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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition --Vol. 3, Issue 6

Volume 3, Issue 6 • February 7, 2003
In this issue:
No GA user fees in Bush budget
Oldest pilot dies
AOPA joins nation in mourning shuttle loss



Garmin International

AOPA Legal Services Plan

Comm 1 Radio Simulator

Sporty's Pilot Shop


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Training Tips
Safety consciousness is built into virtually everything a student pilot learns about flying. Before the decision is made to launch on a flight, weather observations and forecasts are carefully examined. A cross-country flight is meticulously planned, and flight logs are prepared. Next, the aircraft gets a rigorous preflight inspection. For a cross-country, we ensure that sufficient fuel plus reserves are available, and that there are alternate airports along the route. A safe altitude is selected, often balancing groundspeed considerations against the need for adequate terrain clearance. This is when a pilot applies the so-called "hemispherical rule," actually part of Federal Aviation Regulation 91.159 that governs altitudes to be flown by aircraft operating under visual flight rules. See David Montoya's January 2001 AOPA Flight Training feature "Make Your Planning Count."

You have scrutinized the rule, so here is a quiz: Suppose you are in level cruise flight, in no-wind conditions, flying a magnetic heading that equals your magnetic course of 005 degrees at 5,500 feet in accordance with the hemispherical rule. As your flight progresses, the wind begins to blow from the west-you realize this because you have to initiate a wind-drift correction. You find that it takes 12 degrees of westerly correction to maintain your track; you are now flying a heading of 353 degrees. Must you change altitude to comply with the rule?

No. Your magnetic course (true course adjusted for magnetic variation) has not changed. A question about the hemispherical rule may appear on your Private Pilot Knowledge Test. Click here to review sample questions.

Adherence to the rule builds predictability and some automatic separation into VFR operations. But as John Yodice notes in his "Pilot Counsel" column in the April 2000 AOPA Pilot, "Operating VFR at 3,000 feet agl or below, regardless of msl altitude, you should know that you do not have the benefit of the rule, and that you should expect aircraft at any altitude." Click here to read his discussion of the hemispherical rule. His words remind us that scanning for other traffic remains the responsibility of the pilot in command. See the feature "Avoiding Close Calls" in the December 2001 AOPA Flight Training for insights into how to sharpen your skills, and put these techniques into use on your next flight.
Your Partner in Training
As a student pilot, your dual sessions in the traffic pattern should feature a healthy dose of go-arounds initiated from a variety of configurations and heights above touchdown. The ability to perform them smoothly will increase your confidence. Go to AOPA Online for some great tips on one of aviation's most harried maneuvers. If you need more information, call our experienced pilots-available weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern to answer your questions toll-free at 800/872-2672.

AOPA Flight Training members have access to all of the features within AOPA Online. For members' section login information, click here.
Flight Training News
President Bush on Monday presented Congress with the administration's proposed budget for the next fiscal year. And for the first time in six years, the budget plan does not include any attempts to impose user fees on general aviation or privatize air traffic control. "We hope this means that we can finally bury the ill-considered proposals to charge pilots for the safety services government should provide," said AOPA President Phil Boyer, "but with the administration's classification of ATC as a service that could be 'commercialized,' we will have to remain vigilant." The budget proposal covers fiscal year 2004, which runs from October 1, 2003, to September 30, 2004. But it only represents what the administration thinks Congress should spend and is far from final. The president has proposed funding the FAA at $14 billion, a 3-percent increase over what he had proposed for this fiscal year. Key items that are slated for funding increases include an improved computer system for flight service briefers and more accurate GPS signaling. See AOPA Online.

Sporty's Academy, a flight school in Batavia, Ohio, is celebrating its most successful year. A total of 130 certificates and ratings were awarded in 2002, an increase of 30 percent from the previous year. Sporty's instructors also endorsed 44 students for solos. Through its FBO affiliate, Eastern Cincinnati Aviation, the academy offers a variety of training in everything from gliders to airplanes. Its unique approach has all student pilots first earn a recreational pilot certificate, which has fewer requirements and can be earned more quickly-but conveys fewer privileges-than a private pilot certificate. The goal of earning a pilot certificate is brought closer and fewer students drop out; almost all go on to earn more advanced pilot certificates and ratings. "We are proud to maintain a 90-percent retention rate while enjoying the success we have," said Hal Shevers, Sporty's founder and chairman. "This remarkable retention rate is a result of the recreational certificate which provides a more attainable, short-term goal in a student's flight training experience while keeping flying fun for all." Sporty's has 30 flight instructors on its staff.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) and Frasca International have received the FAA's highest approval rating ever for a flight training device, according to school officials. The Frasca Seminole flight training device (FTD) at ERAU's campus in Prescott, Arizona, has been approved at FAA Level 6, the first device based on a training aircraft to qualify at such a high level. "The capabilities of the FTD with the new visual system will revolutionize the training of student pilots," said Mike Corradi, chief flight instructor at the Prescott campus. "The new FTD will allow instructors to train their student pilots in how to handle bad weather conditions, emergencies, different airports, and any non-normal conditions. You can't do that in the actual aircraft."

