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Copyright © 2004 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
| WINDS OF CHANGE |
Pilots sometimes must move between different measuring systems when making flight calculations. Wind speeds are given in knots (nautical miles per hour), but some older aircraft performance charts and airspeed indicators use miles per hour, requiring conversion. Temperatures in aviation weather observations are reported using the Celsius scale; temps that you heard on the radio this morning were probably degrees Fahrenheit. During flight planning you draw a course line on an aeronautical chart. This is a true course. After winds aloft, magnetic variation-see "Flying Smart" in the March 1999 AOPA Flight Training-and compass deviation are applied, you get a magnetic course for selecting a cruise altitude, a magnetic heading, and a compass heading that negates any instrument inaccuracies. Remember that cruise altitude is dictated by the hemispherical rule, discussed in the February 7, 2003 Training Tips in this newsletter.
The coverage areas for winds aloft forecasts are large, encompassing regions of differing variation-see them on a clickable National Weather Service map. This requires that wind directions be forecast relative to true north. Not so of all winds pilots need. As you near your destination, you monitor the Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) or an automated weather reporting station. What will you hear? "ATIS information includes the time of the latest weather sequence, ceiling, visibility, obstructions to visibility, temperature, dew point (if available), wind direction (magnetic) and velocity, altimeter, other pertinent remarks, instrument approach and runway in use," explains the Aeronautical Information Manual . These winds are magnetic because runways are numbered according to their magnetic bearings, making it easy to compare values and note crosswind components.
So, surface winds are magnetic and winds aloft are true? Almost, but there's a catch. Those magnetic surface winds on ATIS, or given by a tower controller, appear as "true" winds in aerodrome forecasts (TAFs) and aviation weather reports (METAR, SPECI).
Confusing? Columnist Rod Machado, in the February 2004 AOPA Flight Training, offers this suggestion: "Here's a memory cue offered with no disrespect to our ATC buddies: Controllers speak of winds with forked tongue (i.e., they don't give you the "true" winds)."
The idea to remember is that when you need wind information most-at takeoff or landing-don't convert what you hear. That's been done for you so that you can focus on your flying.
| Your Partner in Training |
|The most common error by pilots that leads to runway incursions is entering a runway without clearance, meaning the pilot moves into a takeoff position prematurely or crosses a runway without permission. Often, the pilot does not know where he is on the runway or taxiway. To better understand runway signage, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation offers a free online Runway Safety Program. Using active motion and 3-D graphics, it takes pilots through real-life situations involving operations with high potential for runway incursions. If you have other questions about runway signs or other aviation subjects, call our experienced pilots-available weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern toll-free at 800/872-2672. |
AOPA Flight Training Members have access to all of the features within AOPA Online. Login information is available online.
| Flight Training News |
| ASF HIGHLIGHTS HAZARDS OF MANEUVERING FLIGHT |
Watch this! No, really. It's the catchy name of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's new safety program on maneuvering flight. The hour-long DVD explores dramatic examples of this phase of flight, which annually accounts for the largest number of general aviation fatalities. This month ASF mailed DVDs to every FAA safety program manager for use in safety meetings. The live safety seminar, Maneuvering Flight-Hazardous to Your Health?, is setting new records for attendance, and will continue to tour the nation through August. It meets the ground instruction requirements of the FAA's Wings safety program. Can't make a seminar in person? Check out ASF's free online courses.
