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Copyright © 2005 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
| SOFT TAKEOFFS |
Every student pilot must demonstrate soft-field takeoffs (and landings) on the private pilot practical test. Too often, this demonstration consists of a simulation on a smooth, paved runway. With many unpaved airports now ready for spring flying, seek opportunities for real-world training. The experience you gain will be apparent to your flight-test examiner, and it will build your confidence.
Procedures for soft-field takeoffs vary among aircraft, but the goals remain the same (see Area of Operation IV, Task C of the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards. You can download the PTS from AOPA Online). The aircraft is taxied onto the takeoff surface at a safe speed and without stopping, and the throttle is advanced to takeoff power. Throughout the takeoff run, the aircraft is held with back-elevator pressure in an attitude that will lift the nosewheel off the soft, perhaps rough, surface as soon as possible. The pilot coaxes the aircraft into the air at "the lowest possible airspeed." Because this speed is too low for a safe climb, the aircraft is held in "ground effect" (explained in the January 31, 2003, "Training Tips") with forward pressure until it accelerates to the appropriate climb speed.
But wait-your soft-field takeoff is not complete! "When your examiner says, 'Let's do a soft-field takeoff,' you should know that the request includes the climbout. Knowing the manufacturer's recommendations for this part of the procedure will save you grief. Some manuals instruct pilots to keep the flaps at the recommended extension until they have cleared any obstacles. Others might advise that the flaps be fully retracted once you are airborne. Manufacturers' procedures vary, and the FAA expects pilots to perform them with the precision outlined in the PTS," wrote Dave Wilkerson in the May 2001 AOPA Flight Training column "Checkride: Soft Touch."
Cautionary notes about using soft runways: Some airports emerging from winter may still be too wet for safety. Walk the surface, or talk to someone who knows, before flying. Check notams for airport closures. Review takeoff performance data in your pilot's operating handbook, correcting for the effect of unpaved surfaces as noted on charts and discussed in Chapter 9 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. Mastering soft-field skills opens up new runways for your flying and adds choices for final or alternate destinations on every flight.
| Your Partner in Training |
|Learning to fly is an exciting adventure and is easier than you may think. AOPA Flight Training Online has an entire section devoted to the process of learning to fly, with articles, videos, and a section of frequently asked questions. Still have questions? Call our aviation experts at 800/USA-AOPA weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time. |
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 |
| NAFI ANNOUNCES APRIL MASTER CFIs |
Three flight instructors were designated Master CFIs in April, according to the National Association of Flight Instructors. Flight instructors must participate in a rigorous process of continuing education and peer review to achieve master status. Once earned, master status must be renewed every two years. The April Master CFIs are Adrian Young Collier of Mercer Island, Washington; Paul Gretschel of Coram, New York; and Darren Smith of Tampa, Florida.
HAIL DAMAGES EMBRY-RIDDLE'S 172 FLEET
Thirty-eight out of 40 Cessna 172s in the training fleet at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, were damaged and grounded by pingpong-ball-size hail on Wednesday. The hail destroyed the skylights of the aircraft, allowing rain to enter the cockpits. Each aircraft will require eight hours of maintenance. Two 172s were not damaged because one was flying and another was in a hangar, according to The News-Journal newspaper in Daytona Beach. Also damaged with dents were 10 twin-engine aircraft and cars in the Embry-Riddle parking lot.
ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY GETS RJ FLIGHT TRAINING DEVICE
Arizona State University in Mesa, Arizona, has added a Level 5 Canadair Regional Jet flight training device (FTD) to its roster. Manufactured by Frasca International, the FTD has avionics typical of a CRJ 200; an electronic flight information system, engine indication and crew alerting system; FMS 4200 flight management system; and other features. Arizona State will share the device with Mesa Airlines, which plans to use the FTD to supplement training conducted on its full flight simulators. For more information about Frasca simulators, see the Web site.
BE A PILOT LAUNCHES 2005 TV AD CAMPAIGN
Be A Pilot kicked off its 2005 national TV advertising campaign last month with a slate of commercials running on such networks as the Discovery Channel, Discovery Science, and the Military Channel. The $1.52 million campaign will air some 2,000 commercials or "billboards" enticing viewers to visit Be A Pilot's Web site and download a coupon for a $49 introductory flight lesson. New cable outlets for 2005 include the Military Channel, which replaces Discovery Wings in the ad lineup, and the Outdoor Channel's new "Wings to Adventure" series that debuts in July.
EMBRY-RIDDLE TEAM WINS COLLEGIATE FLIGHT COMPETITION
The Golden Eagles Flight Team from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Prescott, Arizona, campus bested 28 other teams from across the country to win the National Intercollegiate Flying Association's 2005 national Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (Safecon). The event was held April 26 through 30, hosted by Kansas State University in Salina, Kansas. College students competed in a variety of events, including preflight inspections, use of the E6B flight computer, navigation, and power-off and short-field landings. The University of North Dakota placed second overall; Western Michigan University was third; Southern Illinois University, fourth; and Purdue University, fifth. A feature article on the event is scheduled for the December issue of AOPA Flight Training.
| Inside AOPA |
NO USER FEES, AOPA PRESIDENT POINTEDLY TELLS CONGRESS
House aviation subcommittee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) called it the "kickoff of a very significant debate." But there's no debate about where AOPA and its members stand on user fees. During a hearing running more than three hours Wednesday, AOPA President Phil Boyer used graphics and videotape to make sure Congress understands how general aviation pilots feel about funding the FAA. "Mr. Chairman, we do a lot of research, and more than 96 percent of our members oppose the use of user fees in any form to fund the system," Boyer testified. "And don't forget, these are people who are your constituents." He said that the more than 400,000 AOPA members who own and fly personal aircraft "pay any fees out of their own pockets. They can't pass them on to paying passengers or a business." Boyer used a ringing cash register in the video and as an analogy while he testified. To further drive home the point, Boyer showed committee members letters from AOPA members in their districts, proving how pilot voters feel about general aviation user fees. For complete coverage, including videos, see AOPA Online.
