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Copyright © 2006 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
A 'COMPETENT' DECISION
Have you ever made a decision to fly based on your weather briefing and soon discovered that you made the wrong decision? Perhaps some fluky weather came along, but more likely, you overlooked or underestimated a warning that lurked in the information you received.
If you found the experience discouraging or unnerving, take heart: It happens to all pilots at times and is part of the learning process. In the long run, the lessons you learn from making a bad call will serve you well. An immediate benefit is learning to apply caution when evaluating seemingly obvious weather conditions. Another is knowing that on any flight, things can change in a hurry, whether forecast or not.
None of this is to say that your decision to fly or stay on the ground must perfectly predict all possible short-term weather. The standard against which you will be judged, as given in the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards, has two parts. First, you must be able to evaluate weather information from a number of sources (especially those on the list in the Weather Information Task in Area of Operation I, Preflight Preparation). Second, you must make "a competent go/no-go decision based on available weather information."
A good rule to go by is that "competent" starts with skeptical. Deciding not to fly because of doubts about the weather is a decision that tends to torment pilots when a calm, sunny day shows up instead. But that's better, and safer, than the alternative. Whenever you fly, make mental notes of how closely actual conditions match up against the forecast. Remain alert for changes, updating your weather briefing regularly. Updated briefings were the subject of the July 8, 2005, Training Tips.
That's good practice before and during a flight. A seemingly sound decision made at the beginning of a flight may have to be modified, as Thomas A. Horne described in his October 2001 AOPA Pilot feature, "The Rolling Go/No-Go Decision." Stay receptive to new information, thereby staying "competent" to make decisions about the conditions for your flight.
| Your Partner in Training |
Well, you did it. You made up your mind to learn to fly this summer. Now for the big debate: Should you learn to fly at a towered or nontowered airport? Get some practical advice and insight by reading "Choosing the Right School." AOPA Flight Training Online has everything you need to know to get started.
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 |
2006 COMM1 SCHOLARSHIP OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS
E-publishing Group, creators of the Comm1 line of pilot communication software programs, is accepting applications for the sixth annual Comm1 aviation scholarship program. The scholarship provides $1,000 toward the cost of flight training or tuition expenses. To qualify, you must demonstrate an interest in pursuing a career in aviation and submit a 75-word essay that evaluates the financial and practical benefits of using interactive radio communications training as an integrated part of a flight training curriculum. For more information, see the Web site.
NONTOWERED AIRPORT OPERATIONS: ARE YOU UP TO PAR?
As aircraft operations increase with the summer flying season, take extra precautions to ensure your safety, particularly when flying at nontowered fields [download the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Operations at Nontowered Airports Safety Advisor]. The experts in AOPA's Pilot Information Center recommend honing those basic skills you learned as a student pilot. For example, obey all airport and runway markings, particularly the hold-short lines. Fight the urge to try to squeeze in your takeoff while someone is on final or before an aircraft has cleared the runway after landing. When making your radio calls, keep nonessential chatter to a minimum. Chances are, you can chat with your buddy ahead of you in the Champ after you've both landed. This will help free up the frequency for the increased number of pilots who will be making calls. Also, clarify in your calls whether you are addressing traffic or unicom. Watch for pilots not following the correct traffic pattern (make sure you aren't that person by getting an airport advisory). And help keep airport neighbors happy by following all noise abatement procedures.
WEST POINT CADETS BEGIN HELICOPTER TRAINING
Twenty cadets from the U.S. Military Academy began a four-week helicopter training program this week at the University of North Dakota John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences in Grand Forks, North Dakota. At the end of the program, they will have received a student pilot certificate and logged enough hours to solo in preparation to fly Army helicopters. Another 20 cadets will start training after July 4. The initiative is part of an agreement established in 2003 by the academy and UND, which has trained 100 cadets thus far.