Ralph Charles, a 103-year-old pilot from Somerset, Ohio, who in the 1920s built airplanes for the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company, died on February 2. Born on November 6, 1899, he started flying in the 1920s but took a 50-year hiatus after working as a test pilot during World War II. In the late 1990s Charles bought a 1942 Aeronca Defender and was actively flying on his 100th birthday; he was considered the oldest active pilot in the United States at the time. He was featured in the March 2000 AOPA Flight Training magazine.
Inside AOPA
The flags at AOPA headquarters were at half-staff this week as the association joined the nation in mourning the loss of the space shuttle Columbia crewmembers. Several general aviation pilots were among the seven-person crew, lost during its re-entry into Earth's atmosphere Saturday. "The entire AOPA family joins in sorrow with the families of the brave men and women of Columbia," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We stand by their sacrifice." Mission Specialist Dr. David M. Brown, 46, had been an AOPA member since 1995. A captain in the U.S. Navy, he was a naval aviator and flight surgeon who owned a Beechcraft Bonanza. Mission Specialist Laurel Clark, 41, a Navy commander and naval flight surgeon, joined AOPA in 2002. Mission Specialist Dr. Kalpana Chawla, 41, was an aerospace engineer, CFI, and commercial pilot. Also lost aboard the shuttle were Mission Commander Rick Husband, a U.S. Air Force colonel; Shuttle Pilot William McCool, 41, a Navy commander; Payload Commander Michael P. Anderson, 43, an Air Force lieutenant colonel; and Ilan Ramon, 48, a colonel and fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force.

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Training Products
When he set out to write Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane, Greg Brown sought not only to create a lively account of his experiences for other pilots, but also to open up the adventure of general aviation to the person on the street. By weaving installments of his monthly AOPA Flight Training column Flying Carpet with tales previously published in AOPA Pilot and elsewhere, Brown traces not only the reasons why flying his own airplane is vital to his soul, but also how that ability has benefited his family and friends in both practical and intangible ways. The 256-page book, published by Iowa State Press, includes many photos and sells for $29.99. For more information or to order, visit the Web site or call 800/862-6657.
Final Exam
Question: As I get ready to study for the FAA private pilot knowledge test, I'd like to look at some samples of the questions I'll be facing on the test. Is there anywhere I can see these?

Answer: The FAA offers a bank of questions (but not the answers) that are similar to the ones you will encounter on the private pilot knowledge test. You can find sample airmen knowledge test questions for all the various certificates and ratings on AOPA Online. Supplemental materials like graphics, legends, and maps support these questions and are needed to successfully respond to some of them. A number of aviation publishers also provide study guides to the FAA knowledge tests, which can help you to prepare for the tests. These study guides, available in print or computer formats, include sample questions, answers, and explanations, as well as the needed supplemental materials. For more information on preparing for and taking the knowledge tests, take a look at "Ground School Strategies" from the May 1998 edition of Flight Training magazine.

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
Looking for flight training financial assistance? Take a look at AOPA's updated subject report on Aviation Loans and Scholarships . CFIs (and students) can click here to download an updated Instructor's Guide to the Pre-Solo Written Test from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
Weekend Weather
See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix.
ePilot Calendar
Hana, Hawaii. The Great Hawaiian Air Race takes place February 14 through 18 at Hana Airport (HNM). Events include the popular Airshow Over Hana. Proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. 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].

(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Sacramento, California, and Nashua, New Hampshire, February 15 and 16. Clinics are also scheduled in Oklahoma City; Reston, Virginia; and New Orleans, February 22 and 23. For the Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic schedule, see AOPA Online.

(Pinch-Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
The next Pinch-Hitter® Ground School will take place in Phoenix, March 9. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.

AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Tallahassee, Florida, February 10; Jacksonville, Florida, February 11; Ocala, Florida, February 12; and Daytona Beach, Florida, February 13. The topic is "The Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings." For the complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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