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AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition Volume 9, Issue 15 — April 10, 2009  

In This Issue:
Canadian pilot leads U.S. fighter jets on chase Accident stats quiz finds safety in numbers
Going to Sun ’n Fun?

  FT News  |   Inside AOPA  |   TRAINING PRODUCTS   |   FINAL EXAM   


‘Splashes of yellow’

A pilot writing in the AOPA Forums wrestled with a question about a familiar characteristic of VFR navigation charts. “I have looked and can't find a definitive answer to the intent of the yellow areas on sectional charts. I know some people are absolutely convinced it is an identification of ‘populated places,’ which they interpret to mean congested areas requiring at least 1,000 feet agl (of altitude). While I see the reference to ‘populated places’ in some documents, that does not match well with what I see on the charts, and makes me wonder what the purpose would be in identifying the populated places on a sectional chart.”


The pilot weighed various explanations for yellow splashes but found them in conflict with the reality on the ground. Complicating matters, the pilot added, “the yellow is not identified on the legend for the chart.”


How would you answer this excellent question?


A good place to start your research would be the Aeronautical Chart User’s Guide . Page 20 illustrates three categories of outlines for populated places. The smaller the populated place, the less the detail.


Further insight is gleaned from the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge . Discussing cross-country navigation, Chapter 14 says: “Appropriate checkpoints should be selected along the route and noted in some way. These should be easy-to-locate points, such as large towns, large lakes and rivers, or combinations of recognizable points, such as towns with an airport, towns with a network of highways, and railroads entering and departing. Normally, choose only towns indicated by splashes of yellow on the chart.”


Perhaps the best application of the yellow splashes is for nocturnal navigation: “Larger towns and cities are shown in yellow, and the yellow closely resembles the overall pattern of city lights you'll see on a clear night,” wrote Robert N. Rossier in the August 1997 AOPA Flight Training feature, “ Chart basics.” Indeed, the pilot asking the question was leaning toward this conclusion, but hesitated because to “rely” on charts for night navigation was of only limited value.


Don’t rely on a single, ambiguous source—that’s the most instructive lesson of the inquiry. Gathering multiple sources and erring on the side of caution promote safety and compliance with altitude regulations.

Correction: The April 3 “ Training Tip” gave an erroneous reference for reviewing the results of some airman knowledge tests. For knowledge tests taken on or after Sept. 28, 2007, refer to the Learning Statement Codes provided in this FAA reference guide to determine the applicable subject material to review. For tests taken before that date, the subject codes listed in Advisory Circular 60-25F remain in effect until the last of those knowledge-test results expires on Sept. 30, 2009.



Extra-careful preflight is required for night flying: organizing the cockpit (including making sure you have flashlights and plenty of fresh batteries to power them), choosing checkpoints, and pondering emergency situations. The challenges are greater, but so are the rewards. The special skills of night flying can only be acquired and maintained by taking frequent night flights. See our aviation subject report and the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Safety Hot Spot on night flying for more information.


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.


Canadian pilot leads U.S. fighter jets on chase

A naturalized Canadian citizen from Turkey, Adam Leon, stole a Cessna 172 on April 6 from the Ontario flight school where he was a student. He then penetrated U.S. airspace, flying south to Missouri before landing on a dirt road later that night. Fighter jets were dispatched immediately and escorted the stolen aircraft shortly after it crossed the Canada-U.S. border. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircraft also followed the Skyhawk. North American Aerospace Defense Command monitored the situation and determined that the student pilot did not show hostile intent, precluding the use of lethal force. Leon, who was enrolled in Confederation College's aviation flight management program, stole the Skyhawk from the college at Thunder Bay. “This incident highlights the need for U.S. schools to follow the flight school security guidelines and for pilots to participate in the joint TSA-AOPA Airport Watch Program," said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. Read more >>

Accident stats quiz finds safety in numbers

Which type of weather kills more pilots than all others combined? What fatal mistakes do pilots make again and again? Stark questions—but understanding accident statistics can help keep us from contributing to them. Take a practical look inside the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's new Joseph T. Nall Report and test your knowledge of accident causes with the foundation's latest safety quiz. With interactive questions and graphics, the quiz pulls real-world lessons from the numbers and provides valuable safety advice.

