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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition --Vol. 3, Issue 44AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition --Vol. 3, Issue 44

Volume 3, Issue 44 • October 31, 2003
In this issue:
Pilot hiring shows signs of growth
Diamond offers fixed-pitch Diamond Star
AOPA Expo is happening now


MBNA Deposit Accounts

Garmin International

Comm 1 Radio Simulator

Sporty's Pilot Shop


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Copyright © 2003 AOPA.

Training Tips
It is the day of your flight test. The examiner is quizzing you on the basic weather minimums under visual flight rules, as explained in Federal Aviation Regulation 91.155. She has just asked whether it would be legal for a new private pilot to fly in clear air above a deck of clouds. Yes, you reply. The examiner asks whether it would be legal for you, "a student pilot," to solo above a solid layer of clouds. A trick question? No. But one with a different answer, found in the conditions for solo flight in FAR 61.89, which prohibits a student from acting as a pilot in command of an aircraft "when the flight cannot be made with visual reference to the surface." VFR weather minimums are the subject of Kathy Yodice's September 1999 "Legal Briefing" column in AOPA Flight Training.

But don't take that fine distinction as an invitation to lower your safety standards once you have earned your private pilot certificate. Flying above a considerable mass of clouds can be dicey. Conditions could close up in a hurry. "If I were a noninstrument-rated private pilot flying VFR over the top of a broken cloud layer (that can cover up to 70 percent of the sky), I'd only feel comfortable if I positively knew there was a place where I could descend to an airport in VFR conditions that was within range of the airplane," counsels Rod Machado in the November 2003 AOPA Flight Training. Read his complete response to cloud scenarios proposed by a reader under the heading "Is Flight Above Clouds Legal VFR?".

Some pilots learn this the hard way. "We were down to our minimum fuel reserve, and guess what? There was nothing but beautiful puffy clouds for as far as the eye could see in any direction," relates one who opted to follow a companion above clouds. See how it turned out by reading the "Never Again" column in the September 1998 AOPA Pilot. The possibility of blundering into such a situation is why student pilots learn emergency flight by reference to instruments, as discussed in the February 8, 2002 "Training Tips" in this newsletter. A pilot armed with these skills, sound judgment based on Machado's wisdom, and Yodice's grasp of the rules, will fly safely into the future.
Your Partner in Training
Displaced threshold. Empennage. MEL. MML. Pirep. What do they all mean? Aviation is an industry of acronyms and technical language. Especially helpful to newcomers is AOPA's Student Glossary for General Aviation , available on AOPA Online. 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
The airline industry appears to be showing signs of a recovery, with pilot hiring levels up 5.3 percent in September and several carriers recalling furloughed pilots or canceling furloughs, according to aviation career consultant AIR, Inc. A total of 377 pilots were hired in September. A majority, 200, were picked up by the national carriers, whereas the majors hired 32 pilots. As of September 30, 9,634 pilots were on furlough, up from 9,430 at the end of August. American Eagle announced that it will recall all furloughed pilots by year's end, and Northwest said it will cut the number of pilots it plans to furlough this month from 35 to 20 and is canceling all future furloughs, AIR, Inc. reported. America West and Southwest both plan to begin hiring–America West is accepting résumés by mail and will move to an online application process "in the near future." Southwest is set to receive résumés the first quarter of 2004 with the intent of hiring 400 pilots next year. For more information, see the AIR, Inc. Web site.

Diamond Aircraft put a fixed-pitch propeller on its four-place, low-wing Diamond Star in response to requests from flight schools and has dubbed it the Diamond Star FP. The aircraft has lower purchase and operating costs. The Diamond Star FP is powered by the carbureted Lycoming O-360A4M 180-horsepower engine turning a fixed-pitch metal Sensenich propeller. The current DA40 Diamond Star features the fuel-injected Lycoming IO-360 180-hp engine, hydraulic prop governor, and an MT or Hartzell constant-speed propeller.

