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You are flying outbound to the practice area, solo, to polish up your flight-test maneuvers. You familiarized yourself with the minimum-altitude regulations that apply over congested and uncongested areas as discussed in last week’s “Training Tip.” And you know the boundaries of the block of airspace designated as the practice area for training flights, as discussed in the Nov. 12, 2004, “ Training Tip: Student Practice Areas.”
While you should always keep those rules in mind, some maneuvers are more likely to bring you close to low-altitude limits than others. For example, the private pilot Practical Test Standards require you to plan your ground reference maneuvers (S-turns, turns around a point, and the rectangular course) “so as to enter left or right at 600 to 1,000 feet (180 to 300 meters) agl.” Each maneuver must also be positioned “at an appropriate distance from the reference”—so don’t cramp the maneuver laterally to maintain required clearances from any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure. A double penalty awaits the unwary: Exceeding allowable altitude deviations for the maneuver on the low side would be disqualifying on a flight test and could violate minimum-altitude regulations.
Other maneuvers, such as slow flight and stalls, provide more altitude leeway, but still carry risk of busting the minimums. Here, you must select an entry altitude “that allows the task to be completed no lower than 1,500 feet (460 meters) agl.” Chances are, however, that your instructor will insist that you perform those maneuvers considerably higher than that, for the extra safety margin.
An incident discussed in the December 2001 AOPA Flight Training "Accident Analysis" column, serves as an object lesson for any pilot doing “low work” during training. The incident referenced was a dual training mission to work on ground reference maneuvers that resulted in low flight over a home—and a call to air traffic control—when the addition of a simulated emergency to the flight became a distraction. The incident also stands as a reminder to solo students and their instructors of the command responsibility a pilot accepts on every flight, from brief local outings to long cross-countries.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
If you are a private pilot or nearly there, you may be considering going straight into training for the instrument rating. The primary advantage is flexibility. With an instrument rating, clouds, precipitation, and below-VFR ceilings need not cancel your trip. This alone is reason to pursue the rating. Learn more about eligibility for the instrument rating on AOPA Online.
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.
The presidents of AOPA and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) have extended the alliance between their organizations, signing a five-year agreement during an April 23 ceremony in Daytona Beach, Fla. AOPA President Craig Fuller and Embry-Riddle President Dr. John P. Johnson toured the school’s Daytona Beach campus before signing the agreement, which reaffirms a partnership that has been in place for more than a decade. “We are excited to be extending our alliance with Embry-Riddle and nurturing the next generation of aviation professionals,” said Fuller. “These students are the future of general aviation, and AOPA membership can help them achieve their goals.” Read more >>
Cessna announces fleet orders at Sun ’n Fun
Cessna Aircraft opened its exhibit at the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., on April 21 by announcing two sizable orders for single-engine piston aircraft. The Civil Air Patrol has ordered 19 new 182T Skylanes to augment its fleet of more than 500 Cessna aircraft. They are used for missions in disaster relief, cadet programs, aerospace education, and search-and-rescue operations. Additionally, the University of North Dakota has ordered 13 new 172S Skyhawks. They’ll be used for flight training at the university’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences and are part of a multi-year contract announced in 2008.
Most pilots can state by rote the stall speeds of the aircraft they fly, but few understand why most fatal stall/spin scenarios occur at airspeeds well above those magic numbers. What really causes an aircraft to stall? What's the key difference between a spin and a spiral? And what's the one thing that you should never forget when recovering from a spin? Find out in " Stalls and Spins," the latest interactive safety quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
U.S. Flight Academy in Denton, Texas, will hold a series of camps this summer to train participants for the sport pilot checkride. Campers age 17 and over will go home with a sport pilot ticket, the camp said. Campers under 17 “will be invited to come back when they reach legal age, to brush up and take their checkride,” according to literature from the camp. Anyone under the age of 16 must return for solo flight requirements. The three-week courses will start June 15, running daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Program director Justin Shelley said that this first year of the camp is designed for commuter students. For more information, visit the Web site, or call 340/383-2484.
Purdue University pays tribute to Amelia Earhart
Purdue University last week unveiled a sculpture of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart. The eight-foot statue, located outside a residence hall, is intended to inspire students to pursue their dreams while connecting the campus to its early history in flight, the college said. Earhart worked at the university from 1935 to 1937 as a career counselor for female students and an adviser to the Department of Aeronautics. She was the first woman to pilot an airplane across the Atlantic and held many aviation records, honors, and awards.
Kansas State team wins aviation design competition
A team of mechanical engineering students from Kansas State University won first place in the regular class event at the annual SAE Aero Design Competition West. The competition challenges engineering students to plan, design, fabricate, and test a radio-controlled aircraft that can take off and land while carrying the maximum cargo. The team designed a biplane that lifted a 24.7-pound payload. Kansas State was among 31 teams from around the world that participated in the regular class event at this year’s competition, held in March in Van Nuys, Calif.
