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Volume 7, Issue 38 • September 21, 2007

In this issue:
Comm1 scholarship deadline approaches
Your introduction to flying begins at AOPA Expo
AOPA's Cardinal flies south on second tour

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Training Tips

A student pilot longs for the day when he or she can fly with passengers on board. Training flights are a good time to practice a passenger-briefing technique that conveys required safety information and inspires confidence in you as a pilot. Having the pattern down pat will earn you brownie points on your private pilot or sport pilot checkride. The designated examiner will expect you to treat him or her like any nonpilot passenger as you prepare for flight.

Don't treat the briefing as a housekeeping detail. Go beyond the basics. "FAA regulations require two specific tasks each time you take off with a passenger. The first is to brief your passengers on how the seat belts work. The second is to notify the passengers that seat belts must actually be fastened. That's in FAR 91.107(a)(1) and FAR 91.107(a)(2). Without doing these things you can't take off, land, or even move an aircraft on the surface," wrote Alton K. Marsh in the March 2007 AOPA Pilot "Answers for Pilots" column. He also reviews the FAA's recommended passenger briefing checklist.

Familiarizing passengers with aircraft features enhances safety, so verify that they really know how things work. "If the door has more than one handle, explain the differences and show all passengers—even those who will be in the rear seat—how to use them. Have each passenger close, lock, and then open the door," Charles Wright suggested in the September 2004 AOPA Flight Training feature "Straight talk."

Technically, pilots are required to "ensure" that required briefings are given. In practice, pilots deliver briefings, which John Yodice considers from the legal perspective in "Pilot Counsel" in the October 2004 AOPA Pilot. He offers a reminder: "Pilots tend to become casual about the briefing because we often carry people who are familiar with the operation of seat belts and shoulder harnesses. But we shouldn't be too casual. There are accidents on record where a person in a panicky situation had difficulty releasing the seat belt. Be especially careful with first-time and inexperienced passengers."

Words of wisdom: Delivering a good passenger briefing is an important skill for a pilot.

Your Partner in Training

Are you in a "sophomore slump"? Learning plateaus can discourage students at nearly any phase of training, whether they are learning to land, deciphering cross-country navigation, or simply trying to master the radio. Don't let a plateau trip up your training. Read the tips offered by a veteran flight instructor in the June 2003 AOPA Flight Training. If you still have questions, call the 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

Finding your niche in aviation means getting an appropriate education, whether that is a college degree or advanced certificates and ratings to get you to the flight line. Looking for a little financial assistance for flight training or education? The deadline to apply for the seventh annual Comm1 Aviation Scholarship Program is October 15. The scholarship provides $1,000 toward the cost of flight training or tuition expenses. To qualify, you must demonstrate an interest in pursuing a career in aviation and submit a 150-word essay that evaluates the financial and practical benefits of using interactive radio communications training as an integrated part of a flight training curriculum. For more information, see the Web site. And for more ideas about finding your dream job in aviation, check out AOPA's Career Pilot pages.

If you really want to learn to fly, you're three times more likely to complete your flight instruction if you have a mentor. So reach out to a pilot you know or someone you've met at your local airport and go together to AOPA Expo 2007 in Hartford, Conn., from Oct. 4 through 6. Sign up on-site for AOPA Project Pilot to get a two-for-one admission and a limited-edition Project Pilot backpack. Plus, thanks to Sennheiser, one mentor will walk away with a brand-new headset, one student will gain a $2,500 scholarship, and 10 other students or future pilots will be awarded $250 for flight training. As the perfect introduction, attend one of the daily Invitation to Fly sessions featuring Erik Lindbergh. This exciting and interactive session will show you just how simple, fun, and rewarding it can be to get started flying.

Northwestern Michigan College's aviation program features something new this fall: an aerobatics course taught by a veteran aerobatics pilot. According to an article in the Grand Traverse Herald, the course is taught by Chief Flight Instructor Tony Sauerbrey, a former head coach for the aerobatics team at the University of North Dakota, his alma mater. Aaron Cook, director of aviation at Northwestern Michigan, said that while other flight schools have aerobatics programs, Northwestern Michigan views its program as a safety resource to help new pilots learn safety, skills, and experience. The course is expected to evolve into a credit offering.

