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New season, new decisions
Fall flying conditions have taken root. In northern regions and at higher elevations far to the south, chilly temperatures—even snow—have made their seasonal debut. Flying in fall is glorious. But to do so with precision and safety, make some necessary mental adjustments, both for flight planning purposes and to recalibrate your safety margins.
For student pilots who began training in spring or summer, chilly mornings of fall will become your introduction to frost. Even if you have read about the aerodynamic hazards of attempting to fly an airplane with frost-coated wings and control surfaces, don't go it alone when you remove frost from your training airplane for the first time on the morning of a scheduled sun-up solo flight. Get assistance, or have a veteran check your work. The Jan. 17, 2003, Training Tip discusses frost in detail and provides links to articles and regulations helpful to review.
With outside air temperatures falling, your performance calculations need to reflect reality, so make sure to review your performance charts and adjust your selections of power and altitude to the right values for the desired fuel burns and true airspeeds. Don't be casual about this: A Cessna 152 cruising at 6,000 feet at 2,300 rpm burns three-tenths of a gallon more per hour when temps are 20 degrees below standard than when cruising at standard temperature. The wind and temperatures aloft forecasts (FDs) that you'll need to scrutinize are described in Chapter 11 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge . It's also time to track the lowering altitude of the freezing level, which is the subject of the Nov. 26, 2004, Training Tip. This is especially important if precipitation is possible.
For flights scheduled to begin late in the day, use night fuel reserves as a baseline in your flight planning. Carry flashlights and plan to land with at least one hour of fuel remaining, as recommended by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Fuel Awareness Safety Advisor. Any time a delayed mid-afternoon flight seems to be losing its margin for being completed in the available daylight, reschedule or turn around rather than flirt with trouble!
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Boo! Does the thought of an impending visit with your aviation medical examiner (AME) scare you more than a yard full of trick-or-treaters on Halloween? Fear not! AOPA Online's Medical Certification Center is here to help. Take a tour through the medical certification process, use our searchable database to find an AME near you, or use AOPA's interactive TurboMedical program to detail your medical condition and medications and see if there might be problems with your application. If you still have questions, call one of our Pilot Information Center medical specialists at 800/USA-AOPA weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern.
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.
During a Pilot Town Meeting on Oct. 28, AOPA President Phil Boyer established a new scholarship at the University of North Dakota’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences and took steps to strengthen the bond between the association, the school, and its 1,600 aerospace students. Boyer presented school officials with a check for $10,000 and announced a new partnership in which every aerospace student will become a member of AOPA, with the school covering the cost of the membership while a student is enrolled, and AOPA providing full access to all of the association’s resources, including AOPA Pilot, AOPA Online, and AOPA’s second-to-none aviation technical specialists who man a toll-free pilot information line. Read more >>
Helicopter schools open at California airport
Two helicopter flight schools recently opened their doors at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, Calif. Sonoma Helicopters and Makin Air each offer training in Robinson R22s. Tim Donohue of Makin Air said there's a market for helicopter training in Santa Rosa, noting that, until August, students had to commute to the East Bay for instruction. Aviation activity has been on the rise at the airport since Horizon Air resumed scheduled airline service in 2007, according to a report in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat .
FAA backs down on new rules for knowledge testing centers
Thanks to intervention from AOPA, the FAA is not going to require knowledge testing center employees to become FAA designees or set mileage requirements between centers. The association strongly opposed a proposed order to make testing center employees become FAA designees because the process would have required days of travel and training for each employee. Read more >>
Deadline looms for Careers in Aviation scholarship
Don't miss the deadline for applying for a $2,500 scholarship sponsored by Careers in Aviation and Flightline Group Inc. The scholarship is designated for a potential or current student pursuing a career in aviation who expresses a need for financial support to complete training or education. The deadline to apply is Nov. 14. See the Web site for complete eligibility requirements and an application.
Sure it's Halloween—and the clocks are about to fall back to standard time—but that's no reason to be afraid of the dark. Flying at night can be a magical experience: The air is typically smooth, and the view can be breathtaking over well-lit terrain. Of course, night flying does require certain skills, especially when ground lights are sparse. The latest AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Quiz will help you prepare for your next night flight. For more night flight resources, check out this subject report. Remember, the switch back to standard time also will change the conversion to Zulu time.
WAI to host networking breakfast at AOPA Expo
Women in Aviation International (WAI) invites members and others who are attending AOPA Expo 2008 in San Jose, Calif., to join its Connect Breakfast on Nov. 7. The guest speaker is business jet pilot Betsy Donovan. WAI's San Francisco Bay Area Chapter is hosting the event, which begins at 7:30 a.m. and will take place at the Bella Mia Restaurant, four blocks from the San Jose Convention Center. For more information, or to reserve a ticket, call WAI at 937/839-4647.
