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Copyright © 2005 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
| THUNDERSTORM SEASON |
In some places, thunderstorm season lasts 12 months a year. In most others, it has now returned. Regardless of where you fly, it is impossible to exaggerate the importance to pilots of understanding why thunderstorms rank among the most serious aviation hazards. Pilots must know how to identify conditions that could spawn thunderstorms along a proposed route of flight, and spot the indications during weather briefings and in-flight weather updates.
What are the hazards? "Thunderstorms can contain severe turbulence, strong updrafts and downdrafts, heavy rain, lightning, severe icing conditions, and hail. A thunderstorm's turbulence is extremely dangerous, as it can impose damaging G loads on an airframe and lead to loss of control of the aircraft, causing structural failure," explains AOPA's Handbook For Pilots , which offers two excellent checklists for thunderstorm avoidance during your preflight and in flight.
Why is seasonality a factor in the likelihood of thunderstorms? It has to do with one of the key concepts associated with thunderstorms: unstable air. Given instability and sufficient humidity, all that is needed to complete the T-storm recipe is some mechanism to start the unstable air rising. And, "In general, the atmosphere is more unstable in the spring than during other seasons because as the days grow longer and the sun moves higher into the sky, the ground warms up and heats the air close to it," writes meteorologist Jack Williams in "The Weather Never Sleeps: Making Sense of Stability" in the March 2005 AOPA Flight Training.
One of the most effective mechanisms for lifting unstable air is the movement of fronts. The forecast approach of any front is a caution-but be especially wary of fast-moving cold fronts. "Remember that as a cold front's advancing air plows beneath the warmer air ahead of it, tremendous lifting forces go to work on the humid, unstable warmer air mass being displaced. It's a perfect recipe for thunderstorms," wrote Thomas A. Horne in "Storm Season Insights" in the May 2004 AOPA Pilot.
Weather and its hazards comprise a vast but crucial study area for pilots. A great guide to tackling the subject, thereby becoming a "meteorologically savvy pilot," is found in Ralph Butcher's "Insights" column in the April 2004 AOPA Flight Training. Take the time, make the effort, and be rewarded with superior decision-making skills and confident, safe flying.
| Your Partner in Training |
|TFRs, ADIZs, SFARs-pilots flying these days face a range of new airspace restrictions. We can't afford to bust them, but who can keep them all straight? The AOPA Air Safety Foundation's online course Know Before You Go was designed to take the mystery out of it all and help you navigate today's changing airspace restrictions without incident. |
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 |
| BIG AIRLINES LEAD THE WAY IN MARCH AIRLINE PILOT HIRING |
National airlines once again hired more pilots in March than any other facet of the industry, according to hiring figures compiled by Air, Inc. The nationals hired 235 pilots in March, a less than 1-percent increase over February hiring totals. The major airlines hired 191 pilots, and jet operators added 128 pilots to their flight decks-more than double the amount hired the previous month. Meanwhile, non-jet operators hired 116, fractionals hired 65, and helicopter operators took on 15 pilots. For more information, see the Web site.
BOYER PRESENTS GRANT FOR EDUCATION CENTER AT SUN 'N FUN
AOPA President Phil Boyer presented a $5,000 check to Sun 'n Fun President John Burton on April 14 to help fund a new safety education center at the Florida Air Museum. The grant will be used to purchase and maintain computer equipment in the center. Internet-enabled computers will be dedicated to carrying safety courses from the AOPA Online Safety Center. Boyer presented the check to Burton during a Pilot Town Meeting held at Sun 'n Fun. For more, see the news story on AOPA Online.
EMBRY-RIDDLE, FLORIDA AIR MUSEUM OFFER SUMMER CAMPS
With summertime looming, it's time to plan a camp adventure for your child. Schools and organizations around the country offer camps with themes ranging from space exploration to aviation careers. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Summer Academy for teenagers provides 10 sessions from June 13 to August 9. Programs and prices vary; see the Web site or call 800/359-4550. The Florida Air Museum at Sun 'n Fun, Lakeland, Florida, sponsors Destination Aviation camps for children entering sixth through twelfth grades, and Space Camp for 8- to 10-year-olds. Call Robin Hutchinson at 863/644-2431, extension 183, for more information or to register.
| Inside AOPA |
BOYER MEETS WITH POWERFUL HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN
At last, AOPA has one place to go to discuss security issues that affect GA. AOPA President Phil Boyer met Wednesday with Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), the first chairman of the new permanent House Committee on Homeland Security. With direct jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security and its many subsidiary agencies, including the TSA, Secret Service, and others, the committee represents the focal point for aviation security issues. "It was a great first meeting," said Boyer. "Rep. Cox believes-as does AOPA-that security measures should be commensurate with the risk. He's also very concerned about the economic impact of overarching security restrictions. And he thinks that we can do more overall damage to ourselves with ill-considered security responses than could ever be done by a single terrorist strike." Cox also understands GA. His father was an AOPA member and he regularly travels by general aviation. See AOPA Online.
