Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today

AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition - Volume 8, Issue 38AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition - Volume 8, Issue 38

Volume 8, Issue 38 • September 19, 2008

In this issue:
Missouri pilot wins Sporty's sweepstakes airplane
ATP unveils new CFI program
AOPA goes to bat for knowledge testing centers

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].

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
421 Aviation Way
Frederick, MD 21701
Tel: 800/USA-AOPA or

Copyright © 2008 AOPA.

Training Tips

While studying the features of an airport to which you have planned a cross-country, or examining the amenities of your home field, you observe that one or more runways are served by approach slope indicator systems. These systems offer a pilot flying the final approach the added dimension of vertical guidance to a safe touchdown. See the June 13, 2003, " Training Tip: Glidepath Guidance."

Make it your business to become thoroughly familiar with how to use vertical guidance systems—and to know where they're available. At certain times, such as during deteriorating weather or a night landing, vertical aid can provide a big boost to safety. In conditions of calm winds, choose a runway served by a vertical guidance system at a nontowered airport. "A safe bet is to plan a steep approach, within your skills and your airplane's capabilities, to grant you extra assurance that you have a clear path down. If you have a choice of runways, pick one with a visual approach slope indicator (VASI) or precision approach path indicator (PAPI), some kind of illuminated tool to help you determine the glide path," wrote Julie K. Boatman in the March 2004 AOPA Pilot feature " Black Holes." Even at a towered airport, you may have that option if the controller clears you to land and says, "Wind calm, your choice of runways." Seize the opportunity—especially if the landing must be accomplished at dusk or in darkness.

Some student pilots assume that such technology as vertical guidance systems is only for use by instrument pilots emerging from clouds, or by pilots at a more advanced level of training than applicants for a light sport or private pilot certificate. Not so! Indeed, a longstanding FAA advisory circular recommends that "all student pilots be introduced early in their flight training to the use of any available approach slope indicator, and taught to use it regularly in planning standard, uniform landing approaches."

Clearly then, your knowledge of vertical guidance systems could be the subject of oral quizzing on a flight test. And surely your designated examiner will observe whether you are attempting to remain at or above the approach path of any VASI- or PAPI-equipped runways on which you may be asked to land.

Your Partner in Training

Stalls and stall recovery are a critical part of your training. A thorough understanding of aerodynamics will help you to grasp the circumstances that can lead to a stall, as well as the steps you'll need to take to recover. See the Student Pilot section of AOPA Flight Training Online for articles that will aid your understanding of this subject. Learn more about stalls and spins in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's online course, Aerodynamics: Stalls, Spins, and Safety .

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

AOPA is continuing to put pressure on the FAA to reinstate knowledge test privileges at certain CATS and LaserGrade facilities across the country. The FAA had made a policy change that revoked the privileges at roughly 160 centers because they gave fewer than 25 tests last year. The policy also stated that testing centers had to be a certain distance apart. In a follow-up letter to the FAA, AOPA requested that the agency immediately reinstate all testing centers that have asked for reconsideration or have appealed the cancellation of their testing privileges. AOPA also called on the FAA to meet with the industry about existing and proposed requirements.

In an effort to allow foreign flight school students to continue flight training in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security said that it will create a new visa category, M, to replace the J-1 visa, which is set to end in June 2010. “AOPA has been pressing for an alternative to the current visa being phased out,” said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of security. “As things currently stand, the M visa will have all of the characteristics of the J-1 visa, so our expectation is the transition should be seamless for students and flight schools.” Read more on AOPA Online.

AOPA member Jeff Hux received a voice mail on Sept. 10 that any pilot would appreciate. The call from Mike Wolf, president of Sporty's Pilot Shop, told Hux that he is the provisional winner of the 2008 Sporty's Sweepstakes. The prize is a new Cessna 172SP with a Garmin G1000 cockpit and Bose headsets. Hux, a farmer in Sikeston, Mo., started flying in 1991 and owns a Beechcraft Bonanza A36. Sporty's 2009 sweeps prize will be another new 172SP, but with the Garmin synthetic vision technology added to the G1000's capabilities. The drawing is scheduled for May 16, 2009, at Sporty's annual fly-in.

Airline Transport Professionals (ATP) has added a new CFI program to its training curriculum. The Total CFI program is a 14-day curriculum that provides applicants with ground and flight training for the certificated flight instructor single-engine, multiengine, and instrument certificates. The program is available at ATP's Arlington, Texas, and Las Vegas, Nev., locations and will be offered in Jacksonville, Fla., and Atlanta, Ga., beginning Oct. 13.

