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Purging fuel contaminants
When you learned to preflight an aircraft, your instructor stressed the hazards of fuel contamination and the care to exercise when checking fuel samples for water or other foreign materials. You have studied the aircraft's fuel system in the pilot's operating handbook (POH), and you use a preflight checklist that states how and where to sample fuel. As winter approaches, should your technique differ from the one you use in warmer months? "Ice crystals can block a fuel filter, and water in a fuel system has been known to freeze a fuel selector valve in one position. If water freezes in a fuel tank, you may draw a perfectly good fuel sample, but after the ice thaws, you might find water in your fuel. If you expect the weather to turn cold, sump the tanks before the mercury hits the freezing mark," wrote Robert N. Rossier in " Checking Fuel Samples" on the AOPA Flight Training Web site.
Usually your fuel test will come back negative. But what do you do if a cupful of water comes out in your fuel sample? Can you remove all of the contaminant? How did it get in there in the first place?
Your POH, in the section on service and maintenance, describes the proper way to remove contaminants, and when it may be advisable to postpone flying and turn the problem over to the folks who look after your aircraft. Know the section's contents. Also review the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor, Fuel Awareness . One of its helpful tips is to delay taking a fuel sample for a few minutes after refueling to let any water settle. Also, test your understanding of fuel contamination against questions 19 and 20 from this list of sample questions from the light sport pilot knowledge test.
Additional guidance is found in FAA Advisory Circular (AC) Water in Aviation Fuels . Note recommendations for pilots of tailwheel aircraft, aircraft with cross-feed fuel systems, and those with wing-mounted fuel tanks. The AC's most vital advice, however, is the recommendation that if there's any doubt whether contaminants are present, turn the aircraft over to the experts for further examination.
Well, you did it. You made up your mind to learn to fly. What kind of flight school is right for you—big, small, or something in between? Get some practical advice and insight by reading " Choosing the right school." AOPA Flight Training Online has everything you need to know to get started. Ask your Project Pilot Mentor to share his or her opinion on the subject. Don't have a Mentor? Sign up for one today.
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.
Three senior citizens, all residents of a nursing home in Lakeport, Calif., got to fulfill their lifelong dream of flying, thanks to the efforts of the nursing home staff and a local flight school. Three residents of Orchard Shores Assisted Living Center were treated to scenic rides with flight instructors from Solo Flight School at Lampson Field, according to Lake County News Reports . The residents who were taken aloft had responded to a survey asking what they would do with the rest of their lives if time, money, and health were not factors.
Eastern Kentucky aviation program changes airports
The aviation program at Eastern Kentucky University has moved from Mount Sterling-Montgomery County Airport to Madison Airport in Richmond, the college announced Sept. 29. The program also gained the use of two Diamond DA20 training aircraft through an agreement with a fixed-base operator at Madison County. Officials with the university's College of Business and Technology hailed the move, saying it will help the program to become the best in the country and make it more convenient for students and faculty.
Last week for discounted AOPA Expo registration
This week marks the final deadline for discounted AOPA Expo registration. Advance registration, which provides a savings up to 29 percent, will end on Monday, Oct. 6 (5 p.m. EDT). This year’s AOPA Expo will be in San Jose, Calif., from Nov. 6 to 8. Expo provides an opportunity to chat with aviation experts, tour indoor and outdoor aircraft displays and exhibits, learn about new technology, attend safety seminars, and take part in fun social events. Register in advance online.
Have you ever thought about your training airplane's emergency locator transmitter, or ELT? Chances are you know that the battery has to be changed and the unit has to be inspected, but that's about it. For this year's Get Your Glass Sweepstakes, we installed a new ELT on the Piper Archer. It incorporates new technology and transmits on a different frequency. Stop by this week's sweepstakes update to learn more.
Ever had a 'learning experience'?
Have you ever learned something in an airplane that changed the way you fly? Share your experience with student pilots and flight instructors by contributing a "Learning Experiences" article to AOPA Flight Training. Send us your stories.
When it comes to aircraft financing, experience is everything
Your local bank may see a few aircraft loans a year. The AOPA Aircraft Financing Program team sees thousands. We have experienced loan specialists ready to walk you through your aircraft purchase and answer all of your questions. The program offers competitive rates, extended repayment terms, no pre-payment penalties, and a convenient, free auto-pay option. What's more, your AOPA membership dues will be paid for the life of your loan. Call 800/62-PLANE to apply, or go online.
Protect yourself with AOPA aircraft title services
Buying an airplane? A title search is a must-do task associated with this stressful process. If you buy an aircraft with a lien, you'll be responsible for it. Protect yourself with a title search from AOPA's Aircraft Title Services. A title search lets you know the lien status of the airplane as well as any accident/incident history, the database of major alterations or repairs, and the name and address of the current owner. With AOPA's Aircraft Title Services, a phone call and a few forms will take all the guesswork and stress out of the deal. For more information, go online, or call 800/711-0087.
Portable laser flare can signal for help
Here's a new addition for your off-airport survival kit: a rescue laser light. The handheld signaling device is not a pyrotechnic flare and can be carried aboard an aircraft. Its visibility range is up to 20 miles at night or one to three miles during the day. It operates 40 hours on a three-volt lithium battery and weighs three ounces. The Rescue Laser Flare sells for $89.99 and is available at Pilotmall.com.
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.
What are land and hold short operations?
Land and hold short operations (LAHSO) allow greater capacity and efficiency at certain towered airports through the simultaneous use of intersecting or nearby runways or taxiways. These airports and their available landing distances are listed in the Airport/Facility Directory. The controller may clear you to land and hold short of a specified point on the runway. The pilot in command has the final authority to accept or decline such a clearance and must be familiar with the available landing distances prior to acceptance. The PIC must also take into consideration temperature, wind, elevation, speed, and runway surface conditions when calculating the landing distance needed. If a LAHSO clearance is accepted, it must be read back to the controller in full ( AIM 4-3-11). Note that although LAHSO is a special emphasis area for flight examiners to cover on the private pilot practical test, student pilots or pilots not familiar with LAHSO should not participate. Read more in this publication from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
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.
WHAT's NEW ONLINE
Breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline are just part of the experience that is flying the New York Hudson River VFR Corridor. Read how a pilot prepared for this challenging trek in the newest installment of " The Joy of Flight."
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a Web Production Editor, Manager of Aviation Security, Aviation Technical Specialist, Director of Development, and Associate Project Manager in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. To learn more about these and other 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 Jose, Calif., Indianapolis, Ind., and Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 4 and 5; Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Oct. 11 and 12; Windsor, Conn., Wichita, Kan., and Corpus Christi, Texas, Oct. 18 and 19. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Bolingbrook, Ill., and Madison, Wis., Oct. 6; Northbrook, Ill., Murray, Ky., and Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 7; Rockford, Ill., Frankfort, Ky., and Mantiwoc, Wis., Oct. 8; and Peoria, Ill., Oct. 9. 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