Aviation program planned for Texas university
A new aviation program is in the works for the University of North Texas in Denton. The proposed bachelor of science degree in aviation logistics would be the first such four-year degree program at a public university in the state, according to a report in the Denton Record Chronicle . A flight school at Denton Municipal Airport is one of the potential facilitators for a flight school component. The proposal was approved by the university’s provost office and now needs Board of Regents approval in May before it can be sent to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Sporty’s teams with EAA to bring youth to aviation
Sporty’s Pilot Shop and EAA are teaming up to provide youth with the resources necessary to become pilots, according to Sporty’s Chairman Hal Shevers. When young kids take an airplane ride through EAA’s Young Eagles program, Sporty’s will provide the rider with free access to its full online private pilot course. The offer is being extended to all children under 17 who have ever taken a Young Eagles ride or who will take one in the future, according to Shevers. Riders will also receive a Young Eagles logbook. EAA Chairman and President Tom Poberezny said more than 1.5 million children have gone up thus far as a result of the program.
Campaign aims to protect, promote GA
At a defining moment for general aviation in the United States, AOPA on April 20 launched one of the largest, most important campaigns in its 70-year history: General Aviation Serves America. GA Serves America is an AOPA-sponsored educational initiative whose goal is to protect our valuable asset by educating policymakers, opinion leaders, and the public about the economic value of GA to all Americans, whether they fly or not. “General aviation is so often defined for what we’re not,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller in a Washington, D.C., press conference. “We have to begin to define who we are and what we do and our value across the country. It’s up to us to define ourselves. It’s up to us to tell our story.” Read more and watch a video message from Fuller >>
Telling GA’s story
Visitors to Sun ’n Fun have been stopping by AOPA’s GA Serves America tent and sharing their stories of how general aviation has played a critical role in their businesses and their lives. Bill Bailey of Cape Coral, Fla., an AOPA charter member, shared how GA played a key role in the success of his business. Read more >>
No trick to good takeoffs, landings
Aviators in the FAA Production Studio at Sun ’n Fun listened attentively April 23 as Kathleen Vasconcelos, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s manager of safety education programs, presented “Mastering Takeoffs and Landings.” Filled with practical tips and informative video examples, the program teaches that there is not a magical secret to consistently making good takeoffs and landings—but it provides a wealth of tips that will help pilots achieve that goal. Read more >>
‘Flight Instructor Notebook’ from Qref
Qref, known for its slick series of spiral-bound checklists for avionics and GPS units, now brings to the training field a tool to help aspiring flight instructors pass the CFI checkride. The 322-page book, written by Bridgette Doremire with Gene Hudson, includes private and commercial pilot syllabi, task topic lesson plans for both certificates, a sample pre-solo written test with answers, a checkride/flight review study guide with answers, and more. The book costs $49.95; the private and commercial lesson plans can be purchased and downloaded separately for $14.95 each. Order online or call 877/660-QREF.
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 exactly is manifold pressure?
Answer: Simply put, manifold pressure is a measure of how much power the engine is producing. Inside the cockpit, the manifold pressure gauge displays how much pressure is present in the induction system—the part of the engine where the fuel and air are mixed before heading to the cylinders for combustion. A higher manifold pressure reading indicates there is more air and fuel in the induction system, causing your engine to produce more power.
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.
what’s new online
Couldn’t get to Sun ’n Fun this year? Take in the sounds, sights, and stories as AOPA’s editors bring you the highlights from Lakeland, Fla. Go to AOPA Online for our coverage.
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!
AVIATION EVENTS & WEATHER
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.
Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in 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; San Jose, Calif., Charlotte, N.C., and Ashburn, Va., June 6 and 7; Phoenix, Ariz., and Minneapolis, Minn., June 13 and 14; Orlando, Fla., and Columbus, Ohio, June 27 and 28; Newark, N.J., July 11 and 12. 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 Boise, Idaho, April 27; Highland Heights, Ky., and Salt Lake City, Utah, April 28; West Lafayette, Ind., and London, Ky., April 29; Concord, N.C., May 2; Hickory, N.C., and Poughkeepsie, N.Y., May 4; Graham, N.C., and Cohoes, N.Y., May 5; New Bern, N.C., and Liverpool, N.Y., May 6; Rochester, N.Y., May 7; Madison, Wis., May 11; Milwaukee, Wis., May 12; Manitoc, Wis., May 13; Morristown, N.J., May 18 . Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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Editorial Team : ePilot Flight Training Editor : Jill Tallman | ePilot Editor: Alyssa Miller | Contributor: Alton Marsh