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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition -- Vol. 6, Issue 1AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition -- Vol. 6, Issue 1

To view the AOPA ePilot archives, click here.

Volume 6, Issue 1 • January 6, 2006
In this issue:
Penalties stiff for falsifying medical applications
Lost pilots recall fateful day in 'A Flight of Mistakes'
AOPA white paper: Saving privately owned airports


AOPA Aircraft Financing


Minnesota Life Insurance

Comm1 Radio Simulator

Scheyden Eyewear

King Schools

Garmin International

Seattle Avionics

Pilot Insurance Center

MBNA Credit Card Program

Sporty's Pilot Shop

Do not reply to this e-mail. Got news? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].

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Copyright © 2006 AOPA.

Training Tips

Winter is a challenging but rewarding time to fly. Icy ramps and cold-weather starts are the name of the game for those plucky pilots determined to keep their training moving ahead during the short, frigid days of January. Add careful airframe inspections for clinging frost, snow, or ice to your preflight procedures. Pay careful attention to notams about braking action reports on runways and ramps. And use special care to avoid "shock cooling" the powerplant when throttling back during descents and landings.

Cold weather also provides excellent opportunities to learn. The cold, dry air that characterizes winter high pressure systems lets normally aspirated engines generate maximum power. You will not have experienced this kind of climb performance on warmer weather flights. A large high passing through the region, or settling in for an extended visit, can provide welcome relief from the blustery routine-and opportunity. "The center of the high-the area with the highest barometric pressure and altimeter settings-has the shallowest pressure gradients, and this has a very important effect. Namely, surface winds calm down. Now is the time to practice those takeoffs and landings without the hassle of gusty crosswinds," Thomas A. Horne said in the July 2004 AOPA Pilot column "Wx Watch: History of a High."

A rare condition caused by winter highs is extreme barometric pressure readings that can challenge the capacity of your on-board instruments to measure it. What then? "Cold, dry air masses may produce barometric pressures in excess of 31 inches of mercury, and many altimeters do not have an accurate means of being adjusted for settings of these levels. When the altimeter cannot be set to the higher pressure setting, the aircraft actual altitude will be higher than the altimeter indicates," explains Chapter 7 of the Aeronautical Information Manual. See the chapter for air traffic control procedures during these conditions. And remember, as pressure systems come and go-emphasized in the AOPA Pilot article "Current Altimeter Settings Really Matter"-update your altimeter setting frequently to the value reported by ATC and flight service. It's a matter of good practice and safety.

Your Partner in Training
Happy new year! Is learning to fly one of your new year's resolutions? Have you pledged to add another certificate or rating? Whether you're just starting out or polishing your flying skills, AOPA Flight Training Online has tools and resources to help you meet your goals. Look for content especially targeted to your phase of training.

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
For many pilots, a periodic visit to the aviation medical examiner to renew their medical certificates is a routine part of flying. But complacency can foster carelessness and result in an inadvertent omission of what the FAA would consider pertinent medical information from the medical application. If you make an inadvertent oversight, and the FAA picks up on it, a letter of explanation and supportive medical documentation will usually resolve the issue. Intentional falsification is a different story. For example, the U.S. Department of Justice recently handed down indictments against a pilot who, several years ago, made knowingly false statements on FAA medical certificate applications. The FAA and Justice Department can and do impose severe penalties for those who fraudulently misrepresent their medical histories when completing FAA Form 8500-8. Plus the FAA can suspend or revoke offenders' pilot certificates. See the complete story on AOPA Online.

Jessica J. Koss of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has won a $1,000 scholarship from E-Publishing Group, the makers of the COMM1 line of aviation training software. Koss also received a COMM1 VFR Radio Simulator CD-ROM training program. Koss is in her senior year at the University of Dubuque, where she is a double major in aviation management and flight operations. She is an instrument-rated commercial pilot who plans to obtain a flight instructor certificate. Koss said her short-term goal is to be an instructor and serve as a mentor to young pilots. She hopes to fly for a small regional airline before becoming a corporate pilot. For more information about COMM1 products, see the Web site.

When a Cessna 150 mistakenly entered the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) surrounding Baltimore and Washington, D.C., in May 2005, many of us watched the ensuing news coverage with something akin to disbelief as military helicopters and jets were scrambled and the U.S. Capitol was evacuated. How could this happen? Find out how in the words of the two pilots involved. AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines wove the men's stories in a fascinating account, "Flight of Mistakes," which appears in the January 2006 issue of AOPA Pilot.

