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| Training Tips |
FLYING IN THE RAIN
Can student pilots fly in the rain? Yes. Should they fly in rain? It depends.
Surprised to learn that rain is not a show-stopper? Many students are. Precipitation doesn't always reduce ceiling or visibility to levels prohibitive of visual flight. Think of scattered showers on a sunny summer afternoon. But it's essential to know the VFR weather minimums and what's up with the weather. Is a frontal system approaching? Are there thunderstorms? Is there a risk of freezing rain?
Precipitation can reduce visibility, as described in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's WeatherWise Safety Advisor . Recent or ongoing rain may generate precipitation fog. Precipitation fog forms when rain-saturated air cools to the dew point and could obscure the surface (including the airport).
Most instructors won't let students solo when any precip is forecast, as discussed in the Jan. 27, 2006, "Training Tip: Solo Limitations." But dual instructional flights through scattered showers, or in steady rain under a high overcast, are confidence builders.
"I started flying in January 2001. The weather was for the most part minimum VFR conditions, so what did we do? We practiced landings and takeoffs in the rain, in the cold, at times in snow flurries. I look at it this way: I was learning to fly in the best or worst conditions. I have the confidence to fly and land in the rain, which many pilots don't get until after they have been flying for some time," a pilot reminisced in "Memorable Moments" in the May 2002 AOPA Flight Training.
Unforecast showers or rain on a solo cross-country will seem less worrisome if you know the big picture and take basic precautions. "Flight following is great insurance when flying VFR," Tom Horne advised in the June 2004 AOPA Pilot article "Wx Watch: Non-Frontal Passage." Though controllers handle you on a workload-permitting basis, they can be invaluable in quickly vectoring you to better weather. By already being on an ATC frequency, you avoid the tension and hassles of cold call-ups and busy flight watch frequencies when the weather heads downhill." Read his article and learn how an experienced pilot juggled demands of a lengthy VFR flight in less-than-perfect weather.
| Your Partner in Training |
The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) is the best reference for learning good ATC communication skills and phraseology. Your most important lesson as you learn to use the right words is learning not to be afraid of using the wrong words. Regardless of the form it takes, communication is the goal. AOPA's aviation subject report on radio communications can help you. Still have questions? Call our aviation experts at 800/USA-AOPA weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time.
Did you know that student pilots who join AOPA are three times more likely to complete their flight training? Membership includes unlimited access to aviation information by phone (800/USA-AOPA, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time) or from Flight Training Online or AOPA Online. If you're not already a member, join today and get the pilot's edge. Login information is available online.
| Flight Training News |
KING SCHOOLS TO PUT PILOT EXAM COURSES ONLINE
King Schools will make its pilot exam courses available online. "We've reached the point where it's as fast over the Internet as it is on the computer," John King said last week at AirVenture 2008. The Private Pilot Exam Course is now available online for $279-the same price as the CD and DVD versions of the product, which the company will continue to sell. The instrument rating course will be offered online within a month; it will be followed by other courses including commercial pilot, sport pilot, and avionics courses. Online courses allow King Schools to update content whenever necessary and will make courses available on Apple Macintosh computers for the first time. A risk management course will be included free with each online course sold.
COMMUNITY COLLEGES ADD PILOT GROUND SCHOOLS
Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, will add a new sport pilot ground school for the fall quarter. The college's aviation technology program offers pilot, aircraft maintenance, airline flight attendant, aircraft dispatcher, and aviation management training. A three-credit private pilot ground school class gets under way at Arizona Western College in Yuma, Ariz., on Aug. 11. The program's instructor is Mike Taylor, a CFI, ATP, and airframe and powerplant mechanic who is the principal of an area elementary school.
SAFETY COURSES KEEP HECTIC STUDENT SHARP BETWEEN LESSONS
Running a business, racing motorcycles, and taking care of a farm limit the amount of time Carrie Tate can focus on flight training. Sometimes, she has to go two to three weeks without flying. “It puts me at a disadvantage,” said Tate. But the Mount Vernon, Ark., resident found a new way to stay up to speed during the off times-studying with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s online courses. See how she uses them to study on AOPA Online.
| Inside AOPA |
ONE VERY LONG CROSS-COUNTRY
Pilot certificate training requirements dictate that we must perform a long solo cross-country if we want to qualify for a private pilot certificate. Now imagine flying halfway across the country on that flight! That's what we did last week to show off AOPA's Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer at AirVenture 2008 in Oshkosh, Wis. Check out this week's sweepstakes update to learn what it's like to fly such long distances, and discover what it's like to work the show.
