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| Training Tips |
Sometimes the tip-off that something unexpected is happening with the weather isn't a detail in a weather report, but the type of report itself. A pilot who can spot differences between routine and special information will be on the alert when deciding whether to fly or how to continue a flight.
How can you tell? Weather briefings contain reports on surface conditions at your departure point, destination, and airports en route. As explained in Chapter 11 of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge , make note of whether you are reading a routine report (a METAR) or a special observation. "The first is the routine METAR report that is transmitted every hour. The second is the aviation selected special weather report (SPECI). This is a special report that can be given at any time to update the METAR for rapidly changing weather conditions, aircraft mishaps, or other critical information."
Forecasts differ too. Suppose your terminal aerodrome forecast, or TAF, is coded "TAF AMD." This means that the forecast was amended. Timing of reports also signals departure from the routine. Convective sigmets are presented at 55 minutes past the hour but can be "issued during the interim for any reason." Radar reports are issued every 35 minutes but also "special as needed."
An alert pilot inquired about unusual coding of a pilot report (UUA instead of UA) as addressed in the Aug. 15, 2008, AOPA ePilot : "A message will be coded as UA for a routine pirep. It will be coded as UUA when the information is considered urgent. Information is considered urgent when a pirep contains any of the following weather phenomena: tornadoes, funnel clouds, or waterspouts; severe or extreme turbulence, including clear air turbulence; severe icing; hail; volcanic ash; low-level wind shear (pilot reports airspeed fluctuations of 10 knots or more within 2,000 feet of the surface); or any other weather phenomena reported that are considered by the controller to be hazardous, or potentially hazardous, to flight operations."
An urgent pilot report on headwinds or an amended forecast might have saved a flight instructor and student in Virginia from a tense diversion at night as recounted in this account from " Never Again Online."
Know when special conditions exist, and be ready to take action.
| Your Partner in Training |
Every pilot must remain vigilant during ground operations. To help ensure that you know where you are in reference to taxiways and runways, always use an airport diagram and mark the runway in use with the heading bug. Once you're on the runway, verify that the heading indicator (and bug) are aligned with the runway. Pilots should also know the meaning of all airport signs and markings. To help you brush up on signs and markings, review the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Runway Safety online course and Runway Flash Cards. Free airport diagrams are also available on the foundation's Web site.
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 |
EMBRY-RIDDLE OFFERS ONLINE AIRCRAFT GROUND SCHOOLS
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has added new aircraft-specific ground schools to its slate of online aviation courses. The new series covers new technologies and processes for flight crews and covers most modern Boeing and Airbus aircraft. "These new online courses will allow pilots to better prepare for an employer's ground school, excel in job interviews, and expand their overall knowledge," said Thorsten Hisam, director of professional education. For more information, see the Web site.
DANIEL WEBSTER NAMES DEAN OF AVIATION SCIENCES
Daniel Webster College (DWC) in Nashua, N.H., has chosen a new dean of the school of aviation sciences. Triant Flouris is professor of aviation management at DWC and head of the college's masters in business administration for aviation professionals. Before joining DWC he was professor in the department of accounting and business and director of The City University of New York Aviation Institute at York College. Flouris is a commercial-rated pilot and certificated flight instructor with more than 5,000 hours total time.
NEW QUIZ HIGHLIGHTS HAZARDS OF SPATIAL DISORIENTATION
Humans are VFR-only creatures. The senses we use to maintain our balance and know "which end is up" are completely unreliable when our bodies are in motion without visual reference to the world around us. Spatial disorientation can set in rapidly and has claimed the lives of both instrument- and noninstrument-rated pilots alike. Test your knowledge of the hazards with the latest quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. To see how spatial disorientation can contribute to a fatal GA accident—and learn how the crash could have been prevented—check out the foundation's new accident re-creation minicourse, Accident Case Study: VFR Into IMC .
