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AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition Volume 9, Issue 7 — february 13, 2009  

In This Issue:
New interactive map plots fuel accidents
Elite testing 'X-Plane' compatibility
Fuller supports FAA funding before Congress

  FT News  |   Inside AOPA  |   TRAINING PRODUCTS   |   FINAL EXAM   



Taxiing tactics

How do you stay on the proper path while taxiing at a busy, crowded airport? It starts, as discussed in the Feb. 6, “Training Tip,” with knowing the airport layout. Then be sure you understand your taxi instructions before you nudge your aircraft into motion.


You will follow procedures prescribed in Chapter 4 of the Aeronautical Information Manual. They state what to read back to the controller and whether your taxi instructions permit crossing runways along your taxi route. Here are the basics—and note the distinction drawn between taxi instructions and clearances. “When ATC clears an aircraft to ‘taxi to’ an assigned takeoff runway, the absence of holding instructions authorizes the aircraft to ‘cross’ all runways which the taxi route intersects except the assigned takeoff runway. It does not include authorization to ‘taxi onto’ or ‘cross’ the assigned takeoff runway at any point. In order to preclude misunderstandings in radio communications, ATC will not use the word ‘cleared’ in conjunction with authorization for aircraft to taxi.”


That’s a subtle safeguard. Readbacks are another: “When taxi instructions are received from the controller, pilots should always read back:

  1. The runway assignment.
  2. Any clearance to enter a specific runway.
  3. Any instruction to hold short of a specific runway, or taxi into position and hold.”

Write down your taxi route. Next, make sure you can comply. “If that means being stationary for a moment or so, don't sweat it. Even the most frazzled controller would rather you be later and straighter than have you risk an accident,” advised Chip Wright in the August 2006 AOPA Pilot feature “DIMS: Applying the ‘does it make sense question’ to your flying.”


Get your feet wet by sampling taxi scenarios you can practice in AOPA’s helpful online taxi resources. Also check out the FAA’s 17 best practices for airfield safety for pilots. They include these points on taxiing.

  • Maintain a sterile cockpit while taxiing.
  • Maintain appropriate taxi speed.
  • Have your head up and your eyes outside while taxiing.
  • Attend safety seminars and programs on runway safety.

Now you’re ready to roll!


When is the best time to get your medical certificate? As soon as you begin taking flight lessons. You’ll want to have the medical in hand so that when you’re ready to solo, there are no delays—if you plan to become a recreational or private pilot, that is. If you’re going the sport pilot route, a driver’s license is sufficient. The trained staff of AOPA’s Medical Certification Center are ready to help you figure out the answers to any questions you may have about obtaining a medical certificate. They’re available by telephone weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 800/USA-AOPA. See our Medical Certification Center for more online resources.


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.



New interactive map plots fuel accidents

Fuel-management accidents are among the most preventable types of general aviation mishaps, and yet pilots still manage to turn perfectly good airplanes into impromptu gliders at a rate of nearly twice a week. In an effort to raise awareness and encourage sound decision making, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation has launched a new interactive resource—a fully scalable Google-based map that plots the location of accidents caused by improper fuel management. Pilots can roll over the map's plot points to see accident details, and a link provides additional information from the Air Safety Foundation Accident Database. Drop-down menus allow users to tailor details such as time frame or aircraft type. The map also provides a link to the foundation's fuel-awareness resources.


Elite testing 'X-Plane' compatibility

Elite Simulation Solutions said it is beta testing a program to enable its hardware components to operate with X-Plane software. The hardware compatibility driver will enable X-Plane users to fly the simulation software on their personal computers using Elite throttle quadrants, rudder pedals, and consoles. Beta testing is expected to continue for the next few months. If you’d like to participate, send an e-mail to the company and include your name, telephone number, and the types of Elite hardware you own. offers aviation scholarship, an online tutoring and homework help site, said it is offering free tutoring help and a chance to win an aviation scholarship to middle- and high-school students. The company is partnering with Careers in Aviation and FAA Ambassador Jamail Larkins’ DreamLaunch Tour to educate students on aviation career opportunities. The $1,000 scholarship entry is open through Oct. 2, and applications can be found at the Careers in Aviation Web site. is also offering 50 minutes of free online math and science tutoring.


Arkansas aerospace training consortium gets $2.9 million

A consortium of two-year colleges in Arkansas was awarded a $2.9 million federal grant to develop and expand aerospace skills training over the next three years. The consortium pledged $1.8 million in matching funds. The project’s focus is to share resources among the participating schools and industries to add instructors, equipment, and curriculum to coincide with new Labor Department aerospace skills competencies, according to a report in

Inside AOPA

Fuller supports FAA funding before Congress

AOPA President Craig Fuller told Congress that AOPA members strongly support the new FAA funding bill just introduced in the House of Representatives. “The bottom line for us is that we support the measure, we support the use of aviation fuel taxes as a means support from our segment of the aviation community,” Fuller said in testimony Feb. 11 before the House aviation subcommittee. Read more >>


Safety Quiz gets extreme makeover

For years, pilots have enjoyed challenging themselves with online quizzes from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. The educational quality was always high, even though the presentation harked back to Scantron forms and #2 pencils. All that has changed with the latest Safety Quiz, "Airspace." Harnessing Flash technology, the new quiz format is rich in graphics and highly interactive. The standard multiple-choice and true/false questions are augmented by drag-and-drop matching exercises, fill-in-the-blank brainteasers, and a "hotspot" question that requires pinpointing the correct answer on an interactive sectional chart. Try the new quiz today.


Gleim Aviation Radio Receiver

Getting tongue-tied on the radio isn’t uncommon. Student pilots report that they are often able to improve their familiarity with “aviation speak” if they listen to other pilots. A quick (and free) way to eavesdrop on air traffic control is to listen to a Web site that streams audio transmissions. Another option is to park yourself near an airport and listen in on the action with a radio that picks up aviation frequencies. Gleim offers a transistor unit that is an aviation and FM receiver. It can be programmed to hold 100 frequencies in its memory and operates with two AA batteries that are included. It can be purchased from Gleim in a package with the Watching Airplanes course, or obtained from for $54.99.


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: When I did my engine runup, I noticed that there was no drop in rpm when I switched mags. Why is that?


Answer: It sounds like you might have a hot mag, or a problem with the ignition switch itself. Essentially, a hot mag is a magneto with a broken P-lead. The P-lead goes between the start switch and the magneto. The P-lead functions to ground the magneto (turn it off). You need to report this to an airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic as soon as possible because this is a dangerous situation. If someone happened to turn the propeller by hand, it’s possible the engine would start. To learn more about your aircraft engine and its components, take the AOPA Air Safety Foundation Engine and Propeller online course.


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.

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!


Want something to do this weekend? Wanting to plan 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 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. 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 Oklahoma City, Okla., Dallas, Texas, and Ashburn, Va., Feb. 21 and 22; Baltimore Md., and King of Prussia, Pa., March 7 and 8; Phoenix, Ariz., and Ontario, Calif., March 14 and 15; Orlando Fla., and Virginia Beach, Va., March 21 and 22. 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 Greenville, S.C., Feb. 16; Decatur, Ga., and Portland Ore., Feb. 17; Seattle, Wash., Feb. 18; Huntsville, Ala., Feb. 19; Puyallup, Wash., Feb. 21 and 22; Rochester, Minn., and Las Vegas, Nev., March 2. 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 Editor: Alyssa Miller | Contributors: Warren Morningstar, Alton Marsh

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