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Copyright © 2006 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
Communication isn't the highest priority when flying-"aviate" and "navigate" come first, the saying goes-but it is the pilot's next responsibility. When radios malfunction, it's frustrating and distracting. Certain failures can wreak havoc on airport operations and be embarrassing, as the October 2005 AOPA Flight Training's "Learning Experiences" column illustrates.
Fortunately, failures are often only partial. Some aren't failures at all but reflect pilot mismanagement of complicated or poorly understood communications systems. Spending some downtime in the cockpit studying radios and interconnecting devices, and testing radios before you fly, prevents false alarms. "Radios don't fail all that often-certainly they malfunction far less frequently than just a few years ago-but it does happen. When you think the com is dead, first check the squelch to see if you can receive. Assuming that you can, it's possible that you aren't transmitting. Try another radio. Now, for the sake of argument, let's assume that you have just the one radio. If, for example, you're coming in to land at a towered airport, try reaching the controller on the ground frequency. Sometimes radios keel over on just one or a handful of frequencies," Marc Cook suggests in "Form and Function: Com Sense" in the August 2000 AOPA Flight Training.
Another problem making pilots think they lost communications is a push-to-talk microphone button stuck in the activated position. Chapter 4 of the Aeronautical Information Manual explains how to detect that problem. "Be alert to the sounds or the lack of sounds in your receiver. Check your volume, recheck your frequency, and make sure that your microphone is not stuck in the transmit position. Frequency blockage can, and has, occurred for extended periods of time due to unintentional transmitter operation. This type of interference is commonly referred to as a 'stuck mic,' and controllers may refer to it in this manner when attempting to assign an alternate frequency." The chapter also tells what to do if you are inbound to land at a tower-controlled airport and you sustain a true radio failure. Be able to interpret light-gun signals that ATC will use to communicate with you!
And here's a small research project for you: What is the correct transponder code for an aircraft that has lost its radio communications? You'll find the answer in the AIM.
| Your Partner in Training |
If you're like most student pilots, radio communications can be particularly daunting. In fact, learning the ways of the radio can be as tough as the basic task of mastering control of the airplane. Read AOPA's aviation subject report on "ATC Communications" for some "com sense" advice. If you have any questions after visiting our site, call 800/USA-AOPA weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time and speak to one of the experienced pilots in the Pilot Assistance Center.
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 |
EMBRY-RIDDLE ORDERS GLASS-COCKPIT CESSNA 172s
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has ordered 29 new Garmin G1000-equipped Cessna 172s. With the additional 29 172s on order, Embry-Riddle's all-Cessna fleet now includes 69 Skyhawks. "The Skyhawks with glass cockpits give our future airline and military pilots the experience they need to easily transition to flying jets with glass cockpits," said Thomas Connolly, chancellor of Embry-Riddle. The university has been operating Cessna aircraft for 40 years.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER AN ACCIDENT? TAKE THE SPORTY'S SAFETY QUIZ
Aviation accidents do happen, and that's why pilots continually train for the possibility of an in-flight emergency. Pilots need to know not only how to handle emergency situations, but what to do after the airplane comes to a stop in the cornfield. Test your knowledge about whom to call and what not to do with the latest Sporty's Safety Quiz on the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Web site and enter for a chance to win a Sporty's Air-Scan V aviation radio/scanner. If you've already taken this test, check out the Safety Quiz archives.
COLLEGE STUDENTS COMPETE WITH ROBOTIC AIRCRAFT
College students from around the world gathered in Georgia late last month to compete in a cutting-edge competition-one in which robotic aircraft performed tasks without remote-control manipulation from human controllers. The competition, sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International of Arlington, Virginia, each year attracts a diverse array of teams whose participants vie for cash prizes. This year's competition offered $60,000 in prize money. Organizers and team members said the technology could be used by the military to check areas that would be too dangerous for soldiers, to assess wildfires, to check for biological or chemical contamination, and to locate victims of natural disasters, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette .
