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Copyright © 2003 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
| LIGHTS OUT |
Who turns on the runway lights at many nontowered airports when an aircraft is approaching to land-or preparing to taxi for takeoff-during hours of darkness? The answer is: You do. You, the pilot, operate so-called pilot-controlled lighting (PCL) systems by using your communication radio on a designated frequency (usually the common traffic advisory frequency) to turn on the lights and set them to the desired intensity.
With PCL, runway and taxiway lights come on at the click of your push-to-talk switch; approach lighting systems and visual glideslope indicators may activate as well. Most systems include a timer to shut off the lights after a set period (typically 15 minutes), and there are standard methods of setting brightness. See an explanation in the April 1997 Flight Training feature "Turning on the Lights." Combine those insights with the primer on night-flight operations offered in the October 2002 AOPA Flight Training feature "The After-Hours Club."
VFR aeronautical chart symbols indicate whether lighting exists at an airport. The symbol "*L" indicates that there are limitations on the lighting (review airport symbols in Section 3 of the Aeronautical Chart User's Guide . PCL may be one of them. Refer to AOPA's Airport Directory Online or the FAA's Airport/Facilities Directory for detailed information about specific airports' lighting systems. Be sure to verify the frequency to use!
Some tips for efficient use of PCL are given in Section 5 of AOPA's Handbook for Pilots. If you are taking off or landing after another aircraft has activated the lighting system, adjust the intensity again yourself-both to select the best level for you and to ensure that the timer resets. Some instructors suggest that you reset the lights on each downwind leg during night pattern work. Nothing can be more distracting than having the lights suddenly go out on short final!
Whether you are using PCL to help locate an unfamiliar airport on a night dual cross-country, or when practicing night-flight operations at the home field, familiarize yourself with their appearance from different distances, angles, and altitudes. The different visual effects are very useful to understand, because they may differ from your expectations, as described in the February 2001 AOPA Flight Training feature "Into the Dark."
Understanding PCL adds safety to night operations. Using this excellent system skillfully takes you another step down the road toward being the complete pilot!
| Your Partner in Training |
|Beautiful, sunny days with calm winds can create annoying turbulence as bubbles of warm air begin rising, creating thermals. Flying early in the morning before the sun heats the ground, or late in the afternoon as it's cooling off, will be smoother. If you have basic knowledge of what causes turbulence, you can avoid it. Find out more on AOPA Online. And don't forget, our aviation experts are available at 800/USA-AOPA weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time to answer your questions. |
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 |
| FAA PUTS GRAPHICAL TFRs ONLINE |
The FAA last weekend launched a Web site that shows official, valid graphical depictions of temporary flight restrictions (TFRs), giving pilots for the first time government-issued information that shows graphically what airspace is restricted. AOPA has provided graphical TFRs on its Web site since 2001, but the association has maintained for two years that issuance of graphical TFRs should be a function of the FAA, since it is the final authority as to the accuracy and content of any graphic. FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey told attendees of AOPA Expo 2002 last October that pilots "need a good picture; you're going to get it." For more information see the news story on AOPA Online.
ASF KOCH SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE NEARS
July 31 is the application deadline for this year's Koch Corporation Scholarship, presented annually to a deserving college student focusing on aviation. The $1,500 award is sponsored by the Koch Corporation, a Kentucky-based company specializing in noise abatement. The award is administered jointly by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation and the University Aviation Association. Applicants for the scholarship must be enrolled in an accredited college or university and pursuing a nonengineering course of study in aviation. Other requirements include U.S. citizenship, a grade-point average of 3.25 or better, and submission of a 500-word essay on an aviation topic. This year's assigned topic is "what aspect of GA safety does not get adequate attention, and why?" For further information, see the ASF Web site.
| Inside AOPA |
| ONLINE DIRECTORY SERVES 1.5 MILLION APPROACH CHARTS |
AOPA members have downloaded more than 1.5 million U.S. terminal procedure charts since the association began posting the instrument approach procedures in conjunction with AOPA's Airport Directory Online . Although required for pilots flying IFR, these charts also provide information helpful to VFR pilots. "This has obviously turned into a tremendously popular feature for our members," said Machteld Smith, director of AOPA's print and online airport directories. The more than 12,400 charts available at AOPA's Airport Directory Online are exact electronic reproductions of the U.S. Terminal Procedures Publications put out by the federal government and are valid for navigation during the date range listed. Click here to access the online directory.