Scholarship opportunities for 2004 have been announced by the Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance (AWAM). New this year are a professional course on troubleshooting principles provided by Horizon Air Technical Training Department, and a principles of troubleshooting course provided by FlightSafety International. All scholarship applicants must be AWAM members, and individual scholarships may have additional requirements. The application deadline is December 31. For more information or to download a scholarship application, see the Web site.
Inside AOPA
In the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia, more than 500 exhibitors are displaying their wares. A short distance away at Philadelphia International Airport, more than 60 aircraft await your inspection. AOPA Expo opened yesterday and runs through Saturday; more than 10,000 general aviation pilots and family members are expected to attend. Registration is available on site for anyone who decides at the last minute to attend. Additional information about AOPA Expo is available online. If you're not able to join us this year, you can follow the convention's news and developments through the online Virtual Expo.

An FAA proposal to toughen requirements for charitable flights and sightseeing operations is likely to drive hundreds of small enterprises out of business, AOPA contends. The notice of proposed rulemaking, published last week, would require pilots involved in charity fundraising flights to have 500 hours of flight time instead of the current 200, and would also remove an exemption that allows Part 91 sightseeing flights within 25 nm of an airport. The proposed rule would retain exemptions for flight training, including introductory flights. The FAA says safety is the reason for the change, even though it provided no accident data to support the increase in flight hours. You can join AOPA in submitting comments at the Federal Docket Management System to docket number 4521.

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Training Products
Aviation Supplies and Academics (ASA) has taken its Prepware ground school software and packaged it for flight schools. Prepware School features all nine FAA knowledge test databases along with the information included in the "Prepware" series. It can be used on multiple computer terminals, and it lets CFIs track their students' performance while students can save their history to a disk or the system's hard drive. Each set is made to order and includes customized disks and packaging. Also available is the 2004 version of Prepware, combining all of the information included in ASA's Test Prep and Fast-Track Test Guides series. All aircraft categories are included. Visit ASA's Web site for specific prices and information.
Final Exam
Question: When flying with my instructor, I've heard the air traffic controller tell another pilot that he was cleared for the option. What does this phrase mean?

Answer: Being cleared for the option allows a pilot the option of making a touch and go, low approach, missed approach, stop and go, or full-stop landing. Because this clearance allows much flexibility in the airport environment when training or testing, flight instructors and examiners often request it to evaluate student performance under changing circumstances. You'll find more discussion of the term in the June 2001 AOPA Flight Training magazine.

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
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
Maneuvering flight–basically any flight that is not straight and level–is a part of every flight, but low-level maneuvering flight done improperly can lead to accidents. Read the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's newest Safety Advisor, Maneuvering Flight: Hazardous to your Health? and find out what you can do to avoid pitfalls that could be fatal. Click here to download it from AOPA Online.
Weekend Weather
See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix.
ePilot Calendar
Perry, Georgia. Wings Over Georgia takes place November 1 and 2 at Perry-Houston County (PXE). The premier airshow features warbirds, military, aerobatic, and classic aircraft, plus static displays and R/C demonstrations. Contact Steve Weigandt, 478/987-8501, or visit the Web site.

Richmond, Virginia. A Wright Brothers Symposium takes place November 1 at the Virginia Aviation Museum. Experts will discuss how the Wrights overcame the many problems and frustrations of building an aircraft that could be controlled. Rick Young will describe his efforts in repeating the Wrights' feat. Reservations suggested. Contact Kim Leigh, 804/236-3622, or visit the Web site.

El Monte, California. The El Monte Air Fair takes place November 8 and 9 at El Monte (EMT). Event honoring veterans runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, featuring vintage aircraft. Contact the Air Fair hotline, 626/448-6129.

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 Clinics are scheduled in Fresno, California; Atlanta, and Dallas, November 8 and 9. Clinics are also scheduled in Anchorage, Alaska; and Albuquerque, New Mexico, November 15 and 16. 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 will take place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, November 16. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.

AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in San Jose, California, November 3; Fresno, California, November 4; El Monte, California, November 5; and San Luis Obispo, California, November 6. The topic is Say Intentions: When you need ATC's help. See AOPA Online for complete details.

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