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Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition, Vol. 7, Issue 26

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Volume 7, Issue 26 • June 29, 2007

In this issue:
Purdue takes collegiate title in Air Race Classic
Fuel prices hurt 9/11 scholarship foundation
Want to fly in the mountains? Take the Safety Quiz

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Training Tips

Judgment calls are a big part of flying. Good judgment can be taught, to a point, but the student needs to be inclined to avoid risks and have the ability to recognize his limits in the face of doubts. It's one thing to consider making "a competent decision" in theory (the subject of the June 9, 2006, Training Tips concerning weather forecasts). But you need to know how to apply the skill to particular scenarios. Known as aeronautical decision making (ADM), this is a special emphasis area on the private pilot practical test. Your flight examiner will be as much concerned with how you evaluate information when making decisions as with the result. For example, did you know that making good decisions is easier at some stages of a flight than others? Richard Hiner explains why in his December 2001 AOPA Flight Training "Instructor Report" column about teaching ADM.

There are certain foolproof things that you can do to hedge your uncertainty: Erring on the safe side when it comes to questions about fuel, weather, and wind are a few. Consider this advice flight instructor Philip Moskal gives to his students in the form of a proverb, as he related in a recent e-mail to AOPA: "The answer to the question lies within the question! Should I stop and refuel? YES. Should I try to beat the front that is coming in? NO. Should I land with a tailwind? NO. This approach isn't going well, should I call a missed approach? YES. Instilling this philosophy can possibly eliminate the potential for a complicated, hazardous decision. Let go of your ego and avoid a bad decision-making process."

Good advice! Some practice in approaching preflight or in-flight decision making that way will be excellent preparation for your practical test. "Scenario questions remain an examiner's most trustworthy tool, and the bane of applicants and flight instructors who pray for easy tests. Opposite of this level of testing are those direct questions that measure only the rote level and don't size up one's judgment at all. On your upcoming checkride, expect scenario questions," wrote Dave Wilkerson in his July 2005 AOPA Flight Training column "Checkride: Judgment day."

Be ready for scenario questions. They're something you can practice every day.

Your Partner in Training

Have you checked out AOPA's Flight Training Web site? The "Resources for Student Pilots" section offers a wealth of learning tools arranged according to the five major phases of flight training: presolo, solo, maneuvers, cross-country, and flight test preparation. Each phase briefs you for the next, making you a more informed and better prepared student. Are you on a quest to master landings? Take a look at what our experts have to say about solo flying skills in the solo section.

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

Two Purdue University students have won first place in the collegiate division of the Air Race Classic. The annual women's cross-country race took place June 19 to 22 and concluded in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. Katie Sparrow and Marie Janus flew the Purdue team airplane, a Piper Warrior, about 2,500 miles from Oklahoma City to St. John. Their team placed fourth overall among 47 teams and first among five college teams. Marge Thayer and Helen Beulen, of Arizona, took the overall first-place prize. For complete race results, see the Web site.

Rising aviation fuel prices are affecting everyone—including individuals and groups that would like to sponsor future aviators. The LeRoy W. Homer Foundation is having trouble granting sufficient money to cover the cost of flight scholarships because of rising fuel prices. Homer was the first officer on United Flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 11, 2001. His widow, Melody Homer, said the cost of funding a scholarship has increased from $5,000 when the foundation was started to more than $11,000 for its latest recipient in California. The foundation seeks assistance so that it can offer a second scholarship for 2007. For more information or to help, see the Web site.

Flying in the mountains isn't like flying in the flatlands. Beautiful scenery aside, there are density altitude and aircraft performance issues that the flat-land pilot may have never encountered. That's why safety-conscious pilots get a mountain flying checkout first. If you're considering a trip to the hill country, take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Quiz to see if your knowledge will clear the terrain. The quiz covers density altitude, aircraft performance issues, rules of thumb that are applicable to mountain flying, how to cross mountain ridges, and some questions on mountain wave activity and turbulence. Take the quiz at AOPA Online and earn a chance to win a Sporty's Air-Scan V aviation radio/scanner.

