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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition -- Vol. 5, Issue 50AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition -- Vol. 5, Issue 50

To view the AOPA ePilot archives, click here.

Volume 5, Issue 50 • December 16, 2005
In this issue:
TSA extends deadline for recurrent security training
I ntro flights to increase to $59 in 2006
AOPA TV ad campaign to show importance of GA


Comm1 Radio Simulator


Scheyden Eyewear

King Schools

Garmin International


Seattle Avionics

Pilot Insurance Center

Diamond Aircraft

MBNA Credit Card Program

Sporty's Pilot Shop

Minnesota Life Insurance

Do not reply to this e-mail. Got news? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].

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Copyright © 2005 AOPA.

Training Tips

The December 2 and December 9, 2005, Training Tips described the importance of flying a precise initial departure after takeoff, then leveling off expeditiously at cruise altitude for a prompt transition to en route navigation-especially at a busy airport where inbound traffic could be arriving on both sides of your departure corridor. Traffic conditions warranting, air traffic control could keep you on an assigned initial heading (perhaps with an altitude restriction) for some time before saying, "Proceed on course, altitude at your discretion." Will you be ready to begin navigating your course from an unexpected point in space? This took a new pilot by surprise as described in the May 14, 2004, Training Tips.

One way to avoid having a traffic-separation vector complicate your flight is to practice such departures with your instructor on dual cross-countries, or even when departing on local training flights. Also remember that picking large, prominent visual checkpoints that will be quick to appear once you get headed back in the right direction simplifies everything. "You can follow railroads (aka 'the iron compass') from one town to the next or take the interstate (aka 'IFR-I fly roads'). The trick here is to pick easily identifiable checkpoints and to remember that what looks prominent on a chart may be practically invisible from the cockpit," wrote Thomas A. Horne in the May 1997 AOPA Pilot column "Measure of Skill: Navigation Necessities."

Altitude is your ally when looking for checkpoints. Even if you are still receiving radar traffic advisories from air traffic control, climbing is now at your discretion. "All that is required of the VFR pilot is to inform the controller that you are leaving your cruising altitude and climbing or descending to some other altitude. The controller likely will respond with 'Roger, maintain VFR,'" explained columnist Mark Twombly in the April 2005 AOPA Flight Training commentary "Continuing Ed: Traffic Advisories."

Another pointer: Keep track of how much time you spend flying away from your desired course, so you can establish your position on your sectional chart. Handling a hectic departure is routine if your situational awareness prepares you for it, letting your sharp navigational skills speed you on your way.

Your Partner in Training
No person will be more influential in nurturing your desire to fly than your first flight instructor. A good flight instructor will make the flight training process enjoyable while teaching you the intricacies of flight at a pace that is suitable to your schedule and level of learning. Begin your research by reviewing the AOPA Flight Training magazine archives for helpful articles on selecting an instructor. To find an instructor in your area, go to our searchable database of flight instructors.

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
Flight instructors and flight school employees now have an additional six months to renew their TSA-mandated security awareness training. The Transportation Security Administration has just published an exemption to allow CFIs and others to take recurrent security training within 18 months, rather than one year, of their initial training. "While this is a good first step, AOPA continues to advocate for biennial recurrent security awareness training, so that it would coincide with a CFI's certificate renewal," said Rob Hackman, AOPA manager of regulatory and certification policy. Federal law requires that anyone who comes in direct contact with flight students, including instructors and flight school employees, undergo annual security awareness training. See AOPA Online.

The price of an introductory flight lesson through the Be A Pilot program will be $59 in 2006, Be A Pilot announced. Prospective pilots can get the introductory rate at any of more than 2,100 participating U.S. and Canadian flight schools by printing out a certificate from the Web site. "Helping flight schools face increasing fuel and insurance costs, this 20-percent increase in promotional revenue will be a welcomed relief to our partners, but a small matter to motivated prospective students," said Be A Pilot Chairman Phil Michel. "As we monitor the economy during early 2006, we will closely watch both costs and consumer reactions to the price and determine our strategy for the balance of 2006," he said. Be a Pilot ended 2005 with some 25,000 individuals registered for a $49 first flying lesson, bringing total pilot prospects generated since 1997 to nearly 258,000.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would carry a $250,000 fine and a possible five-year prison term for people who point lasers at aircraft. Sponsored by Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.), H.R.1400 would patch a hole in federal law where there currently is no prohibition against pointing laser beams at aircraft. Laser beams can temporarily blind pilots and, in some reported cases, cause permanent damage to the eyes. The House passed the bill last Thursday by voice vote, and it is now headed for the Senate. "Small laser devices have become more readily available in recent years, and we've seen a sharp increase in the number of incidents," said Melissa Rudinger, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. "We're certainly glad to see legislation that would help protect pilots." FAA Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Nick Sabatini testified in March that there have been more than 400 reported laser incidents since 1990. And because of a recent spike, the FAA has established a reporting system to track the trend. For more information, see AOPA's air traffic services brief, "Lasers and General Aviation."