Air Safety Foundation mails 180,000 free course CDs
Most ePilot readers recognize how easy it is to take one of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's free online courses. Just click a link, and you're there. But what about pilots who haven't shared their e-mail addresses with AOPA? In an unprecedented outreach campaign, the foundation this week mailed more than 180,000 free CDs to that very audience. The CDs contain Essential Aerodynamics: Stalls, Spins, and Safety, the foundation's popular interactive course that provides need-to-know concepts for avoiding maneuvering accidents. But you don't need the mailman to help you become a safer pilot, because the aerodynamics course is available anytime online.
The ultimate cross-country
One of the most exciting things about flight training is the cross-country phase. Venturing from your home airport is an adventure the first time, and after you get your ticket, new destinations bring back that same feeling. So imagine what it must be like to fly from Maryland to California. That's exactly what we're doing this week when we take the 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer from its Frederick headquarters to San Jose for AOPA Expo next week. Stop by this week's update to learn about the adventure.
Let's Go Flying at AOPA Expo
Let's Go Flying, AOPA's new initiative that promotes aviation to the general public and provides a resource for learning to fly, will be featured at AOPA Expo in San Jose, Calif. Members are invited to bring interested nonpilots to Expo for free Let's Go Flying sessions on Friday, Nov. 7, at 11 a.m. and Saturday, Nov. 8, at 1:30 p.m. The sessions, led by a certificated flight instructor, will detail the steps involved in learning to fly and highlight the fun and utility of being a pilot. Each adult participant who has never taken an introductory flight lesson will receive a $149 introductory flight lesson rebate. Visit the Let's Go Flying booth, located in the McEnery Convention Center lobby, for on-site Expo registration packets and additional information on Let's Go Flying seminars.
All instructors planning to attend AOPA Expo are invited to AOPA Flight Training's annual CFI Roundtable, from 11 a.m. until noon Saturday, Nov. 8, in the San Carlos Room of the San Jose Marriott. Questions about the meeting? E-mail Mike Collins. Also at Expo, Wayne Phillips, AOPA Flight Training's career columnist, will present "A Flying Career for Me? Really?" at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7. He will moderate a forum for flight-deck job seekers at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8. For more information on Expo, see AOPA Online.
Get a $500 gift card from AOPA Member Products at Expo
Take a short true-or-false quiz and then visit each AOPA Member Products partner booth to see how you did. Once your quiz has been graded, drop it in our entry box located in the Member Products booth, and you’ll be entered to win a $500 gift card. And that’s not all you could win. Stop by our aisle, and you could win prizes such as Sporty’s gift certificates, a Bose or David Clark headset, and ground school DVDs. See us at booths 1026 through 1039.
ASA introduces new flight bags
Have you noticed how flight bags have evolved from basic totes to modern designs with specific functions? Case in point: the three new entries in Aviation Supplies & Academics' line of bags. The CRM is meant to serve double duty as both storage apparatus and cockpit organizer, and features numerous pockets and compartments. The Tech includes a padded sleeve to carry along a laptop computer. The largest of the three, the Cargo, has a wide-mouth opening with a built-in metal rod frame for strength and rigidity, and it includes a padded headset pocket and an adjustable hook and loop divider. Each model sells for $69.95. Order online or call 800/ASA2FLY.
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: We're "falling back" this weekend, and with daylight saving time ending, I'm planning to work on the night flying requirements for my private pilot certificate. When, exactly, is night considered night for logging time?
Answer: FAR Part 1 defines night as "the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the American Air Almanac, then converted to local time." The U.S. Naval Observatory offers a Web page that will generate a table of the times of sunrise/sunset, moonrise/moonset, or the beginning and end of twilight, for one year. If you don't have access to either of these resources, a rule of thumb is to add a half-hour to official sunset and subtract a half-hour from official sunrise; you can usually get these times from your local newspaper or flight service station. Find out more about night flying safety online and read some tips from the November 2008 issue of AOPA Pilot .
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to email@example.com 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
When does a $100 hamburger become a "$1,500 T-shirt"? It's what happens when two friends put together a plan to fly from Kill Devil Hills, N.C., to Catalina Island off the California coast. If you've ever wondered what to do with your private pilot certificate, don't miss this story and the accompanying slide show 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.
AOPA CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for an Aviation Technical Specialist and an AOPA Air Safety Foundation Intern. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit 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 Austin, Texas, and Reston, Va., Nov. 1 and 2; and San Diego, Calif., Atlanta, Ga., and Albuquerque, N.M., Nov. 15 and 16. 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 Pikeville, N.C., Nov. 1; Flat Rock, N.C., Nov. 3; Thomasville, N.C., Nov. 4; Pinehurst, N.C., Nov. 5, and Gaithersburg, Md., Nov. 12. 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