VIRGINIA FLIGHT SCHOOL OPENS SECOND LOCATION
Falwell Aviation in Falwell, Va., will open a second location at Roanoke Regional/Woodrum Field this month. The new facility will help to fill the void left by the departure of two other flight schools at the airport, according to a report in the Lynchburg News & Advance . Falwell Aviation operates a Part 141 school at Lynchburg Regional/Preston Glenn Field and plans to offer a 141 school at Roanoke.
| Inside AOPA |
CELEBRATE GA WITH BOYER AT AOPA EXPO
AOPA Expo is the place to see the newest aircraft on the market, buy the latest pilot gear (this year features the largest exhibit hall ever), learn from educational seminars, and find out what your association is doing to protect GA. "Each year Expo gets better and better, " said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "And since this will be my last Expo as AOPA’s leader, I’m really looking forward to the special events and meeting with members one last time as president. " Register in advance to join Boyer at AOPA Expo in San Jose from Nov. 6 through 8 and save up to 29 percent on admission.
PROTECT YOUR FAMILY
Protecting your family's financial future is the most important investment you can make. AOPA members can purchase up to $200,000 of aviation AD&D coverage, and that's guaranteed. No medical exam is necessary, and there are no health questions asked. As an AOPA member, you already qualify for this essential coverage. Coping with an unexpected loss is difficult; make sure your family has financial peace of mind. As the wife of one AOPA member put it, the $100,000 AD&D policy her husband had purchased "was another sign of his love and protection of her and their children." Take the time to assess your family's needs, and purchase your AD&D policy today.
AOPA INSURANCE AGENCY CELEBRATES 15 YEARS OF SERVICE
"In order to address our members' ongoing need for quality aviation insurance services, 15 years ago AOPA made the decision to create an aviation insurance agency that its members would own,” said AOPA President Phil Boyer. “Rather than the traditional model of endorsing an agency or underwriter and simply receiving a small royalty, AOPA members (along with our partner, Aon Risk Services) now have an equity interest in the largest light aircraft insurance agency in the world, a successful business founded on their support, whose profit helps fund ongoing AOPA projects such as Airport Watch, Airport Support Network, Let’s Go Flying, and other efforts that depend so heavily on AOPA Certified Member Products.” Learn more on AOPA Online.
HOW'S YOUR RIGGING?
Does your training airplane take a little too much right rudder to keep the nose straight? Do you find the airplane always seems to be in a bank to keep it straight and level? If so, chances are it has some rigging issues. The Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer needed a rigging adjustment, and a few weeks ago we found a great shop to do the work. See this week's update to find out how it worked and what the adjustment has done to the aircraft's performance.
| Training Products |
SPORTY'S 'SO YOU WANT TO FLY HELICOPTERS' DVD
Sporty's has updated its So You Want to Fly Helicopters tutorial into DVD format, including new in-flight footage and 3-D animation. The 89-minute DVD covers preflight, basics of flight, hovering, taxiing, takeoffs and landings, maneuvers, weight and balance, autorotation, emergency procedures, systems and components, FARs, and the fundamentals of helicopter navigation and cross-country procedures. Footage includes the Robinson R22 and R44, Schweizer 269, and the Bell 206 JetRanger. Order the DVD online for $49.95, or call 800/SPORTYS. The DVD is also available as a download for a personal computer, Mac, iPhone, or iPod.
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: What type of preflight action is required before I fly in our local practice area? Answer: Before beginning any flight, including heading out for the local practice area, FAR 91.103 requires a pilot to become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. Although not specifically stated in the regulation, we know from enforcement action based on violations of this FAR that this includes, but is not limited to, a thorough preflight of the aircraft and checking notams. The specifics of the regulation are more explicit for a flight not in the vicinity of the airport, and include weather reports and forecasts, fuel requirements, runway data, alternative flight plans, and traffic delays. For more information, read the article " Pilot Counsel: Preflight Action" from AOPA Pilot.
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 |
If you've always thought that owning your own airplane would come only after you win the lottery, take a look at the September 2008 issue of AOPA Pilot. Associate Editor Ian J. Twombly's comprehensive feature, " Realize the Dream," looks at all the ownership options, including one or two you may not have considered.
| 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.
FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled 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
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Morristown, N.J., and Reno, Nev., Sept. 15; East Windsor, Conn., and Boise, Idaho, Sept. 16; Milpitas, Cal., Marlborough, Mass., and Salt Lake City, Utah, Sept. 17; Grand Forks, N.D., and Manchester, N.H., Sept. 18. Topics vary-for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.