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Copyright © 2005 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
| AN EYE FOR LANDINGS |
If landing is one of the toughest maneuvers to learn about flying, timing a proper roundout and flare is the tricky part of learning to land. Sound like your particular struggle? Take heart. Sometimes all it takes is making a small adjustment to your technique. For many student pilots, that adjustment means learning where your eyes should be focused during different stages of placing the aircraft on the runway. Make this your goal, and see your landings improve.
When the aircraft approaches the runway during final approach, there is a strong tendency after glancing downward, or slightly ahead of the aircraft, to judge height above the runway, not to look sufficiently forward again when starting the roundout and flare. This is a recipe for problems. "If the pilot attempts to focus on a reference that is too close or looks directly down, the reference will become blurred and the reaction will be either too abrupt or too late," according to the discussion of estimating height and movement on page 8-4 of the Airplane Flying Handbook . The chapter also takes up what happens when a pilot falls victim to the opposite problem: looking too far ahead.
Another challenge during the landing is brought about by the fact that visibility over the nose will be greatly restricted or nonexistent during a normal flare. Proper eye placement during this phase will keep you from making the common error of moving about or stretching your neck to see over the nose. Learn the "sight picture" for your aircraft and a helpful flare-management technique offered by columnist Ralph Butcher in his commentary "Insights: Pie in the Sky" in the December 2004 AOPA Flight Training.
If you would be aided by prolonging the time to practice the transition from final approach to flare, suggest to your instructor that you follow columnist Rod Machado's advice: Use a slight amount of power in the flare instead of idling the throttle for touchdown. "I've used this technique with great success over the years. Students seldom take more than an hour in the pattern to acclimate themselves to the flare," he wrote in the December 1999 AOPA Flight Training, adding, "Perhaps the biggest drawback to this time-distorting technique is that it has no effect on the Hobbs meter." For additional information about this critical phase of flight, read the Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings Safety Advisor from the AOPA Online Safety Center.
| Your Partner in Training |
|Density altitude is still a factor in many parts of the country. "High, hot, and humid" is the terrible trio that robs your aircraft of performance and creates potentially deadly scenarios. Read AOPA's aviation subject report on density altitude for in-depth information on weather, accident prevention, and aircraft performance, and the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Mountain Flying Safety Advisor. If you still have questions, call the AOPA Pilot Information Center at 800/USA-AOPA weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern. |
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 |
| GA INFRASTRUCTURE SUFFERS FROM HURRICANE KATRINA |
As families struggle to cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, little information is so far available on the total impact on general aviation. At least 13 public-use airports are closed. Airports that suffered little damage in Louisiana are being used for emergency operations to get supplies to New Orleans. AOPA is gathering information on which airports are open and what services are available. The aviation communications infrastructure also took a hit from Katrina. The Greenwood, Mississippi, Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) is partially out of service. While telephone calls are being rerouted to AFSS facilities in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and Jackson, Tennessee, most of the FSS air-to-ground frequencies in Mississippi are out of service. Some air traffic control facilities are down as well. Temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) are in place over the Mississippi coastline and New Orleans to keep the airspace clear for rescue and relief aircraft. President Bush is expected to visit the Gulf Coast sometime Friday. See AOPA's TFR Web page. Graphical depictions of these TFRs are available on AOPA's Real-Time Flight Planner.
HOW YOU CAN HELP STORM RELIEF EFFORT
AOPA members have been asking how they can help out with the rescue and relief effort. While there is no immediate call at this point for general aviation pilots, Air Care Alliance promotes and supports the work of dozens of organizations like the Angel Flight groups across the country and has established a volunteer protocol on its Web site. Links to its volunteer pilot organizations around the country also are available. Air Care Alliance is working with AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Thomas Marino in Baton Rouge to set up a liaison with the Louisiana governor's office. Another resource is Emergency Volunteer Air Corps (EVAC), which also has a Hurricane Katrina link on its Web site. For nearly 64 years, the Civil Air Patrol has been providing important search and rescue support for a wide variety of needs. Student pilots could certainly provide critical ground and logistics support. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has compiled a list of nearly 20 relief organizations to which you can donate money or sign up to volunteer.
TSA TO CHECK UP ON CFIs OVER SECURITY TRAINING
It's been a year since the alien flight training rule was put into effect. Now the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is checking to make sure flight instructors and flight schools are complying with the requirements for security awareness training, citizenship validation, and obtaining TSA approval to train non-U.S. citizens. "Flight instructors may be receiving a voluntary questionnaire from the regional TSA federal security director (FSD)," said Rob Hackman, AOPA manager of regulatory and certification policy. "They're trying to determine who is an active instructor and if active CFIs are aware of the rules and are complying with them." CFIs aren't required to respond to the questionnaire, but for inactive CFIs, answering the questions will likely mean they won't be contacted by TSA again. See AOPA Online.
