The following stories from the July 4, 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
A long holiday weekend that opens with an Independence Day celebration is an irresistible time to combine flying with vacationing or visits to loved ones far away. If the weather cooperates, the long weekend is a perfect training opportunity to launch on a solo cross-country or log some hours practicing for a checkride.
Of course you're not the only pilot who has this in mind. The skies are likely to be abuzz with aircraft. That's doubly true in the traffic pattern of any airports you'll visit, so be extra careful, especially in places where aircraft are likeliest to converge (final approach, and above navigational aids, or navaids). For some guidelines on preparing to fly during the upcoming holiday period, see the July 4, 2003, "Training Tip: Holiday Flight Precautions."
Notices to airmen (notams) should be reviewed carefully and often, especially if there will be a long ground-time interval between your outbound flight and return flight. Temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) are likely to go into effect without much notice-add them to your list of items to stay on top of before flying. The security of your aircraft and your airport deserves your attention during the Fourth of July holiday. Resources for managing all of these vital pilot responsibilities can be found in links provided in the AOPA Online news archive article "AOPA tips: Ensure a holiday free of mishaps." It includes this safety reminder about a small but important detail for the notam-checking phase of your preflight briefings: "Look for local notams...in order to avoid areas where airshows and aerial displays are scheduled."
As aircraft owners take advantage of free time to air out their flying machines, many nontowered airports come to life with homebuilts, ultralights, and classic aircraft. Keep your eyes outside! Many of these aircraft are not radio equipped. "In the see-and-avoid flight environment, a radio helps but is not required," reminds the Sept. 3, 2004, "Training Tip: Aviation's Silent Partners."
What better time for the full scope and diversity of general aviation to be displayed in all its glory than a long Fourth of July holiday weekend? Stay safe-and don't miss out on the fun.
My ePilot - Training Product
ASA 'INSTRUMENT PROCEDURES TUTORIAL'
Here's a new software program for instrument pilots-to-be (or for those who want to hone their situational awareness). Instrument Procedures Tutorial from Aviation Supplies and Academics aims to use a graphical interface to help pilots form a mental image of the steps involved in instrument procedures. The goal is to improve pilots' situational awareness and visualization skills while teaching procedures and approaches with simple how-to demonstrations. The package is compatible with Mac and PC and sells for $49.95. See the Web site or call 800/272-2359.
My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam
Question: Every year I pick up fireworks for my kids and bring them home for a Fourth of July celebration. Am I allowed to transport fireworks in my aircraft?
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.