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It happens: You come out to the airport ready to fly, only to find that your training airplane isn't. It turns out that someone else's thoughtless postflight procedures threaten to delay your flight or even scrub it altogether.
Postflight procedures encompass more than retracting the flaps and taxiing clear of the runway. Next come parking and shutdown. Then it's time to make decisions about servicing, refueling, and whether to have the aircraft moved under cover against frost or bad weather. A quality review of your lesson should come next. The habit of rushing off at the end of your flights because of a tight personal schedule spoils the productivity of flight training. Pay attention to postflight details and you will be less likely to forget to close your VFR flight plan—an added bonus.
Postflight procedures are examined on your sport pilot or private pilot flight test. This starts with the delicate process of decelerating after touchdown, under directional control, and adhering to "runway hold lines and other surface control markings." It includes your use of after-landing checklists and confirms that you ensure "the safety of nearby persons and property" while parking.
Don't let a well-flown checkride go awry because of a mental letdown or casual postflight attitude. "Some examiners test at length their applicants' aircraft parking and securing knowledge during the oral exam. To an examiner, there is far more to parking and securing than simply pulling the mixture control to idle cutoff and flipping the master switch off. There is also applicant knowledge of hand signals, which appear in the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)," Dave Wilkerson advised in " Postflight Procedures" on AOPA Flight Training Online.
Did the previous pilot forget to turn off the master switch, leaving you with a dead battery? Chip Wright gives tips for avoiding common postflight omissions in his July 2004 AOPA Pilot feature " Details, Details." And Leroy Cook's February 2008 AOPA Flight Training feature " Better Than You Found It" offers steps to take after flying that will speed you skyward on your next flight, while keeping you on the good side of maintenance personnel and your fellow pilots.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Should I choose a Part 61 or Part 141 school? Is there an easy mental note to use in recovering from an inadvertent spin? Are my flight training expenses tax deductible? No question is too tough or too trivial for the Pilot Information Center aviation specialists at 800/USA-AOPA. Do you have a question that you're too embarrassed to ask your flight instructor, or that must be answered quickly when you can't reach your instructor? Our specialists, who are either CFIs or experienced pilots, are available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern to answer all your questions.
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.
The FAA has added eight additional colleges and universities to the list of facilities that participate in its Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI). The addition of new schools increases the number of CTI schools to 31. All are accredited and offer a non-engineering aviation degree. The most recent additions are Aims Community College in Colorado; Broward Community College and Jacksonville University in Florida; Eastern New Mexico-Roswell in New Mexico; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz.,; LeTourneau University in Texas; St. Cloud State University in Minnesota; and Tulsa Community College in Oklahoma.
Pilotmall.com, an aviation retailer based in St. Petersburg, Fla., is sponsoring three flight training scholarships to be awarded in 2009. There will be one $1,000 scholarship and two $500 scholarships. Eligible recipients must be enrolled in a flight-training course with plans to complete a private or sport pilot certificate. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2009, and the scholarship recipients will be announced April 21, 2009. See the Web site for more information.
Airline Transport Professionals will provide initial and recurrent flight training for type ratings in the Diamond D-Jet, Diamond Aircraft has announced. Because the D-Jet is designed primarily for the owner/pilot market, the type rating training needs to be different than conventional business jet type training, said Diamond Aircraft President Peter Maurer. "ATP has a well-proven track record in transitioning piston pilots to jet aircraft," he said, noting that ready access to instructors and safety pilots is very important. In November 2006, ATP announced the purchase of 20 D-Jets, plus options for others, as well as five Diamond Simulation D-Jet flight training devices. ATP initially will offer D-Jet training at its centers in Atlanta, Dallas, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.
Do you know the new TAF format?
On Nov. 5, the format for terminal aerodrome forecasts (TAFs) will change to accommodate expanded 30-hour forecasts. Although the new 30-hour TAFs will only be available for 32 large U.S. airports, the coding change, including new date and time abbreviations, will affect all TAFs issued for more than 600 sites nationwide. Are you ready for the change? Learn about the new format here, then test your TAF savvy with the latest Safety Quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
The work is never finished
The major work on AOPA's Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer has been completed for months. We've used the downtime to put the Archer over the top. After some software updates at Penn Avionics, we returned the Archer to Oxford Aviation for a week of pampering. Read this week's update for the full story.
Test your knowledge of FAA violations
Pilots are currently required to comply with more than 700 relevant federal aviation regulations. Violate one, and your certificate is on the line. AOPA's Legal Services Plan invites you to test your knowledge of FAA violations. This short quiz highlights only a tiny portion of the numerous FARs, so whether you ace it or struggle through it, the AOPA Legal Services Plan is a must for any pilot. The plan provides you with access to more than 700 aviation panel attorneys who can assist you with everything from airspace incursions to FAA medical certification matters to aircraft purchase or sales agreements. See our case studies to learn how the plan has helped fellow AOPA members.
AOPA Aircraft Title Services can make your aircraft purchase easier
AOPA Aircraft Title Services, provided by AIC Title Service, now offers the finest title, escrow, and document submission services in the industry, whether you are seeking fractional or sole aircraft ownership. Title searches can be ordered online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. AIC also offers online escrow and document tracking services so that you can monitor your transaction in real time. Read more >>
Here come the holidays: Check out the AOPA gift guide
Looking for an aviation-themed gift for one of your fellow pilots? Trying to drop some hints for gifts that your family could give you? AOPA's Holiday Gift Guide has a sampling of ideas from leather pilot jackets to flight bags to handheld GPS receivers.
Sporty's E6B has three new functions
An electronic E6B is a handy tool for pilots of all skill levels. Sporty's Electronic E6B Flight Computer now has three additional new functions to make life easier. The computer calculates required rate of descent (useful for instrument pilots), top of descent (which lets you know how far out in miles to start a descent), and specific range, which allows the user to calculate the most fuel-efficient cruising altitude, a useful function for long cross-countries. The Electronic E6B Flight Computer sells for $64.95 and may be ordered online or by calling 800/SPORTYS.
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: Are there any special requirements or endorsements needed for student pilots to fly through a terminal radar service area (TRSA)?
Answer: No special requirements or endorsements are needed to fly through a TRSA--the charted area doesn't depict a kind of airspace, but rather a radar service area. Radar service is available by contacting radar approach, and participation is encouraged but not mandatory. However, it's important to know that the primary airport within the TRSA is Class D airspace, so two-way radio communication does need to be established with the controlling facility before you enter the Class D portion of the TRSA. The remaining portion of the TRSA overlies other controlled airspace, which is normally Class E beginning at 700 or 1,200 feet and established to transition between the en route and terminal environments. The TRSA is depicted on VFR terminal and sectional charts with solid black lines and altitudes for each segment. Read more in Chapter 3-5-6 of the Aeronautical Information Manual.
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Transporting rescued animals brings a new dimension to a Maryland pilot's flying. Read about her adventures and see some of her four-legged passengers on 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 Windsor, Conn., Wichita, Kan., and Corpus Christi, Texas, Oct. 18 and 19; Columbia, S.C., Oct. 25 and 26; and Austin, Tex., and Reston, Va., Nov. 1 and 2. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Fairbanks, Alaska, Oct. 17; Marietta, Ga., Eugene, Ore., and Blacksburg, Va., Oct. 20; Birmingham, Ala., Portland, Ore., and Danville, Va., Oct. 21; Richmond, Va., and Seattle, Wash., Oct. 22; and Pensacola, Fla., and Hampton, Va., Oct. 23. 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