distance can be used in flight. Even GPS can help you to judge visibility, as explained in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's online SkySpotter program. SkySpotter is explained in the May 2002 AOPA Flight Training by Kathleen Roy. There is also a rule of thumb given in some training texts known as the "cockpit cutoff angle." It states that the visibility (in miles) approximately equals the thousands of feet you are flying above ground level if the ground is just visible over the aircraft's nose.
Being able to judge such distances will be important in helping you not exceed your personal minimums as set by you and your instructor. Setting those minimums is a simple task that could protect you from an unexpected encounter with instrument meteorological conditions, as discussed in "The Oldest Trap in the Book" in the August 2002 AOPA Flight Training. And, as Mark Twombly explains in his December 2000 "Continuing Ed" column, "setting personal limits can be as easy as listing maximums and minimums on a sheet of paper."
Learning how to estimate visibility is one of 15 tasks that instructors should teach students before solo-you can see the complete list in the March 2000 AOPA Flight Training. It is also a simple way to help ensure that any flight stays safe and fun.
| Your Partner in Training |
|Some of the most valuable flight time of your pilot training will be spent learning to counter crosswinds. Crosswind landings get better only with practice. Your instructor will offer a variety of techniques to help you routinely overcome wind and land safely. You'll also learn to crab the aircraft into the wind or slip into the wind to maintain your position over the runway. Search the AOPA Flight Training archives for articles on crosswind landings; click here for information on logging in to our members-only section. If you have specific questions, call our aviation specialists at 800/USA-AOPA weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time. |
| Flight Training News |
| SCHWEIZER CELEBRATES 20 YEARS OF HELICOPTERS |
December is Schweizer Aircraft Corporation's twentieth anniversary as a helicopter manufacturer, the company announced. Schweizer, based in Elmira, New York, was better known as a maker of sailplanes and agriculture aircraft before it took over the production of the 269 series from Hughes Helicopters. Since that time, Schweizer says it has significantly upgraded the Model 300C, created two new products-a piston-powered Model 300Cbi and a turbine-powered Model 333-and produced more than 900 new aircraft, many of which are used for flight training. "Transition of the 269-series program to Schweizer Aircraft is one of the few instances in which an aviation product line has been successfully moved from one company to another," President Paul Schweizer observed. For more information on the company's product lines, see the Web site.
DELAPIDATED AERONCA DRAWS YOUNGSTERS TO AVIATION
An abandoned taildragger is getting a second lease on life as the restoration project of 24 aviation-minded youngsters in Riverside, California. The Aeronca Project at Flabob Airport in Riverside was created by The Wathen Foundation for children ages 14 through 17. The foundation donated tools and workspace; labor is provided by EAA Chapter One Eagle Cadets who have given at least four months of service to the chapter's Young Eagles program. Thirteen boys and 11 girls are working on the Aeronca Chief, with one group rebuilding sections of the fuselage while the other is assigned to the wings. Those who spend a total of 60 hours on the project are given 10 hours of dual flight instruction; every additional five hours of restoration time provides another hour of flying. The project is so successful that the foundation is looking for another project-ideally a two-place fabric-covered tailwheel aircraft. If you have one to donate, contact Kathy Rohm at 909/683-2309, extension 104.
HOLIDAY ORNAMENT TO BENEFIT AWAM SCHOLARSHIP FUND
With the holidays and the Centennial of Flight just around the corner, aviation-themed collectibles abound. The Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance offers one with a charitable twist. Proceeds from the sales of a 2003 pewter wrench ornament go to AWAM's Tools Beneath Your Wings scholarship fund. The fund supports scholarship winners (male or female) with cash awards for tools, educational projects, and training in any aviation technical field. The cost is $8.95, which includes shipping and handling within the United States. Call AWAM at 386/424-5780, or see the Web site for ordering information.
| Inside AOPA |
| AOPA HONORED FOR WORK WITH TSA |
Transportation Security Administration officials presented AOPA last week with an award recognizing the association's efforts to enhance general aviation security. AOPA was the only general aviation organization honored as an industry partner whose accomplishments and excellence in performance benefited U.S. interests and clearly advanced TSA's mission to protect the nation's transportation systems. Key among AOPA's efforts was the development of AOPA's Airport Watch Program-a program that calls on pilots and others to report suspicious activities at local airports.
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| Training Products |
| FLY THE CONCORDE IN NEW SPORTY'S DVD |
Experience a flight in the Concorde from a pilot's point of view in a new DVD from Sporty's Pilot Shop. How They Flew the Concorde chronicles a trip from New York to London in what was until its recent retirement the world's fastest and highest-flying commercial airliner. The supersonic carrier made its final trek in October after British Airways conceded that, even at $8,000 a ticket, the transatlantic service could not be profitable. The 75-minute DVD sells for $19.95 and may be ordered online or by calling 800/SPORTYS.
| Final Exam |
| Question: I've lost my medical certificate. How do I get a duplicate copy? |
Answer: To obtain a duplicate medical certificate, fill out an Application for Replacement of Lost or Destroyed Airman Certificate(s) and Written Test Results, which has a section to request replacement of a medical certificate. Click here to download the form from AOPA Online. Mail the form along with a check or money order for $2 to the Federal Aviation Administration, Cashier, AVN-455, P.O. Box 25082, Oklahoma City, OK 73125-4939.
Got a technical question for AOPA specialists? E-mail to [email protected] or call 800/872-2672. Don't forget the online archive of "Final Exam" questions and answers, searchable by keyword or topic.
| 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! Order by December 15 for guaranteed holiday delivery. 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. |
| What's New At AOPA Online |
| NEVER AGAIN ONLINE |
When two experienced pilots fly together, who is the pilot in command? You'll make sure you determine in advance who assumes that responsibility after reading Pilot in Command , this month's installment of Never Again Online.
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS |
Reno, Nevada. The National Agricultural Aviation Association Convention and Exhibition takes place December 8 through 11 at the Reno Convention Center. Join NAAA in celebrating the 100th anniversary of flight. See both fixed-wing and helicopters on display and more than 130 exhibitors of aerial application equipment. Contact Peggy Knizner, 202/546-5722, or visit the Web site
Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. A Centennial of Flight Celebration starts December 12 at First Flight (FFA). The celebration will culminate with the EAA's recreation of the most significant moment of the last century-the Wright brothers' first powered flight on December 17. Dignitaries, celebrities, and aviation legends will be on hand to celebrate and commemorate this occasion. The Wright Brothers National Memorial, however, will be closed to the public from December 8 through 11 for event preparation. For more information, 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 .
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, and Austin, Texas, December 13 and 14. Clinics are also scheduled in San Jose, California, and Portland, Oregon, January 3 and 4. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Renewal Online.