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AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition - Volume 8, Issue 36AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition - Volume 8, Issue 36

Volume 8, Issue 36 • September 5, 2008

In this issue:
UND team takes top prize in aerobatic competition
An autopilot you can use
Get a jump on the holidays with aviation-themed cards

This ePilot Flight Training Edition is sponsored by

Sponsored by Professional Instrument Courses



AOPA Aircraft Financing

AOPA Aircraft Financing

Garmin International

Airline Transport Professionals

King Schools

Pilot Insurance Center

Sign up for AOPA Project Pilot

AOPA Credit Card




Scheyden Eyewear



Professional Instrument Courses


Minnesota Life Insurance



Do not reply to this e-mail. Got news? Contact ePilot . Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].

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Copyright © 2008 AOPA.

Training Tips

The flight instructor idles the throttle and announces, "You've lost your engine." As a well-practiced student pilot, you commence the drill to bring about a successful conclusion to the simulated emergency. Maybe the result was a successful off-airport landing approach (discontinued at a safe altitude). Perhaps you stabilized the aircraft in a power-off glide and achieved engine restart—it depends on what scenario your CFI handed you.

Many airborne difficulties, while not as traumatic as sudden engine stoppage, still require swift decision making. An engine gauge or electrical-system instrument enters the red zone. Fuel runs low, weather deteriorates, or you get lost. These are not outright emergencies, but they could escalate without quick action. Laymen rarely grasp the difference between a precautionary landing performed under such circumstances and an "emergency landing"-as the reporting of such an event is likely to be headlined-but the differences are many.

"Precautionary landings offer several advantages over forced landings. You can use power to reach an airport or landing site beyond your gliding distance or to compensate for errors in judgment or technique," Robert N. Rossier wrote in the feature " Emergency Landings" available on AOPA Flight Training Online.

The basic idea is that pilots opt to make precautionary landings to avoid having to make emergency landings after exhausting other alternatives. In the February 2006 AOPA Pilot feature " Precautionary Tales," Julie K. Boatman looked at this notion through the eyes of pilots who exercised the precautionary-landing option. "When we asked AOPA members to share their tales of similar events, all expressed satisfaction that their decisions to stop and check into a problem were sound ones—regardless of the outcome. And many credit the precautionary landing with helping them avoid an emergency, with its more serious consequences. In fact, it could be one of the most important pilot-in-command decisions you make—a display of initiative rather than undue caution," she wrote.

Pilots must know the available resources, inside and outside the cockpit, to make decisions that keep problems from becoming emergencies, notes Chapter 16 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge on aeronautical decision making. Review the chapter's systematic approach to risk management—another excellent tool to keep problems from blossoming into emergencies. For more information on aeronautical decision making, see the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor, Do the Right Thing: Decision Making for Pilots .

Your Partner in Training

Bird migratory season will soon be at its peak, which means the possibility of a bird strike is a very real threat to pilots. A two-pound bird can shatter an airplane's windshield or cause structural damage to its wings or empennage. Read AOPA's aviation subject report on Bird/Wildlife Strikes for tips on how to reduce your chances of encountering birds in flight, and what to do if a bird strike is unavoidable.

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.

Flight Training News

The University of North Dakota's aerobatic team placed first in two categories at a competition from Aug. 22 through 24 in Albert Lea, Minn. Flying an American Champion Decathlon, the team placed first in both the primary and sportsman categories at the Doug Yost Challenge Aerobatic Competition. The team's coach is Ryan Carlson; participants are Neil Acomb, Jeremy Baker, Jeff Buchwitz, Ashley Kennie, Kyle Johnson, and Jordan Weis.

Airline Transport Professionals (ATP) has taken delivery of a new Piper PA-44 Seminole. This is the seventh 2008 Seminole that ATP has received; another three are to be delivered by the end of the year. ATP's fleet now includes 87 Piper Seminoles, 50 Cessna 172s, five Diamond Stars, and one Cessna CitationJet.

