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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition -- Vol. 7, Issue 18

To view the AOPA ePilot archives, click here.

Volume 7, Issue 18 • May 4, 2007
In this issue:
FAA launches online medical application
Catch-A-Cardinal gets its wings back
New quiz explores the mind-body-flying connection

This ePilot Flight Training Edition is sponsored by

Sponsored by Exxon Elite Aviation




JP Instruments

Avemco Aviation Insurance

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AOPA Credit Card

Scheyden Eyewear

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AOPA Aircraft Financing

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Airline Transport Professionals

AOPA Insurance Agency

King Schools

Pilot Insurance Center

Comm1 Radio Simulator

AOPA Line of Credit

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Training Tips

Spring is here, bringing a blossom of activity in the airport traffic pattern. Now, you must be able to blend in with numerous other aircraft to keep the flow smooth. (See the April 18, 2003, "Training Tips" article "Proper pattern procedures." ) This may mean abandoning complacency developed during quieter times, when it was rarely necessary to extend your pattern to allow an aircraft to take off or to find your way into line behind another aircraft that entered the traffic pattern while you were executing your touch and go.

Coordinating adjustments with other pilots over the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) assumes new importance. Don't get rattled by the pushy types who want you to do all the adjusting. Although extending a downwind leg is a common method of allowing traffic ahead of you to land and clear, or perform a touch and go, another method is to slow down a bit earlier than usual. At towered airports, the need to manage traffic may result in clearances and instructions that you have not experienced before.

Another issue is how to make your way back into the traffic pattern correctly when returning from a flight. In his May 2003 AOPA Pilot feature, "Pattern Perfection," Thomas A. Horne reviews preferred entries. "It's best to enter the downwind leg of a nontowered airport's traffic pattern at midfield, on a 45-degree interception angle. This gives you a good viewing perspective of all legs of the pattern. You should be at pattern altitude (anywhere from 600 feet agl to 1,500 feet agl-check your airport reference for the recommended altitude), and your downwind leg should be flown as close as is comfortable for the airplane you're flying."

When to turn base? Horne suggests, "A good rule of thumb on the downwind leg is to allow the preceding airplane to pass abeam your left side (in left-hand traffic patterns; abeam your right in right-hand patterns) before turning base." For more, download the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Operations at Nontowered Airports Safety Advisor. Communicating on CTAF is important, but a radio is no substitute for seeing other traffic. Help others see you; use your landing light in and near the airport area.

Busy patterns are a nice-weather reality. Take advantage of the seasonal opportunity to learn.

Your Partner in Training

Nobody enjoys taking an FAA knowledge test, but we'll try to make it a little easier for you. The Pilot Information Center has links to test questions, test guides, and testing centers. Then, when you're ready to take the test, be sure to download a coupon for a $10 discount through CATS Testing Centers. You can use the discount at any of the more than 400 CATS authorized centers around the world. Print the coupon from AOPA Online.

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 FAA is rolling out an online medical application that will allow pilots to submit medical applications electronically. MedXPress is already accessible to pilots in the western United States and will be available to all pilots within the next few months. The FAA's effort comes six years after AOPA launched its own interactive online TurboMedical form. Unfortunately, the FAA's version doesn't interface with AOPA's TurboMedical. Nor does it flag potentially disqualifying answers or provide information on what tests or hospital paperwork the FAA wants attached to applications from pilots with certain medical conditions-a valuable feature of AOPA's TurboMedical. And once you submit the MedXPress application, you can't make changes-even to correct minor errors. See the complete story on AOPA Online.

Delta Connection Academy (DCA) has teamed with the FAA to create a safety program that will allow participants to "self report" incidents and safety hazards so that they can be addressed quickly. The Aviation Safety Action Program, or ASAP, will allow instructor pilots, maintenance technicians, and flight students the ability to have safety issues addressed and corrected quickly and, in most cases, without unnecessary punitive action. The program will undergo an 18-month trial period.

Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York, has a new flight school on the premises. Performance Flight is a Cirrus Standardized Training Center, offering flight training at all levels in 2007 Cirrus aircraft. The fleet includes SR20-GTSs, SR22-GTSs, and an SR22-GTS Turbo. A Diamond TwinStar also is available. The school offers a Frasca flight training device that is Cirrus-specific with Garmin 430 nav/com, the Cirrus airframe parachute system, an S-TEC 55X autopilot, deicing, and active circuit breakers.

Inside AOPA

Looking for an excuse to get away for a weekend? Come to AOPA's Fly-In on Saturday, June 2. We've got plenty of reasons you can use to convince your friends and family. See the latest aircraft on the market. Shop for your pilot needs at 100 exhibits. Increase your aviation safety. Tour AOPA headquarters. Learn about the state of GA. And yes, there's more-fuel discounts. This year the FBO at Frederick Municipal Airport, Frederick Aviation, is partnering with Avfuel to provide pilots with the "Take 25" promotion. If you fly into Frederick on June 1 or 2, you will receive a discount of $0.25 per gallon of fuel. If you buy 25 gallons or more, you will be entered to win one of 10 $25 savings bonds. You can check the fuel prices in AOPA's Airport Directory Online, which recently added FBO fuel prices for airports nationwide. The discounts in fuel on those days will be reflected in the FBO/Facility/Fuel Information tab for Frederick Municipal Airport.