FAA WANTS TO HEAR MORE ON PROPOSED SIMULATOR RULE
Thanks to technology, flight simulators have dramatically improved training by providing a nice, controlled learning environment. But now the type of flight training device (FTD) you might find at your local flight school or training center (Levels 1, 2, and 3) is being threatened by an FAA proposal. It would require schools to meet onerous quality assurance, maintenance, and record-keeping requirements for the FTD. Also, it would make no distinction between high-end FTDs used at major college aeronautical programs and the relatively simple FTDs used by a majority of flight schools. After AOPA raised questions about the proposed rule, the FAA agreed to reopen the comment period and assigned a March 11 deadline. AOPA will also be part of a new group being formed by the FAA to address these concerns, so the association can ensure that flight training remains affordable. For more, see AOPA Online.
| Inside AOPA |
| BOYER TAKES AOPA MEMBER PERSPECTIVE TO EUROPE |
AOPA President Phil Boyer traveled to Brussels, Belgium, last week to meet with key players in the European aviation community. Boyer's mission was to defend general aviation in the United States by defending GA in Europe. "Between the powerful new multinational agencies of the European Union and the FAA's efforts to 'harmonize' U.S. regulations with the rest of the world's, what happens to GA pilots in Europe could have a profound effect on GA pilots at home," said Boyer. He attended a meeting of Eurocontrol, Europe's international air traffic control organization, and met with Patrick Goudou, executive director of the European Aviation Safety Agency, the aviation safety regulator for all EU countries. For more, see AOPA Online.
| Training Products |
| ASA's FLIGHTLIGHT PEN PRESERVES NIGHT VISION |
Night fliers and student pilots who have begun their night training know the importance of preserving "night vision"-allowing your eyes to adapt to low-light conditions, and making sure you don't compromise that by suddenly exposing your eyes to a bright light. How do you jot down a note or ATC direction during a night flight? You could use a Flightlight Pen from Aviation Supplies and Academics. Twist the end to activate a green light-emitting diode (LED) in the ballpoint; use the flashlight cap to look for nearby items. The pen is $6.95 and comes with two LED lights and two button-cell batteries. Order it online from ASA.
| Final Exam |
| Question: I have found what I think is a mistake on a sectional chart. How can I report this to get it corrected? |
Answer: A note in a box on your sectional chart describes what you should do. The FAA's National Aeronautical Charting Office (NACO) would appreciate receiving the information. Postage-paid correction cards are available from authorized chart sales agents. Where detailed written or drawn data is required, note the information clearly and accurately on a current chart (NACO will replace the chart) and mail it to FAA, National Aeronautical Charting Office, AVN-510, SSMC4, Station #2335, 1305 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281; telephone 800/626-3677; or e-mail.
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 |
|The Aeronautical Information Manual's Pilot/Controller Glossary, an important learning tool for students and pilots, is available at AOPA Online. The glossary was created to promote pilots' understanding of aviation terms used by air traffic controllers and prevent miscommunication in radio transmissions. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS |
Casa Grande, Arizona. The Forty-sixth Annual Cactus Antique Aircraft Fly-in takes place March 5 through 7 at Casa Grande Municipal (CGZ). See antique airplanes, warbirds, and homebuilts. Contact David Sirota, 520/742-1136, or visit the Web site.
Fargo, North Dakota. The Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium takes place March 7 through 9 at the Ramada Plaza Suites. This year's theme is "Exploring the Second Century of Flight." The event will feature education forums, static display, trade show, an awards banquet, and an induction ceremony by the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame. Contact Dan Kasowski, 701/777-7911.
Boise, Idaho. The Idaho Aviation Festival takes place March 12 and 13 at Boise Centre-on-the-Grove. Featuring safety seminars, trade show, and Dick Rutan as the guest speaker at Saturday's banquet. Contact Tammy Schoen, 208/334-8776.
To submit an event to the calendar, or search all events, visit AOPA Online. For airport details, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online .
ASF FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Reno, Nevada, March 10 and 11; and Philadelphia, March 13 and 14. A clinic is also scheduled in San Mateo, California, March 20 and 21. 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
The next Pinch-Hitter® Ground Schools will take place in Philadelphia, March 14, and Atlanta, April 4. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.
ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Rochester, Minnesota, March 8; Cedar Rapids, Iowa, March 9; Bedford, Massachusetts, and Omaha, Nebraska, March 10; and Olathe, Kansas, March 11. The topic is Maneuvering Flight-Hazardous to Your Health? For complete details, see AOPA Online.