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Dark night VFR
Got your night flying in yet? This is the time of year to meet the night-flying requirements for your private pilot certificate. No more waiting around until late evening to be eligible for legally loggable night flying. As the shortest periods of daylight approach this month, sample night flying at its most accessible.
This may surprise you, but there's more than one variety of nocturnal aviation. There's night flying, and there's dark night flying—an entirely different proposition. Flying under a bright moon, perhaps above a carpet of new snow, bears no resemblance to flight on a moonless night above an unlighted landscape that may not even present a natural horizon reference outside the windscreen. Experience both with your flight instructor!
"Night flying is very different from day flying and demands more attention from the pilot. The most noticeable difference is the limited availability of outside visual references. Therefore, flight instruments should be used to a greater degree in controlling the airplane," explains Chapter 10 of the Airplane Flying Handbook . It will help for you to have already practiced some basic instrument flying before launching on dual night flights. Especially under dark night conditions, you will likely put those basic instrument skills to their first real test.
Another important adjustment to make on every night flight is proper cockpit lighting. Many pilots fly around at night with the lights up too bright, further compromising their outside vision. Use the minimum light level that still illuminates your instrument panel.
Pilotage, too, is a whole different ballgame at night. Even experienced pilots flying familiar routes have been fooled, as this Safety Spotlight from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation demonstrates. The foundation's Safety Hot Spot: Flying Night VFR includes five Safety Quizzes on night operations that will further assist you. See more night flying tips in the October 2008 AOPA Flight Training feature "Don't be afraid of the dark."
To know what kind of night conditions await, add a check of local times for the moon's rising and setting to your flight planning. (The next full moon is on Dec. 12. The full moon rises at sunset.) Then, dress warmly, put fresh batteries in your flashlights, and experience the joys and challenges of flying when the sun is no longer a factor.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Every AOPA member—including those who have accepted AOPA's six-month introductory membership offer—has free, live access to our in-house flight instructors and aviation experts who are standing by to answer your questions. Call the AOPA Pilot Information Center Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern, toll-free at 800/872-2672. Check out our online Pilot Information Center Subject Reports. Topics for these reports are drawn from the real-life concerns of AOPA members who call our staff for help about 100,000 times every year.
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 AOPA 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.
Commercial Airline Pilot Training (CAPT) Program in Palm Coast, Fla., will train student pilots sponsored by Air Astana in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The students arrive in December and will begin a 12- to -14-month program aimed at preparing them to fly for the airline. Air Astana will need to recruit 300 pilots by 2012 and has chosen the ab initio program to train its own pilots. Additionally, CAPT is considering constructing a new campus in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the company said.
Girls With Wings, an organization aimed at encouraging girls' interest in aviation, has selected Dowling College student Amy T. Blechman as its 2008 scholarship recipient. Blechman is a junior at Dowling, majoring in aviation management with a professional pilot minor. She receives $1,000 to further her aviation goals. Girls With Wings is accepting donations for the 2009 scholarship.
Connecticut flight school sees influx of older students
A flight school based at Tweed New Haven Regional Airport in Connecticut says enrollment of student pilots is up, particularly among older students. Mike Romei, charter and flight department manager of Robinson Aviation, said the school's student population includes a growing number of individuals in their mid-30s to early 40s. Lately there has been an increase in students over 50, Romei told the Hartford Daily Courant .
Missouri man hopes to be nation's oldest pilot
Ralph McConnell of Joplin, Mo., would like to get into the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest man ever to fly an airplane. At age 90, he admits he has a ways to go to break the record, which is 102 years old. McConnell no longer flies regularly but takes a flight instructor along each year on his birthday. He recently celebrated his ninetieth birthday with a flight in a Piper Warrior from Joplin Regional Airport to Carthage and back, according to a report in the The (Arkansas) Morning News . McConnell has about 15,000 hours of flight time and was a bomber pilot instructor during World War II, an airshow pilot, and a crop duster.
You've just been handed the keys to a completely refurbished 1976 Piper Archer II. It has a glass panel, new leather interior, an overhauled engine, and new paint. What would you do with the keys? We posed that question a few weeks ago on the sweepstakes homepage, and answers have been flooding in ever since. Learn what some members would do, and discover what sweepstakes winners have done in the past. To be entered for a chance to win the 2008 Get Your Glass Archer, join AOPA or renew your membership by Dec. 31.
Great deals today equal GA support for tomorrow
There's no argument these are challenging financial times, but for AOPA members looking for great values, now is the perfect time to find unheard of incentives and discounts on all types of aviation products and merchandise. If you are shopping around, we hope you'll give strong consideration to the products and services from the companies that support GA and your association by advertising in AOPA publications. Read more >>
Sporty's VFR Refresher Kit
Do you know a pilot who isn't flying but would like to get back into the air? Help is available from Sporty's in the form of the VFR Refresher Kit. The kit includes Flight Review, VFR Communications, Takeoffs and Landings, and Airspace and Weather Format Review DVDs; a kneeboard; flight plan forms; communications cards; a sectional plotter; a copy of the latest Federal Aviation Regulations/Aeronautical Information Manual, the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, Aviation Weather Services, and the Private Pilot Maneuvers Guide. Sold separately, the materials would run more than $240; the VFR Kit sells for $149. An IFR Refresher Kit is available for $189. 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.
Question: I'm a little confused with best angle and best rate climbs. What exactly is the difference?
Answer: The best angle of climb, commonly referred to as V x, will provide the greatest gain in altitude over the shortest distance. The best rate of climb, commonly referred to as V y, will provide the greatest gain in altitude over the shortest period of time. With a V x climb, you are sacrificing forward speed in order to gain altitude in a shorter distance. More of the engine's power is directed at gaining altitude vs. moving forward. You can learn more about V x and V y climbs with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Essential Aerodynamics online course.
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to email@example.com 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
Student pilots may find this hard to believe, but flying can become routine if you visit the same destinations over and over. In the latest installment of "The Joy of Flight," a Renton, Wash., pilot describes how he spiced up his aviation life by starting out with short jaunts to unfamiliar places that evolved into longer trips with his family and memories that will last forever.
Pilots love to take photos, and they love to share them with other pilots. Now you can upload your flying photos to our brand-new online gallery, "Air Mail." Share your special aviation images, or view and rate more than 200 photos and counting. Highly rated photos will get put into rotation on the AOPA home page!
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for an Aviation Technical Specialist, a Senior Designer, a Graphic Designer, a Business Analyst, and a Marketing Manager. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit 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.
Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 13 and 14; and San Antonio, Portland, Ore., and Rochester, N.Y., Jan. 3 and 4. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
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Editorial Team : ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller | Contributors: Warren Morningstar, Alton Marsh