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| Training Tips |
| PART-TIME TOWERS |
Up at dawn and aloft in smooth morning air, your destination is a nearby tower-controlled airport where you have been authorized to practice solo takeoffs and landings. The radio frequencies are silent—but it's early. You double-check the frequencies set in your radios to be certain. Then it catches your eye—a star printed next to the tower frequency on your aeronautical chart. (See symbols and explanations in the Aeronautical Chart User's Guide, which can be downloaded from AOPA Online). The star means that the airport control tower does not operate full-time.
What time will the tower open? Which radio frequencies are in use while the tower is closed? You were prepared for flying into Class D airspace; if the tower is not open, are the associated rules and airspace classification still the same?
"The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) provides information on air traffic control and specifically discusses traffic advisory practices at airports without operating control towers. At nontowered airports, the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) will normally be the designated unicom frequency. However, at an airport that has a part-time tower, the CTAF will normally [be] the tower frequency after the tower closes," AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg wrote in "Instructor Report" in the December 2000 AOPA Flight Training.
As for airspace classification, the AIM requires an "operational control tower" for Class D airspace to be in effect. (What class is your destination's airspace when the tower is closed?) Tower hours can also affect the busier, radar-based Class C airspace. Surprising? Note the AIM's definition of Class C airspace: "Generally, that airspace from the surface to 4,000 feet above the airport elevation [charted in msl] surrounding those airports that have an operational control tower, are serviced by a radar approach control, and that have a certain number of IFR operations or passenger enplanements." ( Click here to view the AIM's complete discussion.)
Many control towers operate less than round-the-clock. Here is an example from AOPA's Airport Directory Online that lists information about a part-time control tower at Hagerstown (Maryland) Regional Airport (HGR). Note that the "tower hours" from October through March are different from April to September.
Airspace doesn't always live up to its charted appearance. Careful preflight research will prepare you for the rules in effect when you arrive.
| Your Partner in Training |
|Temperatures are dipping in most parts of the country. Before you go up for some pattern work on a chilly morning, there are extra steps you'll want to take before you start the engine. Review the preflight-to-tiedown techniques discussed in Jeff Pardo's "Frigid Flight Fundamentals" from the archives of AOPA Flight Training. Then read the January 17, 2003, edition of "Training Tips" and AOPA's Aviation Subject Report on Winter Flying to round out your understanding. |
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 |
| WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY TAKES NIFA TITLE |
The Western Michigan University Sky Broncos flight team edged out Ohio State University by one point to win the National Intercollegiate Flying Association's Region III 2004 SAFECON, which took place October 5 through 9. Collegiate teams competed in ground and flight events testing their skill level in areas ranging from flight planning to spot landings. The Sky Broncos came in with 221 points while Ohio State had 220. Ohio University rounded out the top three with 101 points. This makes it Western Michigan's thirteenth win in 14 years, according to the university. The national competition is scheduled for April 26 through 30, 2005, at Kansas State University.
FAA RENEWS RUNWAY INCURSION SAFETY PROGRAM
The FAA has extended its Runway Incursion Information and Evaluation Program (RIIEP) through July 20, 2005. REIP allows FAA investigators to collect information from pilots involved in runway incursions and surface incidents. This helps the FAA to determine the best way to educate pilots and reduce the number of incursions; pilots who participate in the program often avoid legal action from the FAA. For more information on RIIEP and free runway safety education resources available from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, see the complete story on AOPA Online.
PURDUE ALUM PLEDGES $3.5 MILLION FOR AVIATION PROGRAM
A Purdue University alumnus has pledged $3.5 million toward a new aviation technology building along with the renovation of a terminal building where Amelia Earhart hangared her airplane at the Purdue University Airport. Scott M. Niswonger, chairman and CEO of two air cargo operations, announced the gift on October 14 and issued a challenge to Purdue to raise the rest of the $6 million for the project. Purdue says the construction project will provide increased technology in classrooms, allowing the school to move aviation education into the future.
| Inside AOPA |
| TSA AMENDS PART OF NEW ALIEN FLIGHT TRAINING RULE |
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has made some last-minute modifications to its alien flight training rule, but much work remains on the fundamental problems with the rule, according to AOPA. In its original rule, TSA mandated that all 635,000 U.S. certificated pilots—including some 85,000 resident aliens—have their identification and citizenship verified and recorded, among other onerous provisions. TSA has filed changes to the rule including limiting the applicability of the rule's "citizenship validation" to individuals receiving training for a new certificate or rating. Any other activity—such as a flight review—does not require proof of citizenship. The original compliance date was October 20. After AOPA's recent actions, TSA elected to delay the compliance for pilots (U.S. citizens and aliens) currently holding an FAA certificate to December 20. However, aliens receiving training in the United States for the first time must comply with the rule now, creating new responsibilities for instructors who offer that type of training. "The recent changes are a start but just that and only that," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "While some of our recommended changes have now been implemented, let there be no question: Significant issues still exist, and additional amendments to the original rule must be made if it is ever going to be appropriately effective and realistically workable." See AOPA Online for complete coverage as well as an e-mail address to field your questions.
