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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition --Vol. 3, Issue 29AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition --Vol. 3, Issue 29

Volume 3, Issue 29 • July 18, 2003
In this issue:
Michigan senate rolls back pilot background check
AOPA pursuing FAA complaint on Meigs closure
Sen. Hollings lends support for AOPA's Airport Watch


Garmin International

Comm 1 Radio Simulator

Sporty's Pilot Shop


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Copyright © 2003 AOPA.

Training Tips
No training program is complete without meaningful practice of in-flight emergencies, using or simulating use of the procedures set forth in the emergency checklists for your aircraft. What should your training program strive for in this area? For some practical suggestions, see "Keeping it Real" by David Wright in the January 2003 AOPA Flight Training, and this newsletter's June 21, 2002, "Training Tips" on "Practicing Engine Failures."

Less well understood is what happens after a pilot declares an emergency. At that point, the pilot in command (or solo student) wields special authority as set out in the federal aviation regulations, but also takes on solemn responsibilities.

What constitutes an emergency? The FAA describes it as a condition of distress or urgency. "Distress is 'a condition of being threatened by serious and/or imminent danger and of requiring immediate assistance.' Urgency is 'a condition of being concerned about safety and requiring timely but not immediate assistance; a potential distress condition,'" explains John Yodice in his July 1997 AOPA Flight Training column "Pilots' Emergency Authority." He reviews the FARs governing a pilot's use of emergency authority, noting that "over the years this language has been interpreted to mean that pilots are excused from violating any operating or flight rule so long as the violation was necessary to meet an in-flight emergency." The exception is when the emergency is of the pilot's own making, such as intentional visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions.

Many air traffic control services are available to pilots facing an emergency as summarized in Chapter 6 of the Aeronautical Information Manual. Remember that a special communications frequency, 121.5 MHz, is monitored for emergency transmissions. For a thorough discussion, see "What's the Frequency" in this newsletter's March 28, 2003, "Training Tips"-but remember that if you're already talking with air traffic control when you experience an emergency, explain your situation on your current frequency and don't change to 121.5 MHz unless you're asked by the controller.

Must you submit a written report of the event? (Your flight-test examiner could inquire.) The answer is no. Reports must be made only when requested by the FAA, as Kathy Yodice explains in the November 2001 AOPA Flight Training magazine's "Legal Briefing" column. Review the series of discussions about pilots and emergency authority in the August, September, and October 2001 "Legal Briefing" columns. Then read the self-critique by one pilot who dealt successfully-in most ways-with an emergency, as retold in AOPA Pilot's July 2003 "Never Again" column, and incorporate his insights into your safety-knowledge bank.
Your Partner in Training
Forms, forms, and more forms! From AOPA services to selected FAA, Customs, FCC, and NTSB forms, you can find nearly everything at AOPA Online. If we don't have what you need, our Aviation Services staff will be able to direct you to a source. Call 800/872-2672 toll-free on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern, or e-mail [email protected].

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
Michigan state senators on Tuesday approved a bill that would repeal the state's pilot background check law. AOPA immediately called on Gov. Jennifer Granholm to act swiftly and sign the bill. It would replace the current law with new, commonsense requirements for flight schools, including restricting access for presolo students to either aircraft or aircraft ignition keys, and requiring that students authorized to fly solo have an FAA student pilot certificate. Currently, Michigan requires anyone seeking any type of flight training to first undergo a criminal history background check. AOPA has challenged that law in federal court on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. For more, see the news story on AOPA Online.

The FAA on July 10 officially turned on an enhancement to the Global Positioning System (GPS) that will provide vertical guidance for instrument approaches to thousands of general aviation airports without instrument landing system (ILS) capability. The Wide Area Augmentation System, or WAAS, will allow instrument-rated pilots with properly equipped aircraft to make precision approaches at all airports where an ILS isn't possible, according to AOPA President Phil Boyer, who spoke at a press conference at the FAA Command Center in Herndon, Virginia. WAAS sensors receive the signal broadcast by GPS satellites, correct any errors, and rebroadcast those corrected signals to WAAS-enabled aircraft receivers. The WAAS signal turned on this week will give vertical guidance for some 500 published procedures at more than 200 airports across the United States. For more information, see AOPA Online.