UND OFFERS SUMMER AEROSPACE CAMP FOR TEENS
The University of North Dakota will be hosting young men and women this summer in a more relaxed learning environment. The first session of the UND Aerospace Camp begins June 18. High school students from around the country will visit the Grand Forks, North Dakota, facilities to take ground school, log flight time, and learn about aviation flight careers. A second camp will be held July 9 through 16. For more information, contact Ken Polovitz at 800/258-1525 or 701/777-3561.
ELITE FLIGHT TRAINING DEVICE GETS FAA APPROVAL
The FAA has granted certification to Elite Simulation Solutions' Garmin G1000-equipped series of advanced aviation training devices, Elite announced. The iGATE Model G500-G1K series trainers are equipped with Garmin G1000 hardware utilizing 10.4-inch PFD/MFD displays. Single-engine models include the Diamond DA42 and Beechcraft Baron G58. The FAA's Flight Standards Service General Aviation and Commercial Division recently took delivery of a trainer configured as a Baron G58, Elite said. Additional aircraft versions will become available as the fleet of G1000-equipped aircraft grows. For more information about the G1000-equipped advanced ATDs, see the Web site.
| Inside AOPA |
AOPA FLY-IN WRAPS UP FOR 2006
Although there were low ceilings and cloudy weather Saturday morning, by afternoon skies had cleared, and almost 4,500 people turned out to attend the sixteenth annual AOPA Fly-In and Open House. The aircraft display was not without variety. There were 44 aircraft, including one glider, three helicopters, and 40 airplanes. The 2006 AOPA Sweepstakes Cherokee Six attracted plenty of attention with members marveling at the cargo space. And, yes, it really can carry a load. The seminars were filled as pilots became even better pilots thanks to the tips from the pros. We look forward to seeing you at AOPA Expo 2006 from November 9 through 11 in beautiful Palm Springs, California. For complete fly-in coverage, see AOPA Online.
AOPA PETITIONS FAA TO ALLOW MORE PILOTS BACK IN THE AIR
AOPA is petitioning the FAA to allow recreational pilots to fly with a "driver's license medical" and fix the "sport pilot Catch-22." "That would mean that even if you've lost your medical, you could still fly something as large as a Cessna 172 [as a recreational pilot] if you're healthy enough for a driver's license and don't have any medical conditions that could incapacitate you," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. An AOPA member exercising recreational pilot privileges could fly in day VFR conditions in a single-engine, fixed-gear aircraft with no more than 180 horsepower. Up to four seats are allowed, but a recreational pilot can have only one passenger on board. AOPA's petition would also eliminate the "sport pilot Catch-22." Under current regulations, a pilot who has previously been denied a medical certificate cannot exercise sport pilot privileges without regaining a medical certificate. However, another pilot with the same medical condition who just allowed his medical to lapse can still fly as a sport pilot, as long as he has a current driver's license and self-certifies that he is healthy enough to fly. AOPA has recommended to the FAA that a pilot be allowed to obtain a health statement from his personal physician declaring that he is healthy enough to operate a moving vehicle and is not likely to suffer any kind of incapacitation within the next 24 months. Like a medical certificate, the health statement would need to be readily accessible to the pilot when operating an aircraft. An AOPA Air Safety Foundation accident study showed that medical incapacitation rarely causes an accident, regardless of whether the pilot is required to have a medical certificate. See AOPA Online.
AOPA OBJECTS TO CHANGES IN FOREIGN PILOT TRAINING RULES
U.S. State Department officials just don't understand flight training. And because they don't, they're writing regulations that could put nine flight schools out of business. AOPA is trying to stop that. The nine flight schools specialize in training foreign students. The State Department wants to change the rules for the Exchange Visitor Program and J-1 visas, and those changes would make it next to impossible for foreign students to complete training that would allow them to get flying jobs in their own countries. "The State Department blatantly disregarded the devastating economic consequences to flight schools, and improperly certified that the proposal would have not have a significant impact," said Melissa K. Rudinger, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. "They didn't even talk to the schools involved." AOPA filed an objection to the proposed changes, pointing out that unlike other foreign students, flight students have to pass security checks by the Transportation Security Administration. See AOPA Online.
