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Copyright © 2003 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
| BETTER TO FILE |
When you fly beyond the practice area, how regularly do you file a VFR flight plan? If you don't, is there somebody who knows where you went, and when you should be back? Filing and activating a VFR flight plan ensures all that, plus a bonus: If something goes awry, search and rescue operations commence once you are 30 minutes overdue. This may start with a simple check of the ramp to see if you have arrived. But if you are truly overdue, efforts to locate you begin.
Practice filing and activating VFR flight plans with your instructor. For a good start, read Robert Snow's feature "To File or Not to File" in the May 2000 AOPA Flight Training. Make it standard procedure to file and open a VFR flight plan on solo outings. On multi-leg cross-countries, file your flight plan as recommended in Chapter 6 of the Aeronautical Information Manual: "For maximum protection, file only to the point of first intended landing, and refile for each leg to final destination. When a lengthy flight plan is filed, with several stops en route and an ETE [estimated time en route] to final destination, a mishap could occur on any leg, and unless other information is received, it is probable that no one would start looking for you until 30 minutes after your ETA at your final destination." ( Click here to review search and rescue services in the AIM.)
Filing VFR flight plans usually is optional. But some temporary flight restrictions require VFR flights to be on an active flight plan. See "AOPA Action" in the December 2002 AOPA Flight Training.
The quality of a pilot's planning is scrutinized when investigators seek the cause of a mishap. "Accident Analysis," in the December 2002 AOPA Flight Training, discusses a student pilot who made a successful forced landing but was faulted for improper decisions.
Some pilots hesitate to file, fearing that they will forget to close the flight plan. See "Why We Don't File" in the May 2000 AOPA Flight Training's Flight Forum. Then read the response, "No Excuse Not to File," published in the August 2000 issue. One way to avoid the problem is to request that a control tower or other air traffic control facility relay your closing to the nearest flight service station. Another is to make closing your flight plan part of your shutdown checklist, maintaining maximum safety margins on every flight.
| Your Partner in Training |
|AOPA Online offers a wealth of good reading for new and student pilots. From Finding the Field to First Solo, Nearly Last, you'll learn from the experiences of others before you. See our online index. 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. |
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 |
| SECURITY OFFICIALS FURTHER RESTRICT D.C. AIRPSACE |
In reaction to the national "code orange" security status, federal security officials decided last weekend to control a giant column of airspace that begins at the surface and extends to 18,000 feet msl over Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The FAA created an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) that essentially covers the footprint of the Washington Tri-Area Class B airspace with an extension to the south. The ADIZ, which became effective Monday and continues indefinitely, requires pilots to be on active flight plans, use discrete transponder codes, and be in communication with controllers. A 15-nm "no fly" TFR over Washington, D.C., remains in place. Because the ADIZ, along with three other security-related notams, has raised many questions, AOPA has created a Q&A page on AOPA Online.
PILOT JOB FAIR DRAWS AIRLINES, HOPEFULS
More than 600 pilots met with 70 representatives from 60 major, national, and regional airlines during a recent pilot career seminar sponsored by AIR, Inc., the company said. Comair filled 30 available interview slots from the pilots who attended the January 25 seminar and job fair at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. "If the DFW job fair was any indication of what is to come for 2003, airline pilot hiring is holding its own," said Kit Darby, president of Air, Inc. His company predicts the creation of about 7,000 new airline pilot jobs in 2003. There were 5,845 new jobs in 2002. Air, Inc. will sponsor another career seminar/job fair April 12 at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel at Los Angeles International Airport. For more information, see the Web site, or contact Alicia Linck at 800/JET-JOBS (538-5627), extension 102.
DOWLING COLLEGE OFFERS SUMMER PROGRAM FOR YOUNG WOMEN
Dowling College's summer aviation scholarship program for young women will run July 7 through 11, the college announced. The program, offered at the college's Brookhaven Center at Brookhaven Airport in Shirley, New York, accepts only high-school women entering grades 11 and 12. Participants will learn about aerodynamics, flight instruments and controls, and navigation. They will tour local airfields, military and corporate aircraft, and air traffic control facilities. The week culminates with a flight to Groton, Connecticut, with a certificated pilot. The deadline for applications is April 20. For more information or to obtain an application, call 631/244-1326. For more information about Dowling College, see the Web site.