AOPA MOUNTS STRONG OPPOSITION TO USER FEES
AOPA is taking every available opportunity to make sure policymakers and lawmakers understand general aviation and AOPA members' concerns about user fees. This week, Andy Cebula, senior vice president of government and technical affairs, attended the Air Traffic Control Association conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey. On hand was a representative from the airlines who claimed that GA is competing with them for airspace and airport access. Cebula provided the members' and GA pilots' perspective. "The possibility of user fees and the closure of airports are our members' top concerns," he told the conference. "They believe that user fees are not the way to finance the FAA, and that fees would harm general aviation." For more, see the complete story on AOPA Online.
GET TOP IFR RESOURCES WITH ONE MOUSE CLICK
Now you can get the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's best IFR resources with a simple click of the mouse. In the "Now Featuring" section of the AOPA Online Safety Center, you'll find Online Courses ( IFR Adventure: Rules to Live By and Single-Pilot IFR), four IFR-related Sporty's Safety Quizzes, and the Single-Pilot IFR Safety Advisor and DVD.
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 |
| CHECKLISTS, CHARTS EXAMINED IN 'PILOTING WITH CONFIDENCE' |
James Spudich has published Piloting with Confidence, an instructional book for students and pilots with an interest in developing a more in-depth checklist protocol for their airplanes, as well as a greater understanding of procedures in general. It features a good, thorough process for creating your own checklist and explains in great detail why you do some of the things you do in the airplane. There are also some solid tips on flying with the Garmin GNS 430 and 530 and the Garmin GPSMap 196 handheld GPS receiver. The price is $24.95. 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 recently started flight training for my private pilot certificate at a busy towered airport. There are a lot of airport signs and markings on and near the taxiways and runways, and I'm uncertain what some of them mean. Can AOPA help me? |
Answer: The AOPA Air Safety Foundation has runway marking and signage flashcards that can be downloaded for free online. These allow pilots at all levels to better understand airport markings and signs. The Operations at Towered Airports Safety Advisor presents detailed, helpful information. Both documents are available in the AOPA Online Safety Center. In addition, the Aeronautical Information Manual, Chapter 2, Section 3 provides descriptions and definitions of most airport marking aids and signs, including those for taxiways and runways.
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 images in our archives and select your favorites today! For more details, see AOPA Online. |
| What's New At AOPA Online |
|What travel adventures await you when you complete your private pilot certificate? Chip Wright, contributing editor of AOPA Flight Training magazine, describes a weekend escapade involving an irresistible urge for a summertime treat in "The Blue-Crab Caper," in the May 2005 AOPA Pilot. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS: |
Vidalia, Georgia. The Vidalia Onion Festival Airshow takes place April 23 and 24 at Vidalia Regional (VDI). The U.S. Navy Blue Angels will be featured in a two-day airshow that wraps up the world-famous five-day Vidalia Onion Festival. Join us beginning April 20 for good food featuring Vidalia onions, live music, arts and crafts, fireworks, and great family fun! Visit the Web site.
Galveston, Texas. The Ron Carter Spirit of Flight Airshow takes place April 23 and 24 at Scholes International at Galveston (GLS). Gates open at 9 a.m. at the Lone Star Flight Museum. Featuring historic warbirds, current military jets, and aerobatic performers, including U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team, F-16 flyby, and more. Call 409/740-7722 or 888/FLIGHT8, or visit the Web site.
Dallas, Texas. The Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) Forty-ninth Annual Trade Show takes place April 28 through 30 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. The meeting will feature timely business topics as well as an exhibit area offering the latest technology. Contact Tracy West, 816/373-6565.
El Cajon, California. The Wings Over Gillespie Airshow takes place April 29 through May 1 at Gillespie Field (SEE) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Featuring a salute to Midway. The battle, the aircraft, the carrier, and the legendary men and women of our armed forces. Contact Steven Real, 619/518-5895, or visit the Web site.
Florence, South Carolina. The Mayfly Airshow and Fly-in takes place April 30 at Florence Regional (FLO). Numerous performers, military static line, and classic car/motorcycle show. Fly-in patrons encouraged. Peterbuilt jet trucks race down the runway. Contact Florence Chamber of Commerce, 843/665-0515, 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.
FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Pensacola, Florida; Schenectady, New York; and Houston, May 14 and 15. Courses are also scheduled in Sacramento, California; Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; and Kansas City, Missouri, May 21 and 22. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
AOPA AIR SAFETY FOUNDATION SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Springfield, Missouri, and Hudson, North Carolina, April 25; Olathe, Kansas, and Fayetteville, North Carolina, April 26; Castle Hayne, North Carolina, April 27; and Springfield, Illinois, April 28. The topics vary-for a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.