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Copyright © 2004 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
| A CATEGORICAL EXPLANATION OF FLYING |
Aircraft can have drastically altered handling characteristics at opposite ends of their weight or center-of-gravity limits. The load you carry may change how the aircraft must be flown. Practice explaining this concept before you schedule your private pilot flight test.
To have the facts, check two ready sources of information. Review the limitations placed on flight operations by the manufacturer, found in the pilot's operating handbook (POH) or aircraft flight manual. Also make sure that you know the "category" in which the aircraft is certificated. You can find this information in the POH, or in Item 4 of the aircraft's airworthiness certificate-download Chapter 7 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, and see page 6.
Most trainers are certificated in the Normal or Utility category, but some are dual-category-meaning they can be operated in more than one category, as long as you comply with any limitations regarding use in a specific category. For example, a 1978 Cessna 172 POH says the airplane may be flown in the Utility category only at lower weights and within narrower center-of-gravity constraints than Normal category limits. Both ranges are shown in the handbook.
Other aircraft carry Aerobatic category certification, allowing them to be subjected to still higher load factors. "Each category has stress limits of: +3.8Gs and -1.52Gs for Normal category airplanes; +4.4Gs and -1.76Gs for the Utility category airplane; +6Gs and -3Gs for the Aerobatic category airplane," explains Rod Machado in a March 1999 AOPA Flight Training article, "A New Look at Maneuvering Speed." Remember that this speed (Va) is the maximum speed at which you can use abrupt control inputs; the aircraft should stall before structural limits are exceeded during maneuvers or in turbulence.
"Airplanes certificated in the Normal category are designed for nonaerobatic flight operations; that is, these airplanes are intended for normal flying, which includes most stalls and steep turns where the angle of bank is not more than 60 degrees. Airplanes certificated in the Utility category are intended for limited aerobatic flight, such as steep turns that exceed 60 degrees of bank," explains Kathy Yodice in her July 2002 AOPA Flight Training "Legal Briefing" column, the third article in a series. Also see "One Good Turn" in the June 2003 AOPA Flight Training.
Remember, this is how aircraft are certificated. The word category also appears in "pilot certification," but with a different meaning. Your new private pilot certificate (but not your student certificate) will authorize you to pilot an aircraft in one of the following categories: airplane, rotorcraft, glider, lighter-than-air, or powered-lift. Review the other elements of pilot certification in Section 61.1 of the federal aviation regulations.
| Your Partner in Training |
|One of the leading causes of general aviation accidents is continuing VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). When pilots lose outside visual references, they can lose their spatial orientation, leaving them unable to tell what's up, down, left, right, or straight and level. This happens because the human senses are easily fooled. Spatial disorientation, also known as vertigo, can quickly lead to losing control of the aircraft. For more information, read about the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's recent human factors study or download the Spatial Disorientation Safety Advisor from AOPA Online. |
Do you have a question? Call our experienced pilots-available weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time 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 |
| TIME FOR ADIZ TO GO, BOYER TELLS CONGRESS |
It's time to rescind the Baltimore-Washington Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) so that pilots, flight instructors, and students in the national capital area can resume normal flight operations, AOPA President Phil Boyer told Congress this week. Boyer said the ADIZ creates confusion for pilots and controllers, not to mention the severe economic burden placed upon airports in and around the zone. One flight instructor, for example, faces loss of employment following an incident in which his student mistakenly thought that an ATC clearance to change frequency also meant he was cleared to change the mandatory discrete transponder frequency used within the ADIZ. The CFI did not realize that his student had changed the transponder code. The FAA has said it intends to suspend the instructor's pilot certificate for 30 days. For more on the hearing, see AOPA Online.
HELICOPTER SIMULATOR GETS LEVEL 3 CERTIFICATION
The FAA granted Level 3 certification to a Frasca helicopter flight training device (FTD) owned by Petroleum Helicopters Inc. in Lafayette, Louisiana. Level 3 certification means that the device may be used for training under the FAA Private Pilot Practical Test Standards for Rotorcraft, Helicopter, and Gyroplane and for some special procedures, such as GPS approaches. The FTD simulates a Bell 412 helicopter and has, among other features, a full-scale cockpit and a visual display that provides a 220-degree horizontal field of view. Petroleum Helicopters also uses Level 1 FTDs that replicate the Bell 206 and 407. For more information about the devices, see the Frasca International Web site.
