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| Training Tips |
| THE FREEZING LEVEL |
As the weather turns colder you may have noticed that the term freezing level has started showing up in some weather reports and forecasts. You also may have heard that instrument pilots depend on information about the freezing level to avoid ice encounters during flight through clouds.
Freezing level information is also of interest to the visual flight rules (VFR) pilot. If a temperature inversion (discussed in the September 19, 2003, Training Tips) exists, rain falling into a layer of colder air could freeze on the surface of an airplane flying in visual conditions. This is one of the most serious weather hazards of cooler seasons. "Freezing rain and drizzle are the ultimate enemies that can drastically roughen large surface areas or distort airfoil shapes and make flight extremely dangerous or impossible in a matter of a few minutes," explains the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Aircraft Icing Safety Advisor .
The general heights of freezing levels appear in statements included in area forecasts (FA) if they are expected at the time of your weather briefing. Those four-panel "prog charts" that you study for weather data also provide information on freezing levels. "The top maps on both the 12- and 24-hour sides show weather conditions from just above the surface up to 24,000 feet, including ceilings or visibility that qualify as marginal VFR or IFR. The upper maps also show areas where moderate or stronger turbulence is forecast, freezing levels aloft, and where the freezing level should be at the surface. The bottom two maps show conditions at the surface, including the positions of fronts and high- and low-pressure areas. The lower maps also show where and what kind of precipitation is forecast, meteorologist Jack Williams explains in the February 2001 AOPA Flight Training column "The Weather Never Sleeps." Winds aloft forecasts (FD) include temperatures as illustrated in Figure 11-7 in Chapter 11 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge which can be downloaded from AOPA Online. Note that temperatures are not given for levels that are within 2,500 feet of a surface station's elevation.
While in flight be sure to carefully monitor your aircraft's outside air temperature gauge. If the temperature is near freezing and precipitation seems likely, take a quick, safe route back to the airport before the first raindrops fall.
| Your Partner in Training |
|To help pilots, student pilots, and instructors better understand runway signs and markers, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation has produced a runway incursion training program using a decidedly low-tech approach: flash cards. Pilots who train at smaller, nontowered airports will find them helpful when preparing to operate at larger, towered airports. See the Air Safety Foundation's online Runway Safety Program for more information. |
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 OPPOSES TALK OF USER FEES FOR EXAMINERS, INSPECTORS |
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) praised the way the FAA monitors aviation medical examiners (AMEs) and proposed expanding that system to monitor its other designee programs. But how would the FAA pay for it? The GAO suggested that the agency charge designees application and renewal fees. And that's where AOPA draws the line. "Ultimately, pilots would incur the cost of these recommended fees. Pilot examiners and inspectors would increase their prices to account for the added cost," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of government and technical affairs. "Pilots already pay for their portion of these aviation services through fuel tax. And Congress just passed spending legislation that once again prohibits new user fees, legislation that AOPA lobbied for." If the FAA were to charge fees to designees, it would need a change in the law-a move that AOPA would fight. See AOPA Online.
ALUMNUS DONATES JET TO WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Western Michigan University alumnus Robert Gustafson donated his personal Sabreliner to his alma mater's College of Aviation on November 17. The 1974 Sabre 60, which once belonged to championship golfer Jack Nicklaus, will be used as a maintenance technology training device. A 1958 graduate of WMU, Gustafson was a ground and flight instructor at Plainwell Airport, owned and operated a flight school and FBO at Brooks Field in Marshall, and later operated a Piper aircraft dealership in Kalamazoo. He is now CEO of Hubert Distributors Inc. Gustafson's gift comes a few weeks after WMU took possession of a Cessna 425 Conquest that had belonged to a former member of the Women's Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) program. Suzanne D. Parish is retaining ownership of the twin-engine turboprop, but is leasing it to WMU for $1 per year. WMU students will work to restore the Conquest to airworthiness, which is estimated to take about a year.