CONGRESS SHOWS SCANT SUPPORT FOR USER FEES
There was little support for user fees among the representatives attending Wednesday's House aviation subcommittee hearing. While Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) said, "We probably should take some time to review the possibility of converting to a user fee system in the United States," ranking member Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) said, "Switching to a user fee system raises more questions than answers." Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) added, "Every time an airliner cranks up, it uses the system, while there are thousands of GA aircraft flying using nothing but the air-which I hope is still free." Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) called user fees "unwise and harmful." Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said that everybody keeps looking at "GA as this great pot we're going to pull money from to pay for the system...but the vast majority of GA aircraft aren't using the system." The aviation subcommittee will be writing the legislation to fund the FAA when the current authorization expires in 2007.
ANNUAL AOPA FLY-IN SET FOR JUNE 4
AOPA will open its doors on Saturday, June 4, to host its Fifteenth Annual Fly-In and Open House at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland. Thousands of people are expected to attend the free event, which has become the nation's largest one-day fly-in. "Fly-In is our chance to meet face-to-face with the members we serve throughout the year," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. New to this year's fly-in, AOPA will host special activities for anyone interested in learning to fly. Nonpilots can enter to win one of 10 free introductory first flights, among other prizes. Every pilot who brings a prospective student will receive a free AOPA mini MagLite and is eligible to win one of two new headsets from either Lightspeed or Pilot USA. See AOPA Online for complete information on the event.
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 |
| ASA RELEASES REVISED 'SAY AGAIN, PLEASE' |
Aviation Supplies and Academics has released the latest edition of Bob Gardner's Say Again, Please: Guide to Radio Communications. The new edition adds material on GPS procedures, runway incursion avoidance, and instrument flight rules (IFR) procedures, while updating information on the latest communications equipment. The book features examples of typical radio transmissions to clearly demonstrate the correct communication procedures so you learn it right the first time and know how to say what needs to be said. The price is $19.95. For more information or to order, 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: While planning for a solo cross-country flight, I overheard another pilot talk about high density altitude affecting his airplane's performance. I'm not sure why this is a problem. Can AOPA help explain this phenomenon? |
Answer: High density altitude is a condition resulting primarily from hot temperatures and/or high altitude. Simply put, air pressure decreases as temperature and/or altitude increases. The result is diminished aircraft performance. Heat fools aircraft into thinking they are higher than they really are, causing takeoff and landing distances to be longer, reducing climb rates, and lowering service and absolute ceilings. Humidity also is a factor in density altitude; its effect is primarily related to engine power and secondarily related to aerodynamic efficiency. A pilot should refer to the airplane's operating handbook for performance considerations and calculations. For more information, read AOPA's subject report, Density Altitude .
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 |
|If an airman knowledge test is in your forecast, you'll need to locate a convenient place to take the test. Download an updated list of approved FAA testing centers from AOPA Online. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS: |
Temple, Texas. The Central Texas Airshow takes place May 6 through 8 at Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional (TPL). Nonstop entertainment available for all ages. View modern and vintage aircraft and everything in between. Call 512/869-1759, or visit the Web site.
Peachtree City, Georgia. The Second Annual World War II Day takes place May 7 at the Historical Airpower Facility at Peachtree City-Falcon Field (FFC). Hosted by the Dixie Wing of the Commemorative Air Force from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contact Chris Madrid, 678/364-1110, or visit the Web site.
Kansas City, Missouri. The Aerospace Medical Association Seventy-sixth Annual Scientific Meeting takes place May 8 through 12 at the Hyatt and Westin Crown Center. Topics include aircrew alertness in long-haul operations, fatigue research, FAA seminars for AMEs, clinical case presentations, and more. Call 703/739-2240, ext. 107, or visit the Web site.
Lumberton, North Carolina. The Mid-Atlantic Fly-in and Sport Aviation Convention takes place May 12 through 15 at Lumberton Municipal (LBT). Fun, flying, forums, workshops, and food. New sport aircraft area. Contact Dale Faux or David Barker, 910/739-6480, or visit the Web site.
Hondo, Texas. The EAA Southwest Regional Fly-in takes place May 13 through 15 at Hondo Municipal (HDO). Featuring exhibitors, forums, airshow, camping, programs, flying, and fellowship. Visit the Web site.
Tallahassee, Florida. The Capital City AirFest takes place May 14 and 15 at Tallahassee Regional (TLH). Military and general aviation fly-in. Warbirds, homebuilts, and experimentals wanted. Visit the Web site.
Shafter, California. A Warbirds In Action Airshow takes place May 14 at Shafter-Minter Field (MIT). World War II European Theater Aircraft and other warbirds. Also U.S. Air Force F-16 Heritage Flight. 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 Costa Mesa, California, May 9; Alta Loma, California, May 10; San Diego, May 11; Van Nuys, California, May 12; and East Hartford, Connecticut, May 14. The topic is "Weather Wise." For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.