Pan Am International Flight Academy's Career Pilot Development division is offering discounted and free programs to all military veterans who enroll in its training programs. Military veterans, including reservists who were activated after September 11, 2001, are entitled to be reimbursed for qualifying flight training expenses through the Montgomery GI Bill. Those who sign up for PAIFA's full program will receive a free Air Crew Education (ACE) course valued at $6,120. A prorated discount will be given to those with prior flight experience. ACE is a turbine-transition airline preparation course based on the Canadair Regional Jet. James DeLong, vice president of PAIFA's CPD division, said that eligible veterans will receive nearly $37,000 in savings after Montgomery GI Bill reimbursement and the free ACE course. For more information, see the Web site.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded a five-year contract to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to provide flight, security, and safety training to government employees. Under the agreement, any government agency can purchase Embry-Riddle training-related courses without having to go through a competitive bidding or grants process. The contract is currently limited to flight, security, and safety, but includes language that the university may renegotiate with GSA to add other training-related subjects as required.

Inside AOPA

AOPA once again will be airing TV commercials on the Weather Channel that showcase the importance of general aviation. New this year is a spot focusing on GA security in addition to the four rotating commercials that ran last year. The new commercial is slated to get more than 30 percent of the play. The commercials will run about 125 times during a crucial period when pilot and nonpilot viewers alike are paying close attention to weather forecasts to get to their destinations. See the complete story on AOPA Online.

AOPA Air Safety Foundation holiday cards are now available. Choose your favorite card design, address labels, and decorative seals. A portion of the proceeds from each box will help the foundation's mission to improve general aviation safety. To view the cards, or place an order, see the Web site or call 800/308-4285.

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

Flight schools that have been pricing aviation training devices may want to consider the newest personal computer-assisted training device from Aviation Supplies and Academics. The On Top Basic ATD meets FAA requirements for a loggable training device, when flown under the supervision of a flight instructor, for 10 hours toward an instrument rating, up to six instrument approaches, holding procedures, intercepting and tracking navaids for instrument currency, 2.5 hours toward the private pilot certificate requirements, and any number of hours for proficiency training. The $3,995 retail price includes software, Cirrus II flight console with throttle quadrant, Cirrus rudder pedals, AV-1 avionics stack, user manual, and instructional guide with integrated ground/flight training syllabus. PC and monitor are not included. 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: Why is there often a difference between the magnetic variation for an airport and the VOR located at the same airport?

Answer: An airport's magnetic variation is determined by the isogonic line oriented toward magnetic north and is depicted for pilots as a magenta dashed line ( download the chart user's guide) on sectional charts. According to the National Aeronautical Charting Office, when a navaid is first constructed, the antenna is physically oriented to true north and then adjusted to magnetic north, matching the isogonic line and your magnetic compass in the airplane. The Airport/Facility Directory lists what the magnetic variation for the VOR is. The Earth's magnetic variation is constantly changing. The isogonic lines are adjusted accordingly on sectional charts, but the VOR will not be realigned until the tolerance is as at least +/- 6 degrees, creating the difference you've noticed. For those pilots who use GPS equipment for navigation, the databases do make appropriate adjustments for the most up-to-date magnetic variation. For additional information on magnetic variation, see AOPA Online.

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 some really fabulous aviation photography? All the air-to-air photos and beautifully detailed ground images used by AOPA Pilot magazine over the years are yours at the click of a mouse button. Download your favorite images to use for wallpaper, send an e-postcard, or order prints online. For more details, see AOPA Online.

What's New At AOPA Online
Don't let cold temperatures keep you down on the ground. Winter's cold, clear days offer increased aircraft performance and excellent visibility. Read AOPA's winter flying subject report for tips on cold weather operations, aircraft icing, and more.

Weekend Weather
See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix.

ePilot Calendar
Fort Pierce, Florida. A Fly-in Breakfast takes place December 17 at St. Lucie County International (FPR) from 8 to 11 a.m. Meet at the EAA 908 Hangar, east side of field. Contact Paul Fischer, 772/464-0538.

Houston, Texas. A Wings & Wheels Saturday takes place December 17 at the 1940 Air Terminal Museum on William P. Hobby (HOU). Features for fly-in visitors include vintage aircraft, vintage vehicles, museum tours, lunch, and special attractions. Contact Drew Coats, 713/454-1940.

La Verne, California. A Holiday Antique Aircraft/Classic Car Display takes place December 18 at Brackett Field (POC) from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Display your special aircraft, car, or motorbike. Fly-ins welcome. 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.

The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Long Beach, California; Detroit; and Portland, Oregon, January 7 and 8. 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 are scheduled in Reno, Nevada, January 2; Sacramento, California, January 3; Santa Rosa, California, January 4; and San Jose, California, January 5. The Topic is "Do the Right Thing-Decision Making for Pilots." For more details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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