VOTE NOW AND ENTER THE 'AOPA PILOT' PHOTO CONTEST
AOPA Pilot staff once again had the difficult task to choose from among the many terrific photos submitted during July. Thirty entries made it through to the month's semi-final round. Then, staff had the difficult task to pick the 12 best July pictures, gladly leaving the deciding vote up to you. With only 26 days left, don't wait to enter your favorite general aviation photos-the contest closes Sept. 2. Cash prizes totaling more than $5,000 will be awarded, including a grand prize of $1,000.
LATEST SAFETY QUIZ GOES BEYOND THE BUZZ
When pilots hear the phrase "maneuvering flight," many think of aerobatics and buzzing. That's true, but we also conduct maneuvering flight every time we fly. Ground reference maneuvers, steep turns, even normal traffic patterns fall into this phase of flight. Unfortunately, maneuvering accidents occur far too often-usually with fatal outcomes. Test your knowledge of the risks with the latest Safety Quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. To learn straightforward concepts that will help you avoid the hazards of maneuvering flight, check out the foundation's free interactive course Essential Aerodynamics: Stalls, Spins, and Safety.
SHOP AT THE WORLDPOINTS MALL AND EARN BONUS POINTS
Sending the kids back to school, or simply want to earn bonus reward points? AOPA encourages members to shop at the Bank of America WorldPoints Mall-an online shopping site that offers bonus points for purchases made at more than 200 popular retailers. AOPA WorldPoints credit card customers who begin their shopping at the WorldPoints Mall can earn between one and 10 bonus points or more for every qualifying dollar spent. Points can then be redeemed for just about anything-cash, travel, brand-name merchandise, Ultimate Access experiences, and gift cards. Watch your points grow and get more rewards, while supporting AOPA at the same time. If you don't have the card, apply today!
| Training Products |
GPS FLIGHT GEAR BAG FROM SPORTY'S
So you treated yourself to a handheld GPS this past birthday, and now it's banging around in your flight bag with all of your other stuff. If you'd like to protect your investment and keep it pristine, Sporty's offers a flight bag designed specifically to hold a portable GPS. The GPS Flight Gear Bag is padded with a 7-1/2-inch-by-4-1/2-inch center compartment that has its own elastic strap to keep the unit in place. Other features include three zippered exterior pockets to hold batteries, cables, and antennas. The bag sells for $24.95 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: I'm a 38-year-old student pilot, and my third class medical expired on June 30 of this year, just a month before the duration of medical certificates were extended. Is the extension retroactive? If so, when does my medical certificate actually expire?
Answer: Yes. In fact, the extended duration for first and third class medical certificates for pilots under age 40 is retroactive for any medical certificate issued before July 24, 2008. As you were under age 40 when you received your third class medical certificate, the duration of your medical is extended from 36 calendar months to 60 calendar months! This means that your third class medical, which originally expired June 30, 2008, is now valid through June 30, 2010. Similarly, the duration of first class medicals has been extended from six calendar months to 12 calendar months for pilots under age 40. Learn more about the extended duration medical certificates on AOPA Online.
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.
| What's New Online |
Two Ohio pilots out practicing an instrument approach have a close encounter with a "Herc"-otherwise known as a C-130 Hercules airlifter-in the latest installment of "Never Again Online."
| 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 or send an e-postcard. For more details, see AOPA Online.
| Aviation Events & Weather |
Want something to do this weekend? Wanting to plan an aviation getaway? See our online calendar of events. We’ve enhanced our calendar so that with one click, you can see all of the events listed in the calendar regions you selected when personalizing ePilot. Now you can browse events listed two weeks to a few months out to make your planning easier. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.
To submit an event or to search all events in the calendar 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 Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 9 and 10; Long Beach, Calif., Reno, Nev., and Allentown, Pa., Aug. 16 and 17. 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
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Wichita, Kan.; Ypsilanti, Mich.; and Germantown, Tenn., on Sept. 8. Topics vary-for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.