Four teenagers likely have a summer break story that will trump all of their friends' vacation experiences. They helped build an airplane in only two weeks. The teens participated in a Build A Plane project from Aug. 11 through 24, assembling a Sportsman 2+2 at the Glasair factory in Arlington, Wash. Each student worked with a Glasair employee to build the plane through the company's Two Weeks To Taxi program. Only the composite fuselage had been fused together in advance. The teens installed safety wiring, riveted the wings, fabricated the elevator and rudder trim tabs, mounted the engine, and installed the instrument panel. They showed their aptitude early in the program, according to Build A Plane Executive Director Katrina Bradshaw: "The wonderful (and) helpful staff from Glasair all agree—the kids are making better progress than the adult customers!"

Inside AOPA

If your flight instructor is like most, even if your airplane is equipped with an autopilot, you're probably not using it much. AOPA's Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer has one of the best autopilots on the market: an S-Tec System Fifty Five X. Don't worry; we won't tell your instructor if you use it. Read this week's sweepstakes update to learn more.

With Labor Day behind and a hint of fall in the air, you can bet the holidays are just around the corner. Why not get a jump on the season—and show your support for air safety—with aviation-themed holiday cards from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation? Available in more than 24 designs, the holiday cards are a perfect way to share your love of flight with family, friends, and maybe even a future pilot or two. And a portion of the proceeds helps the foundation provide free safety programs for pilots around the country. To order or view the cards, visit the foundation's Holiday Card Center.

Advance AOPA Expo registration savings of up to 29 percent will end Oct. 6! Join your fellow aviation enthusiasts for three fun-packed days at AOPA Expo 2008, Nov. 6 through 8, in San Jose, Calif. Register now to obtain special rates for packages that include the exhibit hall, educational seminars, and social events. When you book your room at an AOPA hotel, you will receive special rates and, upon check in, a gift bag filled with information on everything San Jose has to offer. Hotel reservations must be made by Oct. 12 in order to ensure special AOPA member rates. At Expo, enjoy daily general sessions and the aircraft display, both of which are free and open to the public.

Training Products

A new fourth edition of Bob Gardner's The Complete Advanced Pilot is now available from Aviation Supplies & Academics, Inc. The textbook is aimed at pilots who want to prep for the instrument rating and commercial certificate simultaneously. It provides practical information for the knowledge exams so that readers are prepared not only for the tests, but for the cockpit as well. The 496-page soft-cover book sells for $29.95. 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.

Final Exam

Question: I am planning my first night cross-country to a nontowered field. What is the procedure for operating airport lighting at uncontrolled airports?

Answer: Keying or clicking the microphone seven times within five seconds will activate full intensity lights for 15 minutes at nontowered airports. Low intensity (three clicks) and medium intensity (five clicks) may also be available depending on the type of installation. It is good practice to re-key the microphone when in the pattern to ensure the lights will remain on throughout the landing. Make sure you check the Airport/Facility Directory to verify the lighting system and the activation frequency at your destination airport, as the common traffic advisory frequency, or CTAF, is not always used to activate runway lighting systems. You may have to make your radio calls on one frequency and activate the lights on another. Section 2-1-7 of the Aeronautical Information Manual provides additional information on the use of pilot-controlled lighting. Read more in the AOPA Flight Training article " Night Flying."

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

Jeremy King had 700 hours as a private pilot flying at a grass strip in Georgia, but his ultimate goal was to become an airline pilot. Thanks to some prodding from his girlfriend, King took the plunge. Read about his adventure in this first installment of a six-part series.

Picture Perfect

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.

To submit an event or to search all events in the calendar visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices see AOPA's Airport Directory Online.

The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Phoenix, Ariz., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Sacramento, Calif., Sept. 6 and 7; in Richmond, Va., Sept. 13 and 14; and in Baltimore, Md., and Seattle, Wash., Sept. 20 and 21. 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 are scheduled in Wichita, Kan.; Ypsilanti, Mich.; and Germantown, Tenn., on Sept. 8. Topics vary-for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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