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Copyright © 2005 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
| AIRPORT ADVISORY |
An orderly, predictable traffic flow expedites airport arrivals and departures. Tower-controlled airports require that the arriving pilot monitor terminal information broadcasts and comply with instructions from air traffic control. The procedure at nontowered airports is to determine the correct runway and traffic pattern for landing and communicate on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). Frequently, you can monitor the CTAF and figure out which way aircraft are taking off and landing from a distance. But to get a more complete picture of the situation, or if there is no local traffic on the air, call and request an airport advisory.
The more information that you can pick up, the more prepared you will be to deal with your arrival. It is also safer. "Learn the active runway and winds. Tune in the airport's AWOS (automated weather observation system) or ASOS (automated surface observation system) to get the details on surface wind strength and direction. Windsocks, wind tees, and segmented circle symbology can give this information if there's no one manning the unicom or CTAF, or if the pattern is empty," wrote Thomas A. Horne in the May 2003 AOPA Pilot feature "Pattern Perfection."
Remember, this is a nontowered airport. The fixed-base operator providing you with active-runway information is not an air traffic controller and cannot require you to land on a runway that you consider inappropriate, if, for example, winds favor another. "The unicom operator does not provide a clearance to land. This person is usually a desk clerk at the FBO who is scheduling airplanes, selling products, processing charges, and answering the phone in addition to providing airport advisories over the unicom frequency. Chances are the person isn't even a pilot," wrote former AOPA Air Safety Foundation Vice President of Training Richard Hiner, recounting the tale of a student pilot's misunderstanding in the December 2000 AOPA Flight Training Instructor Report column.
What if the winds have changed but pilots are continuing to use a less-than-optimal runway? It only takes one person to suggest switching runways. Why not be the trendsetter? Rod Machado discusses this form of "pattern democracy" in a lively correspondence with a flight instructor in his February 2004 AOPA Flight Training "Since You Asked" commentary. Let his wise words on this and other points work for you. To get a thorough overview about nontowered fields, download the Operations at Nontowered Airports Safety Advisor from the AOPA Online Safety Center.
| Your Partner in Training |
|Are you in a 'sophomore slump'? Learning plateaus can discourage students at nearly any phase of training, whether they are learning to land, deciphering cross-country navigation, or simply trying to master the radio. Don't let a plateau trip up your training. Read the tips offered by a veteran flight instructor in the June 2003 issue of AOPA Flight Training. If you still have questions, call the Pilot Information Center at 800/USA-AOPA weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 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 |
| DANIEL WEBSTER COLLEGE WELCOMES RECORD ENROLLMENT |
Daniel Webster College in Nashua, New Hampshire, kicked off the 2005-2006 year with a record enrollment of 239 students for the incoming class of 2009. Enrollment increased 17 percent over last year, and more than 40 percent over the last two years. A primary reason for the jump in admissions is the recent addition of a four-year program in mechanical and aeronautical engineering, according to Sean Ryan, dean of admissions and financial assistance. Engineering enrollment jumped 150 percent after the program was approved in November 2004, he said. For more information, see the college's Web site.
FLIGHT SCHOOL PARTNERS WITH HELICOPTER MEDICAL SERVICE
The North American Institute of Aviation (NAIA) has partnered with a helicopter medical services company that is expanding its operations to South Carolina. NAIA has agreed to supply Omniflight Helicopter Services with offices and FBO services at Conway-Horry County Airport in Conway, as well as temporary housing for three crews. Each crew consists of a pilot, an emergency medical services (EMS) technician, and a flight nurse. The crews will alternate shifts so as to be able to transport patients in Horry County to area hospitals 24 hours a day.
| Inside AOPA |
| NTSB STUDY REAFFIRMS IMPORTANCE OF WEATHER TRAINING |
A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) study of weather-related aviation accidents adopted the week of September 5 reaffirms that pilots with higher levels of training and experience are less likely to be involved in fatal accidents in which weather is a factor. However, several of the study's nine recommendations-such as giving flight instructors access to pilots' records-could lead to costly and complex regulation. The study examined 72 fatal weather-related accidents that occurred over a seven-year period and compared them to 135 non-accident flights operating under the same conditions. It found that pilots who earned their first certificates before the age of 25 and those who obtained advanced certificates or instrument ratings are at a reduced risk compared to other pilots. See the complete story on AOPA Online.
NO NEW AIRPORT SECURITY MANDATES NEEDED IN CONNECTICUT
An independent panel in Connecticut has determined that the state's general aviation airports are secure, that existing security measures are strong enough, and that the state doesn't need to take any additional regulatory steps. In a report sent to Gov. M. Jodi Rell Tuesday, the panel recommended that airports complete the TSA's "Security Guidelines for General Aviation Airports," which AOPA helped develop, and that the state's Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security continue working with AOPA to promote the Airport Watch Program. AOPA and the department last Friday sent a joint letter to all Connecticut pilots reminding them of the importance of Airport Watch. The Connecticut Aviation Task Force spent the past three months investigating airport security after an allegedly drunken student pilot and two teenage pals stole a Cessna 172 from Danbury Municipal Airport and landed several hours later on a closed taxiway at Westchester County in White Plains, New York.