Comm1 Radio Simulator, an interactive CD-based radio communications software program, is a new sponsor of the Be A Pilot program. "Comm1 is representative of the kind of company, from headset makers to college and residential flight training programs, that benefit very directly from Be A Pilot's advertising and promotion efforts," Be A Pilot President Drew Steketee said. The product was developed to help primary students conquer mic fright. "The Comm1 product line is produced by pilots, for pilots," said Carol Dodds, general manager of the company that developed the programs. "That's why it's a natural for us to join in with other leaders in aviation to make the Be A Pilot program possible." The Comm1 line also includes training programs on IFR clearances and ATC communications for instrument flight. To download a coupon for a $49 introductory flight lesson, see the Be A Pilot Web site.
Inside AOPA
The Chicago Parks District has awarded a $1.5 million contract to a city firm to complete the demolition of Meigs Field, according to the Chicago Tribune. Pacific Construction Services will finish tearing up the runway, plant new greenery, and conduct environmental surveys to turn the airport into a park. Meanwhile, AOPA continues to pursue its formal FAA complaint against the city for improperly closing the airport. The FAA told AOPA on July 11 that the complaint is currently under review in the agency's legal department. In addition, Joe Moore, a Chicago City alderman, has suggested the city reconsider the AOPA plan proposed in May that would have the city buy the airport from the park district using federal funds-but Moore, an independent Democrat, is not likely to get the hearings he seeks. For more, see AOPA Online.

AOPA's Airport Watch program received praise and support July 10 from a high-ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. At a hearing on the Homeland Security appropriations bill, Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.) offered an amendment directing the Department of Homeland Security to continue funding the 866/GA-SECURE hotline to report suspicious activities at an airport. "Airport Watch is a common-sense and effective approach to securing our nation's general aviation airports. AOPA and [the Transportation Security Administration] have got it right on this one," he said after the meeting. The appropriations bill for fiscal year 2004 now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

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Training Products
The student pilot who trains in a Piper J-3 Cub faces challenges her colleagues might never encounter-like starting the engine by manually turning the propeller. Sporty's has combined two instructional programs- Taming the Taildragger and Handpropping Light Aircraft-onto one DVD. The taildragger segment, aimed at pilots who trained in tricycle-gear airplanes and are planning to transition to tailwheel aircraft, covers three-point and wheel landings with an emphasis on proper rudder and aileron control. The handpropping segment gives a step-by-step demonstration on a restored J-3 Cub engine. The DVD is available from Sporty's for $59.95. To order, see the Web site or call 800/SPORTYS.
Final Exam
Question: Can you tell me how the maximum elevation figure (MEF) on a sectional chart is calculated?

Answer: Cartographers have a formula for calculating the maximum elevation figure. First, they add a minimum of 100 feet to the highest elevation depicted in the quadrangle. Then, this number is rounded up to the next 100 value. Finally, because only obstacles higher than 200 feet are required to be charted, they add 200 feet in case there's an uncharted obstacle. For example, a quadrangle showing the highest mountain peak (known as the critical elevation figure) at 5,357 feet above mean sea level would gain 100 feet (5,457) and then would be rounded to the next hundred (5,500). Add on 200 more feet for a possible uncharted obstacle on the mountaintop, and the MEF for that quadrangle will be charted at 5,700 feet msl. More information on this subject is available in "Legends: Maximum Elevation Figure" from Flight Training magazine.

Clarification: The Final Exam in the July 11 newsletter included a misleading statement about the safety of composite aircraft in lightning. Several composite aircraft manufacturing companies offer a variety of models that comply with FAA Part 23, which requires lightning-strike protection. Manufacturers accomplish this in different ways-for example, by embedding either a metal mesh or metal strips in the composite airframe to allow electrical current to pass through and exit the aircraft. Models offering lightning protection include the Lancair Columbia, Diamond DA40-180 Diamond Star, and Cirrus SR22. However, not all composite aircraft are manufactured under Part 23, and such aircraft may not provide lightning protection; check with the manufacturer if you have questions on a particular model. More information on this subject is available at AOPA Online. AOPA regrets the oversimplification and any confusion it caused.

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
Thinking about buying your very own trainer? There's lots to know about purchasing a used airplane and how much it really costs to own your own aircraft. AOPA's updated subject report, Tips on Buying a Used Aircraft , includes a buyer's checklist; links to financing, title, and insurance resources; and much more information.
Weekend Weather
See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix.
ePilot Calendar
Oshkosh, Wisconsin. EAA AirVenture 2003 takes place July 29 through August 4 at Wittman Regional Airport (OSH). The world's largest general aviation gathering, with more than 10,000 airplanes, 700 exhibitors, and 500 forums and workshops. For information, see 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 .

(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic is also scheduled in San Diego, July 26 and 27. Clinics are also scheduled in Atlanta, and Detroit, August 2 and 3. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Renewal Online.

(Pinch-Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
The next Pinch-Hitter® Ground School takes place in Atlanta, August 3. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.

AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 30 through August 2. Topics vary; for complete details, see AOPA Online.

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