Inside AOPA

The rumors are swirling: Your favorite privately owned airport is going to be sold to a developer. What can you do? "If the airport is privately owned, it's much more difficult to prevent its closing," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports. "While there is much less pressure that AOPA can bring, it's still possible to save it. And success is more likely when the majority of local pilots are involved-and involved early." To help, AOPA has prepared a new white paper titled Airport Closures at Privately Owned/Public-Use Airports . Most public-use airports are owned by local or state government entities, the paper explains. And because most publicly owned airports get federal funds, or were originally federal property deeded to local agencies, there are rules and contracts in place that make it difficult to close them. But a privately owned airport, even if it is open to general public use, is still private property-meaning the owner can do what he wants with the property, within the limits of local zoning ordinances. "However, a strategic and determined effort by local pilots and concerned citizens can keep a privately owned airport open," said Dunn. "Our white paper and other available AOPA resources can show you how. Local pilots must be active in the process." See AOPA Online.

The AOPA Air Safety Foundation's home page has been redesigned, making aviation safety tips and techniques easier to find. The foundation's popular online courses are right up front in the Online Safety Center, along with the world's largest searchable general aviation accident database and the ASF-Jeppesen CFI online renewal course. Also in the front is Sporty's Safety Quiz; check back frequently, as the quiz changes every two weeks. Safety techniques are identified and explained in the Hot Topics section, a one-stop shop of timely, topic-specific safety information. A section is devoted to the ASF library, which includes free downloadable versions of the foundation's safety publications from Safety Advisors to accident reports. This update, online courses, free live safety seminars, and many other services are provided in part by pilot donations. A section at the bottom of the home page describes how pilots can make donations to help the foundation develop programs to ensure GA's safety record continues to improve.

MBNA Corp., which has provided a variety of AOPA financial products and services to AOPA members for more than 20 years, officially became part of Bank of America on January 1. But for most AOPA members, the changeover will be transparent. "AOPA credit card holders will keep the same account number and can continue to use the same credit card," said Karen Gebhart, AOPA executive vice president of non-dues revenue. "Sometime later this year, Bank of America will start to issue new credit cards to show the name change." With the purchase of MBNA Corp., Bank of America becomes the largest issuer of Visa and MasterCard credit, debit, and prepaid cards and the nation's largest consumer bank. "Bank of America is committed to the AOPA program. Members can look forward to a vast array of the finest financial and investment products available," said Gebhart. "And as is the case with all AOPA Member Products, use of the credit card and other financial services helps fund AOPA's programs to defend and advance general aviation." To apply for an AOPA credit card, click here.

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

Looking for an online method to prep for an upcoming sport, private, or commercial pilot knowledge test? offers a Web site to help you get the job done. Log in and access the pertinent exam from any Internet-based computer. The site lets you customize how and what part of the test bank is presented, and each question gives you access to an online E6B and calculator, and accompanying graphic, if applicable. Subscription levels start at $2.95 and are priced according to how close you are to taking the exam. For more information or to try a demo of the sport or private pilot exams, see the Web site.

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'm having difficulty decoding the winds and temperatures aloft forecast (FD). Can you help me?

Answer: Absolutely. Advisory Circular 00-45E, Section 4 provides the details behind the winds and temperatures aloft forecast. There is a six-digit group for each station at a given altitude; we'll use 821205 as an example. The first two digits, usually ranging 01-36, represent the wind direction in reference to true north, given in tens of degrees. If the numbers range from 51-86, indicating a wind speed greater than 100 knots, subtract 50 to determine the wind direction. You would add 100 to the second two digits, which indicate the wind speed in knots. Using the example, 82-50=32, giving a wind direction of 320 degrees and 100+12=112 kt. The last two digits indicate the temperature in degrees Celsius. The temperature in the example would be 5 degrees Celsius. You will note that some lower-level wind groups omit the temperature. Temperatures that are negative will have a minus sign displayed prior to the two digits, unless the altitude is above 24,000 feet where all temperatures are negative. See AOPA Online for the current winds and temperatures aloft forecast and other aviation weather products provided by Meteorlogix.

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
A flight from Omaha, Nebraska, to Tucson, Arizona, via Colorado Springs earned this pilot some experiences that he learned about in flight training but had never encountered: icing conditions and VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions, among others. Read "Never Again: Low Time, High Performance" in the January 2006 issue of AOPA Pilot.

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

ePilot Calendar
Lawrenceville, Georgia. An Aviation Program and Breakfast takes place January 7 at Gwinnett County-Briscoe Field (LZU). For more information, contact Joel Levine, 770/394-5466, or visit the Web site.

St. Louis, Missouri. The 2006 Midwest Aviation Conference takes place January 7 and 8 at the Busch Student Center on St. Louis University. Keynote speakers include Scott Crossfield, Cathe Fish, Dr. Peggy Chabrian, and Rep. Jack Jackson. Come see exhibitors and choose from safety seminars and builders workshops. Contact Jeff Edwards, 636/532-5638, 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.

The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Columbia, Maryland, Rochester, New York, and Jackson, Mississippi, January 14 and 15. Clinics are also scheduled in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sevierville, Tennessee, and San Antonio, January 21 and 22. 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 are scheduled in North Hills, California, January 9; Ontario, California, January 10; Costa Mesa, California, January 11; and San Diego, January 12. The Topic is "Do the Right Thing-Decision Making for Pilots." For more details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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