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 |
| TROUBLESHOOT TRANSMISSIONS WITH SPORTY'S RADIO CHECK |
What's more aggravating than a stuck microphone that jams the frequency? If your aircraft's microphone is the culprit, it's the realization that your conversations have been broadcast for all to hear. Sporty's Radio Check is designed to alert you to a stuck mic or lost transmission. Attach it anywhere on the panel and turn it on; its red indicator light will flash when you activate the push-to-talk switch to confirm a good transmission. A red light when you are not talking signals a stuck mic. If you don't see the red light come on when you push the PTT, you are not transmitting. Radio Check runs on a 9-volt battery (not included) and sells for $69.95. 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: While preparing for my first dual cross-country flight, my flight instructor told me I should be prepared to file a VFR flight plan. My ground school instructor said that filing a flight plan is not required, so why should I do it? |
Answer: While it is true that filing a VFR flight plan is generally not required (unless otherwise specified by the FAA), it is recommended. A completed flight plan ( download the form) documents where you intend to fly and helps you to consider, ahead of time, the available information concerning your flight. Equally important, your flight plan serves as a trigger for concern if your arrival is overdue, and it enables search and rescue operations to locate you and your aircraft quickly in the event of an emergency. Just remember to activate your flight plan when you take off and close your flight plan after landing. Check out AOPA's flight planning resources, including AOPA's Real-Time Flight Planner, which is free to all AOPA members. And for a great article on filing flight plans, 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 |
|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 |
|Now you can get up close and personal with AOPA's Commander Countdown Sweepstakes airplane. A new online photo gallery shows off the exterior and airframe, interior, powerplant, and avionics of the better-than-new Commander 112A. Check back often for new photos until we give it away to one winner early next year. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| FLYING DESTINATIONS THIS WEEKEND: |
Burlington, Iowa. The 2005 Burlington Regional Airshow takes place September 17 at Southeast Iowa Regional (BRL). Featuring the A-10 East Demonstration Team, aerobatic acts headlined by Bob Post, a B-2 flyby, and many other military and civilian aircraft. Contact Randy Plummer, 319/850-1463, or visit the Web site.
Sedona, Arizona. The 2005 Airport Day and Car Show takes place September 17 at Sedona (SEZ). Celebrating 50 years of the airport, fly-in and aircraft on display, food, entertainment, and other pilots from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Contact Al Comello, 928/862-0210, or visit the Web site.
Jackson, California. The Fifth Annual Gold Country Mooney Fly-in takes place September 17 at Westover Field Amador County (O70). Join fellow Mooney pilots from all over the western United States at this great annual event. Contact Chris Floyd, 209/223-3461, ext. 103, or visit the Web site.
Nashua, New Hampshire. The 2005 Daniel Webster College Aviation Heritage Festival takes place September 24 and 25 at Boire Field (ASH). Immerse yourself in two days of aviation history, ranging from the early days of flight to aircraft that will reach into tomorrow. Contact 603/577-6622, or visit the Web site.
Hanover, Indiana. A Wood, Fabric, and Tailwheel Fly-in takes place September 24 at Lee Bottom (64I). With models like the Beech Staggerwing, Great Lakes, Stearman, and Spartan Executive, the lineup is sure to please every enthusiast. Contact Rich or Ginger Davidson, 812/866-3211, or visit the Web site.
Alva, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Festival of Flight takes place September 23 through 25 at Alva Regional (AVK). Join us for this open house and airshow featuring Kent and Warren Pietsch, Greg Shelton, and Ashley Battles. Many exhibitors will be displaying products and/or services as well. Contact Tyson Tucker, 866/307-5263, or visit the Web site.
Compton, California. The Twelfth Annual Compton Airfair takes place September 24 at Compton/Woodley (CPM). Featuring aircraft displays, flybys, food, and more for the whole family. Free admission. Contact Xavier Marshall, 323/777-4458.
Vancouver, Washington. The Pearson Field Centennial Celebration takes place September 24 at Pearson Field (VUO). Features an airport rededication, aircraft display, and tours of the Pearson Air Museum. Contact Sean Loughran, 360/619-1295, 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 Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Richmond, Virginia, September 24 and 25. Courses are also scheduled in Las Vegas, and Columbia, South Carolina, October 1 and 2. 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 Milpitas, California, and Morristown, New Jersey, September 19; Oakland, California, and Poughkeepsie, New York, September 20; Petaluma, California, Frederick, Maryland, and Latham, New York, September 21; and Sacramento, California, and North Syracuse, New York, September 22. For topic information and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.