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| Training Tips |
One item in a weather report or forecast that draws a pilot's eye right away is the wind. How strong, and from which direction? A nice gentle headwind, or a rugged crosswind that will test our technique? It's easy to look at wind data and fix the reported speed and direction in your mind. But rarely is the wind out of a fixed direction. If it is, rarely does it stay that way for long.
Any pilot who has glanced down at an airport windsock after getting the winds from an automatic terminal information service (ATIS) broadcast, tower controller, or automated weather reporting station may notice discrepancies between reported winds and actual winds. The sock may even be swinging smartly—standing out straight one moment and sagging the next, indicating variable direction and velocity. "When planning your arrival based on an ATIS broadcast, note the time that it was prepared, stated at the beginning of the report. On a gusty day the broadcast may include variations in wind direction and speed," advised the Jan. 7, 2005, "Training Tips" article "Check the Sock."
Don't let variable wind conditions catch you by surprise! When scanning METARs during your preflight weather check for winds at your point of departure and destination, make wind variability a point of special attention. How will you know what's up? "If the wind varies more than 60 degrees and the wind speed is greater than 6 knots, a separate group of numbers, separated by a "V," will indicate the extremes of the wind directions," explains Chapter 11 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge .
Whatever the magnetic bearing of the runway you will be using for takeoff or landing, variable winds suggest that crosswind correction will be needed, perhaps in rapidly changing measure. Anticipating that, brush up on your technique by consulting the helpful feature "Wing Low, Opposite Rudder" in the October 2004 AOPA Flight Training. Note the rule of thumb given for estimating the crosswind component on the fly. And heed this additional recommendation: If you find yourself on approach with full control deflection but unable to maintain alignment with the runway—go around!
| Your Partner in Training |
Some of the most valuable flight time of your pilot training will be spent countering crosswinds. Crosswind landings get better only with practice. Your instructor will offer a variety of techniques to help you overcome wind to land safely and routinely. You'll also learn to crab the aircraft into the wind and slip into the wind to maintain your position over the runway. Search the AOPA Flight Training archives for articles on crosswind landings, and if you have specific questions, call our aviation specialists at 800/USA-AOPA, weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 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 |
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY STUDENTS RECEIVE SCHOLARSHIPS
Twelve students enrolled in Southern Illinois University at Carbondale's aviation programs received more than $30,000 in scholarships last month. The scholarships were presented Oct. 26 during SIUC's "Aviation in the Future" banquet. Scholarship recipients were Wesley K. DeHoyos, Mark T. Freeze, Garrett R. Gieker, Heather N. Heidinger, Jonathan A. Joseph, Trenton C. Kessler, Paul H. Kolk, Katie M. Lake, Scott A. Marquardt, Joseph D. Samudovsky, Trevor L. Sipe, and Christine E. Zoerlein.
IT'S OFFICIAL: SAFETYCASTS ARE A HIT
Since their launch just two weeks ago, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's new online SafetyCast series has proven to be a blockbuster with pilots across the country. Thousands of safety-conscious pilots have viewed the programs, which provide no-nonsense safety advice from aviation experts. Which SafetyCasts are most popular? Not surprisingly, aviation humorist and AOPA Flight Training contributing editor Rod Machado leads the pack. His "Aviation Humor" and "Yoke and Pedal" seminars account for half of all viewings. "Say It Right," "Top 5 Mistakes Pilots Make," and "Single-Pilot IFR" round out the top five. Visit AOPA Online today and find your favorite.
FLIGHT SCHOOLS ORDER ELITE SIMULATORS
Flight schools in three states have placed orders for ELITE advanced training devices, the company announced Nov. 27. Connecticut Flight Academy, Hartford, Conn., and Seacoast Flight, Portland, Maine., ordered the ELITE RC-1 ATD, a full-feature unit with life-size, high-resolution instruments, cockpit enclosure, and instructor station. It can be configured as a single, complex, or twin-engine aircraft. Florida Flight Training, Venice, Fla., has ordered an ELITE iGATE G502 Advanced ATD. It will be configured for the Piper Seneca II and Piper Arrow IV and will feature dual controls, a full-size cockpit enclosure, and three-position intercom station with auxiliary live ATC inputs.