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT MAY EXPAND NEW BACKGROUND CHECKS
The U.S. Department of Justice this week issued a new "final" rule establishing security background check procedures for all foreign pilots training in aircraft weighing 12,500 pounds or more. This becomes effective March 17, 2003, and replaces an interim rule from last June. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) has introduced legislation to expand this background check requirement to all foreign pilots. For more information see AOPA's report on the subject.
| Inside AOPA |
| CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS UPSET OVER 'PILOT INSECURITY' RULE |
Members of Congress are expressing concern over the "pilot insecurity rule," which allows the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to declare a pilot a security risk based on secret information and force the FAA to revoke the pilot's certificate without an appeals process. Rep. Don Young, for instance, of the big aviation state of Alaska, became angry when AOPA President Phil Boyer informed him of the implications of the rule this week as part of AOPA's continuing lobbying efforts. The congressman's staff indicated that they have been receiving "tons" of mail from Alaska pilots. Young, who is the powerful chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said he would take legislative measures to change the rule. Rep. Denny Rehberg of Montana, who sits on the House aviation subcommittee, also expressed unhappiness with the rule. On the Senate side, Conrad Burns, also of Montana, raised the issue with FAA Administrator Marion Blakey during a Commerce Committee hearing. "This looks like an impossible situation if you can't face your accuser. This flies in the face of the American judicial system," he said. See AOPA Online.
PILOTS URGED TO STAY ALERT FOR SUSPICIOUS ACTS
Pilots are being urged to stay alert for suspicious activities at airports following a February 7 announcement that the federal government has raised the terror alert to code orange, meaning a "high" danger of attack. Pilots are urged to be alert for suspicious activities at their airports and report them to the national, toll-free hotline at 1-866-GA-SECURE or local law enforcement. In a conference call to key transportation industry leaders, including AOPA, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Gordon England said the government had intelligence from multiple sources that the threat of terrorism in the United States and the Middle East is the highest it has been since attacks on September 11, 2001. While there is no specific information, the energy sector (refineries, tank farms, etc.), transportation infrastructure (bridges, tunnels, etc.), and civil aviation are considered the most likely targets. Terrorists may also go after "soft targets" such as hotels and malls. In a related move, the FAA and Transportation Security Administration imposed additional restrictions on airspace around the nation's capital. The Airport Watch brochure details some of the things pilots should watch for and actions pilots can take to secure their aircraft. For more information or to view a copy of the brochure, click here.
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| Training Products |
| AIRSPACE/WEATHER FORMAT REVIEW DVD FROM SPORTY'S |
Combining two important aviation topics on one DVD, Sporty's Pilot Shop offers Airspace and Weather Format Review for students, pilots who are prepping for a flight review, or those who simply want to bone up on these subjects. The first program, "What You Should Know About Airspace Reclassification," includes three-dimensional graphics and animation to describe the classes of airspace in use today. The second program explains METAR and TAF weather codes and has an interactive on-screen weather decoder among other features. The 40-minute DVD is available for $24.95. For more information or to order, go to the Web site, or call 800/SPORTYS.
| Final Exam |
| Question: I heard the term "closed traffic" from an instructor who was practicing takeoffs and landings. Also, while I was making an approach at a towered airport, I was told by the tower to abort the landing and go around and maintain "close traffic". What does this mean? |
Answer: According to the Aeronautical Information Manual , "closed traffic" is "successive operations involving takeoffs and landings or low approaches where the aircraft does not exit the traffic pattern." For more information on operations at towered airports, see the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor, Operations at Towered Airports. ( Click here to download.)
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 |
|New information on temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) and other security-related airspace-including the new air defense identification zone around Washington, D.C.-has been incorporated into an updated version of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Operation Airspace online course. A new special section offers guidance for GA pilots living in or visiting the Mid-Atlantic area where the new ADIZ around the nation's capital is posing challenges. Click here to view. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS |
Fort Myers, Florida. Page Field Aviation Days takes place February 21 through 23 at Page Field (FMY). This event will feature static and flying displays of World War II through Vietnam-era aircraft as well as experimentals and ultralights. Hosted by EAA Chapter 66. Contact Jim McClain, 239/542-4567.
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 Oklahoma City; Reston, Virginia; and New Orleans, February 22 and 23. Clinics are also scheduled in Philadelphia, and Lubbock, Texas, March 1 and 2. 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 Phoenix, March 9. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.
ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Melbourne, Florida, and Little Rock, Arkansas, February 17; Denver, West Palm Beach, Florida, and Rogers, Arkansas, February 18; Colorado Springs, Colorado, Oklahoma City, and Fort Myers, Florida, February 19; and Tampa, Florida, and Wichita, Kansas, February 20. The topic is "The Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings." For the complete schedule, see AOPA Online.