Inside AOPA

Many of us will fly to visit our family and friends this Fourth of July. It's time to kick back and relax, but to meet the challenge of this busy holiday week, take into consideration the preparation necessary to ensure safe travel. Be extra thorough during your flight planning; remember to check for notams and flight restrictions related to fireworks, and find out what security procedures are being implemented at your planned airports. Keep these and other AOPA safety hints in mind to minimize risks while en route to your destination.

What's the best way to break in a newly overhauled and installed engine? Run it at cross-country power settings for hours on end. This allows the rings to seat properly within the cylinders and reduces the amount of time spent at low power (like in the traffic pattern), which can harm the engine during the early stages of its life. Last weekend we took AOPA's 2007 Sweepstakes Catch-A-Cardinal on its first cross-country to Batavia, Ohio, where it met AOPA President Phil Boyer at the Cardinal Flyers Online Eastern Convention, hosted by Sporty's Pilot Shop. At the convention banquet, Boyer related his experiences as a new pilot flying the Cardinal—and you can read all about it in this week's update.

When Project Pilot Student Ernie Kelly passed his checkride on March 10, he signed up to be a Mentor that same weekend. "I want to encourage others to stick with it,” said Kelly. "If I can do it, anyone can.” Kelly shares a unique relationship with current Project Pilot Student Gary Brossett. Both have been inspired by the same Mentor, Doug Muse, and CFI, Ben Hedstrom, to complete their flight training. "I have never had so much fun as when I’m getting people hooked on my passion for flying,” said Muse. "This time, I’ll get my license, and, if the pattern holds, I’ll probably become a Mentor too,” said Brossett. "I’m not the kind of guy to break a winning pattern.” Join others who are helping aviation enthusiasts get hooked!

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

The newest entry in the flashlight category, the Tri-Lite flashlight from Aviation Supplies and Academics, is equipped with red, green, and white light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which means you can use it to maintain night vision as well as to read charts and check fuel and oil. It's hands-free; the unit has three Velcro-like mounting strips so that you can attach it to a headset, a kneeboard, or another flat surface, and you can remove it and reattach it as needed. The Tri-Lite is rated for 50,000 hours of use and uses standard AAA batteries. It sells for $19.95 and may be ordered online.

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: My instructor was demonstrating some ground reference maneuvers tied together with emergency engine-out procedures. Each of the tasks was started at a reasonable altitude, but I felt we were finishing the maneuvers too low to the ground. Can you tell me what is considered a safe altitude?

Answer: The practical test standards state that slow flight and stalls must be completed no lower than 1,500 feet above ground level. Although ground reference maneuvers may need to be practiced a little lower, FAA Part 91 regulations mandate that you stay at least 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft, if you are flying over a congested area (a city, town, settlement, or open-air assembly of persons, for example). For flights over non-congested areas, do not fly closer than 500 feet above the surface. Read more about maneuvering in flight in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor, Maneuvering Flight .

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

Is there an FAA knowledge test on your horizon? AOPA's library of sample test questions for most certificates and ratings has been updated. Use the sample questions to help prepare for your next knowledge test.

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

ePilot Calendar
Dayton, OH. The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Air Force on June 29 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Contact Sarah Swan, 937/255-3286, or visit the Web site.

Evansville, IN. The Balloon Glow takes place June 29 and 30 at Evansville Regional (EVV). Contact Nelson Bailes, 812/421-4401, or visit the Web site.

Des Moines, IA. Fly Iowa 2007 takes place June 30 at Des Moines International (DSM). Contact Roy Criss, 515/256-5093, or visit the Web site.

Ashland, ME. The Sikorsky Seminar Fly-In takes place July 6 through 8 at Bradford Camps SPB (ME3). Contact Igor I. Sikorsky, III, 207/746-7777, or visit the Web site.

Cape Girardeau, MO. The Cape Girardeau Regional Air Festival takes place July 6 and 7 at Cape Girardeau Regional (CGI). Contact Bruce Loy or Angie Ahrens, 573/334-6230.

Roswell, NM. The Roswell Airfest 2007 takes place July 6 and 7 at Roswell International Air Center (ROW). Contact Jennifer Brady, 505/347-5703.

Lompoc, CA. The Twenty-third Annual West Coast Piper Cub Fly-In takes place July 6 through 8 at Lompoc (LPC). Contact Bruce Fall, 805/733-1914, 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 Newark, NJ, and Memphis, TN, July 21 and 22. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.

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