VIRGINIA SEEKS AVIATION AMBASSADORS
Want to do some serious sightseeing this year? The Virginia Department of Aviation recently launched a promotion in which pilots who visit the state's public-use airports and aviation museums can earn prizes such as leather jackets, flight bags, or hats and lapel pins. The top prize will be awarded to those who fly or drive to all 67 airports, visit four aviation museums, and attend a safety seminar and the Virginia Regional EAA Fly-In. Participants must obtain a "passport" and get a stamp from each participating facility to document their attendance. General aviation pilots should plan to drive to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, which is on the list of public-use airports but currently prohibits GA traffic. The Virginia Aviation Ambassadors Program is open to all pilots and passengers. For complete rules, see the Web site.
TEENAGERS COMPLETE 'STORYBOOK' FLIGHT ACROSS U.S.
Teenage cousins Ben Dunkerley and Nick Reed recently returned from a cross-country trip that took them from New Hampshire to California and back in their grandfather's Aeronca Champ. Does their cross-country flight sound familiar? It's what two brothers did in author Rinker Buck's Flight of Passage memoir. And that's where the 17-year-olds got the idea, according to the Portsmouth Herald. The cousins' first attempt to begin their journey in early July was cut short because of a mechanical problem. But they finally set off July 20, armed with money for avgas, some clothes, sleeping bags, and sectional charts, among other things. The boys often camped under the airplane. Read more about the boys' adventures online.
SPORT PILOTS, STUDENTS CAN GET DUATS ACCESS
AOPA members who are training under the new sport pilot regulations or exercising sport pilot privileges recently called AOPA's Pilot Information Center wondering how to get access to DUATS, a popular online weather service. DUATS provides continuous updates to FAA-approved weather information, as well as flight plan filing and flight planning via computer, free of charge. In general, the service requires users to furnish a medical certificate number to set up an online account. But what if you don't have a medical certificate? A spokeswoman for DUATS CSC says you can set up an alternate account by mail, e-mail, or fax. You'll need to provide a photocopy or image of your sport pilot certificate or student certificate, or your private pilot certificate if you are exercising sport pilot privileges. For complete details, see the Web site or call 800/767-9989.
| Inside AOPA |
| SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION IS FEATURED AOPA EXPO SPEAKER |
For the first time in AOPA Expo history, the Secretary of Transportation will be there live to speak and answer member questions. Secretary Norman Y. Mineta has just confirmed that he will be addressing the Expo General Session Saturday morning, November 5. Mineta has always been known for straight talk, so you'll hear the unvarnished reality from this Washington, D.C., insider, the only Democrat in President Bush's cabinet, and the man with his finger on the pulse of all transportation issues. (Not to mention, he's also FAA Administrator Marion Blakey's boss.) And we always make time for AOPA members to ask questions of our featured speakers at Expo. "Norman Mineta has been a knowledgeable and independent friend to aviation," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "He has always given a fair hearing to the concerns of the nation's general aviation pilots." 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 |
| APPROACH PLATE STIFFENER KEEPS CHARTS FROM DROOPING |
Sporty's has a knack for discovering fixes to cockpit inconveniences and bringing them to the marketplace. The latest is the Approach Plate Stiffener, a plastic sleeve designed to keep approach charts flat-not droopy-so that an instrument pilot or student can fly with both hands and still read it. Place the Approach Plate Stiffener into a yoke-mounted chart clip, then insert the chart. The plastic sleeve takes up no extra space and won't interfere with the yoke, Sporty's says. The Approach Plate Stiffener costs $6. Order online 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: I often hear the terms unicom and traffic being used by pilots flying at the local nontowered airport. Why are they using both, and when should I use them? |
Answer: At many nontowered airports, the unicom and the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) share the same frequency. The airport FBO staff usually responds to unicom transmissions and provides airport advisory information, such as current wind conditions and runway in use, to pilots on this frequency. However, they are not required to do so, nor are there any standards for these advisories. Radio transmissions using the term traffic are addressed to pilots flying in the airport environment and are used primarily to provide situational awareness and collision avoidance. These transmissions should include the airport name, aircraft model, N number, and position in the traffic pattern. For more information, download Operations at Nontowered Airports from the AOPA Online Safety Center.
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 |
|Many pilots particularly enjoy flying at night because of the smoother air and quieter airwaves. AOPA Flight Training contributing editor Chip Wright discusses how each night landing is a unique experience in the updated aviation subject report on night flight. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS: |
Cincinnati, Ohio. The Cincinnati Lunken Airshow takes place September 10 and 11 at Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Field (LUK). This annual event features P-47 Thunderbolt reunion and afternoon aerobatics. Contact Peggie Beckner, 513/321-4291.
Clarinda, Iowa. Fly Iowa 2005-Heroes and Legends takes place September 10 and 11 at Schenck Field (ICL). Fly Iowa is a non-profit statewide aviation fair organized by the Iowa Aviation Promotion group. Activities include educational exhibits, aircraft display, airshow, and more. Contact Gary Walter, 712/542-2136, 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 Sacramento, California, and Columbia, Maryland, September 10 and 11. Courses are also scheduled in Phoenix, and Des Moines, Iowa, September 17 and 18. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.