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AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition Volume 9, Issue 50 — december 11, 2009  

In This Issue:
83-year-old solos in North Carolina
Know the regs
AOPA donates to ERAU scholarship fund


The perfect pilot gift—Ask a friend or relative to renew your AOPA membership for you for 2010! You’ll need to provide your membership number and this link.


Night and day

As the days of fewest sunlight hours descend, scheduling training flights that conveniently address your night-flying requirements makes good sense. You can add a real-world variable to this flying by setting up flights that begin in daylight and end in darkness—or vice versa, for the early risers out there.


There’s a lot to think about when planning a night flight that really delivers the goods from a training standpoint. Pick airports that let you make use of runways with sophisticated lighting systems and glidepath guidance such as visual approach slope indicators (VASIs) described in Chapter 2 of the Aeronautical Information Manual . Some visual effects and illusions of night flying may be aggravated when the only sight cues available to a pilot landing on a runway are edge lights. Runway centerline lighting helps alleviate such effects when landing in a crosswind or to avoid trouble judging height above the runway during roundout. Avoid “black holes,” as identified by Julie K. Boatman in the March 2004 AOPA Pilot feature on the subject.


Heading out to a nontowered airport for practice landings and takeoffs? Be sure you know how to operate pilot-controlled lighting. Radio-activated lighting systems are one more good reason to have a second communications radio aboard. Such flight-planning considerations were discussed in the April 28, 2006, “ Training Tip: Nights and lights.”


Winds generally diminish at night, but not always. Fronts with their changing wind speeds and direction move in and out at any time of day or night. Nights may be prone to low-level wind shear associated with temperature inversions. Check your knowledge of night weather concerns against the information sources provided in the Dec. 19, 2008, “ Training Tip: Night-flying weather.”


Always use night fuel reserves as your benchmark when planning a flight that might find you airborne during darkness. Check times of availability for fuel at cross-country destinations, and look up whether a control tower shuts down at night, resulting in changes in communications procedures or even airspace class.


This month the AOPA Air Safety Foundation is shining a Safety Spotlight on VFR night flight. Check your planning against this comprehensive guide before heading out into that early sunset.


A gusty day presents a good opportunity to gain some valuable crosswind experience under the watchful eye of your flight instructor. Some of the most valuable flight time of your pilot training will be spent learning to deal with crosswinds. Crosswind landings get better only with practice. Your instructor will offer a variety of techniques to help you land safely and routinely. You'll learn to crab the aircraft into the wind and slip it into the wind to maintain your position over the runway. Search the archives of AOPA Flight Training for articles on crosswind landings.


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.


83-year-old solos in North Carolina

Anne Osmer finds that sometimes life in a retirement community can be a little too quiet. That may be why she took up flying, she says: “It sure isn’t boring.” The 83-year-old soloed on Dec. 1 at Rutherford County-Marchman Field in Rutherfordton, N.C. Read more >>

Know the regs

You may have flight maneuvers down pat, but even experienced pilots can be stymied by the regulations. The federal aviation regulations (FARs) govern how we become pilots, how our aircraft are certified and built, how we should fly, and more. And while aerodynamic theory rarely changes, FARs may trip you up if you’re not up to date. So learn about the structure of the FARs, how they are created and modified, and what other regulation documents you need to know in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s Safety Advisor. The FARs will follow you through your private pilot training and beyond—and AOPA has the resources to help you continue to navigate the regulations as you study for an instrument rating. Is it legal for a pilot to have his morning shave in the left seat? Separate fact from IFR fiction as you play along with a game show in the foundation’s online course IFR Insights: Regulations . Find answers to specific questions about the FARs in the frequently-asked-questions resource from the AOPA Pilot Information Center.

