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Filing and receiving pireps
The Aug. 21 Training Tip discussed the hazards of meteorological phenomena that lurk unseen in larger weather systems, and the importance to pilots of tapping information sources that could reveal dangers ahead, such as embedded thunderstorms.
One good source—and the only true real-time alert—is a pilot report (pirep). Some weather conditions warrant an urgent pirep (see the Sept. 12, 2008, " Training Tip: Special Weather”).
The limitation of pireps is that there may be only stale information available, or none at all. Also, regard the accuracy of pireps critically. According to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation in this AOPA Flight Training article, “… new pilots may inaccurately report light turbulence as severe. If they really were in severe turbulence, they would be working so hard to keep the aircraft flying in one piece that giving a pirep would be impossible.”
Start participating in the process. “Filing a pirep is very easy. When you observe something aloft that you feel deviates from the forecast, or you'd just like to report the cloud tops or bases, give the report to either the air traffic control frequency you are with at the time or the local flight service station or flight watch,” urged Ian Twombly in the February 2006 AOPA Pilot “ Answers For Pilots.” “The controller (depending on workload) or specialist can talk you through the report. Expect to relate all pertinent information, including your location relative to a VOR, your altitude, your type aircraft, sky cover, visibility, precipitation, temperature, wind, turbulence, and icing.”
Jack Williams added a meteorologist’s perspective on pireps in “ The Weather Briefing,” available on AOPA Flight Training Online. “The FAA, the National Weather Service, and aviation organizations such as the AOPA Air Safety Foundation are encouraging pilots to file pireps because they help both other pilots and weather forecasters,” he said. When evaluating a pirep, “Be sure to check the date and time the report was made—pireps can be hours old.”
Who regularly files pireps? Pilots who got just the information they needed, when they needed it, are sure to return the favor. Join them on your next flight.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Slips can be an unnerving maneuver for student pilots. The sight picture is not what you’re accustomed to, and you’re operating with crossed controls. Read this article for more insights on how to perform slips correctly and the top five reasons a slip might not pass muster on a checkride.
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.
Three University of Cincinnati students who are planning to become professional pilots got some help toward that goal in the form of scholarships from The Sporty’s Foundation. Abdelaziz Akkoub received $15,000; Sophie Gilgean received $10,000; and Patrick Spare received $5,000. All three are incoming sophomores in the university’s professional pilot program. The mission of the Sporty’s Foundation is to help secure the future of general aviation by providing assistance to aviation education and safety programs.
The FAA is changing the definition of a cross-country in the federal aviation regulations from “at least 50 nautical miles” to “more than 50 nautical miles.” The modification was included in a package of changes to the FARs that take effect in October. While this change can seem minor, one mile can make a difference, according to Rob Hackman, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs. “For many pilots, the cross-country flight to an airport is not a choice between an airport that is 50 nm or 51 nm away,” Hackman said. “The choice is between an airport that is 50, 75, or 100 miles from the departure airport. These extra miles directly translate into additional costs for the pilot and provide no additional training benefit, as the skills required to fly 50 miles are the same needed to fly 75 miles.” The FAA also changed the duration of student pilot certificates to match the duration of a third-class medical certificate. Read more >>
Embry-Riddle wins top honors in college ranking
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach, Fla., campus took top honors in U.S. News & World Report’s annual “America’s Best Colleges” for the tenth year in a row. The campus won first place in the specialty category of best undergraduate aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical engineering programs at schools where the highest degree is a bachelor’s or a master’s. The Prescott, Ariz., campus received a third-place ranking.
Wathen Foundation to host Air Academies
The Wathen Foundation will host an Air Academy for middle- and high-school students Oct. 6 through 10 at Flabob Airport in Riverside, Calif. The foundation has hosted 52 students this year at Air Academies, where they learned about aviation weather and history, and reciprocating and rocket engines. Participants received their first flying lessons and logged time in logbooks, and they also constructed and launched actual rockets. The foundation is planning six Air Academies for 2010. For enrollment information, contact Kathy Rohm at 951/683-2309, extension 104, or by e-mail.
New live safety seminar asks, 'What went wrong?'
Sometimes the cause of an aircraft accident is obvious. Other times, it takes everything from CSI-style forensics to old-fashioned sleuthing to figure out where things went awry. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation's new “What Went Wrong?” safety seminar looks at general aviation accidents through the eyes of the investigator—starting at the scene and working backward to reconnect the shattered links of the accident chain. The free live seminar debuts next week in Tennessee, then tours the country throughout the fall. See the schedule for a location near you >>
Book your travel through AOPA and support GA
Plan your next vacation through AOPA Online Travel, and a portion of the revenue generated will be returned directly to AOPA. Those funds will then be reinvested to fund AOPA’s daily efforts to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation. In addition to benefiting general aviation, AOPA Online Travel will save you money with great rates on airfare, hotels, and cruises. You can even save on your car rental from Alamo, Avis, Hertz, and Enterprise through special discounts and coupons for free rental days, dollars off, and free upgrades. Booking your travel through AOPA Online Travel is a win for GA and a win for your wallet. Start planning your vacation today!
GA association presidents and the CEOs of major aircraft manufacturers are asking you—the GA pilot, aircraft owner, student, and enthusiast—to come to AOPA Aviation Summit. Watch the video >>
Sporty’s Flight Gear accessories
Sporty’s Pilot Shop has introduced several accessories designed to match its line of Flight Gear bags and cases. They include a sunglasses case and holders for your ID, water bottle, cell phone, and transceiver. The accessories attach in a number of different ways and can be used with other types of luggage. Prices range from $9.95 to $14.95. Order online or call 800/SPORTYS.
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: I was wondering if there is a correct way to report turbulence. Is there some type of scale or guidance available?
Answer: The FAA classifies turbulence into four categories based on the aircraft’s reaction. Light turbulence causes momentary, slight, and/or erratic changes in altitude or attitude and is further divided into occasional, intermittent, or continuous based on the duration. Moderate turbulence is similar to light, but of greater intensity. Changes in altitude and/or attitude occur but the aircraft remains in positive control at all times. Severe turbulence causes large, abrupt changes in altitude and/or attitude. It usually causes large variations in indicated airspeed. Aircraft may be momentarily out of control. Turbulence in which the aircraft is violently tossed about and is practically impossible to control is classified as extreme. It may cause structural damage. For additional insight into the topic of turbulence, see this article from AOPA Flight Training.
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.
Pilots love to take photos, and they love to share them with other pilots. Now you can upload your flying photos to our online gallery, "Air Mail." Share your special aviation images, or view and rate more than 2,000 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 Phoenix, Ariz., and Sacramento, Calif., Sept. 12 and 13; Baltimore, Md., and Richmond, Va., Sept. 19 and 20; Colorado Springs, Colo., and Seattle, Wash., Sept. 26 and 27. 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 Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 1; Maryville, Tenn., Sept. 3; Wichita, Kan., and Morristown, N.J., Sept. 14; East Hartford, Conn., and Oklahoma City, Okla, Sept. 15; Rogers, Ark., and Newton, Mass., Sept. 16; Little Rock, Ark., and Manchester, N.H., Sept. 17. 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