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Copyright © 2004 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
| FIXATION |
Has your flight instructor ever told you to "stop fixating" on a flight instrument? It's a common problem. So intent are you on holding altitude, for example, that your heading wanders. Turns out you were staring at your altimeter (or the vertical speed indicator) to the exclusion of other references, both inside and outside the aircraft. Or you concentrated so hard on maintaining a specified bank angle during a turn that your eyes were glued to the attitude indicator, and you unwittingly changed altitudes or forgot to roll out on the proper heading. Break the bad habit of fixating by practicing techniques with your instructor that develop the good habit of looking outside for most information about your flight condition, as described in Richard Hiner's informative September 1999 AOPA Flight Training Instructor Report article, "Bring a blindfold: Learning to fly by outside references."
There are other ways in which fixation creeps into a pilot's visual scanning technique. If you have spent some time entertaining yourself with computer-based flight simulations, you may be prone to fixation. This was the subject of the September 2002 AOPA Flight Training Instructor Report article in which a flight instructor discussed a student with hundreds of hours at the computer who was having trouble landing an actual airplane. "This resulted in additional training to unlearn the bad habits acquired from the simulator," the CFI said.
Not me, you say? Great! Keep in mind that a pilot who doesn't normally fixate on one thing may still do so at certain times, such as when he or she is tired. Be alert for signs: "Typical symptoms of fatigue include poor motor skill performance such as over- or under-controlling the aircraft; physical or mental tenseness, such as a 'death grip' on the yoke or irritation about minor inconveniences; increased reaction time dealing with in-flight events or instructor comments; skipping parts of a procedure, such as omitting an instrument on a cross-check; instrument fixation; and extremely slow reaction to new information," wrote Jeff Falkner in the January 1999 AOPA Flight Training article "Task Saturation."
Foil fixation now and it will not be a problem when you move on to such practical test subject areas as basic instrument maneuvers ( click here to download the practical test standards). Keep your eyes moving-and as a safe visual flight rules (VFR) pilot, keep looking outside the aircraft!
| Your Partner in Training |
|Take advantage of the many resources that AOPA membership offers you. AOPA Online presents you with a vast amount of information, including the AOPA Aviation Services guides. Subjects are drawn from real-life concerns of AOPA members, as heard by our staff in answering more than 100,000 member calls for help every year. From flying careers to medical certification to reducing the cost of flying, you'll find the guides to be a must-read as you continue your training. |
Do you have a question? Call our experienced pilots-available weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern-toll-free at 800/872-2672. As an AOPA Flight Training Member, you have access to all of the features within AOPA Online and AOPA Flight Training Online. Login information is available online.
| Flight Training News |
| AOPA MEETS WITH TOP HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICIALS |
The Department of Homeland Security understands security. AOPA understands general aviation. Together they can develop and implement security solutions that really work. That was the message AOPA President Phil Boyer brought to the table when he sat down across from Adm. James Loy, deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Rear Adm. David Stone, head of the Transportation Security Administration, at a meeting of the General Aviation Coalition earlier this week. Citing the contentious alien flight training/citizenship validation rule, which requires that pilots prove their citizenship if they are going for additional ratings or certificates in airplanes and helicopters, Boyer explained the need for cooperation. "We need to work together to be sure that regulations make sense. It's pointless to have regulators making rules that can't reasonably be implemented in the real world," he said. The association has been vocal in exposing the problems and has had some success in getting clarifications and changes to the rule, including a change to allow a simple logbook entry to show that a student's citizenship was properly validated. See AOPA Online.
FAA TO DISCONTINUE PRINTED SAFETY INFORMATION
Budget concerns have prompted the FAA's Aviation Safety Program to phase out the practice of sending printed safety meeting announcements to pilots via U.S. mail. Eventually, all information will be delivered via the program's Web site. Kathleen O'Brien, safety program manager for the Long Beach, California, Flight Standards District Office, said printing costs for the program's paper newsletter jumped 100 percent between July and August 2004. Pilots are urged to register an e-mail address at the Web site, where they can pick and choose notification services for safety seminars and other events. You do not need to register to search the events database. The FAA says it will not share its database of e-mail addresses with anyone.
WAI SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE NEARS
Time is running out for you to apply for one or more of the numerous scholarships available through Women in Aviation International. Scholarship opportunities include funds for training, aviation education, type ratings, and more. AOPA Flight Training magazine is offering a scholarship for two students to attend the sixteenth annual International Women in Aviation Conference, March 10 through 12, 2005, in Dallas, Texas. The Flight Training scholarship does not count toward members' limit of two applications. Applications are due Friday, December 3. Visit the Web site for more information or to download an application.
EMBRY-RIDDLE SPONSORS 'RIDE OF A LIFETIME' CONTEST
Have you ever wanted to go for a ride in an aerobatic airplane? Well, now could be your chance. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is sponsoring a "Ride of a Lifetime" contest, and the winner gets to take a flight in a Christen Eagle II with ERAU student Jamail Larkins. Larkins barnstormed the nation in a Cirrus SR20 earlier this year to encourage middle- and high-school students to pursue aviation careers. Legal U.S. residents between the ages of 13 and 20 are eligible to enter. The contest ends in July 2005. Enter online by completing a form with your name, address, e-mail address, grade, when you expect to graduate from high school, and your career goal. For more information or to enter, visit Embry-Riddle's Web site.