AIR SAFETY FOUNDATION FALL INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY
Interns for the AOPA Air Safety Foundation don't make coffee. In the words of a former foundation intern, "This is not your typical internship." The foundation seeks an instrument-rated (CFI preferred) university student to fulfill an exciting, full-time, temporary position. Interns help to develop safety education, including print publications, live seminars, and online courses for the general aviation community. The intern receives hourly pay, plus a stipend to assist with moving, housing, and/or flying expenses. Applications are due Friday, June 16. See AOPA Online for more information.
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 |
AVOID CROSSWIND CONUNDRUMS WITH SPORTY'S CALCULATOR
For ease of mind in the traffic pattern and elsewhere, you should always know the crosswind component that you're about to face. Sometimes this is difficult to calculate on the fly, as it were, using the charts provided in a pilot's operating handbook. Sporty's Crosswind Calculator is designed to help you compute crosswind and headwind components just before takeoff and landing. The "whiz wheel" design lets you make these determinations just by knowing the runway in use, wind direction, and wind speed. It sells for $12.95. 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: What flight experience is required to be in my logbook? |
Answer: Federal Aviation Regulation 61.51 discusses pilot logbooks. This regulation outlines what aeronautical experience should be recorded, what information is required in the entry, and other specifics on logging time. It states that you must maintain a record of all training and aeronautical experience used to meet the requirements of a certificate, rating, or flight review covered in Part 61. Therefore, the training you complete with your flight instructor (both on the ground and in the air) as well as your solo time should be recorded so it can be used toward the requirements for the pilot certificate you seek. In addition, once you obtain your pilot certificate, your recent flight experience, as required by Part 61, would also be required to be recorded. For additional information on logbooks and logging time, 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 |
|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 |
|Can't decipher the abbreviations in weather reports? Got a question about updrafts, downdrafts, and turbulence? We've compiled frequently asked questions posed by AOPA members to the senior weather experts at Meteorologix. Find the latest on AOPA Online. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS: |
Janesville, Wisconsin. The Southern Wisconsin AirFEST takes place June 10 and 11 at Southern Wisconsin Regional (JVL). Event features Sky Soldiers, U.S. Army Golden Knights, Patty Wagstaff, Shockwave Jet Truck, F-16 tactical demonstration team, Canadian Skyhawks parachute team, David Burdine's MiG-17, Julie Clark, Susan Dacy, B-17, Dave Dacy Wingwalking team, and more. Contact Julia Dacy, 608/754-5405, or see the Web site.
Columbia, California. The Bellanca-Champion Club West Coast Fly-in takes place June 9 through 11 at Columbia (O22). A great mix of flying, eating, education, and social activities. Advance registration encouraged. Contact 518/731-6800, or see the Web site.
Middletown, Ohio. The 13th National Aeronca Association Convention takes place June 15 through 18 at Hook Field Municipal (MWO). See more Aeroncas in one place than anywhere else as we join together at the location of the Aeronca factory. Forums, aircraft judging, and more. Contact Brian Matz, 216/337-5643, or visit the Web site.
Osage Beach, Missouri. The Cherokee National Fly-in and Convention takes place June 16 through 18 at the Tan-Tar-A Resort. Kick off this event with a barbeque at Grand Glaize airport on Friday evening. Saturday features exhibitors, seminars, and a keynote presentation by AOPA President Phil Boyer. Be sure to stop by to see AOPA's Win a Six in '06 Sweepstakes airplane, a 1967 Cherokee Six-260, throughout the weekend. For complete details, see the Web site.
Astoria, Oregon. The Port of Astoria Airport and U.S. Coast Guard Open House takes place June 20 at Astoria Regional (AST). A midweek event is planned this year in conjunction with the Collings Foundation display of B-17 and B-24 bombers. Event features static displays, flybys, and Coast Guard aerial helicopter demonstrations. Contact Ron Larsen, Port of Astoria, 503/325-4521.
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 Phoenix; Columbus, Ohio; and Reston, Virginia; June 24 and 25. Clinics are also scheduled in Jacksonville, Florida, and Portland, Maine, July 15 and 16. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.