With the days getting shorter, there's a good chance you're doing (or thinking about doing) more night flying. But with night flying comes a need to be more cognizant of the height of terrain and obstructions. "In darkness or when the visibility unexpectedly comes down, knowing how far you are above the ground or obstructions can be a life-saver," said AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg. You'll find help on your charts—which is where the foundation's Terrain Avoidance Plan safety brief comes in. It shows you how to use published altitudes on VFR and IFR aeronautical charts to establish an individual minimum safe atltitude for VFR flight in nighttime conditions. Find it on AOPA Online.

Inside AOPA

Following the installation of the 1977 Cessna Cardinal's new interior, AOPA's sweepstakes team flew the airplane from Oklahoma back to Griffin, Ga., for more touch-up work prior to AOPA Expo in a few weeks. With stops in Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia, this long cross-country toured the South and gave pilots—and local news crews—the opportunity to see the airplane along the way. Check out pictures and a trip report in this week's update.

Some of us would do anything to help cover the cost of flight training. AOPA Project Pilot student Kayla Cassel, 16, of Longview, Texas, spent five weeks in August away from home mowing lawns and doing other odd jobs to earn flight hours. While visiting her cousin and Project Pilot mentor Sean Reilly in Lakeland, Fla., Cassel worked hard in exchange for the use of her cousin's Cessna 172. To help her get started, local flight instructor Dave Zeller also donated more than 20 hours so that Cassel could begin learning to fly. Back at home now, she is eager to find an instructor she can afford. Cassel said she won't give up because "I enjoyed flying so much." Join AOPA Project Pilot to find a potential mentor to help guide you throughout your flight training experience.

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 Aircraft Electronics Association has released its 2007-2008 Pilot's Guide to Avionics. The directory features listings of member avionics repair stations and manufacturers, along with a number of articles authored by avionics experts across the industry to help you select the best equipment for your aircraft. Don't own an airplane? We'll give you two good reasons to get a copy anyway: an avionics troubleshooting guide that you can cut out and keep with your kneeboard, and a glossary of avionics terms (Z-marker, anyone?). Pick up a free copy at AOPA Expo in Hartford, Conn., or contact the association.

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 was recently planning a flight to a nearby airport and noticed the Airport/Facility Directory listed the airport as having a PVASI. Can you tell me what a PVASI is?

Answer: PVASIs are relatively rare; just a few dozen operate in the United States. The PVASI is a pulsating visual approach slope indicator comprised of a single unit that projects two colors—steady white when on glidepath and steady red when below glidepath. If the aircraft continues to descend below the glidepath, the red light starts to pulsate. If the aircraft climbs above the glidepath, the white light will pulsate. The pulsating rate increases as the aircraft gets farther above or below the desired glideslope. The range of the system is about four miles during the day and up to 10 miles at night. More information on types of VASIs and PAPIs is available in "Downhill from here" from the April 2004 AOPA Flight Training, and in the Aeronautical Information Manual, Chapter 2-1-2 (d).

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

Can a dog be the perfect flying companion? Meet Wally the border collie, whose aversion to riding in a car prompted his owner to introduce him to "The Joy of Flight."

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

ePilot Calendar

Dayton, OH. The Dawn Patrol Rendezvous World War I Fly-In takes place September 21 through 23 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Contact Sarah Swan, 937/255-3286, or visit the Web site.

Lakeport, CA. The twenty-eighth annual Clear Lake Splash-In takes place September 21 through 23 at Lampson Field (1O2). Contact Chuck Kimes, 877/828-2286, or visit the Web site.

New Milford, CT. The Wings and Wheels vintage show takes place September 22 at Candlelight Farms (11N). Contact Black Horse Garage, 203/330-9604, or visit the Web site.

Fayetteville, AR. An Airshow with Canada’s Snowbirds Demonstration Team takes place September 26 at Drake Field (FYV). Contact Warren Jones, 479/521-4947.

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 San Jose, CA; Indianapolis; Wichita, KS; Nashville, TN; and Corpus Christi, TX; October 20 and 21. 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 Mesa, AZ; Olathe, KS; Omaha, NE; and San Antonio September 24; and Tuscon, AZ; Cedar Rapids, IA; Springfield, MO; and Houston September 25. The topic is "Regulations: What every pilot should know." For details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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