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Copyright © 2005 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
| CHECK THE SOCK |
Inbound for landing, you monitor an automated weather station or an automatic terminal information service (ATIS) broadcast, noting the wind speed and direction. Next you receive your landing instructions from an air traffic controller (at a towered airport) or enter a traffic pattern at a nontowered airport. Either way, there may still be a surprise lurking-as you discover when the landing turns out to be less than satisfactory because the wind was not as advertised. What happened?
"Too many pilots rely solely on the tower, ATIS, AWOS, or ASOS reported winds to tell them what the wind is doing," Ralph Butcher wrote in the September 2001 AOPA Flight Training column "Insights: False Assumptions." "On-the-scene indications are far more meaningful. Windsocks, smoke, steam, dust plumes, flags, and the smoke generated by a jet's tires smacking the runway are all good indicators."
Especially when arriving at an airport for the first time, it's tempting to rely on whatever wind information is available from many miles out. You may also worry about being able to locate the windsock. Usually, windsock installations are placed "in a central location near the runway" and may be surrounded by a segmented circle. Windsocks and other wind indicators are discussed and illustrated in Chapter 12 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.
When planning your arrival based on an ATIS broadcast, note the time it was prepared, stated at the beginning of the report. On a gusty day the broadcast may include variations in wind direction and speed. (ATIS broadcasts are described in Chapter Four of the Aeronautical Information Manual.)
Windsocks date almost to the dawn of flying but have not outlived their usefulness. "I've been in the cockpit of Boeing 747-400s-those flying apartment complexes loaded with avionics-where the last thing the captain looked at prior to releasing the brakes for takeoff was the windsock," wrote Dave English in an August 1996 Flight Training synopsis of the history and use of "wind cones."
Nobody likes surprises, especially when the information you need most is right before your eyes. So get the winds, get your landing clearance or announce your traffic pattern-and check the sock!
| Your Partner in Training |
|Is money for lessons, equipment, or aircraft rental a little tight after the holidays? AOPA may be able to help! The AOPA credit card can help pay for your lessons with a 5-percent FBO credit rebate, up to $250 per year. You can also use the card to save 5 percent on aviation products, from equipment to training videos, at Sporty's Pilot Shop. See AOPA Online to learn more. |
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 WORKS WITH TSA TO REDUCE TRAINING RULE HASSLES |
Flight instructors and students will have fewer hassles thanks to AOPA's work with the Transportation Security Administration on TSA's alien flight training/citizenship validation rule. An interpretation of the rule issued yesterday by TSA incorporates many AOPA-suggested improvements, including limiting the circumstances under which pilots must prove their citizenship before beginning training in aircraft weighing 12,500 pounds or less. "TSA now only needs a citizenship verification or threat assessment on a pilot taking flight training that 'substantially enhances piloting skills,'" said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of government and technical affairs. "That means pilots must have their citizenship validated only for initial pilot training, or training for a multiengine or instrument rating." AOPA had previously convinced TSA that pilots shouldn't need to prove citizenship before beginning recurrent training and that the five-year record-keeping requirement could be replaced with a simple logbook entry. That also significantly reduces the burden on flight instructors and flight schools. However, all flight instructors are required to take TSA's security awareness training by January 18. And flight instructors who train non-U.S. citizens must register with TSA through their local FSDO. For complete information on the TSA rule along with information specifically for flight instructors and students, see AOPA Online.
GA BANNED FROM WASHINGTON DC FOR INAUGURATION
For eight hours on inauguration day, Washington, D.C., and the skies for miles around it, will be completely off limits to general aviation. Similarly, the streets of the nation's capital will be closed to vehicular traffic. Security officials have declared that President Bush's inauguration on January 20 is a "national security event" and the FAA, responding to orders from the Defense and Homeland Security departments, has issued a flight advisory prohibiting all general aviation VFR (and most IFR) flight within or above the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). "This is yet another example of GA being made a scapegoat in the name of security," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "All the evidence shows that GA aircraft do not pose a significant security threat-especially when compared to the devastation an airliner could cause. Yet the airlines are allowed to fly freely while GA pilots are essentially grounded." AOPA is not alone in questioning the over-the-top security measures surrounding the coming inauguration. Washington Mayor Anthony Williams has complained that checkpoints and street closures are excessive, snarling traffic, damaging businesses, impacting tourism, and choking commerce in the capital city. Get the complete story on AOPA Online.
BOSTON FSDO PROMOTES SAFETY SEMINARS TO AREA PILOTS
Concerned about low turnout at safety seminars following the FAA's decision to stop mailing seminar notices to local pilots, the Boston Flight Standards District Office and the Aviation Safety Board of Massachusetts have decided to take action. Rather than wait for pilots to sign up for notification of upcoming seminars at the FAA's official Web site, the FSDO is e-mailing monthly seminar schedules to all FBOs, FAA aviation safety counselors, and other pilots, asking that the recipients print out and post the schedules "in a conspicuous location on airport bulletin boards and other places that offer visibility to pilots." And it's hoped that they'll pass along the word to their "friends in aviation."
