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Copyright © 2005 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
| DESCENT PLANNING |
When you begin cross-country flying, altitude decisions require a new kind of planning. When flying locally, altitude selection consists of observing local airspace rules, performing maneuvers safely, and satisfying any noise-abatement procedures. Climbs are brief on short hops to airports to practice takeoffs and landings. When you start flying longer distances, you'll climb higher to reach safe cruise altitudes or to take advantage of favorable winds aloft.
That may leave you wondering when to begin your descent. "On one of those rare good days when you have a strong tailwind in cruise, it can be tough to leave that fantastic groundspeed up there and begin a descent to the destination airport. The urge is to delay beginning the descent until the last possible moment. Doing so, however, creates the potential for having to descend too rapidly near the airport to avoid overshooting it, or arriving too high and probably too fast to make a normal, stable final descent and approach," Mark Twombly observed in the March 2005 AOPA Flight Training column "Continuing Ed: Going Up, Coming Down."
You can base your descent planning on either the distance to be consumed or time. Assuming a typical trainer's comfortable 500-foot-per-minute descent rate from cruise altitude, how much distance will a 7,000-foot descent require? "Drop those zeros and you have seven; multiply that by three, and you've got your ballpark range for starting the descent: 21 miles," Thomas A. Horne explained in "Letdown Lowdown," April 2000 AOPA Pilot. To make the decision based on time required, determine how much altitude you must lose to descend to the destination's traffic pattern. Divide by the descent rate. Descending 7,000 feet will take 14 minutes at 500 fpm. If you know your aircraft, you already know which power settings deliver the desired descent rate at the selected airspeed.
"Personally, when I am 30 miles out and high, I start thinking about getting down. I consider high to be anything above 5,000 feet agl. I can then amend the 500-foot-per-minute rule to fit the altitude," advised Alton K. Marsh in his comprehensive descent-planning primer "Get Down!" in the February 2003 AOPA Pilot.
Let these veteran pilots' ideas and experience help you take the guesswork out of descending from unfamiliar altitudes.
| Your Partner in Training |
|AOPA is your best training partner! Your membership offers many resources to help you earn your wings. Our extensive collection of subject reports, for instance, is a library of information at your fingertips. Do you have a question about aviation terminology? You'll find the answer on AOPA Online. Or learn the do's and don'ts of keeping a logbook. 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 |
| STAY OUT OF TROUBLE WITH CRITICAL AIRSPACE INFORMATION |
If you find prohibited airspace, temporary flight restrictions, and other off-limits areas to be confusing, be sure to visit the Safety Hot Spot: Critical Airspace at the AOPA Online Safety Center. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation has compiled numerous resources to keep you out of trouble. The Critical Airspace Checkup is a comprehensive list of tasks and items needed for the flight planning and en route phases of any cross-country flight. You'll also find an intercept procedures card that can be printed out and clipped to a kneeboard, as well as Safety Advisors and pertinent articles from the archives of AOPA Flight Training and AOPA Pilot magazines.
WESTWIND ADDS JET FLIGHT TRAINING DEVICE
Westwind School of Aeronautics in Phoenix, Arizona, recently acquired a Boeing 737NG advanced aviation training device. The device is manufactured by Precision Flight Controls Inc. and includes a glass cockpit, flight director, and digital electronics. It will be used for Westwind's Line Oriented Flight Training program. For more information on the simulator, visit the PFC Web site.
COLLEGE USES NASA FUNDS TO TEST GLASS COCKPIT TRAINING
The first class to receive experimental aircraft training in technically advanced glass-cockpit aircraft is nearing completion at Middle Tennessee State University. Using NASA funding, the purpose of the experiment is to see whether students can complete both their private pilot checkride and their instrument rating checkride on one cross-country flight. The class is using Diamond single-engine trainers equipped with the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit. For more on technically advanced aircraft, see the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's new special report.
EMBRY-RIDDLE TO HONOR WRIGHT BROTHERS' MECHANIC
Behind every great pilot is a great mechanic. So it was for the Wright brothers, who could not have achieved sustained powered flight in 1903 without the help of Charles O. Taylor. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will honor Taylor at a ceremony on May 24. Taylor's great-grandson, Charles O. Taylor II, will speak at the event. Taylor's namesake is himself a private pilot and plans to fly his Cessna 172 to the ceremony. ERAU is renaming a classroom building the Charles Taylor Department of Aviation Maintenance Science.
U.K. PILOT PLANS 50-STATE TREK IN 2006
British pilot Robert Vallier is planning the cross-country trip of a lifetime-a journey that will take him to every state in the United States. Vallier, a private pilot, says he'll launch in April 2006 and will plan the flight using input from schools and colleges around the country. A Web site for the trip invites students to submit "great historical features, great landmarks, and wonderful places to see" for their state. Vallier is establishing a charitable organization, Starflight (USA) Foundation, and says that funds raised will help those "who may not be able to fulfill their dreams...due to illness."
| Inside AOPA |
AOPA RUNS NATIONAL AD TO SUPPORT ALL GA PILOTS
Don't let one pilot tarnish the image of general aviation. Thousands of pilots fly every day without violating the complex airspace restrictions established after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. That's the message AOPA is sending the public through a national ad that appeared on Wednesday in USA Today and Roll Call, the primary newspaper on Capitol Hill. Download the ad. The ad is part of the association's ongoing effort to correct the many misconceptions and sometimes-outrageous statements about GA that have appeared in the media since a Pennsylvania pilot and his student-pilot passenger penetrated restricted airspace around the nation's capital in their Cessna 150. "Seven days ago, one very small airplane created a very large incident that disrupted lives in Washington, D.C., and made millions of people, already on edge, very nervous. It also created unnecessary concern and skepticism about 'those little planes,'" the ad says. It also points out what went right during the incident, while explaining that small general aviation airplanes are not a security threat and that pilots are-with few exceptions-well informed. See AOPA Online.