AIRLINE PILOT HIRING INCREASES OVER LAST YEAR
Airline pilot hiring for the first 10 months of 2004 has more than doubled compared to the number hired during that same time period in 2003, according to a hiring summary from AIR Inc. As of October, 8,209 airline pilots have been hired, with 687 for the month. By that time last year, 3,978 had been hired, with a total of 4,743 for the year. The national airlines hired the most pilots in October, with 339, followed by non-jet operators with 113, and the major carriers with 94.
SPORTY'S WEB SITE INCLUDES TERMINAL PROCEDURES
Sporty's has updated its Web site to allow pilots to download and view current FAA terminal procedure publications, including approaches, departures, arrivals, and airport diagrams for the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Chart Viewer requires Adobe Reader to view the publications. See the Web site for instructions and additional information.
| Inside AOPA |
| FULL-YEAR SAFETY SEMINAR PLANNING TOOL NOW ONLINE |
Now pilots who live in such out-of-the-way places as Toad Suck, Arkansas; Frankenstein, Missouri; and Knockemstiff, Ohio (yes, these are real places), will have no excuse for missing the next big AOPA Air Safety Foundation live seminar in a larger city near them because they didn't hear about it in time. A full-year planning calendar of ASF seminars has been added to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation Web site, answering the needs of pilots who need to plan farther ahead to reach seminar locations. The Air Safety Foundation moved live seminars to larger cities a few years ago for more cost-effective use of pilot-donor dollars. Pilots who are unable to travel to the larger cities can still take advantage of ASF's Seminar-in-a-Box. ASF holds more than 200 of the popular live seminars each year, with top professional presenters. Recent seminars have included Single-Pilot IFR, GPS: Beyond Direct-To, and Collision Avoidance. The current premiere live seminar is Weather Wise: Practical Tips and Tactical Tricks.
HAVE YOU UPDATED YOUR AOPA MEMBER PROFILE?
To make the most of your membership and allow us to serve you better, please visit AOPA Online and update your personal member profile.
| Training Products |
| WEB SITE OFFERS AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL BROADCASTS |
Want to brush up on your radio navigation skills from the comfort of your home? Wondering what rush hour sounds like at airports in Okinawa, Japan, or Trondheim, Norway? LiveATC.net offers free access to live radio traffic from airports around the world through a network of volunteer uplink sites on the Web. Feeds are delivered via streaming audio (MP3 format). Facilities are categorized by class, and each listing includes applicable ATC frequencies. There's an archive of a week's worth of transmissions for the dedicated listener. For more information, see the Web site.
Note: Products listed have not been evaluated by ePilot editors unless otherwise noted. AOPA assumes no responsibility for products or services listed or for claims or actions by manufacturers or vendors.
| Final Exam |
| Question: I talked to my aviation medical examiner about a medical condition I have to report on my next medical application. He told me he would have to defer my application and that it will take a couple of months before I get my certificate. What can I do to shorten the wait? |
Answer: The FAA's medical review process is slow, and some deferred applications take more than 120 days to process. There are steps you can take before you even apply for a medical that will reduce the time it takes for the FAA to clear your case. We highly recommend that you contact AOPA well before your examination-not the day before or the day of your physical-by calling 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672). And review AOPA's Medical Certification Tips to Know Before You Go for valuable information about doing your homework before the next exam.
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to [email protected] or call the Pilot Information Center, 800/872-2672. Don't forget the online archive of "Final Exam" questions and answers, searchable by keyword or topic.
| Picture Perfect |
|Looking for a unique gift this holiday season? Order high-quality prints from the AOPA Online Gallery. Search the hundreds of images, select your favorite, and a beautiful print will be shipped directly to your doorstep. Order by December 15 for guaranteed holiday delivery. Of course, you can still download your favorite images to use for wallpaper or send a personalized e-card. For more details, see AOPA Online. |
| What's New At AOPA Online |
|A pilot returning to the skies after 25 years wants to know what to look for in weather reports so that he can avoid turbulent conditions. Find out what the senior meteorologists at Meteorlogix recommend in the Frequently Asked Questions section. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| FLYING DESTINATIONS THIS WEEKEND: |
Houston, Texas. Wings and Wheels Saturday takes place November 20 at William P. Hobby (HOU). Features vintage aircraft and cars, lunch, and special attractions. Fly-in visitors are asked to R.S.V.P. Contact Drew Coats, 713/454-1940, or visit the Web site.
La Verne, California. A Thanksgiving Antique Aircraft/Classic Car Display takes place November 21 at Brackett Field (POC) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Classic, new, and homebuilt aircraft/antique car display. Free event. Contact Yvonne, 626/576-8692.
To submit an event to the calendar or to 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 Denver; Orlando, Florida; and Lincoln, Nebraska, December 4 and 5. Clinics are also scheduled in Chicago, and Austin, Texas, December 11 and 12. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Renewal Online.