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When studying charts and other published airport information before flying a cross-country, you are noting many details. Prominent landmarks for visual navigation and obstacles on the approach to the destination's runways top the list. Electrical power transmission and telecommunications lines fall into both categories. Often easy to spot from cruise altitude, power lines make excellent checkpoints that frequently can be followed for many miles. When not so easy to spot, as during takeoff or landing, or when situated along roads as potential obstructions to emergency landing sites, they can be hazardous indeed.
Over wooded or cultivated regions where power line rights of way stretch for miles, their narrow, sometimes snow-filled corridors extending to the horizon make reassuringly easy landmarks for visual flying. Their checkpoint value increases if the flight must be flown at lower altitudes that would render more compact, distant landmarks useless. On sectional aeronautical charts, power transmission lines are depicted with a solid black line punctuated by symbolic supporting towers, illustrated on page 21 of the VFR Chart Symbols section of the Aeronautical Chart User's Guide . Note the different symbol used on world area charts.
Power lines are noted under runway information as a hazard on approach to Runway 36 at the Waterbury-Oxford Airport in Connecticut (OXC) in AOPA's Airport Directory Online .
It's the frequent proximity of power lines to airports that makes them hazards to takeoffs and landings—another reason to always demand maximum performance from your aircraft during initial climb. Using less than all available takeoff runway, or hesitancy to apply full throttle for takeoff, can put hazards in play. See the cautionary tales contained in the October 2008 AOPA Flight Training's " Accident Analysis."
And, when practicing simulated engine failures during training, scan the emergency landing field you select for power line hazards. That might spare you the rude surprise encountered by a Cessna 182 pilot during a true off-airport landing recounted in " Never Again: Gone Fishing" in the July 2004 AOPA Pilot. You may not have a choice about dealing with power lines during an actual emergency. Spotting them early could make the crucial difference.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Displaced threshold. Empennage. MEL. MML. Pirep. What does it all mean? Aviation is an industry of acronyms and technical language. Especially helpful to newcomers to aviation is AOPA's Student Glossary for General Aviation . Log on to AOPA Flight Training Online for a glossary of terms, a phonetic alphabet chart, and a new pilot's guide to air traffic control communications.
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
Arriving at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport Nov. 2 for his final AOPA Expo, AOPA President Phil Boyer received a special honor usually reserved for retiring airline and military pilots: a water cannon salute. The salute is a tribute that is sometimes, but not always, done when a captain is on his last flight after a full career and is acting as pilot in command of that flight. "This was a special honor we wanted to give Phil in recognition of his many years of service to AOPA and its members," said Curt Eikerman, operations manager for the airport. "To the best of our knowledge, this is the very first time a water cannon salute has been approved for a general aviation flight." See the complete story on AOPA Online.
Are we there yet? Cross-country in the Sweeps Archer
If you thought your solo cross-country was long, try flying 25 hours coast to coast. Read all about the adventure with the 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer in this week's update. The Archer is now on view at the static display at AOPA Expo 2008 in San Jose, Calif. Drop by the update to see photos and much more.
Can't make it to AOPA Expo 2008 in San Jose, Calif.? We've got you covered. Our team of experienced writers, editors, and photographers is bringing you the latest industry news. If you crave insider tidbits, be sure to check out our blog. And if you're a Twitter fanatic, follow us around the exhibit hall as we talk to other Expo attendees via our special Expo Twitter account.
Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the surface of the moon, has donated personal papers to his alma mater, Purdue University. The papers will serve as historic archives and scholarly resources. Biographer James R. Hansen will donate 55 hours of tape-recorded interviews with Armstrong. The papers will serve as the foundation of a comprehensive flight collection in Purdue Libraries. The university says it will seek papers from other graduates who became astronauts.
If you have an idea to support or promote general aviation, the Wolf Aviation Fund may be able to help you fund your dream. Each year the fund provides grants for projects that contribute to aviation education, airport outreach, aviation public service work, and aviation research. The deadline for grant proposals is Nov. 15. Information about how to apply and past winners is available on the Wolf Aviation Fund Web site.
New feature provides airport-specific accident data
If you're planning a trip to an unfamiliar airport, it can be helpful to know what types of accidents have occurred there. Is the airport subject to tricky crosswinds? Perhaps it's in a valley prone to fog that frequently pushes visibility below minimums. Knowing the potential hazards before you arrive is a key part of flight planning, and a recent enhancement to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Accident Database puts that information at your fingertips. A new search field now allows pilots to query the database using an airport's three-character identifier. Try the feature today by searching for accidents at your home airport, then use it each time you plan a flight.
AERO 600 Avionics Cleaner
Fingertip smudges on an LCD avionics display can be a distraction and a nuisance. Aero 600 Avionics Cleaner and a soft cloth can be used to banish smudges, dirt, and dust. The company's "secret formula" contains no alcohol or ammonia and is non-toxic. The product can be used on GPS displays, laptop screens, and sunglasses. The four-ounce bottle sells for $14.99 and can be ordered online or by calling 413/229-9042.
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: If I am on a cross-country flight and running a little behind, is it OK to use my cell phone in flight to notify my friends?
Answer: FAR 91.21 prohibits pilots operating under IFR from using any portable electronic device while in flight. And the FCC has a regulation that prohibits the use of a cell phone on any aircraft in flight. Specifically, FCC Rule 22.925 states, "Cellular telephones installed in or carried aboard airplanes, balloons, or any other type of aircraft must not be operated while such aircraft are airborne." So, using a cell phone—whether VFR or IFR—is prohibited in flight.
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.
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a Vice President of Membership Marketing, an Aviation Technical Specialist, and a Business Analyst. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
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.
Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in San Diego, Calif., Atlanta, Ga., and Albuquerque, N.M., Nov. 15 and 16; Anchorage, Alaska, Nov. 22 and 23; Denver, Colo., and Chicago, Ill., Dec. 6 and 7; and Orlando, Fla., Dec. 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
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in San Jose, Calif., Nov. 7 and 8; Gaithersburg, Md., Nov. 12; Alice, Texas, Nov. 15; Burbank, Calif., and Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 17.; Ontario, Calif., and Tampa, Fla., Nov. 18; Irvine, Calif., and West Palm Beach, Fla., Nov. 19; and San Diego, Calif., and Orlando, Fla., Nov. 20. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Got news? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].
Editorial Team : ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller | Contributors: Warren Morningstar, Alton Marsh