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AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition - Volume 8, Issue 34AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition - Volume 8, Issue 34

Volume 8, Issue 34 • August 22, 2008

In this issue:
Utah helicopter school offers scholarships
Critters in planes emphasize need for careful preflight
Master takeoffs and landings with new seminar

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Training Tips

Sometimes your careful planning for a cross-country flight needs adjustment soon after you start. A common en route change is selecting a different cruise altitude. Once you decide that your altitude isn't satisfactory, act promptly. Sometimes a simple switch solves all problems. But remember never to confuse the need to change altitudes with a need to turn back or divert for safety. 

If you decide that it is reasonable to continue, you will need a new altitude for your cruise leg. What's better: Up or down? If a haze layer is restricting visibility, it may be possible to climb above it. Likewise, turbulence on a fair day may be escaped by climbing above the altitude where thermals cease, as indicated by the tops of fair-weather cumulus clouds.

Climbing also can improve spotty radio communications. If you are navigating by VOR, its line-of-sight signal may improve with a climb. Perhaps you requested radar flight following from ATC and were advised that coverage is unavailable at your altitude; that's an excellent reason to climb. See the article " VFR traffic advisories" on AOPA Flight Training Online to learn how to determine in advance the altitudes where radar service is most likely to be provided.

Sometimes descending is the best plan. Winds aloft lower may be from a more advantageous direction, and typically—but not always—a lower velocity. See how much information can be extracted from a winds aloft forecast in the Nov. 3, 2006, Training Tip.

If an overcast is lower than forecast for your route, descending will let you maintain required clearance from clouds. If you noticed during your climb to cruise altitude that turbulence began, for example, above 5,000 feet msl, going back down may smooth the ride. 

Whether climbing or descending, stay vigilant for opposing traffic, especially on published airways. Above 3,000 feet agl, observe the "hemispherical rule" for altitude selection, as discussed in the Feb. 7, 2003, Training Tip

Keep track of increased fuel consumption if you climb! And file a pilot report to share the conditions you encountered with your fellow pilots. To learn how to file a pilot report, take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's SkySpotter: Pireps Made Easy online course.

Your Partner in Training

Every pilot, from the newest student to the most senior airline captain, must remain vigilant during ground operations. To help ensure that you know where you are in reference to taxiways and runways, always use an airport diagram and mark the runway in use with the heading bug. Once you're on the runway, verify that the heading indicator and bug are aligned with the runway. Pilots also should know the meaning of all airport signs and markings. To help you brush up on signs and markings, review the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Runway Safety online course and Runway Safety Flash Cards. Free airport diagrams are also available on the foundation's Web site.

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

High Desert Helicopters in Ogden, Utah, is offering three training scholarships aimed at drawing new talent to the helicopter industry. The school will award a $5,000 scholarship and at least two $1,000 training scholarships to selected candidates who have demonstrated aptitude, professionalism, and financial need. Applicants must not have been enrolled at High Desert Helicopters as of Aug. 8. The deadline to submit an application is Oct. 1. See the Web site for more information.

The Commercial Airline Pilot Training (CAPT) Program will open a new campus at Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Fla. The facility will accommodate 60 to 80 students and will offer the same ab initio program that is available at the primary location at Flagler County Airport in Bunnell, Fla. The new campus is set to open later this year. For more information, see the Web site.

More than 40 high school students from Washington, D.C., spent 10 days at Kansas State University at Salina this month to learn about aviation careers. The university hosted the group from the Washington, D.C., Aerospace Flight Academy Camp so that they could learn about aviation careers and get a taste of campus life. They also got to fly some of K-State's aviation fleet, attend ground school, and tour the Salina Airport Authority and the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchison.

When Danny Hall pulled the carb heat knob in his Cessna 182 on Aug. 2, he had no idea he'd just built a better mousetrap. Mice had taken up residence in the airplane, and they and their nest were sucked into the carburetor when Hall activated the carb heat. The engine failed, and Hall ended up ditching in Rhode Island's Pawcatuck River. Read more on AOPA Online. The incident highlights the importance of a careful and thorough preflight inspection prior to every launch. For resources related to aircraft preflight, check out the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Hot Spot. For a harrowing account of what can happen when an even larger critter slithers aboard uninvited, watch the foundation's " Snake on a Plane!" Real Pilot Story.

Inside AOPA

Takeoffs and landings accounted for more than half of all pilot-related accidents in 2007. Why do pilots have so much trouble with such fundamental skills? Takeoffs and landings require us to fly close to the ground, near the edges of the airplane's performance envelope. The margin for error is slim, and good judgment and stick-and-rudder skills are a must. That's why the AOPA Air Safety Foundation created a new safety seminar, "Mastering Takeoffs and Landings," which takes a practical, real-world approach to the techniques that will help you make smooth, trouble-free departures and arrivals. The free seminar debuts in September and offers something for pilots of all experience levels. Find out when it will be at a location near you, and be sure to check out the new Mastering Takeoffs and Landings Safety Advisor.

The Aspen Avionics EFD1000 primary flight display in AOPA's 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer is no longer the only viable aftermarket glass option for light general aviation airplanes. New glass options are coming to market all the time, each with its own training and proficiency challenges. Learn more in this week's sweepstakes update.

Effective immediately, AIG Aviation has increased its industry-leading coverage to $1,000 for current policyholders with hurricane protection coverage. AIG Aviation increased the amount of reimbursement in light of rising fuel prices. Read more on AOPA Online.

Did you know that by opening an AOPA personal checking account from Bank of America you can generate contributions to AOPA—at no additional cost to you—with every check card purchase? Get $50 when you open a qualifying new account by October 31 with offer code WGSAOPA0908. To open your AOPA checking account, visit your neighborhood Bank of America or apply online.

Training Products

Sporty's is now offering a solution to the possibility that paper charts will move around the cockpit when they shouldn't. The Clearview Chart Holder is designed to hold a sectional or terminal chart or approach plate, and it comes with an erasable marker so that you can use its surface to jot notes on frequencies or courses. The Clearview Chart Holder sells for $32.95; buy three or more and pay $29.95 each. Order online or call 800/SPORTYS.

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: What are trim tabs, and how do they work? 

Answer: Trim tabs are located on the trailing edge of the elevator or rudder and are designed to relieve aerodynamic pressures on the control surfaces, decreasing a pilot's physical workload. Have you ever been flying along and noticed your arms getting tired from having to exert constant pressure on the aircraft controls? The use of a trim system reduces this pressure. Typically, pilots will establish the desired pitch and power configuration, then adjust the trim to hold it. This procedure balances the aircraft and relieves the pilot from holding excess pressure on the controls. Learn more about aircraft aerodynamics by taking the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's online interactive course, Essential Aerodynamics .

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 Seattle pilots are flying de Havilland Beaver seaplanes on a 10,000-mile circumnavigation of Canada via the Northwest Passage. They're taking an experienced film crew who are capturing the adventure in high-definition for a documentary. See video footage and find out more about the team's adventure on AOPA 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.

The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Phoenix, Ariz., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Sacramento, Calif., Sept. 6 and 7; and in Richmond, Va., and Baltimore, Md., Sept. 13 and 14. 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 Wichita, Kan.; Ypsilanti, Mich.; and Germantown, Tenn., on Sept. 8. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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