DANIEL WEBSTER EXPANDS AERONAUTICAL ENGINEERING PROGRAM
Four-year degree programs in aeronautical and mechanical engineering will debut at Daniel Webster College, in Nashua, New Hampshire, in fall 2005. The programs expand the opportunities available to students interested in aviation, according to Philip Poynor, aviation division chairman. Only two mechanical engineering programs are currently offered in New Hampshire, and only two other New England colleges offer aeronautical engineering programs, the college said. For more information about the program, visit the Web site.
| Inside AOPA |
| LEARN WHAT FAA FACILITIES ARE REALLY LIKE, THANKS TO AOPA |
Air traffic controllers are more than disembodied voices over the radio. In the past flight instructors have used visits to FAA facilities as valuable learning experiences for their students. Although there has been confusion over access to these facilities because of security concerns, AOPA has determined that there is currently no nationwide security reason to bar pilot access to flight service stations, air traffic control facilities, and other FAA offices. That's a "deliverable" on an "IOU" AOPA President Phil Boyer took at AOPA Expo last month that stemmed from a question asked of Adm. David Stone, chief of the Transportation Security Administration. Now here is the official answer from the FAA's security office. Under the current "code yellow" (elevated) threat alert, flight service stations should still be open to walk-in briefings (unless there is a specific threat at a specific facility). Pilots should also be allowed access to air traffic control facilities for operational purposes. Access to FAA facilities will be more restricted or prohibited if the threat level is raised to code orange (high) or red (severe). See AOPA Online.
CFIs PITCH IN TO IMPROVE SAFETY IN ALASKA MOUNTAIN PASSES
Certified flight instructors at last weekend's ASF Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic (FIRC) in Anchorage were asked to help shape the future of a high-tech aviation safety project in Alaska. The CFIs received a special briefing during the weekend on the "Dynamic Street Signs and Highways In The Sky" project, which is sponsored by NASA and the Alaska's Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The effort is aimed at decreasing the number of fatal accidents in Alaska's mountain passes, which are acknowledged to be some of the nation's most challenging flight environments. As part of the briefing, CFIs had a chance to fly realistic simulators showing the safest mountain pass routes under varying conditions. ASF FIRC team leader Mike Mechsner, who helped coordinate the demonstration for the CFIs, called the project "3-D terrain following radar, but without the radar."
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 |
| AIR FACTS DVD EXPLORES IFR RISK MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES |
Three instrument flight rules (IFR) risk management videos are combined on one DVD in the latest addition to Sporty's Air Facts series. IFR Risk Management includes "IFR Weather Briefing," which explores weather briefing strategies for a safe IFR flight; "IFR Crew of One," which focuses on how a solo pilot can best handle the various phases of IFR flight; and "Datalink Weather," an examination of Nexrad imagery and text weather reports on multi-function displays. The DVD sells for $25. Order the complete series of 30 Air Facts subjects on eight DVDs for $100, or browse the selection with a free sampler DVD. 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'm a student pilot in central Florida. I noticed on my Jacksonville Sectional chart that there is a hash-marked black line similar to a military operations area (MOA). However associated with this line is a floor and ceiling symbol in black similar to Class B and C airspace. What does this line indicate? |
Answer: The chart is identifying an instrument flight rules (IFR) military training route and MOA within which the Department of Defense (DOD) conducts periodic operations involving unmanned aerospace vehicles. These vehicles are escorted by military tactical-type aircraft which exercise override flight control of the unmanned vehicles as needed. Pilots should treat this area just like any other MOA. Status of these routes and areas may be obtained by contacting the associated FAA/DOD facility on the designated frequencies along the routes or as depicted on the bottom of your chart adjacent to the MOA information. If you need further assistance on charts and how to utilize them, consult the Aeronautical Chart User's Guide . Find out what AOPA's position is concerning unmanned aerial vehicles on AOPA Online.
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to email@example.com 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 |
|The instrument-rated pilot thought a night cross-country in his newly purchased Bellanca Super Viking would be a treat-until the airplane's electrical system began to malfunction. The November 2004 installment of Never Again Online illustrates why it's important to know your aircraft well before you fly at night or on instruments. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| FLYING DESTINATIONS NEXT WEEKEND: |
Middle River, Maryland. The Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum Speaker Series presents Ken Hyde, founder of the Wright Experience, December 6 at the Lockheed Martin Auditorium. He will discuss his team's efforts in recreating the first fully authentic Flyer replica. Contact Debi Wynn, 410/682-6122, or visit the Web site.
Galveston, Texas. The American Yankee Association South Central Grumman Fly-in takes place December 4 at Galveston (GLS). Join Grumman owners and pilots to tour the Lone Star Flight Museum, and play and dine at Moody Gardens. See the Web site for more information.
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.