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|FT News | Inside AOPA | TRAINING PRODUCTS | FINAL EXAM|
The home airport: It's the corner of the aviation universe that a student pilot knows best. Runway bearings, lengths, and widths; radio frequencies, traffic pattern altitudes, and directions—even airport quirks—are home-field facts that most pilots can recite by heart. If you're getting to know your home airport, get started by taking the interactive tour of a typical general aviation community airport on the AOPA Flight Training Web site.
Not all information is available at a glance. What kind of fuel does your airport offer? When is it available? Are there runway lights? What type and intensity? Knowing the layout of your home airport and those you visit is responsible piloting, and it is fodder for questions on your private pilot practical and knowledge tests. Knowing how to research an airport's infrastructure and interpret what you find out is also on the tests.
Sometimes you may have to do some digging. For instance, VFR aeronautical charts give an airport's common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). But is that the correct frequency for activating pilot-controlled lighting? This topic was discussed in the June 20, 2003, "Training Tip."
The answer: Usually, but not always. Chapter 2 of the Aeronautical Information Manual reviews airport lighting systems and explains: "Although the CTAF is used to activate the lights at many airports, other frequencies may also be used. The appropriate frequency for activating the lights on the airport is provided in the Airport/Facility Directory and the standard instrument approach procedures publications. It is not identified on the sectional charts."
The airport rotating beacon is another important airport fixture. And you may have learned that daylight operation of a rotating beacon often proclaims weather conditions below basic VFR. But again, not always. Says the AIM: "At many airports the airport beacon is turned on by a photoelectric cell or time clocks and ATC personnel cannot control them. There is no regulatory requirement for daylight operation and it is the pilot's responsibility to comply with proper preflight planning as required by 14 CFR Section 91.103."
Airport infrastructure is the focus of numerous questions on pilot knowledge tests. Check your knowledge by reviewing some sample questions. Once you know the airport layout, always check notices to airmen to verify that components are working before you fly.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
A gusty day presents a good opportunity to gain some valuable crosswind experience under the watchful eye of your flight instructor. Some of the most valuable flight time of your pilot training will be spent learning to deal with crosswinds. Crosswind landings get better only with practice. Your instructor will offer a variety of techniques to help you land safely and routinely. You'll also learn to crab the aircraft into the wind and slip it into the wind to maintain your position over the runway. Search the archives of AOPA Flight Training for articles on crosswind landings, or if you have specific questions, call our aviation specialists at 800/USA-AOPA.
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.
As AOPA President-elect Craig Fuller prepares to take the controls of the association on Jan. 1, he's laying the groundwork needed for successful advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill. And he's started at the top, with a congratulatory letter to President-elect Barack Obama that explains the value of general aviation to the economy and its key role in the country's infrastructure. Fuller also pledged to work with the Obama administration to keep GA the "largest, safest, most efficient air transportation system in the world." Read Fuller's letter to Obama>>
Diamond, Liberty dangle free training incentives to buyers
Diamond Aircraft and Liberty Aerospace are offering year-end purchase incentives that include free flight training. Diamond's "Fly for Free" promotion offers free maintenance, insurance, fuel, and flight training for the first year to buyers of new DA40 XLS or DA40 aircraft. The free flight training comes from a $2,000 credit and is intended to help with the cost of transitioning to the aircraft or obtaining a new certificate or rating. Meanwhile, Liberty is offering five hours of free factory-direct training for those who purchase a new XL2, plus a year's worth of fuel, free maintenance, and insurance. The company is also offering to match up to a $5,000 credit for any deposit that a buyer currently has placed on any other airplane.
Your flight instructor is carefully watching as you preflight the airplane, and he notices that you've overlooked a sparkly sheen of frost on the wings. Out comes a towel and off comes the cold stuff. If ice, frost, or snow accumulates on wings and other surfaces when an airplane is parked outside, the disrupted airflow can substantially alter flight characteristics, and every year accidents occur as a result. Test your knowledge with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's new quiz on wing contamination. Then chill out with previous Safety Quizzes.
When Lockheed Martin began modernizing the flight service system in early 2007, pilots experienced an array of issues, including lost flight plans and long hold times. But for most of 2008, Lockheed has met its performance standards for briefers to answer phone calls within 20 seconds, answer radio calls within five seconds, and file flight plans within three minutes. In addition, Lockheed Martin has indicated that it is emphasizing the quality of the briefings and expanding the knowledge base of its briefers. "It appears that flight service performance has turned a corner," said Randy Kenagy, AOPA chief of staff for government affairs. "The performance measurements are being met, but we need to continue to focus on the quality of the information that briefers are giving to pilots." Read more >>
Minnesota flight school helps disabled pilots earn their wings
A Minnesota flight school recently garnered some positive attention in the local media by helping two disabled pilots earn sport pilot certificates. LSA North in Lakeville, Minn., helped Paul Brown and Ken Hendrickson obtain sport pilot certificates with the assistance of scholarships through Able Flight. They shared their story, and their elation at being able to fly, in an article and video that appeared in the Lakeville Sun Current . Chief Pilot Scott Johnson said the light sport program at his flight school has drawn "more mature students," the vast majority of whom are age 55 or older, "who wanted to fly again but couldn't because of medical regulations."
Pilots and airplane owners are all about stuff. We love headsets, flight bags, handheld GPS receivers, and more. So while the winner of the 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes will be lucky enough to gain a beautifully refurbished Piper Archer, he or she will also walk away with some cool stuff, too. See this week's sweepstakes update to learn more.
Save money, avoid delays with AVIS eToll
Have you ever found yourself stuck in a long line of traffic, inching your way toward a toll plaza, wasting time and gas with every minute that passes? Imagine being able to avoid the lines by driving through the electronic toll payment lanes. Avis renters are able to do just that with eToll, an electronic toll collection program. eToll allows you to skip the cash toll lines and reach your destination faster. Don't forget to use your AOPA discount code of A451348 and save up to 25 percent on your car rental. See the Web site for more information.
Web site connects potential aircraft partners
If you're looking for a partner with whom to buy an airplane, you could put up a notice at the FBO or post a message at an aviation bulletin board. Or, you could upload your information to a Web site designed specifically for the purpose of putting together likeminded pilots who are looking for others to share ownership. The Aircraft Partnership Association lets registered users post detailed profiles in its secure Virtual Pilot Lounge and search for others based on location, budget, flying experience, aircraft interest, and more. A neat function of the site is that it will send you an e-mail notification when it receives registration of a member who's within the geographic range you stipulate. Registration is free.
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: On my last flight lesson, my instructor said I should not follow the VASI because we were too far away from the airport. What is the usable range for a VASI?
Answer: A vertical approach slope indicator, or VASI, helps pilots to fly a proper glidepath at night or during periods of reduced visibility. The VASI provides obstacle clearance for plus or minus 10 degrees on either side of the runway centerline up to four miles from the runway threshold. Read more about VASIs and other visual glideslope indicators in this article from AOPA Flight Training and in the Aeronautical Information Manual .
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.
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!
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 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 Towson, Md., Dec. 2. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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Editorial Team : ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller | Contributors: Warren Morningstar, Alton Marsh