SENATE APPROVES FAA REAUTHORIZATION BILL
The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed its version of the FAA reauthorization bill, which contains many of the things AOPA has been fighting for on Capitol Hill. Many of the provisions in the Senate bill that benefit general aviation mirror provisions in the House version. One of the key amendments, sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), declares air traffic controllers' jobs to be inherently governmental, meaning that they could not be contracted out. The House bill contains a similar, but somewhat narrower, amendment. The White House, however, has threatened to veto the bill because it would prohibit the FAA from privatizing air traffic control. "Our members have told us over and over again that the threat of user fees to fly in the national airspace system is one of their top three concerns," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Changing the designation of air traffic control from 'commercial,' and therefore vulnerable to privatization, to 'inherently governmental' is one of the single strongest steps Congress can take to protect access to the sky." Because the House and Senate versions of the bill differ, the two sides must now meet in conference to hammer out a compromise bill. See AOPA Online.
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| Training Products |
| SPORTY's OFFERS E6B SOFTWARE FOR PALM OS |
E6B flight computer software that can be downloaded to a Palm-based personal digital assistant is now available from Sporty's Pilot Shop. Pilots can use the software to perform 19 aviation functions and 14 standard aviation conversions on their PDAs (it cannot be used during FAA exams, however). The E6B Software for PDAs works on any PDA device using Palm OS 4.0 or newer. It can be downloaded for $19.95, which includes an instruction manual. For more information, see the Web site or call 800/SPORTYS.
| Final Exam |
| Question: What are "the bends" and how dangerous is the condition for pilots? |
Answer: "The bends" is the common name for decompression sickness (DCS), often associated with scuba diving or flying, and particularly dangerous with a combination of the two activities. Basically, it's the release of an excess amount of nitrogen into the body. The air we breathe contains about 80 percent nitrogen, which is dissolved in our blood and held there by the pressure around us-air pressure if you are on the ground; water pressure if you are under water. When the surrounding pressure is reduced, either by flying to a high altitude (at 18,000 feet, sea-level pressure is halved) or by rising quickly to the water's surface (pressure doubles every 33 feet of depth), bubbles of nitrogen are released, causing pain and-in severe cases-death. Section 8-1-2 of the Aeronautical Information Manual states that "a pilot or passenger who intends to fly after scuba diving should allow the body sufficient time to rid itself of excess nitrogen absorbed during diving." You'll find more information on the bends on AOPA Online.
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 |
|Get a $10 discount on your next computerized FAA knowledge test when you take it at any CATS Testing Center. For a discount coupon, more information, and a list of testing sites, see AOPA Online. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS |
Joplin, Missouri. AirFest 2003 takes place June 28 and 29 at Joplin Regional Airport (JLN). Static, military, and a host of aerobatic acts. The airport will be closed to transient aircraft; check notams. Call Roy Lincoln, 417/626-0483.
Heber City, Utah. The Utah Bomber Fly-in takes place June 27 through 29 at Heber City Municipal/Russ McDonald Field (36U). Featuring the Collings Foundation B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator. Airshow including an F-18, P-51 Mustang, T-28 Trojan, PT-17 Stearman, parachute jump-in, and Extra 300 aerobatics demo. Tours, demonstrations, displays, and a chance to win a ride in the B-17, B-24, or P-51. Fundraiser to support the Heber Valley Aero Museum. Call 435/657-1826.
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 Orlando, Florida, and Reston, Virginia, June 28 and 29. Clinics are also scheduled in Jacksonville, Florida, and Pittsburgh, July 12 and 13. 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 Schools take place in Pittsburgh, July 13, and New York City, July 20. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.
ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 30 through August 2. Topics vary; for complete details, see AOPA Online.