MINNESOTA COUPLE WELCOMES GEESE AT THEIR AIRSTRIP
Canada geese generally aren't a welcome sight at airports. If they wander onto a runway they can interfere with traffic that is landing or taking off, and they can do real damage to an airplane if you encounter one aloft. But that hasn't deterred two pilots who live on a farm in west-central Minnesota. Mary Jo and Marvin Brown adopted two goslings some years ago, and although they fly a taildragger from a 2,500-foot grass strip located on their farm, they aren't concerned about the geese, according to an article in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune . In fact, the Browns will play "goose games" with the two birds—taxiing their car down the runway and encouraging the birds to fly alongside. The Browns host fly-ins at their airstrip and say the geese are a big hit—no pun intended—at those gatherings.
| Inside AOPA |
FAA SAYS SAN DIEGO BUILDING NO LONGER A HAZARD
A building near San Diego's Montgomery Field is finally within FAA limitations, ending months of legal wrangling and finger pointing. The FAA has removed a hazard designation after Sunroad Enterprises finished demolishing the top two floors at a reported cost of $1.1 million, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. AOPA, the city of San Diego, and local pilots fought the developer in an attempt to prevent the facility from being built beyond the FAA's acceptable limit. The developer began the remodeling job in August following a June edict from the mayor to remove the top two floors. Read more and see our time-lapse Web cam on AOPA Online.
AOPA RENEWS CALL FOR UAV REGULATIONS
Pilot attention has focused again on the issue of the small, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) after news reports of a test by the Houston Police Department. "We keep pushing the FAA to develop regulations to ensure that UAVs are flown safely in airspace shared with general aviation," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "Pilot reaction to this latest drone test should be a wake-up call that the time to act is now." Read more on AOPA Online.
AOPA RESOURCES HELP TURN FLYING DREAMS INTO REALITY
Michael Saul of Dallas, Ga., dreamed of flying for years but didn't know how to get started—until he discovered the resources available through AOPA's Flight Training Web site and AOPA Project Pilot, where he found his mentor, William Wang of New York. "I never thought I would find so much in one place...," said Saul. Armed with information on the training process, choosing flight schools and instructors, and certificate requirements, Saul, 38, found that learning to fly is easier than he imagined. Now he is on his way to becoming a private pilot—a dream he plans to fulfill before his fortieth birthday.
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 |
'AVIATION SCHOLARSHIP DIRECTORY 2008'
There's a lot of scholarship information floating around—if you know where to look. Therein lies the problem: Where do you find this information? Heather M. Cook, editor of Phoenix Flight Publications, has compiled a new directory to help you get started. Aviation Scholarship Directory 2008 includes information about 517 scholarships available for flight training, advanced ratings, mechanic and technical training, college degrees, specialized training, and more. The author, who "has won all nine scholarships she has ever applied for," offers advice on how to write a winning scholarship essay, what to expect when applying for a scholarship, and how to get great letters of recommendation. The 312-page soft-cover book sells for $24.99 and may be ordered online; an e-book version is available for $19.99, as is a year's worth of updates for $14.99.
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: During one of my solo cross-country flights the other day, I ran into some unexpected weather conditions that hadn't been mentioned during my preflight weather briefing. I wanted to notify someone of the conditions I was encountering, but I could not remember how this is done.
Answer: Pilot weather reports (pireps) can be given to the ground facility with whom you are communicating, for example, EFAS, AFSS/FSS, ARTCC, or terminal ATC. One of the primary duties of EFAS facilities, radio call "Flight Watch," is to serve as a collection point for the exchange of pireps with en route aircraft. Pireps provide valuable information regarding the conditions as they actually exist in the air, which cannot be gathered from any other source. They can confirm the height of bases and tops of clouds, locations of wind shear and turbulence, and the location of in-flight icing to name a few things that a pilot might come across while en route. When a pirep is filed, the ATC or FSS facility will add it to the main distribution system to brief other pilots and provide in-flight advisories. Read more in the Aeronautical Information Manual Chapter 7: Safety of Flight and check out AOPA Air Safety Foundation's SkySpotter online course, which teaches all about pireps.
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 |
Is there an FAA knowledge test in your future? If so, be sure to review our updated list of airman knowledge testing centers to see if there's one near you.
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Jeppesen. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| UPCOMING FLYING DESTINATIONS: |
Van Nuys, CA. A Savvy Owner Seminar takes place Dec. 1 and 2 at Van Nuys (VNY). Contact Mike Busch, 702/395-8109, or visit the Web site.
Ashburn, VA. The George Washington Aviation Institute offers a Aviation Safety and Security Certificate Program from Dec. 3 through 13. Contact Maryline Rassi, 703/726-8334, or visit the Web site.
Somerset, TX. A Mediterranean Assault World War 2 Reenactment takes place Dec. 7 and 8 at Cannon Field (53TX). Contact Ryan Short, 210/646-9628, 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.
FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Orlando, Fla., and Austin, Texas, Dec. 8 and 9. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.