Flight school owners reopen an airport

Looking to expand your flight school to a second location? Why not open an airport? That’s just what the owners of North Andover Flight Academy in Lawrence, Mass., did. They leased the privately owned, public-use Maxson Field in Alexandria Bay, N.Y., and have opened it with a flight school, maintenance shop, and fuel for transients. Read more >>

S.C. students get exposure to aviation in high school

High school students in Horry County, S.C., may soon get the chance to experience flight training or airframe and powerplant mechanic training, thanks to a joint resolution by the county council and school board. AOPA member Al Allen, a county councilman since 2001, helped start the initiative in order to make use of existing airport facilities and give high school students exposure to aviation. He initially came up with the idea as a way to help preserve the airport he uses for his aerial application business. Read more >>

Girls With Wings, NAFA award scholarships

Girls With Wings has selected Kam Yee of Seattle, Wash., as the recipient of its third annual scholarship. Yee, a student pilot and stay-at-home mother of two daughters, receives $1,000 to continue her flight training. Girls With Wings is a public awareness project that focuses on introducing young girls to role models in aviation-related occupations. The National Aircraft Financing Association (NAFA) has chosen Angelica Maleskis of Port Orange, Fla., as recipient of its Corporate Business Aviation Scholarship for 2009. Maleskis is a senior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach, Fla., campus. She is majoring in aviation business administration. NAFA is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the general welfare of individuals and organizations providing aircraft financing and loans secured by aircraft.

inside aopa

AOPA donates to ERAU scholarship fund

AOPA Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg presented a $30,000 check to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) Dec. 3 on behalf of the association for the AOPA Career Pathways Scholarship fund. The scholarship is part of a longstanding alliance between AOPA and ERAU. Each year, the association contributes 10 percent of member dues paid by ERAU alumni to the university’s endowed scholarship fund. The association has provided a total of $264,640 in scholarship funds to the university since 1997 to help deserving aviation students fund their education. Read more >>

Women’s shirt added to AOPA insignia collection

A new women’s IZOD pima cool shirt has been added to the AOPA Merchandise Collection. Available in a variety of colors, the shirt features the classic AOPA logo and is made of a moisture-release cotton/polyester blend to ensure comfort. Other items, including the classic AOPA pilot’s cap and the AOPA Zulu time watch, allow you to show the world you’re a pilot and a general aviation supporter. Each purchase you make generates revenue that is returned to AOPA and reinvested to help fund the association’s daily efforts to maintain the safety and freedom of general aviation. Don’t forget to use your AOPA WorldPoints Rewards credit card and earn double points. Shop the entire collection today.


Thiphone from

If you want to keep your mobile phone handy but not stowed in a pocket, the Thiphone is a device that uses an elastic strap to keep your mobile device on your thigh, much like a kneeboard. Designed to hold an iPhone, iPod, or any mobile device in place with a suction cup, the Thiphone holds your device at an angle tilted toward your face. It sells for $24.95 and is available online 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.


Question: I recently earned my private pilot certificate and would like to take my wife flying. While she has no problem flying on airliners, she is reluctant to go flying with me in a general aviation airplane. What resources does AOPA have to help me convince her that GA is safe and enjoyable?


Answer: AOPA has a number of articles and suggestions for introducing your reluctant friends and family to the joy of GA. Highlighting the safety aspects of the aircraft you will be flying could ease some passengers’ fears. However, others may fear the physical act of flying regardless of safety statistics. Check out some of the articles in AOPA’s subject report on overcoming the fear of flying. Then, consider working through the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s Pinch Hitter online course with your wife. The course is designed to help the nonpilot feel more comfortable in the cockpit by explaining some of the basics of flight.


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 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!



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 calendar 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 San Jose, Calif., Baltimore, Md., and Detroit, Mich., Jan. 9 and 10; Costa Mesa, Calif., Jackson, Miss., and Charlotte, N.C., Jan. 16 and 17; San Antonio, Texas, and Seattle, Wash., Jan. 23 and 24; Rochester, N.Y., Portland, Ore., and Sevierville, Tenn., Jan. 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 Mesa, Ariz., and Reno, Nev., Jan. 11; Tucson, Ariz., and Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 12; Milpitas, Calif., Jan. 13; Santa Rosa, Calif., Jan. 14; San Diego, Calif., Jan. 25; Costa Mesa, Calif., Jan. 26; Ontario, Calif., Jan. 27; Burbank, Calif., Jan. 28; Little Rock, Ark., Feb. 1. 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: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton Marsh

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