STUDENT PILOT NETWORK ANNOUNCES 'FLIGHT DREAM AWARD' WINNERS
Student Pilot Network (SPN), a discussion board devoted to flight training and other aviation topics, has announced the winners of its 2004 Flight Dream Award. They are Cashel McLaughlin (University of Illinois Institute of Aviation, Savoy, Illinois); Christopher Vincent (Flyers Aviation Service Technologies, Beaumont, Texas); and Deanna Green (Eagle Flight Center, Hillsboro, Oregon). Each receives $250 to help defray the cost of flight training. SPN is accepting applications for the 2005 awards. Eligible student pilots must be enrolled at a flight school that is registered with SPN's online flight school directory. To learn more or submit an application, visit the Web site or e-mail [email protected].
| Inside AOPA |
THE GIFT THAT KEEPS GIVING
What could be a better Christmas present than receiving your medical/student pilot certificate just in time to solo before the holidays? That's why Nancy Williams contacted her husband's flight instructor and AOPA to help her get his medical certificate from the FAA for Christmas. Thanks to help from AOPA and the FAA Aeromedical Certification Division, Henry Williams, a student pilot, received his medical and soloed before Christmas. "He'd met all the qualifications and had been ready for some time," Gerald Phillips, Henry Williams' instructor, wrote to AOPA. "I soloed him... the day after he'd received the faxed medical. It was almost as great a present to me as it was to him." AOPA's medical certification staff works daily to help thousands of pilots a year get their medical certificates. If you need help with your medical, call 800/USA-AOPA; medical certification specialists are available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
AOPA'S NEXT SWEEPSTAKES AIRPLANE IS...
Can it really be time to start thinking about the 2005 AOPA Sweepstakes aircraft? Absolutely. Find out all about the Commander 112A being refurbished for the 2005 AOPA Commander Countdown Sweepstakes on AOPA Online.
NEW ASF SAFETY BRIEF FOCUSES ON ICING ENCOUNTERS
CFIs: Do you need a free training aid for the student who can't believe that a film of frost on the leading edges is a serious risk? Now that winter has settled in-and frost, snow, and ice are in the forecast in most parts of the country-pilots need to know how to handle these hazards. Download the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's newest Safety Brief, Cold Facts: Wing Contamination, for a quick lesson on the effects of wintry wing contaminants and what to do about them.
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 |
| LOGBOOK SOFTWARE ORGANIZES FLYING HOURS |
It's hard to beat the cachet of a logbook, but many pilots like to keep an electronic record of flying hours just in case. (Logbooks can get lost or stolen, after all.) Logbook Pro organizes and keeps a running total of flight time, which allows the user to extract whatever data are needed in various formats. Logbook Pro is available from Sporty's in three versions: Standard ($69.95), Professional ($99.95), and Enterprise ($149.95). An optional add-on for the Palm personal digital assistant or Pocket PC is $24.95.
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 currently working toward the instrument rating. Lately, I've come across some approach charts that are annotated with the words "radar required." Does this mean that my aircraft has to be equipped with radar in order for me to legally fly the approach? |
Answer: The words "radar required" do not indicate that the aircraft has to be radar equipped; rather, they tell the pilot that he or she must be receiving radar services from air traffic control in order to fly the approach. The annotation is typically included because of the absence (or outage) of a navaid that a pilot would need to determine a fix using only the navigational equipment in the cockpit. More information on the various ways that ATC uses radar is available on 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 |
|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 |
| NEVER AGAIN ONLINE |
A thunderstorm at night seems easy enough to circumvent-until you factor in airspace and terrain restrictions. Find out how a pilot in South Africa deals with the storm on a training flight in "Night Storm," this month's installment of Never Again Online.
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| FLYING DESTINATIONS THIS WEEKEND: |
Upland, California. The Thirtieth Annual Pomona Valley Air Fair takes place January 8 and 9 at Cable (CCB). See exciting aerobatic routines, along with classic and antique airplanes and cars. Contact Gary Hart 909/238-4508, or visit the Web site.
La Verne, California. A New Year Antique Aircraft/Car Display takes place January 16 at Brackett Field (POC). This free event features classic, new, and homebuilt aircraft and cars, Stearman rides, and an on-site restaurant. 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 .
AOPA AIR SAFETY FOUNDATION FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in San Jose, California; San Antonio; and Seattle, January 15 and 16. Clinics are also scheduled in Long Beach, California; Jackson, Mississippi; and Sevierville, Tennessee, January 22 and 23. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Renewal Online.
AOPA AIR SAFETY FOUNDATION SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Van Nuys, California, January 10; Ontario, California, January 11; Costa Mesa, California, January 12; and San Diego, January 13. The seminar is GPS: Beyond Direct-To. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.