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Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition, Vol. 7, Issue 35

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Volume 7, Issue 35 • August 31, 2007

In this issue:
NASA envisions DC-3 for the twenty-first century
Are you up for the IFR chart challenge?
Sky is the limit for paraplegic helicopter pilot

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Training Tips

Somewhere between the perfectly stabilized final approach and the despairing go-around exists the real world of landings. Student pilots learn how to judge whether a final approach is unfolding well enough to fly right down to touchdown. If it isn't, there's no shame in executing a balked landing and setting up for another pattern. See the July 25, 2003, Training Tips article "The gospel of go-arounds."

Don't conclude that a final approach should be abandoned at the first sign that it is off the mark. Pilots have many resources for keeping an approach tidy. How is your airspeed? Make sure that your trimming technique leaves you correctly trimmed at the airspeed you set after rolling out on final. A few extra knots could have crept onto the airspeed indicator as you busied yourself with other tasks. How's your glide? Try adjusting glidepath with small power changes, then "split the difference" to maintain the proper descent rate. Don't re-trim; let pitch changes induced by throttle adjustment maintain the airspeed. If larger glidepath adjustments are needed, reduce or even idle the power and execute a forward slip [see the February 24, 2006, Training Tips article "Forward slips, sideslips"] until you're back on the proper glidepath. Consult your pilot's operating handbook for cautions against slipping with flap deployments.

Sometimes a final approach starts on the correct glidepath but deteriorates. Why? Wind velocity often slows, and its direction (and therefore, any crosswind component) can change on descent. Thermal turbulence may be encountered. Distracted behavior such as fixating on an instrument or radio (often while pushing or pulling on the yoke) can occur. Keep an open mind and be ready for quickly changing conditions on final. "Air movements wander like water in a creek," Ralph Butcher wrote in his November 2006 AOPA Flight Training "Insights" column. See the examples he provides and the techniques he recommends for handling them.

Landing is the ultimate delicate dance. Some of its variables are more tangible than others, as a pilot discovered upon seeking "expert advice" on technique in the AOPA Aviation Forums. Practicing and critically analyzing your results, and following the advice of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings, will bring success.

Your Partner in Training

Forms, forms, and more forms! From AOPA services to selected FAA, Customs, FCC, and NTSB forms, you can find nearly everything on AOPA Online. If we don't have what you need, the Pilot Information Center specialists will be able to direct you to a source. Call 800/872-2672 toll-free on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern, or e-mail.

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

The aviation program at Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, Mass., is temporarily without a flight school after learning this month that Delta Connection Academy (DCA) would not renew its contract to provide flight training services. A story in the online publication South Coast Today said DCA planned to close its facility at New Bedford Regional Airport and redeploy its aircraft to other locations. Low enrollment in the aviation program was cited as a factor in DCA's decision, but a Bridgewater State spokesman said the college "had no reason to believe there were any problems, especially in light of increasing enrollment." Enrollment in the flight school had increased 25 percent over the five years that DCA had provided flight training for the college, he said. In the meantime, the college is making arrangements with other flight schools at New Bedford as well as at airports in Mansfield and Plymouth.

Can the venerable Douglas DC-3 be given a makeover for the twenty-first century? That's the challenge posed by NASA. Aimed at high school and college students, the NASA competition requires participants to come up with a design for an "all-new, next-generation DC-3 type of aircraft." The first prize for a team entry in the high school competition is $1,500, or $1,000 to a first prize individual entry. The first prize for the college entry could be $5,000—it's "subject to available funds," NASA says. Proposals for the high school division are due in March 2008, but NASA wants a letter of intent by December 15, 2007. The deadlines for the college competition are April 30, 2008, with a letter of intent due by January 19, 2008. See the Web site for more information.

Regional airline Air Canada Jazz, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has partnered with several community college flying programs to hire new graduates. The program, described in a article, is part of the airline's efforts to stave off a pilot shortage, as it allows Air Canada Jazz to take on recruits who have less than the 1,500 hours of flight time normally required for a first officer position. The airline is continuing to hire more experienced pilots as well, but it is testing the program to avoid staffing shortages down the road, according to a spokeswoman. Air Canada Jazz operates a fleet of Dash 8s and Bombardier CRJs to 84 destinations in Canada and the United States.