CAPT Program’s financial woes continue

A Florida flight school catering to mostly Chinese students is fighting to stay in business after three months of financial turmoil. The Commercial Pilot Training Program (CAPT) trained mostly foreign students but had a half-dozen domestic students. The Chinese students’ visas are expiring; they face eviction from their apartments; and they can find little information on what is happening at the school, which suspended flight operations earlier this year. Read More >>

Utah professional pilot school closes

Utah-based National Pilot Academy has closed its doors, leaving behind students enrolled in accelerated professional pilot programs at locations in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida. School officials said that the academy is closing temporarily and attributed the situation to economic conditions and “the banking crisis” in a March 10 e-mail sent to flight instructors and other staff, according to the Arizona Daily Star .


Inside AOPA

Going to Sun ’n Fun?

The Sun ’n Fun Fly-In that will take place in Lakeland, Fla., April 21 through 26, traditionally kicks off the fly-in season. Friday, April 24, is AOPA Day—and among other events, AOPA is hosting a panel discussion on flight training and learning to fly. We hope you can join us from 2 to 3 p.m. in the AOPA Pavilion, a large, open-air facility right next to the Sun 'n Fun Air Museum. Any students or flight instructors interested in participating in the panel are invited to e-mail Mike Collins, editor of AOPA Flight Training.

Hertz lets you drive out of Florida for $3 a day

Winter is officially over, and it’s time for many snow birds to leave the warm nest of Florida. Why not take advantage of Hertz’s Florida Drive Out promotion? For $3 a day ($14.99 per week) you can rent an economy vehicle for your one-way journey. Slightly higher rates apply for larger vehicles. Book your trip by April 12 for rentals starting April 13 through June 30, and mention “RQ 1Way.” Use the AOPA discount CDP# 10232 for additional savings. A portion of all revenue generated will be returned to AOPA and reinvested to support our daily efforts to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation. See the Web site for details and reservations.



AvWxWorkshops offers interactive weather training

AvWxWorkshops is offering detailed weather training on specific topics with Web-based videos in a subscription service. The site has a growing library of short videos that are “designed to take you beyond the basics and help fill in those gaps in knowledge and touch on areas you have yet to explore.” The workshops are based on scenarios from real or theoretical flights. Topics range from TAFs and convective outlooks to cloud types and air mass modification. Individual videos can be purchased for under $10, and yearly subscriptions are offered for $99.


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: What’s the difference between a generator and an alternator?


Answer: The alternator and the generator both create electricity for use in the airplane. The primary difference between the two lies in the moving parts. In a generator, the wire armature moves back and forth near a magnet to create an electrical current. In an alternator, a magnet spins inside a coil of wire (usually copper). While both alternators and generators create electricity, the alternator gets the job done much more efficiently. Most aircraft in production today utilize an alternator for electrical current.


Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail [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.

Picture Perfect

Pilots love to take photos, and they love to share them with other pilots. Now you can upload your flying photos to our brand-new online gallery, "Air Mail." Share your special aviation images, or view and rate more than 1,000 photos and counting. Highly rated photos will get put into rotation on the AOPA home page!

what’s new online

A blustery day creates a hazardous situation for a banner-towing pilot in the latest installment of Never Again Online. Enjoy the lessons you learn from these pilots' first-hand accounts? Listen to more stories in AOPA's Never Again Podcast directory brought to you by the AOPA Insurance Agency.


Want something to do this weekend? Planning an aviation getaway? See your personalized online calendar of events . We've enhanced our calendar so that with one click you can see all of the events listed in the regions you selected when personalizing ePilot . Now you can browse events listed two weeks to a few months out to make your planning easier. You can also bookmark the personalized calender page to check it as often as you want. 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 Denver, Colo., Indianapolis, Ind., and Cincinnati, Ohio, April 18 and 19; San Diego, Calif., Tampa, Fla., and, Boston, Mass., April 25 and 26; Pensacola, Fla., and Houston,Texas, May 2 and 3; Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Albany, N.Y., May 16 and 17; Sacramento, Calif., and Kansas City, Mo., May 30 and 31. 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 Clayton, Mo., and Danville, Va., April 14; Warrensburg, Mo., and Richmond, Va., April 15; Springfield, Mo., and Hampton, Va., April 16; Concord, Calif., April 20; Fresno, Calif., April 21; Palmdale, Calif., April 22; San Luis Obispo, Calif., and Lakeland, Fla., April 23; Lakeland, Fla., April 24 and 25; Boise, Idaho, April 27; Highland Heights, Ky., and Salt Lake City, Utah, April 28. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

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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Editorial Team : ePilot Flight Training Editor : Jill Tallman | ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller | Contributor: Alton Marsh

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