The trip back from the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In, in Lakeland, Florida, ended with AOPA's 2007 Sweepstakes 1977 Cessna Cardinal safe and sound in Georgia. Now it's time to put the wings and control surfaces (including the ailerons, flaps, and stabilator) back onto the airplane and get it ready to fly. For more notes on the refurbishment and the start of the reassembly process, check out the latest update.

AOPA Project Pilot Mentor Michael R. Dunkin, who is mentoring two students in South Carolina, was recently rewarded for doing his part to boost the pilot population. He was randomly selected as the $1,000 winner of AOPA Project Pilot's first quarterly prize drawing. Dunkin has visited airports with his students, Shirley Gerrald and Shannon Clup, and found flight instructors for both. "They show a basic interest, and then you've just got to develop that," Dunkin said, explaining the importance of mentoring aviation enthusiasts. "A lot of people are interested in flying and never follow up. You are there to help them follow up." So far this year, Mentors have supported more than 2,000 students by signing them up for AOPA Project Pilot. If you're interested in becoming a Project Pilot Mentor or Student, see AOPA Online.

You know how your airplane reacts to the strain of flight, but have you considered the effect of physiological strain on your performance? The latest Safety Quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation focuses on recognizing symptoms of hypoxia and hyperventilation (and how to tell the difference); the surprising effects of dehydration; what else, other than bright lights, can impair night vision; and common medications that can make a pilot more susceptible to hypoxia. Each Safety Quiz offers a quick, easy, and interactive way to assess and expand your knowledge. Plus, you can earn a chance to win a Sporty's Air-Scan V Aviation Radio/Scanner! Already taken this one? Challenge yourself with another Safety Quiz topic in the "Previous Quizzes" section.

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

Aviation Supplies & Academics is the new publisher of Lessons from the Logbook by popular aviation author Ron Fowler. Fowler is well known for one of his early books, Making Perfect Landings, which has helped thousands of pilots with their approach and landing techniques. Lessons from the Logbook is a collection of stories that Fowler wrote for Plane and Pilot magazine. The articles cover all phases of flight, including recurrent training. Fowler is a Gold Seal flight instructor with more than 12,600 hours of instructing. The book sells for $19.95. For more information, see the Web site or call 800/272-2359.

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 have noticed that the magnetic compass doesn't always match the heading indicator when making turns. What's the reason for this?

Answer: The compass needle seeks to align itself with the lines of magnetic force that causes a magnetic dip while turning. Because the magnets in the compass are oriented horizontally in level flight, dip errors only occur when the airplane is banked. With the airplane banked, the magnets in the compass are now given the chance to move vertically, causing the magnets to tilt downward. This causes an initial error in the compass indication until the magnets have a chance to properly align themselves and indicate the correct heading. The turning error causes the compass to lead or lag the actual magnetic heading and is most prevalent when turning from a north or south heading. In the Northern Hemisphere, the lag occurs when turning from a north heading, and the compass leads when turning from a south heading. There is no error when turning from an east or west heading. Additional insight on the magnetic compass is covered in Chapter 6 of the FAA's publication, Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge .

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
Pilots take pride in the ability to execute a good landing, and student pilots practice endlessly to perfect their landings. But user fees have grounded that privilege for European pilots-it costs too much to practice when each landing comes with a price tag. Find out how flight training and piloting skills suffer as a result of user fees in this AOPA Pilot video report.

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

ePilot Calendar
Rochester, NY. Rochester WINGS 2007 Fly-In and Expo takes place May 4 and 5 at Greater Rochester International. Contact Brian Blazey, 585/463-3815, or visit the Web site.

Temple, TX. The Central Texas Airshow takes place May 4 through 6 at Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional (TPL). Contact Beth Jenkins, 512/869-1759, or visit the Web site.

Cahokia/St. Louis, IL. The Midwest Regional Fly-In takes place May 5 and 6 at St. Louis Downtown (CPS). Contact Bob McDaniel, 618/337-6060, or visit the Web site.

Omaha, NE. The Defenders of Freedom Airshow takes place May 5 and 6 at Offutt AFB. 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, 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; Kansas City, MO; and Houston, May 19 and 20. Clinics are also scheduled in Phoenix; San Jose, CA; and Orlando, FL, June 2 and 3. 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 Madison, WI, May 7; Milwaukee, May 8; and Manitowoc, WI, May 9. The topic is "Say it Right! Radio communications for today's airspace." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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