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Copyright © 2006 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
The solo cross-country phase of flight training is an exciting time, during which you begin to experience an aircraft's utility in traveling. You will fly farther afield than ever before, without a flight instructor aboard to guide your decision making. This means staying alert to changing or unexpected weather conditions and conducting operations at unfamiliar airports all by yourself.
What is a cross-country flight? The term has different meanings to different pilot-training requirements, as explained in the "Legal Briefing" column from the May 2004 AOPA Flight Training. For a student pilot, a cross-country is a flight "that includes a point of landing that was at least a straight-line distance of more than 50 nautical miles from the original point of departure." This definition is found in the Federal Aviation Regulation 61.1(b)(3).
How many cross-countries will you fly? Enough to log at least five hours of solo cross-country time. One of those flights (generally not the first one you fly) must be "at least 150 nautical miles total distance, with full-stop landings at a minimum of three points, and one segment of the flight consisting of a straight-line distance of at least 50 nautical miles between the takeoff and landing locations," according to the regulations.
Even on a short solo cross-country, don't underestimate the level of skill you are already putting to use. Your destination could be a different kind of place than your home field. Terrain characteristics could be unusual, giving surface winds an odd character. Airport elevation could differ significantly. While en route, be alert for changing altimeter settings or a closing temperature-dew point spread, especially in late afternoon. The importance of the dew point was discussed in the March 21, 2003 Training Tips. After you obtain surface winds, visualize entering the traffic pattern for the appropriate runway. Know from your preflight planning all available runways' lengths and obstructions on the approach paths.
Spring is the time of year when better weather and more hours of daylight help training programs move forward-especially those all-important solo cross-countries!
| Your Partner in Training |
|"Sometimes when I'm flying solo, I get so anxious that I almost freeze up. Is something wrong with me?" Almost every student pilot experiences a bit of anxiety at times when alone in the cockpit. These instances will decrease as you progress in your training and fly more frequently. The key is to not let your fears get in the way of your progress and keep you on the ground. Talk about it with your flight instructor, or with your fellow pilots via the AOPA Aviation Forums. Read more in this "Instructor Report" and on AOPA Online. |
Have a question? Call AOPA's 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 |
| ASF ACCIDENT DATABASE CAN HELP IMPROVE FLYING SKILLS |
Learning from others' mistakes is a simple and safe way to improve your flying skills. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Accident Database is keyword searchable and includes a number of recent enhancements, including by make/model, weather or light conditions at the time of the accident, or highest injury. More than 55,000 searches have been performed since the improved search engine was introduced in September 2005.
WOMEN IN CORPORATE AVIATION ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIPS
Women in Corporate Aviation is offering several scholarship opportunities for men and women pursuing a career in corporate or business aviation. The scholarships include financial assistance to obtain primary and advanced flight training, dispatcher training, and aviation education. Airframe and powerplant technicians can apply for a scholarship to obtain an inspection authorization certificate. The scholarships will be awarded at the 2006 National Business Aviation Association meeting, October 17 through 19, in Orlando, Florida. The deadline to apply is June 30. For applications and guidelines, see the Web site.
UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE SPACE INSTITUTE NAMES CHAIRMAN
Stephen Corda, former flight researcher for the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, has been named program chairman for the aviation systems and flight research group at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma, Tennessee. While at Dryden, Corda was propulsion research engineer, project chief engineer for the SR-71 Blackbird and F-15B supersonic test bed, and a project manager for the NASA F-15B. He flew as a NASA flight test engineer in the F/A-18, T-38, and F-15. Corda replaces Ralph Kimberlin, who retired in September 2005.
WOMEN IN AVIATION INTERNATIONAL MEETING IN NASHVILLE
More than 3,000 people are expected to gather in Nashville, Tennessee, this week to explore aviation career opportunities at the seventeenth annual International Women in Aviation Conference. A highlight of the conference is the announcement of scholarship recipients; last year WAI awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships to more than 50 members. And although it's too late to apply for 2006, the 2007 scholarship applications and guidelines will be posted in August. For more information on WAI, see the Web site.
AVIATION SUMMER CAMPS: FUN IN THE SUN
Now that spring is officially here, it's time to make plans for summer camp. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the Florida Air Museum both offer aviation-oriented summer programs. Embry-Riddle's Daytona Beach, Florida, campus has both residential and day programs for students ages 12 to 18. Some courses may be taken for college credit. Sessions begin June 12. For more information, see the Web site. The Florida Air Museum in Lakeland this year offers a resident camp in addition to day camps for children ages 11 to 15. Sessions begin June 5. For more information, see the Web site.
| Inside AOPA |
MEDICATION DATABASE NOW SEARCHABLE BY GENERIC NAME
Spring is here, and for pilots who have allergies, that means fighting off the sniffling, sneezing, and itchy eyes with medication. But how do you know which ones you can take and still be able to fly? Just look it up in AOPA's searchable database of drugs verified by the FAA. Now you can search by the trade or generic name of the drug. "The addition of the ability to search by a drug's generic name is a great benefit for you," said Gary Crump, AOPA director of medical services. "Doctors are prescribing the generic version of medications more and more, and now it will be easier for you to find out if those medications will interfere with your flying privileges."
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 |
FREE WEATHER EDUCATION SITE FROM UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
Is weather theory giving you a headache? Can't tell an altocumulous cloud from a nimbostratus? The next time you're grounded by the weather, spend an hour on the Internet perusing WW2010 (weather world 2010) . This expansive site was created by the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Combining educational modules with current weather products, it was designed for high-school and undergraduate students, but its plain-language explanations and multimedia format are perfect for the student pilot who is grappling with weather concepts. And when we clicked on "classroom activities," we found an exercise in converting local time to Coordinated Universal Time, or Zulu time, with links to appropriate resources.
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: When should I make a pilot report (pirep)? |
Answer: A pilot report (pirep) (download the advisory circular) provides valuable information on actual conditions for other pilots, weather briefers, and even air traffic control. There isn't any specific time where you are required to make a pilot report, but here are some suggestions of when you should. If you notice the weather conditions are not what they were forecast to be, make a report. Consider making a report if the weather conditions are what was forecast; that helps, too. Other good times to make reports are in turbulent conditions, or lack thereof. Pilots will often report cloud tops and bases and icing conditions as well. Try and think of what information would be helpful to you in your flight planning and remember to make pilot reports when you can. Take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's free SkySpotter online course and learn how to make an effective pirep. For additional information on pireps, see the January 2003 issue of AOPA Flight Training .
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. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS: |
Nashville, Tennessee. The Women in Aviation Annual Conference takes place March 23 through 25 at the Opryland Resort & Convention Center. Participants at this conference will be immersed in the tactics and strategies necessary for successful aviation careers. For more information, see the Web site.
Lakeland, Florida. The Sun 'n Fun Fly-In takes place April 4 through 10 at Lakeland Linder Regional (LAL). A spring tradition featuring exhibitors, aircraft display, and a daily airshow, Sun 'n Fun offers something for everyone! Don't miss a Pilot Town Meeting with AOPA President Phil Boyer on Thursday, April 6, and AOPA Day on Friday, April 7-AOPA members get $5 off admission when you show your membership card. For more information, see 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 Boston, and Sterling, Virginia, April 1 and 2. Clinics are also scheduled in San Diego, Chicago, and Cincinnati, April 8 and 9. 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 Morristown, New Jersey, and San Antonio, March 27; East Windsor, Connecticut, and Houston, March 28; Billerica, Massachusetts, March 29; and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, March 30. Topics vary-for more details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.