| Inside AOPA |
LOCK UP, LOOK OUT: AOPA AIRPORT WATCH ADVISORY IN THE MAIL
In just a few days, every pilot in the United States will be receiving an Airport Watch security reminder in the mail from AOPA and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). And that's certainly timely, particularly since the TSA is asking all pilots to review Airport Watch procedures in light of the foiled terrorist plot in the United Kingdom. The message is clear: Lock up-look out. It's part of AOPA and the TSA's updated AOPA Airport Watch program. "Airport Watch works. We know it. The TSA knows it," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Now we've completely updated the program, incorporating all we've learned since it started nearly four years ago." Airport managers, state aviation directors, select state legislators, and many FAA offices will also be receiving a training DVD about Airport Watch. AOPA urges you to share the information and materials with everyone at your airport. "Airport Watch is a simple, cost-effective program that works at all airports," said Boyer. "If eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, then we're taking this opportunity to remind pilots to protect their freedom to fly by keeping a watchful eye on their local airports." View a video message from TSA chief Kip Hawley.
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 |
AEA PUBLISHES 'PILOT'S GUIDE TO AVIONICS'
At first glance, The Pilot's Guide to Avionics, published yearly by the Aircraft Electronics Association, appears to be a glossy buyer's guide to the latest electronic gear for the cockpit. But it's also a handy little addition to your aircraft bookshelf, even if you don't currently own an airplane. The 2007 edition of the Guide features a tear-out radio troubleshooting guide that you can carry along with you, and a thorough avionics glossary so that you can know the difference between FADEC (full authority digital engine control) and a FDRS (flight data recorder system). For a free copy, see the Web site or call 816/373-6565.
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: Is there a way to look up ASOS and AWOS reports for specific airports online? |
Answer: Yes. The FAA provides a Web site where you can access weather data from FAA-commissioned ASOS and AWOS sites. The site also provides ASOS and AWOS frequency information as well as local phone numbers to call to obtain the automated weather information. For additional information on weather and flight planning, see the Flight Training 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 |
|Looking for some really fabulous aviation photography? All the air-to-air photos and beautifully detailed ground images used by AOPA Pilot magazine over the years are yours at the click of a mouse button. Download your favorite images to use for wallpaper, send an e-postcard, or order prints online. For more details, see AOPA Online. |
| What's New At AOPA Online |
|When you're an instrument student flying your very first instrument flight plan, an in-flight emergency is the last thing on your mind. Find out what happened to a Texas pilot who had this experience in the latest "Never Again Online." |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS: |
Fort Worth, Texas. The Vintage Flying Museum Cowtown Warbird Round-Up takes place August 12 at Fort Worth Meacham International (FTW) from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. There will be lots of airplanes, helicopters, static displays, motorcycles, and Chuckie the B-17G bomber. Contact John Zapp, 817/501-3641, or visit the Web site.
Pueblo, Colorado. The Pueblo Airshow takes place August 12 and 13 at Pueblo Memorial (PUB). Featuring performances by Tim Weber, Bob Carlton, Matt Younkin, Gary Rower, and the U.S. Air Force A-10 demonstration team. Military and civilian displays, military reenactors, and more. Gates open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. Contact John O'Donnell, 719/635-8803, or visit the Web site.
Alliance, Ohio. The Eighth Annual Ohio Aeronca Aviators Fly-In takes place August 18 through 20 at Barber (2D1). Lots of flying, friendship, fun, and a forum or two. On-airport camping and local lodging available. Contact Brian Matz, 216/337-5643, or visit the Web site.
Santa Rosa, California. The Wings Over Wine Country Airshow takes place August 19 and 20 at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County (STS). Featuring a U-2 Dragon Lady flyby, a C-17 Globemaster III demonstration, and a wing walker. Contact the Pacific Coast Air Museum, 707/575-7900, or visit the Web site.
St. Louis, Missouri. The Eighth Annual Joint Bird Strike Committee USA/Canada Meeting takes place August 21 through 24 at the Sheraton St. Louis City Center. Learn what options are available in wild life management, and what others in the industry are doing to manage situations. Contact 419/625-0242, 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 Clinic is scheduled in Reno, Nevada, August 19 and 20. A clinic is also scheduled in Allentown, Pennsylvania, August 26 and 27. 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 Orono, Maine, September 5; South Portland, Maine, September 6; and Lexington, Massachusetts, September 7. The topic is "Do the Right Thing-Decision making for pilots." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.