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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition -- Vol. 6, Issue 49AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition -- Vol. 6, Issue 49

To view the AOPA ePilot archives, click here.

Volume 6, Issue 49 • December 8, 2006
In this issue:
Flight school features Diamond at new U.S. location
WAI extends scholarship deadlines
Get the facts on GPS technology

This ePilot Flight Training Edition is sponsored by

Sponsored by Mooney Aircraft Company


Pilot Insurance Center

JP Instruments

Cirrus Design


MBNA Credit Card

Scheyden Eyewear

Minnesota Life Insurance

AOPA Aircraft Financing

Bose Aviation Headsets

Garmin International

Comm1 Radio Simulator

AOPA Aircraft Insurance

King Schools

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Copyright © 2006 AOPA.

Training Tips

CATS Testing CenterWhat's your standard for passing the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Test? A passing grade? Better? Don't kid yourself, results matter. Not only does achieving a high score on the knowledge test help present you to your flight-test examiner as a well-prepared applicant, but it also gives you a valuable asset-knowledge! There's also the matter of complying with a section of FAR 61.39, practical test prerequisites. The relevant portion states that an applicant for a flight test must be certified by his or her flight instructor as having "demonstrated satisfactory knowledge of the subject areas in which the applicant was deficient on the airman knowledge test." Be assured, an applicant who shows up for a flight test with a knowledge-test grade barely above 70 percent (the minimum passing score) will be in for some scrutiny. (A good resource for knowledge-test study is AOPA Online's library of Airman Knowledge Test Questions. Click on the appropriate test and get right to work!)

It's not uncommon for the knowledge test to be spoken of, sometimes even by flight instructors, as something to "get out of the way." This could mislead a new student pilot into underestimating the importance of the exam, as explained above. A new student also hears a wide variety of advice about when to take the test. Opinions vary on this point because there is no required moment in training for taking it, except that it must be taken and passed before taking the flight test. Also, the knowledge-test results "expire" after 24 months.

What to do? Some sound guidance is offered in the September 2003 commentary "Preflight" by AOPA Flight Training Editor Mike Collins: "When I'm asked, I suggest that beginning students study their choice of ground-school material concurrently with their flight lessons. Certain things, such as VOR and NDB navigation, can be much easier to comprehend when flight training can complement the bookwork. I think that an ideal time for most students to take the knowledge test is just before beginning their solo cross-countries; by then their flight training should have exposed them to all the knowledge-test subject areas." Aim high on your knowledge test, then maintain that standard throughout your pilot training.

Your Partner in Training

The AOPA Medical Certification home page is the starting point for information about medical certification issues with your local aviation medical examiner (AME) and regional federal air surgeons. Also available are medical subject reports, answers to common aviation medical concerns, searchable listings of AMEs and medications the FAA allows or prohibits, and a medical online status request form to assist with your medical certification.

Do you have a question? Call the experienced pilots in AOPA's Pilot Information Center at 800/USA-AOPA. They're available to take your calls weekdays 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

Sabena Airline Training Center (SATC), based in Brussels, Belgium, has opened a U.S. facility in Arizona and will use Diamond aircraft for its training fleet. SATC has ordered six aircraft-a Diamond DA20-C1, four DA40s, and three DA42 Twin Stars-at the new location at Falcon Field Airport in Mesa, Arizona. SATC chose Diamond because it offers a family of aircraft that have "important cost advantages over other training aircraft, while providing our customers next-generation training with the [Garmin] G1000," according to Kris Van den Bergh, managing director and head of flight training for SATC's Arizona location. Deliveries are set to begin in January.

There's still time to apply for several scholarships offered through Women in Aviation International (WAI). Featured programs include six maintenance scholarships sponsored by Pratt & Whitney and one flight attendant scholarship offered by FlightSafety International. The deadline to apply is December 21. WAI suggests applicants read the instructions as they may differ from the normal application process. For more information, see the Web site.

A new flight school has opened its doors at the Bartlesville Municipal Airport in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Pathfinder Aeronautical Institute was founded by Savio and Rachel Barreto. Savio Barreto is a graduate of Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology; he is assistant chief pilot for NetJets, Inc. Rachel Barreto was a commercial pilot for a Continental Express carrier and Atlantic Coast Airlines. The school currently has a Cessna 172 and a Mooney M20C for rental and training, with plans to acquire three more aircraft. For more information, call 918/876-1278.

Inside AOPA

Flight instructors: Looking for a good introduction to the GPS system for your students? Flight students: Is a panel-mount GPS unit in your future? Get the basics and a lot more with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's newly revised Safety Advisor, GPS Technology. The 16-page publication includes in-depth discussions of how the system works and how it differs from VOR navigation. It also provides a look at the different types of GPS approaches and information on how to fly them. Plus, you'll learn about the different types of GPS receivers (WAAS/non-WAAS), and get some tips and tricks, as well as answers to frequently asked questions.

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

If you have a holiday tree ornament commemorating your new home, your baby, or your grandchild, why not have an ornament that recalls your training airplane? Thanks to Sporty's custom airplane ornaments, you can order a leaded glass ornament with a silhouette of a low-wing, high-wing, taildragger, or twin-engine aircraft, and have it inscribed with the airplane's N number or with a one-line message of up to 20 characters. The ornament costs $29.95 and may be ordered online or by calling 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 am interested in learning more about VFR chart symbols so I can better interpret them while planning a flight. What resource can I use to gain a better understanding of the symbols used?

Answer: If the chart legend does not depict the symbol, you can refer to the Aeronautical Chart User's Guide published by the FAA's National Aeronautical Charting Office. It includes a large section covering VFR chart terms and symbols that you can download. Topics include: aeronautical (airports and radio aids); topographic (populated areas and man-made versus natural obstructions/features); hydrography (shorelines, lakes, and streams); and relief (mountain contours, mountain passes, and quarries). Additional insight into chart symbols and airspace classes is available by downloading the AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Advisor, Airspace for Everyone .

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
Just 14 months ago, AOPA's 2006 Win A Six in '06 Sweepstakes airplane was merely a 1967 Cherokee Six 260 looking for a new home. You wouldn't recognize it these days, as its refurbishments are just about complete and the day draws near for the winning name to be drawn. Read the progress reports on N164U and find out how you can fly it on your personal computer using Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004.

Weekend Weather
See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix.

ePilot Calendar
Richmond, VA. A Charity Toy Airlift takes place December 9 at Chesterfield County (FCI). Collect and fly in new unwrapped toys to benefit the Battery Park area of Richmond that was flooded twice this fall. A Salvation Army truck will be on site to receive toys, and members of the Virginia Chapter Ninety-Nines will greet you. Contact Betty Vinson, 804/720-1132.

To submit an event to the calendar or to search all events visit AOPA Online. For airport details, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online.

The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic is scheduled in Denver, December 16 and 17. Clinics are also scheduled in Long Beach, CA; Portland, OR; and San Antonio, January 6 and 7. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.

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