High school students in Raleigh, N.C., are refurbishing a donated Piper Cherokee so that it can be used in support of housing and disaster relief in the Bahamas. The aircraft was donated to Bahamas Habitat, a Christian nonprofit organization. The students in the Broughton Transportation Academy, part of Needham Broughton High School, will bring the Cherokee to airworthy condition so that it can be flown to Bahamas Habitat's headquarters on the island of Eleuthera. While Bahamas Habitat is supplying all of the funding and parts needed for the project, the organization is looking for donations, including a serviceable Lycoming O-360 engine and exhaust system, a Garmin MX 20 multifunction display, and a Mode-S transponder. For more information, see the Web site.

Inside AOPA

It's time to go online and select from the 12 best entries chosen by AOPA Pilot staff in the monthly 2008 General Aviation Photography Contest. Cash prizes totaling $5,000, including a grand prize of $1,000, will be awarded in the annual contest and announced in December. This is the last monthly contest of the year, so vote now!

Flight training doesn't end when you receive your temporary pilot certificate from the designated examiner. Good pilots are always learning, and one of the biggest areas for expanded knowledge comes from new glass avionics. The 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer features a glass panel that the winner will have to learn. Read this week's update to find out more about learning to fly the new glass.

The San Jose McEnery Convention Center will showcase more than 570 exhibits, including cutting-edge avionics, flight gear, equipment, and pilot services, during AOPA Expo 2008 scheduled for Nov. 6 through 8. Attendees will learn about safety, proficiency, ownership, medical issues, and flying destinations during the more than 60 hours of seminars that will be offered throughout the three days. They will also get a chance to explore more than 60 aircraft, including the newest models from major names in aircraft design. AOPA will offer free "Let's Go Flying" seminars, and attendees, 18 years and older, may qualify for a $99 rebate on their introductory flight. "If you're learning to fly, or thinking about learning to fly, Expo is the place to be," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Bring a friend who might be interested in flying, too. Expo is a great chance to share your passion." Read more on AOPA Online.

With the AOPA personal checking account from Bank of America, you'll generate contributions to AOPA when you open a new checking account and each time you make a purchase with your AOPA Check Card—at no additional cost to you. You can also get $50 if you open your new account by Oct. 31. Your everyday banking can help deliver valuable revenue to AOPA to help fight user fees and support AOPA's daily effort to maintain the safety and freedom of flying. Visit the Web site or your neighborhood Bank of America and use offer code WGSAOPA0908.

Training Products

To get from point A to point B, you've got to know how to navigate there. Navigational practices have changed in the past five years. Some systems have disappeared, some are less important, and some are much more important. Donald J. Clausing's Aviator's Guide to Navigation has been revised and updated to include glass-cockpit navigation. The book sells for $34.99 and is available from

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 know the maximum elevation figures (MEF) depicted on a sectional chart show the highest terrain and/or obstacles within a quadrant, but can you tell me how the MEF is calculated?

Answer: For man-made obstacles taller than 200 feet, the MEF is calculated by determining the elevation of the top of the obstacle above mean sea level (msl). Then, additional height is added according to a cartography formula to cover a possible vertical error. Finally, the figure is rounded up to the next highest 100-foot increment. For example, if the highest man-made obstacle within a sector is 2,250 feet msl, 100 feet would be added to cover a possible vertical error (2,350 feet). This figure would then be rounded up to the nearest 100 feet and be charted as a 2,400-foot MEF for that sector. A similar process is used for calculating the MEF for terrain or natural obstacles, except that an additional 200 feet is added just in case there is a man-made obstacle on that terrain that wasn't charted because it is less than 200 feet tall. Learn more in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Hot Spot, NACO Aeronautical Chart User's Guide .

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

With football season now under way, pilots need to be mindful of temporary flight restrictions around stadiums. The FAA's blanket notam prohibits aircraft and parachute operations at and below 3,000 feet within three nautical miles of large stadiums. The TFRs go into effect an hour before and extend until an hour after the scheduled events. To help pilots avoid the TFRs, AOPA has compiled a list of the NFL stadiums. You can also find information about the locations of other sporting events.

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 Baltimore, Md., and Seattle, Wash., Sept. 20 and 21; and San Jose, Calif., Indianapolis, Ind., and Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 4 and 5. 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 Mesa, Ariz., Eden Prairie, Minn., and San Antonio, Texas, Sept. 22; Tucson, Ariz., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Houston, Texas, Sept. 23; and Bellevue, Neb., Austin, Texas, and El Paso, Texas, Sept. 24. Topics vary-for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Got news or questions? Send your comments to [email protected]. Changing mailing or e-mail addresses? Do not reply to this automated message • click here to update.

To UNSUBSCRIBE: Do not reply to this automated message • click here. To SUBSCRIBE: visit AOPA Online.

Related Articles