FAA GETS READY TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST WAYWARD PILOT
The FAA is getting close to announcing what action it will take against the two pilots who violated Washington, D.C.'s restricted airspace last Wednesday and created an international scene. Most likely the FAA will opt for the emergency revocation of 69-year-old Hayden Sheaffer's private pilot certificate. In that case, he could appeal the emergency revocation to an NTSB administrative law judge, or he could apply for a new certificate in a year, which would only be issued if he passes knowledge and practical tests. Action against the student pilot onboard, Troy Martin, is a lot less likely. AOPA has received a high volume of calls and e-mails regarding the incident. By far, the vast majority of the sentiment favors strong action against the pilot. For more information on certificate actions, see AOPA's An Overview of FAA Enforcement . AOPA will provide updates on AOPA Online.
FALL INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY WITH AOPA AIR SAFETY FOUNDATION
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation seeks applicants for a full-time fall internship. If selected, you'll assist in developing upcoming programs for the largest nonprofit organization in the United States conducting aviation safety education and research for the general aviation community. You'll receive hourly pay plus a stipend to assist with moving, housing, or flying expenses. The deadline for applications is June 3. For more information, see AOPA Online.
BRING A FUTURE PILOT TO THE AOPA FLY-IN!
AOPA's Fifteenth Annual Fly-In and Open House on Saturday, June 4, will have special activities for anyone interested in learning to fly-and special prizes for pilots who bring prospective new students to the event. As part of AOPA's Project Pilot program, prospective pilots could win an introductory first flight. And all can get their photo on the cover of a special AOPA Flight Training magazine. Pilots who bring a prospective student to the Fly-In will receive an AOPA mini-MagLite and a chance to win one of two headsets. And of course, there will be seminars and plenty of information on learning to fly! 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 |
| SAFEGUARD APPROACH PLATES WITH SPORTY'S CHART PROTECTORS |
It's nice to keep things tidy in the cockpit. Sporty's announces Quick Release Chart Protectors, which are plastic sleeves designed to hold instrument approach plates in their binder. The sleeves are designed to permit pilots to insert or remove the approach plates without opening the binder, keeping charts in good shape. The sleeves are 89 cents each or 50 for $35. They're available in sizes to fit both Jeppesen and FAA charts. For more information or to order, see the Web site 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: During my research to find a flight school, I noticed that some schools advertise being Part 61 and others Part 141. Can you tell me what this means? |
Answer: The terms "Part 61" and "Part 141" refer to the Federal Aviation Regulations under which flight training is conducted. Both kinds of flight schools are approved to instruct candidates for pilot certificates and train pilots to meet the same practical test standards. Some schools offer both training options. A Part 61 school offers a flexible training program geared to meet the student's specific needs and schedule. The minimum number of flight hours required for private pilot certification at a Part 61 school is 40 hours. A Part 141 school has greater FAA oversight, more rigid schedules, and more paperwork. However, because of this, the minimum required flight hours for private pilot certification is reduced to 35 hours. (Bear in mind, though, that most student pilots log more flight training hours than the minimum-the average is 60 to 70 hours at either type of school.) For more information, read AOPA's subject report, Part 61 and Part 141 Flight Schools .
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to email@example.com 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 |
|Can a first-time flight in a general aviation airplane be a life-changing event? Find out what happened when a Yak pilot offered his airplane's right seat to a stranger in "Just The Way He Dreamed It," in the June issue of AOPA Pilot. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS: |
Excelsior Springs, Missouri. The Seventeenth Annual Antique and Classic Fly-in takes place May 20 and 21 at Excelsior Springs Memorial (3EX). Antique/classic aircraft fly-in. Barbeque Friday evening, breakfast and lunch Saturday, overnight camping available. Contact Art Gentry, 816/630-2369, or visit the Web site.
Carthage, Texas. The Celebration of Flight BalloonFest 2005 takes place May 20 through 22 at Panola County-Sharpe Field (4F2). Friday and Saturday evening: hot air balloon glow and live music. Saturday morning: balloon flights, airplane fly-in, motorcycles, dune buggies, mud trucks, and food. Sunday morning: balloon flight. Gate benefits scholarship fund. Contact Shelley Caraway, 903/984-4393.
Montgomery, New York. AviationExpo '05 takes place May 21 at Orange County (MGJ). Sponsored by the Orange County Pilots Association, EAA Chapter 1280, and the Civil Air Patrol. See an exciting aircraft display featuring classic aircraft and cutting-edge technology. On display will be an historic Cessna 195, Pitts Special, L-39 Alabatross trainer, Cessna 182 with G-1000 panel, and Cirrus SR-22 and G-2. The afternoon will feature a safety seminar about flying the New York VFR corridor. For more information, contact Howard Kave, 845/562-1234.
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 Sacramento, California; Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; and Kansas City, Missouri, May 21 and 22. Courses are also scheduled in Phoenix, and San Jose, California, June 4 and 5. 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 to take place during the AOPA Fly-In & Open House on June 4 in Frederick, Maryland. The topics vary-for a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.