BUT TSA RULE MEANS MORE WORK FOR FLIGHT INSTRUCTORS
Almost nothing has been done to prepare the aviation community for this rule, including instructing the country's 88,000 flight instructors who would be required to collect and file the information. At the urging of AOPA, TSA also has changed the record-keeping requirements for flight instructors and flight schools. The first version of the rule required that flight instructors keep copies of a pilot's proof of citizenship (passport, birth certificate, social security card, etc.) for five years. The revised rule—amended after the association affirmed the effectiveness of aviation record keeping throughout the world—now requires that flight instructors review the pilot's citizenship documents and note in the CFI's and student's logbook that the flight instructor has determined that the pilot is a U.S. citizen and eligible to receive flight instruction. What hasn't changed is the requirement that flight instructors notify TSA when a non-U.S. citizen seeks flight training. Instructors must also send TSA a photograph of the pilot applicant, taken by the flight instructor. "These requirements are absurd. They place an unfair burden on the flight instructor to do a job that rightly belongs to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly INS) and TSA," said Boyer. "Flight instructors aren't trained to be document inspectors like a border guard, nor should they be expected to be mug-shot photographers."
AOPA EXPO HAS OPENED
Thousands of AOPA members have ventured to or are on their way to AOPA Expo 2004 in Long Beach, California. The three-day event began yesterday and continues through Saturday. More than 500 exhibitors are displaying their wares while more than 70 aircraft are on display at Long Beach/Daugherty Field. There are also more than 75 hours of seminars. 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.
FAA ADMINISTRATOR SAYS FLIGHT BRIEFINGS ARE GOING PRIVATE
Appearing via satellite at AOPA Expo, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey on Thursday prepared the pilot community for the upcoming contract award, between January and March 2005, allowing private industry to operate 58 of the 61 flight service stations (three are in Alaska and are exempt from the contract because of the unusual environmental factors in the state). There will continue to be no fees to pilots for briefings once the flight service stations are handed over to private industry. Blakey also reiterated her opposition to user fees for providing air traffic services to pilots and praised efforts by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation and its online interactive runway safety course for helping reduce accidents. However, all of the 14 more serious incidents this year were caused by GA pilots, she said. For more on Blakey's speech and a recorded video presentation, see AOPA Online.
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 |
| SPORTY'S PRESENTS CITATION TRAINING ON DVD |
For those who hope to fly a Cessna Citation, or those who are curious about jet systems, Sporty's is offering a new Citation Training DVD course. A professional Citation and multiengine jet instructor teaches the viewer how the Citation and its systems operate, as well as normal, abnormal, and emergency procedures for each system. A preflight shows viewers basic aircraft components, and a 40-minute flight illustrates what Citation training and an FAA flight check will look like. The DVD is more than three hours in length and comes with a study guide and oral preparation guide. It sells for $99. Order online or call 800/SPORTYS.
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: My family doctor is suggesting that I start taking an antidepressant drug on a temporary basis to help me through some personal issues I'm facing. Before I start taking the medication, can you tell me if the FAA would allow this type of drug? |
Answer: The FAA's policy on drug usage does not allow the use of any antidepressant, mood altering and/or anti-anxiety medication, for any class of medical certificate. These medications are often prescribed for "off label" use; that is, they are treating symptoms other than those for which the Food and Drug Administration approved the medication. All antidepressants, including medications such as Paxil, Prozac, Effexor, Lexapro, and Zoloft, are currently disqualifying, regardless of the reason for their use. More information is available online. If you want to find out more about a specific medication, search AOPA's medication database. You can also call AOPA's medical certification specialists at 800/USA-AOPA weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern standard time.
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 |
|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 |
|Take a ride with AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne as he flies the AOPA Win-A-Twin Sweepstakes Twin Comanche from Ohio to Long Beach, California, for AOPA Expo 2004. On the 2,000-mile jaunt, he deals with some interesting fall weather that brings ice, headwinds, and some convective activity. Read Horne's detailed trip report on AOPA Online. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| FLYING DESTINATIONS THIS WEEKEND: |
Andrews, North Carolina. The Celebration of Flight Airshow takes place October 23 at Andrews-Murphy (RHP) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Military and civilian aircraft displays, demonstrations, flybys, and aerobatic performances. Fly-ins welcome. Visit the Web site.
Tallulah, Louisiana. The Southern Heritage Airshow takes place October 23 at Vicksburg Tallulah Regional (TVR). Featuring the national-award-winning Aeroshell Aerobatic Team. Eight thrilling acts include warbirds, Pitts, Decathlons, and an Ag-Cat crop duster performing aerobatics. Contact Randy Woods, 318/574-5841.
Long Beach, California. AOPA Expo 2004 takes place October 21 through 23 at the Long Beach Convention Center. AOPA Expo brings together everything for GA pilots in one location. Join us for exhibits, seminars, static display, and meeting your fellow pilots. We'll see you in Long Beach. Call 800/USA-AOPA, or visit the Web site.
Sebring, Florida. The U.S. Sport Aviation Expo takes place October 28 through 31 at Sebring Regional (SEF). The inaugural event will bring together aircraft and related exhibitors and people interested in light sport aircraft and sport pilot opportunities. Contact Robert Wood, 863/655-6444 ext. 117, or visit the Web site.
West Des Moines, Iowa. The 2004 Iowa Aviation Conference takes place November 3 and 4 at the University Park Holiday Inn. Featuring Rod Machado ($98 advance registration). Contact Iowa Public Airports Association, 515/239-1691, or visit the Web site.
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 Clinic is scheduled in Wichita, Kansas, October 30 and 31. Clinics are also scheduled in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Reston, Virginia, November 6 and 7. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Renewal Online.
ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Richmond, Virginia, October 25; Hampton, Virginia, October 26; Fredericksburg, Virginia, October 27; and Abington, Virginia, October 28. The seminar topic will be "Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings." For complete details, see AOPA Online.