Inside AOPA

Once you've achieved that coveted private pilot certificate, an instrument rating is the next big step for many. As you'll learn, aeronautical chart interpretation is a key part of understanding and flying safely in instrument meteorological conditions. Knowing what's on an aeronautical chart is one thing, but knowing how to interpret and use it is another. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation's new online minicourse, IFR Chart Challenge: VOR Approach, is the first in a new series of interactive courses to help pilots grasp the finer points of aeronautical charts and the procedures connected to them. The free course uses a series of real-life scenarios related to flying the VOR RWY 34 approach at Carroll County Regional/Jack B. Poage Field in central Maryland.

Can you picture what you'll be flying—and where—in 20 years? Making a visit to AOPA's Sweepstakes Catch-A-Cardinal at the interior shop last week, Field Project Manager Dan Gryder enlisted the help of a former student (and that 20-year-pilot's airplane) to get him where no airliner goes—Alva, Okla. Join the pair as they visit Vantage Plane Plastics and Aerodesigns Aircraft Interiors to check up on the 1977 Cessna Cardinal's progress.

After flying with her father as a passenger for several years, AOPA Project Pilot student Deana Beck decided it was time to get her private pilot certificate. Beck's flight training began in January with her father serving as her mentor. He was always on the other end of the phone ready to answer countless "what if" questions, according to Beck. She passed her checkride on August 10. "What really made the day special for me was that, as I was taxiing back after the flight, my dad was there to greet me," said Beck. Join AOPA Project Pilot to find the right mentor to encourage and support you through your flight training.

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

Mention the phrase "save money on flight training," and you've got a student pilot's attention in a hurry. Darren Smith, a CFII and ATP who has written several books about flying, is the author of a 126-page book that purports to help you become a better pilot while paying the least, getting the most, and finishing as quickly as possible. Smith includes advice on getting started, how to select a flight instructor, getting into the airlines, and an introduction to radio communications. The nitty-gritty advice on saving money is found in the sections on ground and flight instruction. The book sells for $9.99 and is available from

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: If my planned route of flight will cross or run parallel to a military training route, what do I need to know to stay clear of military aircraft?

Answer: If you're flying VFR, see-and-avoid procedures are extremely important. Whenever possible, use flight following from air traffic control and query the controller as to the current status of the airspace. Military airspace can be "hot" or "cold" at any time, despite what the charted operation times say. Military training routes (MTRs) are generally established below 10,000 feet msl, and their route width can vary for each route, sometimes extending several miles on either side of the charted centerline. MTRs will have a prefix of IR or VR—flights on an IR route will be operated IFR, and flights on a VR route will be operated VFR. Routes with no segment above 1,500 feet agl will be identified by a four-number designation. Routes that include one or more segments above 1,500 feet agl will be identified by a three-number designation. For more information, read "Craniums Up! How to avoid a close encounter of the military kind" and the Aeronautical Information Manual .

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 Online

All it took was one person to tell pilot Stewart McQuillen that as a paraplegic, flying a helicopter was impossible. "Imagine if today you can walk across the road and then tomorrow morning you are lying in a hospital bed being told you'll never walk again," said McQuillen, a former pilot with the Royal Air Force. "You worry about how you're going to make a living and support your family. It's like drowning. It really is." Read this special ePilot report about how he overcame the challenge of his spinal cord injury to fly again.

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

ePilot Calendar

Dayton, OH. A Giant-Scale Radio-Controlled Model Aircraft Air Show takes place August 31 through September 2 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Contact Sarah Swan, 937/255-3286, or visit the Web site.

Chico, CA. Chico AirFest 2007 takes place August 31 and September 1 at Chico Municipal (CIC). Contact Gayle Womack, Chico Chamber of Commerce, 530/891-5556, or visit the Web site.

Galesburg, IL. The thirty-sixth annual National Stearman Fly-In takes place September 3 through 9 at Galesburg Municipal (GBG). Contact Betty Campbell, 309/343-6409, or visit the Web site.

Reno, NV. The Reno National Championship Air Races take place September 12 through 16 at Reno/Stead (4SD). Call 775/972-6663, or visit the Web site.

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

The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Sacramento, CA; and Colorado Springs, CO, September 8 and 9. Clinics are also scheduled in Phoenix, Baltimore, and Seattle, September 15 and 16. 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 Atlanta, Morristown, NJ; King of Prussia, PA; and Germantown, TN, September 10; East Windsor, CT; Bethlehem, PA; and Nashville, TN, September 11; Billerica, MA; and New Cumberland, PA, September 12; and Manchester, NH; Pittsburgh; and Alcoa, TN, September 13. The topic is "Regulations: What every pilot should know." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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