MISSOURI PILOT GROUP OFFERS AV ED SCHOLARSHIP
The Missouri Pilots Association is looking for a teacher who is interested in learning about aviation. Missouri teachers, kindergarten through twelfth grade, are invited to apply for a $600 scholarship to attend an aerospace education course. The 1,500-member pilot group created the Norman Lawnik Aerospace Education Scholarship to provide teachers with a basic knowledge of aviation and its many facets, and to help them integrate that knowledge into their curriculum. The deadline to apply is May 17. For more information, call Lana Maggart at 314/731-0199, or see the Web site.
| Inside AOPA |
| AOPA HELPS TO DOWNSIZE TWO PUGET SOUND TFRs |
The FAA has reduced the size of two security-related temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) in the Puget Sound area of Washington state following a meeting between AOPA President Phil Boyer and U.S. Navy officials at the Pentagon. The meeting allowed both sides to define their concerns on the issue, Boyer said. The Navy has made it clear that it considers all four areas in Puget Sound to be highly sensitive and will continue to demand TFRs over them. Because of their close proximity to each other, however, they've had a disproportionate impact on general aviation-including flight training operations-in the Seattle/Puget Sound area. The changes improve access to two GA airports. For more, see AOPA Online.
| Training Products |
| UNCLUTTER THE COCKPIT WITH NAV NOTEBOOK |
If you've ever had a chart slide off your lap or a pencil go roaming around the cockpit, or spent time rummaging in your flight bag while trying to keep your eyes outside, it may be time for a little help. The Nav Notebook from Aviation World is an extra-big zippered case (think "portfolio") made of weather-resistant 1000 Denier Cordura. Big enough to hold an 11-by-14-inch legal pad, with pockets and slots for plotters, pens, flight-planning forms, and other gear, the Nav Notebook comes in black or navy blue. It sells for $28.31. Order it online.
| Final Exam |
| Question: I have been surprised a few times when clouds did not form when the temperature was the same as the dew point. What other factors affect cloud formation? |
Answer: When the temperature reaches the dew point, clouds form at the level where this happens. The temperature/dew point conditions vary considerably with altitude, so conditions on the surface rarely reflect the temperature/dew point conditions aloft. The only time that surface temperature and dew point play a role in cloud formation is with fog. If the temperature and dew point are the same but fog does not form, it is probably due to drier conditions just above the surface.
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 |
|You may yearn to ride left seat in a sleek, swift jet some day. Would it surprise you to know that an airline pilot would trade rides with you in a red-hot minute? Chip Wright, a Comair captain and contributor to AOPA Flight Training magazine, discusses what he likes best about GA flight in "Flying a 172," in the April issue of AOPA Pilot magazine. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS |
Macon, Georgia. The Cherry Blossom Festival Airshow, Balloon Fest, and Fly-in takes place March 19 through 21 at Herbert Smart Downtown (MAC). Contact Tamara Fleischhaker, 478/751-7414, or visit the Web site.
Glendale, Arizona. The Thirtieth Anniversary Thunderbird Balloon & Air Classic takes place March 26 through 28 at Glendale Municipal (GEU). See hot air balloons and military aircraft spanning 60 years. Airshow and family fun center with activities for kids. For more information, visit the Web site.
Saddle Brook, New Jersey. The Fifteenth Annual Student Pilot Forum takes place March 31 at the Holiday Inn. A panel of aviation experts from weather briefers to designated pilot examiners will answer questions. Sponsored by the North Jersey Chapter of The Ninety-Nines. Contact 973/872-6213, or visit 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 .
ASF FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Orlando, Florida, and Baltimore, March 27 and 28. Clinics are also scheduled in Denver, Atlanta, and Indianapolis, April 3 and 4. 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 Atlanta, April 4; and Tampa, Florida, April 18. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.
ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Medford, New Jersey, March 22; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, March 23; New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, March 24; and Cheswick, Pennsylvania, March 25. The topic is Maneuvering Flight-Hazardous to Your Health? For complete details, see AOPA Online.