The following stories from the January 18, 2008, edition of AOPA ePilot were provided to AOPA members who expressed an interest in the particular subject areas. Any AOPA member can receive information tailored to their areas of interest by updating their preferences online.
My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips
It's great to get up in the air frequently during flight training. But that's not always possible. Many aspiring aviators earn their sport or private pilot certificates while flying less frequently-good news for the student pilot who posed this question in the AOPA Aviation Forum. "Is one flight lesson per week too few?"
The fact is that you can earn your certificate on almost any schedule if you put your downtime to good use. Training delays and setbacks have many causes aside from financial limitations. Weather (especially this time of year), coordinating schedules with your instructor, and aircraft maintenance all may take their toll. Put that slack time to use by reviewing your pilot's operating handbook, studying the Aeronautical Information Manual and your local aeronautical charts, or preparing for your knowledge test. Inquire about riding along on another student pilot's dual instruction flight. "A student pilot riding along as an observer on another student's dual training flight is free of pressure to perform while dividing attention among multiple tasks, and so can study another person's effort to manage the workload. All that's needed is a four-place trainer, willing students and flight instructor, and a set of goals suited for the occasion, such as a cross-country or some traffic-pattern practice," suggested the May 24, 2002, Training Tip "Backseat Driver."
It will be easier for you to stay in the game while working through a grounded period if you have a Project Pilot mentor. Student pilots who have a mentor triple their chances of success.
Finally, read Jill W. Tallman's "Why We Fly" article in the May 2005 AOPA Flight Training magazine profiling Dan Hoefert, who opted for the pay-as-you-go approach. "Slowly but surely, Hoefert worked his way through his flight requirements, experiencing the same types of trials and tribulations that most student pilots encounter," she wrote. Then, "On May 13, 2004, after about five years of study and 41.9 hours of flight time, he successfully passed the private pilot checkride. He had prevailed despite a hot, bumpy, hazy flight that challenged him more than any he'd undertaken in his training."
One thing you can count on: Your fellow pilots are a determined bunch. They will help you to get it done!
My ePilot - Training Product
'FLY THE ENGINE'
For any pilot who wants to delve beneath the cowling of an airplane and get a better understanding of the mechanical side of things, Kas Thomas's book, Fly the Engine, is back in print. The 2008 second edition is available after more than a decade and is fully revised and updated. The book discusses all phases of engine operation, including how to spot engine discrepancies on preflight; how to start a hot, cold, or flooded engine; how to troubleshoot a rough runup; and when to lean the engine for all phases of flight. The 278-page softcover book is available from Aircraft Spruce for $39.95.
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.
My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: Why is the dew-point temperature important to take into consideration?
Answer: There's a limit to how much water vapor can exist in a gaseous, invisible state. Reach that limit, and the air is said to be "saturated." Dew point is a measure of the actual water vapor in the air. This is the temperature to which air must be cooled in order to become saturated, and therefore reach 100 percent relative humidity (the ratio between the moisture level in the air and the maximum possible moisture capacity of the air at a particular temperature). At this point, fog or clouds are almost certain to form, which is why you need to take the dew point into consideration before beginning a flight. More information on this subject is available in the AOPA Pilot article, "Wx Watch: Dew Point Review."
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.